Exploring the Jersey Shore During Off-Peak Season – Do I Need A Reason?


<img src="img_4388_web.jpg" alt="Jersey Shore" />

Where do cruise ship employees go when they take vacation? An office?

Several versions of this question have been posed to me over the years. In truth, I tend to spend my time off of ships in a  mundane fashion that usually involves a Slanket and giant mugs of coffee. I associate travel with stimulation, adventure, learning opportunities, troubleshooting, but seldom with relaxation. Silly me!

Old friends of mine recently invited me to visit them in their new home in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Former die-hard New Yorkers, they have forgone the vacillating pleasures of a Manhattan lifestyle in favor of light, space, foliage, close proximity to a thriving and historic boardwalk, pristine beaches, and a lively arts scene. I have visited 84-countries to date, but I had never been to Asbury Park! Again, silly me!

<img src="img_4818_web.jpg" alt="Asbury Park Pavillion" />

Founded in 1871 by James A. Bradley, Asbury Park was designated as a progressive city at its inception. The innovative vision of its founder included a boardwalk and pavilion, trolley systems, wide, tree-lined streets, manicured parks, and a thriving oceanfront! The city flourished from the later part of the Victorian era to the mid 1960’s.

<img src="img_4817_web.jpg" alt="Asbury Park Pavillion" />

The historic Paramount Theatre and Convention Hall, with a grand arcade connecting the two. The theater was designed by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, whose New York City buildings include the Brooklyn Museum, Columbia University’s Main Campus and the former Pennsylvania Station.

Concurrently, the city’s musical history chronicles the very evolution of American popular music, from the patriotic work of John Philip Sousa, to Big Band, Jazz, Blues, and, of course, contemporary rock legends like Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. Asbury Park has undergone phenomenal revitalization in the last 10-years, curtailed only briefly by damage sustained by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

<img src="img_4777_web.jpg" alt="Asbury Park Boardwalk" />

Retro kiddie rides line the outside of the Silverball Arcade Museum

<img src="img_4838_web.jpg" alt="Salt Water Beach Cafe" />

This former Howard Johnson’s was renovated and reopened in summer 2007 as the Salt Water Beach Cafe. In the distance to the right is the legendary music venue, the Wonderbar!

<img src="img_4819_web.jpg" alt="SS Morro Castle" />

On the morning of September 8, 1934, en route from Havana to New York, the cruise ship SS Morro Castle caught fire and burned, killing 137 passengers and crew members. The ship eventually beached herself near the Asbury Park Convention Hall, and remained there for several months until she was towed off. Sadly, the city capitalized on the tragedy, turning the wreck into a tourist attraction.

But I wasn’t there for the Cult’cha. Aside from the high-spirited reunion with my friends,  I was more than content to shuffle along barefoot at the shoreline, the incoming tide soaking my jeans with an invigorating September chill.

<img src="img_4307_web.jpg" alt="Ocean Grove New Jersey" />

Sharing the beach with like-minded individuals

<img src="img_4646_web.jpg" alt="Ocean Grove New Jersey" />

Just another Sunday morning

<img src="4740_web.jpg" alt="Ocean Grove New Jersey" />

Looking north toward Asbury Park from Ocean Grove

<img src="img_1414_web.jpg" alt="Ocean Grove New Jersey" />

There are just a few remnants of the damages caused by Hurricane Sandy. These jutting boardwalk posts remind me of the pillars found amongst Greek and Roman ruins

<img src="img_4756_web.jpg" alt="Lillagaard Hotel Ocean Grove" />

We spent two nights at a lovely Bed & Breakfast in Ocean Grove, the Lillagaard Hotel, located just steps from the beach and boardwalk.

<img src="img_photo-2-8_web.jpg" alt="Avon by the Sea" />

Avon-by-the-Sea is a historic Victorian seaside resort community just south of Ocean Grove and Asbury Park.

When your work involves the planning and realization of other peoples’ play, it’s easy to lose sight of the simple and necessary pleasures of a spontaneous getaway.

<img src="img_4306_web.jpg" alt="Ocean Grove New Jersey" />

For more information visit: http://www.visitthejerseyshore.com

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