Peter Cook

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Cottages and Mansions of the Jersey Shore

Rutgers University Press

The Jersey Shore is many things to many people. It is 127 miles of sand and surf, a sanctuary of untamed marshlands and endless dunes, a home to kitschy boardwalks, quirky shops, pulsing casinos, and countless examples of offbeat culture. But, above all, it is a powerful repository of nostalgia. The local historical societies are filled with photographs and memoirs describing what has been lost, landmarks razed, houses demolished, and beaches terminally eroded. Sometimes it seems that the inexorable drive of development is well on its way to eradicating all traces of the fabulous, frivolous, and magical summer places that were once linked like jewels in a necklace from Sandy Hook to Cape May.

In this delightful collection of personal accounts, historical anecdotes, and gorgeous photographs, Caroline Seebohm and Peter C. Cook cast a fresh eye on the dazzling array of quaint cottages, quirky bungalows, and splendid mansions that generation after generation have chosen as their summer homes. They explore the grand nineteenth-century palaces of Spring Lake and Bay Head, the private mansions of Deal and Allenhurst, and the charming surprises of Cape May Point. Through the cooperation of local residents, they also provide a rare look into some of the most secret and elusive private homes.

From wrap-around porches, to elaborate gables, to wooden turrets that offer stunning views, this book showcases all the fascinating and eclectic architecture that makes the Jersey Shore the beautiful, classy, tough, and diverse place that it is. It is an exquisite reminder that, for many, this storied coastline has been and continues to be, above all, the backdrop of their most blissful memories of summer.

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