2018 Seashore Open House Tour on LBI Is a Sockfest

By RICHARD DODD | Aug 08, 2018
Photo by: Richard Dodd Three pairs of colorful socks were a rare sight on the house tour. Socks are required for admission into some of LBI’s most distinctive homes.

Ominous cloud formations and sheets of rain threatened the Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts and Sciences’ 2018 annual Seashore Open House Tour on Wednesday, Aug. 1. Homes adorned by designer interior treatment petitioned the sun gods to make a grand entrance. As chronicled in the ancient book of LBI, the gods smiled and cast sunshine over the entire Island and, of course, the six featured residences. These dream homes promised to share stories with visitors of how homeowners, architects, builders and others created Island magic.

This gala fundraising event attracted close to 650 participants. With tickets ranging from $40 for advance purchases to $45 for same-day, this would be the singular most significant fun-raising event of the year for LBIF. In addition to ticket sales, a rather innocuous source of additional revenues would take a foothold. More to follow.

The rules for visiting these homes required respect for the properties, no cell phone use or picture taking, and the mandatory wearing of socks.

At the entrance to each house was a sign, “Socks $1.” A large plastic storage container was filled with, you guessed it, socks. They were rather pedestrian black, white and gray variants. Of those who did not have the foresight to bring their own foot coverings, men grabbed basic black or white socks and entered. Women and girls, dressed in colorful light beach clothes, frowned, grimaced and lamented their bad luck in having to wear frumpy socks. Others had a daring plan.

This was my inaugural house tour volunteer day as I joined over 200 other docents. I took my position in House #6 in Ship Bottom on the fourth floor. Midway through the mid-afternoon shift, my mind wandered. How many times could I say with passion, “This room is multi-purpose with configurable furniture and artwork that are both functional and attractive?”

My mind began to shift as I lost focus. Instead of looking at visitors, I stared at their feet. Did I have latent sock fetish tendencies? Maybe.

I began a little game reminiscent of searching for out-of-state license plates as a kid on vacation. Then it happened. A parade of socks with personality made their way past me. Could it be that some adventurous visitors decided to engage in a colorful sock pageant?

I smiled and said, “You could win the best socks on the tour award.” The three ladies smiled and nodded. “We were hoping that someone would notice them.”

“This may sound weird, but could you model them as I take a picture?”

They laughed and did their best Rockettes, make that Sockettes, imitation. Had they done this before?

After the shift, I visited two spectacular homes on the oceanside in Barnegat Light and three on the bayside, in Loveladies, North Beach and Surf City. Yet my favorite memory was the sock parade. Perhaps there will be a sock contest in next year’s open house tour for the prettiest, frumpiest and most original socks. 

Richard Dodd, a freelance writer from Long Beach Township, is a LBIF member and volunteer with ReClam the Bay.








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