Spectacular new listing in Apple Ridge, Wall Township!

Last year, Sandy did her best to cancel Halloween. Outdoor decorations had to come inside, closed schools meant no school parades, and we were taking care of our neighbors in lieu of hosting Halloween parties. Sandy’s ploy didn’t work, though. She couldn’t crush the spirit of the Jersey Shore…her temper tantrum merely postponed it.

Downed trees and power lines made it unsafe for children to roam the streets, so many schools sponsored “Trunk or Treats”. Parents scrambled to decorate their trunks, lined them up in the parking lots of schools, and the kids got to suit up in costumes and parade from trunk to trunk for their Halloween candy. It was a fun and safe way for the kids to enjoy a happy holiday in the midst of so much destruction.

Even though the Shore is back stronger than ever, “Trunk or Treat” is a tradition that many are continuing due to its festive yet controlled and safe venue. But, traditional door-to-door trick or treating is back as well. And, as much as Halloween is synonymous with creative costumes and candy, there are always precautions that parents will want to take to keep their children safe.

Here are a few trick or treating tips:

  • Never allow a child to trick or treat alone.
  • Make sure that you or a trusted adult is accompanying the children.
  • Only approach homes that are well lit, inside and out.
  • Make sure the kids have a flashlight or glow stick so they can be seen in the dark.
  • Be sure your kids are not taking shortcuts or walking through poorly lit areas.
  • Try to stick to areas and neighborhoods that you know.
  • When trick or treating is done, go through your children’s candy and make sure it all appears to be wrapped properly before allowing them to eat any.
  • To avoid belly aches, monitor the amount of candy that you let your children eat.

Most of all, get out in the fresh Jersey Shore air and enjoy a ghoulish and happy Halloween!

There’s a category that I like to call “Specialty Coffee Houses Not to be Overlooked”, and it would be far from complete without a mention of “No Joe’s Coffee House”, located in the heart of Red Bank.

We all have our vices, and coffee is 100% mine. Not only do I love the taste of a quality cup of coffee, but I am enamored with the whole coffee-drinking experience. Sitting on the balcony of an oceanfront home or walking barefoot along the beach on a crisp Fall day…whatever the venue at the Jersey Shore, a hot cup of coffee in your hands makes it that much more enjoyable.

While there are a number of coffee shops that can satisfy my daily urge, like anything else in life, some are more favorable than others. One such place is No Joe’s Coffee House. First of all, it is located in Red Bank – Truly a cool little town! Something of a mini NYC, Red Bank is positioned right here on our Jersey Shore.

The quality of their beans is undeniable, and is likely the secret behind their claim that this is “no ordinary Joe”. They have a number of specialty coffees and teas, the Van Halen being my personal favorite. I stopped in the other day and noticed someone new making the coffees. My coffee had a bit of a different taste that made it better than usual…if that’s even possible. He let me in on his secret. He flavors the steamed milk instead of flavoring the espresso, so that the flavor is the first thing that hits your taste buds. Sounded very logical to me, and his theory was backed up by the incredible cup of coffee he served me.

The atmosphere is extremely inviting with friendly service and seating inside and out. And, if you’re looking for something a bit more substantial, they offer breakfast and lunch menus as well.

If you are in the Red Bank area, you are definitely going to want to engage in the No Joe’s coffee experience.

When I look at my beloved Jersey Shore now, almost a year after Sandy took her toll, I can only think of one word…INSPIRATIONAL.

Some beach towns, like Long Branch, got away fairly unscathed. The promenade that runs from the north end of Long Branch to the south end of Pier Village remained virtually untouched and, within weeks of the storm, the shops and restaurants of Pier Village were back up and running – business as usual.

Then there were the towns whose homes and main streets faired quite well, but whose boardwalks didn’t survive. Spring Lake and Sea Girt fell into that category, but neither wasted any time restoring their beachfront. By the time summer rolled around, both had new boardwalks built to withstand any future super storms, and the Spring Lake 5 went off without a hitch.

Of course, the damage was much worse in harder-hit areas. Not only were many homes destroyed in Belmar, but their boardwalk was washed away as well. As tragic as this was, it was amazing to watch a community band together to get their town back up and running. There was no sitting around and waiting for help to come. They quickly conceived of and launched programs to repair the damage and restore Belmar. One such program, “Buy A Board”, sought donations to rebuild the boardwalk one board at a time. The town is now in talks to build new pavilions, and continues to turn the tragedy into an opportunity to make the oceanfront even bigger and better than imaginable.

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Finally, there were some towns, like Sea Bright, that seemed irreparable after the storm. All seven beach clubs that lined the Sea Bright oceanfront were severely damaged, and Chapel Beach Club was washed away completely. The stores and restaurants that made the quaint little town what it was, were completely washed out.

Though the situation seemed “unfixable” in the months after the storm, both the homeowners and the business owners refused to give up on their beloved town nestled between the ocean and the river. Incredibly, all the beach clubs (including Chapel, which had to be completely re-built) were back in time for the summer season, and the restaurants and shops had begun returning one at a time. Sea Bright is still not back to its previous self, but there’s no doubt that it will be back and better than ever in the not too distant future.

Yes, Sandy barreled through the Jersey Shore and took with her buildings, possessions and beachfront. But, what she failed to destroy was the heart of all the towns she swooped through. So much is already back to normal, and many more improvements are soon to come. This is where the opportunity lies. If you’ve ever dreamt of a home at the Jersey Shore, there’s no better time to fulfill your dreams!

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When you live at the Jersey Shore, summer doesn’t end the way it does for everyone else. The crowds may dissipate, but the unlimited outdoor activities do not. With Fall upon us, the opportunity to walk the talk is priceless.

Pick your favorite boardwalk, because there’s no better place to soak up the picturesque ocean views and soothing sea breezes. There’s nothing like a limitless supply of golden sunshine and invigorating ocean breezes to entice you to stretch those muscles.

With less people on the boardwalk, you can move at your own pace. Whether you’re taking a leisurely walk or going for a 6 mile run, it’s never a chore on the oceanfront. Sometimes I’ll find myself starting in Belmar, passing through Spring Lake, and somehow ending up at the Parker House in Sea Girt with no idea how I got there. I wouldn’t trade the feeling for anything in the world.

Working out means something different to everyone. Some are hardcore runners who love the adrenaline rush. For me, it’s a quick visit to Dunkin’ Donuts for a hot coffee, followed by a stress-releasing walk. Whatever your workout of choice, it’s made that much easier by the ocean breeze at your back and the calming sound of waves lapping at the shore.

So, head on down to the ocean for your daily dose of exercise and invigoration. Maybe even take you’re your sneakers off and dip your toes in the water when you’re done! Walking the talk is just another unfair advantage of living at the Jersey Shore.

I have been living in Monmouth County for over 12 years and I have shopped at every supermarket in the area, never really committing to one in particular until I found Wegman’s on Route 35 in Ocean. For years I just drove past Wegman’s, assuming that it was too big, too busy, or just too much of a hassle to get in and out of quickly. So, imagine my surprise the first time I went into Wegman’s and discovered how quick and easy it is to find what you are looking for.

One of my favorite things about going into Wegman’s is that all of the food departments are separate. They have a separate section for seafood, the bakery, meat, deli (they also have a kosher deli), gluten free (both frozen and grocery), and dairy. In each department, you can place custom orders. If you need a special meat order for a party, just tell the meat department what you need and they will give you exactly that. If you need a cake for a special occasion, the bakery section will take your requests and turn them into a beautiful (and delicious) creation.

If you are looking for a quick prepared meal, they have that covered too. I’m not talking about fast-food; Wegman’s has homemade selections that are second to none! Everything from your basic deli sandwiches, salad bar, and roasted chickens to a sushi bar! They truly have something for everyone: delicious Chinese food, Italian selections, homemade pizza, chicken wings, Indian food, and even awesome crab cakes! Once you have made your selections, head up to Wegman’s upstairs section to sit down and enjoy your meal. They even offer free WiFi!

Finally, they have an attached liquor store with over one thousand wines to choose from. In addition to every wine you could ever imagine, they also offer a complete selection of beer and liquor.

I know what you’re thinking…”With all of this, I’m going to feel it at the cash register.” Surprisingly, that’s not the case. I have found them to be extremely price-competitive, and many times they are less expensive than other food stores that don’t offer as wide of a selection.

Next time you are in the area and you need to complete a full shopping order, stop in and pick up a few things. Even if you are looking for a place to grab a quick lunch or dinner, take the time to check out Wegman’s. You won’t be disappointed!

Spring Lake and Sea Girt are two of the Jersey Shore’s most beautiful and desirable beach towns. So, how does one choose? Most of the people I have asked this question have very definite answers, but no definitive reason why…just a feeling.

Located right next to each other, with Spring Lake on the north side of Sea Girt, both are quaint, mostly residential seaside towns with rich histories. With a beach that spans approximately 2 miles, Spring Lake is about twice the size of Sea Girt. Spring Lake’s “Norman Rockwell” 3rd Avenue encompasses the perfect mix of small shops, restaurants, and cafes. Spring Lake has 2 large bathing pavilions with salt water pools and the Spring Lake Bath and Tennis Club. Sea Girt has the Parker House and the famous Sea Girt Lighthouse. Both communities offer excellent school systems.

Let’s quickly compare some numbers and trends:

Spring Lake currently has 66 active listings (ranging from $709,000 – $8,999,999) and 15 under contract (ranging from $799,000 – $3,895,000). Sea Girt currently has 24 active listings (ranging from $599,900 – $4,995,000) and 13 under contract (ranging from $1,269,000 – $3,199,000).

Number of Closed Properties – Spring Lake vs. Sea Girt

Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed–Copyright: 2013 by the Monmouth County Association of REALTORS®

Not surprisingly, there are consistently more properties sold in Spring Lake than in Sea Girt. However, September was a big month for Sea Girt, selling almost as many homes as Spring Lake last month.

Average Number of Days on the Market Before Being Sold – Spring Lake vs. Sea Girt

Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed–Copyright: 2013 by the Monmouth County Association of REALTORS®

Sea Girt’s Average Days on the Market (DOM) for closed properties remains somewhat steady, whereas Spring Lake’s DOM appears to be decreasing.

Months of Inventory – Spring Lake vs. Sea Girt

Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed–Copyright: 2013 by the Monmouth County Association of REALTORS®

Months of Inventory represents the amount of time it would take to sell all current listings at the current sales pace. Spring Lake’s Months of Inventory tends to be greater than Sea Girt’s, although Sea Girt did see a sharp spike in August. Currently, Spring Lake’s Months of Inventory is more than double that of Sea Girt.

Median Price of Homes – Spring Lake vs. Sea Girt

Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed–Copyright: 2013 by the Monmouth County Association of REALTORS®

While the median sale price seems to vary in terms of which town sells the higher priced homes per month, the median sale price in September was just about equal.

Making Your Decision – Spring Lake vs. Sea Girt

So, in conclusion, your choice to live in Spring Lake or Sea Girt is a personal one. Both towns cost about the same to live in, both towns offer similar lot size per price, both towns have beautiful beaches, new boardwalks, and refreshing and peaceful streets that are perfect for a long walk or bike ride. Whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong.

stella marina

In Italian, it means “star of the sea”. And the Jersey Shore Specialist gives it 5 stars of the sea.

Its oceanfront location on the south end of the boardwalk in Asbury Park makes it a perfect Jersey Shore venue. The two-level restaurant can accommodate your thirst for water views, with large glass windows that give way to the Atlantic Ocean and Wesley Lake.

Stella Marina’s classic Italian cuisine offers a wide array of mouth-watering appetizers, pasta, and delectable entrees: Buffalo Mozzerella, Roasted Beet Salad, Rigatoni Vodka, and Veal Saltimbocca, to name a few. They also have a very extensive wine list to perfectly complement any item on the menu.

I went to Stella Marina last week for an office event, held outside on their upper-level deck. The weather was perfect, with just enough of a chill to require a light sweater. And, the moon glistening over the Atlantic was the perfect addition to an already pleasant ambience. We were served platters of Fried Calamari, Shrimp Francaise, and a multitude of different pizzas. It’s difficult to recommend any one over another, but for my taste, their traditional Margherita Pizza tops the menu.

A warm, friendly atmosphere, beautiful views, terrific food, great wine, and pleasant company; what more could you ask for? I highly recommend Stella Marina if you are in the area!

Listing information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.

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