Did you know that Mystic Island was once called Hickory Island? The ground was level and the island was desolate. The square blocks in the ground were the anchors of the Tuckerton Radio Tower which was built in 1912 by the German Government to communicate with ships and submarines in the Atlantic Ocean. When America entered the war in 1917, the United States Military immediately took over the tower and used it until the end of the war in 1955.
Moving forward slightly to the late 1950’s & 1960’s, major development started. The construction of manufactured waterfront bungalows on lagoons started. Developments such as Mystic Island, Holly Lake, Atlantis, and Osbourne Island made their home here.
Boating, fishing, clamming and crabbing are just a few of the things that are plentiful here. We have the best waterways that flourish and provide recreational fishing and boating. The Great Bay, Big Creek, Mullica River, and Round-About Creek provide easy access to the intracoastal waterway.
In the 50’s and 60’s there was a boardwalk along the Bayfront with a lifeguard at the Graveling Point Beach area. There was also a golf course and a “Captains House” on the island. In early summer, you can watch horseshoe crabs arrive at graveling point to lay their eggs. White tail deer, red fox, terrapins, turtles, crabs, owls, ospreys, herons and numerous others populate our area for nature lovers. There are acres and acres of wetlands, parks and preserved land.
It wasn’t long until my grandparents, Ed and Rose Jennett, sold their luncheonette in Palisades Park and moved to Mystic Island in 1967. I could not wait to have a school day off or summertime to come down from North Jersey to stay with them in this magical place. There were no bulkheads then, instead tall grass & dunes edged the water. The water was so clear you could watch the crabs walking along the bottom of the lagoon. Pop would take me crabbing and fishing in the bay. My grandmother would take us to the pool. YES..there was a beautiful built-in pool on Playhouse Drive. It was located behind the Mystic Islands Casino which was on the corner of Playhouse Dr. My grandmother would call Mystic Islands a “Doll House Community”. Everything was so beautiful and perfect, as is everything when brand new, but the water has given me so many special memories that I hold in my heart forever. I made a lot of friends my age and our parents would take us to dances at the community center every weekend. We had “Little Miss Mystic Islands” contests. We actually played outside! I would not give up my childhood for anything in the world.
Being on the coast also brings the obvious weather, but our township is coming back with a vengeance. Homes are being re-built, there is a new influx of people from northern Jersey, and our MUA is re-doing the infrastructure on our roads in Mystic. There is a lot going on and all of it good. Mystic Islands is a great place to live year round or just enjoy a seasonal home, and it’s what boater’s and nature lovers come to us for. Our location can’t be beat! North Jersey, Philadelphia and Baltimore are within a three hour drive.
So please check us out and enjoy everything our area has to offer: local restaurants, the cleanest bay on the east coast, sanctuary and tranquility, and the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises. And if you are lucky enough to already live here…you are lucky enough!