For Memorial Day weekend, my friend Cristina and I packed our bags and drove two hours from Queens, New York to Asbury Park, New Jersey – a city by the ocean that was once a resort community.
It’s been four months since I came back from my year abroad and in that time I filled my days up with seeking employment, working, and settling into back into my social circles. There were hopes of traveling before June…a short trip to Barcelona, Spain (conflicted with work)…or to visit my partner in New Zealand (conflicted with work again).
It wasn’t until we bought tickets to an Oh Wonder – a band from the U.K. that I began listening to in NZ – performance that I found myself finally leaving the state lines.
Scanning Asbury Park’s TripAdvisor reviews, some of the visitors comments were scathing and along the lines of “There’s nothing there” or “Why would anyone go here?” But after researching the history of the city, I was compelled. With a population of 16,000 people, a large gay community, a persevering music scene, and a blossoming number of start-ups, it sounded nice to me.
When you enter the city, one of the stark contrasts is the fusing of old and new establishments. Of the colorful modern graphics promoting tourism in the area against the weather beaten brick structures with beautiful marine inspired carvings.
The food and beverages scene surprised me the most; from MOGO, a South Korean fusion fast-casual eatery to Booskerdoo, a local coffee roastery. There were also a lot of dining places such as Toast, Sabine and Pascal, and Chat & Nibble. For the price and atmosphere, I enjoyed Chat & Nibble the most.
Situated close to the residential area of the city, the diner felt homey and relaxed…somewhere you can wear your pajamas to.
Since I had woken up earlier than Cristina, I walked 20 minutes to Booskerdoo and ordered their cold brew. Coffee, early morning sunshine, and an uncrowded broadwalk felt “sweet as”.