Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Charms of Asbury Park

By Jessica Vogel

If you're looking for a classic New Jersey shore town rich with history and culture, you might want to try Asbury Park. The town, once considered the entertainment epicenter of the state, suffered recently from an economic turndown. Thankfully, it is now being revitalized by a community that is not willing to compromise what Asbury is known for: its deep-rooted musical scene, artistic background, and trendy nature. I recently spent a weekend exploring the area and all it has to offer.

The town provides hours of entertainment in a few square miles. The downtown area has an extensive variety of shops, from the fun housewares of Shelter Home to the custom glassware at Candy’s Cottage. Vintage clothing shops, unique furniture stores, pet boutiques, and antiques stores also line the streets.

The appreciation and creation of art are an enormous part of the town’s atmosphere. Art galleries and outdoor sculptures dot the streets and classes in glass fusing, glass blowing, and pottery are offered at local shops.

Gourmet dining at an affordable price is another great aspect of Asbury Park. I had a meal at Old Man Rafferty’s, but there are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops where you can grab a meal or listen to an open mic night.

Although music is a major presence throughout Asbury Park, the real musical scene thrives closer to the boardwalk, at historical venues such as The Stone Pony and The Wonder Bar, and newer places such as Tim McCloone’s. On any night, you can be sure to walk along the shoreline and hear anything from hard-pounding rock to classic jazz.

After all the time I spent in Asbury Park, I still don’t think it was enough. I could have spent a few more hours scouring the antique shops for the perfect find and I certainly could have listened to another song by a local band. Any guest of the town can find something interesting, whether it’s shopping, art, dining, or the musical scene. Asbury Park is definitely worth the trip.

1 comment:

Warren Bobrow said...

Asbury Park is a wonderful place to visit during the winter as well as the summer. Jimmy's restaurant on Asbury Avenue is a year-round favorite of ours.
My article on Jimmy's is attached. Enjoy and let me know what you think. Thank you. Warren Bobrow