Asbury Park: Jersey boys and beaches
A tea dance at Asbury Park's gay nightlife hotspot Club Paradise.
Take a stroll down the recently renovated boardwalk in Asbury Park and youd never believe that not too long ago, the beach and boardwalk were almost entirely off limits, overrun with violence.
Thanks in large part to its popularity with the gay community, the town, made famous as a stomping ground for Bruce Springsteen (and his Greetings from Asbury Park N.J. album), is enjoying a resurgence.
This weekends festivities are geared toward the gay community. The annual Road Trip Weekend is a two-day event featuring beach parties, sports and arts events, and much more.
But this weekend, and all summer long, theres truly something for everyone in this seaside town.
DURING THE DAY
Asbury Parks main retail thoroughfare is lined with stores, coffee shops and restaurant. Added bonus: Its chain-store free.
Beach and Boardwalk
Lining the Atlantic Ocean, Asbury Parks sandy beach is worth the $5 admission charge.
The recently renovated boardwalk is lined with shops, restaurants and bars. At the north end, youll find the historic Asbury Park Convention Hall. True to its roots, it still feature lots of musical events (run by Live Nation), and other fun Jersey Shore spectacles, like the roller derby.
The Stone Pony
913 Ocean Ave., 732-502-0600
This legendary rock-music venue is credited with helping launch the career of Jersey Shore golden boy The Boss. Both Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi have been known to just
101 Asbury Ave., 732-988-6663
Owned by famed dance-music producer Shep Pettibone, Paradise is the gay nightlife hot spot. DJs spin pop and dance music in two separate rooms. On Sundays, the pool provides a backdrop for tea dances from 4-8 p.m. Hamburgers, hot dogs and frozen drinks are served (entrance fee is $5).Ghost tours
327 Cookman Ave., 732-455-3188
Kathy Kelly, owner of Paranormal Books on Cookman Avenue, runs ghost tours
Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, starting at 8 p.m.($10 for
adults, $5 for kids). Haunted investigations take place twice a month from July-November. The price is $50, which includes dinner.
800 Ocean Ave., 732-775-7776
Located at the south end of the boardwalk, this Italian spot features indoor
and outdoor seating, plus a large (and tasty) selection of pizzas, pasta and
Sixth Avenue House
305 Sixth Ave., 732-361-6609
This cozy bed-and-breakfast is just a couple of blocks from the boardwalk.
Each of its six rooms are decorated uniquely, but its all clean and quaint.
Added bonus: Its pet friendly. During the summer, rates range from $99-$150 a night
during the week and $125-$250 on weekends.
The Empress Hotel
101 Asbury Ave., 732-774-0100
If youre looking for a gay-friendly party atmosphere, this hotel, located directly across from the beach, is the place to stay. The hotel has 101 rooms, some of which overlook the beach. Club Paradise is attached to the hotel.
Party on the beach
Part of this weekends Road Trip Weekend, Sandblast is a gay dance event on the beach, complete with the music of DJ Corey Craig, that begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday.($40 advance tickets, $55 at door. Under 25 pay your age.)
Located a stones throw from Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, which is one-square-mile, was founded in 1869 by Methodist clergymen as an outgrowth of a camp meeting movement.
The land is still owned by the camp meeting association and leased to individual homeowners and businesses (its also a dry town). For a historical journey, check out the tents surrounding the Great Auditorium, which are occupied from May to September, just as they have been since 1869.