14.) Autumn at The Jersey Shore

The Jersey Shore is not just beaches, shore lines, boardwalks and seaside shops/ restaurants. Just a few miles west in Howell Township lies the Manasquan Reservoir.

The Manasquan Reservoir, part of the Monmouth County Park System, is a great place to visit all year long. However, I find that during the Fall, its beauty is what attracts its visitors.

The reservoir is surrounded by a 5 mile path, which is strewn with wildlife and a canopy of tall, mature trees. The blazing reds, oranges, and yellows of the leaves make for an inspiring experience on the trail. Whether you’re biking, walking, running, exercising the pups, or birdwatching, you’ll find a spot to connect to nature AND to use the opportunity to work toward those 10,000 steps!

You can see from the video that the reservoir has docks and boat ramps, making the preserve appealing to boaters, kayakers, and fishermen, alike. For the kids, there is a playground and a short 1.1 mile trail and ice skating in the colder months.

Aside from an environmental and activity-filled attraction, “The reservoir [itself] is an important part of the water supply in Monmouth County. Water from the Manasquan River enters and exits the reservoir through the inlet/outlet tower in the front of the main dam. With a 4 billion gallon water capacity and a maximum depth of 40′, the reservoir can supply up to 30 million gallons of water a day.” The reservoir and its facility are vital for the betterment of our water supply. What a versatile pocket of Monmouth County!

I highly recommend an Autumn walk around the reservoir. You’ll be doing it THE SKEA WAY by enjoying the crisp air, the crunchy leaves, and some good exercise. Happy Fall to all!

13.) Pascal and Sabine

If ambiance (and good food) (AND good drinks) is your thing, Pascal & Sabine in Asbury Park is your spot. My daughter always says when she drinks or dines at Pascal & Sabine, she feels instantly transported from Asbury to somewhere like NYC or Paris. I agree!

My wife and I frequent Pascal & Sabine. We’ve gone for birthday dinners with our kids, we’ve gone to celebrate our anniversaries, we’ve gone with other couples to catch up over a nice meal, we’ve gone just to grab a quick cocktail at the bar. It’s a special place.

Let’s get to the good stuff: food and drink. It’s best to start off with a cocktail like Pascal’s Manhattan (topped with a flamed orange peel) or the Spring Nina. They have a great drink/wine/beer menu. A platter of oysters or escargot as an appetizer allows you to dive deeper into the European- inspired vibe. Dishes like the Steak Frites, the Mr. Smith Burger, or the Coq au Vin are ones that you’ll think about until you can order them again. Finishing off the meal with the Creme Brûlée or the Beignets and a hot cup of coffee really rounds out the full Pascal & Sabine experience.

Photos courtesy of @pascalandsabine on Instagram

Make a reservation to ensure you get a table. Hit the town THE SKEA WAY! Bon appetit!

12.) Mary’s Place & Manor by the Sea

This is the first video I’ve posted to my blog. Though it’s important to be grateful all year long, Thanksgiving is a great reminder for us to pause and reflect on our gratitude. I have much for which to be thankful. That’s not to say, however, that this year has been easy. The pandemic has affected us all- personally and as members of society.

I share with you a transparent glimpse into the last few months of my life. This vlog notes for whom I’m thankful, for what I’m thankful, and why I’m thankful.

I filmed this video in my backyard next to a wind chime given to me by a friend after my mom passed. It reads, “Listen to the wind and know I am near.” Notice how the wind picked up when I began talking about Mary’s Place & Manor by the Sea. Hi, Mom.

If you’d like to demonstrate your gratitude, show Mary’s Place or Manor by the Sea some love. That’s one way to do it THE SKEA WAY. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Thank you.

11.) Watermark At Home Cocktails

We’re living in times when we are forced to change how we interact with others and how we behave in public places. Restaurants and businesses have had to modify how they operate in order to accommodate safe and healthy conditions for patrons. It hasn’t been easy, to say the least.

However, Watermark in Asbury Park has certainly taken necessary precautions to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for their clientele. They have even adapted an At Home Cocktail program for those who are unable to get a reservation or for those who prefer to stay home.

I can tell you from personal experience that these cocktails are DELICIOUS. They’re perfectly balanced, mixed and poured by the creator of the At Home Program, Greg Schaefer. I drank a Violeta in my backyard and it made me feel like I was on the North deck of Watermark.

Even Tuxedo attempted to enjoy a Punch Up for himself!

The cocktails available are:

  • In the Buff- Bourbon
  • Uncle Bobby- Rum
  • Pepino Picante- Tequila
  • Violeta- Vodka
  • Watermark Lemonade- Vodka
  • Punch Up- Gin

12oz cocktail bottles are sold individually for $30 each and serve 2-3 drinks. Or, the bar offers a Cocktail Kit, which includes a bottle of vodka, gin, tequila, rum, or bourbon (your choice!), a signature Watermark mixer, and garnish for $150. The Kit serves 12-15 drinks.

To order, call 732.788.3887 Friday-Sunday. Greg will hook you up and you’ll be winding down the summer THE SKEA WAY! Bring Watermark home. Cheers!

10.) Jersey Boy Boutique

Well, the Stay At Home order is still in full effect here. Many are itching for change, normalcy, and socialization. While others are finding respite among the chaos. Either way, a silver lining I’ve found is the outpouring of support for small businesses. These businesses and small town entrepreneurs have been particularly affected by this pandemic, yet with local patrons taking advantage of curbside pick- ups and porch drop-offs, we’re hoping these small shops will stay afloat.

One business I recently purchased from is Jersey Boy Boutique. The owner and creator, Vic, is a master embroiderer and has a keen eye for color, detail, and design. Specializing in custom, embroidered pillows, Jersey Boy Boutique can make designs of all kinds. I first heard about Jersey Boy Boutique when my daughter told me the business was generous enough to donate a 08750 (Sea Girt) beach badge pillow to a non-profit fundraiser she was working on. From there, I always kept this shop in the back of my mind.

Over the summer I worked with clients who were selling their beloved family home in Spring Lake. Theirs was known as “the house with the pink door”. For their closing gift, and as a way to remember the beauty of their home, I asked Vic to replicate a photo of the house on an embroidered pillow. My expectations were far exceeded!

Not only that, but when I presented the gift to my clients, their eyes welled with tears of joy. They were so genuinely thankful. The pillow featuring “the house with the pink door” is prominently placed in my clients’ new home. Thanks to Vic and Jersey Boy Boutique, my clients received so much more than an embroidered pillow; they were given a token of nostalgia and a visual reminder of the fond memories made on Monmouth Ave.

Jersey Boy Boutique nods to the Jersey Shore in its work- this company certainly does things THE SKEA WAY!

9.) I Welcome You To…

My blog is meant to be an insider guide to all things Jersey Shore. However, this post is going to be about appreciating where you live and where you find yourself in the here and now. I invite you to welcome this opportunity to celebrate your community. But first, let’s acknowledge our reality.

If we haven’t been directly affected by the international COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely that we know someone else who has been. This is a tough time for a number of reasons. We’re worried. Businesses- large and small- are suffering. Bank accounts and stocks are fluctuating. Parents are balancing kids, school, and working from home. The global community has an ever-present anxiety about avoiding the virus, overcoming the virus, or coping with losing loved ones to the virus, and this is trickling down to our own personal communities. The news and social media are inundating us with statistics and emerging dos and don’ts. The uncertainty is unsettling.

There are also some trivial, yet legitimate questions/concerns. Amazon Prime is taking more than two days for deliveries. Will toilet paper become currency for Lysol wipes and chicken? The lines for “happy hour” are blurred: when does it begin? Does it even matter? What day is it? We have cabin fever.

So let’s put a positive spin on all of this. How can we welcome this as an opportunity to celebrate our community in a state of social distancing?

  • Go for a walk. Yes, the dog is probably sick of walking around the neighborhood, but you’re the boss! Trees and flowers are in bloom. Take some pictures and appreciate the Spring. Maybe there is a trail or a route you’ve wanted to explore for a while but haven’t. Now could be the time. Make memories in a new, local spot. *Jersey Shore readers can explore the Manasquan Reservoir or Hartshorne Woods Park.
  • Take a drive. If you live near the water, like I do, get in the car and ride along the ocean. Drive through the mountains, along the countryside, through your formerly- bustling downtown, or to a local historical site. Snap some more photos and put them on Facebook for friends to appreciate from afar.
  • Exercise. Yes, many gyms are offering classes online or through platforms, like Zoom. But fitness comes in many forms, which can be done outside, appreciating your neighborhood, town, or state. Ride your bike with your family . Skateboard on the driveway. Run on a different route. Swim (for those of you in warmer climates). Chase your kids around the backyard. Rekindle your basketball, soccer, or baseball skills- that could be good for a laugh! LOL Think outside the box. *Locals, consider updating your workout wardrobe at Barefoot Athleisure– they’re doing porch drop-offs!
  • Order take out from restaurants that are providing delivery or pick up options. Post a picture of your meal on social media and give the restaurant a shout out! They need you now, more than ever. This also saves you a treacherous trip to the grocery store. *Some local faves: Spring Lake Tap House, Cardinal, Speakeatery, La Mondina, Federico’s– to name a few.
  • Clean and organize your space. Show your home some love! Gather clothes, household items, books, toys, etc that you can prepare to donate to a local charity or non-profit. (This is also great for those of you planning to sell your home in the coming months.) *Jersey Shore charities to consider: Coastal Habitat for Humanity, Interfaith Neighbors, or the VNA Thrift Shop.

Welcome the opportunity to show love for where you live by bettering yourself and stimulating your local economy now and in the future. So much can be done by staying home. Be well, be healthy, & be safe. Celebrate your community THE SKEA WAY!

In light of the state of our world, I still welcome your calls, emails, social media engagement, and any questions you may have about the current market. My clients- past, present, and future- are my professional priority. I will always welcome the opportunity to be Your Trusted Real Estate Advisor at the Jersey Shore.

8.) Sunsets on the Deck

Marina Grille is situated directly on the Belmar Marina. It faces westward, which lends itself to some truly breathtaking sunsets here at the Jersey Shore. If you’re looking for quintessential summer vibes (even in the off-season), this is the place to be.

I was inspired to write this particular blog by the warm, vernal weather we’re having. I’ve been daydreaming about sitting on the deck at Marina Grille with a cocktail in hand, watching the sun slowly sink behind the trees and homes in the distance. (Don’t forget your sunglasses!) It’s also fun to watch the boats coming and going, or the paddle boarders gliding on the water.

It’s a great place to go with a group for a fun night out; there is a fun drink menu and they often have live music on the weekends. Or it’s nice to go with just a friend/ significant other for a quiet dinner.

Speaking of the food… Some of my personal favorites are the crispy wonton chips and guac, the chicken tostados, or the Asian lettuce wraps to start. The cracked egg pizza is totally unique (and totally delicious). You can’t go wrong with their burger. Plus, seafood is always a good choice since you’re eating right on the water.

Marina Grille is open all year round, and, as my daughter informed me, it was featured on Bravo’s Real Housewives of New Jersey. If it’s good enough for the housewives, it’s good enough for me. (LOL!) If you haven’t already, give it a try. I’ll see you there, doing it THE SKEA WAY!

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?! 🙂