In the middle of the 19th century, if you wanted to find the Rockefellers, Astors and Vanderbilts, you needed to look no farther than Lakewood. New York’s elite was drawn to the town’s bucolic setting and healthy lake waters.
Today, many remnants of the town’s glamorous past remain and, more importantly, the natural areas that first drew crowds to the area are still as beautiful as ever.
Although the original Rockefeller home no longer exists, the grounds – all 323 acres of them – were donated to the county and now comprise Ocean County Park.
Come laze in the pristine lake waters and pretend you’re a Rockefeller. Then head over to Georgian Court University (900 Lakewood Ave.), the 19th-century winter home of millionaire George Jay Gould.
Today it’s owned by the university and visitors can drive or stroll around the beautiful grounds or make an appointment in advance to see the century-old mansion.
Lakewood is also home to the beautifully restored and historic Strand Theatre, which features top name performers, concerts and theatrical events.
For sports enthusiasts there's the Lakewood BlueClaws minor league professional baseball team. Golfers can choose from Eagle Ridge Golf Club or the Lakewood Country Club, both 18-hole courses.