Tuckerton Seaport Adds Ferry to Cap Sucessful Year

Nov 14, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill The Pohatcong II passenger ferry sets sail from the Tuckerton Seaport to the Beach Haven Taylor Avenue docks.

The Tuckerton Seaport’s ferry to Beach Haven launched earlier this month, capping a successful 18th year for the re-created maritime village and museum.

The ferry, the Pohatcong II, a 28-passenger pontoon boat, passed its Coast Guard inspection and has been operating for the past two Sundays, to the delight of passengers.

“We had super weather. One of the couples last Sunday went to Buckelew’s (in Beach Haven) and then the Ship Bottom Brewery. They had a great time,” said Seaport Executive Director Brooke Salvanto in her report at the Seaport’s annual meeting on Nov. 8.

On Saturdays, the ferry was utilized for eco-tours up and down the Tuckerton Creek.

Captains George Ward, Charlie Roth and Dike Gouldey and tour director Josh Gan will be back for next year’s full schedule.

The passenger ferry is a project of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce’s “Downtown Driven Program and Water Ferry Committee” with representatives of Beach Haven, Tuckerton, Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum, and the Ocean County Planning Department who made the dream of a passenger ferry a reality.

The bay crossing takes about an hour and two minutes, said Salvanto, and will operate a full schedule from July 4 through Labor Day. She hopes parents with teens who have jobs in Beach Haven will get a break from having to drive across the bridge twice a day during the summer tourist season.

“It’s also possible that accommodations on the ferry will be made for bikes, surfboards and dogs, said Salvanto. “Little dogs,” she clarified. The ferry will also be used as a floating classroom and sunset cruises.

On land, the Seaport’s biggest accomplishment was the stabilization of the Andrews/Bartlett Homestead, a building that has weathered many nor’easters and sheltered one of the first families of the area. It’s said that some of the original foundation may have been part of Mordecai Andrew’s farm and could have been built by another early settler, Daniel Shourds.

According to Leah Blackman’s History of Little Egg Harbor, originally published in 1880, Shourds, the owner of the mill in Tuckerton, built the Andrews house.

Blackman notes, “In the year 1715 there was on the easterly side of the creek the Friend’s meeting house, the grist mill and Edward Andrew’s Farm house, and on the westerly side of the stream, Mordecai Andrews, Sr.’s farmhouse, and there might have been a few more settlers.”

The Seaport received a grant that allowed it to reshingle and paint the outside and clean up the inside that had extensive damage from vandals, varmints and weather. Two years ago, the brick fireplace had collapsed inside the building while the chimney remained.

The Seaport is searching for more grants to continue the restoration and is working on the certificate of eligibility for it to be on the historic registry, said Salvanto.

Another attraction finished this year is the Blacksmith’s Shop, built by volunteers and inmates from the Ocean County Department of Corrections.

OceanFirst Bank gave a grant to the Seaport for a children’s camp this summer and the Seaport started a kayaking program run by students from the Marine Academy of Technology and Science (MATES). In addition, through a partnership with Stockton University’s Noyes Musuem, “The Noyes opened their vault and let us display their decoys,” reported Salvanto.

Another partnership was with the Tuckerton Historical Society, which leant some artifacts for the “Turn of the Century Tuckerton” exhibit. “The schoolchildren had fun finding out who lived on their street and what kind of work they did,” said Salvanto.

Pines Shores Artist Association fills two galleries with seasonal artwork, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts gave a grant for folk artists to visit the homebound with projects.

The Seaport gives back to the community in many ways. The Seaport Stitchers created tiny hats for newborns for the America Heart Association, site manager Connor McIntyre grew the community garden that gave fresh vegetables to the Tuckerton Food Pantry, and the free library has given out over 1,000 books already, said Salvanto.

And festivals kept the communities of Tuckerton and Little Egg Harbor hopping.

“We added a chainsaw event to our programs and all our old favorites plus some new are back for 2019,” said Salvanto. The Fire and Ice, Food Trucks and Fireworks event is on for New Year’s Day. The Carve Wars Chainsaw Competition is on May 4 and 5 and includes a new “Truckerton Food Truck Sandwich Showdown.” A new Arts and Craft Beer Festival is planned for May 25 and 26. The Baymen’s’ Seafood and Music Festival returns on June 22 and 23 followed by the July 4 celebration. Close on its heals is Truckerton with a Side of Bacon on July 6 and 7. Privateers and Pirates Family Fun day is July 27 and then fall returns with the 37th annual Ocean County Decoy and Gunning Show. Halloween wouldn’t be half as fun without the Haunted Seaport for four frightful nights. The Lighthouse Challenge and Christkindlmarkt round out the year.

Which reminds Salvanto, the Festival of Trees is going to be in the Tucker’s Lighthouse this year during and after Christkindlmarkt, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Features include 50 holiday craft and gourmet food venders in a heated tent, children’s crafts and folklife demonstrators in the Seaport buildings, a row of blacksmiths making iron gifts plus horse and wagon rides.

“We build communities – and boats,” said Salvanto as she remembered the build a garvey program.

The meeting included the trustees election and returned James Allen, Jeff Daum and David Roth to their positions and welcomed Nikki Loesch-Hechelmann as a trustee.

— Pat Johnson





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