Jersey Shore Trip Report

Old Apr 12th, 2008, 10:20 PM
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Jersey Shore Trip Report

Jersey Shore Trip Report

I�m going to try to keep this very brief. Not an easy task for me! But this trip was mostly a visit to a friend. So I didn�t do a lot of the things that would normally go into a trip report. I didn�t stay in a hotel, eat out much or do many �touristy� things. But there were a few things I felt might be worth mentioning in hopes that they might help out someone else who�s planning a trip to that area.

To start with, I have to vent a little about flying. I hate to fly! And, while this trip probably makes me feel a little bit safer in that neither of my flights crashed, it doesn�t make me any happier about the whole experience! My flight out of O�Hare to Newark was delayed by snow. My flight back from Newark to O�Hare was delayed by thunder storms! Of course, considering that I left O�Hare on American Airlines on the first day of all the recent canceled flights, I guess I should just be glad that I had flights both days!

The friend who I was visiting lives in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. I arrived there on Thursday, March 27th. On Friday morning we drove to the ocean to take her dogs for a walk on the beach. A real treat for this midwestern gal! It was a slightly overcast day and quite chilly on the beach. But I loved watching and listening to the waves pounding the shore. And I was quite impressed with just how close my friend lives to the ocean. As well as with the old fashioned seaside atmosphere of the town.

Later that day we had a very pleasant drive to Weehawken to the Port Imperial ferry terminal. Being a history buff, I got a kick out of passing the spot (or at least very near it) where Burr shot Hamilton. I was very impressed with the park along through there and the great view across the river. And with the very nice new terminal building. The ferry ride is very short. But I thought it was a great way to get into the city. I was so glad my friend suggested it as it was something I hadn�t done before.

We went into Manhattan to attend a performance of VaBang Dance Company, a troupe co-founded by the daughter of a good friend of my friend. The performance was in a studio in a loft in Tribeca.

We met my friend�s friend and had dinner at XO Café and Grill at 96 Walker St in Chinatown. It was delightful! We started with an appetizer of steamed dumplings. There were 6 dumplings, 2 each of various fillings. The two I had, one filled with shrimp, one with veggies, were excellent. Then we each had soup. My hot and sour was very good. After that we shared four entrees; baked and salt squid, chicken with spicy sauce, beef and peppers and a seafood and noodle dish. They were all very good. But the squid was fantastic! That was not something I would ever have thought of ordering. But my friend�s friend had had it there before. And I�m so glad she ordered it! The bill was somewhere around $70 which I thought was extremely reasonable for NYC!

The dance performance was very enjoyable. I had the feeling of being in on the �ground floor� of something very exciting! And we had a very pleasant trip back. It was much clearer when we took the ferry back than it had been coming. The view when we got back on the New Jersey side was just amazing!

More to come.

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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 01:46 AM
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Saturday was very exciting indeed! My friend drove me to Fort Lee so that we could have a mini GTG with fellow Fodorite, seetheworld. We were drawn to each other by the fact that our kids are very close in age. After three years of commiserating on and off Fodors about them and life in general, it was such a kick to finally meet her in person! What a delightful woman she is! Obviously, living a thousand miles apart wont make it easy, but I hope very much that that lunch will be an experience well be able to repeat many times over.

Unfortunately, shortly after we got back to Ocean Grove, my friend started feeling a little funky. Around 2:00 AM Sunday she woke up violently ill and continued to be so until early evening.

I feel a little guilty saying this, but despite feeling terrible for my friend, Sunday actually turned out to be a very pleasant day for me. In an effort to stay out of her way and give her a chance to rest, I wound up exploring the area on foot. And it was quite enjoyable.

That morning I walked the few blocks into the tourist area of Ocean Grove. After peeking in a few shops and looking at some menus, I decided to have breakfast at the Starving Artist Café at 47 Olin Street. And I think it was a very good choice. It was a very pleasant experience. The café is a very light space with tables close but not too crowded. The staff was very professional but friendly. Im guessing they have a lot of local customers as the waiters seemed to know a lot of the diners.

I chose the country fried steak from their specials menu. It came with two eggs, toast, home fries and a small bowl of white gravy. At $7.50, it was perhaps a little more expensive than I would pay at home. But it was very good. As was their iced tea. My guess is that it was brewed rather than made from a mix or poured from a bottle.

After breakfast I walked to the ocean. The walk from my friends home to the beach cant be more than a mile. Which just amazes me! No wonder she chooses to stay in that area. Its such a beautiful beach with a really nice old boardwalk. My only regret was that I wasnt dressed appropriately. Although it was a beautiful sunny day, it was brutally cold right along the water. And I had neither a hat nor gloves. So I wasnt able to stay as long as I wouldve liked.

After a stop in a small grocery store to try to find popsicles, which I thought might be easier for my friend to keep down, I headed back to her place. For a short time. I then walked to a nearby strip mall to pick up some things at a Rite-Aid to try to make her a bit more comfortable. And spent a little time checking out the other stores.

I was very restless and, as I said earlier, wanted to give her a chance to rest, so after a short time I headed out in another direction. I discovered that she was just a few blocks from Asbury Park. Shed warned me that parts of that town are pretty run down so I didnt walk too far. But I found a few nice little shops. All of which, of course, had at least a few items dedicated to the boss!

After covering about as much ground as I felt I could there, I still hadnt found what I was really looking for, which was local cookbooks. So I decided to head back towards the shops in Ocean Grove. I never did find much in the way of local cookbooks (Id hoped to at least find the series that features excerpts from local community cookbooks), but I did find some interesting shops. I spent a very pleasant couple of hours wandering around. And, fortunately, not spending a lot of money!

But I did manage to spend a lot of calories! I stopped in a place called, I think, The Cupcake Shop (I cant find it on Google). I had a fabulous chocolate cupcake piled incredibly high with real buttercream frosting. It was worth every one of those calories!

What really impressed me, in both Ocean Grove and Asbury Park, was how very friendly the shopkeepers were. Theres this perception (dare I say myth?!) that people are friendlier in the midwest. But having lived all but nine of my fifty-five years in the midwest, never have I run across so many friendly retailers as I did that day!

Id long ago decided that, upon returning home that Monday, Id get back to a serious plan of eating right and exercising. So I decided Id end my vacation by being very bad and having a chili cheese dog with sauteed onions at the WindMill near my friends home. A decision I would come to regret when I awoke in the middle of the night with the same malady that had befallen my friend!

Let me tell you, flying, not to mention spending an hour on the runway, is not fun when you have a stomach bug!

But I have absolutely no regrets about this trip. Being able to spend time with a friend I hadnt seen in 5 years was very precious indeed!
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 01:46 AM
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Ah nothing like a seaside walk to
quell the winter doldrums.
Isn't that ferry neat? I take it 2x a yr to our NY/NJ GTG which is
held 5 minutes away in Weehawken.
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 01:49 AM
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Oh, I'd forgotten that the NY/NJ GTG is held in Weehawken! I didn't realize how close I was to that restaurant I've seen in all those pictures!
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 04:18 AM
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Glad you had a good visit to my part of the Jersey Shore...did you know that Ocean Grove is a Camp Meeting Ground? The Great Auditorium and summer tents are quite interesting...
That stomach flu hit a lot of us last weekend....
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 07:53 AM
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I saw post cards showing the tents, Susie. But forgot to ask my friend what it was all about. I'll have to google it!

Very interesting that you mention lots of people being hit by that stomach flu. We were trying to figure out whether it was a virus. What we found odd was that, while at least a couple of other people at the dance performance got sick, no one we came in contact with seems to have gotten it. For example, even though we had lunch with her just before my friend got sick, STW didn't get it. Thank goodness, she didn't, of course! But it just seems curious that we don't appear to have been contagious.
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 09:29 AM
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I'm so glad you had a nice trip! Ocean Grove is one of my very favorite places... so much so that I drove there Saturday just to spend an hour on the boardwalk It's such a sweet little town.
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 09:59 AM
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Isn't it though, Tarheels?! As I said, I can certainly see why my friend has chosen to stay there. Though I would imagine it's much different in the summer when the tourists hit!
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 12:39 PM
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You know, it's really not so bad! Because it doesn't have a typical "boardwalk" with all the attractions, it stays pretty low-key in the summer. Crowded, yes, but still very family-friendly and mellow.
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 02:58 PM
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I'm glad to hear that, Tarheels. My friend mentioned the traffic being much worse in the summer. But I suppose that's a small price to pay for living in such a charming place year-round.
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 03:11 PM
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"The Grove" is crowded in the summer, but as is every other town in this area. (I live in an even smaller beachfront municipality). I find the biggest problem is getting into restaurants. Many do not take reservations so we "clam diggers" forego dining out a lot for those couple months.
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