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Along the Jersey Shore

Actually, just some of the best due to space limitations as Monmouth County kicks ass!
Placing claim to 27 miles of Atlantic coast, major farmland, and a mere 45 minutes by ferry to the greatest city in the world!  Monmouth County is home to many beautiful towns, excellent restaurants, and the friendliest people in the tri state area. The beach options are endless.  Heading south from Sandy Hook you’ve got; Sea Bright, Monmouth Beach, Long Branch, Deal, Allenhurst, Loch Arbor, Asbury Park, Bradley Beach, Avon-By-The-Sea, Belmar, Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Manasquan
All great towns with a culture all their own.  Here we offer a small sampling of a few places we know and love…

Basically Beautiful is in the early stages of developing the ultimate Monmouth County guide!
We welcome all ideas for submission …  [email protected]

Beach Tavern  (Dock & Dine)

A hidden gem…

An awesome dock & dine on the Shrewsbury River in Monmouth Beach.  A seriously pretty spot for sunset dining outdoors.  Rows of boats and palm trees create a serious vaca vibe.  The airy, nautical vibe indoors is not so bad either!  A lively, massive, wrap around bar and high top tables creates an awesome ambiance for socializing.  Overall, a great spot for families, out with friends and/or date night!

Reservations encouraged.  Walk-ins welcome.

Proving Ground  (Dock & Dine)

Live music…

An incredible setting overlooking the Sandy Hook Bay Marina.  A great outdoor deck with live music, a spacious patio and airy dining room.  Serving awesome craft cocktails, craft beers, raw bar picks and a user friendly menu for dinner with the family or friends.  So dock the boat, and grab a drink at the patio bar where tunes run live all weekend.  A great spot any day of the week.

Reservations recommended. Walk-ins welcome…

EvenTide  (Dock & Dine)

Sensational sunsets…

A great spot after a day on the beach. A super casual hang serving American fare overlooking the Shrewsbury River. The deck faces west offering the very best of the late day sun and the most spectacular sunsets. Don’t forget to try the crab dip and their legendary rum buckets!
On the ocean road in Sea Bright.

(EvenTide has a staggered / limited reservation policy during this pandemic. Please check their website for more.)

Sickles Market

Farm to table living…

An exceptional selection of produce, prepared foods, and a nursery that is simply stunning.  With carefully sourced suppliers, Sickles selections are excellent and forever expanding.  Our favorite part is that Sickles is a family run business that has assembled an exceptional team, has a great community vibe, and simply offers exceptional produce.  Not many places like this in the world anymore….

Rook

Calling all coffee snobs…

Hipster coffee founded in 2010.  A slightly different business model than your traditional coffee shop.  Rook doesn’t offer cappuccino, lattes,or the New York Times, it’s straight up coffee and pastries.  The blends are top notch and sourced globally.  The vibe is cutting edge (i.e., music pumping in the background and tattoos front and center).  The branding itself it pretty impressive.  Their signature raven logo, the popular Rook mascot  is ubiquitous in Monmouth County.  Between stickers, t-shirts and store fronts, the Rook raven is everywhere!  Basically what we can promise you is a rich, solid cup of coffee and a simple pastry selection from Balthazar.   Really, what more do you need?  And they have an awesome Insta!

Milagro Spa

A conveniently located, full service spa…

Offering spa, nail, and hair treatments in an inviting, clean, well run atmosphere.  Many of the estheticians, massage therapists, hair and nail techs have been there for many, many years.  Always a good sign….  Ask for the never ending “Dazzle Dry” organic manicure (the wave of the future).  A beautiful line of hair care and skin products not far behind….  The full service Atlantic Club is just one flight below – offering yoga, toning, stretching, cardio and a NOT TO MISS  cafe!  All in a clean-comfortable setting. Locations in Red Bank and Manasquan. 

Walk the Boards

Invigorate your day…

Nothing quite like a breath of fresh ocean air.  Walk the boardwalk to clear your head, move your body, listen to the sounds of waves crashing and improve your health.  (Did you know, the negative ions in sea air accelerate your ability to absorb oxygen, and balance your serotonin levels, a body chemical linked with mood and stress?  If that’s not reason alone…)  Between the towns of Long Branch, Asbury Park and Belmar there are miles and miles of boards to walk, each offering their unique vibe.  We love the Long Branch stretch between Pier Village and West End Beach for a perfectly peaceful 20 minute walk overlooking massive beaches, with no industry and very few cars.  It’s like therapy, only cheaper.  Asbury has the longest stretch of 13 miles, and brings more action: food stands, restaurants, street art, even the legendary Madame Marie!  The Belmar boards are young and fun!  Expect crowds, music, quick bites and the ultimate summer vibe!  Want to get away from the crowds?  Head north and you’ll end up in the historic, quaint, quiet town of Ocean Grove.  Whether you are looking for exercise, people watching, or simply taking in the therapeutic salt air, the boardwalks of Monmouth County are an awesome way to spend free time.  And all free of charge.

Count Basie Center for the Arts

Not a bad seat in the house…

Headlining major talents for nearly 100 years, this historic venue and national landmark is based in downtown Red Bank.  An impressive history with the souls of Bruce, Bon Jovi, Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, Art Garfunkel among many others built deeply into its DNA.  A recent, monumental $26M interior restoration successfully reinvigorated the original glamour of a bygone era.  It really is a special place.  The glamorous, dramatic rotunda alone…  Keeping the arts alive in Monmouth County while helping the cultural scene explode. Artistic performances from the fine arts academy, and their impressive community outreach program is significantly increasing access to the arts, and provides art enrichment in public classrooms across the country.  The line up of acts never disappoints.  Click here for upcoming shows

Come December, The Nutcracker, a personal favorite, is sheer holiday magic!  Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun… Seriously though, you may as well be in Lincoln Center. Major performances. Major theater.  Originally opened in 1926 as Reade’s Carlton Theater.  Named in honor of jazz great and Red Bank native, Count Basie in 1984.  A not for profit legend.

“This hall is to a singer, what Steinway is to a pianist” – Art Garfunkel

Larimar Restaurant

Other level BYOB…

Wow!  A gorgeous space, world class cuisine and the most delicious focaccia you’ve ever tasted!  This Spring Lake gem is the best kept secret in Monmouth County. The seasonal menu, using only the freshest ingredients, delivers an impressive modern italian meal.  The owner, a Michelin star recipient, has an impressive pedigree having trained under some of the top chefs in NYC before opening this standout location. An awesome spot for that momentous occasion, dinner with friends, or anytime you want to cork that special bottle*  Enjoy great people watching, and a full menu in the beautiful bar.  We especially love the exposed brick wall. And although, we haven’t sat in the main dining room yet, let us tell you, it is GORGEOUS!  Feng shui probably, but the color schematics, setting and overall vibe – definitely! The staff is friendly and professional, just as it should be.  All are made to feel welcome… 

One of the country’s most beautiful towns, with major charm, ocean breeze, and dreamlike residential living.  A visit to Spring Lake always does the soul good….

* If you’re in need of a bottle (or a case for home)  – the stars are aligned – you will find a superlative selection at the Spring Lake Bottle Shop just one block away!

Garmany

Upgrade your style…

A dramatic, absolutely beautifully designed shop featuring the finest in men’s and women’s clothing.  Other level retail with master tailors, stylists and a friendly, professional staff. This gracious, family owned business, offers a broad range of cutting edge brands in fashion.  Not to mention, many thoughtful amenities and exceptional customer service.  If you’re looking to update your look, build a new wardrobe, or simply need an amazing outfit for the weekend, you’ll definitely find it here.  Ranked one of the top 10 independent retailers in the country.  A gem in the heart of downtown Red Bank.

Sunsets at Sandy Hook

The sun also rises…

A 6 mile barrier spit that sits at the tip of the Jersey shore.  This unspoiled, national park is a peaceful, romantic spot.  This unique stretch of land offers the most magical sunrises from the Atlantic Ocean, and equally romantic sunsets over the Sandy Hook bay.  A 1,665 acres spot with spectacular ocean and bay beaches and view of the Manhattan skyline.  A national treasure.   

A fun site with all the sunset / sunrise times to the minute!

The French Market

A vicarious thrill…

If you’ve never been to Provence, this gourmet cafe will take you away…  An organic, rustic vibe that’s incredibly well styled and designed.  Serving delicious cheeses, jams, cookies and cakes, salads, omelettes, french sandwiches and more.  Stop for lunch or a delightful cappuccino in their charming, sunlit, rustic back room.  Or shop for unique home products for the kitchen and bath.  An excellent spot for hostess gifts!  Fresh florals, custom gifts, small bites and more.  They’ve got taste, style and substance with an Instagram to prove it!  Kind of like an art gallery for gourmet food lovers.  An absolutely beautiful setting, ambiance and selection.

Asbury Lanes

High energy, modern lanes…

With a world class sound system, great tunes, a couple of bars, and an old fashioned diner, Asbury Lanes has ushered bowling into the modern age.  Come for the music, the food, the scene, and and if you’re in the mood, maybe the lanes!  In a massive space with high ceilings, live music, djs and and an awesome diner, there’s something for everyone.  Great for families, date night and hanging with friends.  Come early and stay late… 

The Daley Practice

Sound body, sound mind…

A breath of fresh air in the heart of downtown Asbury.  A sunlit, immaculate studio that sits on the corner of Bangs and Bond offers a series of classes in the Iyengar method.  When you spot the peaceful buddha meditating on the corner and the gorgeous flower boxes, you know you’ve arrived…   

This beautiful, boutique studio was founded and designed by Thea Daley (hence the “Daley” practice) a natural beauty and natural yogi.  You can always expect a warm welcome, exceptional instruction and to make new friends.  Not to mention, an ecologically friendly designed space and operation.  Come to deepen your asanas on their rope wall, perfect your alignment or simply to breath.  It’s all available here.  Really everything a boutique studio should be…

Lambs & Wolves

Art, beauty and buzz…

Keeping the creative energy flowing with their art gallery inspired decor, this beauty salon on the west side of Red Bank is keeping Monmouth County beautiful one hair style at a time.   

A large space with dozens of stylists specializing in cut, color, balayage, up dos (oh boy!) and nails. The salon is friendly, the vibe is hip and the energy is high. (We can personally recommend Kristina for cut and/or color. She’s talented, highly collaborative, and super chill.)  After perfecting his craft in top salons of New York City for 25 years, Glen Goldbaum founded Lambs & Wolves in 2008. His love of art, team building and creative energy has been fueling the operation ever since.

Down to Basics

Sleep in lofty luxury…

In one of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in downtown Red Bank, The Galleria, Down to Basics is a gorgeous shop that is beautifully curated.  Offering the finest linens and bedding all sourced globally.  And they ship worldwide!  Everything you could ever dream of for a stunning bedroom is inside their four walls.  An inspiring, sumptuous, and varied collection.
Sweet dreams…

Coco Pari

Let’s dress up!

This owner knows how to buy!  From beautiful dresses, awesome cashmere sweaters, flattering jeans, and a very beautiful collection of well made, super, sexy shoes, Coco Pari offers a gorgeously curated, exceptional collection.  These are the  gems you go back to time and again.

Poor Cat Designs

How charming…

Bringing hipster bracelets and necklaces to the next level with their broad selection of contemporary 24k and 18k fine jewelry.  A collection of timeless symbols, easy to mix and match and most strung on leather.  Ideal for men, women and teenagers and popular with rock stars and celebrities – really ideal for just about anyone.  An awesome gift.  A beautifully designed, handcrafted collection.  Produced in Red Bank, New Jersey. Sold worldwide.

Tommy’s Tavern + Tap

Bring the kids!

Great for the whole family.  Pizzas, burgers, salads, sushi – something for everyone.  On the ocean road in Sea Bright.  Always high energy and always a wait, but well worth it.

Bungalow Hotel

Boutique hotel with a hipster vibe…

Great location, beautifully designed hotel along the coast at Pier Village in Long Branch.  A modern design with fully equipped kitchenettes, fitness center, and a two minute walk to the beach.  What more do you need?!  It gets better… the art loving owners support local artists with rotating galleries throughout the hotel every few months.  Very cool spot!

Avenue

Gorgeous setting, incredible food…

A magnificently designed restaurant on the ocean in Pier Village, Long Branch.  Simply one of the best kitchens in Monmouth County.  Great for lunch, date night, or that special occasion celebration.  Kick it upstairs after 10pm,  where the music and dancing come alive at Le Club.  Great people watching, great food, and gorgeous setting… They’ve got it all.

The Stone Pony

Rock On!

The legendary Stone Pony – one of the greatest rock clubs of all time.  Home of the E Street Band and favorite venue of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.  The Stone Pony remains a prominent venue in the evolving music scene on a national scale.  Hosts to music videos and major  festivals such as Vans Warped Tour and Sea.Hear.Now.  Their top talent level bookings continue to keep Asbury Park on the cutting edge of rock culture.  The tunes are cranked year round, and the “Summer Stage” is not to be missed with its ocean breeze and impressive lineup of artists – Sublime with Rome, The Bouncing Souls, and The Nerds for starters.  A club with major soul and impressive rock ‘n’ roll history.

Watermark

Views and Tunes…

Craft cocktails and small plates on the rooftop overlooking the ocean.  A premium  lounge with floor to ceiling windows, and great tunes.  We can promise you a superb, crafted cocktail created with homemade spirits infused with fresh fruits, herbs, and spices.  A premium setting for socializing with friends old and new.  Hang under the moon and stars on the outside deck and take in tunes from the Stone Pony’s Summer Stage.  Talk about added value… Overall, a beautifully designed, awesome lounge on the Asbury boardwalk.  A great hang in a spectacular setting.  Dramatically different experience in every season.  We recommend a visit in each.

Parlor Art Gallery

Art as inspiration…

With a unique vision in a welcoming space, the Parlor Art Gallery introduces a collection of young, emerging talents and exhibits established, international artists.  Enriching the current Asbury Park art scene with diverse exhibits that change ten to twelve times per year.  Another splash of culture on the streets of Asbury.  Don’t miss their upcoming Pop Up Exhibitions, and while you’re in the hood be sure to check out the Wooden Wall Project and murals.  Great location.  Great gallery.

Taka

Sushi, sushi, sushi…

Great space, great food (the sushi’s our favorite), and awesome drinks.  An excellent spot for happy hour, date night, and/or dinner with the family.  There’s sidewalk dining, tables in the bar, and quiet dining in the back.  Always a great vibe in a beautifully designed space.

Spring Lake Bottle Shop

An incredible selection!

Considered one of the best bottle shops on the eastern seaboard.  A favorite for collectors and wine cellar aficionados.  A very well run shop with a talented staff and serious wine selection.  Definitely worth the trip.

The Scone Pony

A charming, fun, dangerous shop!

A delightful shop making an incredible variety of simply delicious scones.  This sister duo whips up some major treats using the freshest ingredients and crafting all by hand.  True baking talent passed down from their mother who continues to help out in the kitchen.  The scone flavors are mouth-watering and endless.  Their vanilla bean scone a crowd favorite (Basically Beautiful is partial to the cranberry orange!)  The baking skills continue with awesome cookies, pies, and cakes.  Not to be missed.

(posted: April 2019)

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