7.) Smith’s Market

To me, one of the best things about the Christmas season, aside from being surrounded by friends and family, is the atmosphere. The traditional music, the glow from the fireplace, the presence of the Christmas tree, and all of the holiday smells combine to create the perfect, cozy Christmas at home.

One way my family and I make this happen is by visiting Smith’s Farm Market in Wall Township. They sell beautiful, healthy Christmas trees and wreaths. They have friendly employees who are helpful in picking out our special tree and tying it to the roof!

Upon entering Smith’s Market, you are greeted with the smells of the holiday. Fresh, homemade pies are baking in the oven. They take orders of all kinds for your holiday celebrations. (In the summer, Smith’s is a great place to stop for locally grown fruits and veggies, eggs and milk, jams and jellies!) We like to bring home a pie or an apple strudel to share with our guests on Christmas Day!

By frequenting Smith’s we are not only buying quality food and products, we are proudly supporting a local business that has been family owned and operated since 1969. For years, this local farm market has been a necessary pit stop to help make Christmas in our home full of the magical atmosphere that the holiday brings. Celebrate your Christmas THE SKEA WAY!

May your home be full of PEACE, LOVE, & JOY this holiday season.

6.) Barlow’s Flower Farm

In the autumn it’s customary to adorn our porches with pumpkins, bales of hay, corn stalks, and fall flowers. Not only does it help us to feel festive and accept that summer has come to an end, but it adds some serious curb appeal to our homes.

For years we have visited Barlow’s Flower Farm in Sea Girt for our home garden needs. The presentation of their inventory is simply beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. The employees are friendly, knowledgable, and helpful. They are conveniently located right off Sea Girt Ave.

The flower farm offers potted plants, outdoor arrangements, house plants, bouquets, and accessories for your home and garden, among other unique treasures! They also provide classes and events for those who have a green thumb (or want to have a green thumb!)

As a realtor, I am always keeping curb appeal in mind. For those of you who are thinking of listing your home, a trip to Barlow’s may benefit you, your landscaping, or your porch, and therefore will increase the interest of potential buyers! Just something to think about.

It’s always nice to stop by the flower farm to browse and appreciate the beauty their inventory adds to our little corner of the world. Whether you swing by for a quick visit, or end up filling your trunk with mums and gourds, you’ll be doing it THE SKEA WAY!

5.) Italian Festival

On Saturday, September 28, Spring Lake will be hosting their annual Italian Festival!

Photo from SpringLake.org

The town shuts down one block of Morris Ave., which allows visitors to walk around, vendors to set up their stands and tables to be set up for eating all of the delicious, local, Italian food.

This is an event suitable for all ages. There will be dancing, live music, face painting, shopping, a petting zoo, and, of course, the exciting Spaghetti Eating Contest!

Mark your calendars! And even though I’m not one bit Italian, you’ll be experiencing the Jersey Shore THE SKEA WAY, because who doesn’t like spaghetti and meatballs?! 🙂

4.) A Walk on the Lake

With weather like this weekend’s, all we’ve wanted to do is spend time outside. For some, the beach was too windy. For others, it was just a tad too chilly to lay by the pool. I, personally, always enjoy ending my nights reading on the front porch or spending time with my family on the patio. However, during the day, it’s nice to add a little variety (and beauty) to outdoor activities. Strolling around the Spring Lake will do just this!

The town of Spring Lake, lovingly known as the Irish Riviera, is beautifully quaint. On the Southern end of town is the show- stopping lake with an effervescent fountain, lazy swans gliding across the water, and flora that makes you feel like you’re in a storybook.

The Spring Lake boasts a beautiful scene and allows for a peaceful walk around it. While traversing, shady benches offer intermittent breaks to enjoy the stunning view of the impressive St. Catharine Catholic Church. Newly refurbished foot bridges and whimsical pathways along the water add to the lake’s charm.

If visiting with the kids or grandkids, the lake is adjacent to Divine Park with a playground and tennis courts. The lake is perfect for bike rides, fishing, boating, or skating in the winter.

Your stroll can even continue. The lake is situated at the top of Third Avenue, the town’s main street, which hosts unique gift and clothing shops, fun restaurants, and Ward Wight Sotheby’s Spring Lake office. (Stop in to say hi!)

Take advantage of the outdoors as the summer comes to a close. Take a walk around the lake. Appreciate the beauty our corner of the world has to offer. Experience the Jersey Shore THE SKEA WAY!

3.) Dog Days of Summer

So many of us are dog people. The Jersey Shore is certainly becoming more and more dog- friendly as more and more pet- enthusiasts emerge. It’s nice to be able to take a car ride with the dog, walk him or her at your favorite spot, then swing by a local watering hole for a drink. A perfect place for this is Yappy Hour at the Wonder Bar, in the increasingly popular Asbury Park.

My daughter has a French Bulldog/Boston Terrier aptly named Tuxedo, and she invited Maureen and me to join her at Yappy Hour last week. What a treat! The atmosphere was so light-hearted and positive. Some patrons even enjoyed watching the scene without having a dog of their own there! You can grab a drink at the bar, socialize with (human) friends or other dog owners, watch the animals run around and flop in the doggie pools, or interact with the furry friends.

Weather permitting, Yappy Hour is every day in the summer time from noon to 8pm. Small dog nights are Mondays and Wednesdays for the more timid pups. Then, as the days get shorter and the air gets cooler, Yappy Hour is open as long as the weather is conducive for the dogs. How fun!

The staff who runs and monitors the venue is so pleasant. They love the dogs just as much as their owners. So much so, any proceeds or donations are contributed to the Asbury Boardwalk Rescue and other local rescue organizations. Do some good, have some fun, and enjoy the dog days of summer at Yappy Hour. You’ll be experiencing the Jersey Shore THE SKEA WAY!

2.) Dinner On The Bay

One of the most enchanting things about the Jersey Shore in the summer season is waterfront dining. We’ve been really lucky with weather this summer, which makes eating al fresco that much more convenient.

A place we love to eat, but somehow always forget about, is Charlie’s of Bay Head. Thankfully, dinner with family tonight refreshed my memory! The grand facade of the restaurant has wooden siding that certainly stands out among the quaint storefronts on Bridge Ave. The interior is welcoming, bright, and fresh. It’s a place that makes getting off the beach worth it!

Now, let’s talk food and drink. A lovely wine selection and a signature cocktail list offers options for everyone. I’ve tried a variety of dishes from the guacamole to the filet mignon to the homemade mini doughnuts, and I have never been disappointed. Between the ambiance and the incredible menu, we left dinner tonight feeling stuffed and happy.

Charlie’s will certainly come to mind more often, and we hope to get there again before the end of the summer, because there’s nothing like a meal on the water. Sit at the bar, go for a romantic dinner, or brunch it with a group of friends. However you do it, you’ll be doing it THE SKEA WAY!

1.) From Jersey City to the Jersey Shore

I was born and raised in Jersey City. I am the oldest of 6 kids and have countless cousins. That being said, the Skea name is pretty recognizable among those who also made the migration from Hudson County to Monmouth County. Some say all roads lead to Jersey City.

As a kid, my family and I were Jersey Shore tourists. We would rent a house in Avon for a week and swim in the ocean from sun up to sun down. As I got older, I started renting places with groups of friends. We’d beach it during the day and at night we’d frequent the Norwood (RIP), Kelly’s Tavern, The Headliner- all of the local watering holes.

I always said that I’d marry a Jersey Shore girl. I met Maureen in 1978 and the rest is history. Our first home was a tiny cape in Elberon. Then we moved to the Apple Ridge community in Wall Township where we raised our 3 children. Now we reside in Spring Lake Heights. Maureen owns her own interior design business, Finishing Touches, in Spring Lake and I practice real estate just down the street from her. We love the life we’ve created in small town USA.

We’re always out and about. My kids always say that we can’t go anywhere around here without seeing someone we know. To us, that makes it home. Whether we’re grabbing coffee at Rook, taking a walk on the Sea Girt boardwalk, shopping on Main St. in Manasquan, or having dinner at Shipwreck Grill, we’re bound to run into a friend, family member, coworker, or a friend-of-a-friend.

Being a local realtor has not only allowed me to meet countless clients and colleagues, but it has also allowed me to familiarize myself with surrounding towns, communities, and neighborhoods. I have learned some of these places’ best kept secrets and try to take advantage of the nuances the Jersey Shore has to offer.

So stick with me. I may not be a Jersey Shore native, but I know where to find you a home to buy or rent. I know where to eat and drink. I know where to have fun. And I know where to relax. You’re guaranteed to enjoy experiencing the Jersey Shore The Skea WAY!