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Manasquan, N.J.: A Beach Town Where Kids ‘Have a Little More Freedom’

When Fabricio and Amy Pazmino began occupied with leaving their home in Colts Neck, N.J., to maneuver somewhere on the Jersey Shore, they immediately considered a spot where that they had spent several comfortable post-college summers, packed into small beach bungalows with friends for season-long rentals.

After nearly five years of searching — and repeatedly being outbid — the Pazminos finally found their beach house this 12 months: a four-bedroom, four-bath home in Manasquan, near the Glimmer Glass inlet, that they bought for $970,000.

The colonial-style house, which they moved into in March with their three daughters, was in-built the Seventies, but they check with it as a “post-Sandy home,” since it is one in all many on this oceanfront borough that were severely damaged and rebuilt after the hurricane swept up the coast in 2012.

That storm set in motion a process that has modified the image of this formerly funky beach town. Less than 10 years later, an influx of city people in search of refuge during Covid helped cement the Monmouth County borough’s more polished image.

“It’s a bit of more high-end than after we were here before,” said Ms. Pazmino, 49, an administrative director at NYU Langone Health.

“But it still maintains that small beach-town feel that brought us here in the primary place,” said Mr. Pazmino, 50, the chief financial officer of Princeton Orthopaedic Associates.

Michael Mangan, a lifetime resident of Manasquan, haswatched his hometown change over time — especially through the last decade, as this borough of near 6,000 year-rounders (a population that triples through the summer) has absorbed a wave of recent full-time residents. Mr. Mangan, who has been a borough council member for 16 years and is now running for mayor, said the query on most individuals’s minds is, “How will we keep Manasquan what it at all times was?”

“We’re trying to search out ways to keep up the small-town charm,” continued Mr. Mangan, 39. “There’s plenty of nostalgia for those bungalows, but persons are aware that those older homes are going to get replaced by latest, greater homes. Change is inevitable.”

Still, asked what they like best about Manasquan, many individuals paint a nostalgic picture.

“Their parents should not going to see those kids for the remainder of the day,” said William Feehan, 52, an actual estate agent with Re/Max Revolution, pointing to a few boys riding their bicycles to the beach, surfboards in tow, on a recent July morning.

“It’s a superb lifestyle for youths to be raised in,” said Mr. Feehan, who has two teenage stepsons and has lived in Manasquan for eight years. “Everyone’s very energetic, on their boats, bikes, fishing. There’s a reasonably good likelihood you’re going to have some knowledge of the water, whether it’s browsing or sailing or simply recreational.”

Leaning into that water culture, Andy Manser, a third-generation resident, teaches seventh-grade math at Manasquan Elementary School through the school 12 months and runs Paddle Out, a paddle-board and kayak rental shop, through the summer together with his brother, Brian Manser. The brothers bought the constructing just after Hurricane Sandy, when it was immersed in nearly five feet of water, and renovated it before opening for business the next 12 months.

Five years ago, Andy Manser and his wife, Kim, now each 40, paid $720,000 for a three-bedroom Dutch colonial that backs as much as Mac’s Pond, a man-made body of water where teenagers ice skated when his parents were young, he said. Now he and his wife are ushering within the fourth generation of Mansers to the Manasquan lifestyle, with three children of their very own.

“My 13-year-old and his friends see Paddle Out as a house base. They stop by to assist out, or grab an ice pop, then head back to the beach,” Mr. Manser said. “In Manasquan, they’ve a bit of more freedom than in some in other areas. That’s the cool part about growing up here.”

Manasquan is on the southern end of Monmouth County, covering 2.53 square miles, but almost half of that’s water. The quite a few creeks, ponds and waterways that lead out to the Manasquan Inlet offer extensive docking sites and waterfront views, in addition to easy accessibility to the Atlantic Ocean.

Running north-south, Route 71 connects Manasquan to many neighboring shore towns, and unofficially divides the borough between the beach side and what is taken into account the historic district, west of Route 71, where a number of the larger, Victorian-era houses are found. Intersecting Route 71 is Main Street, with a busy and eclectic shopping and restaurant district. During Covid, the borough began closing Main Street to traffic one or two evenings per week, and that practice has remained in place.

Mr. Mangan, the borough council member, estimated that some 60 percent of Manasquan’s homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy, leading to quite a few knockdowns and rebuilds, especially between Route 71 and the beach.

That has been a boon for business for Neil Ducharme, 47, who moved to Manasquan from Rhode Island 20 years ago. Mr. Ducharme, the president of Ralco Builders, said he has built or renovated 75 to 100 homes within the borough.

That hasn’t made him popular with some residents, he said, noting that he’s “gotten tortured” in town’s Facebook site, Overheard in Manasquan. “There’s been blowback on knocking older buildings down and ruining history,” he said. “But on the opposite side, we’re creating latest places for other people to have the ability to come back here.”

The beach-shack vibe hasn’t completely disappeared from Manasquan. In the blocks closest to the shore, tightly packed bungalows — often two to rather a lot — are rented to large groups of young people through the summer, perpetuating the borough’s repute as a celebration town.

For the past 10 years, the borough has had an “Animal House” ordinance that imposes penalties for noise and nuisance violations, Mr. Mangan said, nevertheless it’s rarely enforced.

Housing prices have increased dramatically in Manasquan for the reason that pandemic, said Patricia Florkowski, an actual estate agent with Re/Max. As she put it, “If you may get a house 10 minutes from the beach for lower than $1 million, that’s the magic number.”

But Manasquan remains to be considered something of a bargain, she noted, compared with nearby Monmouth County shoreline towns like Sea Girt and Spring Lake.

As of mid-August, there have been 33 homes available on the market, from a beachfront property with back and front houses and a complete of 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, listed for $3.4 million, to a 920-square-foot one-bedroom cottage in-built 1912, listed for $569,000.

According to information provided by Monmouth Ocean Regional Realtors, 38 homes sold in Manasquan this 12 months through Aug. 7, at a mean price of $1.455 million — a 25 percent increase over the common sale price of $1.159 million through the same period in 2022, when 52 homes sold.

Rental opportunities are largely limited to whole houses, which might go for as much as $15,000 per week in the summertime. During the off-season, more modest houses rent for $2,000 to $3,000 a month.

Manasquan is all about summer. On Wednesday evenings, a whole bunch of volleyball players meet on the beach to compete at greater than 20 nets as a part of Gee-Gee’s Volleyball League. On Thursday nights, the motion shifts to the inlet, where people gather to observe the weekly fireworks display placed on by neighboring Point Pleasant Beach.

Most nights, the faculty and post-college crowd will be found lining up outside the Osprey Night Club on First Avenue, or round the corner at Leggetts Sand Bar.

Dogs are allowed to go off-leash at Fisherman’s Cove, a 55-acre conservation area with a sandy inlet beach, where fishing and swimming are also allowed.

Students in prekindergarten through eighth grade attend Manasquan Elementary School, where 517 students were enrolled within the 2021-22 school 12 months. For ninth through twelfth grade, they move on to Manasquan High School, which had about 970 students in 2021-22.

The highschool, which also enrolls students from seven neighboring communities, offers 21 Advanced Placement courses and five career-focused fields of study in finance, health, engineering, performing arts and public safety. The average SAT scores in 2021-22 were 566 in reading and writing and 552 in math, compared with state averages of 538 and 532.

Private school options in the realm include two Catholic schools serving students in prekindergarten through eighth grade: Saint Peter School, in Point Pleasant Beach, and St. Catharine School, in Spring Lake.

Driving to New York City, about 63 miles north, can take between and hour and a half and two hours, depending on traffic.

During rush hour, New Jersey Transit offers direct service to Penn Station in Manhattan, a visit that takes a bit of lower than two hours; the remainder of the day, the trip requires changing trains in Long Branch, N.J., and takes a bit of over two hours. Tickets cost $16.75 a method or $480 for a monthly pass.

New Jersey Transit also offers bus service, which takes three and a half hours and requires two switches, in Asbury Park and Freehold; one-way tickets cost $20.85, and monthly passes are $470.

Squan Beach Life Saving Station No. 9 was established in 1902 by volunteers, to avoid wasting shipwreck victims. In the Nineteen Thirties, it became a part of the United States Coast Guard, continuing to perform sea-rescue missions until it was decommissioned in 1996. The borough bought the constructing in 2000 for $1; today, it houses a museum with artifacts recovered from the ocean floor by the New Jersey Historical Divers Association.

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