Bay Magazine Summer 2024

Page 1

Your Dream Home Journey Starts


Hackensack Meridian Southern Ocean Medical Center has enhanced its cardiac services to offer life-saving care for patients experiencing heart events in our community. From nationally recognized stroke and maternity care, complex surgical services, a comprehensive cancer program to now providing emergency angioplasty for patients 24/7 - we’re ready.

You just don’t know where to find that last perfect accessory that you’re picturing... or that elusive chair to complete your vision? Well guess what. We DO. We have all the things you need to complete your dream home, priced from practically free to unaffordable. Call us today and tell us what you’re looking for.

























ADVERTISING SUBMISSIONS GENERAL INQUIRES For a digital copy of bay magazine visit our website at All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without express permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed by writers commissioned for articles published by bay magazine are not necessarily those of the magazine.

& Closet Design Center
Kitchen Design by Woodhaven Kitchen & Design Center for Ted Fluehr Jr. Custom Homes
Designer: Yasmin Deren
Photographer: John Martinelli
Photography by John Martinelli

Lets make some memories

Summer is finally upon us! As soon as the bite of winter begins to fade, we launch our countdown to the long-anticipated cacophony of lifeguard whistles, ice cream bells and hungry seagulls. Summer is a time of making memories with those we love, and LBI just seems to elevate those experiences to a whole new level. Visit one of the masterful chefs we profiled for a delicious meal together, freshen up your home or landscape with the incredible design talent that abounds along this 18 mile stretch, or learn about some of the very skilled, thoughtful people making our island a better place. We are so thankful to be here, and we know you are too! Cheers to another great season among the sand and surf.

The Founders

Photo by Elaina Gale Winner of the Southern Regional High School
Photo Scholarship - Sponsored by Bay Magazine

Build with an Architect™

Old-Fashioned Charm, Unrivaled Beauty

An exclamation-point in the landscape, hydrangeas woo gardeners with their big, showy blooms and long-lasting color. They are easy to cultivate and tolerate almost any soil type with flowers that cover the color spectrum--many changing color as they age. They can be used in a variety of garden situations from group plantings to shrub borders to containers. Hydrangea flowers emerge in mid to late spring and can last until the first frost and, by incorporating different species with overlapping bloom times, homeowners can reap the benefits of a diverse palette of colors and flower structures throughout the growing season.

The most common hydrangeas in the garden are ‘Big-Leafed’ hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) and ‘Panicled’ hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata). Just about all prefer partial sun— full sun in the morning followed by some afternoon shade—and moist, well-drained soil.

Despite their conventional appeal, hydrangeas are more popular than ever as a steady stream of innovative varieties pump new life and excitement into the market. Reynolds Garden Shop is pleased to offer some of the best if these novel hydrangea introductions including:

Let’s Dance Hydrangea Series (Hydrangea macrophylla Lets Dance):

Let’s Dance

Hydrangeas represent the next generation of hydrangeas with improved reblooming reliability, vivid flower coloration, strong stems and attractive foliage. Reynolds is pleased to offer two cultivars in this Series— Let’s Dance Arriba!, a purple-colored, petite mophead maturing to only 3 feet tall and wide, and Let’s Dance Sky View, growing to 3ft tall by 4ft wide and sporting blue colored blooms with honey-dew green eyes in youth, turning all blue with age.

Hydrangea Eclipse (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Bailmacseven’): This first true dark-leafed mophead hydrangea offers season-long beauty with cranberry red flowers and intense, dark purple leaves that hold their color without fading, even in warmer climates. It pairs well and contrasts dramatically with other garden plants with superior flower-production and disease resistance. Blooming from late spring to fall, Hydrangea ‘Eclipse’ matures to 3 to 5 feet tall and wide.

Hydrangea Light-O-Day (Hydrangea macrophylla First Edition ‘Light-O-Day): If looking to incorporate eye-popping leaf color into your garden, look no further than Hydrangea Light-O-Day with its pure white and deep green variegated foliage. This elegant Lacecap sports white flowers that age to soft shades of either blue or pink, depending upon soil pH. It is a perfect companion with perennials and other small shrubs and is one of the most reversion-resistant variegated hydrangeas on the market, growing to approximately 3ft tall by 5ft wide at maturity.

While mophead hydrangeas are a perennial star in the gardening world, if looking for a flowering shrub to extend the season, Panicled hydrangeas can’t be beat with

their compact form and reliable flower power. They open in mid-summer with a bright white cone-shaped inflorescence that transitions to a deep ruby red color as the nights cool in autumn. Since flowering on new wood, no amount of late frost or unchecked pruning will stop these flowers from reliably blooming.

Hydrangea Ruby Snow (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Ruby Snow’): A new introduction in 2024, Ruby Snow is a sensational new variety whose white panicles open in mid-summer and gradually change to ruby-red from the base up as nights cool. With a compact habit, maturing to 3ft high by 4ft wide, it can be planted in the small garden among similar flowering shrubs and perennials and makes a great cut flower for arrangements. Plant in groupings or as an exclamation mark along a garden path to draw the eye in.

Tiny Quick Fire Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata

‘Tiny Quick Fire’): A dwarf variety, Tiny Quick Fire is the smallest, most versatile panicled hydrangea on the market and easily fits into any landscape—perfect for the front of plant borders, mass planting in drifts or as a showy specimen. It blooms white in early May and ages to an attractive red-pink color at the end of the season, maturing to a diminutive, compact 3-foot high and wide size.

To view these exciting new hydrangea introductions along with proven winners that have stood the test of time, visit Reynolds Garden Shop located at 201 East Bay Avenue in Manahawkin. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 6:00pm and on Sundays from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

In the heart of Beach Haven Crest, a remarkable oceanfront home stands as a testament to thoughtful interior design and the vision of a family who craved a unique, contemporary coastal retreat. The journey to transform this house into a dream home is one of creativity, collaboration, and the magic that happens when the right elements come together in perfect harmony.

Upon entering this coastal haven, the immediate impression is one of sophisticated charm mixed with playful elegance. The home, built by Sharp Builders, has several standout features which Serenity Designs owner and designer, Victoria Grimes, had already admired for its vibrant personality. The existing canvas of the home worked beautifully as a backdrop for Serenity’s interior design plan.


One feature that stands out in this waterfront haven is the daughter’s bathroom, where a popular sea coral mirror serves as the focal point against the vertical display of playful pink subway tiles. The result is a delightful blend of whimsy and sophistication, capturing the essence of coastal living with a modern twist. “This project was more than just an opportunity to furnish a house,” says Victoria. “It was about curating a living space that reflects the unique tastes and personalities of the family.”

With four boys and one girl, the challenge was to create individual sanctuaries while maintaining a cohesive aesthetic throughout the home. Each room tells a story, meticulously crafted to resonate with its inhabitants.

The boy’s bedroom, for instance, features a majestic lion painting - a nod to the son’s Wall Street career - symbolizing strength and leadership. The natural wood accent wall in this room provided the perfect backdrop for the sophisticated yet cozy decor.

“We worked around the existing natural wood elements,” says Victoria. “We aimed for creating a perfect blend between the white bed and soft, easy-breezy furnishings.”

In another part of the house, a bathroom captures attention with a contemporary wallpaper Victoria calls Washed Away. This decorative wall covering, reminiscent of the reflective ocean waves, pairs beautifully with a traditional rope mirror, creating an unexpectedly captivating look.

The rest of the home offers a glimpse into how seamless integration of design elements can breathe new life into a space. The interior’s soothing color palette, subtle nautical motifs, and the effortless flow between indoor and outdoor living spaces encapsulate the essence of coastal luxury.

Serenity Design’s attention to detail extends beyond mere aesthetics. Ever mindful of the homeowner’s preferences and the practicalities of family life, living areas are designed to be both stylish and functional, accommodating the needs of a bustling household while maintaining an air of relaxed elegance. Such was the case with the

choices for the dining chairs as well as the breakfast nook window seat and counter stools. High traffic areas, durable materials and fabrics were selected not only for practicality, but for their elevated aesthetics as well.

Grimes emphasizes that the journey of transforming this house into a home was not just about the visual appeal but also about creating a space that felt alive and inviting.

“The ultimate goal was to curate a space that feels like an extension of the family’s personality, a place where they can comfortably live their ultimate happy lives,” Victoria says.

This beachfront home at Beach Haven Crest is a living testament to the power of thoughtful design, demonstrating the difference between a house and a home; where every room is a chapter in the story of the family that resides within its walls and where a delicate balance lives for new ideas while respecting existing elements. It is a playful dance of creativity, trust and collaboration, and one that results in something truly very special. After all, the finer things in life are often those that are crafted with the most love, care, and a keen eye for detail.

Coastal Grandeur


The allure of oceanfront living is a dream for many, and certainly was for Al and Ronnie Konner. After forty plus years of summering on the north end, in North Beach, Al and Ronnie finally have their very own oceanfront retreat of their dreams. Their journey to this new build in Harvey Cedars is a testament to vision, perseverance, and a fervent commitment to family. With breathtaking ocean views from nearly every room, their new build is the very epitome of what it means to embrace a life well-lived.

The Konners embarked on their dream home journey during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Having co-owned for four decades in North Beach with Al’s brothers, the Konner’s intention was to ultimately renovate that property, however not everyone shared that desire, which prompted the couple to launch their oceanfront search.

Tammy Laureigh, residential real estate specialist on Long Beach Island and member of The Freeman Group at RE/ MAX At Barnegat Bay, having intimate knowledge of the local properties, introduced them to a prospective home site in Harvey Cedars. Despite having never stepped inside, the Konners were so taken with the location that they purchased it sight unseen.

“Tammy had recommended Mike Pagnotta and his firm for the build,” Ronnie shares. “When we spoke to our attorney in North Jersey, he also highly recommended Mike. All roads seemed to lead to Michael Pagnotta Architecture + Construction for our new build. We started the project during the COVID lockdown, so we couldn’t meet in person. We met with Mike over Zoom and we knew he was the right person for the job. We were so impressed with how much time he took with us, even before we closed on the lot.”

Building a home on Long Beach Island comes with its own set of challenges, from strict zoning regulations to environmental considerations. Despite numerous hurdles, their collaboration with Michael Pagnotta Architecture + Construction proved to be a seamless experience. Ronnie and Al were clear on their vision: a home that not only captured the beauty of its oceanfront location but also accommodated their large, multi-generational family.

“Our number one priority was always to be on the beach,” Ronnie emphasizes. “Our goal was to accommodate all the kids and grandkids and to have as many ocean views as possible. Mike delivered that above and beyond. The reverse-living design provides spectacular views from each and every room, even the bathrooms and showers.”

Building their dream home also meant adhering to local regulations. One unique challenge was adhering to CA-

FRA (Coastal Area Facility Review Act) regulations, which limit the buildable area on coastal properties. The Konners’ lot, spanning 120 feet of ocean frontage, had specific areas that could be developed due to these restrictions. The Pagnotta team expertly navigated Harvey Cedars’ zoning regulations and CAFRA requirements, ensuring the design met all regulatory requirements while maximizing the home’s potential and achieving the Konners’ vision.

Another challenge was the strict height limits in Harvey Cedars. Combined with a desire to respect and retain their neighbors’ existing views, Mike suggested the distinctive curved barrel roof design, providing added natural light and a compelling architectural element.

“We asked Mike for something interesting beyond the traditional square design,” Ronnie explains. “The barrel roof was his recommendation and we love it.”

As you step through the door, it’s immediately apparent that this is not just any house. It’s a labor of love, meticulously designed to be a family sanctuary for generations to come. From the thoughtful flow of elements that marry interior and exterior environments to the finishing design flourishes, every aspect of this coastal retreat speaks to the dedication and vision of a truly collaborative team.

“Michael Pagnotta’s integrated design-build approach was crucial for us and the execution by the team was phenomenal,” Ronnie says. “Every step of the way, they were ready to answer our questions and adapt to our needs.” Mike Pagnotta recommended materials that would withstand the harsh coastal climate, ensuring the home remains as stunning as the day it was completed. The house features low-maintenance Nu-Cedar siding, durable and weather-resistant, providing the look of natural wood without the upkeep. Energy-efficient Andersen windows maximize natural light while ensuring insulation and energy savings.

One of the standout features of the Konners’ home is its dedication to multigenerational living. The six-bedroom house includes three king-sized junior suites for their three children and their spouses and two bunk rooms, each with two sets of bunk beds, designed to accommodate their eight grandchildren. Each bunk room is custom-made with full-over-full beds designed by Rich Woodward of Handmade Furniture, ensuring comfort for the growing grandchildren.

“Our grandchildren’s joy is our joy,” Ronnie says with a smile. “We wanted a place where they could come with their friends and cousins, and create memories that will last a lifetime.”

The Konners’ home is characterized by its modern, airy aesthetic, as well as its minimalist sophistication and contemporary flair, a refreshing departure from more orthodox coastal approaches. Designed to fully embrace its stunning oceanfront location, the great room boasts an expansive wall of glass windows and doors, covered patios, and decks. The indoor-outdoor flow is seamless and spectacular. A recessed fiberglass pool, hot tub, and two fire pits offer various integrated spaces for relaxation and enjoyment.

“The outdoor kitchen area is perfect for watching the sunset over the bay while seeing the ocean at the same time,” Ronnie describes. “It’s a breathtaking experience.”

The new home is designed not just for beauty but also for durability and low maintenance. From its stunning design to its thoughtful features, the Konners’ home is evidence of what can be achieved with a clear vision, a dedicated team, and a love for family and the coastal lifestyle. The result is a clear demonstration of the kind of stunning success that comes with collaboration between architect and owner, as well as the various tradespeople involved.

“Mike’s whole team was just incredible,” said Ronnie. “From the carpenters and contractors to the designers and landscapers, everyone was professional and responsive. We are so grateful to everyone for all their various recommendations. Every step of the way, the experts we worked with just made the entire process enjoyable, even during a pandemic. We couldn’t be happier.”

Despite its grand size, the house is designed with numerous individual spaces and creature comforts to feel cozy and intimate. Multiple quiet areas, such as the deck off their bedroom and dining room, provide protected spots to enjoy breakfast or read, regardless of whichever way the wind may blow.

“When it’s just Al and myself, we live mainly upstairs. It’s comfortable and doesn’t feel like a huge estate,” Ronnie explains.

Their primary bedroom is a sanctuary. “Our youngest granddaughter came to visit us and I said to her, ‘I don’t ever want to leave this room,’ Ronnie recalls. “She said, ‘Don’t worry Grandma, I’ll make a list of everything you want to eat so you won’t have to.’”

The final Certificate of Occupancy was issued in January 2024, marking the completion of a project that began during the early days of the pandemic. This summer, the family will enjoy their new home together for the first time, with dates already on the calendar to spend with friends and family.

Reflecting on the journey that brought them here, from a spontaneous real estate search to the meticulously planned architectural designs, the Konner’s new home is more than a beach house; it’s a legacy for future generations.

“This isn’t just a summer home; it’s our long-term residence. This home is our long-term plan,” Ronnie shares. “We hope to eventually move here year-round. We’ve built it with our children and grandchildren in mind, making sure everyone’s needs and wishes were considered.”

As they prepare to fill their calendar with visits from loved ones, the Konners are ready to enjoy their dream home and the continuation of a cherished family tradition. They look forward to many happy years in their new home, cherishing the importance of family and the good times yet to be had.

“Our prayer is for good health so we can continue to enjoy this beautiful space together,” Ronnie said. “This home is a magnet for our family, a place where we can gather, celebrate, and create new memories.”

Light and Warmth

With an emphasis on relaxation and quality moments together with loved ones, life at the beach seamlessly cascades from day to night. And with a majority of that time spent outside, David Ash Landscape

Contractors knows just how to make your outdoor space serve that unique island lifestyle. While a custom pool is certainly an optimal solution for the daytime, as the seagulls begin to quiet and the sun slowly sinks over the bay, there are several other aspects of exterior design that will ensure countless hours of enjoyment. By simply including a cozy fire pit area and carefully curated lighting, your backyard will be conducive to breathing in the fresh salty air all night long; and after all, that’s often when those extra special memories are made.


A backyard fire pit is a must-have to enhance the ambiance of your outdoor space. People are naturally drawn to its heat and light, harkening back to our primal instincts, and it quickly becomes the central gathering place. As the sunlight fades, cueing up the fire pit creates a magical transformation to welcome the nighttime hours. Family and friends feel inspired to share stories and kids can never resist the temptation of a homemade s’more. David Ash can help you navigate the layout of your space to design a fire pit which perfectly blends safety, practicality and beauty. He will help you decide on a gas option, which is clean and generally more conducive to smaller spaces, or a wood-burning option, which adds the relaxing crackle and comforting, smoky scent. Regardless of the particulars for your design, you can be sure that the flickering flames create a mesmerizing focal point and also allow you to enjoy your outdoor space for weeks longer thanks to the added warmth.


Thoughtfully placed lighting can also go a long way in making your outdoor oasis more usable in the evening hours. David Ash are experts in the science and art of low-voltage LED technology, and will walk homeowners through the selection of fixtures to create a perfect solution. Submersible lights in your pool add striking drama to a night-time swim. A subtle glow along pathways not only creates a unique ambiance, but also ensures the safety of all. Lighting options can be employed artistically to highlight a particular area of your backyard, be it a water feature, beautiful landscaping, or an architectural element. LED lighting is energy efficient, lasts longer, and allows you to control the lighting directly from your phone. You can also set up zones around the exterior of your home to further customize which areas of your poolside space are illuminated. LED lights even offer the benefit of vibrant color options to really set the mood.

Transform your landscape into a luxurious retreat with the help of David Ash. The timeless elements of heat and light will make your outdoor space a true haven and create an atmosphere that entices friends and family to enjoy the glorious seaside atmosphere for hours on end.

let’s build a home



Bonnie Wells of Coastal Living Real Estate Group

It is often said that humility is the key to success. If this is indeed true, than it’s no wonder that Bonnie Wells, owner and broker at Coastal Living Real Estate Group, is finishing her first decade of business on Long Beach Island with such staggering numbers and rave reviews. Her genuine spirit of gratitude and helpfulness are directly linked with her deep love of LBI and a sincere desire to facilitate that blessing for others.

Bonnie entered the real estate industry in Bergen County three decades ago, transitioning from a role in marketing management covering the eastern seaboard. Her journey included valuable experiences at Sotheby’s, followed by the ownership and operation of her own real estate brokerage. As a child she spent summers at her grandmother’s beach house, and continued this cherished tradition of summering on LBI with her own children and now grandchildren.

Beginning in 2014, Bonnie, began seriously discussing the idea of opening a real estate company on the island. Lindsay Ryon was a new agent in PA at the time, but her drive and enthusiasm were contagious. Bonnie understood that marketing in a secondary market would entail a learning curve, yet her affection for the island motivated her to take the leap and establish an agency based in Beach Haven. That very first year Coastal Living exceeded the projections and has continued to do so every year since.

The success of Coastal Living Real Estate Group has magnetically drawn exceptional talent, with agents reaching out of their own accord to express interest in joining the team. Each one of the over thirty members of the Coastal family developed a deep connection to LBI on a personal level before entering the real estate industry, and this unifying love forms the foundation of their business and camaraderie. The talent and drive of everyone behind Coastal Living is incredibly inspiring to Bonnie and she is thrilled to work with such amazing agents. The group that keeps the entire operation running smoothly and efficiently, led by Brittnee Decker, “is truly the best,” according to Bonnie. The diverse backgrounds among the entire team, from a wide variety of professions, allow them to expertly bridge the gap between buyers and sellers. The team consistently attends industry education conventions to stay up to date on the market and trends, providing an unequaled experience for all clients, whether they are buying, selling, or renting.

When distilled down, the true strength of Coastal Living Real Estate lies in its distinctive marketing approach. Bonnie leverages her degree in Communications specializing in journalism and photography and combines that with priceless technical skills in web design and digital media inspired by her son, Parker Wells. The result is a cutting-edge marketing package that cannot be found anywhere else in the region. She carefully curates an

Photos by Realestae Cinema

all-encompassing plan, through both print and digital outlets, that reaches not only local interests but also select global markets, as well. Her goal is to maximize exposure and connect with the right audience within the luxury market to showcase their properties while highlighting the unique lifestyle and charm that LBI offers. She sends the documented plan to each client with monthly results, keeping them fully informed throughout the process.

Bonnie is uniquely situated in the market to be able to act as a skilled matchmaker of sorts for her clients. Through staging consultations for sellers to personalized meet and greets and video consultations for renters, her thoughtful services resonate with clients on a deep level. High-profile individuals consistently seek out Bonnie and her team, knowing that they are ensured a secure and exclusive rental or sales experience with her high caliber of professionalism.

Today in an uncertain market, LBI remains an oasis for so many, just as it does for Bonnie. The island represents a tangible time of joy and togetherness for families; an opportunity for grandparents to spend uninterrupted time with their growing grandchildren in a very busy world. That sentimentality is embodied in the homes Bonnie and her team represent.

In fact, all of their efforts at Coastal Living Real Estate always circle back to the people who make up this island, and giving back to the community stands paramount for the team. Bonnie has been engaged on LBI over the years, serving on the board of Beach Haven Future alongside Agent Barb Cona, participating in the Economic Development committee, and presently, a member of the Architectural Advisory Committee for the Marine and Business District of Beach Haven. Coastal has sponsored island events and served as committee chairs and volunteers for festivals such as the LBI Art Walk, Fall Fest, and Beach Haven Heritage Day. “It’s where we live, work and play...we want it to thrive,” says Bonnie. When Coastal agent Pat O’Donnell saw the need for a Beach Haven gator this past year, the agency was honored to purchase it for the Borough of Beach Haven. They have been touched hearing stories of those who hadn’t had access to the beach before having this mode of transport.

And one of the more lighthearted, fun events was the brainchild of Bonnie: the World’s Longest Nautical Line Dance. Spanning the Boulevard, store fronts, restaurants, and even the beach, the Beach Haven community rallied around this exciting event and lined up to dance. It’s a truetestament to Bonnie’s innova-

tive, forward-thinking personality; and the fact that she even choreographed the dance AND taught it to the participants is the icing on the cake! The event, captured on camera, offers a visual depiction of how much folks love this island.

The Coastal team is delighted to witness their buyers and sellers share the joy of shedding stress and embracing island life. Throughout 2022 and 2023, they stood out as top agents and agencies in Ocean County, with Bonnie consistently achieving the highest MLS average

home selling price based on the number of properties sold. Presently, the market boasts seven oceanfront listings priced over six million dollars, with Coastal representing four of the seven, along with a fifth additional pocket listing.

They stand as a prominent force within the local real estate landscape, deeply honored to be entrusted with such remarkable homes. Bonnie holds a steadfast belief that none of their success would be attainable without the favor and provision of God. In her leisure moments, she finds joy in activities like tennis, sailing, skiing, and cherishing moments with her children and grandchildren. Reflecting on the past decade of dedicated service to LBI, she underscores a reaffirmation of her and her team’s unwavering commitment to excellence, innovation, and top-notch service through Coastal Living Real Estate, eagerly anticipating the exciting prospects that lie ahead.


Thom Sweeney is a distinguished interior designer with over three decades of expertise crafting immersive residential, hospitality, commercial, and retail spaces both locally on Long Beach Island and across diverse locales. With an unwavering commitment to curating interiors that are not only visually stunning but deeply reflective of individuality and inspiration, Thom’s portfolio spans from prestigious Manhattan brownstones to opulent Palm Beach estates, as well as the iconic venues of Long Beach Island’s Weddings of Distinction. From grandiose mansions to intimate abodes, Thom’s talent has left an indelible mark on projects of all scales. Discover his signature style firsthand at Thom Sweeney Interiors, conveniently housed within The Gunning River Mall at 849 West Bay Avenue in Barnegat, and stay connected with his latest creations via Instagram @ThomSweeneyInteriors.

Q. Do you have any suggestions as to what I should do to make our guest room more welcoming to our guests?

-Dawn, Surf City

A. Are you Serious? It’s the Summer. You have a (FREE!) guest room at your place at the beach, and you are actually worried about having it being more welcoming? If your friends and relatives are anything like the average ones, they’re just thrilled to be invited. But, since apparently you are the consummate host, here are my suggestions: First of all, go into the room with a critical eye. Would a fresh coat of paint and a new color help the room? Do the window treatments add style and privacy? How about the bedding? Is it time for something new? Finally, guests always feel more important when they are greeted with a stack of fluffy towels on the bed, and a cake of great smelling soap. Better yet, accompany it all with a personal note that offers a warm word of welcome.

Q. How can I make dining al fresco with friends have a maximum impact, with a minimum effort?

A. Here’s a thought Dina: Take a bucket of sand, and dump it in the middle of the table that you intend to use for dinner. But wait…before you do that, you should decide if your table looks good enough to just use placemats (I suggest round or square rattan or sea grass if it is). If it doesn’t, then you’ll want to use a brightly colored tablecloth, which you could cover with a fishnet for extra texture and effect. Now you can dump the sand. (Seriously!) Then, add either real or battery-operated candles of various heights in the sand—it could be 3, 5 or 7 (but, always an odd number), depending upon the size of the table. Got the picture so far, Dina? Then add some starfish, or sand dollars or any variety of shells you may have around the house to complete the vision. The final touch will be the correct napkins (a tropical pattern or color-coordinated ones would be my suggestion). Oh, one last thing: Add a clamshell with your guest’s name written on it in your best calligraphy. That should do it. And if, for some reason your free, delicious, homecooked meal doesn’t impress your guests, then at least your table WILL!

Q & A with Thom Sweeney Photo by John Martinelli

Ready to build a new home? Start here.

Citizens offers construction-to-permanent loans to help you build your new home. And we’re ready to help with:

•A single loan closing to save time and money

• Fixed or adjustable rate mortgages on permanent loans with jumbo financing options available

• Interest-only payments during the construction phase

• Permanent rates you can lock in before you build

Get to know the upfront financial aspects of building a new home before the ground is broken. Learn more about new home financing by contacting Rick Butera today.


Revolutionizing Home Construction: Experience Walters’ Approach to Architecture and Custom Home Building

In the realm of home building, the mere mention of Walters is synonymous with excellence and advanced construction/architectural expertise. As one of the industry’s foremost innovators, Walters has consistently set the bar high with their cutting-edge designs, attention to detail, and commitment to creating homes that seamlessly blend aesthetics, functionality, and environmental sustainability.

Their latest unveiling, the brand-new Walters website, is no exception. Filled to the brim with features and tools aimed at enhancing the client journey, this website is not just a resource—it’s an experience. Visitors can explore Walters’ extensive portfolio of custom homes and architecture, take a tour of available move-in ready homes, and even begin their homebuilding journey with just a click of a button.

“We believe in offering a seamless and enjoyable home building process to our clients.”


“We believe in offering a seamless and enjoyable home building process to our clients,” says Matthew Gaudet-Walters, the Director of Business Development for Walters Homes. “With over 40 years of home building experience, our new website reflects that ethos—streamlining our services into a single business model for an enhanced client experience.”

Walters is also making waves with its ability to not only build homes tailored to their client’s needs, but also in building move-in ready homes. Two move-in-ready homes, 105 North Central Avenue and recently sold 111 North Central Avenue in Surf City, NJ, are prime examples of the unparalleled luxury and quality Walters delivers. For those who appreciate the convenience of the latest technology and product that is designed, constructed and ready for move-in, Walters has you covered with this option.

105 North Central Avenue is a coastal retreat nestled in the heart of Surf City, offers 2,763 square feet of open concept living, a chef’s kitchen, and a private oasis with a stunning heated inground pool. Recently sold 111 North Central Avenue is an exclusive coastal getaway, features 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and an abundance of features that epitomize beachside luxury.

Beyond the website, Walters highlights its Architectural Design Studio, where visitors can see firsthand how Walters’ team of industry veterans, led by Arnold Boyle, AIA, are revolutionizing home designs to meet the evolving needs of today’s homeowners. Their goal is to “future-proof” homes, ensuring they are not just aesthetically pleasing but also adaptable to changing lifestyles.

Moreover, Walters’ Design Center, helmed by Interior Designer Janelle Welch, offers a personalized touch to the homebuilding process. Unlike other builders that offer preset packages with limited options, Walters prides itself on its ability to walk clients through every step, ensuring they get a home that is not only livable but also unique and tailored to their vision.

But what truly sets Walters apart is its dedication to offering all-inclusive services under one roof, from conception to construction and beyond. With a team of experts in Architecture and Custom Homes—Walters provides homebuyers with a holistic experience that seamlessly brings their dream vision to reality.

As Gaudet-Walters affirms, “We have connected with our homebuyers in new and different ways, and we promise to continue making their home buying dreams a reality—whether that’s through our website, our move-in ready homes, or our comprehensive range of in-house services.”

Visit the new Walters website at, call 609.361.7000, or stop in and tour our corporate office and Design Center today. Whether you’re looking to start your homebuilding journey or seeking your dream home on the Jersey Shore, Walters is ready to make your vision a reality.

About Walters

Walters has been building quality homes at the Jersey Shore since 1984. The company offers Architecture and Custom Homes, and all-inclusive services that seamlessly bring a homebuyer’s dream vision to reality. Walters Architecture is a completely complimentary service that allows homebuyers to work with in-house architects to design the perfect home with the latest technology and quality building materials. Walters Custom Homes offers newly designed custom home plans that help homebuyers through the homebuilding process. Every custom home built by Walters meets or exceeds the energy efficiency requirements for ENERGY STAR® certification. Walters is located at 701 Central Ave, Ship Bottom, NJ 08008. To learn more, call 609.361.7000 or visit

Embracing Coastal Chic

In the ever-evolving world of home design, the summer of 2024 brings a refreshing wave of coastal trends that redefine luxury living by the sea. At the forefront of this transformation is Oskar Huber Furniture and Design, a renowned interior design and furnishing company located in Ship Bottom, on LBI Their design consultant, Jennifer LaVeglio, offers expert insights into the top coastal home design trends that will shape the year. These trends blend natural elements with sophisticated touches, ensuring your coastal retreat is both stylish and serene.

1. Woven Textures: A Sculptural Twist on Tradition

Woven textures continue to make waves in coastal design, evolving beyond the familiar rattan and caning reminiscent of classic beachside aesthetics. Jennifer LaVeglio highlights a modern take on this timeless trend with materials like seagrass and sisal. These natural fibers are being used in innovative and unconventional ways, transforming everyday items into works of art. Picture chandeliers, accent pieces, and even furniture like chairs and tables woven with intricate, almost sculptural designs. This trend not only adds texture but also creates a unique visual interest that feels both organic and contemporary.

2. Warmer Tones: A Cozy Coastal Palette

Say goodbye to the cool, grey-washed woods of the past and welcome the warmth of honey and pecan hues. These richer wood tones are making a comeback, bringing a sense of coziness and sophistication to coastal interiors. Complementing this shift, silver and nickel accents are giving way to brushed brass, adding a touch of timeless elegance. LaVeglio suggests that these warmer tones pair beautifully with neutral palettes, creating a deeper, more inviting atmosphere. Alternatively, they can also serve as a striking contrast to cooler color schemes, evoking the tranquil blues of the ocean.

3. Bold Graphic Prints: A Playful Pop of Color

One of the more playful trends this year is the incorporation of bold graphic prints, perfect for adding a splash of personality to smaller spaces. Think vibrant, whimsical wallpapers featuring large botanical or sea life motifs, ideal for bathrooms, nooks, or laundry rooms. This trend extends to artwork and fabrics as well, often showcasing geometric or textural patterns that echo coastal themes. Imagine concentric designs reminiscent of shells or sea urchins, or dashes and stripes that mimic the gentle movement of waves. These bold prints inject a sense of fun and creativity into your coastal decor.

4. Brighter Colors: Infusing Energy and Life

Colors are taking a brighter turn in 2024, moving away from subdued shades to more vivid hues. Grey blues are shifting towards lively periwinkle and turquoise tones, while navy is

either deepening or lightening to colonial blue. According to LaVeglio, the best way to introduce these brighter colors is through accessories. Consider adding vibrant pillows, ceramic garden stools, poufs, wall art, or lamps to infuse your space with energy and life. These accents can easily be swapped out, allowing you to refresh your decor with the changing seasons or your evolving tastes.

5. Personalized Coastal Style: Reflecting Your Unique Taste

Ultimately, the most important aspect of any design trend is how well it reflects your personal style. LaVeglio emphasizes the importance of creating a space that feels authentic and true to your preferences. If you desire a calming and serene environment, opt for a softer color palette with plenty of textures to add depth and interest. For those who love a playful atmosphere, brighter colors and unexpected pops of fun are the way to go. Your coastal home should tell your story, with little accents that hint at your lifestyle. Whether it’s prints of beachgoers for sunbathers or sea life accents for avid fishers, let your space celebrate what it means to live by the coast.

At Oskar Huber Furniture and Design, Jennifer LaVeglio and her team are dedicated to helping you achieve a coastal home that is both beautiful and uniquely yours. By embracing these top design trends for 2024, you can create a luxurious and inviting retreat that captures the essence of coastal living.

The crowning touch

With all that goes into a kitchen or bathroom renovation, the crowning touch—and often the most impactful piece in the whole equation—is the countertops. To elevate the beauty and functionality of your space, Elegance Surface Concepts carries an extensive selection of premium stones in their local slab yard. From the design stage straight through to fabrication and installation, owner Marc and his team handle the entire process. But many people have the same question right out of the gate; with so many options, which stone is right for you?


Marble is an incredibly luxurious natural stone that has been used in homes for centuries. Its inherently lighter colors blend beautifully with many aesthetics. Marble is also one of the softest stones, meaning that it is more susceptible to etching, staining and scratching, so it requires diligent maintenance.


Quartzite is the most sought-after natural stone. It’s very dense with a multitude of variants in regard to color and opacity, with some nearly completely

translucent, making them especially well-suited to the popular backlighting trend. (This sleek, sophisticated design option is especially beautiful with a “waterfall edge” that cascades the beautiful stone and light all the way down to the floor!) Quartzite does have a generally higher price point overall, however, and is also very porous, so it must be sealed regularly.


As quartz is an engineered surface, it tends to offer more uniformity in regard to color. It’s also non-porous, extremely stain resistant, and has flexibility to prevent chips or cracks, making it well suited to high-traffic areas, like counters where a family cooks regularly. It must be noted, however, that quartz cannot handle any direct heat.


Granite is a natural stone, prized for its strength and durability. It is scratch-resistant, heat-resistant, and less likely to stain than other choices, making it especially popular for outdoor bars and other high use areas. It is also one of the more affordable choices, but generally offers only darker colors and needs to be sealed periodically.


In this (usually) manmade product, semi-precious stones (like agates, gems, or crystals) are meticulously combined with resin to create a large slab. Often considered the pinnacle of luxury stone design, this surface is a great choice for wall-cladding or bars where you’re looking to infuse visual magnificence. With more unique colors, it inherently creates a sort of magic, especially when combined with LED backlighting for beautiful ambiance. These countertops tend to be rather expensive, but if you want to make a statement, this captivating stone is for you.


Porcelain is becoming an increasingly popular option for countertops. It is extremely hard, heat resistant, and provides many color options. It’s virtually impervious to water and also UV light resistant, making it a great choice for outdoor installations. Unfortunately it is possible to crack under blunt force and has limited edge styles. Price is also a major consideration with this substrate.

Once the type of stone is chosen, the next step is selecting the color. While other elements, like wall color, furniture materials and lighting, must be considered in order to create a cohesive space, Marc points out that he additionally works with a stone’s natural lowlights and highlights to perfectly complement your aesthetic. He will also make sure to appropriately lay out the slab so that the most beautiful section is central in the room, as with a kitchen island, while a section of the stone with natural fissures or other inconsistencies goes in a less visible area or is cut out completely. The artistic eye to create a beautiful final product goes hand-in-hand with mastery of the highly technical processes needed to craft your piece. Fortunately, the team at Elegance Surface Concepts embraces specialized techniques and tools to ensure supreme accuracy, create any necessary cutouts on the countertop, and to shape the edges of the final slab.

Working with both builders and homeowners, Elegance Surface Concepts has the unique capability to supply your product in a drastically reduced timeframe compared to the industry standard. With a simple phone call, Marc will generally be at your home to measure within a day or two, using a state-of-the-art measurement process. From the template to the final install, you are looking at less than a week for stone that is in stock. This kind of turnaround is virtually unheard of within the industry. Throughout the entire process, the team at Elegance Surface Concepts takes great care to ensure your countertop is sturdy, long-lasting, and beautiful in your space. Their slab yard is conveniently located at 110 Cox Ave in West Creek, an easy fifteen minute drive from Long Beach Island. Simply call 844-713-9542 to make your appointment and choose the right stone for your project.

These markets — they’re a wild ride. But we’ve seen it before. And with a Merrill Advisor, you can do more than just hang on — you can charge forward. Backed by world-class insights. Cutting-edge technology. And a personalized plan to help you thrive. Don’t just ride it out. Ride with the bull. Ride with Merrill.

Skye J. Gibson, CFP ®, CPWA®, CEPA® First Vice President Wealth Management Advisor


Merrill Lynch Wealth Management 3100 Hingston Avenue Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234 What would you like the power to do?

Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as “MLPF&S” or “Merrill”) makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed or provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member SIPC and a wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp.

Investment products: Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value The Bull Symbol and Merrill are registered trademarks of Bank of America Corporation. CFP Board owns the marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP® (with plaque design) in the U.S. CPWA® is a registered certification mark of the Investments & Wealth Institute®. For more information about the Institute and the CPWA certification, please visit © 2024 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. MAP5682628 | AD-05-24-0019 | 472845PM-0623 | 05/2024


Nestled within the picturesque coastal community of Rumson, New Jersey, on a sprawling expanse of 1.5 acres of prime real estate lies a residence that underwent a remarkable metamorphosis, thanks to the visionary talent of Thom Sweeney Interiors. With a portfolio spanning over two decades, its founder, Thom’s expertise in interior design has left an indelible mark on homes across various states, including New Jersey, New York and Palm Beach, Florida. However, it was his latest project in Rumson that truly captured the essence of his design prowess and client-centered approach.

For homeowners Jessica and Lee Mlotek, the decision to enlist in Thom’s services was a testament to the trust and confidence they had in his ability to translate their vision into reality. Having admired Sweeney’s work in their parents’ homes, friends’ residences, and even property in Florida, the Mloteks knew that they had found a designer who not only understood their aesthetic preferences but also possessed the instinctive ability to bring their ideas to life.

Upon acquiring their home, the couple was confronted with a design aesthetic reminiscent of the iconic Versace style – opulent, extravagant, and grossly lacking in the cozy, comfortable warmth of a home they desired. Every room exuded an air of ostentation, with hexagon ceilings, arches, and columns dominating the interior landscape. However, beneath the lavish facade lay a canvas brimming with untapped potential and architectural charm – a canvas

awaiting Thom’s transformative touch.

The foyer, once devoid of inviting ambiance and character, underwent a remarkable metamorphosis under Thom’s guidance. Expansive and grand, the space demanded a redesign that would infuse it with a sense of welcoming elegance. Thom embarked on a journey to reimagine the foyer, reconfiguring the space, simplifying its elements, and introducing elements such as wainscoted wall paneling and a captivating metal sculpture that adorned the walls from floor to ceiling. The result was a breathtaking entrance that set the tone for the entire home – contemporary, refined, and undeniably inviting.

Throughout the renovation process, Thom’s attention to detail and commitment to collaboration were evident at every turn. From the removal of colonial fireplaces to the installation of marble facades and the replacement of dark wood oak floors with bleached white oak, no aspect of the home’s interior was overlooked. In the living room and family room, Thom’s clever design ideas breathed new life into the space, creating fluidity and

flow while accentuating a more timeless aesthetic that the Mloteks desired.

One of the most heartwarming aspects of the project was Thom’s thoughtful approach to designing spaces that would evolve with the growing young family. Incorporating Jessica’s nostalgic memories of special one-on-one time spent in her parents’ bedroom’s sitting area, where intimate conversations and reconnections took place during her childhood, Thom ensured that the design catered to those cherished moments. From the creation of a charming baby room adorned with playful wallpaper and pom-pom accents to the transformation of the master bedroom into a serene sanctuary reminiscent of Jessica’s past, complete with a private sitting area and modern amenities, every detail was imbued with meaning. Thom’s design aimed not only to accommodate the family’s present needs but also to honor and preserve the essence of their treasured memories, and continuing sentimental traditions, weaving a narrative of comfort, functionality, and enduring sophistication throughout the home.

Perhaps most impressive was Thom’s unwavering dedication to his clients’ satisfaction. Throughout the renovation process, he maintained an open line of communication with the homeowners, especially Jessica’s mother, Nava, who oversaw the entire project as the general contractor, with multiple options and guiding them through every decision. Whether it was selecting furnishings, choosing window treatments, or refining the smallest details, Thom’s meticulous attention to detail and commitment to excellence never wavered.

As the project drew to a close in 2022, Jessica and Lee marveled at the transformation that had taken place within their Rumson residence. What was once a house devoid of ambience and warmth had been reborn as a home – a sanctuary where every room told a story, every space invited conversation, and every detail reflected the unique personalities of its occupants. For this growing family, Thom’s transformative design journey had not only revitalized their living space but had also created a place they were proud to call home.

In the end, the true measure of the project’s success lay not in the beauty of the spaces that were created but, in the happiness and satisfaction of the homeowners –a testament to Thom’s unwavering dedication, impeccable taste, and instinctive understanding of their needs. As the Mloteks reflected on their design journey, they knew that they had found not just a designer but a trusted partner – one whose vision, creativity, and passion had forever transformed their home into a place of enduring beauty and timeless elegance.

For over 70 years Hobbs, Inc. has forged relationships with the most respected architects, designers, craftsmen and suppliers in the industry. Hobbs builds distinctive, custom homes for a discerning clientele throughout Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and the Hamptons. From design to execution our goal is to exceed your expectations while bringing your vision to life.

The Hobbs Way


Written by Jenna Cowperthwaite Photos by Williams with Will Ventures Photography

A beach home is often an investment; not only in family memories, but also as a tangible asset to leave for one’s children. Like so many who have salt and sand deep in their bones, Jane was honored to have her father’s beach home passed on to her. She realized it needed to be made her own, but was fully committed to keeping the integrity—and memories—of the original cottage. Jane is someone passionate about interior design and wanted to actively participate in much of the remodeling process. She had a cherished collection of antiques ready to incorporate into the design and also pulled a lot of inspiration from her primary residence, eager to make the bayside bungalow truly feel like home. Jane realized this delicate dance in design would require the perfect partner; someone who could embrace the important history of her family’s home, while understanding her vision for a quiet, glam-style update.

In meeting with Joe and the team at Amiano and Son, Jane knew her partner was found. Their “one-stop-shop” gave her a great deal of ease, knowing she could rely on one team to pull all of the pieces together throughout the renovation. Joe and Sophia began by thoroughly reviewing the architectural plans with their team and suggesting a few thoughtful changes to create a more intuitive flow to Jane’s living spaces. By re-locating the entrance of the home and reconfiguring the kitchen, they created a more welcoming entrance, which also showcased the

gorgeous bay view that was previously more obstructed. Many of the older beach cottages, including Jane’s father’s, had a more traditional layout which made it difficult to host a large family gathering. The first floor was altered into an open-concept living area, adding greaterfunction for the family, as well as a breezier aesthetic more suited to beachside living.

In the revamped kitchen and bathroom, Sophia suggested they employ a gorgeous Zellige tile. This is a handmade product with subtle variety in tone, depth and shade that give each tile a unique, yet timeless look; a great way to infuse character into the space without feeling overwhelming. Pink iridescent undertones in the tile likened it to seashells and played perfectly with the gold accents found throughout the home. To keep this main living area feeling light, Cambria American-made engineered quartz topped the counters, providing a long-lasting, easy-to-maintain surface that is quite elegant.

The master suite was also redesigned, creating a much bigger bathroom and moving the entrance to it inside the bedroom, rather than its previous location in the hallway. Sophia and Jane designed a space of function and flow by incorporating a designated make-up area, and gorgeous towers into the vanity for extra storage. Large closets were also included in the suite design to make the house more friendly for heavier, year-round use.

One of Sophia’s favorite parts of any home renovation project is the color consultation meeting. Sophia met with Jane three-quarters of the way through the renovation at the project site for a day to play with color and put the finishing touches on each room. Jane wanted to look to nature for inspiration and Sophia guided her in the selection of Sherwin William paints perfect for every space in the house. Finding color inspiration in organic materials such as actual oyster shells, they pulled colors to make Jane’s home feel like an extension of the beach. Sophia describes the overall color palate as evocative of a “calming sunset,” creating a luxe yet relaxed vibe.

For a bit of added charm in the two guest baths, they selected a beautiful woven wallpaper. The texture gives depth to the space and was a really fun way to, again, echo nature. Gold accents, found in the plumbing fixtures, lighting, and hardware, were chosen to coordinate with Jane’s antiques while adding a bit of modern glam to keep everything feeling fresh.

Living at the beach does require a certain amount of practicality to be mixed in with all the glam. Accordingly, vinyl flooring was ultimately selected for peace of mind without compromising on looks. They also put fresh berber carpeting in all of the bedrooms to amp up the cozy factor.

The Amiano team and the homeowner devoted just as much attention to the exterior of the house, as well. They put on a new roof and resided with CertainTeed cedar-impression shingles, enhancing the natural allure of a bayside cottage. They opted for warmer tones on the exterior for a classic, historic touch that makes it stand out among the more common cool-toned beach homes. Modern-day touches, such as an open-front dormer and white accents, were incorporated into the exterior design to echo a bit of that fresh glam found through the interior. They also coordinated the decking for a monochromatic look and instead used some stand-out architectural accents for interest. They even built a portico to make a grand entrance and a full front porch for the perfect open-air space to sit and relax. A gorgeous natural wood finish craftsman-style front door completes the revamped exterior.

Top to bottom, inside to out, the original bungalow was completely refreshed. Jane wanted to be able to stand behind the design herself, and Sophia and her team at Amiano respected the involvement she wanted to have in redesigning her father’s home. With their guidance and expertise, she is happy to have a place fully functional and completely beautiful for future generations of her family to enjoy.

Customized Home Organization Reimagined

Woodhaven Lumber is well known for supplying premium building products and providing the ultimate in kitchen design and window replacement services, but their custom closets department may just be their best kept secret—until now. Several years ago they joined forces with Sandy Deckman, who operated New Jersey’s premier custom closet design firm for over thirty-five years. With the expertise of Sandy and his team, Woodhaven works with builders, contractors and homeowners to design and install custom storage solutions, whether it be a walk-in closet for the master suite, an organization system for a pantry or the basement or laundry room, or even something a little more specialized like a playroom, garage, or even an entertainment wall unit.

Their entire team of design professionals is well-informed and passionate. With a small investment of time from their customer, they perform a thorough in-home consultation. During this meeting, they take any necessary measurements and explore the vision of their customer, including any inspirational photos or sketches. Perhaps most importantly, Woodhaven’s team understands the nuances of homes on the island and develops designs which reflect that knowledge, maximizing the smaller spaces of older beach cottages or leveraging the open floor plans of newer homes to accommodate streamlined entertaining and family enjoyment.

Without the overarching rules or technical limitations common to many other closet design companies, the design team embraces the supportive environment at

Woodhaven with freedom to maximize customization. Each storage system is completely tailored to the family, not just for function, but also for aesthetics. They help their customers choose the perfect drawer fronts and narrow down the myriad options for doors, which include decorative glass. They flesh out the incorporation of lighting and hardware. Of course they also customize the color and finish of the piece, exploring decorative moulding selections and more. Further, the professional 3D renderings included in each proposal package offer customers a solid idea of exactly what’s in store for their project.

It’s important to note that Woodhaven provides not only in-house designers, but also the installers for each project. This team-approach means the experts are always there together to make any integral last minute changes during install, resulting in a superior job.

As a substantial company in size, with a history in business for over forty-five years, Woodhaven takes pride in offering their customers very competitive pricing, relying on upfront, honest communication rather than attention-grabbing advertising ploys. Yet their family-owned leadership allows them to function more like a small business, always focused on a long-term relationship with their customer. They are proud to offer their customers a better product along with unmatched customer service. While a custom storage solution may initially feel like an extravagant aspect to incorporate in a home, it’s actually essential in allowing busy family life to be more organized and, thus, enjoyable.

Are you searching for your getaway on long beach island?

9 Alma Road, High Bar Harbor, NJ

New Construction Lagoon Front w/ Pool 5 BR, 4 1/2 BTH, 3,149 SQFT

Still Time For Customization. Inquire For Details!

New Construction Coming Soon!

Ship Bottom Bayfront New Construction Bayfront w/ Pool & Dock Still Time For Customization Inquire For Details!

Beach Glam Meets Historic Charm

Nestled in the historic district of Beach Haven, tucked among limelight hydrangea trees and perennial beds there stands a pleasantly picturesque beach house. This sweet slice of coastal Heaven is home to the exceptional craftsmanship of Thomas J Keller Building Contractor and the design vision of longtime Beach Haven residents, Madelyn and David Passante.

The couple met on the island decades ago, when they each rented beach houses during the summer of 1992. “I was renting one of those little bungalows with my sister and a few of our girlfriends on Taylor Avenue,” Madelyn recalls. “I was twenty-four years old. My husband, who I didn’t even know yet, was also renting a house with his brother and a few of their friends at a house over by Tuckers Tavern.”

One summer evening, Madelyn stood in line at a bar

formerly called Touche’s, now known as The Marlin. David emerged from inside the bar with a friend and Madelyn immediately caught his eye. As it turned out, his friend recognized her and turned to David, “I know her. That’s Maddie.”

That’s how it all started. Two kids, two houses, and some thirty-two years later, it’s still going. Madelyn and David still spend their summers on LBI.

“When we decided to build this home, we had always heard great things about Thomas J Keller Building Contractor,” says Madelyn. “We were right to choose them. Their communication, their attention to detail… Back then there were supply chain issues with COVID-19, all kinds of stuff going on. The Keller team was right on top of it. We knew we had to be patient with certain things that were likely going to take a

Photos by Michael Spark
Building the Dream Home for a Dream Couple

while, but honestly, they gave us a timeline and then basically met it. We have only good things to say about our experience.”

Madelyn mapped out a mature vision for building a timeless vintage home that married classic form with contemporary function. Engaging David and their two children, Chris and Nicole, in her plan, Madelyn gave every member of the family their own defined spaces, along with the creative freedom to make their own color and furniture selections, give or take. More accurately, she gave them options from which to choose. The result is a glamorous, comfortable vacation destination with ample options for enjoying the spaces independently as well as collectively.

Working closely with Michael Pagnotta, as Architect, and the Keller team, the Passantes successfully navigated the requirements of the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee (HPAC) in Beach Haven to ensure compliance with historic district regulations while still achieving their unique vision for the home. Adhering to such strict rules and requirements means the devil is truly in the details, challenging a person’s individual style and creative expression.

“Once we got our head wrapped around the HPAC rules,” Madelyn says, “it guided us on the exterior and I’d be able to do what I envisioned on the inside.”

Conforming on the outside to everything HPAC requires, while working together collaboratively to execute the Passantes vision, Keller was able to successfully support and engineer the creation of a sweet, beautiful oasis.

The first impression of this feature-rich home is both striking and classic all at once. A grand flared staircase made of all natural mahogany railings greets guests at street level. Old truly meets new with composite cedar shake siding with diamond pattern inlays, accented by a series of authentic gas lanterns set against a warm, welcoming covered front deck, complete with exotic Brazilian Ipe deckboards and stunning cedar wood ceiling. You can’t miss the delightful hanging swing, oversized and perfect for reading and napping on a lazy summer day.

Entering the sleek, black ten-lite front entry door with double sidelites, you come upon the first of several smart and comfortable gathering spaces. A dramatic acoustic wood feature wall accents the entertainment area while classic trim work around the extra large black windows contrasts nicely with modern fixtures and luxurious furnishings to seamlessly blend foyer and parlor. Delicately patterned medallion tilework speckles the front entryway, light and colorful in its beachy blues and earth tones. It flows onto the first floor stair risers, and along the hallway of this sumptuous, yet approachable reverse living beach home. Fresh and bright, sophisticated and comfortable, this meticulously designed home invites all to make themselves right at home.

Madelyn and David’s son, Chris, occupies the first of three bedrooms on the lower level, which boasts an acoustic wood waterfall feature wall. With its cool and relaxed surfer vibe, a low profile bed set against the dramatic vertical wood backdrop creates not just visual interest but a sense of height and grandeur. A geomet-

ric globe chandelier hangs above the bed, adding to the already expansive sense of scale, complemented by a chevron-patterned wall tile in the en suite bath, which extends dramatically from the top of the shower wall, down and across the floor to the opposite wall. A set of hanging metal bars offer a convenient creative solution to rolled plush towels in lieu of a linen closet.

The second lower level bedroom features a shiplap focal wall, two full length mirrors on either side of the bed, atop matching nightstands. A lovely beaded chandelier punctuates the room with its nautical shell design. This bedroom, as with every bedroom in the home, also has its own private full bathroom.

“That was another thing we wanted,” states Madelyn. “Our kids are adults now. They’ll bring their significant others, so we wanted everybody to have their own bathrooms. We probably could have done five bedrooms if we didn’t create a bathroom for each bedroom, but that’s really what people want.”

In the guest en suite, a white and gray color palette executes flawlessly the carrera marble in a herringbone pattern, set off by a classic navy blue vanity. The light fixture is mounted directly to an oversized frameless mirror, adding to the clean, modern aesthetic.

The junior suite on this lower level, occupied by daughter, Nicole, presents a unique color palette with an eclectic mix of traditional finishes and furniture selections set against a dramatic green board and batten feature wall.

“It was actually a great collaboration,” says Madelyn. “Keller’s craftsmen hand-cut the gridwork and assembled it all by hand, painted it, and set it in place on the wall. It’s just so unique. I really love it.”

A delicate glass chandelier hangs in the center of the ceiling, the design carrying over to the en suite with a thematically connected light fixture mounted to an elongated mirror over the matching green vanity with vessel sink.

“Our daughter is an old soul,” says Madelyn. “She loves antiques and reading all her books. We knew we were going to make this a more mature space that she and our guests would enjoy.”

Inside the shower is yet another exquisite waterfall tile feature wall. Basketweave tile and polished gold fixtures add touches of tradition and elegance while

the bold colors contrast with unique heirloom quality furnishings in softer, more muted and timeless tones. It’s as if a page were torn from a bed and breakfast design magazine from Cape Cod or Newport, Rhode Island.

This junior suite opens up to a spacious deck with surround sound speakers, boxwood hedges on casters, which offer a portable wall of privacy overlooking an inviting courtyard and in-ground saltwater pool, all courtesy of Kline Landscaping.

Reminiscent of a spa vacation, the yard offers luxurious chaise lounges, an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, conversation areas, and a custom rectangular-shaped hot tub. Evergreen trees flank the fenceline and the whole perimeter is peppered with potted flowers, lush hydrangeas and roses. A cabana room located at the rear of the home, ultimately rounds out the ground level, combining interior and exterior entertainment to deliver the perfect backyard oasis.

Heading up to the main living area on the top floor, guests are greeted with a spectacular barrel ceiling with arched wood beams contrasted by captivating wood

chevron flooring pattern

“One of the things that I really wanted was the chevron wood floor, because it feels like art to me,” says Madelyn. “It really is special and although we knew it would take more time and be a lot more money out of our budget, David knew this has been a dream of mine.”

Porcelain tiles run the full vertical height and width of the fireplace surround, with custom built window seats on either side, offering a cozy place to sit and read or just relax and gaze out to take in the peace and tranquility of the beach, just a few houses away.

“This is my favorite room,” said Madelyn. “It’s the main room where we spend most of our time. I love the barrel ceiling. It’s the brightest room in the house and I just love the feel of it. I call it Beachy Glam.”

An open front deck with two sets of atrium doors open out onto a front deck for extended outdoor living. Cozy, comfortable and cool, there is ample seating for enjoying cocktails, dinner, and just sitting by the fire pit while still being connected to the main living space.

This open concept main floor connects the luxurious living area to the spacious kitchen with a colossal center island boasting an impressively thick quartz slab that accommodates seating for eight. The Sub-Z refrigerator has two freezers and reads more like fine furniture than appliances. The eight burner Wolf range is every chef’s dream and traditional cabinetry is foregone to give way to more minimalist floating shelves.

Flanking the farmhouse sink, lower cabinets in an oatmeal-ish taupe/gray hue contrast with the blue-ish/ gray cabinets on the stove side of the kitchen, making for a truly unique interplay with color, along with polished gold hardware. A gorgeous custom hidden pantry carries the same color palette through, with floating shelves and a clean white tile backsplash.

“I’m so happy that I went with the hidden pantry,” Madelyn says. “Instead of just one door it’s got double

doors that are disguised on the outside as a set of tall cabinets. I love that people can walk in there and help themselves to snacks and coffee. I wanted the shelves and baskets, everything to be tucked away to keep the kitchen countertops empty and clean.”

Between the kitchen, the living room, the wet bar and the open front deck, the top floor makes for a visually arresting space that is sumptuous in materials and textiles, while also remaining inviting, casual and comfortable.

“This is our summer home,” says Maddie. “It’s a beach house. I figured I could be a little more daring with my design choices, I could get a bit more courageous.”

There’s an eclectic aspect to Madelyn’s design flare that is no small thing. To be able to tie all the modern and traditional nuances together while honoring the historic

integrity of the neighborhood, it makes for a compelling visual experience. To strike that balance, while remembering to have fun and play, is surely a gift.

“It doesn’t all have to be all matchy-matchy,” Madelyn advises. “That’s where most of us tend to sell ourselves short. It creates more intrigue and interest when you have confidence in your vision and your decisions. I feel okay because this is my beach house. We could all stand to be a little more whimsical and have more fun.”

The primary suite presents yet another fascinating feature wall with a distinctive custom geometric grid. Large tables, more reminiscent of desks, are utilized as Madelyn and Dave’s nightstands, complementing the large dresser opposite the bed with custom mirror headboard that Madelyn herself curated.

The primary en suite bath is beautifully accessorized

with unique pieces, such as a gold patisserie glass pastry stand to display various accessories. A beautiful waterfall tile treatment creates drama behind and around a stunning clawfoot tub, housed within the oversized shower stall itself to create what Madelyn calls a “wet room.”

Not included as part of the original plans, the Keller team was presented with a challenge to create this functional, elegant retreat space for the homeowners. And a beautiful job they’ve done indeed, and Madelyn and David are thrilled with the final result.

“Everyone we worked with, the whole crew, were just spot on,” concludes Madelyn. “They listened to me, they never made me feel uncomfortable, they were all professional, they took my ideas and worked with me. We truly love it.”

.#)%'.,'*$%(./#* 0"*122,.#)-%#)*,#3" 45678697:5;5 .#<,=!"#$%&'%()+,-%7&,.#()1/'1->*!"#$%&'%()?+,-%


The Pursuit of a Dream (and a Life) Less Ordinary

My story starts in a rehabilitation center in 2017. My yoga journey did not start out in a studio or as a way to better myself but as a witness to how it served other people. In 2017 I was working in a substance abuse treatment center. We needed something to break up the monotony of talk group therapy, enter in 12 step recovery yoga. This was yoga with the integration of the 12 steps of recovery to add something the clients were already well versed in with a physical and mindfulness layer. Yoga was used as a tool to calm and center our clients as well as create group cohesion. I knew from the experience yoga was a powerful practice and I was eager to learn more about the depth of the practice for both my work and my life. Two years after that experience I was curious about becoming a certified yoga teacher. A friend had suggested I take a class at Yoga Bohemia and meet the owner, Katie Ribsam. When I arrived at Yoga Bohemia that studio was buzzing with yogis setting up their mats for class and chit chatting… but where was Katie? Moments later a woman walked in with a

presence that told me this is the person I was looking for. It took her minutes to get from the door to her teaching mat as she stopped to greet, hug, and exchange heartfelt but brief pleasantries to clients she clearly knew by more than just name or face. I had been to yoga classes before, but often the spaces felt too sterile, the people and practice elites, but THIS energy was different. There was a LIFE to this space, a vibrancy and beautiful community energy that was hard to deny or describe and before even sitting for practice, I knew I wanted more. In the same week I signed my name on the dotted line for teacher training and haven’t looked back since.

Five years have passed since that day. Along with my full time career as a social worker, which can be both demanding and emotionally draining, not only do I lean on my personal yoga practice but I also lean on my Yoga Bohemia community. As both a student and a teacher at Yoga Bohemia, I find it to be a space where I can fill my social, emotional and physical cups

and replenish after weeks full of professional pressures.

Yet, even after all my time practicing yoga, teaching, and training at Yoga Bohemia, I still wonder what makes this place so different from all the other studios out there. I wanted to know how this little studio on a seasonal island survives and thrives during a time where there are more yoga studios than coffee shops.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Katie to try to dissect the enigma that is Yoga Bohemia.

Q - How did you come to the practice of yoga?

A - My love for yoga, spirituality and the meditative mindset developed quite young. I was introduced to the practice in junior high school as one of my teachers would use meditation as a way to center her students before class. This was in the early 90’s and unlike today, it was very rare to see yoga and meditation practices introduced in the public school systems- particularly in the Trenton area where I grew up. I was immediately hooked and curious to learn more. At that time you really could not find yoga studios but I knew my teacher was from New Hope and her peaceful way of being attracted me there. I would ride my bike down the canal path from Trenton to New Hope on weekends and fill my days sitting in New Age bookstores reading about eastern philosophies, sciences and the practice of yoga. I developed my first meditative and contemplative practices from what I learned sitting on the floor of that book store. For my birthday my parents got me my first yoga VHS tape. Three unique yoga classes were on that tape and I would practice them over and over again mastering movement with breath.

While my personal practice continued it was not until I returned home from college that I found ‘my teacher.’ Michael Cremone’s studio Yoga Above was on Nassau Street in Princeton overlooking the prestigious Princeton University and while it was a bit of a drive from my hometown, I couldn’t stay away. In time, Michael asked me if I wanted to apprentice and 3 years later with a lot of dedication to the practice, I began to teach. By now, I was spending days in a “cushy” government job with the Department of Environmental Protection and taught part time at Michael’s studio as a passion. Through Michael I learned to integrate the physical practice of yoga asana (postures) with the philosophical way of being that I had studied all those years before. I am forever grateful for that time.

Q - When we met you no longer worked at your government job, you were operating 2 locations of Yoga Bohemia and living and hosting yoga retreats part time in Costa Rica and other areas of the world. Many would look at you and think you were living the dream. You were certainly living a life less ordinary. How and why did you make that transition?

A - My teacher Michael once said to me if money is your motivator, keep yoga as a side gig and pick another job. However, I was stifled in the canvas box that was my downtown Trenton cubicle and I wanted more from this life. And because the “more” I wanted was not connected to money or things and

instead was time, experiences and connection, it was an easy decision. I was never a person of financial means so I knew I needed to be strategic with the life change. I opened Yoga Bohemia 10 years ago while simultaneously working full time at the Department and I maintained both jobs for roughly 3 years. It was hard work but “responsible me” felt as though I needed a cushion before I could make a move to the life I really desired. I had very little savings when I opened Yoga Bohemia, so the income from the government job kept Bohemia afloat in its fledgling years. In time, Bohemia grew strong enough legs to stand on its own and I made the transition out of a more typical work life to what I now know. To do this I had to make the conscious choice to redefine what wealth meant to me. Everyone called me crazy for leaving the security and comfort of a government job and pension but I took the leap of faith and did it anyway.

Q - Walking away from a secure and steady employment is not the American Dream people often have in mind. It must have been quite scary to make such a bold move that would take you away from a steady income, health care, and pension to a life with less stability. How exactly did you “redefine wealth” and was that the motivator to get you to take the risk?

A - Personally, I have seen and felt societal pressure to prioritize work that will give certain things: a pension, a 401K, benefits, a sizable salary. In return, many of us give up our lives. We find ourselves consumed by the daily grind and then have no choice but to numb out on nights, weekends and our short 2 weeks of vacation each year, just to have to return to the grind again.

The small reprieves from being overworked and under-connected from a real life’s purpose get filled by acquiring more “things” that give us a false and fleeting sense of happiness. But that high always fades.

I saw a problem with life on the “hamster wheel” and it was clear to me that we are not afforded the time to connect with people, the planet or ourselves and really discover our dreams or purpose. Here lies the problem I found myself in and that I was desperate to get out of. I did not want more things to fill a hole in my heart, I wanted more time, more experiences, more connections to fill that space. If I was going to achieve that want, I would have to redefine what wealth meant to me. I had to let go of the societal pressures that told me that big bank accounts, massive properties, fancy titles, and expensive wardrobes were the goal and had to replace that with a new definition completely unrelated to money. For me, this new definition of wealth was a sum of global and local experiences; deep connections with people and the planet and having the ability to study and understand myself on a level many people don’t have the time to explore.

Q - You’re a Trenton girl, so why Long Beach Island?

A - I always loved LBI. When I was little my grandparents had a house in Brant Beach that we would visit and when I was older we would often take a family vacation to Beach Haven in the summertime. In my 20’s I came to Beach Haven on one

of those vacations and wanted to hit up a yoga class but there were no studios. I thought to myself this place deserves a studio. If I wanted to practice, so would others. At that time, studios were popping up in almost every town in New Jersey, and New York and Philly already had large yoga scenes. The people who were in LBI for the summer and for vacations were from those areas. They already had a yoga practice, they just needed someplace to gather when on LBI. I thought to myself, I could do this. I could open up a space for practice at the beach which would give me reason to be closer to the ocean, help me connect with like-minded people, and one day build a large enough community that I could achieve one of my deepest desires: to lead Yoga Retreats in inspired lands all over the world.

To me, LBI was perfect. I loved the idea of vacationers passing by from all over the region that would come and connect over their yoga practice. I loved the idea of introducing a practice to an audience that could finally take a second to breathe after being depleted from the high achieving lifestyle that we have here in the northeast. I loved the idea of building a community that was large and wide with people that you may not see every day or every month but always looked forward to seeing each summer. I loved the idea of uniting and reconnecting people from a broad geography through inspirational yoga themed travel in the off-season. And I LOVED the idea of one day leaving that cubicle in Trenton, to travel the world in the winters and to develop a vast and vibrant yoga community at the beach in the summers.

So together with my high school best friend Carolyn we decided to do the thing! We crafted a vision for Bohemia. I provided the vision for the practice and she (an artist) provided the vision for the brand. Vibrant, colorful, diverse. Just like the people and the yoga practice in the northeast. When we finally got to open Yoga Bohemia’s doors in June of 2014, I found my calculations and assumptions were right. Yoga Bohemia’s first class was packed to the brim and we have only grown from there!

Back to Business

Q - Most business owners’ targets are financial but you said yourself you define wealth differently. How does that impact your management style?

A - There is a famous lesson in the Bhagavad Gita, one of Yoga’s most revered texts, that explains ‘we have the right to our work but not its fruits’. In other words we can attach ourselves to our life’s work (or purpose) but should not attach ourselves to the reward (money, fame or power). This lesson resonates with me both in life and as a business owner. Just as I had to redefine what wealth was to me personally, I had to redefine what my business goals were. Of course, I have to balance a budget to pay my teachers, keep the lights on and pay our rent, but I really try to judge my personal and my business’s success on the product that I am delivering and how it becomes an agent for change in the lives of both my teachers and the students of Yoga Bohemia. My measure of success is in the people, not in the profit. I stay focused on the work of delivering diverse and accessible yoga to the people

and not the financial reward. I have chosen to flip the script on what it means to be in business and to view it from a social lens. What I have found is that people want to be part of Yoga Bohemia because it is a community. So the financials come naturally without it needing to be the focus. We are here to help each other through life, we operate through the lens of social entrepreneurism and put the people before the profit.

Q - What are some examples of people before profit?

A - While we are a for-profit studio we offer community pricing for members that is almost half of the national average and offer deeper discounts for those on fixed incomes or in financial need on a case-by-case basis. We also offer financial need scholarships for both memberships and teacher training and have a robust partnership with outside foundations that also support scholarships for those pursuing teacher training to deepen their understanding and practice of the yoga system. Additionally, we have a robust work-study program that allows people to give and get. Students help us out in the studios in exchange for yoga training which helps make yoga training more affordable and accessible to all who want it but perhaps can’t afford the tuition on their own.

Q - This season Yoga Bohemia is celebrating 10 years in LBI, having trained hundreds of teachers and 10’s of thousands of students. If you could name one thing that you believe Yoga Bohemia has gifted to the people what would it be?

A - While I wish my answer to this question was giving people more hours in the day they so desperately need, we can’t do that. But what we can do is help people stuck in overworked lives make the bits of time they do have more meaningful. There is a saying that the practice of yoga does not take time, it gives time. So in the end it’s not Yoga Bohemia that has gifted anything, but it is the practice of yoga itself that has given the gift. In a way, the practice of yoga is the ultimate life-hack for the overworked modern human.

Q - A life- hack for the overworked modern human. That’s interesting, how so?

A - Yoga teaches us to be present. Each time an exhausted parent, employee, or boss steps onto the yoga mat they step onto a super highway to the heart of themselves. Through learned mindfulness they are given a gateway to the present moment where what matters is their unique self. Their breath, their body and their movement unlocks their truth, their dreams, their gifts in this lifetime. But where the magic really lies is when the training of the physical and mental bodies transcends into the person’s daily life. Yoga GIVES people time because it teaches us to be in the present moment. The rumination of thoughts is what steals time away from us. When the mind learns to be in the here and now, not only are we more efficient and effective but we are able to be present for ourselves, for our family, for our friends, for our environment, and for our community. That potency is like extrapolating and expanding the depth of each moment making the limited time we do have so much more powerful. Life is NOW. Not in the past, not in the future. Yoga teaches us that truth.

Further, while the practice of yoga is an introspective journey, it is also a collective one. When a practitioner enters Yoga Bohemia, they are presented with an opportunity to be part of something larger. A community where no one demands anything from them. A place where for once in their day, their cup gets filled instead of depleted. At Yoga Bohemia we do not expect you to be anything except who you are at that moment.

We cannot give people more time, but we can guide people on the “fast tract” to connecting with an inter and intrapersonal depth that our modern society has devalued. Our goal is to show people, through the practice of yoga, shortcuts to a meaningful and thoughtful experience while they are on this earth.

Q - Speaking of evolving, Yoga Bohemia started as one little studio in North Beach Haven and has evolved to 3 studios across the island, a professional training school, and robust yoga retreats business, a wellness room for massage and bodywork, and an ethical and fair trade boutique. How did this evolution happen?

A -When it’s said like that, I understand why people think I’m a little crazy and honestly the stories would fill this whole magazine! But to boil it down, yes we have grown a lot over the last decade and while I suppose you could say I’m generally a highly motivated person, the wonder of it all is really what has led to Bohemia’s evolution. It was author and producer Rick Rubin who said, “Pick something interesting to you. Detach from the result. Attach to the wonder.” I view my work with Yoga Bohemia as a creative endeavor. I keep my eyes open and work to fine-tune my awareness and when something piques my interest the creative exploration begins.

Bohemia Retreats, an arm of the Yoga Bohemia brand, is a great example. I always wanted to see the world. I wanted to travel off the beaten path, see how others did this thing called life. Learn from other cultures, pay attention to nature and find the answers there. My wonder of the world led to the birth of Bohemia Retreats.

As I researched new and exciting cultures and awe inspiring environments to see, I wanted to share that with others. I designed dream explorations where we could practice presence-building meditations and yoga sessions to heighten the potency and appreciation of touring far off lands, cultures and environments.

Bohemia Retreats has taken hundreds and hundreds of travelers to destinations far and wide. From India and Greece, to Morocco and Costa Rica and so many more places near and far. We traveled and came back with new eyes to see. The true value in each journey was not in the material treasures or even the beautiful memories, but the internal growth that occurs during “conscious traveling.”

Little did I know it, but the whole time I was exposing myself to new lands and people, I was training my brain to see through wondrous eyes. Once I learned to see things this way it became much easier for me to see everything this way. Before I knew it, even the mundane became a point of wonder! I became predisposed to see the good in people, to see the beauty in the world and to experience the joy in life on a daily basis. Wonder became a way of being.

Navigating the Challenges of Small Business - Smooth Seas Don’t Make Skillful Sailors

Q - Not only were you able to weather the storm of a global

pandemic but you found yourself with another location on your hands. How did this come about?

A - Many small businesses were hit hard during the Covid pandemic and the yoga industry was not immune. For Yoga Bohemia, and many small businesses on Long Beach Island, being shut down for any period of time in our already short season was a daunting reality.

A dear friend of mine who used to own a clothing shop had shut down her business the year before and had some stock left over. At the beginning of the 2020 season New Jersey was not allowing yoga studios to open, but they did allow retail. That’s when the big pivot happened for us at Yoga Bohemia. In the throes of a global pandemic, we transitioned our yoga studios into boutiques with her merchandise and Bohemia Boutique was born.

I remember rolling racks into Yoga Bohemia Surf City and seeing a friend on the street. He asked what I was doing and my response was, “Opening the boutique I never wanted!” Anyone that knew me at the time, knew I did not do fashion. A bit of a minimalist at heart, I did not spend money on clothing. Ever. Opening a boutique was not in the plans. A month later, that clothing saved Yoga Bohemia from going out of business and I found that I actually liked the boutique world.

What I did not like was “big-box store shopping” and through the sale of clothing in my studios I could do something incredible. I could merge my love for world culture and travel with ethical merchandising. Today, four years later, we work with makers from around the globe to fill our walls with ethically sourced clothing, jewelry and accessories, as well as provide a home for local makers to sell.

Q - Now you have your third location, Bay Village. There patrons can find it all. All types of yoga, including aerial yoga, a massage room, and the boutique. What made you decide to keep two locations that are so close together?

A - During the pandemic Yoga Bohemia’s original location in North Beach Haven went up for sale, and I went on the lookout for a new space, sure that whoever bought the place would kick us out. I saw the ‘for rent’ sign on the old Dollar Parlor in Beach Haven. I remember going in to see it. The manager said to me as she opened the doors, “This place requires a little.... vision.” And that it did.

For anyone that remembers the old Dollar Parlor, it was interesting to say the least. Old carpets, layers of outdated vinyl flooring, permanently installed plywood furniture, a million staples in the walls, the original bathroom fixtures. It was perfect!

It is very hard to find space in Beach Haven that has enough square footage for a yoga studio and this massive upstairs unit had multiple rooms that could accommodate yoga, a stand alone boutique space, a massage and bodywork room and a

roof deck for outdoor practice! Needless to say, I signed the lease immediately and the renovation began!

Meanwhile, a new owner bought our original North Beach Haven building and to my surprise wanted me to stay! So, now what? I had 2 studio spaces only 11 blocks away from each other! The opportunity to open in bustling Bay Village felt like too good of an opportunity to pass up. Finding a space with the right size criteria in the heart of the shopping district in Beach Haven was exactly the vessel I needed to build the Bohemia Boutique arm of the business, but how could I give up the OB (Original Bohemia)? I pondered the pros and cons and realized I always had competing demands in yoga styles during peak times that I could not address in one space. Two close spaces would allow me to meet the interests of all types of clientele by diversifying peak time classes while putting Yoga Bohemia in an area where retail ruled for our new boutique.

It was a risk opening up a new location while most small businesses were just trying to stay covid afloat but I saw this as an opportunity to bolster my newly acquired diversified revenue stream - so I let the wonder regarding whether I could make it work win and jumped in.

Today that Boutique has grown to not only sell products of makers around the world, but also features the launch of our own “Bohemia” clothing label - a line of upcycled sari clothing and organic cotton/ hemp clothing co-created and made by our partners in Mumbai India, an area dear to my heart being it was one of the areas I studied yoga.

Visioning for the Future

Q - In ten years you have accomplished a lot! How do you feel when looking back at the last decade?

A - It is humbling to be able to look back at the last decade of time and realize where we started and how we have evolved. Yoga Bohemia is not just a creative expression of my life but is a collective expression of so many contributors: our incredibly dedicated teachers and staff that create our programming, the local and global makers that fill our boutique walls with their creative goods, the therapists that use their hands to heal in our massage room, our retreats team that continue to find the most captivating places to journey, and of course all the students who are the real stars of the show!

Sometimes I wonder what the years ahead will hold? My answer to that is ‘who knows!’, but if the last ten years have taught me anything, it’s to follow my wonder-driven instinct. To do things consciously and with my whole heart. To deepen my relationship with our community in meaningful ways. To continue traveling and connecting with new people from different corners of the world. To learn, to grow and to share that with others! For me, wonder is a way of being. It’s what led me to this purpose, and it’s what will drive me and Yoga Bohemia into the future.


Southern Ocean Medical Center: Where Healing Journeys Begin and Thrive and a new Operating Room Expansion to Further Enhance Community Care

Hackensack Meridian Southern Ocean Medical Center is committed to providing exceptional care and is investing $31.4 million into an expansion that will ensure quality care close to home.

“In order to meet the growing needs of our community over the last few years, we are excited to expand our operating services from four smaller rooms, to six large rooms, which will all meet modern standards and support state-of-the art procedures,” says Michele Morrison, MPH, BSHA, RN, president and chief hospital executive of Southern Ocean Medical Center. “We are also constructing a new, combined pre and post-care area to improve the overall experience for patients and their families when visiting our facility”.

Leonard DiMatteo’s journey exemplifies the transformative impact of Southern Ocean Medical Center’s vision to continue to improve patient experience.

Retired Police Officer Finds Relief with Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder pain was a normal part of everyday life for Leonard DiMatteo, retired police officer and security guard from Southern Ocean Medical Center. Leonard loves to stay in good shape in retirement, so heavy weight-lifting became a routine activity for him, even after two prior shoulder procedures. He was determined to be successful with his new part-time job at a shipping company, where he would be lifting and transporting several heavy boxes per day.

The beginning of Leonard’s time at his new job was great, even though his shoulder pain had always seemed to linger. Fast forward a few years, and he noticed the pain was only escalating - especially during overnight hours. He initially received several cortisone injections to mask the pain, but after about four injections over a few years and continual anti-inflammatory medications, they were no longer effective.

Leonard took a vacation one week with his family in sunny Aruba. Unfortunately, as his family was enjoying swimming in the ocean, he stood watching from the pool area. He had the realization he could no longer perform basic functions, such as swimming, throwing a football with his nephews, and even everyday driving. His quality of life was suffering.

“I don’t know how much longer I can do this”, Leonard thought to himself.

Search for a Trustworthy Orthopedic Expert

Leonard’s prior surgeon had moved to Florida, so he had to search for a trustworthy orthopedic expert in the south New Jersey area. His previous doctor recommended Jason Wong, D.O., an orthopedic surgeon at Southern Ocean Medical Center. When Leonard saw Dr. Wong for his first appointment, he suggested either a replacement or a reverse replacement

based on Leonard’s symptoms and history of procedures. Dr. Wong recommended his colleague Roman Ashmyan, D.O., who specializes in shoulder surgery, as the expert to analyze the situation.

Leonard felt so comfortable with Dr. Ashmyan as his new surgeon. “From the first time I met him, he came across as professional, pleasant, informative, and takes his time with patients. He even said a prayer with my wife and I before my procedure,” recalls Leonard.

After reviewing Leonard’s shoulder imaging, Dr. Ashmyan knew right away that the answer was a shoulder replacement. All of the previous cortisone shots and anti-inflammatories were not going to get him through this pain any longer.

Leonard underwent shoulder replacement surgery and returned home the same day to recover. “Every Hackensack Meridian Health team member, from the nurses to anesthesiologist to Dr. Ashmyan, that helped during the day of my procedure, was wonderful,” said Leonard.

Road to Recovery

After his shoulder replacement procedure, Leonard spent six months in physical therapy. Physical therapy helped him gain strength and mobility in his shoulder so he can go back to performing routine, everyday activities. He is now driving, swimming, doing yard work, and playing with his nephews with no pain.

Leonard was so relieved to have found Dr. Wong and Dr. Ashmyan through his prior surgeon. Leonard would recommend Dr. Ashmyan to anyone needing a shoulder surgeon - “he is very professional and enthusiastic to help people feel like themselves again”.

Learn more about continued advancements in care at

Inflammation: The Silent Health Assassin

You might not realize it, but chronic inflammation could be quietly damaging your health. This lowgrade, long-term inflammation is a major contributor to diseases like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) identifies chronic inflammatory diseases as the biggest threat to human health. With nearly 60% of Americans affected, and 42% having more than one chronic inflammatory condition, it’s a widespread issue. Globally, 3 out of 5 people die from diseases linked to chronic inflammation, such as stroke, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

So, what exactly is inflammation, and why is it such a problem? Let’s break it down.

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is your body’s natural defense mechanism. When you get hurt or an infection sneaks in, your immune system sends out white blood cells to fight off the invaders and start the healing process. This is called acute inflammation, and it’s the reason a cut or injury gets red, swollen, and warm. It’s a temporary response that usually lasts a few days to weeks.

But when inflammation sticks around for months or even years, it becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation can happen when the body can’t eliminate what’s causing the initial problem, like certain bacteria or irritants. It can also result from autoimmune disorders, where the body mistakenly attacks its own tissues.

How to Recognize Inflammation

Wondering if you might be dealing with inflammation? Acute inflammation is easy to spot: it’s painful, red, hot, and swollen. But chronic inflammation is trickier because it’s often silent. Symptoms can be vague, like fatigue or pain that doesn’t go away.

Your doctor can help diagnose inflammation through a health history and physical examination. They might look for redness, heat, swelling, and loss of function in the affected area. Blood tests, like C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), can also indicate inflammation.

The Dangers of Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is linked to many serious diseases, including:

• Various cancers (kidney, prostate, ovarian, etc.)

• Heart disease

• Stroke

• Diabetes

• Rheumatoid arthritis

• Asthma

• Alzheimer’s disease

• Chronic kidney disease

Fighting Chronic Inflammation

The good news is you can combat chronic inflammation with some lifestyle changes and dietary adjustments. Here are some tips:

• Anti-inflammatory Foods:

• Berries and Cherries: Packed with antioxidants.

• Fatty Fish: Salmon, tuna, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

• Vegetables: Broccoli, avocados, and spinach are excellent choices.

• Nuts: Almonds and walnuts provide healthy fats.

• Tea and Mushrooms: Green or black tea and mushrooms like Shiitake and Portobello are beneficial.

Foods to Avoid:

• Refined Carbs: White bread, pasta, and pastries.

• Sugary Foods: Candy, syrups, and sugary drinks.

• Trans Fats: Found in margarine, shortening, and some processed foods.

• Processed Meats: Hot dogs, bacon, and sausages.

• Fried Foods: French fries, fried chicken, and donuts.


• Fish Oil: Rich in omega-3.

• Curcumin, Magnesium, Vitamins D and E, Zinc, Selenium: All help reduce inflammation.

Healthy Habits:

• Exercise: Aim for 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a week.

• Quit Smoking: It’s a major inflammatory trigger.

• Limit Alcohol: Keep it to a maximum of 2 ounces per day.

• Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity is linked to inflammation.

• Get Enough Sleep: 7-8 hours per night is ideal.

• Manage Stress: Try meditation or reading.

By making small, gradual changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can reduce inflammation and improve your overall health. Your body will thank you! -Dr. Ted


Along the southern coast of New Jersey, Vineyard National at Renault and LBI National Golf & Resort offer a sanctuary for golfers of all skill levels. Each golfer arrives with a singular ambition: to lower their scores. Our seasoned Professional Golf Instructors unanimously emphasize the importance of honing your short game first. As Tiger Woods famously said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” We believe dedicating at least five hours per week to short game practice is crucial for reducing errors. After all, golf is a mental game focused on minimizing mistakes.

Mastering your short game can revolutionize your performance on the course, transforming potential bogeys into pars, and pars into birdies. As golf instructors, we’ve witnessed countless players struggle with this vital aspect of their game. That’s why we invite you to join our LBI National Golf Academy, where you can learn to master your short game through our comprehensive

program. Our training is built on three fundamental principles:

1. Setup: Proper grip, posture, and alignment are essential. We ensure that each golfer finds the correct setup for every shot, tailoring our guidance to suit the unique nuances of each swing.

2. Confidence: Effective practice is key. Practicing incorrectly can lead to bad habits, which undermine confidence. We focus on drills and perfect practice techniques to transform mistakes into confidence and solid habits.

3. Strategy: Versatility in shot selection is critical. We teach golfers to discern when to execute a low chip versus a high pitch, how to aim during lag putting to avoid three-putts, and the importance of using the same golf ball each round for consistent feel and spin control.

Written by Zach Bush, Head Golf Professional, LBI National Golf & Resort Vineyard National at Renault
Photos by B.E MEDIA


While technically in existence for over 100 years (thanks to its founder and namesake Joseph Pilates), the exercise “Pilates” is enjoying a well-deserved renaissance in the health and fitness sphere. So who’s at the helm of the pilates revival in our own community? Black Sheep Studios.

Black Sheep Studios founder Devon Karvan has proven through her nearly-ten years of business ownership that you can be a “jack of all trades” and master of pretty much everything. Originally conceived as a spin studio in 2016, Karvan has since transformed Black Sheep Studios into a multi-location enterprise offering every class imaginable: boxing, TRX, circuit training, barre, cardio dance, HIIT. The latest focus at Karvan’s Haven Beach and Manahawkin locations is the currently-trending “Reformer Pilates.”

Reformer Pilates’ recent rise in popularity could be the result of a number of things: celebrity practitioners, increasing interest in low-impact fitness regimens or the myriad of physical and mental health benefits stemming from the practice. Needless to say, the fitness modality is on the rise, not only globally but locally too

While traditional Pilates involves the use of a mat, Reformer Pilates provides a high-intensity experience for practitioners through the use of a machine.

A sleek contraption of metal, springs and bands, the reformer apparatus maintains an intimidating facade. According to Karvan, however, the machine is accessible and welcome to all.

“Pilates on the reformer is an amazing full body workout. It can literally benefit every body, young, old, pregnant, competitive athlete, mom, dad, recovering from surgery,” said Karvan.

The device in question resembles that of a small bed frame. Atop the frame is a “carriage,” which the Pilates practitioner sits (lies or kneels) on. Attached to one end of the frame by a set of springs, the carriage slides back and forth when the practitioner pulls or pushes against the machine. The adjustable springs mimic the function of dumbbells or barbells by creating resistance - ideal for strength training.

- thanks to Karvan and her team at Black Sheep.
Photos by Born by the Sea Photography

“Pilates will make you stronger not only in your sessions but also through your daily life,” said Karvan. “The benefits are truly endless. Increased strength, flexibility, balance, muscle tone and range of movement.”

Reformer Pilates requires a degree of control and precision due to the inherent instability of the sliding carriage. A practitioner’s core must be fully engaged in order to keep the carriage steady through each movement. Practicing control and muscle engagement can not only build core strength, but enhance body awareness - or rather the “mind-body connection.”

According to Karvan, Pilates can bolster core muscle, improve posture, promote proper body alignment and ease pain associated with physical imbalances. Add increased lung capacity to the list of long term benefits - a direct effect of deep and intentional breathwork.

While anyone can benefit from Black Sheep’s Reformer Pilates program, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all class. Karvan and her team carefully tailor their classes to fit each practitioner and their unique needs.

“The Manahawkin location is designed for small group fitness training or private sessions,” said Karvan. “We provide various exercises to accommodate each individual client’s goals.”

Collectively boasting over 50 years of experience, Black Sheep’s roster of Reformer Pilates trainers ensures that every client gets specialized care and attention.

“The different certifications and backgrounds of each instructor offers distinctive, unique class flows,” said Karvan.

There’s a reason why Karvan, the founder and owner of the burgeoning empire that is Black Sheep, has quickly become the fitness icon in the LBI region. Her dedication to fostering a community of healthy, like-minded individuals informs her business decisions - leading her to develop a specialized and inclusive menu of classes.

Reformer Pilates is just one of the many ways she and her team ensure that clients and beyond have access to adaptive, restorative and life-changing workouts.


Have you ever wondered why some people not only live to 100 but also seem to radiate health and beauty well into their golden years?

The secret to longevity and ageless beauty might just lie in a handful of regions around the world known as Blue Zones. This year, wellness culture is buzzing with excitement about Blue Zones and the invaluable lessons they offer. With an influx of specific recipes, innovative workouts, and lifestyle tips circulating online, the concept of Blue Zones is revolutionizing our approach to beauty and aging.

Welcome to the era of Blue Zone beauty. The hit Netflix series, “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones,” has shone a spotlight on these extraordinary regions, famed for their high concentration of centenarians—people who live to be 100 years or older. What’s their secret? And more importantly, how can we bring some of their wisdom to our lovely Long Beach Island? Imagine unlocking the secrets to

radiant skin, vibrant eyes, and ageless vitality. By embracing the Blue Zone principles, you can enhance your natural beauty and well-being. Get ready to explore a world where beauty and longevity go hand in hand, and discover how you can infuse your life with the timeless wisdom of the Blue Zones.

The Blue Zone Secrets

Blue Zones are five regions identified by National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner and his team, where people live significantly longer and healthier lives. These zones include Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica), Ikaria (Greece), and Loma Linda (California, USA). While these places are geographically diverse, they share several key lifestyle habits that contribute to their residents’ longevity and vitality.

Clean, Mostly Plant-Based Diets: Blue Zone diets are rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts,

and legumes. It is important to note that beans, specifically, are the cornerstone of every Blue Zone diet regardless of location. Meat is eaten sparingly, often just a few times a month. Sugar is swapped out for local honey and fruit. Think about integrating more fresh, local produce (eat the rainbow) and healthier, gut-friendly grains like fermented sourdough bread into your diet—perhaps from our wonderful LBI farmers’ markets.

Natural Movement: Rather than hitting the gym, Blue Zone inhabitants incorporate natural physical activity into their daily lives. Walking everywhere instead of driving, gardening and other moderate activities keep them fit and agile well into advanced years of age. LBI offers a perfect backdrop for beach walks to collect seashells, surfing or paddleboarding, biking or even kayaking along the coast. It’s about staying active as we age.

Strong Social Connections: In the

Blue Zones, people have curated strong social networks that are more like family. They engage in regular social activities together, share meals together, attend religious services together, and support each other, which all reduces stress and fosters a sense of belonging. This communal lifestyle not only promotes emotional health but also encourages healthier eating habits and motivates more active living among the entire circle, contributing to longer and healthier lives.

Rest and Relaxation: People in Blue Zones have daily rituals to shed stress, such as siesta (napping after lunch) and embracing the mindset of La Dolce Far Niente, which translates to “the sweetness of doing nothing.” We should all take a stab at the laid-back coastal lifestyle on LBI without wallowing in guilt for being idle. Savor tranquil moments watching the sunset or enjoy a quiet morning with a cup of tea (which, by the way, we need to drink way more of according to the Blue Zones).

Purpose and Belonging: Be useful. Having a sense of purpose, or “ikigai” as the Okinawans call it, is vital. Know the reason you wake up in the morning, and put it to work. Explore the concept of ikigai’s four primary elements: what you love (your passion), what the world needs (your mission), what you are good at (your vocation), and what you can get paid for (your profession) to provide a sense of fulfillment and joy in one’s own existence. As the saying goes, “Hard work keeps the wrinkles out of the mind and spirit.”

The Beauty Connection

So, how do these habits translate into beauty? When we think of beauty, we often focus on external appearance, but true beauty emanates from within—a reflection of our overall health. You are what you eat. Here’s how adopting Blue Zone principles can enhance your natural beauty:

Radiant Skin: The Blue Zone diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, non-processed whole grains, nuts, and seeds, lots of fresh fish—which are all packed with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fatty acids such as Omega 3s. These nutrients play a vital role in maintaining skin health, boosting hydration, promoting collagen production, and protecting against damage from free radicals, thereby contributing to a radiant complexion and reduced appearance of wrinkles. Think of what you need to eat more of: the dark leafy greens that grow like weeds in Sardinia, the nuts and unfiltered olive oils of Ikaria, green tea and Okinawan purple sweet potatoes, beans and lentils of the Nicoya

Peninsula, and the no-alcohol, pescetarian mindset of Loma Linda.

Youthful Glow: Regular physical activity increases blood flow and lymph flow, improving circulation; This increased circulation delivers oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells, promoting cell renewal and overall skin health. Improved circulation can also help carry away waste products and toxins, leading to clearer, brighter skin. Moderate exercise also boosts mood by increasing the production of serotonin and other endorphins, which act as natural mood lifters that reduce stress and prevent stress-related skin issues such as acne and wrinkles. Physical movement likewise promotes a more relaxed and youthful appearance through better sleep and balanced hormones.

Promoting Nature’s Detoxification: Blue Zone nutrition and lifestyle also supports liver health and function. Key components such as leafy greens, legumes, nuts, and whole grains promote detoxification processes, reduce inflammation, and support overall liver health, aiding in the body’s natural detoxification mechanisms—leading to clearer skin, more even skin tone, brighter eyes, a deceleration of the aging process and better metabolization of hormones and nutrients (which also improves energy levels and overall vitality).

Radiant, clear, and beautiful skin begins with what we eat and how we live. As our largest organ, the skin’s appearance reflects not only what we apply to it but also what we nourish it with from within. Recent nutrition studies reveal that consuming foods rich in skin-supporting nutrients—such as antioxidants, vitamins, and microminerals—can enhance skin structure, boost moisture, and offer protection against sun damage. Furthermore, a healthy diet can naturally reduce the production and severity of wrinkles as we age.

Living by the ocean already gives us a head start towards embracing a Blue Zone lifestyle. The salty sea air, the soothing sound of waves, and the abundance of fresh seafood and local farmers’ markets all contribute to a naturally healthy and serene way of life. By taking a few more steps inspired by the world’s longest-living people, we can enhance not only our beauty but also our overall well-being and longevity.

So, let’s embark on this journey together, transforming LBI into a beacon of health, happiness, and natural beauty. Here’s to living longer, looking younger, and feeling our best—all while enjoying the coastal charm of our beloved island.


Finding someone you can completely trust with your most intimate health and beauty concerns can often feel quite daunting. But several years ago Jeannie Bocchino, a nurse practitioner, had a unique vision that combined her medical background in open heart surgery and critical care with her personal passion for aesthetic wellbeing. She brought these crossroads to life in 2022 through Beauty By Bo, creating a safe, relaxing space completely dedicated to the health and happiness of each client.

Soon after, Jeannie brought on a partner, Maggie Brenner, who also left her bedside nursing career in vascular surgery and radiology, to share in Jeannie’s vision for luxurious beauty care provided by knowledgable, experienced medical professionals. Now open for their first full summer on the island, their Ship Bottom Botox Bar welcomes walk-ins to be served on the spot. Beauty By Bo also offers appointments at their office in Manahawkin for more in-depth treatments, as well as a third location in Brielle. They are even launching a hormone treatment facility, where they will take an in-depth look at clients’ hormone and vitamin levels to address health and beauty concerns.

The quick, organic growth of Beauty By Bo is no doubt fueled by the team’s holistic approach. As a nurse-driven facility, they are well trained in deeply listening to their clients and have created a warm, nurturing environment brimming with luxury. They take time to

uncover each client’s personal history leading to their individual aesthetic journey in order to fully understand their goals. The compassionate nature of Jeannie and her team evaporate any jitters and actually make your time in their beautiful office an enjoyable experience, guiding you through their offerings to match you with the appropriate treatments. In short Beauty By Bo could be called a full service medspa, but truly it’s so much more, boasting the following:


The most well-known of these being Botox, injectables will diminish fine lines and wrinkles among your targeted areas, including the forehead, eyes, and mouth. The Beauty By Bo team always starts conservatively with new patients, with the goal being minimal movement and a softened appearance. They ensure you will look like your normal self, simply more youthful and refreshed!


These treatments smooth lines, enhance facial contours, and provide structure and volume to areas that need some lifting. They are often used to fill out the sunken areas under your eyes, plump up your lips or soften any static wrinkles on your face.


This is a non-invasive, non-surgical skin-tightening

treatment which actually reduces skin volume and stimulates new collagen growth. Plasma can be used to erase wrinkles and cellulite or to lighten scars, stretch marks, syringomas and other skin imperfections.


With an extensive selection of facials, each client can choose the one best suited to their needs as a great way to relax and unwind while rejuvenating their skin. Beauty Bo Bo’s signature facial is the “Aquafirm,” uniquely created to be a hydra-facial and microdermabrasion treatment in one. They also offer the Glacial Gloss, boasting the benefits of cold therapy to reduce redness and accelerate exfoliation. The Plain Jane is suitable for all skin types to aid in softer, more toned and moisturized skin. They also have the Shaved Ice, Dracula Special, Gentlemen’s Club, Peel Me Up Buttercup, Time Machine, Dr. Pimple Popper and Microneedling.


In this procedure, stubborn fat areas are targeted using small injections which send fat dissolving agents into the adipose tissue. Through once a week treatments over the course of a month, you will see noticeable results with no surgery and no downtime.


Your Beauty By Bo specialist will draw blood right in the office and put it through their on-site centrifuge to separate out the plasma. Then they inject your own plasma into the scalp to stimulate your hair follicles. This simple procedure has been shown to increase hair count, hair thickness, and the growth base of your hair cycle.


Through this non-invasive process, they use a laser to target and destroy hair follicles, resulting in permanent hair reduction. No more razor burn, ingrown hair or wasting time with shaving; a perfect summer treat to yourself!


A simple, one-hour treatment can bring your smile up to 16 shades whiter.


IV infusions are an effective way to get a burst of essential nutrients delivered directly into the bloodstream. Made to order on site, they will mix the perfect blend for you, whether it be to ease aches and pains, increase energy levels, offer mood and anxiety support, enhance cosmetic goals, cure a hangover, or stimulate a diet and detox. The team will even travel to bachelor/bachelorette parties and weddings!

Jeannie, Maggie and their entire Beauty By Bo team are delighted to bring their host of unique services to the Long Beach Island community. With kind hearts and a “less-is-more” approach forming the foundation of their business, this is the perfect place to address your aesthetic concerns.

Clean & Classic

Five 0 Six Surf Boutique is the essential coastal lifestyle shop in LBI, with a second location in St. Augustine, Florida the possibilities are endless for curating a quality, thoughtful wardrobe with both unique and staple pieces. Both locations are open all year round and just as the Summer Olympics are happening you don’t want to wait to see what Five 0 Six has in store this season.

This summer blends American Classic with Emily in Paris vibes. It’s a mix of clean and classic with a playful and flowy touch. The style is both buttoned up and tailored, yet free-flowing and beachy. Linen, cotton, textures and pops of color are the season’s staples, and as the summer sun shines brightly, yellow emerges as the standout color across LBI. This bright and whimsical color can be incorporated in various ways to enhance any outfit. For instance, the Small Riviera Citrus clutch will transport you to the laid-back days under striped umbrellas on the Amalfi Coast. Pair it with white linen pants, a white fedora, and a white tank for a chic, white ensemble with that perfect pop of color.

Yellow’s adaptability beautifully complements denim. A small buttery yellow handbag with a pair of jeans and a white blouse serves as a charming accessory for a casual look, adding a soft feminine touch to this season’s structured “borrowed from the boys” style. Five 0 Six’s dress collection offers versatile layering pieces that embrace easy coastal living while allowing for fashionable experimentation. Consider the Mallorca Midi Dress as a prime example; it stands out on its own with its intricate cut-out details in structured geometric patterns, a playful mesh neckline, and a flattering body-skimming fit. Transform a casual outfit by pairing it with brown leather sandals and a wide-brim hat, effortlessly transitioning from a beach stroll to rooftop drinks. Alternatively, throw on an oversized navy blazer, roll up the sleeves, slip into sneakers, and grab a large clutch to elevate the casual dress for an elegant dinner at Salt.

Quality curated items are a staple of the boutique, offering endless creative combinations. Recently, crocheted cotton has made a comeback, showcasing its versatility in creating textured patterns in various styles. Consider the multi-colored crochet Memphis Mini Dress, a tank sweater dress featuring a charming pastel flower design that serves as a perfect seasonal transition piece. The intricate handmade touches are delicate, and you can complement this outfit by incorporating rustic cowboy boots for a touch of structure. Elevate your summer ensembles by mastering the art of accessorizing with handbags, jewelry, belts, and hats. By mixing and matching pieces from Five 0 Six Boutique, you will have a wide array of outfit options to keep your summer looks Instagram-worthy all season long!

Five 0 Six Boutique is located at 506 Long Beach Blvd in Surf City. Stop in and see all the treasures their boutique has to offer; you will not be disappointed.

Surflight Theatre

Celebrating 75 Years

Broadway at the Beach

Located in the heart of Beach Haven, the Surflight Theatre brings the thrill of Broadway-quality shows to the beach. For 75 glorious years, this beloved institution has been a cultural haven for both residents and vacationers of Long Beach Island. This summer, as the theatre celebrates its diamond anniversary, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the magic of live theatre in this charming seaside community and appreciate its storied past and enduring role in maintaining the cultural fabric of LBI.

A Rich History

Joseph P. Hayes, a Broadway dancer by the age of 17, founded what is now Surflight Theatre after moving to Long Beach Island in 1949 to start a summer stock theater at the shore. It was a beautiful starry night in June of 1950 when he finally premiered the musical “Summer Rhapsody” in an open-air amphitheater in a vacant lot (across the street from what is now-Pinky’s Shrimp on the main boulevard in Beach Haven Crest) that seated over 2,000 people. Mr. Hayes created something spectacular by establishing a seaside platform for Broadway actors and theatre enthusiast/city dwellers who flocked to the beach during the summer. The endeavor quickly became a beloved fixture in the small beachside community, offering excitement and cultural enrichment during the hot, lazy holiday months. By 1954, Joe moved his theater to a more permanent location, an old abandoned mechanic’s garage on Engleside Avenue. In 1987 a new theatre was built next door to the garage, and the old garage (later rebuilt) would be used as a scene shop and costume shop.

Over the decades, Joe and his team grew the theatre into a cornerstone of the local arts scene, debuting 10 shows a summer, with 6 performances of each new show every week. Hits of their day included Oklahoma, The King and I, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and Guys and Dolls. Soon after, they purchased an ice cream parlour next door to the theatre and rolled-out a “show before the show” with the introduction of The Show Place Ice Cream Parlour. A novel idea, the concept was to serve up milkshakes and ice cream, all while the wait staff sings and perform in the vintage style parlour.

There’s No Place Like Show Place

To this day, The Show Place Ice Cream Parlour is still one of the most sought out, old fashioned sing-and-dine attractions by families and visitors on Long Beach Island. An absolute must-see, the cabaret “with a side of ice cream” show is entertained by a troupe of talented performer-servers and is open 7 days a week with nightly shows beginning at 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm Wednesdays-Sundays, and at the top of every hour from 6pm-9pm on Mondays and Tuesdays (Tip: when that line wraps around the building, walk-ups are not guaranteed a seat, so reserve your spot online). The entire experience is an exciting evening of cabaret, ice cream, and “waitri” singing and dancing with patrons as they enjoy theatrically themed ice cream concoctions with names like the Sound of Music, Annie Get Your Gun, The Phantom of the Opera and many more. Guests are encouraged to sing, dance, and act a little crazy for their ice cream; if someone at your table orders the Peter Pan sundae, be prepared to crow for your ice cream!

Photos by Pat Trotter

Cultural Significance

The Surflight Theatre is not just a venue; it is a cultural landmark that brings professional live theatre to vacationers and residents alike. Its mission is to engage, entertain, and foster an appreciation for live theatre among audiences of all ages. Through its diverse offerings, from Broadway-style productions to enchanting musicals for children, Concerts and Comedy Nights, Surflight ensures that the magic of theatre is accessible to everyone. The theatre also plays a crucial role in nurturing the next generation of performers. Its Musical Theatre Summer Programs provide young artists with the opportunity to delve into the crafts of acting, singing, and dancing, fostering their unique creative voices and instilling a discipline that will serve them well in their artistic endeavors. Beyond its productions, Surflight Theatre serves as a vital community resource. It offers a space where people can come together, share experiences, and build lasting memories. The theatre’s commitment to high-quality performances and training for young artists has made it a beloved institution that resonates deeply with the community’s values and traditions.

Looking Ahead

As it celebrates its 75th anniversary, the Surflight Theatre stands as a testament to the enduring power of the performing arts to unite communities and enrich lives. Honoring the rich legacy of the Surflight Theatre while looking towards its future is paramount. Officially becoming a registered nonprofit in 2001, the theatre now relies more than ever on the generous support of sponsors and donors. This vital support has been instrumental in sustaining the theatre’s operations and ensuring its continued success. The unwavering commitment of the community is essential to preserving this cultural gem. Contributions from generous patrons enable the theatre to maintain its diverse programming and educational initiatives, ensuring that future generations can enjoy and engage with the arts. We invite you to celebrate this milestone with us and consider making a donation to the Surflight Theatre. Your support will help preserve the rich tradition of live theatre on LBI and continue to inspire, educate, and entertain for years to come. The theatre’s journey from its humble beginnings to becoming a respected institution mirrors the growth and transformation of LBI itself, making it an integral part of the island’s narrative. Together, we can ensure that the legacy of the Surflight Theatre endures for another 75 years and beyond. For more information, ticket sales, or to support the theater, please visit Surflight Theatre’s website

Photos by Pat Trotter
ann coen studio
ann coen studio
ann coen studio
ann coen studio
ann coen studio
Photo Credit: Delaney Dobson Photography

COASTAL WEDDING TRENDS Saying ‘I Do’ with Seaside Flair

As the sun sets over the rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean and a salty breeze fills the air, coastal weddings radiate a magical allure that captures the hearts of couples seeking a romantic seaside celebration. From white sand beaches to bayfront estates surrounded by the natural reeds, coastal venues offer a breathtaking backdrop for exchanging vows and dancing the night away. If you’re dreaming of tying the knot on LBI, here are some quick and light trends to consider for your coastal wedding:

Photos by Liz Andolina Photography

BOHEMIAN BEACH CHIC: Embrace a laid-back vibe with bohemian-inspired decor, including organic accents, driftwood arches adorned with grass plumes, and laid-back seating options like rattan chairs and ottomans for a relaxed atmosphere.

SEASIDE COLOR PALETTES: Dive into coastal sunset hues with shades of peach, pink, and dusty blue. Incorporate these colors into everything from bridesmaid dresses and table settings to floral arrangements and wedding stationery for a unified seaside aesthetic.

NAUTICAL DETAILS: Set sail with nautical-themed decor elements such as rope knots, vintage brass, anchors and navy blue and white stripes. Try incorporating these details into your invitations, table settings, and even your wedding attire for a touch of maritime charm.

INTIMATE MICRO WEDDINGS: Opt for an intimate gathering of close family and friends to create a cozy atmosphere that allows you to truly savor the moment. Long Beach Island has amazing rentals which allow you to host the entire weekend’s festivities. Choose a secluded beach or a charming seaside backyard for an unforgettable celebration with your favorite people.

SEASHELL ACCENTS: Include the natural beauty of LBI by incorporating seashell accents throughout your wedding design. From delicate shell place card holders to shells being woven into the flowers, these subtle touches add a touch of seaside whimsy to your affair.

LOCAL COASTAL CUISINE: Treat your guests to a taste of the Atlantic Ocean with a menu inspired by coastal cuisine. From fresh seafood appetizers to beach-inspired cocktails. Highlight the local fare that reflects the gorgeous seaside surroundings.

SUNSET CEREMONIES: Exchange vows against the backdrop of a breathtaking sunset for a romantic and picturesque ceremony. Choose a coastal venue with panoramic views, like one of the estates or yacht clubs, and time your ceremony to coincide with the golden hour for a magical moment to be cherished forever.

LIGHT AND AIRY PHOTOGRAPHY: Capture the natural beauty of your coastal surroundings with light and airy photography that highlights the ethereal quality of seaside light. Long Beach Island is home to some of the best wedding photographers, each who have their own secret spots for the most amazing wedding portraits.

With these local coastal wedding trends, you will be on board to creating a beautiful seaside event. Whether you’re exchanging vows with your toes in the sand or in a quaint chapel by the sea, let the natural charm of Long Beach Island’s coast inspire your special day.

Photos by Liz Andolina Photography
Photos by Delaney Dobson
Photo by Delaney Dobson

Wedding Bliss

Nicole and Ryan













Photos by Ann Coen Photogrpahy
Wedding Planner Bogath Weddings & Events

Nicole and Ryan traveled to Long Beach Island from Texas to celebrate their wedding weekend at Bonnet Island Estate last spring. They were treated to an amazing day! The bride and groom’s wedding was filled with some of the most amazing florals from MDS Floral Design including stunning bouquets and the most amazing floral installation on the wall of windows in the ballroom providing the backdrop for the couple’s sweetheart table. Pair that with amazing stationary and signage from The Jess Press and a rockin’ good time with Hank Lane Productions. Captured visually by Ann Coen Photography, this was the recipe for wedding day perfection and a lifetime of memories!

Ann Coen Photography
Ann Coen Photography
Joe Ticknow Photography

We travel for Botox Parties, Same Day

Teeth Whitening/Facials (great for your Wedding Day or other special event) and IV infusions. Contact to book us at your next event!


Noninvasive Lipo Filler

Laser Hair Removal

Plasma Fibroblast

Teeth Whitening Facials

PRP Hair Rejuvenation IV Infusions

Time might not be on your side...But we are! We provide comprehensive treatment plans tailored to your specific needs.

Botox, filler + IV therapy in Ship Bottom, NJ

Walk-ins Welcome!

2421 Long Beach Boulevard, Ship Bottom, New Jersey

Hours 8:00 am – 03:00 pm

Full service medspa in Manahawkin, NJ

Suite #6 691 Mill Creek Road, Manahawkin, New Jersey

Phone: 609-312-7131 Email:

Hours 9:30 am – 06:00 pm

The Wedding Bliss Expo is back and to the delight of Brides for the 2024 seasons it has become an LBI staple that cannot be missed. Brides and their plus ones were among the primary guests who attended, and this year’s Expo a roaring success, welcomed over 360 attendees in joyful anticipation and planning.

The Wedding Bliss Expo is the brainchild of Bay Magazine, Bogath Weddings & Events and Weddings of Distinction, all of whom cater to the top tier of the Long Beach Island bridal market. Gary Henderson and Farrell Dunleavy, co-founders of Bay Magazine, along with Jeanne Coon-Bogath, the owner and lead planner of Bogath Weddings and Events, have joined forces to carefully curate a one-of-a-kind opportunity that provides the best hand-picked roster of high-quality exhibitors.

On Sunday, March 10, 2024, the fourth annual LBI Wedding Bliss Expo was held at Hotel LBI in Ship Bottom. The Expo provided the opportunity for couples by providing them with the ability to interact with their potential vendors prior to any decision-making. All vendors in attendance were hand-picked for their outstand-

ing quality, customer service, and attention to detail. The event is held in The Conservatory at Hotel LBI one of LBI’s dreamiest, most captivating venues.

The stunning, centrally located venue, Hotel LBI is transformed into a wedding wonderland to delight both couples and their nearest and dearest. Attendees were introduced to the area’s top creative professionals, industry leaders, planners, entertainers, and vendors while enjoying a chance to network, exchange ideas and walk away empowered and inspired. The atmosphere of intimacy for attendees allowed them to have the opportunity to see and interact with all vendors and potentially see which vendor is a good fit for their needs and wants. If you have ever been to a traditional Wedding Expo, the experience can be as daunting as scrolling through countless Google searches when you are in the early stages of planning. The LBI Wedding Bliss Expo is exactly what its namesake suggests… blissful.

A curated experience that yields mutually beneficial

relationships between prospective clients and vendors. In this type of intimate environment, vendors can show and dive deeper into the services that they provide. Brides can see tangible examples of what they have been planning and start to piece together the vision for their wedding day. The joy of the dream becoming a reality is immeasurable. An “ah-ha” moment personified when you find the one element that will tie your entire day together.

No two weddings are the same and while the planning process has its intricacies, having the resources to help guide you through the wedding journey makes all the difference. The endless stages of prep and planning are a lot to take on all by yourself; the aid of a wedding planner in addition to your venue’s coordinator helps alleviate the worry of focusing every detail all at once and allows couples to be present and in the moment. The Wedding Expo allows couples to network with these professionals. The opportunity to talk with vendors and wedding professionals beforehand expands a couple’s knowledge base beyond a venue’s “preferred vendor list” to open endless possibilities.

While attendees of the expo are dazzled by the stunning conservatory at Hotel LBI, Hotel LBI is an ideal location for your wedding needs. From welcome dinner to afterparty, from glam to saying “I do ‘’ there is a perfect location for a curated wedding experience from welcome dinner to farewell brunch. SALT Kitchen & Bar is the Hotel’s main restaurant, it harmonizes upscale dining with a coastal casual feel all while showcasing the bounty of the sea from local farmers and fishermen. An idyllic location for your rehearsal dinner creating an intimate moment before your nuptials. The maple-bourbon glazed bacon is packed

with flavor, dancing around your taste buds while all of the seafood dishes are fresh and vibrant, packed with flavor. Hosting an intimate and elegant rehearsal dinner will set the tone and create the atmosphere for what is to come with weddings at Hotel LBI.

Summer Wedding Tips:

Weather Considerations: The dreaded “H” word for fall weddings (hurricane) becomes the dreaded “R” word for summer: rain. Summer rain, while lovely and refreshing, is sometimes unavoidable during the hot and hazy days of summer. For brides planning summer weddings having a Rain Plan is beneficial. LBI, known for its stunning beaches sometimes has its own weather system that doesn’t always follow the predictions of weather on the mainland. Working with your venue and wedding planner to set up a rain plan will provide you with peace of mind especially if you are planning an outdoor wedding. Ask your venue if they have a tent for outdoor spaces if you are having your ceremony outside. Confirm with your venue ahead of time if the ceremony space can be moved to a secondary location within the property; some spaces can double as ceremony space that can easily be transformed into the reception space during cocktail hour.

The Guest List: The cause of much wedding stress the guest list is typically a pain point for many couples planning a wedding. The evolution of the guest list is one from duty and obligation to intimacy and celebration. Many couples planning the wedding are tailoring their guest lists to create an environment that is the best representation of both families and friends in attendance. While navigating who to invite or not invite there are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

Children- The topic of inviting children to a wedding is polarizing. While some feel the more the merrier others feel that a night out for mom and dad is just as nice. Without wanting to offend any guest there are some practical reasons why having a gaggle of children at a wedding is not ideal. For many venues in LBI that are waterfront-facing having a lot of children at a wedding becomes a safety concern. Who will be watching the children throughout the night? Is there a dedicated space for them? Unless a child is in the wedding party the option for a reception without children gives all of your guests the ability to relax and enjoy themselves. Each situation is unique and keeping an open dialogue between you and your guests is the best route depending on each situation. Here are some quick ways to nicely let guests know of a no-child/limited-child invite:

Due to budget/space limitations, we are unable to extend the invitation to children

To allow all wedding guests, including parents, a night of relaxation and uninhibited revelry, we respectfully ask that no children attend the reception

Respectfully, an adult occasion (18+). Infants under 12 months welcome

Extended family - For many years there was an overwhelming obligation to invite every person on your family tree. Not every single family member has to be invited. If you haven’t spoken to your dad’s second cousin in five years, would you want them at your wedding? By keeping your guest list intentional you can create a true celebration space for your day.

Meeting for the first time - If your groomsman, bridesmaid, or first cousin just started dating someone and you will be meeting them for the first time at your wedding, there is no obligation to include them on your guest list.

Coworkers - Unless you have been at your company for 10 years and working with the same group of people for that long you can leave this group off of the list. A lot of times it can be awkward to invite people from work to your wedding. Coworkers understand that guest lists are often limited and more often than not do not expect an invitation. An exception to this would be if you are friends outside of work then by all means extend the invitation.

For more information about this past Wedding Expo and to read about featured vendors and the upcoming you can visit: www.

down by the farm

PLANNER | Bogath Weddings & Events | CEREMONY & RECEPTION VENUE | The Farm on Main | PHOTOGRAPHER | Delaney Dobson Photography

PLANNER | Bogath Weddings & Events


PHOTOGRAPHER | Delaney Dobson Photography

FLORIST | Wildflower Farm Florals

HAIR & MAKEUP | Bombshell Beauty Bar

BRIDE’S DRESS SHOP | Free Love Bridal

INVITATIONS | The Small Town Studio

CAKE | Sweet Melissa Goodness | Boutique Bakery


CANDLE RENTALS | Detail and Design


ANTIQUE JEEPSTER | Curtesy of @elainesellslbi

THE MODELS | Cali & Kevin

Yes to the Dress

If you were to ask any bride what the top priority is for her on her wedding day the unanimous answer would be “the dress”, followed very closely by “marrying the love of their life” of course. For many brides, the dress that they will be walking down the aisle and dancing the night away in is a monumental obsession for years prior to the actual wedding day. Playing dress up as a little girl with pillowcases as a veil holding wildflowers from the yard in their hands, manifesting their dreams into a reality. A bride on her wedding day knows that all eyes will be on her and that finding “the dress” is crucial. The dress itself is a way for a bride to showcase her style and personality all while radiating all her joy from the inside-out.

Owner Betsy and her husband Tim at Free Love Bridal in Cape May know this and take their role with the


utmost reverence and pride when helping brides find their wedding dress. Their commitment to being exclusively present for each and every bride is a duty that they do not take lightly. Navigating a multitude of factors: inspiration-photos, personal style, body type, and current trends, the dedicated team at Free Love work their magic with all their brides-to-be.

Bridal trends have drastically changed quite a bit over the last few years, the variety of styles, materials and silhouettes can be overwhelming. Creating an atmosphere of calm is what the team at Free Love does best. It’s all in the details and each and every detail was meticulously selected: the crisp white walls that enhance the natural sunlight through the large windows that creates a heavenly ambience. Crystal chandeliers catch those stray rays of sunshine, cascading little

rainbow prisms throughout the room. Lush sofas that look like they are from the set of Bridgerton establish the tone and help create the perfect place to say yes to the dress. It’s what 2024 brides would say “it’s giving bride!”

Whether you are a fashion forward bride or a traditional one, the team at Free Love Bridal guides their brides with care and confidence. Navigating trends both online and in magazines can be daunting, yet when you have an expert team to guide your way the results are breathtaking. Before your appointment at Free Love Bridal, enjoy the process of exploring images that inspire you and bring an open mind and they’ll help you make your vision come to life.. Trends should act as a guideline rather than the rule, especially for the look that you want on your wedding day; you want it to look current and fresh will still timeless.

Creating versatility with your bridal style is the best way to incorporate all the elements you want while remaining elegant and timeless. Weddings have become a multiple part event: Engagement Party, Welcome Dinner, Rehearsal Dinner, Ceremony, Reception, and post wedding Brunch. All very different events yet, they cohesively all flow together. Coordinating each look will enhance these moments, taking a current bridal trending accessory like a statement multipearl drop earring or bow detail will add an element of fun to a simple rehearsal dinner dress.

Brides who work with Free Love Bridal have the opportunity to create multiple uniquely custom looks for all of the wedding needs. Their collection of gowns are as unique as each bride who walks through their doors. The ability to tailor a dress and know that it is the exact gown of your dreams is priceless. They have the unique ability to work with their designers to customize and personalize dresses to each bride’s needs and desires. The team at Free Love never assumes what their brides need rather they work with them to help them find the dress that they feel beautiful in and showcases them in a look that feels like uniquely theirs. It is an intimate appointment and Betsy’s best advice, “just enjoy each dress and we will see where the process takes us! You don’t have control over when, how, or where you find your dress…it just happens! It’s a beautiful thing and we feel honored to just be a part of it all for so many brides and their families!”


When the time comes for you to select the perfect gift to thank your bridesmaids, it needs to be thoughtful. After all, this is your tribe; the girls who have supported you through so much, planned your bridal shower, thrown you a bachelorette party, and helped you choose a wedding gown. A piece of jewelry can be the ideal gift and offers you the flexibility to truly personalize each selection.

Should you choose something your bridal party can use on your wedding day or more of a keepsake that will stand the test of time? The choice is yours, but Chris Biele’s Atlantic City Jewelry has decades of experience to help guide your decision and a huge selection of appropriate jewelry that can accommodate almost any budget.

Atlantic City Jewelry’s Bayville showroom is just a half hour drive from Long Beach Island and offers a dazzling assortment of bracelets, necklaces and earrings to gift your bridesmaids. And Chris’ extensive background in finery will prove very useful as he walks you through a multitude of options. To make your visit more convenient, Chris

encourages the bride-to-be to call ahead to discuss preferences and budget.

Want to go a step further and customize the piece of jewelry for your bridesmaids? Chris’ expertise in custom jewelry design is unrivaled. Bring him an idea, a sketch or even a photo of a piece that you love and Chris will bring it to life!

If custom jewelry seems a bit much, but you still would like to personalize your gift, you canalways do so through engraving or by using various colored stones that reflect the relationship you share with each of your bridesmaids.


A dainty gold chain featuring an engraved nameplate is a beautiful and meaningful gesture. A great way to say thank you for always being by your side, a simple band featuring the bridesmaid’s initials might be the ideal. Atlantic City Jewelry also features a stunning yet affordable line of composable bracelets, built link by link to capture the depth of the relationship that you share with each bridesmaid.


A gold or sterling silver necklace with their birthstone can be an beautiful token to show your bridesmaids how much you love them, or perhaps you prefer something more themed. Atlantic City Jewelry has the largest selection of 14k gold and sterling silver nautical jewelry on the East Coast, ideal for an LBI wedding. You can even match each girl’s personality to a nautical symbol like a starfish, a sea turtle, a dolphin or a rolling wave.


A simple set of diamond studs are an elegant option that your bridesmaids can wear everyday, as you thank them for always standing by your side. Of course you can also opt for a pair of understated and timeless pearl drop earrings, or match your bridesmaids’ bolder personalities with some fun, modern dangle earrings.

A piece of jewelry from Atlantic City Jewelry is the perfect reflection of love and gratitude that you have for your bridal party, a gift to be enjoyed long after your big day.

Say “I Do” With Your Toes in the Sand

During the spring and fall months, when the island feels a little quieter while still holding the cozy warmth of the sun, Spray Beach Oceanfront Hotel opens its pristine property for weddings and private events. It is the epitome of seaside charm rooted in a long, dynamic history. With a completely renovated reception space and all new guest rooms, it’s the perfect location for those looking to be connected to the sand on their special day.

You will receive a dedicated event coordinator, who understands the nuances of a beachfront wedding. The coordinator will help to facilitate a ceremony on the pristine sand just steps from the hotel. They can guide you in the township permitting process and connect you with local professionals for arbor and chair rentals.

Your coordinator will also help you craft an unforgettable celebration to honor your vows in their gorgeous indoor/ outdoor reception space. Classic Americana style combines with a bit of nautical glamour to create this one-of-a-kind venue. A neutral, soft sand-colored palette with modern detailing, refined finishes and subtle blue accents highlight the unforgettable backdrop of the shimmering Atlantic Ocean. Their beautiful restaurant can easily accommodate 125 people for your event. The open air space features a bar, which invites guests to belly up to the dunes and enjoy the full coastal experience while still offering overhead

protection in case of inclement weather. The visionary chef at their on-site restaurant, Drift Beach Bar and Restaurant, creates all of the dishes for your event using colorful, refreshing flavors and ingredients that pay homage to the seaside location.

In addition to hosting the wedding reception, the Spray Beach Oceanfront Hotel also offers their facility for the rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch. It’s truly ideal to have your entire wedding weekend at a single location, giving guests the chance to fully unwind. It also cuts down on costs for shuttles and coordination efforts in having multiple facilities.

With a wedding package, the couple receives a complimentary guest room. Just imagine walking directly from your room onto the warm sand, allowing you to stay fully in your glorious wedding bubble apart from the “real world.” Completely revamped overnight quarters provide guests the unforgettable bliss of oceanfront living. And you can be assured your guests receive the full LBI experience, as all rooms feature thoughtful details like local How You Brewin’ K-cups and walls adorned with beautiful pictures from some of the island’s best photographers.

Spray Beach Oceanfront Hotel is the ideal location for a small, intimate wedding or private event showcasing the quintessential beachside experience. From toes in the sand as you say “I Do” straight through to cake cutting with waves crashing in the background, the venue offers a rich ambiance to make your special day unforgettable.

Welcome to the ultimate destination for fun with friends and family! Located just a few miles from the coast, this one-of-akind destination offers everything you need to kick back and have some fun! From beautiful weddings and events to our laidback Kitchen + Pub, thrilling Adventure Park and Arcade come explore everything The Mainland has to offer. Kitchen + Pub, hotel adventure park,

Coen Photography
Ann Coen Photography

Renault Winery

Timeless Elegance and Vintage Charm Flourish in the Heart of New Jersey

In the heart of Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, lies a hidden gem that rivals the most celebrated vineyards of France—Renault Winery, an estate where elegance and the allure of traditional viniculture converge with modern-day luxury and dynamic social gatherings. Established in 1864 by the master champagne maker Louis Nicholas Renault, this storied estate not only stands as a testament to exceptional winemaking but also as a beacon of heritage and innovation in the American wine industry.

Today, Renault Winery seamlessly blends its vintage charm with modern vitality, offering a rich mosaic of history, exclusive events, and contemporary festivals that captivate the hearts and palates of discerning connoisseurs, inviting guests to indulge in the best of both worlds.

A Legacy Rooted in French Tradition

Louis Nicholas Renault, the visionary founder of Renault Winery, hailed from the heart of the Champagne region in France. Before setting foot in America, Renault honed his craft at the Duke of Montebello’s estate in Mareuil-sur-Ay, where he became a master champagne maker. The devastating phylloxera epidemic in the mid1800s, which ravaged vineyards across Europe, forced many winemakers, including Renault, to seek new horizons. This exodus led him to the fertile and phylloxera-free lands of South Jersey, where he established what would become an enduring legacy.

Renault’s deep-rooted connection to his French heritage allowed him to bring a touch of authentic Champagne tradition to America. Remarkably, Renault secured a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) over a century ago, granting him the rare right to label his sparkling wines as “Champagne” in the United States, a privilege maintained to this day.

Renault’s choice of Egg Harbor City as the perfect terroir was far from arbitrary. Despite being initially plagued by the very phylloxera that drove him from Europe, Renault discovered that by crossbreeding an American native vine with European varietals, he could cultivate a phylloxera-resistant hybrid known as “Noah.” This innovation not only saved his vineyards but also contributed to modern viticulture practices worldwide.

The region’s cool climate mirrors that of northern Champagne, France, imparting a crisp acidity to the grapes—ideal for sparkling wine production. The sandy loam soil of South Jersey, although different from the chalky soils of Champagne, offers similar benefits, promoting robust vine growth and grape quality. Today, Renault Winery sprawls over 240 acres, including protected pinelands that preserve the natural beauty and ecological balance of the area.

Renault Winery’s journey through time is dotted with remarkable milestones. From cultivating one of the first American-European hybrid vines to navigating the turbulent waters of Prohibition, Renault has demon-

strated resilience and ingenuity. Enoch “Nucky” Johnson, the infamous political boss and the inspiration for the character Nucky Thompson in the television series Boardwalk Empire, played a crucial role during Prohibition, securing permits that allowed Renault to produce medicinal tonics and sacramental wine, thus keeping the winery afloat.

Post-Prohibition, Renault quickly ascended as the leading distributor of Champagne in the United States. Its sparkling wines graced prestigious events, including the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. The early 2000s saw the addition of a golf course and hotel, transforming Renault into a premier resort destination. In 2018, Vivâmee Resorts acquired the property, spearheading extensive renovations that revived the estate’s French roots and historical grandeur.

Vineyard Heritage: Excellence in Every Sip

At Renault, the art of winemaking begins in the vineyard, where meticulous care ensures the highest quality fruit. Throughout the year, the vines undergo pruning, suckering, and canopy management, culminating in the harvest around mid-September. The grapes are then processed, pressed, and sent off to be fermented in tanks. Depending on the desired outcome, the wine may be blended, aged, or used for sparkling wine production, embodying a seamless blend of tradition and innovation.

Renault’s commitment to sparkling wine, cultivated over 150 years, sets it apart. From the velvety depths of their signature reds to the crisp, refreshing notes of their

whites, every bottle bears the indelible mark of Renault’s commitment to perfection. The winery offers a diverse range of wines, from dry to sweet, catering to varied palates. Signature wines like Fleur de Blanc, Meritage, and Blueberry highlight Renault’s unique offerings. The Fleur de Blanc, featuring the exclusive Noah varietal, and the Bordeaux-inspired Meritage pay homage to Renault’s French heritage, while the Blueberry sparkling wine showcases local agricultural bounty.

Architectural Elegance, Timeless Charm and Cultural Impact

Renault Winery is more than just a purveyor of fine wines—it is a sanctuary of culture and refinement, where history comes alive with every whisper of the wind through the vineyards. Wander through the historic corridors of the winery’s sprawling estate, and you will find yourself ensconced in a tapestry of timeless elegance. Renault Winery’s architecture evokes the mystique and elegance of a European Carthusian monastery. The estate features pointed arch doorways, towering ceilings, and secret alleyways—echoes of its Prohibition-era past. Prohibition Alley, the Glass Museum, and the Historic Speakeasy are notable landmarks, each telling a unique story of the winery’s vibrant history. The Glass Museum, with its collection of champagne goblets dating back to the thirteenth century, and the Speakeasy, once a clandestine meeting spot for Nucky Johnson and Al Capone, offer glimpses into a bygone era.

At the heart of Renault Winery lies its majestic château, a grand architectural masterpiece reminiscent of the storied estates of Europe, with its stately façade and

Photo by Magdelana Studios

ornate detailing exuding an aura of aristocratic charm. Visitors to Renault Winery are treated to an immersive resort experience, with the estate boasting not only the luxurious Chateau Renault Hotel, but also the Vineyard National Golf Course, and a Parisian-style café, Café la Fleur. The esteemed Taste 1864 Restaurant and the Wine and Beer Garden provide exquisite dining options, from sophisticated meals to shareable light fare, all paired with the finest wines and crafted cocktails, offering guests a culinary journey of epicurean delights amid the opulent grandeur of the château’s dining halls or al fresco lunches overlooking the vineyards.

Renault’s hospitality ethos, encapsulated in the mission statement “vivâmee” (revive the soul), places paramount importance on personalized service and meaningful guest interactions. Each team member is dedicated to creating an atmosphere where

guests not only feel satisfied but also rejuvenated, fostering a profound connection to the estate.

As one continues to traverse the meticulously manicured grounds, a plethora of sensory delights awaits. Guests may participate in a guided tour of the winemaking facilities, where skilled artisans ply their craft with unwavering precision and passion, as well as indulge in a private tasting session, savoring an array of exquisite vintages, each sip an enchanting symphony of flavors that dances upon the palate.

The winery is a cornerstone of Atlantic County’s culture, hosting numerous events that bring the community together. Annual festivals such as Bloom Market, Renaulberfest Market, and Vintner Wonderland showcase local artisans and vendors, while the Festival of Trees auction supports local charities like Faces4Autism. Renault’s calendar is packed with engaging activities—vineyard tours, harvest festivals, goat yoga, car shows, and more, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

Embracing Tomorrow, Honoring Yesterday

As Renault Winery continues to evolve, its dedication to preserving its legacy and enhancing guest experiences remains steadfast. Upcoming projects include the development of a luxurious spa within the Chateau Renault Hotel and updates to public areas, ensuring the estate remains a premier destination for future generations.

Renault Winery’s narrative is one of resilience, innovation, and timeless grace. From its inception in the Champagne region of France to its esteemed presence in New Jersey, Renault epitomizes a rich legacy and unwavering commitment to excellence. For those in search of an authentic, refined, and enchanting winery experience, Renault stands as a paragon of fine wine and hospitality.

As the sun sets over the vineyards, casting a golden hue upon the rolling hills, one cannot help but be transported to an era of refined indulgence—a bygone era where every sip of wine told a story, and every gathering was imbued with a sense of grandeur. This is why Renault Winery is more than a mere destination—it’s a sanctuary. A retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern life, where one can rediscover the simple pleasures of days gone by. Amidst Renault’s venerable vines, visitors find solace, inspiration, and a timeless elegance that transcends trends.

Photo by Magdelana Studios

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Glaze


10 oz fresh baby spinach

1 cups strawberries, sliced

½ cup blueberries

⅓ cup feta cheese, crumbled

½ cup pecans toasted, chopped

Salt and pep


In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients and mix well. Top with toast pecans and drizzle glaze over salad. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Balsamic Glaze


1 cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup honey


In a small saucepan, heat balsamic vinegar and honey over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and reduces by about half (about 10 minutes).

Remove from heat and allow to cool before dressing salad. Add 2 T balsamic glaze to salad and mix. Save remaining glaze in the fridge.

Fresh Mint Mojitos


5 mint leaves, more for garnish

2 ounces white rum

1 ounce fresh lime juice

½ ounce simple syrup


Club soda or sparkling water

Lime slices, for garnish


Muddle the mint in the bottom of a cocktail shaker, add rum, lime juice, simple syrup, a handful of ice and shake. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Add a splash of club soda and garnish with lime slices and more mint.

Lobster Roll with Lemon Butter


2- 1 ½ pound lobsters, cooked

6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon butter melted

1 tablespoon tarragon chopped + more for garnish

1 lemon juiced

pinch salt

4 top split hot dog buns


In a medium saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons butter and add the tarragon, lemon and salt. Mix together and set aside.

Melt the remaining teaspoon of butter in a skillet and toast the buns in the pan until brown, turning several times with tongs. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the lobster meat from the tail and claws and keep lobster in large pieces. Transfer lobster meat to the butter mixture in saucepan and toss to coat.

Divide the lobster between the four buns and drizzle additional butter-lemon sauce. Sprinkle with extra tarragon and serve.

Baked Potato Chips


1 pound Russet potatoes, sliced into ⅛-inch-thick pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss the potato slices

together with the olive oil and salt to coat evenly. Place the potato slices in a single layer on baking sheet.

Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the chips are a light golden color. Remove from oven and allow chips to cool and serve.

Raspberry Mini Tarts


17 oz. puff pastry sheets 2 sheets

1 large pack raspberries

1 whole egg, whisked for brushing on puff pastry

1½ cup vanilla instant pudding cream filling

2 T confectioners sugar for dusting

Vanilla instant pudding cream filling


1 (4 ½ ounce) box vanilla instant pudding mix

1 cup milk

2 cups heavy cream, whipped


Whisk milk and instant pudding and let sit until thickened, about 5 minutes. Whip the heavy cream on

medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3–4 minutes. Fold pudding into whipped heavy cream and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Unfold the puff pastry sheet and cut into 6 even sized rectangles. Carefully cut a rectangle about 1/4 inch inside of the puff pastry shown in the photos and prick the inside with a fork.

Place 1 tablespoon vanilla pastry cream into the middle rectangle of the puff pastry and spread evenly. Brush the sides of the puff pastries with egg wash and bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden on the sides. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Place 6 raspberries on top of each pastry and dust with confectioners sugar.

Chef Kris’ Distinctive Offerings

About two years ago, The Mainland Kitchen and Pub welcomed an exceptional executive chef to perfectly match their casual yet distinctive vibe through their culinary offerings. Chef Kristopher Greene, originally hailing from Leonia, New Jersey and spending many summers on the Jersey Shore, describes this position as the “culmination of his career.” And what a journey it has been.

Chef Kris has been hooked on preparing delicious food since the age of seven, when he stayed up late into the night cooking the family’s Thanksgiving dinner with his mom. As soon as he could break into the industry, he dove headfirst, beginning with washing dishes in a pizzeria

at twelve years old in the historic city of Frederick, Maryland. He remembers tuning into Julia Child’s cooking shows and watching World Class Cuisine on the Discovery Channel after school, further fueling the fire he had burning within. During his high school years, Chef Kris concentrated on curating a curriculum that would beautifully dovetail with a culinary career, taking French classes and attending the vocational culinary program offered at the city’s community college.

All along his goal was clear—the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA), wildly recognized as the world’s premier culinary college and the alma mater of a great source of his inspiration, the late Anthony Bourdain, who incidentally was also born in Leonia and frequented the Jersey Shore. Out of over 1800 applicants that year, Chef Kris was one of sixty-eight students accepted and only ten who ultimately graduated. As Craig Claiborne, celebrated author and food critic for The New York Times, points out, “Almost every profession has an outstanding training ground. The military has West Point, music has Juilliard, and culinary arts has the Institute.” The CIA boasts an incredibly demanding and vigorous program. Chef Kris describes his time there as “life-changing;” developing pride, professionalism and cleanliness standards that have stayed with him to this day, two decades later.

Once finished his formal training and achieving a degree in Advanced Culinary Arts and Food and Beverage Management, he gained experience in restaurants up and down the east coast. Kris was never side-tracked from his true purpose. In his words, he entered the culinary world “to be a great chef and experience food.” In fact, his dedication was even recognized by fellow chefs around the world when they nominated him to Best Chefs America status.

It must be said that a career as an executive chef is certainly not for the

Photos by Madison Rohrer

feint of heart. Chef Kris is quite frank that he has “left pieces of himself” behind, but he has never looked back. Food is his lifeblood, and he truly thrives on the unique challenges of the industry. Being an executive chef of his caliber is about far more than creating original recipes and cooking delicious food. He also gives his energy to the inner workings of his kitchen, focusing on training, sanitation, inventory control, and team building. “A great chef wears many hats,” and he finds it thrilling to manage the massive scale of food fundamentals for The Mainland Kitchen & Pub and its sister properties.

Chef Kris brings his signature commitment to fresh, seasonal ingredients to the menu, using only the highest quality products, which leads to extraordinarily delicious food. He has curated a select list of sources with a keen eye to sustainability. As its moniker makes plain, the fact that the restaurant is considered a “kitchen” means that patrons get to experience simple, but creative homemade food created from the depths of Kris’ culinary knowledge. He believes that “control is quality,” and in using straightforward, high quality ingredients he can build incredible flavor from scratch. Because of this, the fare you will find at The Mainland Kitchen & Pub is unlike anything else in our region. Employing classical training with a twist of modern technique, Chef Kris creates dishes that are relevant and fresh. While the end product is often described as “high end,” the menu is comprised of sincerely approachable favorites like burgers, a burrata board and crab cakes, all customized to max out on flavor.

Food aside, The Mainland is a true destination location in and unto itself. The restaurant’s modern concrete floor, dark ceilings and warm wood accents create a setting in which you can’t help but relax and enjoy yourself. An entire wall of glassed garage doors brings in natural light and a great view of Manahawkin Lake. On warm days the doors are opened to offer open-air dining, and a patio brimming with lush plants transports you to somewhere else entirely. The spacious dining and bar areas are standalone in our area, making it easy to spend time socializing. Many choose to enjoy the outdoor fire pits and extensive selection of craft beers and bourbons, along with the great atmosphere and live music on the weekends. Beyond the restaurant, the adjoining arcade, go kart track and aerial course offer thrills beyond culinary delights.

The Mainland Kitchen and Pub is well worth a drive over the bridge to experience something truly unique. In his own words, Chef Kris acknowledges that to be a true chef, “you must mold yourself like soft clay, harden like a diamond, and polish the result to reflect.” The Mainland beautifully reflects Kris’ finely polished energy, style and knowledge, and he continues to share it with a new generation of cooks and customers alike. Chef Kris welcomes locals and visitors to experience the distinctive offerings of his new summer menu at The Mainland.

Photos by LJ Hepp


Whether planning a family vacation, a getaway with girlfriends, or a beautiful wedding, Hotel LBI tops the list in luxury accommodations. Every detail of the hotel has been thoughtfully considered to provide guests a truly memorable experience, beginning with the lush palm trees and tropical flowers that surround the exterior, making it easy to forget you are in New Jersey. Let us explore the different facets of this expansive property.

The Living Room

An elegant winding staircase punctuated by a sensational chandelier leads guests to this lounge designed for socializing and relaxing. While paying homage to the history of the seaside locale through authentic New JerseyMaritime Museum photos, the vibe of the space feels more posh than nostalgic. Gas lanterns flank a cozy fireplace, surrounded by leather library sofas and high coffered ceilings. A U-shaped bar offers a place to indulge a bit, serving complimentary coffee in the mornings and seasonal cocktails in the evenings.

The Conservatory

Just off the Living Room is a spacious room with gorgeous vaulted ceilings and beautiful wood beams—the most incredible “Noah’s Ark,” to give you a visual. Offering the ultimate statement of luxury for a Long Beach Island wedding, it also leads to an attached veranda, encouraging communion with ocean air breezes and coral evening skies. A double-sided fireplace and enchanting array of string lights take the ambiance up yet another notch.

Salt Kitchen & Bar

Salt offers guests an upscale dining experience fueled by local fare, emphasizing in-season produce and freshly-caught seafood. On warm summer evenings, eat al fresco on the covered patio or sit at the bar to take in the sunset views over the bay.

Tide Pool, Bar, and Sun Shelf

This area of the property emphasizes the feeling of an island getaway. The heated Tide Pool and comfortable

lounge chairs provide an envious pocket of relaxation, while the sun shelf ensures kids stay busy. Enjoy a light lunch while basking in the sun at the attached restaurant or belly up to the bar outside to refresh with a summery cocktail. On the most beautiful days, the floor-to-ceiling glass doors are opened to let in the beach breeze.

The Rooftop

The rooftop boasts a pergola, full bar, and more. Lavish botanical nooks carve out a place to relax into an intimate conversation. Golden hour photo opportunities abound from the overlook, showcasing the setting sun, sparkling bay and even views of Old Barney, LBI’s signature lighthouse. Punchy orange seating, quintessential summer games and delicious artisan bites are a recipe for an evening of perfection with friends.

Luxe Guest Quarters

With 102 individual sleeping quarters, up to 1200 square feet in size, you have complete assurance of a pampered vacation. Every guest room has a full kitchen, complete with cookware and dining ware, Keurig coffee maker, sleeper sofa and flat screen tv for unwinding at the end of the day. Bunk bed rooms can comfortably sleep families, with accommodating features like nightlights and an extra sofa and separate tv. Or splurge on a luxury bay-view suite, complete with dual fireplace, chef’s kitchen and spacious, luxurious bathroom. Tasteful

coastal decor makes it feel like a home rather than a hotel room, but daily room cleaning and fresh towels remind you that you are on vacation!

World Class Amenities

Every detail has been considered to ensure guests enjoy the ultimate vacation along with all the comforts of home. Valet parking with a bellman for assistance with your luggage greet you upon arrival. There is a Fitness Center on-site to keep you on your routine, plus an inhouse Beach Shop offers towels, beach badges, chairs, boogie boards, beach cruisers and even a shuttle to take you to the beach. The Market is open 24 hours a day, providing everything from midnight snacks to sand buckets to wedding cards. Staff are trained to accommodate business groups and can direct you to designated meeting rooms, as needed. With preferred access to Hotel LBI’s sister properties, a quick ten-minute bike ride allows guests to choose from the fleet of rental boats at The Boatyard or an afternoon playing lawn games on the bayside.

Though the beautiful barrier island entices with plenty of its own attractions, there is honestly no need to leave the hotel experience a great summer vacation. With four options for eating, spectacular water views and plenty of recreational opportunities, Hotel LBI sets a new standard for luxury accommodations in our region.

Photos by Ann Coen Photography

Ask Marvin, the Cheesemonger Mouse

We have a great time at The Cheese Shoppe, helping folks pick out just what they need for their special occasions. Whether hosting a big party or curling up on the couch with a great selection of cheeses and a glass of wine, we are here to help you find the perfect pairing.

Some customers are very confident with their cheese shopping experience, while others may need a bit of help navigating the world of yummy cheeses, accompaniments and pairings. Being able to provide tastings and advice and seeing faces light up with enjoyment and understanding makes our day. We get a lot of questions, such as the following:

Dear Marvin,

I love hosting dinner parties for my friends, but I always struggle with choosing the right wine and cheese combinations. I want to impress my guests with my sophisticated taste, but I don’t know where to even begin. Can you give me some tips on how to pair wine and cheese like a pro?

Sincerely, Cheese Lover

Dear Cheese Lover,

I’m so glad you asked, because wine and cheese pairing is one of my favorite topics. While there is no definitive rule for matching wine and cheese, there are some general guidelines that can help you create a harmonious cheese board for any occasion.

Tip #1: Balance the Intensity

A good wine and cheese pairing should balance the intensity of both components. You don’t want one to overpower the other, so try to match the strength and flavor of the wine and cheese. For example, a light and crisp white wine goes well with a fresh and mild cheese, such as goat cheese or mozzarella. A full-bodied and tannic red wine pairs well with a hard and aged cheese, such as cheddar or parmesan.

Tip #2: Contrast the Textures

You want to create a variety of sensations in your mouth, so try to mix different types of cheese and wine. For example, a creamy and soft cheese, such as brie or camembert, goes well with a sparkling wine, such as champagne or prosecco. A firm and crumbly cheese, such as feta or manchego, goes well with a smooth and fruity wine, such as pinot noir or merlot.

Tip #3: Experiment with Flavors

You want to surprise and delight your guests with unexpected combinations, so try to find some common or complementary elements in the wine and cheese. For example, a nutty and sweet cheese, such as gouda or gruyere, goes well with a spicy and floral wine, such as gewurztraminer or riesling. A tangy and salty cheese, such as blue cheese or roquefort, goes well with a sweet and rich wine, such as port or sauternes.

Remember, these are just some tips to get you started, but the best way to learn about wine and cheese pairing is to experiment and have fun! Don’t be afraid to try new things and trust your own palate.


The hunt for the perfect wine to complement the golden days and sultry nights of summer begins in earnest. This season, let me introduce you to a hidden gem from the Renault Winery that has been quietly captivating the palates of both locals and visitors alike: our Blueberry Champagne, affectionately known as the “blueberry bubbly.”

A century in the making, this effervescent marvel captures the essence of South Jersey in every delightful sip. Renault’s Blueberry Champagne seamlessly blends the sophistication of fine sparkling wine with the crisp, slightly sweet burst of the region’s finest blueberries, hailing from Hammonton—often lauded as the blueberry capital of the country.

What sets our blueberry bubbly apart is its journey from vine to glass. We start with Chambourcin, one of New Jersey’s premier red grape varieties. The grapes are pressed and cold settled before being transformed into a beautiful rosé. A secondary fermentation in a charmat tank lends the wine its vivacious sparkle, and the final touch—a blueberry infusion at bottling—creates a flavor profile that is both refreshing and intriguing.

This sec wine, akin to a prosecco in its level of sweetness, boasts abundant aromatics reminiscent of blueberry muffins, pancakes, and other baked delights. Its coral-rose hue, kissed with a hint of blueberry, is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate. With its bright acidity and smooth finish, the blueberry bubbly delivers a crisp, light quality that revitalizes on even the hottest summer days.

The versatility of our Blueberry Champagne makes it an ideal choice for myriad summer

occasions. Picture yourself presenting this unique bubbly as a hostess gift—guaranteed to impress. Imagine toasting to the sunset on Long Beach Island, the blueberry bubbly in hand, its effervescent charm enhancing the beauty of the moment. Or consider it for your next cocktail hour, where our signature Renault Blueberry French 75 (or “Soixante Quinze,” as the classic champagne cocktail is referred to in France) can elevate your gathering to new heights of sophistication.

Renault’s Blueberry Champagne is not just a wine; it’s an experience. It pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes, from the simplicity of cinnamon and coconut to the elegance of panna cotta and pavlova. At Café la Fleur at Renault, we celebrate its synergy with baked goods, creating a symphony of flavors that linger delightfully on the palate.

As the trend for crisp, fruit-forward sparkling wines continues to grow, our blueberry bubbly stands at the forefront, capturing hearts and taste buds. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, stopping by Renault Winery to pick up a bottle (or two) of our Blueberry Champagne is becoming a quintessential part of the Jersey Shore experience.

So, this summer, let Renault’s Blueberry Champagne be your go-to choice. It’s more than a drink; it’s a toast to the season, a celebration in a glass, and the ultimate companion for your sun-soaked adventures on the beautiful beaches of New Jersey.

Cheers to a summer filled with sparkling moments and the delightful taste of Renault’s blueberry bubbly!



Rising from the Ashes The Arlington’s Comeback

On a seemingly ordinary Presidents’ Day weekend, The Arlington, a beloved restaurant in Ship Bottom, NJ, faced an unexpected disaster. What began as a quiet Sunday afternoon quickly turned chaotic as smoke began to fill the building. Brother co-owners, Paul and Brian Sabarese, received an alarming call from their staff, sparking a sequence of events that would lead to a major transformation.

“It was in the afternoon, and our guys called, saying there was smoke inside,” Brian recalls. “We raced down there, and when we arrived, there were three fire trucks outside, hacking away at the front of the building.”

Smoke was coming from under the crawl space. It was a windy day, and the men quickly realized the fire had started on a telephone pole, spreading embers to the building. The firefighters worked tirelessly for hours, cutting through walls and floors. Once it all was over, the damage was extensive.

“They had to cut holes in the floors and walls, which were made of restored barn wood from out west. We couldn’t patch it. Everything was soaked with water, and embers had even reached the attic insulation,” Brian describes.

Faced with this devastation, Brian and his team had no

choice but to embark on a complete renovation.

“By Wednesday, we were gutting the main dining room and bar, tearing out ceilings, floors, and wall coverings. We updated the look from a traditional farmhouse to a modern farmhouse style,” Brian explains. “It was a race against time because our employees were out of work.”

Paul and Brian, alongside their trusted contractor from Spatz and Sons Construction, mobilized a team to swiftly rebuild. “We had a crew of about twelve guys ripping everything out. We sourced materials as quickly as possible, opting for what was available immediately rather than waiting six to eight weeks for other options,” Brian says.

From all new electrical work, lighting, furniture, windows, and insulation, the entire interior was completely revamped. Brian redesigned the bar and built a new banquette. Several local businesses played a crucial role in the restoration too. Companies like Lou’s Electric, Avalon Tile and Carpet, Jenave for cabinetry, Typestries for the new Signage, Martin Landscaping, and Coastal Cushion for the upholstery – are just a few of many local businesses that contributed to the project.

After just five weeks, the transformation was complete. The Arlington reopened on February 28th, 2024, with

a fresh look and renewed energy. The quick turnaround and stunning new interior were met with overwhelming approval from patrons.

“Everybody loves it,” Brian says. “It’s a completely new look, brighter and more modern. We’ve been super busy since reopening.”

Reflecting on the journey, Brian shared his philosophy: “In the restaurant business, you have to reinvent yourself every ten to fifteen years, or you risk becoming outdated. The fire forced our hand, but it allowed us to make long-desired updates and improvements.”

The Arlington’s rebirth is a testament to resilience and community spirit. Brian and his team turned a catastrophe into an opportunity for growth and renewal. Their dedication not only preserved a beloved local establishment but also enhanced it, ensuring The Arlington remains a cherished dining destination for years to come.

Paul and Brian’s unwavering commitment to their business, the quick action taken in the face of disaster, and the support of the local community have solidified The Arlington’s place in the heart of Ship Bottom. The fire, once a symbol of destruction, now marks a new beginning, filled with fresh promise and potential.

Thank you to all who have been a part of the last 20 years! We could not celebrate this milestone without each of our amazing customers, staff family, and local LBI community.


The smell hits you first before your eyes can even start to process the bounty of Italian delicacies and home made sweet and savory delights. Mario’s Italian Market has been a Surf City staple for over 27 years. As your mouth starts to water and your taste buds tingle in anticipation the question you ask yourself is “what am I going to eat first?” Heavenly smells of meatballs and arancini tease you as you discover the olive bar, the freshly made pasta and specialty items directly from the old country.

Mario’s has a deep history filled with family, friendship and food and for John Musto, carrying on the legacy of Mario’s is deeply personal. Mario’s was started by the Aversa family in 1996 by Mario Aversa Sr. and his wife Phyllis with the help of their two sons Mario Jr. and Pete. The Aversa family felt a devastating loss when Mario Sr. and Pete passed away less than a year apart from one another. Mario Jr. and his wife Dawn took over and forged ahead while grieving their deeply personal losses. For a decade Mario Jr.

and Dawn kept the family business thriving. When the unimaginable happened, the family knew they could count on a long-time family friend.

During the summer of 2019 John Musto took off from working at his job in Florida and headed to Surf City for some must needed R & R. At the time Mario Jr. had asked John if he would assist with helping him run the deli, this was around the 4th of July for what was supposed to be a two-week stay. By the end of September 2019 John was still at Mario’s. John quickly felt right at home on the island. Taking in all of the sites, treasures and food that LBI has to offer he experienced first hand what makes LBI magical.

John was able to learn the Aversa family recipes first hand, recipes that no one outside the family had been taught, let alone written down. The summer of 2019 was filled laughter and fun and as John was about to return home tragedy struck the Aversa family. At the young age of 46 years old, Mario Jr. suffered a fatal

heart attack and passed away. The legacy of Mario’s was uncertain, however, the strong bonds of friendship prevailed, and Mario’s Legacy was able to thrive.

John explained “Dawn said their daughters would love if someone they knew took on the business, so I packed up my things and moved up here.” The combination of his time spent on the island that summer, as well as the strong family bonds helped in the continued success of Mario’s. John is a seasoned chef who is no stranger to the food industry.

“My father owned a restaurant and pizzeria in Long Branch NJ” John said “when I was in 7th grade after school and on holidays I was helping out all the time. One time I said Mom ‘I’m taking off Saturdays’; I wanted to hang out with my friends.” During this time John was learning his families recipes. John’s parents sold their business 44 years ago and moved to Florida and opened a new place.

The Musto and Aversa families have worked together the years, John’s transition was a natural fit. John remembered fondly the first time he met the Aversa family. “The first year they were in Surf City, they closed for the winter and came down to Florida. Mario and Peter both got jobs at the market where I worked in Fort Lauderdale.” Summer nights, work shifts, and food quickly turned into over 20 years of friendship.

As the new proprietor John implicitly understood the bond that Mario’s has with the community, he also knew the importance of quality Italian dishes and how they simply must be shared. John’s roots hail from Sicilia and Naples; two very distinct regions in Italy with their own famous flavors and dishes. Part of the Italian-American experience is learning how to cook at home. The tradition of family recipes passed down through the generations. For John his passion shines through when he has the ability to create new dishes. He finds inspiration every day and looks for new and creative way to spice up classic favorites.

Inspired by his father and grandparents, John’s dishes, which he has brought to Mario’s truly are one of a kind and have to be tried. When he is in the kitchen cooking his creativity flows and new dishes are truly an experience. Italian comfort food that hugs you from the inside out; you must try the meatballs, their meatball sandwich is out of this world. In keeping with the Mario’s tradition John was also able to implement some new changes to the deli.

“I changed it drastically,” John, said “I opened it all up,

it used to be closed off and separated now it’s one store with over 200 items.” The items from Italy transport you and make you feel like you walked into the local grocery in Rome and are picking up a few things for dinner. Now offering grab-and-go options, a full-scale bakery and deli Mario’s has it all.

Together with his partners Dan Fernandez and Frank Del Guercio; John, Dan and Frank strive to keep the quality and excellence of Mario’s legacy for all those in the community to enjoy for years to come. The passion and love for the community keep Mario’s thriving. “The people in LBI are the nicest people I have ever met in my life,” John said “even the people who come just for the summer. My goal is to find out what they want and give it to them, making people happy through food.”

In addition to Mario’s famous meatballs, their sandwiches are the perfect way to have a little taste of Italy with you when you are on the beach. John has also curated a list of his “Must Try” menu items: long stemmed artichokes, eggplant rollatini, sautéed broccoli rabe and homemade roast beef.

A phenomenon occurs when you are in an Italian kitchen, you can watch and write down precise measurements and yet, even though you are making Nonna’s meatballs something taste slightly different. Some people say it is because a certain ingredient was left out. When it comes to the joy and magic of Italian cooking the truth is that no matter how accurate you are to the recipe the love and passion infused by the chef is unlike anything you have ever tasted.

Now if you can’t make it to Mario’s in person and are craving Mario’s famous meatballs John has created an at home version of Mario’s famous meatballs just for you.


3lbs ground beef

4 large eggs

1 ½ cup Romano cheese

16 oz can tomato sauce

1 ½ cup chopped Italian parsley

2 TBSP salt

½ TBSP black pepper

2 TBSP chopped garlic

In a large mixing bowl mix the ingredients together. Roll the meatballs to your desired size. Pre heat your oven at 375 degrees F, place your rolled meatballs onto a sheet pan bake for 35 min and enjoy.

Your Invited!

to benefit moms and their babies

in Ocean County NJ

Drop off bins at:

St. Francis Community Center

Yoga Bohemia | Product with a Purpose

Iteams needed:

Diapers & Wipes | Formula | Breast Pumps

Strollers | Pack and Play | Humidifiers

Bobby Pillows | Toiletries & Teethers


Celebrating two decades of coffee and community, How You Brewin’ Coffee Company stands as a beacon of coastal café culture on Long Beach Island. A bustling beverage haven that lures caffeine-craving visitors and local java connoisseurs alike, its locations are nestled amidst the salty sea breeze and sun-kissed sands of both Barnegat Light and Surf City.

For the past 20 years, this beloved coffee house’s quality brews and warm hospitality have become an integral part of the island’s fabric. But How You Brewin’ Coffee Company isn’t just a caffeine pitstop; it’s a cherished sanctuary where the aroma of freshly roasted beans mingles with the laughter of friends and the hum of coastal living. The journey at the core of How You Brewin’s success has evolved into so much more: it’s a place where every delectable sip tells a story and every visit feels like coming home.

Lori and Dan Malay, owners of How You Brewin’, embarked on their journey into the coffee industry with a vision to fill the glaring gap of the island’s brew scene. Southern Regional High School sweethearts-turned-entrepreneurs, even after moving to Florida to pursue careers in education, they would loyally return home to spend their summers on LBI. But despite the island’s idyllic coastal setting, there was a notable absence of exceptional coffee spots, particularly on the North end of the island. Inspired by her passion for a good cup o’ Joe and his desire to create a welcoming space for community gathering, the couple embarked on a mission to fill this void.

In 2003, armed with determination and a love for quality coffee, Lori and Dan secured com-

mercial property in Barnegat Light’s historic Viking Village, laying the groundwork for their seasonal coffee venture. Their journey into the coffee industry was unconventional, marked by a lack of prior experience and Dan’s initial aversion to coffee itself. However, fueled by their shared vision and fearless resolve, the couple forged ahead, undeterred by the challenges that lay ahead. They immersed themselves completely, going from novices to experts in a short span of time. They began their journey by purchasing a “Coffee for Dummies” book, a humble yet pivotal starting point that ignited their passion for the craft. Determined to learn everything they could, they delved into extensive research on roasters and sought out crash courses with industry professionals to absorb as much knowledge as possible. Their dedication to education and their newfound love for the coffee bean industry propelled them into the expert space, where they now stand as seasoned connoisseurs of the trade.

In May 2004, the couple officially opened its doors to their Viking Village coffee shop, introducing a much-needed new blend to the island’s coffee landscape. Two years later, they expanded their footprint by

acquiring a then-location of How You Brewin’ located in Ship Bottom, which they eventually relocated to Surf City. Today, with two thriving LBI locations and a third in Florida, How You Brewin’ has become synonymous with quality coffee and community camaraderie.

Central to How You Brewin’s success is their unwavering commitment to freshness and quality. They partner with an exclusive Southern NJ-based roaster who meticulously roasts to order, ensuring that every cup brewed is made from beans roasted less than 24 hours ago. This dedication to peak flavor extends even to throughout the less busy times of the winter off-season, with a minimum roasting occurring twice a week to maintain high quality and guaranteeing unparalleled freshness of flavor.

With an impressive selection of 24 coffees, sourced from top-quality beans across the globe, How You Brewin’ delights customers with a diverse range of flavors and profiles. From non-flavored classics to seasonal specialties, each cup meets and exceeds the gold standards of the coffee industry grading system, ensuring a consistently exceptional experience.

While Lori’s passion for coffee was evident from the start, it was Dan’s unexpected love affair with cold brew that led to one of How You Brewin’s most beloved offerings. Their proprietary method for brewing cold brew consists of a special blend and grind selection that yields a result 70% less acidic than traditionally-brewed coffee, but with a more robust caffeine kick that keeps customers coming back for more. Their signature cold brew, a trend that captured the hearts of coffee lovers everywhere, including Dan himself, is now their #1 selling coffee product.

The demand for their cold brew has even led to wholesale partnerships with local establishments across the island. How You Brewin’s cold brew is also served at Pearl Street Market, The Sea Shell Resort, Wally’s, Fantasy Island, The Terrace Tavern, ScoJos, The Mainland, and more.

Last year alone, How You Brewin’ sold an astonishing 30,000 pounds of coffee and served up a staggering 380,000 coffee drinks, solidifying their status as a beloved fixture in the LBI community. To accommodate the growing demand and celebrate their 20-year milestone, How You Brewin’ is expanding their brand footprint with a new retail shop adjacent to their flagship location. This space will not only serve as corporate headquarters but also as a storefront for How You Brewin’ merchandise, offering patrons the opportunity to immerse themselves in the brand’s story and celebrate its legacy.

As Lori and Dan Malay reflect on their journey, they are grateful for the support of their loyal customers and the sense of community that has flourished within their coffee houses. Their mission to create a space for meaningful connections and conversations has resonated deeply with patrons, embodying their mission statement of “curatinga hub of one-anothering.”

With its warm ambiance, top-notch brews, and commitment to excellence, this coastal gem has become such a vital component of the Long Beach Island culture and community. Whether you’re a local looking for your daily caffeine fix or a visitor seeking a taste of island life, How You Brewin’ welcomes you with open arms and a steaming cup of perfection. Come for the coffee, stay for the camaraderie, and leave with memories that linger long after the last sip.

Finding Treasure

There have been times when I’m strolling on the beach or checking out an estate sale or maybe walking the dog I’ll see an object that catches my eye. Could be some unusual flotsam washed up from the previous nights storm, a mechanical device that has long since been replaced by modern technology or some trash on the side of the road. As an artist, I have been trained to observe formal design elements such as form, space, texture and color to name a few and having developed my eye over the years certain combinations of

Interview with Matt Burton
Photos by Sandra Anton

these elements grab my attention. For me, I will use clay to reinterpret my findings and present a meaningful representation of the feeling or essence of the encounter I had with the object. For other artists they are more inclined to retrieve the found object and bring it home to their studio for further investigation and experimentation. The result can be an emphasis of perhaps the anthropomorphic hints seen in the object, create a repeating pattern from a texture or go so far as to completely take the object out context to create an entirely new narrative. Sandy Anton, of Loveladies, is one of those artists that uses found objects to create assembled wall pieces as well as free standing sculptures.

Matt Burton: When did you first show an interest art and then creating art?

Sandy Anton: As a child I loved art but didn’t pursue it in my college or work career. I retired in 2003 and knew that I wanted to explore my creative inclinations. We had been working with the local architect Don Russel, an extraordinary Harvard trained landscape architect, on our home in Loveladies and I was inspired to attend an intensive 6-week Landscape Architecture program at Harvard. That led me doing some landscape designs on the island and using a digital camera. From there I just began to explore other mediums.

MB: Was there a family member or a mentor that inspired you?

SA: Yes, there were a few. My father was a master furrier in the Fur Market in New York City, and he designed fur coats, and taught pattern making at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). I spent a lot of time in his showroom and factory. Around the house he sketched his kids a lot. He was a very expressive confident artist. My paternal grandmother was also a finisher in the fur industry and was a very creative seamstress. My uncle Eddie had a darkroom in his basement where he played around a lot creatively using the family as subjects. Creativity was something that was just a part of our family culture.

MB: How would you describe your style?

SA: Primarily I am a sculptor. I assemble objects that inspire me. Each artifact has a hidden narrative. In general, the objects are very sacred to me in the condition that I find them and I rarely alter them. I work in 3D but not exclusively. When I travel I sketch and do a lot of watercolor. On my most recent trip to Key West this past February I worked with liquid watercolors. It is a medium that I enjoy very much.

MB: Where do you mostly find your found objects?

SA: I’ve collected antiques, objects and ephemera that I was drawn to for at least 20 years prior to becoming an artist. When I travel I especially like to visit shops, estate sales, garage sales “LA


or flea markets. I’ve also held onto objects from the estates of relatives. I’m also known for pulling over and picking up discarded items at the curb. These objects drew me in often because they somehow reminded me of something.

MB: What concerns did you have when ultimately choosing to use found objects as a medium? Were you inspired by other artists?

SA: The history of using found objects in art goes way back to when people collected objects of curiosity and displayed them. I have always been drawn to artists that used readymade in their work like Roberta Marks, Kurt Schwitters, Louise Nevelson, Louise Bourgeois, Cy Twombly, Leonore Tawney, Bisa Butler, Hanelore Baron, Varujan Boghosian, Jasper Johns, Rauschenberg, Hannah Hock, Betty Parsons. Paul Bowen, Jack Whitten, I could go on and on.

Light, color, travel, other artists, objects, ephemera all inspire me. I am constantly inspired and can’t go more than a day or two without doing something creative with my hands. Matt, you recently inspired me when you explained your process of applying glaze by dipping the pottery piece. I incorporated that process into a new body of work that I am making- using vintage and salvaged bottles. During COVID when I couldn’t use my studio at Riker Hill Art Park in Livingston, New Jersey, I started sewing masks which led to an interest in textiles and quilting specifically. It has become a passion and has opened up the world of textile arts to me. Being a resident for the past eight years in a community of 30 mature artists in all disciplines is also a constant source of inspiration. I am also an active member of the Book Arts Roundtable an ever-inspiring group of talented artists that work on the structure and content of handmade books.

MB: How many different mediums have you used?

SA: My favorite of all of the mediums I have worked in by far is printmaking. I worked for a few years at the print center in Branchbrook New Jersey. I also worked in Vermont several summers in the print studio at Bennington College as part of the Art New England program. I have worked with watercolor, acrylic, encaustic, photography both digital and alternate process, collage, assemblage, furniture building, mosaic tile and Book Arts.

MB: What’s the most difficult part of the creative process or the making process?

SA: Getting into the zone of play. I try to work in three

to five hour chunks of time. I stand and walk around and work on multiple pieces at the same time. Movement both of my body in space and of the materials and tools is a key part of seeing the work come together.

MB: As an artist who leans towards abstraction- what do you want the viewer to see in your work or what could a viewer take away from engaging with your work?

SA: I guess I want them to find the work interesting from a compositional perspective. The work should be relatable but also surprising in some way. I think that is a challenging prospect. Art is very personal and subjective. The best thing I might suggest to anyone to broaden their interest in a variety of art is to try to make art. The best part of being an artist to me is that it has taught me to appreciate all kinds of art and craft.

MB: In thinking about your art, what would you say is the thing about Long Beach Island you connect with to most?

SA: I grew up on Long Island (New York) and the shore and boating and fishing were a big part of my family’s leisure activities. I have owned eight sailboats and I love sailing in Barnegat Bay. A constant theme in my work has always been inspired by the shore and all of its visual elements and the activities that I love.

MB: Where do you see your working going? How do you see it changing?

SA: In my 3D work I am interested in working larger and also doing more kinetic work, and more monochromatic works. I would like to explore improvisational quilting. Every time I enter the studio I want to rediscover the joy I get in creating. I want to use new skills and new materials and processes to keep the work fresh.

After viewing Sandy’s art I can not help but do a double take. As a result of her intuitive use of found objects they end up taking on new life - their original contextual meaning is obscured and reinvented. The phrase “One persons trash is another’s treasure” is an escapable thought when contemplating found object art but I might go so far as to say in the case of Sandy’s art it gives us more than “treasure” because of her ability to, not only make something which is physically attractive to look at, but also a new narrative to revisit and interact with in our thoughts. I see it as a gift that keeps giving.

Sandy’s art can be viewed at Solace Studio and Gallery in Surf City.

Wild F lowers

Wildflowers by the Lighthouse. It sounds like the opening line to a fairy tale about a whimsical magical place that couldn’t possibly exist in reality and yet, like all things of a serendipitous nature Wildflowers by the Lighthouse does and is so much more. An amalgamation of a clothing boutique, art gallery and soon to be art studio, Wildflowers has been holding a sacred and creative space for seekers of beauty and art for the last 25 years. A modern-day Renaissance woman Cricket Luker’s passion and artistic vision has bloomed and grown and will soon be cultivating a new generation of artists.

Before her forte into retail she was a crafter, her primary medium was clay and eco printing before eco printing was popular. Picking wildflowers and ferns, while traveling up and down the east coast Wildflowers by Cricket was born. Inspired by the natural world around her Cricket was a frequent participate at the Philadelphia Flower Show and when she finally settled down by Barnegat Light, Wildflowers by the Lighthouse was born. “At the time one of my best friends had a clothing line out of Maine and I started going to shows with her.”

Like all great loves her passion stems from childhood. As a small child she has a fascination with paper dolls and would love dressing them up. As her forte into the world of textiles expanded, she began to fill her store with what she considers wearable art. The clothing within her boutique is meticulously crafted and cannot be found in chain retailers. Crickets’ greatest passion is working with clients and styling them with the beautiful clothing in her store, she even has her own YouTube channel, and her creativity doesn’t stop there.

As Wildflowers by the Light house celebrates 25 years, Cricket encourages all her patrons to join in the celebration with the Art to Wear Fashion Retrospective. On Thursday September 12th Wildflowers by the Lighthouse will be hosting a Retrospective Fashion Show at the Barnegat Light Pavilion. Her clothing boutique is uniquely personal, she has no online retail store and books appoints with her clients. She is creating a personalized

shopping experience for clients to utilize her knowledge and passion and create their own tapestry of wearable art “I love helping women look and feel their best.”

Cricket wanted to create a unique space where she could show case art and provide visitors to LBI a way to take a unique piece of art home with them. Wildflowers Too (her second Barnegat Light location) is a retail store that sells original art, sculpture, pottery, photography, jewelry, and gifts curated by Cricket. Her passion for art and creativity radiates from wall to wall and most importantly she uses her passion to lift other creators up and provide them with a space to let their work shine.

For a time, she was an art teacher and she loved giving lessons, when she stopped teaching and created Wildflowers by the Lighthouse the seeds of teaching are still firmly rooted so much so that she started to offer classes to the local community. Creating community projects, she hosted classes for kids utilizing different art mediums. The children’s park on 10th and Dog Park showcases these community projects.

Not wanting to stop there Wildflowers is still expanding and if the first 25 years are any indication the next will be filled with even more magic. Nestled on 3 acres in the woods in Manahawkin NJ, Wildflowers in the

Woods is an artist’s haven. Natural lighting surrounded by nature in a fully functioning creative space that can accommodate a multitude of mediums it embodies a shared creative vision that many artists have for a haven in which to create.

“For the last year and a half, I have been renovating, re-imagining my studio in Manahawkin. And this summer, it will open as a studio space for working artists of all kinds and as a workshop space where you can share the artforms and creations of a number of exciting, fun artists.” Art builds healthy communities that can come together through creation and healthy expression. By creating this space Cricket is making this beautiful part of New Jersey shine a little brighter and just how Old Barney is a guiding light and glimmer of hope in the sometimes not so certain world so is Wildflowers.


Private appointments are available

410 Broadway Barnegat Light 609 361 8191 609 575 7507

Summer at the

The Long Beach Township Field Station (LBTFS) continues to hone its offerings in order to provide some of the best programming and event space on Long Beach Island. Their efforts focus on the wildlife, ecosystems and environmental initiatives which serve to bolster the local community, and there is truly something everyone will enjoy.

If you watched the 44th Annual Ship Bottom Christmas Parade this past year, you were lucky to catch a glimpse of the Grinch driving, what has become fondly known as, The Oyster Truck. The truck is a symbol of the Field Station’s continued commitment to the health of the natural ecosystem, primarily rooted in strengthening the bay oyster population. The post-consumer shells are collected and used toward bay restoration projects including oyster reefs and bay island shoreline restoration efforts ( LBTFS’s “Follow the Shell Friday” program offers a chance to learn more about the oyster shell recycling coordinated through Long Beach Township and the Jetty Rock Foundation since 2017. Even more local restaurants have joined in the effort to recycle the shells used to create their menu items, so simply visiting these participating restaurants is an easy way to help the cause. A live oyster reef fish tank display at the field station maintained with help from the Stockton Aquarium and Aquaculture Club, along with several other interactive education opportunities at the Field Station, explore how restoring our local oyster population helps the resilience of the bay.

The “Summer Speaker Series” at the Field Station hosts a wide variety of guests discussing ways to incorporate thoughtful changes into your own life and home to be a bit more environmentally friendly. Stop in to learn about sustainable closet practices or changes in weather patterns from a local meteorologist. There are an abundance of hands-on project series, as well, where people can experiment with naturally tye-dying shirts or customizing rain barrels.

Even more emphasis will be placed on family programming this year, partnering with Stockton University, Monmouth University, Alliance for a Living Ocean, and the National Wildlife Refuge, among others. Plant scavenger hunts, crafts, games and even a visit from a mermaid are fun ways to engage children. The weekly “Terrapin Tuesday” program is a chance to focus on one of the Field Station’s most devoted endeavors: the protection of terrapin turtles. Visitors can check out a “turtle corral” as part of the successful Project Terrapin in conjunction with Manahawkin’s MATES, or register online to watch over the nests in their hatchery. There

was great community participation last year in keeping an eye on the road for terrapin hatchlings and nesting mamas, and this summer presents another opportunity to get the word out to even more islanders. With safe nesting habitat becoming more scarce, we need to drive carefully to allow these precious creatures a chance to thrive.

The Field Station’s Clam Cove BYOK guided kayak tours continue to be one of their most popular offerings, providing a chance to explore the bay up close. Similarly, the weather livestream on their website is a fun way to track storms coming across the bay, and it has produced some fascinating data which is also available on their website.

Junior sailors, young kids, college students, researchers, visitors and locals are all invited to experience the thought-provoking and engaging programs at the Long Beach Township Field Station. To stay updated as more offerings come on the calendar, simply sign up for their newsletter. ( or @lbtfieldstation)

A Century-Long Legacy of Adaptation & Resilience

For over a century, the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce has been the backbone of the business community in Southern Ocean Mainland and Long Beach Island (LBI). Since its inception in 1914, the chamber has evolved to meet the changing needs of its diverse membership, demonstrating remarkable adaptability and resilience through various economic climates .

The chamber was founded in an era when Southern Ocean County was largely undeveloped, with its economy primarily driven by agriculture and fishing. Over the decades, the chamber played a pivotal role in transforming the region into a vibrant hub for tourism and business. Early initiatives included supporting local fishing tournaments and being an original sponsor of the Ship Bottom Christmas Parade, which has become a beloved annual tradition.

The chamber’s ability to adapt strategically has been central to its longevity and success. This was evident in the introduction of the Vision 2020 plan, which, conceived in 2017, helped the chamber prepare for unforeseen challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the significant outcomes of this plan was the establishment of the LBI ferry, enhancing regional connectivity and boosting local tourism.

“We always do a strategic plan every few years to ensure we’re accommodating the needs of businesses,” said the Chamber’s CEO. “For instance, our Vision 2020 plan enabled us to stay operational and provide continuous support during the pandemic.”

The chamber’s role during natural disasters has been particularly noteworthy. During Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the chamber swiftly set up an emergency business office in the historic Manahawkin train station, complete with SBA and FEMA representatives to assist local businesses in their recovery efforts. This proactive approach was mirrored during the COVID-19 pandemic, where the chamber provided vital information on health advisories, loans, and operational guidance through a robust digital presence.

Signature events have also been a hallmark of the chamber’s efforts to foster community spirit and economic growth. The Wedding Roadshow, launched 15 years ago, significantly boosted the local wedding industry by attracting couples from across the country. Although the program was sunsetted last year due to escalating costs, its impact on local businesses was profound, prompting expansions and service enhancements to cater to destination weddings. Another staple event, the Chowderfest, initiated in 1989, continues to draw crowds and promote local cuisine, demonstrating the chamber’s ongoing commitment to community-centric activities.

The chamber’s support extends beyond event organization. It actively engages in business advocacy, economic research, and education tailored to the unique needs of a seasonal coastal area. Programs like the nonprofit forums offer no-cost educational resources, ensuring that local nonprofits can thrive alongside businesses.

“We do a lot of low-cost and no-cost programs for businesses that are very customizable,” the CEO explained. “It’s crucial in a seasonal area like ours, where businesses need to maximize their operational periods.”

Looking ahead, the chamber is poised to continue its legacy of innovation and support. A key component of its future strategy is the Southern Ocean Chamber Association, a 501(c)(3) entity established in 2018. This organization aims to expand grant programs and support workforce development, women in business, and other critical areas.

“The future of the chamber relies heavily on aligning with our 501(c)(3) entity,” the CEO emphasized. “This model will help us secure various types of assistance and ensure we meet the evolving needs of our business community as we approach 2030.”

The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce’s rich history of adaptation and resilience has not only sustained it for over 110 years but has also made it a cornerstone of the local business community. From its early days to its current initiatives and future plans, the chamber continues to be a dynamic force for economic development and community well-being in Southern Ocean County and Long Beach Island. As it looks to the future, the chamber remains committed to strategic planning and innovation, ensuring that it will continue to support local businesses for many years to come.




A one night art gala and fundraiser exhibiting work from established artists living and working on Long Beach Island

5:30pm - 8:30pm Preview 4:30pm

art • music • food • cocktails

Participating Artists

Fran Andahazy

Fred Ballet

Matt Burton

David Butler

Kevin Coogan

James Cordasco

Tony diBella

Joanne Dozor

Sally Eisenberg

Sally Evans

Cathleen Engelsen

Joan Gantz

Susan Hennelly

Anne Knife

Sandra Kosinski

Amy Beth Kunze

sponsored by

Alice McEnerny Cook

John Meehan

Steve Miller

Guna Mundheim

Carol Nussbaum

Anita Pfeil

Sue Pohanka

Linda Ramsay

Cortney Sabarese

Julian Schaevitz

Rochelle Schaevitz

Mary Tantillo

Eric Van Der Vlugt

Elizabeth Ventura

John Vlahakis

Anna Yates Krain + others

A Major Facelift

While the beach, miniature golf and ice cream will always reign supreme, sometimes you just need something a little different. Only minutes over the bridge, The Mainland Kitchen and Pub Adventure Park, and Hotel has long been a crowd pleaser. With the major facelift recently completed in their Arcade, the Adventure Park has quickly become even more enticing.

The aerial ropes course and go-kart race track attract a surprising number of adults, making for great corporate team-building and special occasion celebrations, but kids remain the central focus in the Arcade. This year, The Mainland set out to dramatically enhance their indoor entertainment space, increasing their game inventory and designing a specific layout to ensure a comfortable, fun environment.

And it couldn’t be easier to make the most of your experience. There are two self-serve kiosks when you enter the arcade to purchase a card or to pre-load an existing one. Not having the hassle of managing tokens goes a long way with little ones! With floor to ceiling glass windows, it’s a bright, welcoming space, far less overwhelming than your typical arcade. There are games for every age, including nostalgic crowd-pleasers like Pac Man and Skeeball, plus an assortment of modern games that offer an intense, immersive gameplay experience. Of course every kid wants a prize to end their night, so they have curated a great selection of goodies in their fully automated self-serve prize machine.

Open seven days a week year-round, The Mainland Arcade is the perfect place for a family to pop in for an evening. Parents are invited to enjoy a craft beer or specialty cocktail while the kids play. Then everyone can head inside for dinner at The Mainland Kitchen & Pub to experience their menu of elevated classics inspired by fresh, local flavor.

The Mainland Arcade is also a great place to host a birthday party. Their party package allows a full hour of timed play in the arcade followed by an hour in the restaurant—and all with no clean up!

New this summer, The Mainland is offering a monthly Arcade membership. Don’t let rainy days ruin summer vacation with your children! With full protection from unpredictable weather and easy play cards, it’s a great option to delight the little ones in your life when everyone just needs a change of scenery.

As our region’s most exciting indoor attraction, the Mainland Arcade combines with the other Adventure Park courses, a great restaurant and pub, plus comfortable guest rooms to create a true one-stopshop for fun.


Wednesday, August 7

10:30am - 4:30pm Rain or shine

Visit six exquisite homes that capture the essence of LBI and its renowned architects, builders, and interior designers. Make it a day and come with family and friends!

TICKETS sponsored by

photo credit: Jeanette Michelson

Contemporary Meets Coastal

josh ketcham

Running the RED WHITE & BLUE

Thirteen years ago, a spirited group of lifeguards on Long Beach Island sparked a patriotic tradition that has since become a cherished hallmark of local Independence Day celebrations. What began as a small, heartfelt gesture—running the American flag along the shoreline on the 4th of July—has blossomed into a beloved and much-anticipated event. Each year, as the sun rises on the holiday and our lifeguards begin their day’s work, locals and visitors alike gather on their local beaches to witness this vibrant display of national pride. Beachgoers eagerly await the inspiring patriotism, honoring civic duty, and contagious sense of community spirit that have become must-experience highlights on the 4th of July itinerary of our 18-mile-long island, alongside barbecuing and enjoying the evening firework displays.

This humble ritual originally began by running the American Flag along the shore of Holgate back in 2011. However, Fran Campana, Chief of Long Beach Township Beach Patrol, introduced the idea of and spearheaded the first island-wide flag run in 2017, spanning the 18-mile length of Long Beach Island, from Holgate right through to Barnegat Light.

The concept is simple yet profound: on the morning of Independence Day, every July 4th, lifeguards from all six municipalities on the island coordinate running the American flag from lifeguard stand to lifeguard stand beginning in Holgate and heading north, passing it on like an Olympic torch, through each municipality until the flag reaches its final destination in Barnegat Light.

Written by Lisa Simek Photos by Jack Bushko
Honoring LBI Lifeguards’ 4th of July Flag Run Tradition

The journey involves over 100 lifeguards and takes about 2.5 hours to complete; it symbolizes their patriotism, dedication to duty, and the unbreakable bond of our community.

Each year, when the clock strikes 10:00am and the flag run begins in Holgate, lifeguards and beach patrons alike join in on the spirit of celebration. Along the route, spectators cheer, clap, and wave their own American flags, adding to the festive atmosphere. Some even run alongside the lifeguards—dressed in head-to-toe red, white, and blue—their enthusiasm palpable as they honor the stars and stripes. The event is not just about running; it’s about camaraderie and remembrance. Our local lifeguards, who typically compete against each other rather fiercely in the island lifeguard competitions, set aside friendly rivalries to come together for this special occasion. They recognize that, despite representing different towns, they are all part of a unified team with a shared sense of duty and purpose.

In 2022, the flag run took on added significance as two additional flags, symbolizing memorial tributes from Cape May Beach Patrol and Berkeley Township Beach Patrol, honored the two lifeguards who tragically lost their lives in the line of duty at those stations. It was a poignant reminder of the risks lifeguards undertake to protect beachgoers every day.

Even during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the flag run persisted, albeit with necessary adjustments for social distancing. Yet, amidst all the changes, one thing remains constant: the unwavering dedication of the lifeguards to continue this tradition.

As the years pass and awareness of the event grows, Campana shares that there are no plans to expand its fanfare. Its beauty lies in its simplicity—a heartfelt tribute to our country and all who hold its values dear. As the 4th of July approaches once again, the lifeguards of Long Beach Island eagerly anticipate continuing this beloved tradition, embodying the spirit of unity and patriotism that defines our community.

So, if you find yourself on the shores of Long Beach Island this 4th of July morning, be sure to partake in the festivities. Join together with your fellow community members to cheer on our local lifeguards as they proudly carry the American flag up the island, showcasing the values of unity and patriotism that define our nation.

Sail into History

Ahoy, Long Beach Island adventurers looking for a captivating and unique way to enjoy the summer with family and friends. Climbing aboard the Black Pearl Pirate Tours in Beach Haven vows an unforgettable, interactive experience that will delight buccaneers of all ages. This thrilling pirate-themed excursion combines imagination, excitement, and a touch of sea-faring indulgence, ensuring that both children and adults have the time of their lives.

Black Pearl Pirate Tours began sailing the protected waters of Little Egg Harbor in the summer of 2010. Owned and operated by the Camarda Family, who also own the Miss Beach Haven party boat, the Black Pearl pirate ship has become one of LBI’s most popular attractions. It has always been the Camardas’ lifelong dream to offer families a unique, good old-fashioned fun experience to remember and cherish for years to come. Consistently being given the Travelers Choice Award for many years now (the highest honor TripAdvisor can bestow), the family decided to expand their success southward to Marco Island in order to bring this same experience to the Gulf of Mexico, and operate the Black Pearl Pirate Tours in Florida during the cold New Jersey winter months.

The Black Pearl ship was custom-built in Crisfield, Maryland, in 2009 and meets all United States Coast Guard requirements. The spacious vessel is 60 feet long with a 20-foot beam, which offers ample room to enjoy a pirate experience or relax on a sunset cruise. It is powered by twin Volvo 225 hp diesel engines and is equipped with bow and stern thrusters to assist in smooth sailing for any trip. There is a restroom on board, and, of course, a full-service bar for entertainment-filled sunset cruises. As you can see, from the moment guests step foot on the Black Pearl, the adventure begins. The most popular feature, however, is without-a-doubt the water cannon system, featuring 12 cannons used to fend off unfriendly pirates during the daily interactive pirate excursions.

The tour is curated to engage every family member, from the youngest swashbuckler to the most seasoned sea captain, offering a variety of cruise options. The family and children’s specific cruises are particularly popular, providing an energetic and engaging atmosphere. As children get temporary tattoos and don optional pirate attire, they transform into little buccaneers ready for an epic journey on the high seas. The dynamic host engages them with pirate lingo, songs, dances, and

the Black Pearl Pirate Adventures of Historic Beach Haven

games, bringing the fantasy of pirate life to vivid reality. As they set sail for the next hour on bay side of Long Beach Island, they are encouraged to keep their eyes peeled for the notorious Pirate Pete, who has stolen the keys to the treasure chest. The excitement ramps up as Captain Salty and his crew launch into a thrilling water cannon battle with Pirate Pete. Children become part of the adventure, manning the 12 powerful water cannons to defend the ship and reclaim the treasure. It’s a joyous, interactive experience that gets everyone involved and ensures that no one stays dry.

While the young ones are immersed in their pirate adventure, adults may opt to unwind and enjoy the scenic beauty of the bay and all of its wildlife, or opt for the sunset cruise option altogether to avoid the Pirate Pete water cannon fight. The Black Pearl sunset cruise highlights the cocktail bar where one may sip on refreshing beverages while a DJ sets the perfect mood with lively music. The picturesque sunset provides a stunning backdrop, adding a touch of magic to the evening or special occasion.

The Black Pearl Pirate Tours are designed with inclusiv-

ity in mind, making sure that everyone can join the fun. The experience is accessible to all, with accommodations for babies, toddlers, and even family members who require handicap access. It’s an adventure that truly brings the entire family together, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

What sets Black Pearl Pirate Tours apart is the seamless blend of nonstop entertainment and attention to detail. This isn’t just a boat ride; it’s a carefully planned and well-executed experience unique to Long Beach Island. Every element, from the engaging host to the scenic route, is designed to provide an unforgettable adventure that keeps families coming back year after year.

The Black Pearl Pirate Tours offer a captivating blend of excitement, leisure, and family bonding while showcasing the beauty of the bay. Captain Salty, Pirate Pete, and the crew provide a range of experiences, from fun-filled family adventures to serene sunset cruises. This activity presents an opportunity to make lasting memories, share laughter, and embark on an journey that your family will treasure forever within the scenic and engaging atmosphere of Long Beach Island. Anchors aweigh!


The anticipation builds for what promises to be the largest and most impactful local Adaptive Surf Therapy event to date. Scheduled for July 14th on the 68th Street beach in Long Beach Township, this summer marks the 6th year of Waves of Strength, an LBI-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing surf therapy to individuals with special needs. From its grassroots beginnings to a thriving, community-supported operation, Waves of Strength has made remarkable strides in its mission to bring the joy and therapeutic benefits of surfing to all.

Surf therapy, often hailed for its profound physical and cognitive benefits, is more than just a day at the beach. For individuals living with special needs, both physical and cognitive, the ocean offers a unique, healing environment. The rhythm of the waves and the sensory experience of the water can help improve balance, coordination, and muscle strength. On a psychological level, the confidence boost and sense of accomplish-

ment from riding a wave can be life-changing. Participants often experience reduced anxiety, improved mood, and a stronger sense of community. The impact of the Waves of Strength annual event is best expressed by the parents of participants. Here are a few heartfelt quotes:

“Your organization has made my boys feel accepted and “normal” for the past few years. You have adaptive equipment that lets them have fun, feel safe, and feel like they belong! Those are gifts that I can NEVER thank you enough for.” -K.K., Little Egg Harbor, NJ

“Waves of Strength is an event we look forward to every year. My 13yo son with Autism and Down Syndrome absolutely loves the praise he receives when he’s on the board. The volunteers are the absolute kindest people I have ever met, and truly do love our kids. This event builds confidence for my son, as well as my 10yr old daughter who severely lacks self-es-

teem. The volunteers have the patience of saints, and completely understand the needs and wants of each particular child they are with. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this organization and those who run it.” -B.H., Barnegat, NJ

“This year was our third attempt at getting Adam on a surf board. The past few times we tried were a failure; he refused and had multiple meltdowns. I tried not to be upset but I cried out of frustration (needless to say, it was not my best “Mom Moment”). But our family motto is “Just Keep Showing Up,” and that’s what we do. So, we showed up again this year and... it was a HUGE success! The volunteers were amazing. The cheers from the spectators were awesome. And me? I just cried tears of happiness. Watching Adam enjoy the ocean and the waves and all the fun that it can bring to him was

priceless. Thank you! We look forward to “showing up” again next year!” -D.D., Stafford, NJ

In 2024, Waves of Strength was able to expand its reach beyond the summer season. Earlier in the year, the organization held its first Winter event on March 9th at the indoor wave pool within the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, NJ. This style of surf event allowed participants to continue their surf therapy during the colder months, in a controlled and warm environment, ensuring year-round support and enjoyment. Recognizing that some participants need more frequent or tailored support, Waves of Strength now offers one-on-one surf experiences in partnership with Spray Beach Surf School. These sessions cater to individuals who either cannot attend the main summer event or have shown significant progress and wish to continue

their surf therapy regularly. These personalized sessions underscore the organization’s commitment to ongoing support and individualized care, offered at no cost to the participants.

The heart and soul of Waves of Strength lie in its volunteers. The organization is entirely volunteer-run, from the coordinators to the surfers and lifeguards who donate their time and expertise. This dedication is what makes the events so special. Local surfers, passionate about their sport, find immense joy in “sharing the stoke” with participants who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the thrill of surfing. This spirit of generosity and enthusiasm is infectious, creating a supportive and uplifting atmosphere.

“Sharing the stoke,” a phrase commonly heard among the volunteers, truly encapsulates the essence of Waves of Strength. They day is about spreading joy, overcoming challenges, and building connections through the power of the ocean.

The growth of Waves of Strength has been fueled by the generosity of the local community. Sponsorships

and donations from the small businesses and residents have been instrumental in the organization’s ability to operate at no cost to those in need. As they look to scale and impact more families, Waves of Strength is also seeking partnerships with larger corporations that have philanthropic budgets. These partnerships are crucial for expanding their reach and enhancing their program. For more information, please visit www.WavesofStrength. org or email

This year’s event on July 14th is not just a surf therapy session; it’s a community celebration. Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to come out and cheer on the participants. It’s a day filled with positivity, support, and sheer joy—a testament to the good in people. Many now refer to this day as “the best day of the year,” a fitting catchphrase that captures the spirit of the event.

Waves of Strength invites everyone to witness the transformative power of surf therapy and be a part of a beautiful community event. Come and experience firsthand how the ocean’s waves can bring strength, healing, and happiness to those who need it most.

July 14, 2024 | 8am-1pm @ 68th Street beach in Long Beach Township

Thank you to the entire LBI community, volunteers and local business sponsors for your continued support of our mission.

“The ocean has the power to heal.”

Waves of Strength is a nonprofit organization based in Long Beach Island that empowers individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities by giving them the opportunity to experience the therapeutic benefits of surfing. Since 2019, our 501(c)(3) nonprofit has hosted an annual Adaptive Surf Therapy event, free of charge, uniting the local surf community with families in need. Join us in spreading the joy and healing power of the ocean!

Photos by LJ Hepp

From Generation to Generation

G. Anderson Agency has been helping families find their dream beach homes for nearly six decades.

For many families on the island, vacationing on LBI is a summer tradition, a memory-making occasion passed on from generation to generation. Behind the scenes of these summer traditions is G. Anderson Agency, a full-service real estate agency that helps renters and residents alike find their perfect beach home. Started in 1967 by Gil Anderson alongside his family and associates, the business was built up over the decades around one core philosophy: prioritizing care over commissions. Recently, G. Anderson celebrated a milestone event in passing ownership of the agency to Matt Kulinski and Heather Supchak, a husband-and-wife team who have been with the agency for over two decades. Matt’s career in real estate started with a job interview back in 2001. Matt had spent his childhood summers on LBI, and moved to the island full time during college. In search of a job, he responded to an ad in the newspaper calling for a realtor. The catch? Matt had no real estate experience to speak of, but he showed up for the interview anyway. As they say, skills can be taught, but character is inherent—Matt’s hospitable personality, can-do attitude and roll-up-his-sleeves work ethic was a perfect fit for G. Anderson Agency. He was offered a job at the agency and began the process of becoming a licensed real estate agent. “Twenty-three years later,

that interview was the first and only job interview I’ve been on in my life,” Matt says.

A year later, Heather, who had been living and working in northern NJ for the Department of Justice while she and Matt were dating, moved to LBI. After meeting the G. Anderson family, she saw something special in the company and knew she had to join the agency as well. In a career pivot, Heather became a licensed real estate agent and started a new career with the company. “The Anderson family was gracious enough to take a chance on us, and we have had a strong relationship for more than 20 years – we truly feel like part of the extended Anderson family,” Heather says.

For the next two decades, Matt and Heather learned directly from Gil and his children, Terry Taylor and husband Dan Taylor and Andy Anderson, who all served in various leadership and sales positions in the company. In 2019, when the Anderson family was beginning to plan for the future of the company after their retirement, Matt was offered the position of Office Manager, with a handshake agreement that the company’s leadership would eventually transition to him and Heather when the time was right.

On January first of this year, the official transition was complete, with Matt now serving as Broker of Record and Heather as co-owner of the business. “Matt and I were born and raised in this family environment in the real estate business. It’s the perfect time to step in and continue on with the family traditions. The agency truly went from one family to another, and we are proud to continue on the Anderson legacy,” Heather says. Matt and Heather aren’t the only long-timers with the agency—the average tenure of the agents at G. Anderson is 15 years, with some agents having been with the office as long as 40 years. “Our tagline is ‘Your LBI real estate partners,’ which fits the bill exactly. We’re your informational base, we are your touchstone to becoming a LBI resident,” Matt says.

Quality service is a constant, and with 16 seasoned agents on staff, in addition to a full-time front desk team, the agency is fully equipped to handle the yearround flow of real estate sales, and the summer rush of rental season.

The large office staff is a must-have when it comes to the rental industry. “We’re the largest rental agency on the island,” Matt says. “Running a successful rental business is time consuming, it’s very labor intensive, and you need a large support staff to make it run smoothly.” And smoothly is an understatement when it comes to G. Anderson’s rental business.

Different than their real estate arm of the business, which serves LBI and surrounding communities, G. Anderson specializes in rentals strictly on LBI. From short-term, week-long rentals, to renting out homes for the summer, G. Anderson has the rental business equation down to a science, using technology to create a seamless client experience.

“Every single house that is listed on our website has been vetted in person,” Matt explains. “Every house must meet our criteria if someone wants to list with us. If it’s up to our standard, we’ll have professional photos taken and work to create a listing on our interactive website. If it’s not up to par, we’ll suggest a list of actions a homeowner could take that will spruce it up to fit the criteria.”

This intensive up-front process benefits both the homeowner and the renter; the homeowner gets the benefit of listing on G. Anderson’s user-friendly site; the renter can rest easy knowing what they see is what they get. “It’s the security of knowing you’re booking safely,” Matt explains.

In an era where scammers prey on folks looking for a deal on Facebook or other social media channels, there can be a real possibility of encountering a fake listing online. Matt and Heather recall a few incidents over the years where families have come to their Haven Beach office looking for a last-minute rental after realizing the house they paid for online was not at all what they expected.

The same goes for popular home rental sites. When booking through these sites, one may think they’ve scored a good deal, only to be hit with fees upon fees when it comes time to input credit card information. “Our fees are transparent. Nothing is hidden and there are no taxes,” Matt says.

Taking service to the next level, every single renter works with a G. Anderson agent who will serve as the person’s LBI concierge. Locked out or have an unexpected issue with the house? Need recommendations on the best family-friendly spots around town? G. Anderson has you covered.

“We’re not interested in just completing a transaction,” Matt explains. “We’re interested in creating and investing in a relationship. One of the many reasons for G. Anderson’s success is we are serious about putting the clients first.”

G. Anderson prides itself on its generations of repeat business. “It started with grandparents renting directly from Gil—then our agents saw their children grow and grandchildren grow up, and they saw our own kids grow up, too,” Heather says. “It’s a testament to what Gil started, its trickled down. We’ve had the same clients for decades.”

Oftentimes, it’s the very same renters and current rental owners who come to the agency when it’s time to buy or sell a house on the island or surrounding communities. “Buying is completely different than renting, there’s a lot to think about,” Matt explains. “Our agents have the local Island knowledge and can explain the nuances of owning a home on a barrier island. To us, it’s about putting clients in the right houses, and we have the experienced agents to do that.”

Moving forward, Matt and Heather plan to continue to grow G. Anderson Agency, capture market share and “just do it better every day.” “It’s easy to come and enjoy this beautiful island, that why we’re here, to help families do the same. I just turned 50, and this is my plan for the next 50 years,” Matt says.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.