See you Down the Shore!

Henck Design shares some history, things to do & shore house styles.

The Classic-Cedar Shingled Beach House with a clean white trim.

Going “Down the Shore” is a right of passage, sort of like the phrase itself, for Philadelphians and subsequent Philly suburbanites for as long as anyone can remember. Why do only we say “ down the shore” as opposed to the rest of the country? Well – no one is quite clear on the reason Philadelphians say “down the shore” although it is noted that the phrase usually extends itself to the trip, after some researching there is not much to be found on WHY we say this, we just do and that’s how we like it!

Let’s dive in with some history. The Lenni-Lenape Indians were the first visitors to the “Seven Mile Island”, which consists of Avalon and Stone Harbor. They came in the summer to fish and hunt on the small but lush island covered in thick juniper forests. The Island was bought and sold various times from 1722 until its purchase by the Seven Mile Beach Company in 1887. The company then founded the settlements of Avalon on the northern half of the island at Seven Mile Beach, and Stone Harbor in the south. From that time on Avalon and Stone Harbor steadily grew from humble beach towns to large luxury homes starting when The Avalon Beach Development Company purchased the island in 1907 with the intention of turning Avalon into a fashionable and exclusive resort. To that end, the Avalon Beach Development Company spent over $500,000 from both public and private donors to develop and improve Avalon. This expansion continued throughout the 1990s extending into today.

A light, beachy motif for one of Henck Designs clients in Avalon.

Now that we’ve covered how the shore came to be the shore, let’s talk about all the fun things happening there this summer! Into farmers markets? Stone Harbor holds its own every Sunday from May 26th until Sept 1st. During the weekend of June 22-23rd, the Wetland Institute is celebrating 50 years of conservation and education. As we head into July, of course, the 4th is fully packed with activities starting with a boat parade at 4 am for the early birds or die-hard boat lovers, to daytime concerts and celebrations ending with the finale of fireworks! Avalon has the spot to get in the laughs – the first Sunday of every month from April until October you can see Punchline Comedy acts at the Palmer Plaza. Those are just a few highlights – make sure you take a look at the calendar of events so you can make sure you don’t miss a thing.

A true-blue bungalow.

One of the Henck Designs favorite things to do down the shore is to take yourself on a “Shore house tour.” There is a wide variety of houses to take a look at, although the original bungalow style house still exists, it is fading fast to make space for new builds. If you look closely you’ll find them many times squeezed between those new builds and condos, they retain their charm and provide a reminder of the past! These original houses share a history of the shore of yesteryear that is quickly disappearing so we suggest taking a look at these little beauties before they are gone for good! If you need some shore house inspiration then take a look at the article Christina wrote for Casaza, The Property Brothers new venture into home decor.

The interior of an Avalon shore house Henck Design did for a client.

So now onto new builds. Avalon, Stone Harbor, and Sea Isle are all about development, luxury, and style. You will notice most new builds are quite impressive in size, considering they are summer or vacation homes and not a primary residence! Modern condos are very popular in Avalon, Stone Harbor, and Sea Isle, as well and peppered in are a few stilt style houses (these tend to be more popular in southern shore regions), which are exactly what you think, houses on stilts! These stilts are functional for the inevitable rising of sea level during storms.

A gorgeous Avalon in the Classic -Cedar Shingle style new build, with a stone driveway.

Most new builds you see will still retain the original charms that made shore houses so desirable, to begin with. The Classic -Shingled house is a staple in all three shore towns. Classically picturesque with its wraparound porches, white trim, and traditionally neutral colored shingles in grays, whites, blues, greens and a little pale yellow thrown in for good measure.

Seen less often and mainly in the Cape May are Victorians – elaborate, intricate and brightly colored, they draw a stark contrast to the surrounding beach towns that have moved into the future while Cape May retains it’s past glory while staying current on their own terms.

A traditional brightly colored Cape May Victorian.

All in all, there is a lot of architectural history existing and being built in Avalon, Stone Harbor, and Sea Isle to take advantage of. So plan that shore trip, enjoy the activities planned throughout the summer, or better yet, buy that shore house you’ve been dreaming of and let Henck Design turn the interior from a dream to reality.

At Henck Design, we help our clients conceptualize and implement design style into their homes. Contact us for more information on how we can transform your home into an inspiring, unique space. And for more photos of Henck Design’s work and design tips, visit Henckdesign.com.

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