This Small City — Population Only 1,100 — Ranked #1 New Jersey Shore Town
Here's a loaded question: what is the best Jersey Shore town?
Just bringing up that topic is likely to start a brawl on a boardwalk around here.
To tackle that query, editors at NJ.com recently assembled a list of the 25 best Jersey Shore towns -- and the town at the top is going to surprise you.
Now, first things first, NJ.com seems to be rather heavy on North Jersey news (and dare I say "Central Jersey" news). They tend to focus on Ocean and Monmouth Counties and points north.
With that thought in mind, when I saw a list of the top 25 Jersey Shore towns, I immediately thought, "you won't find anything from South Jersey here." I was wrong.
Peter Genovese, who assembled the list, described how he did what he did this way:
What factors went into this ranking? Livability, charm, curb appeal, shopping, neighborhoods and food scene, among others. In the end, it came down to, "Could I live here, and live here a long time?'' Let me be clear: This is not a ranking of the best Shore towns to visit as much as the best towns to live in. My top-ranked town is one you've probably never visited.
Alright, so now you got my attention.
Scrolling through the list, Seaside Heights ranked #25.
Now I'm really intrigued.
Normally any list like this has Seaside or any town around Seaside in the top single digits.
Asbury Park is 24? Ocean City is 18?
This list isn't making any sense... Seaside, Asbury, and Ocean City are always at the top (and, let's be fair, they deserve to be) and lots of nice towns usually get snubbed.
So, which Jersey Shore town was ranked number one?
Yes, Port Republic.
Remember, "this is not a ranking of the best Shore towns to visit as much as the best towns to live in."
If you aren't familiar with Port Republic, it is off of Parkway exits 44 or 48, depending on which way you are driving. It's a town of about 1,100 people at 8.5 square miles in size.
What's there? Not much. There are no Wawas, no Walmarts, no boardwalk to stroll and that's the way locals like it.
Port Republic is, without a doubt, one of those very unique places in New Jersey where you can get away from it all yet still be close enough to places where you can live it up.
Genovese described Port Republic this way,
Thousands of people drive past this picture-postcard town every week without realizing it.
And that's probably one of the reasons it's number one.
And the same (almost) can be said for the #2 town on the list -- Strathmere.
I encourage you to check out Peter Genovese's rankings. It is a very unique and honest look at New Jersey's shore towns from a New Jersey point of view, talking to people in New Jersey. It's certainly a nice change from websites with writers that have never been around here ranking things based on what they see on MTV.