Enter college recreational road trip! My goal this summer, while being in Boston studying for the LSAT, is to have something so incredible in the city to keep me here on the weekends or a beach to escape to otherwise. This weekend was the latter, with a nice trip down to the Jersey Shore!
Eesha, confidante and photo connoisseur, lives down in Ocean, a little town close to Asbury Park. Jaclyn, editor extraordinaire and also future roommate, has been friends with Eesha since high school and naturally wanted us all to come down for a trip to see the both of them! So, a few of us made it into a mission and got a big red van and drove down [read: thanks Anahis!] to slowly transform into Snooki and Pauly D.
Okay, I’ll admit, we had very low expectations. This was also part of the mission: get us to like New Jersey, the famed armpit of America, so we stop making jokes about it to Eesha and Jaclyn. While I was born in New Jersey, my true affiliation lies with Florida, which I can’t escape anyone to stop joking about any time soon, so I too add to the jokes. New Jersey’s funny, what can I say?
Day 1, we got down on a Friday night after some haphazard road trip alphabet games (there are multiple versions?!) and maneuvering around big scary trucks. Eesha was kind enough to grab us some gourmet dinner [read: Taco Bell] so we could have that, watch Friends, and pass out.
The next day, it was a little rainy and in the 60s, which is some of my favorite type of weather. As you can see, I’m never really going back to make it back to Florida. I went downstairs and chatted politics early in the morning with Eesha and her parents (shoutout to them for housing us!) and just enjoyed the day time. Once everyone else got up, we went over to Pier Village (bagels in hand) to look at the shops, the restaurants, and, most importantly, the pier and its beach. It didn’t take long for those of us who enjoy the sand to go running out to the water; doesn’t matter how cold, a beach is a beach is a beach.
We wound up grabbing some coffee from Rook, one of their favorite local spots, and donuts from Broad Street Dough Co., a place that should honestly be nationally renowned for its insanely delicious and beautiful donuts. These two places were also in the same strip mall, so it’s a trip worth making for anyone who can! New Orleans-style chicory-spiked coffee in hand, and six donut bites later, we watched High School Musical because some of our crew just hadn’t seen it. And it was more family friendly than Sausage Party. We’re in college or just recently graduated, so we had to keep it tame.
That night, we went out for another New Jersey staple – the late night, drunk food coffeehouse makeshift diner known as Inkwell. It was pretty hip, and I’ve become progressively more basic this year, so I enjoyed it while I probably looked a little out of place with my yellow gingham shirt (it’s summery, okay). On the bright side, I got to have pizza fries, mac ‘n’ cheese bits, and grilled cheese with pineapple in it [read: pineapple belongs on everything, end of discussion] so I have zero regrets. And, of course, we went back on our to the beach at Ocean Grove at night to check out the stars and play charades. Everybody likes a good ‘night beach’ as they call it down in Jersey.
The next morning, we all woke up pretty slowly, so we needed to get brunch at the local spot Turning Point back at Pier Village. I love how every locale was within 15 minutes of Eesha’s house because that’s pretty much how Sarasota is and I hate when we have to drive any other long distances, initial trip to New Jersey not included. At brunch, we had this perfect circle table underneath a replica of an Atlantic Sailfish caught by the owner of the restaurant that we had to clarify was a replica, indeed. We are skeptics. My Big Easy Benedict was another New Orleans feature in New Jersey, not sure if this is a common occurrence but also not complaining.
We went right back to the beach, this time by the famous Asbury Park Pier & Boardwalk (the spot that brought us down there in the first place). We got some fried Oreos, ran over to the rocks and the jetty, and I found some sea glass. All in all, a good beach on a good (warmer) day.
The drive back was just as amusing as we made it to the letter “R” by the end of the weekend. Mission accomplished, I’d say, in learning to love the Jersey Shore and give New Jersey some props for that this time.