Baker’s Acres Marks 40th Year in Business
If ever there was a reason for a family to celebrate, it was the 40th anniversary at Baker’s Acres near Little Egg Harbor, N.J., on June 20.
Nestled among tall pines, with winding paths through shady oaks and beautiful mountain laurel, the campground is the kind of place where visitors just can’t avoid finding something to enjoy, according to the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press.
“I just fell in love with it the first time I came down here,” said Bill Mihala of Bethlehem, Pa.
At age 89, Mihala still vacations at the campground where he started visiting decades ago.
“I used to come down here and go fishing and clamming,” said Mihala. “It’s close to Long Beach Island, it has good acres of trees and I just love the layout. You come here and just want to stay here. And you find out when you come here that the Bakers just become like family to you.”
The campground was founded in 1968 by John and Anne Baker. They lived in Bethlehem, Pa., had five children and were part of a camping group in Levittown.
“We spent every free minute camping when we weren’t working,” Anne Baker recalled.
Before owning the campground, she sold Bee-line clothing at house parties. Her husband worked for the Operating Engineers of Pennsylvania.
During a trip to the Barnegat area, Anne Baker said she and her husband “learned to love the area.”
So they talked to the town’s mayor about buying some land to start their own campground.
The mayor owned a parcel of land in the Parkertown section of Little Egg Harbor. And the rest is history.
“The money we had left from buying the land, we used to buy a chainsaw to cut down trees,” recalled Anne Baker. She and her husband worked side by side clearing woods to create Baker’s Acres.
Anne Baker ran the store and did the bookkeeping; John Baker was the campground’s operator.
But in the summer of 1977, John Baker – also a volunteer firefighter with Eagleswood Township – responded to one of the largest and most fatal fires in the state of New Jersey, the Bass River State Forest fire. He and three other firefighters died in that fire.
Monica Baker-Frazer, daughter of Maureen Baker, said the family pulled together to keep the business open after the loss of her grandfather.
“My father (Jack) was thrust into the role of campground operator at the age of 21,” said Monica Baker-Frazer.
He and Anne Baker ran the campground while still recovering from the death of John Baker.
“We were family and family sticks together,” said Anne Baker.
Baker’s Acres remains a family operation.
Monica and her parents, Maureen and Jack, work in the office. Brothers John Baker and Jason Baker manage the grounds.
The campground now has more than 250 sites. It offers weekend activities from May until October and daily activities in July and August.
There’s a camp store, too, as well as a pavilion with arcade games, a large playground, two pools, horse shoe pits, volleyball, bocce ball and even a Wi-Fi hotspot and free video rentals.