Brielle, A Community by the River

Brielle had such a charming beginning.....

Brielle New Jersey had its beginning in 1881, when the Land Association purchased 150 acres of farmland with the intent to sell lots for vacation homes. Its lovely name was a brainstorm of one of the developers, who had just visited Holland and the area reminded him of the pretty coastal towns he had seen there. Among them was a lovely town called Brielle, and he decided that was a perfect name for the new vacation resort town being developed.

Because of its waterfront charm, and perhaps because of its charming name, the town began to flourish as a resort.

And it continues to charm

Today, Brielle is a vibrant residential community with more than its share of New York City commuters, but the local industry is still very tied to the water and the waterfront. Its marinas have more than 200 commercial and charter fishing boats, seafood restaurants abound, and of course there is a busy and lively pleasure boat fleet.

Unlike most of the coastal towns on the Jersey Shore, this shore town does not have it obligatory expanse of Oceanfront beach; the town rises up above the lovely Manasquan River. This is actually a good thing for the boating community, since once you make it through the mouth of the Manasquan Inlet, you are in smooth protected waters, with ample fuel docks and services.

A River runs through it to... the ocean

But the visitors or residents who want to soak their toes in the surf or luxuriate in the sand are not put off by the fact that this town is not an ocean beach town. The lovely Manasquan River brings boaters out to the ocean quickly and easily, and the great beaches of Point Pleasant and Manasquan are only a quick car or bike ride away.

There is even a bike trail that leads directly from the center of town to Manasquan Beach.

Biking is a popular activity, and the Manasquan bike trail is part of the Capital to the Coast trail, and so also goes inland to Allaire State Park. If you really get tired of the beach (is that possible?), you can pack a picnic and head to this lovely park with its restored village. 

As we said, one of the big attractions of this lovely town, besides its beauty and lovely setting, is the boating. This is where serious fishermen congregate, and fishing tournaments abound. You can take a headboat out for a day or half day of fishing, or you can charter a beautiful sports fisherman for the ultimate in fishing pleasure.

Most of the shoretowns that are living, breathing communities, and do not cater to tourists, actually make the best spots for a vacation, in many people's minds. The relaxed atmosphere, lack of crowds and noise, and the feeling of belonging make these towns great places to kick back and relax. One of the problems with not being a tourist destination, however, is that there is a scarcity of hotels and motels. B&Bs can usually fill the gap, but one of the nicest aspects of an old seashore community is the private homes and cottages that are rented out in the summer.

The locals do eat, however, so the town has it share of good restaurants, many with a seafood slant, given all the local fishing boats (the River House, Shipwreck Grill, Mariner's Cove and the Sand Bar) the stunning Brielle River House, famous for its raw bar and spectacular desserts, as well as the old Jersey Shore standby, Italian restaurants (Due Amici, Jimmy's Cucina).

For a wonderful, down home, relaxing vacation, try a week in a cute little cottage in Brielle, take a five minute bike ride to the beach in Manasquan each day and sit with your feet up on the porch enjoying the river breeze at the end of the day. It doesn't get much better than this.

Return from Brielle to Best Beaches

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