April 14, 2024
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April 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Cool Off at the Jersey Shore

New Jersey’s famous beaches stretch from Sandy Hook all the way down to Cape May, and there is so much more to do than just enjoy the surf and the sun. Toward the northern end of the shore are Long Branch and Asbury Park, two seaside towns that have experienced a rebirth since the turn of the millennium, breathing new life into areas that were first popular in the 1800s.

Long Branch

When President Ulysses Grant visited Long Branch in 1869, he declared it the nation’s “Summer Capital” and began a tradition that would be carried on by many of his successors, and gives the town’s Seven Presidents Park its name. The park includes a beach as well as a playground, which has been recognized for its universally accessible design. Another popular attraction in Long Branch is Pier Village, a Victorian-inspired area that sits on the boardwalk and has residences, over 30 shops and restaurants, and beach access. Whether you’ve been shopping or sunbathing, a day at the Jersey shore isn’t complete without ice cream. The Lighthouse, located at 69 Brighton Avenue in Long Branch, has been serving their famous Italian ices and soft serve ice cream to beachgoers since the 1930s. (Please note, this is the only Lighthouse location that is under the supervision of the Jersey Shore Orthodox Rabbinate; the location across from Seven Presidents Park is not kosher-certified.) If you’re looking for more than frozen treats to eat, there are plenty of options for kosher cuisine in neighboring towns just a few miles away. You can choose between a sit-down meal or bringing takeout to the beach, from restaurants including Slices Pizza, Dougie’s BBQ, and Sheng Mao Chinese & Japanese. For a complete list of kosher dining options in the area, please visit www.jsor.org. There are also options for staying overnight in Long Branch, including the Ocean Place Resort & Spa, a full-service resort, as well as the Bungalow Hotel, a boutique hotel located at the entrance to Pier Village.

Asbury Park

Asbury Park also has a rich history dating back to the late 19th century, when as many as 600,000 people vacationed here each year, riding the railroad from New York and Philadelphia. Though its popularity waned for years, the town is once again one of the hottest destinations on the shore, thanks to a recent overhaul of the boardwalk and surrounding downtown area. In addition to shops, restaurants and beach access, the boardwalk here is also home to the Asbury Park Splash Park and Asbury Eighteen miniature golf. If the weather isn’t cooperating or you’re just looking for a totally unique activity, check out the Silverball Museum, also located on the boardwalk. Despite the name, this is less a museum and more a pinball-lover’s dream come true, with hundreds of pinball machines, ranging from rare vintage games to more modern ones. But instead of feeding quarters into the machines, you pay one price for all-you-can-play during your visit (30 minutes, 1 hour, or all-day). In addition to the pinball machines, you can also show your kids what video games were like before they fit in the palm of your hand, with old-school arcade games such as Pong, Frogger, Pac-Man and skeeball. For shopping, nearby downtown Asbury Park has a number of unique shops including furniture stores, antique shops, clothing stores and more. If you’re looking to spend more than one day exploring the shore, a new hotel just opened in Asbury Park for the first time in 50 years. Located two blocks from the beach, The Asbury has a pool, rooftop bar and a 4,000-square-foot grassy rooftop area that will be used to show movies, creating a “modern carless drive in.” Whether for an afternoon or a weekend getaway, the Jersey shore has endless opportunities for creating family memories.

By Rachel Jager

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