Weekend in Asbury Park

The weekend the weather was gorgeous and I had a totally fantastic time visiting our friend, Dave in his little hamlet of a town, Asbury Park, New Jersey. For the past few months, Dave and his partner, Matthew have been trying to convince me to make a visit out to Asbury. The summer went by without us getting a moment to fit it in - so with John far away on a trip for work, I took the chance and drove down on Saturday.

About an hour's drive from Brooklyn, Asbury Park is the midst of a great renaissance. Dave and I spent a few hours on the boardwalk there. We had lunch at Langosta Lounge (Lobster Enchiladas and Bloody Marys). And took a stroll down the length of the boardwalk, which is dotted with lots of small boutiques - but unlike most of the boardwalks that I've frequented at the Jersey Shore, these stores you actually want to visit.

I got lost in a wonderful place called Bodega Shoppe, owned by designer Michael Buess. It one one of the most darling shops I've literally ever seen. I'd explain it as a cross between Paper-Source and Tinsel Trading Co., but even better! In addition to some amazing paper goods, gifts and housewares, he also carries a large assortment of baubles and great jewelry - and the walls are faux painted with picture moulding. Darling, right?!?

While there, we sampled a nibble of delicious lemon squares by local pastry chef, Annie Feinstein. If I was hosting a cocktail party in town, I'd have Annie do all the desserts - they looked divine.

Dave invited a fun group of friends over for dinner and we enjoyed a lovely home cooked meal - full of great late-night conversation and lots of good wine!

Today, Dave and Matthew took me for a tour of Cookman Avenue. Considered the main shopping street of Asbury Park, we ventured inside Shelter Home - for you design addicts out there, its a wonderful destination for housewarming, holiday or birthday gifts.

I loved FS-20, an amazing resource for lots and lots of well-priced vintage Industrial lighting, furniture and 'stuff'. Was totally smitten with a swivel-armed cage lamp (similar to the one above), but it was sold to another customer. Darn!!

We took in some really cool fun art at Parlor Gallery. Loved these two top pieces by artist David “Netherland” van Alphen and the bottom collage by Jill Ricci.

The last of the shops we visited, The House of Modern Living was full of some of the best 1960s antiques I've seen in quite some time. Lots of chairs, wall units and accessories, including a good selection of teak pieces and Russel Wright Pottery. I found the prices to be very fair - it's a fun treasure trove of past design. The owner, Bill, shown above was so sweet - in fact, every shop keeper in town stopped to say hello and chat with us. I'm totally in love with that!

Ending the day, we drove across the water to Ocean Grove, a small town full of interesting Victorian architecture with a very strong Midwest/all-American feel to it. The photo above shows these tiny cabanas that are tented with canvas in the summer when residents come for visits.

We ended the day at Nagle's Apothecary Cafe. We sat outside since the weather was so gorgeous, but I took a quick peek inside - the original cabinets and soda fountain are intact and it's a great glimpse into the hey day of this area.

I totally loved my visit to Asbury Park and meeting all of Dave's wonderfully kind and fun friends in town. I'm already working on planning my second visit out there - and will be sure to bring John along, I know he will adore it just as much as I did.

Have you been to Asbury Park? If not, you should definitely put it on your list of great excursions close to the city. It's a must!

Photos: Convention Hall, Annie Feinstein cookies, Wonderbar mural, Nagel's Cafe sign, Nagel's interior and vintage street map

Posted on November 8, 2009 and filed under Behind the Scenes, Inspiration.