Woot Woot Here Comes Summer

I bet you’re curious…  Yes, this summer at the Jersey Shore is shaping up to be fantastic!  Schools are letting out in the upcoming days and it is time to think Summer Thoughts, namely Firework Displays.

Kaboom is still on the kabash for this year in Red Bank due to organizational and financial issues, but there are still plenty of nearby towns planning on providing spectacular visual entertainment for you and your family.

The longest running event during the Independence Day holiday at the Jersey Shore is the Atlantic Highlands Fireman Fair.  This unique town offers tremendous water views, great restaurants, a marina and fishing boats available to charter throughout the year.  The fair will be going on from July 2-July 6 at Municipal Harbor on Simon Lake Drive.  Circle your calendar for Fireworks on Friday, July 5th with a rain date of Saturday July 7th.

Hazlet is always a winner with fireworks.  Start your holiday weekend early by watching the Wednesday July 3rd display.  Get to Veterans Park, grab a prime spot and wait patiently for the sun to set. (Rain date Friday, July 5th)

Spend the day in Keansburg at the amusement and water parks.  Spend your night ooooing and aaahhhing at the colors exploding across the black canvas of the night sky.   They offer a double feature – Wednesday and Thursday July 3rd and July 4th at dusk – Fishing Pier and Boardwalk

Long Branch proudly presents Oceanfest on Thursday July 4th – all day free family fun can be found.  This annual festival is a crowd pleaser “for shore” with activities happening all day long starting at 10am.  What can be better than good old fashioned family fun at the Promenade in Long Branch!?!  Don’t forget to stop at Strollo’s Lighthouse and cool off or celebrate with an authentic Italian ice or delicious homemade soft serve ice cream.

Union Beach, one of the most devastated Monmouth County communities from Sandy’s wrath, did not have any plans to conduct their annual fireworks display.  Those residents have spent the last 210 days rebuilding their town and their spirits.  One resident entered a contest for a free community fireworks display and Won!  They have not yet posted a date for this wonderful gift that has been bestowed upon them.   Be sure to come and celebrate their victory in determination.  You will never meet a more deserving bunch of people.

So pack up the car and the kiddos – shoot, we’re pet friendly at the Comfort Inn Middletown, so bring the family pet too – and head on down the shore to Exit 117.  There is something to do every day here and we look forward to creating Summer 2013 memories with you!


7 Atlantic Highlands Restaurant Recommendations

A few weeks ago I was writing the 5 Fun Things for the  Fourth of July post and I sent an email to the organizers of the Fireman’s Fair in Atlantic Highlands.  Shelly replied with the greatest information including details, photos, logos, etc.  This makes for a very easy blog post which means it has a very good chance of being written. I had sent her a return email to let her know the post was up and she replied with yet again, another great email with details on Atlantic Highlands restaurants with personal recommendations. I have lived here just about a year and there are so many great places I have yet to get to, input is so helpful. I used her email as a shell for this post and I filled in content and details from the restaurants websites.  Google Maps is one of my favorite things, so I created a Google Map with all of the restaurant locations.  Each and everyone is an easy trip from the Comfort Inn Middletown.

“I visited the site and saw that on the right side you have a list of area restaurants. I didn’t see any in Atlantic Highlands which shocked me as we have several popular and well-reviewed establishments in town. I’d like to be so bold as to suggest a few that are my personal favorites with some of my favorite selections.” – Shelly Cummins Kennedy, Atlantic Highlands Resident If you check to the right, they are all there now.

Memphis Pig Out Chicken and Ribs

Memphis Pig Out

Memphis Pig-Out “Babyback ribs, collards, Jack Daniels applesauce, and strawberry pie. Nuff said.” Mark and Connie Strassburg are owners of The Memphis Pig Out Restaurant.

“We came to Atlantic Highlands 21 years ago with the intent to introduce Memphis-style regional cooking to the Bay Shore area. We specialize in ribs and chicken cooked over hickory similar to the way it’s been done in Memphis for hundreds of years. According to Joan Hamburg, we make the best ribs in New Jersey. “-From the Memphis Pig out Website

The  restaurant is casual dining with a kids menu and is open from 4:00pm to 9:00pm daily. Located at 67 First Avenue in Atlantic Highlands. To read their Zagat reviews, click here. To Call: 732.291.5533

Julia's Restaurant & Wine Bar

Julia’s Restaurant & Wine Bar is located at 91 First Avenue in Atlantic Highlands and is open Monday through Thursday from 4-10pm, Friday, 4-11pm, Saturday 5-11pm and Sunday 4-9pm. Reachable by phone at 732.872.1007.

The Mediterranean inspired menu features many Italian favorites along with creative innovations using only the freshest meat, seafood, and local produce.  Owner and former Major League Baseball player, John Valentin, is a constant presence to assure you are well taken care of every time you visit. With a creative cocktail menu, wine list, homemade desserts, and daily specials, Julia’s is the perfect place for your special occasion or just an everyday night out on the town! – From Julia’s Restaurant & Wine Bar Website

You can find Julia’s on Yelp here and TripAdvisor here.

The Copper Canyon

The Copper Canyon“NJ’s largest tequila bar! Creative Southwest foods prepared by owner-chef Michael Krikorian ‘try this‘ hint: southwestern crab cakes and white truffle risotto are to die for!”

Ever since Head Chef and Owner Michael Krikorian opened the doors to his culinary oasis The Copper Canyon, people say a little bit of the Southwest has landed on the Jersey Shore right here in Atlantic Highlands, NJ. Whether it’s his signature Southwestern Crab Cakes, NY Strip Steak, Spring Rolls or any of his other dishes you’re bound to have a great meal. But what is a great meal without great drinks? The Copper Canyon’s liquor cabinet boasts over 150 different tequilas for you to sample (we don’t recommend trying all 150 in one visit though). And who can resist the Copper Canyon’s famous Margaritas. –From The Copper Canyon Website

The Copper Canyon is Zagat rated which you can read about here and they are also listed on Yelp here.

On the Deck is located at 2 Simon Lake Drive, at Frank’s Pier, AH Harbor, (732) 872-1423. “Breathtaking bay views of four New York boroughs (Staten Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens), and the Manhattan skyline.

On the Deck

Friendly, fun.  Gotta love the parrothead music on their website!”

On The Deck has made quite a name for itself since its opening in the summer of 2008. Located in Atlantic Highlands, On The Deck offers indoor and outdoor dining with spectacular views of the  Shrewsbury River, Gateway National Park and the New York City skyline all year round. Conveniently located adjacent to the Sea Streak ferry terminal, On the Deck provides ample parking, handicap accessibility, friendly service and a warm casual atmosphere. On the Deck is the sister restaurant to the iconic Off The Hook in Highlands and possesses the same commitment to excellence. On The Deck features nightly specials and an extensive menu that has something for everyone. A lively bar setting, complete with 8 flat-screen TV’s and a wide variety of beer, wine and spirits, makes On The Deck the perfect place for lunch, dinner, happy hour or any special occasion.-From On The Deck Website

Casual dining for lunch and dinner, happy hour and they have a kids menu.

Kyoto “Wonderfully entertaining hibachi dining; excellent, fresh, chef-prepared delicacies at the sushi bar. White tuna sashimi, seafood salad, or shrimp hibachi dinner.”

“Our vision is to be socially responsible to our customers, community, and our environment. We make our very best efforts to support local farmers for our product. This means trying our best to use only chemical free produce, meat, fish and dairy.” – From the Kyoto Sushi & Hibachi Website

The reviews on Yelp are all favorable and it looks like a great place to bring a group. It is a  BYOB, a point you don’t want to forget. Menu consists of  sushi and hibachi items and it is suitable for family dining. Located at 2389 State Route 36 in Atlantic Highlands and by phone at 732.708.1088

Indulgence Cafe “Wonderful, intimate little cafe serving breakfast and lunch, with outdoor dining. Located on First Ave. just off the harbor. The café offers a warm and friendly atmosphere that is sure to please. Family owned and operated. Pets welcome outside when we bring our dog  the staff gives doggie biscuits.”

Open daily for breakfast and lunch, patrons of the Indulgence Cafe can enjoy homemade soups, gourmet desserts and a wide selection of specialty coffees and teas.

Indulgence Cafe is located at 25 First Avenue, Suite 107 in Atlantic Highlands, NJ  and by phone at732.708.9500.

From there we veer of to the Highlands which sneaks into the post because I just love that place and I recommend highly the crab cake sandwich and Greek Chopped Salad.

Inlet Cafe

“Also, in Highlands I love Inlet Cafe (I second that Shelly!) and frequently take visitors there; everyone loves it.  A ‘must have‘  is the fried Maryland oysters!”

The Inlet Café is a second-generation family owned and operated restaurant. It is now owned by siblings Douglas Lentz and Robin Lentz-Sundstrom.   The kitchen is now under the direction of Chef Alex Rogers, a graduate of the Academy of Culinary Arts.  The Inlet Café was open in 1966 by our parents. Its original name was “The Lobster Pot”. The name “Inlet Café” was chosen because back in 1966, there was talk of building an inlet into Sandy Hook, across from the restaurant.   The Inlet Café began as a local tavern with a small clam bar and four outdoor tables. The original building was destroyed in 1975 by a catastrophic fire that started in a neighboring hotel. The Inlet Cafe was quickly rebuilt and expanded into its present day form. In the late 70’s early 80’s we became famous for our “All You Can Eat” for $1.00 steamers nights. In those days steamers were plentiful in the local rivers. They were harvested by the hundreds of bushels daily. Unfortunately over harvesting coupled with pollution has led to the complete demise of steamer clams in the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers. There are no longer any local steamers available. Our steamers are now harvested in Maine and shipped to our restaurant. Now in 2010 our commitment is clear, we make every effort to provide the finest quality food and absolute guest satisfaction. We maintain extremely high standards for the products we purchase and strive to provide the freshest products available.- From the Inlet Cafe Website

The Inlet Cafe is a great place to stop on your way back from Sandy Hook.  The Highlands has a number of great restaurants that I would love to put on here as well. If only someone would put them all in an email and send them to me like Shelly did (hint, hint… anyone?) The same goes for Red Bank.  Shelly also said she would keep me in the loop on other Atlantic Highlands happenings so stay tuned and I’ll bring you what she sends.  If you have experiences you’d like to share or restaurants to add, please leave them in the comments.

Free and Low Cost Things To Do At The Jersey Shore This Summer

The economy appears to be on the rebound, Europe is exploding with hot lava, you want to save money but still go on vacation.  These are all perfect reason to plan your Jersey Shore Summer Vacation today.  Having something fun to look forward to is good for the mind and the soul. There are plenty of low cost or free things to do  and the Comfort Inn Middletown wants to be a part of your Jersey Shore vacation.  Make your reservations today, our two queen bedded rooms book up quickly.

This post focuses on what’s good for your wallet.  I tried to put together a list of free or low cost events that you and your family can enjoy on your visit to the Jersey Shore.  We’ll call this the first in a two (at least) part series on Jersey Shore events.  This one will discuss recurring events and the one(s) to follow will include more date specific features. Then we’ll do some posts with more specifics on some of the events we talk about here. Most of the events listed take place during the months of June, July and August on the dates specified.

ARTS & MUSIC:  If the arts  and music are your thing well you’ve come to the right place. The Jersey Shore has a deep history in both. Night of the Arts: A monthly arts event held on the third Friday of every month presenting a sampling of the best arts in Asbury Park. The event takes place in Downtown Asbury Park. Blues On The Beach Long Branch: A Sunday night music series featuring local bands playing jazz and blues taking place West End Park Brighton Avenue, Long Branch.  Atlantic Highlands Summer Concert Series: Each Sunday starting June 27th and running through throughout the summer.  Atlantic Highlands Municipal Harbor on Simon Lake Drive in Atlantic Highlands.   Belmar Friday Night Concert Series: A concert every Friday night by a variety of artists from July through September. *Weather Permitting at Pyanoe Plaza 9th and Main St, Belmar.

Farmers Markets all throughout the summer at the Jersey Shore

Keyport Farmers Market

FARMERS MARKETS: Who doesn’t love locally grown produce, fresh flowers and crafts? There are many Farmers Markets taking place throughout the area during the summer months. Belmar: Farmers market every Saturday from May through September sponsored by the Belmar Chamber of Commerce. Located at Pyanoe Plaza 9th and Main St, Belmar.  The Galleria Red Bank: This farmers market, runs every Sunday from May 9, 2010 – November 14, 2010 and offers fresh, locally-grown produce from some of New Jerseys finest farmers as well as showcasing unique crafts and wonderful eateries. The Galleria Red Bank Parking Lot Corner of Bridge Ave and West Front St, Red Bank. Manasquan: Locally grown fruit, vegetables and herbs. Great tasting baked goods and more. Every Thursday from June 24 – September 2, 2010, 9am to 3pm at Miller Preston Way, Manasquan.  Keyport: Annual farmers market running every Thursday from July through October. Fresh Picked, Jersey Grown, Fruits, Vegetables,Flowers, Jams and  Honey in Mini Park on West Front Street 1:00 PM to Sell Out.  Highlands:Wake up and smell the fresh flowers and just-picked Jersey-fresh produce available every Saturday from July through October at the Highlands Business Partnership’s weekly Farmers Market in Huddy Park, Highlands.

FIREWORKS: Ah beautiful eye candy. Keansburg Amusement Park: Free fireworks show July 3 & and 4 and every Monday night at dusk July 12- August 9th at the Fishing Pier. The Lakewood BlueClaws Fireworks Fridays: Fireworks display after each home game Friday nights during the season. Lakewood BlueClaws Stadium is located at 2 Stadium Way, Lakewood. Asbury Park: Fireworks on the Asbury Park boardwalk every Wednesday from June through August. *Weather Permitting*Boardwalk, Asbury Park.

MOVIES: Who needs the drive in when you can settle your beach chair into the sand and catch a flick on the beach?  Free movie screening on the Asbury Park Beach: Every Thursday in July and August. Bring a beach chair or blanket. *Weather Permitting* Asbury Park Beach. Free movie on the beach in Belmar: Every Sunday from July through September. *Weather Permitting*8th Ave. Beach, Belmar. Website lists the movie schedule.

SIDEWALK SALES AND EVENTS: Yes, shopping costs money but only if you buy something. You are more than welcome to come “window shop” and enjoy two historic towns. First Saturday In Asbury Park: Spend the first Saturday of each month enjoying sidewalk sales, shopping, and dining under a variety of different themes.  Red Bank Street Life: Free entertainment on the sidewalks of Red Bank. Red Bank Business District. Saturdays June 5 through August 28th.

SPORTS: Monmouth Park Family Fun Days: Family Fun Days are every Sunday and Holiday Memorial Day to Labor Day from 12 noon – 4 pm. All Activities are FREE and include:Pony Rides, Face Painters, Clowns,Bounce House & Live Music. Grandstand admission is $3, children 12 and under are always admitted free. Henry Hudson Trail: A multi-purpose train in Monmouth County.  Read our previous post on this local gem here.

Monmouth County has a rich County Park System most of which are free to enter.  Check out their website to see all of the things they have to offer.  There’s gardens, beaches, golf, fishing, boating, horseback riding and much more.

This is only a sampling of the great free and low cost things to do at the Jersey Shore. The Comfort Inn Middletown is your Choice Hotel when looking for a hotel at the Jersey Shore. Come stay with us, we want to share your vacation with you.