Photo Friday: Happy Summer 2013 from the Jersey Shore!

 Posted by on July 31, 2013  Comments Off
Jul 312013
 

Looking back over the photos from our most recent family vacation visit to the Jersey Shore, we continue to be thrilled at how well the area is doing as it recovers from Super Storm Sandy.  For Photo Friday we wanted to share a few of our favorite Jersey Shore boardwalk and beach images from summer 2013.

Riding the Tilt-a-Whirl at Jenkinson's Boardwalk in Pt. Pleasant, NJ

Riding the Tilt-a-Whirl at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Pt. Pleasant, NJ

Walking the beachfront in Belmar, NJ

Walking Belmar Beach 2013

Walking Belmar Beach 2013

Enjoying classic boardwalk food – fries, ice cream and candy.. did we miss anything?

Grab a bite to eat on the boardwalk

Grab a bite to eat on the boardwalk

Playing all those classic arcade games – skee-bowl is a favorite!

Skee-Bowl at Jenkinsons

Skee-Bowl at Jenkinsons

A visit to the recently re-opened Jenkinson’s aquarium – love those penguins.

Feeding time at the recently re-opened Jenkinson's aquarium

Feeding time at the recently re-opened Jenkinson’s aquarium

And any excuse for fireworks!

Long Branch Fireworks 2013

Long Branch Fireworks 2013

Hope to see you all at the Jersey Shore real soon!  In the meantime, you can find links to lots of great family travel photos from around the world at the Delicious Baby Photo Friday round up.


Jul 132013
 

Although we have made annual family visits to the Jersey Shore for the last 20 years, we still keep finding new things to do on our family vacations.  This year we discovered a Ground Round Sports Grille and Bowling Alley in Bradley Beach, the Silver Ball Pinball Museum in Asbury Park and the 9th Avenue Pier waterfront outdoor restaurant and mini-golf in Belmar.   Also discovered on the Asbury Park boardwalk, the Asbury Splash Park and Asbury Eighteen mini-golf which are perfect for families with younger kids.  All these activities offer a nice break from the beach.

The 9th Avenue Pier opened last year at the Belmar Marina and has been an instant hit offering a beautiful waterfront outdoor setting with bands and a menu that features Mexican, burgers, salads and seafood.  Food orders are made at the walk up window while waitstaff take drink orders and deliver the food when it is ready.

9th Avenue Pier restaurant in Belmar

Enjoy a relaxing family meal at the 9th Avenue Pier restaurant in Belmar

The water views of  from the 9th Avenue Pier are beautiful and relaxing.

View the Belmar Bridge from the 9th Avenue Pier restaurant

View the Belmar Bay and Bridge from the 9th Avenue Pier restaurant

The newly opened mini-golf course offers an opportunity to work off the calories after dinner.

Mini-golf is now open at the 9th Avenue Pier in Belmar, NJ

Mini-golf is now open at the 9th Avenue Pier in Belmar, NJ

In nearby Bradley Beach, we found another great family option at the Ground Round Sports Grille and Bowling Alley.  The Ground Round restaurant chain was very popular along the Shore before it went bankrupt several years ago.  Recently, former franchise owners have bought the rights to the name and begun to re-open restaurants using the Ground Round Sports Grille brand.  The food was fairly basic pub food, but the attached bowling alley made for a really fun night.  We couldn’t remember the last time we had gone bowling as a family. For our New England teens who are used to candlepin, the full size bowling pins at the Jersey Shore were a new twist.  This a a fun rainy day activity at the shore.

Bowling at the Bradley Beach, NJ Ground Round Sports Grille and Bowling Alley

A family bowling night at the Bradley Beach, NJ Ground Round Sports Grille and Bowling Alley

Another family favorite, particularly for the boys in our family, turned out to be the Silver Ball Museum in Asbury Park on the boardwalk.  The majority of the museum’s 100+ vintage pinball machines survived Superstorm Sandy and the museum was one of the first businesses to reopen on the Asbury Park boardwalk.  Our boys couldn’t get enough of those old time classics!

Pinball wizards at the Asbury Park, NJ Silver Ball Museum

Pinball wizards at the Asbury Park, NJ Silver Ball Museum

Also on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, the Asbury Splash Park and Asbury Eighteen mini-golf are open for business.  These are low tech attractions that are probably best for families with younger kids.  The $50 family fun pack is a great deal offering 4 passes to the Asbury Splash Park, 4 passes to Asbury Eighteen Mini-Golf, 4 beach badges and a daily parking pass for one car.

Asbury Splash Park on the boardwalk is open for business

Asbury Splash Park on the boardwalk is open for business

The Jersey Shore continues to be a great family friendly destination with the majority of classic attractions re-opening this year and new ones adding to the fun.  Looking for more ideas – check out our Top Ten list of family friendly Jersey Shore activities.

Jul 072013
 

Jersey Stirred Not ShakenHaving just returned from a week at the Jersey Shore visiting some of the beaches and boardwalks hardest hit by Superstorm  Sandy along the coast between Sea Bright and Point Pleasant, we can confirm that the Jersey Shore is very much back in business for the summer of 2013.  While the recovery effort is ongoing, everywhere we visited found businesses, beaches and boardwalks open and well stocked.

Here are some of our favorite images of the Restored Jersey Shore starting with a view of the beach in Belmar, NJ.  Post-Sandy, beach sand was found covering streets and lawns as much as 8 blocks away from the beach.  Businesses located across the street had more than two feet of sand covering their floors.  Throughout the winter the town plowed, shifted, cleaned and reclaimed as much sand as possible.  The restored beach is slightly narrower than before.  In the coming year, the town will be building a stronger set of engineered dunes to help limit the impact of future storms.

Belmar, NJ Beach open for business summer 2013

Belmar, NJ Beach open for business summer 2013

The 1.3 mile Belmar Boardwalk was totally destroyed by Sandy along with several blocks of beachside restaurants and businesses.  Belmar was one of the first towns to begin rebuilding its boardwalk, reopening the entire length in time for Memorial Day 2013 – at a cost of $8 million.  For summer 2013, food trucks and kiosks are standing in for beachside buildings that had to be demolished.  Businesses located on Ocean Avenue across the street from the Boardwalk are almost all repaired and reopened providing plenty of dining and shopping options as well.

The newly rebuilt Belmar, NJ Boardwalk reopened in time for Memorial Day 2013

The newly rebuilt Belmar, NJ Boardwalk reopened in time for Memorial Day 2013

In Point Pleasant, Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, rides, arcades and aquarium all also reopened for the season.

In Point Pleasant, NJ Jenkinson's Boardwalk, rides, arcades and aquarium all reopened in time for summer 2013

In Point Pleasant, NJ Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, rides, arcades and aquarium all reopened in time for summer 2013

Asbury Park, NJ also restored its beach and boardwalk in time for the summer season!

Asbury Park Boardwalk 2013

Asbury Park Boardwalk 2013

If you are still wondering if it is safe to go back to the Jersey Shore be assured the Shore is back in business and looking forward to seeing you and your family soon.


Feb 232013
 

The Jersey Shore is coming back.  After taking a pounding from Hurricane Sandy, the New Jersey Shore’s barrier islands and beach towns have been quickly reopening year-round businesses and are pulling out all the stops to make sure the boardwalks, arcades, rides, and beaches are ready to welcome visitors for Summer 2013.  Here’s a quick run down of how some of our favorite haunts are doing with the recovery effort.

The rides are returning to Jenkinson's Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

The rides are returning to Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, in Point Pleasant Beach has already reopened the aquarium,  as well as some of the arcades, bars, restaurants and shops.  The $2 million boardwalk repair effort is under construction and is expected to be ready for summer.  The rides, many of which had been taken off the boardwalk for winter storage prior to the storm, are already being installed and tested.  The beach, even in winter, still looks amazing.

New pilings for Jenkinson's Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ are in place

New pilings for Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ are in place

Seaside Heights has begun the first stage of an $6+ million project (funded in part by the MTV Restore the Shore fundraiser) to rebuild its mile long boardwalk and amusement piers while adding a seawall under the boardwalk to protect the town from future storms.  In the next few weeks, the owners of Casino Pier will begin the process of removing the Jet Star roller coaster from the Atlantic Ocean, where it has sat since it and three other amusement rides went off the end of the 630-foot long pier when part of it collapsed.  The boardwalk and beach and at least some of the rides and arcades should be ready for summer.

Belmar broke ground in early January on a $6.6 million project to replace its 1.3 mile boardwalk in time for Memorial Day.  Asbury Park and Avon are both about to begin their own boardwalk restoration processes although many of Asbury’s boardwalk restaurants and stores have been open during the winter using street-side entrances.  Atlantic City, which experienced flooding but missed the worst of the storm, has been back in business for some time.

The beach at Jenkinson's Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach looks great on a winter's day

The beach at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach looks great on a winter’s day

The road back to pre-Sandy conditions will take several years for the hardest hit communities.  In Mantoloking, where just about every one of the 500 homes in town sustained some level of damage, residents were just permitted to return in early February.   Towns like Union Beach and Sea Bright are also struggling with extensive damage to schools, homes and infrastructure.

If you are working on planning summer family vacations, make sure the Jersey Shore is on your list, the beaches, boardwalks, arcades, restaurants and shops are looking forward to seeing you in summer 2013.

Photos courtesy Jenkinson’s Boardwalk


Jul 092012
 

The teens are big fans of the Jersey Shore boardwalks having spent much time over the years strolling the boards on the way to the beach in Belmar, shopping in Asbury Park and Atlantic City and hitting the arcade games and rides in Pt. Pleasant and Wildwood.  This year, we added a new Jersey Shore boardwalk to the bucket list with a visit to the infamous mile long Seaside Heights, NJ boardwalk, where, in recent years, the rides, shops and games on the boardwalk have been a bit overshadowed by MTV’s reality show headliners including Snookie, Pauly D, the Situation and the rest.

The teens enjoy the roller coaster on Casino Pier at the Seaside Heights, NJ Boardwalk

The teens enjoy the roller coaster on Casino Pier at the Seaside Heights, NJ Boardwalk

Like any good tourists we made a point to ride the classics including the roller coaster, the merry-go-round, the tilt-a-whirl, the go karts, bumper cards, a death defying vertical round-up type ride called the Enterprise, and the chair-lift style Sky Ride which happens to glide right past the now famous Shore House and the Shore Store where the Jersey Shore cast members sometime show up for work selling tee shirts.

The Seaside Heights Sky Ride is a great way to check out the Boardwalk scene

The Seaside Heights Sky Ride is a great way to check out the Boardwalk scene

During our Sky Ride we noticed a fair amount of activity in front of the Shore House and decided to walk back up the boardwalk by way of the house.  It is well protected by a security detail but we managed to walk by just in time to see Snookie and best friend Deena coming out the front door.  Later we saw Pauly D, Vinnie and The Situation being filmed while hanging out on the roof deck at sunset.  A few minuted later, we saw NJ Governor Christie out with his family!  He made the news and You Tube that evening for have a rather loud disagreement with a heckler.

The Shore House roof deck and Shore Store made famous by Snookie and the MTV Jersey Shore crew

The Shore House roof deck and Shore Store made famous by Snookie and the MTV Jersey Shore crew

For the record, the teens totally enjoyed the rides, arcade games, pizza, and ice cream at the Seaside Height, NJ Boardwalk.  With more thrill rides and a wider selection of games than Pt. Pleasant, Seaside is a good afternoon or early evening destination for families with teens and tweens, although we recommend staying outside of town and away from the late night craziness that tends to take over when the bars let out.

Try your luck at the Seaside Heights Boardwalk

Try your luck at the Seaside Heights Boardwalk

The Seaside boardwalk definitely has its rough edges but it is actually much more family friendly than MTV would lead you to believe.  We visited from 5 pm to about 10 pm on a hot summer Thursday evening and found it to be a great night out for the teens – we certainly covered a lot of ground in just a few hours.  If you visit Seaside let us know what you think.


Sep 082011
 

In our neighborhood, autumn came early this year when Hurricane Irene washed out the last weekend of summer and school started before Labor Day.  Just a few days before the hurricane barrelled across New Jersey, New York and Vermont we enjoyed one last summer sunset in Long Branch, NJ.  #1 Son caught this image which pretty much sums it all up for us.

The last summer sunset of 2011
 
The lifeguards are all off duty and the bathing suits and suntan lotion have been put away.   The backpacks are full of newly purchased school supplies and a new season of  Travel with Teens and Tweens adventures awaits.  Happy Fall!
 
Note: we shared this post with the Delicious Baby photo friday roundup which is a great place to discover lots of fun family travel bloggers.
 

NJ’s Americana Diner: A Classic

 Posted by on September 15, 2010  Comments Off
Sep 152010
 

     According to the American Diner Museum web site, the word “diner” is a derivative of “dining car” and diner designs originally reflected the styling that manufacturers borrowed from railroad dining cars.   The first diners were simple prefab affairs with  a counter, stools and a cooking area along the back wall. 

The Americana Diner, Shrewsbury NJ - a classic!

     Of course over a number of decades, diners got bigger, tables and booths were added and the decor got a whole lot flashier with stainless steel, neon and chrome being featured prominently.   We are always on the lookout for particularly good examples of classic diners and found one in the Americana on Route 35 in Shrewsbury, NJ, just a few miles from the beach and near an upscale mall.  We stopped in for lunch (and paid our own tab).  The teens thought the burgers, fries and deli sandwiches were tasty.  The menu is enormous so even the pickiest eater will be happy.  The diner is open from early morning to late night  7 days a week.  If you are in the area check it out and let us know what you think.