Editor’s Note: If you’re traveling, please check local government restrictions and safety measures related to COVID-19, and consider your health and comfort levels before departure.
Situated between Avalon and Wildwood along the New Jersey’s southern coast, Stone Harbor offers charms aplenty. Unlike other Jersey Shore towns like Belmar and Seaside Heights with their party town reputations, Stone Harbor offers refreshingly tranquil, family-friendly vibes. The pristine beaches are easily accessible, and downtown is dotted with beloved, locally-owned businesses like Springer’s, an ice cream shop that’s been in business for over 90 years.
And when boutique property The Reeds at Shelter Haven opened in 2013, it further solidified Stone Harbor’s reputation as one of the top destinations in the Jersey Shore. The 58 rooms and suites sport a modern coastal design and an aquatic palette of greys and blues, while three of the hotel’s four restaurants (Buckets, Star Water Grille, and Pizza Pub) pair up lively dining with unbeatable views of the bay. (The sunsets are especially spectacular.) Spanning two levels, Salt Spa The Reeds is a sparkling oasis of rejuvenation with its Turkish Bath, Brine Lounge, and hair and makeup studio.
While the resort’s natural surroundings are nothing short of spectacular, turns out – they’re important for the environment, too. In particular, salt marshes are a habitat that lots of wildlife depend on for survival. Diamondback Terrapin turtles, for example, can only live in the salt marshes’ brackish (a blend of fresh and salt) water. But because the females need to head to higher ground to nest and lay eggs from late spring to mid-summer, many wind up crossing busy roads – which can result in accidentally being killed by cars.
To raise awareness, The Reeds at Shelter Haven teamed up with its neighbor The Wetlands Institute for a special “I Break for Turtles” (a fun riff on the town’s unofficial motto “I brake for turtles”) package that’s just as fun as it is educational.
Founded by Herbert Mills in the late 1960s and encompassing 6,000 lush acres, The Wetlands Institute’s goal is “educate people on the important role of salt marshes on the ecosystem, and how to conserve them,” explains Devin Griffiths, the organization’s Marketing and Communications Specialist. And there’s so many interactive ways for guests of all ages to learn about the importance of salt marshes, from the kid-friendly Salt Marsh Aquarium and Terrapin Station to bird-watching on the Salt Marsh Trail. On top of that: what you see and learn depends on the time of year you visit. (Meaning: there’s always something new to experience.)
As for how the partnership came about, Griffiths says it was an organic fit: “People are coming to this luxury hotel and spa, but there’s a reason why The Reeds chose to be here. They’re concerned with the health of the environment as are we. They understand that salt marshes are a truly unique habitat that benefits both animals and humans.”
The “I Break for Turtles” package includes the following, and will be available through May. For more information or to book, please call (609) 368-0100.
- Overnight accommodations in luxury guestrooms
- A Wetlands Institute experience (will vary based on the time of year) that offers a variety of programs, including access to The Salt Marsh Aquarium
- One Turtle Hatchling adoption through The Wetlands Institute, which includes a digital adoption certificate and picture of a terrapin, along with a subscription to The Wetlands Institute’s annual terrapin e-newsletter
- Two specially created “Diamondback” cocktails at SAX or the Water Star Grille
- A plush turtle toy with information about Diamondback Terrapin turtles
* A portion of the proceeds from each package sold will benefit the Wetlands Institute.