Updated: Aug 14, 2021
Former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Clark DeLeon regular wrote about Strathmere, calling it the "Undisclosed Location." For the entirety of its existence Strathmere has lacked an official identity, because it's never formally existed as a town or borough or city. First, it was part of Sea Isle City and then sold off to Upper Township to pay a debt. Even the water tower has an identity crises (see below).
Upper Township wouldn't let go of the town or its taxes.
After a lengthy legal battle, in 2010 the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled against the town of Strathmere in its quest to secede from Upper Township and re-join Sea Isle City. Where once the township didn't receive much benefit from the land from a tax standpoint, the value of the land has increased and so have the township's coffers.
Strathmere residents had argued they were being neglected by the township. Despite 83 percent of the registered voters in the Strathmere area signing a petition to secede and launching a legal suit, the township fought back. In 2010 along, the township projected that it would lose 17.5 percent of its $2.4 billion tax base if Strathmere left. Additionally, $4 million would be lost annually in township school taxes.
Barely a block wide at some points
Like Sea Bright and Bay Head on the northern Shore, Strathmere is so skinny that the ocean nearly meets the bay for more than half of the length of the town. Standing at the high point of a walkway over the critically needed, rebuilt sand dunes, you can see easily both the ocean and the Strathmere Bay.
Because of the width of the city, the telephone/electric poles along the Commonwealth area are a defining feature of the city much like they are in Sea Bright.
Concerns about crowds and noise in Strathmere section
Unlike the park beach across the inlet, the Strathmere Natural Area of the park allows boaters to moor right off shore. Even on a weekday in the summer, there are boats, jet skis, kayaks and canoes whizzing back and forth among families wading and swimming at the calming bayside/inlet beach.
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Earlier this year, Township Committeeman Curtis Corson -- a descendant of the settlers for which the inlet is named -- met with state park officials, asking them to address what he considers a lack of enforcement of excessive alcohol consumption. He said the state promised to fix the signs on the Strathmere side of the park and look into the landing of boats on the beach, which gets crowded on summer weekends.
(From the vantage point of the beachfront or boardwalk, this is a breezy overview of what you see, where to park and beach access, plus a bit or history and the latest happenings. See map below.)
How Strathmere got its name
At the turn of the 20th century, Sea Isle City owned all of the island of which it is now only a part. To pay off a municipal debt in 1905, Sea Isle City sold the land known as Strathmere for $31,500 to Upper Township. In 1912, based on a local naming contest, the community of Corsons Inlet was renamed Strathmere. There are different variations of what the name means. According to Wikipedia, Strathmere is named after the whales that would periodically beach themselves there. According to theshoreblog.com, Strathmere means "strand by the sea."
Tips for visiting Strathmere/Upper Township
What's New: In response to the pandemic, The Deauville Inn has substantially increased outdoor dining options. It's by far the largest restaurant in Strathmere.
Access and Parking: From Ocean City, take Bay Avenue across the bridge to Strathmere. From Sea Isle City, follow Landis Avenue which turns into Commonwealth Avenue, the main street of Strathmere. Parking is free. People often park right along Commonwealth Avenue at the beach. Read the signs carefully, and don't block people's driveways.
Amenities: There are portable toilets near the beach at several crossovers from the road.
This spring and summer, follow Jersey Shore author and expert R.C. Staab as he walks the entire 139 miles of the Jersey Shore coastline from Sandy Hook to Island Beach State Park, Long Beach Island from Old Barney to the Edwin Forsythe Wildlife Refuge and from Brigantine to Cape May.
Next stop: Sea Isle City at Jersey Shore Walk Mile post 101. See profiles of Ocean City, Longport, Margate, Ventnor and Atlantic City and every beach and town along the Jersey Shore at www.jerseyshorewalk.com