About Stone Harbor & Avalon
Share an island off the coast of New Jersey. Between them on the eastern shore of the island is a fine stretch of beach known as Seven Mile Beach. The western shore abuts the Intracoastal Waterway with bays and natural wetlands. The island itself is no more than three or four blocks wide, with Stone Harbor on the south end and Avalon on the north.
The south Jersey shore offers many fun places to go and things to do for the visitor. Along with other bird and wildlife sanctuaries, there are many historic sites. There are two lighthouses, Hereford Inlet and Cape May Point(which is still in use); Fisherman's Wharf, originally built for whale hunting but still active with clamming, oyster and scallop harvesting and commercial fishing; Cold Springs Village, 18th and 19th century restored buildings; the Stone Harbor Museum, explore the history of Stone Harbor; the S.S. Atlantus, an experimental ship made of concrete during World War I; World War II military installations; Leamings Run Botanical Gardens; and many museums and quaint villages. Visit our Cape May county park and zoo, an accredited zoo with over 250 animals, open year round.
Safe, protected beaches attract thousands every year for sunning and play while the gradual incline of the ocean bottom beckons to swimmers, surfers and wave jumpers, making water play one of Stone Harbor's biggest attractions.
To the west on the bay, panoramic sunsets vie for restful views of acre upon acre of wetlands and marshes. Boats of all sizes ply the inland waterway and ocean while fishing is great from oceanside, bayside or by boat.
A myriad of shops cater to just about every need, and when the sun goes down, entertainment moves into high gear with all kinds of dining experiences available, not to mention movies, music and dancing establishments.
Families in particular like the ambiance of a walk "downtown" with the ultimate goal of some homemade ice cream or freshly made fudge.
A full flight recreation program for youngsters and adult centers on the 81st Street field, tennis courts at 81st and 96th and a special children's playground at 80th and First. A new recreation experience at Chelsea Place Park between 105th and 106th Streets opened the summer of 1990.
The History of the Island
Can be traced back to Sir Walter Raleigh. In 1584 he was granted a patent to what was then known as the Province of New Jersey by King James I of England. The first recorded purchase of this island shows up in history in 1722 for a sum of 7 pounds, 10 shillings. In today's money that would be about $380.00
The island was only used by fishermen, game hunters, or sailors and for grazing cattle until the late 1800s. Then a developer from Philadelphia purchased 3000 acres for a resort area and Avalon was born. A short time later a railroad span was built across Townsend Inlet and the area started to grow.
The Environment of the Island
Originally the island was covered with high dunes and groves of cedar, holly, bayberry, oak and pine trees. To this day residents are aware of their environmental heritage and are always working to maintain the ecology of their island paradise. There is an ongoing program to preserve the dunes by planting of dune grasses, snow fencing and pathway maintenance. This area of high dunes is the only one remaining on the New Jersey coast.
Other environmental projects include approximately 1000 acres owned by the World Wildlife Fund, dedicated to keeping the area in its natural state, and the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary. This is the only heronry in the USA sponsored by a municipality and is registered as a National Landmark by the National Park Services. The Wetlands Institute, dedicated to research and education on wetlands and coastal ecosystems, covers 34 acres west of Stone Harbor.