Oh Fortescue… I Love You

A Yummy visit back to Fortescue

I came back for a visit to Fortescue in May of 2013. I was sad to see damage from Hurricane Sandy. Homes were boarded up, some nearly collapsing and memories only remained. A few were so badly damaged, they were torn down. But I saw a resilience in this sleepy fishing village… A strength that can’t be matched. Many homes were being repaired and brought back to life.


Wetland area before getting into Fortescue.


A lovely home in the village.

Here’s a little information about this great town…..

Fortescue is the self-proclaimed weakfish capital of the world. A weakfish is a large marine fish found along the eastern coast of North America. It is called a weakfish because its mouth muscles are considered weak and the hook often tears free allowing it to escape. It is also the state fish of Delaware.

The weakfish population has suffered in recent years due to over-fishing. Regulations have been put into action to help these scaly specimens thrive once again.


The cozy little post office in Fortescue.

Fortescue is actually an unincorporated community of about 400 people. It is a part of Downe Township, Cumberland County along the gorgeous Delaware Bay.


Old school Fortescue.


Almost looks the same today.

Fortescue’s name came from Lord Fortescue of Great Britain. He and his wife Mary settled in the area in the 1700’s.

During the Prohibition, it was a popular village for smuggling rum and other alcoholic varieties. It’s access and location was quite convenient for sailors traveling from Canada, the Caribbean Islands and even the great states of Delaware and Maryland.


Hello there.. calm bay!


Almost high tide… well, it was coming in.

People that frequent Fortescue today enjoy the relaxation, calm bay water and enjoy sailing on one of the many fishing/party boats. I love it because there is never a tremendous amount of people here during the peak summer season. I don’t have to wait in shore traffic and the beach is quite expansive. I love the friendly locals. They truly care about Fortescue. Plus, it’s quiet. A perfect little piece of Yummy paradise.

It has been hit HARD over the last few decades. Rising waters and massive storms (like Hurricane Sandy) have definitely put a strain on this small fishing village. Damage is often overlooked in our state. It suffered tremendous losses during Hurricane Sandy.

The Charlesworth Inn which was a popular eatery and bed & breakfast for decades in Fortescue had tremendous damage from the big hurricane that they were not able to open its doors in 2013.

Homes on the bay front had a ton of damage. Over 20 homes have been destroyed and only a few restored, but the strength still remains in this small community. With practically no federal or state aid, folks always come together and rebuild this tiny community.


Fishing in Fortescue.. Goes pretty much hand-in-hand.


Folks enjoying a leisure stroll in the distance.

Fortescue’s ecosystem is quite important on the Delaware bay. In late spring/early summer, shorebirds and migratory birds rest and recoup on the beach from their long travels. They’ll fill up on the thousands of horseshoe eggs that lay on the beach and go onto their long journey towards the arctic.

The Fortescue Grill opened this year. It’s great to see something good come out of the recent devastation. It’s located at 102 Delaware Avenue. Phone #8564471200. Please call for days and hours of operation.

There’s also Higbee’s Restaurant which is a popular eatery among the locals. The current owners even wrote a book on Fortescue. There is also a Higbee’s marina. A great place to dock your boat in town.


Fortescue.. I love you.

My heart aches for the Delaware Bay. Often times they’re treated like the red-headed step child when it comes to damage from Hurricane Sandy and other terrifying storms. If rising sea levels continue (which they will) and more fierce storms blow through, there won’t be anything left…. Unless something is done NOW.

Yummy and Yummybaby will be back. The little one loves this magical place. Just bring the bug spray. You may need it.


Yummybaby loves it here.. Can’t you see by the look on his face? He’s 1 year old here.

Until our next adventure, My friends!

-The Yummygal

Side Note:  I’ve been approached in the past about keeping Fortescue a secret.. My question is why? Maybe if the word gets out… they’ll finally get the help they deserve when it comes to funding. There are many businesses (for example the fishing charters) that rely on us folks visiting for their survival. That money gets funded back to the community. It is a beautiful commercially undeveloped town and honestly Fortescue should be celebrated and recognized.  I also didn’t want to depict damage (I did take photos).  I wanted to show its true beauty and why folks visit the island in the first place.

19 thoughts on “Oh Fortescue… I Love You

  1. We have a house on Fortescue rd. We r living in Texas right now. Such wonderful times at the beach there and taking the boat out! A quiet place for the family. Thank you for posting these pics. Got plenty of our own.

  2. Fun fact fortescue used to be almost completely owned by my grandfathers family and on old naps is named I believe it was horn point after the family’s name. I remember seeing old maps where this was the case however am having a hard time locating one on the web.

    • Thank you, Barb! The plan is to get them on the radar so they get the help they need or it will be washed away in a decade’s time as the one-half of Sea Breeze has or turn into a Thompson’s Beach.

      • Well said Yummygal. But all of the noise in the world isn’t making the government change their mind about making us the 10th county in the state to be eligible for funding. I am currently on a committee, along with lots of residents and business owners and political office holders, working with FEMA to build a long term recovery plan. Seems the Governor called us a disaster area after the hurricane but we are not considered one now. I am a full time resident living in Fortescue lucky enough to have a surviving home. Other full time residents were not so lucky. The FEMA help is trying to find other avenues for funds because Cumberland county, while being an affected area with hurricane damage, falls short when it comes to the whole county being damaged. Thank you for loving Fortescue. It is a special place. Very few people want it to stay a secret these days. If anyone is looking for an affordable home….half the town is for sale! Also, the Bayfront Gallery is something new for Fortescue since last June. It is open the 4th Friday of every month from 6PM til? This month, November 22 is our Holiday Event featuring paintings, stained glass, mosaic art, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, photography, unique Delaware Bay art, bird carvings and more. Mark you calendars and come out to see what we have to offer. Look for our sign at Downe and New Jersey Avenues, just past the Post Office.

  3. I thank you for helping to put Fortescue on the radar!!
    Many residents, including my husband, are on the committee, to help build a long term recovery plan… We are hopeful that these efforts will be fruitful in the long term…
    The most beautiful, peaceful place in the world, is worth fighting for!!
    Thanks again for your efforts…
    Full time Fortescue resident,

  4. Hi Yummygal – This article was the one that actually put me on to your site, and I went and visited Fortescue and some other surrounding bay towns (including Sea Breeze…wow…) in early January. Fortescue was such a great place! Unfortunately the Fortescue Grill was not open (hopefully not permanently closed) when I was there, otherwise I would have given them my business. Keep up the excellent posts, and thank you for putting some of these great South Jersey treasures out there for us to enjoy!

  5. I am the baby out of eight my name is George horn my father was Arthur Horn and my Grandfather was Gustave and my Grandmother was Emma. I loved Fortesque and the times were had as kids there, Yes wonderful times!

  6. I have a house on Virginia ave in Fortescue. Everyone here knows each other , helps each other and watches each others backs ; due to the state police making a quick patrol every few hours .

    Right before you enter Fortescue ,before the bridge on your right , You may have noticed a yellow house . It used to be a diner and was converted into a private residence. I kept my boat year round for years at that location . The previous owner , Dave showed me inside . Its amazing . its literally like stepping back into time because the house/diner looks as if it closed yesterday .

    At the very end of the island , right after you go over the wooden bridge , the road used to lead to more properties and homes for about a 1/2 mile .

    Betty Higbee published a book about the history of Fortescue. its in the ” images of America ” series .

Comments are welcome! Share your love and knowledge of South Jersey.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s