WELCOME TO… Treasures of the Jersey Shore

Treasure Island, boating and dining spots make Brielle a true gem

Staff Writer

 Arnolds Brielle Marina Arnolds Brielle Marina The borough of Brielle may be small, barely covering an area of two miles, but it’s a picturesque treasure of the Jersey Shore that offers some unique options for summer and year-round entertainment. Located along the banks of the Manasquan River, Brielle enjoys a close proximity to the Manasquan inlet, which connects the river to the Atlantic Ocean. This makes it an ideal harbor for some of the area’s largest charter fishing boats as well as many recreational and two very unique paddleboats, plus a water taxi. Some of those boats have even made history upon departing from the waters of Brielle.

Named for the town of Brielle in Holland, Brielle, New Jersey, is accessible from the south by three bridges. The recently renovated Route 35 bridge allows vehicles to cross the Manasquan River into Brielle from Point Pleasant. Running parallel to that bridge is a railroad drawbridge that stays open to boat traffic and sounds an alarm to let everyone know that the bridge is going down whenever a train is about to pass.

 River Queen River Queen The third bridge, the historic Glimmer Glass Bridge, connects the neighboring town of Manasquan to Brielle. Built in 1898, the bridge is the only example of this late- 19th-century type of bridge still operating in the state of New Jersey, and possibly in the entire country. Vehicular traffic crosses the bridge, and when a boat has to pass beneath the narrow space below the bridge, a counter-balance system allows it to slowly open.

Under the Route 35 bridge lies Bogan’s Basin, home port to the 125-foot Jamaica, a huge deep-sea fishing-party boat, which sails year-round. It is also home to the Atlantis as well as the Paramount, which was one of the fishing boats used to rescue survivors of the Morro Castle, a ship that sank off the coast of Asbury Park in 1934, killing approximately 134 passengers. Despite storm conditions, Capt. John Bogan, his sons Capt. John Bogan Jr. and Capt. Jim Bogan, and several of their mates and captains from other fishing boats boarded the Bogans’ 60-foot Paramount and headed to sea. The men of the Paramount rescued 67 people. Other fishing boats and responding ships collectively rescued a few hundred more people. The Bogan family still operates the marina.

 Above: Sand Bar Restaurant Left: Glimmer Glass Bridge Above: Sand Bar Restaurant Left: Glimmer Glass Bridge In the book “Shadow Divers” by Robert Kurson, two divers, John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, discovered an unidentified German U-boat sunken in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey. The Seeker, the diving boat that transported them to and from the dive site, was docked at Bogan’s Basin in Brielle and entered the ocean via the Manasquan inlet.

Also docked at Bogan’s Basin are two Mississippi River paddleboat-style riverboats, The River Belle and The River Queen, which take passengers on sightseeing and dining cruises along the Manasquan River, the Point Pleasant Canal and Barnegat Bay. They also provide a venue for catered parties and events.

The Manasquan River Water Taxi docks at Arnolds Brielle Yacht Club Marina, which is next door to Union Landing Marina. The Water Taxi transports bar hoppers to several restaurants along the Manasquan River, including Union Landing Restaurant and The Sand Bar, which offer beautiful views of the river and outdoor seating during the summer months. The Sand Bar is open all year. Those who are interested in nautical jewelry will enjoy browsing at Midlantic Gold Rush, right outside the entrance to the Sand Bar in Brielle.

The water taxi is also available for children’s parties that can take place at several locations including Treasure Island, nicknamed as such by famed Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. In 1888 Stevenson spent time in Brielle and visited the island, then known as Osborn Island. Stevenson, who had written the novel “Treasure Island” five years before, whimsically rechristened Osborn Island as “Treasure Island” and carved his initials into a bulkhead. Today, many still refer to the island as Treasure Island, even though it is now officially named Nienstedt Island, after the family who donated it to the borough of Brielle. Many people still choose to relax on the island’s beach as a respite from boating or hiking.

Brielle’s biggest annual event is the Brielle 10K Race held at Brielle Park on Union Lane. This year’s event will be held Sept. 10. The event features hill and dale races in addition to a fair-like atmosphere with more than 100 crafters and vendors. Crafters must display handmade items and vendors must be from nonprofit organizations, according to Sherri Hopkins, Brielle’s administrative assistant. The event features a variety of food and beverages plus a beer garden and music. The local fire department provides fire engine rides, and there are games and activities for children. Artwork is on display at the event, courtesy of the Manasquan River Artists. For more information about Brielle, visit Briellenj.com.