7) The Towns Around Asbury

West Allenhurst & Ocean Township


I remember an out-of-towner stopped me in Allenhurst and asked where West Allenhurst was. I said, "Why, it's right across the Corlies Avenue Bridge here." He said, "But the sign says Township of Ocean." Then I explained.

Image 1.7. The Corlies Avenue bridge to West Allenhurst (or Ocean Township).

West Allenhurst, West Deal ... these are not actual towns. That is, they are not municipal identities with mayors, police forces and Fiftieth Anniversary celebrations. They are geographical expressions or development names. The fact is, they are officially Ocean Township. Most of the towns we have looked at were once part of Ocean Township before they became towns unto themselves.

I zero in on West Allenhurst first because - lucky place! - it is on Deal Lake. As that out-of-towner learned, when you cross the Corlies Avenue bridge from Allenhurst (or when you cross the north bridge out of Interlaken), you're there. Like Interlaken and Wanamassa, it is a peninsula. The south branch of Deal Lake separates it from Interlaken and the north branch from Allenhurst proper.

West Allenhurst has a certain relaxed rusticity about it. Sidewalks are not as common as in other places. One of my favorite spots in West Allenhurst is South Edgemere Drive, a gently winding little street across from Interlaken on the north branch of Deal Lake. It's nice to approach the foliage-hidden Interlaken bridge from here later in the day with the sky a flamingo pink behind the trees. Here, as in many other spots around the area, Canada geese and other local creatures like to hang out. Canada geese are pretty but are not among my favorite birds. (It's always a delight, however, too see a parade of them cross a street and stop traffic on a major road.) On Edgemere, I once saw a fabulous crane sitting on the tip of a tree trunk that had partially fallen into the water. The scene reminded me of a Zen painting. Once in a great awhile you see a Deal Lake Snapping Turtle (years ago there used to be more of these).

Image 2.7. Edgemere Avenue, West Allenhurst. The little north bridge to Interlaken
(Monmouth Road) is in the distance.

Fuzziness haunts the edges of West Allenhurst in my mind as it blends into what I know to be Ocean Township. For me, Wickapecko Drive is pretty much the western limit (it might be different for you). For years and years, when I was a child and then an adult, the northeast corner of Wickapecko and Corlies Avenue was a large undeveloped field. In the 1980s (I think it was) million-dollar houses were built on this spot and across Wickapecko. There's an appropriately named new street in the area: Woods End.

Wickapecko north of Wanamassa has several interesting sights. The tiny Drummond Cemetery (which I will talk about later) as well as a few of spots of local importance, such as "Ivy Hedge," an estate belonging to M.H. Harper, owner of Harper Brothers. Wonderfully leafy lanes and drives are typical of north Wickapecko Drive.

Image. 3.7. The entrance to an estate off Wickapecko Drive.


The main drag through West Allenhurst is Monmouth Road. At first quite leafy and shady, it comes off Interlaken's north bridge and keeps on going through West Deal, Oakhurst, West Long Branch ... Just outside West Allenhurst, hedges line both sides of the street and break the dark, shady feeling. This sudden change tells you that you're now in the Kingdom of the Golf Courses. The first is Deal Golf and Country Club (we are actually in West Deal now). The course occupies both sides of Monmouth Road (be careful: Golfers X-ing). Designed by Lawrence Van Etten in 1898, it is a private 18-hole "Pao Annua Grass course with water in play" (I'm sure some people know what this means). I imagine that the water of Deal Lake's north branch has something to do with "water in play." Remember that the north branch separates Allenhurst from West Allenhurst; when the branch curves west it divides West Allenhurst from West Deal right at the golf course.

4.7. Monmouth Road, where it divides the Deal golf course in half.


Now listen to this, another golf course graces the immediate vicinity: Hollywood Golf Club. Just drive past the Deal course on Monmouth Road and make a right on Roseld Avenue, where the hedges end. Go down Roseld a little ways and you're there! It's right across the street from the Western end of the Deal course. The Hollywood Golf Club (built in 1898 and designed by Walter Travis) is an 18-hole "Bent grass course with water in play." (I guess the water comes from that mysterious stream that goes through the woods under Roseld Avenue. The road at this spot is a wonderful, quickly curving tunnel of trees that has always been one of my favorite spots to drive through. Oh, the mystical "ends" of Deal lake - home to grist mills of the first settlers - are richly enthralling!)

5.7. Entrance to the Hollywood Golf Club, on Roseld Avenue.


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