A Victorian Inn By the Sea

The Gables Inn
212 Centre Street
History:  Henry Hudson’s ship, the Half Moon, passed the island in 1609.  The island was settled in 1690 as a hunting destination. North of the island, Barnegat Inlet was famous for whaling for 200 years. Although a few farmers’ cows roamed around eating grass, the island was mainly settled as a tourist destination because of the beautiful ocean waters lapping on its shore.  Businessman Archelaus Pharo bought 666-acre Long Beach Island for $243.00, and added a railroad spur so people could get there more easily.  Pharo’s daughter named it Beach Haven.  It has continued to grow as a preferred vacation spot since these humble beginnings.
 This area has a storied maritime history.  Turbulent waters over the years have been responsible for over five thousand shipwrecks, dubbing this part of the ocean the “graveyard of the Atlantic.”  It was also the inspiration for the book, “Jaws,” when in 1916, a University of Pennsylvania student, Charles Vansant, only 25 years old, was eaten by a great white.  In the next two weeks, the shark killed a 27-year-old bellhop, a ten-year-old boy, and a local man.  He also bit off the legs of 14-year-old Joseph Dunn.  A while later, an 8 foot great white shark was pulled from the New Jersey waters with human remains in his stomach. 
The Gables Inn was built in 1892 as a cottage for lifeguards who worked on the beach a block and a half away.  For a short time, it was a postal drop and also served as a boarding house for girls.  Of course, the antiquity of the inn invites its share of ghost stories and adds character to the already historic inn.
The Gables
The Gables has only five guest rooms, but that is part of its charm.  It is cozy all over from its beautiful Victorian shingles and gables to its outstanding restaurant.  Rooms have slanted ceilings, old time wallpaper and wide board floors.  Each room is a work of art from the Victorian era.  Romance abounds.  Each has a working fireplace, period furniture, full updated baths, wide board floors and a sense of history.
The large windows give a lovely view to the street below.
The Gables, on the list of the 1000 great places to stay nationwide, has its share of accolades from other prestigious organizations.  Wedding Wire gave it the Brides Choice Award.  Trip Advisor awarded the inn with a Certificate of Excellence.  Food awards include Open Table, which gave it the Diner’s Choice award and Zagat, which gave it an excellent rating.  In addition, Happening Magazine placed it on its list as a “Most Romantic Jersey Shore Restaurant. 
Food: Dine in the award winning restaurant- no need to seek out any gourmet restaurants, as there is one right here where you are staying.  Dine under the stars in the garden, in the beautiful Victorian dining room or outside on the front porch where you are surrounded by flowers and smells of the sea.  It is an easy vantage point to people watch.
The menu is superb gourmet food that changes with the seasons so food is at its freshest.  We visited in the summer, so our menu had lots of fresh summer fruits and vegetables.  There are so many delectable choices; it is difficult to choose.  Our very helpful and courteous server suggested the “Grazing Menu,” which offers an ample two small plates of appetizers (we had cold melon soup and a delicious duck pate) followed by a first course (we had some delectable pasta) followed by two delicious entrees- one fish and one meat.  We were so full, we didn’t even have room for the two desserts offered, which looked amazing!
Your stay comes with a delicious full breakfast that often includes egg dishes and a specialty pancake or waffle entrée. It also has delicious rolls and pastries as well as a bottomless cup of coffee or tea.
Things To Do:  You are only walking distance (or biking distance) away from the powdery beaches for which this island is famous.  The streets surrounding the inn are filled with funky and interesting shops and eateries, just a few blocks away.  Need I remind you of all the seafood restaurants from which to choose? There is even an amusement park for family fun.  Trust me, there are a myriad of activities to keep you and your family occupied and happy. The Gables is so well situated, your two legs are all you need to see the sights of this adorable beach town.  Don't forget to enjoy Happy Hour at one of the local outdoor bars where casual is a way of life.
Getting Here:  This is a driving destination resort area.  Just set your GPS and go.  I started from southern Connecticut and it took me three hours.  It is pretty close to Atlantic City if you like the lure of casinos and shows.
What I Think:
Everybody bikes here!  The terrain is flat and easily negotiable for the whole family.  And if you don’t bike, walk.  Beach Haven is a real vacationland full of great things to do.  There is miniature golf, rides, the beach, a maritime museum, boating and golf. When to visit?  Anytime but winter.
One of my favorite things to do was to amble along the streets and look at the beautiful houses.  Almost every house has a porch and a set of rocking chairs.  Soft ocean breezes were a natural cooling system.  I loved it here.