Founded in 1949, the Garden State Yacht Club is celebrating 60 years of rich history this summer. Created amid the “blatant anti-Semitism in the years following World War II,” current Commodore Sharon Gruber says the club was founded as a “counter-restrictive ‘Jewish Yacht Club’,” because many housing advertisements and other clubs restricted Jewish applicants. Club members met in homes for a year before they purchased an estate in 1950.   Garden State Yacht ClubThis original property, a farm owned in 1797 by Joseph E. Sharpe, contained a large Victorian house, four acres of land, and boathouse on the lake. It is situated on a high bluff on the West shore of Lake Hopatcong. However, the house burned down in 1984 due to faulty wiring, like many other Victorians at the time. The club operated without a building during this time, working out of a trailer on the property. In 1985 and 1986, club members got together and donated and built the structure that is still standing today. Over the years, the club has “reflected the times,” said Gruber, “We’re less formal in dress now, and we welcome everyone. However, I can’t say things have changed a tremendous amount.” The club’s interests have also evolved. “We go through phases,” said Gruber, “We were a big sailing club at one point but that has faded a little recently.”   With about 70 families, the GSYC is “like summer camp for adults,” said Gruber, who explained that many members have grown up in the club. “Once they become involved, most members stay 20-30 years, and it crossed generations. We have second and third generation family members now and that creates a friendly, family atmosphere.” As the first female Commodore of the GSYC, Gruber said, “It’s exciting, being Commodore is something I’ve always wanted to do.” As a CPA who runs her husband’s law firm, Gruber is a “natural match” for being in charge of the club. “With over 50 events from May through September, it’s a lot of work. There’s some kind of social event going on all the time, and we have every kind of entertainment from dances or cabaret to lectures.” Although the multitude of club events requires a lot of coordination, the entirely member-run club pitches in. “Each member has events to run,” said Gruber, “They take care of reservations, decorating, hosting, and that’s what makes club events fun.” Gruber herself is responsible for the 60th anniversary celebration, however, which will be the Commodore’s Ball, when all past Commodore’s are invited back to celebrate. Gruber speaks very highly of both the club and its membership, saying that members are all “people who enjoy enjoying themselves and give freely of themselves and their talents to the club.” The club was designed, built, and landscaped by members, among other things that have been donated and contributed to the GSYC. “Everyone gives so generously of everything they have to offer,” said Gruber, “which helps to make the club one of the jewels of Lake Hopatcong.” Because the club building is high above the water, “the club gets the beautiful view and relaxation without all the noise,” said Gruber, who described the club as “a really fun, family friendly club for people who love the lake and having a good time.” The GSYC has a wide array of facilities as well. The club offers a solar heated swimming pool, tennis courts, shuffleboard, a restaurant, a bar, and docks, among other things. “The variety of things to do make the club welcoming to everyone,” said Gruber. The grounds also include cottages, which were once rented out to members.

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