Bridgeport, New Jersey: A White Steeple Under An Overpass

This morning I set off to cross the Barry Bridge to visit my favorite farmer’s stand in Swedesboro. I was in search of a full box of plum tomatoes to turn into a sauce base that I will freeze for winter use. Then too, it would be good to pick up some peppers to prepare a peperonata also for freezing. The boys piled into the car. We had our water and our Tripe A map. Who needs anything more?

Just after you cross the Barry Bridge into New Jersey, the road takes you along an overpass. To the right of the overpass a white wooden church steeple rises up out of a town that is submerged below the roadway. The steeple seems to say, “Stop, take a look, we are a town down here!” I’ve always wanted to see that town but I was always on my way elsewhere. Even today, we were on our way to get our tomatoes. Maybe I would stop on the way back. Our destination today was “Ever Fresh” farmer’s market, just a few minutes from the bridge. Every visit there makes my head spin with the kitchen possibilities of all the wonderful Jersey Fresh produce. Today I selected a box of Italian plum tomatoes to be turned into sauce; a basket of sweet Italian peppers for peperonata, several Sicilian eggplant for moussaka and fried eggplant and a quick grab of melon, peaches and corn. Summer fresh is just wonderful!

I had boxes and bags of fresh summer vegetables and spent less than $30. With the car loaded up, we began our return. This time for sure, I would turn off at the town with the white wooden steeple. We found the exit and made the descent to the town. There was the white towered church. The sign reads, Saint Paul’s Methodist. Along the same street simple and modest wood frame Victorian houses lined the way. These are the homes of yesterday’s America in the shadow of a complex metropolitan world. The new highway overpass from the Barry Bridge cut the town in half. The overpass split the town to leave the church’s white wooden steeple as a lone voice of a bisected community. We are in Bridgeport.

There is a gentle simplicity to the houses along Bridgeport’s main street. The August sun warms perception. At the far end of the town road the houses give way to marsh and creeks and broad waterways. The view is wonderfully simple and beautiful. An iron bridge that raises the full flat road bed directly upward marks the creek crossing. I don’t know what this kind of bridge is called, but it is very unusual.

This area of New Jersey allures. It begs me to see more. So, I follow route 130. The road parallels the Delaware. Except for Bridgport, the road is devoid of towns. This is the realm of industry. Tall grasses and cat tails flank the roadside. On the Delaware side, steel frameworks announce power plants and other industries. There is an eerie sense of isolation: the feeling of being lost in a faceless world hot in the summer sun with only the occasional cry of a red-winged blackbird.

Then I see a sign for Centertown: a sign for a town, a sign for people, for a community. Curiosity and the need to escape the world of industry lure me. As I follow the road, I find no town. There are no quaint streets of New Jersey wood frame Victorian houses. Instead I come upon mile after mile, acre after acre, of an industrial complex: endless blocks of cast concrete and corrugated roofs, signs that announce any number of famous companies. This is contemporary industry. This is the heir to the 19th century factory town. This is the backbone, the life blood that keeps all the other small towns alive. These are the furnaces of H.G. Wells Morlocks that give life to those who enjoy its fruits. Yet, who knows about such places? I certainly never knew that this part of New Jersey held so many industries. I am certain that our children in school never learn of such places. But, here they are, the active and vibrant commerces that enervate our society.

Eventually I turn back to the main road. I follow 130 back North to the bridge. As I make the turn to the on ramp, my eyes are taken by a rafter (yes, that’s the word) of wild turkeys. By the time I grab my cell camera they begin to retreat into the woods. There is something of a Wellsian Time Machine in this part of New Jersey. Power plants and industries share a world with wood frame houses, swamp marsh and wild turkeys. Turning off the main highway opens the way to an America little known.

Hurricane Sandy Forces New Jersey to Contemplate Upgrading Their Building Codes

Hurricane Sandy was one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast of the United States in quite some time. Not only did it kill quite a few people, it forced millions to relocate, and caused billions of dollars in damage. Because of this, many communities located on the coast including cities in the state of New Jersey will be significantly upgrading their building codes in the future making them much tougher and more stringent.

The New Jersey Shore was one of the hardest hit regions, and the insurance companies that did business in this area had to payout close to a billion dollars in damage claims because of this once in a century storm. Beside the damage the storm did to many properties in the area, it also had a devastating effect on the people’s lives who lived there and that is one more reason that the building codes are going to be soon changed.

New Jersey Shore Proposed Building Code Changes

1) Increased heights that a building must be built off the ground, which could be as much as 10 feet or more in some locations,
2) Outside concrete support walls will need to be far thicker and stronger in the future.
3) More and heavier steel rebar will need to be used in all outside support concrete walls.
4) Wood will no longer be an approved building material for outside support walls.
5) Hurricane proof windows and doors will now be required.
6) Much stronger roof systems.

What this means to the residents who want to rebuild their homes, is that it is going to be much more costly and take much longer to rebuild than they ever anticipated. In addition, if they fail to meet the new codes their insurance could be canceled completely, be much more difficult to get in the future, or they will be required to pay outrageous amounts in to be fully covered if they do not renovate and bring their structures up to code.

Not only are the new codes going to make the rebuilt structures much safer and more hurricane resistant, they are also going to noticeably affect the way some of them look and feel. Fortunately, hurricanes like Sandy do not come along too often and with any luck the next time one hits the New Jersey coastline, the new building codes will considerably reduce the devastating damage that this one caused.

Cheap New Jersey Homeowners Insurance

You want to protect your New Jersey home and its contents from damage caused by theft, fire, lightning, smoke, and other disasters. But where can you find cheap New Jersey homeowners insurance?

Insurance Comparison Sites to the Rescue!

When you’re looking for cheap New Jersey homeowners insurance with a reliable company, you should begin your search by visiting an insurance comparison website.

At many comparison sites you can complete a simple questionnaire and get fast homeowners insurance quotes from several A-rated insurance companies. You can then choose which company you want to insure your home.

Getting Started

Before you go online to get your homeowners insurance quotes, you’ll need to make a detailed inventory of the property in your home and in storage areas. This inventory will help you figure out how much coverage you need.

It’s also a good idea to check your credit rating to make sure it’s accurate. Many insurance companies set your rate higher if you have poor credit.

Getting Your Quotes

Now you’re ready to go online to an insurance comparison site. At the site you’ll fill out a questionnaire with information such as …

* The square footage of your home and the year it was built.

* The number of miles from your home to the nearest fire station and the number of feet to the nearest hydrant.

* Construction information about your home, such as the type of foundation and roof.

* The limits of coverage and the deductibles you want.

* Safety features in the home, such as deadbolts, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and security systems.

Money-Saving Tips

To get your New Jersey homeowners insurance as cheap as possible, follow these tips:

* Set your deductible as high as you can afford. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium.

* Get all the discounts you qualify for. New Jersey homeowners insurance companies typically offer discounts for senior citizens and non-smokers. You may also get a discount if you have multiple policies with the same insurance company. Ask if the company offers any other discounts.

New Jersey Lighthouses

New Jersey Lighthouses have played a significant role in maritime history in aiding the safe navigation of ships since the 1700’s.

Aside from their place in maritime history, the added appeal of New Jersey lighthouses has to do with their architectural design and location in some of the most scenic and relaxing settings with oceanfront views and sandy beaches.

New Jersey lighthouses have served mariners along the Jersey shoreline for over a century, warning them of hazards to their ships and the protection of loss of crew and cargo. The endurance of these maritime structures is a tribute to the innovative architecture and engineering that contributes greatly to maritime history in New Jersey.

New Jersey lays claim to many of the oldest and historically significant lighthouses in the nation. They can be found along the 127 mile coastline from the northernmost point in Sandy Hook down to the southern tip of in Cape May.

New Jersey lighthouses can be seen in a variety of settings and in the serenity of the landscape that surrounds them. The scenic beauty of a lighthouse setting varies, depending on the time of day it’s viewed. With the sun and moon rising over the ocean, sunrise and a full moon are especially appealing times to view a lighthouse either by taking a walk along the beach, or relaxing and picnicking in a beach chair or blanket. For the more active, take a hike up the steps of a lighthouse and experience the magnificent views and skylines that surround it.

There is something about Lighthouses that stimulate our interests as they are both historic and architecturally appealing with magnificent structural designs. The color pattern or day marker for each lighthouse is distinctive so approaching ships at day can see which lighthouse they have in sight.

The lighthouses were built to survive the treacherous coastline hurricanes and storms and yet their structures came to be known as significant maritime historical sites and beautiful scenic landmarks.

Lighthouses come in all shapes and sizes. In addition to the popular tall conical shape structures, New Jersey has a lighthouse with twin brownstone towers in the Atlantic Highlands that resembles the front of a military fort, and a lighthouse in Sea Girt that has the style of a Victorian home, and a lighthouse in Hereford Inlet with Swiss Gothic-style architecture and a tower attached to its roof.

The maritime history of lighthouses in New Jersey is deep and storied, beginning with the opening of the Sandy Hook Lightship in 1823, becoming the first outside lightship in the United states.

Not to be forgotten are the heroic stories associated with lighthouses. They are the keepers of a harbor, beacons during stormy nights, and the providers of direction to those off course.

During World War II, the beacons of New Jersey lighthouses were turned off so as not to give direction to enemy ships. But the Coast Guard used many of the lighthouses as bases for beach patrols in search of German U-boats.

With the development of automated navigational equipment, offshore navigational towers, radar, and other advanced navigational equipment, the 20th century began the phase out of manned lighthouses. While there are still working lighthouses in New Jersey, most have been decommissioned.

Today there are currently ten land based lighthouses in New Jersey that are open to the public.

Absecon Lighthouse, Barnegat Lighthouse, Cape May Lighthouse, East Point Lighthouse, Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, Navesink Twin Lights, Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Sea Girt Lighthouse, Statue of Liberty, and Tinicum Island Range Lights