9am head to Pier Village in Long Branch, get a day beach pass and enjoy the huge, clean, white-sanded beaches. Getting there is a breeze: a short 1:30 min car ride, a 1:45 min NJ Transit train to Long Branch or an amazing Seastreak high speed ferry followed by a 15 min Uber ride.
Pier Village is a wonderful “town” with apartments, stores, restaurant and even a boutique hotel on the water. The water is clean and there are waves large enough for kids ages 5 to 105 to enjoy.
Enjoy the beach and surf until you get hungry and then head to Avenue Restaurant for a leisurely lunch with seafood, grilled fish and with lots of rose wine – whatever you order get a side order the Brussels sprouts. Reserve an outside table with an an ocean view.
Then drive 2 miles to Monmouth University on Cedar avenue and visit at the Woodrow Wilson and Guggenheim buildings, two architectural gems with a long history worth looking at:
The Guggenheim building is a “Summer Cottage” designed for Murry Guggenheim by Hastings and Carrere who also designed the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street and was completed in 1905. This sumptuous Beaux Art white stucco building will bring you back to the era of the robber barons. The exterior is magnificent and the interior has been transformed into rooms used by the University – no interior pictures allowed.
Woodrow Wilson Hall is across the street. The original house built in 1903 for the president of New York Life Insurance Company. President Woodrow Wilson used it during his summer 1916 campaign as the “summer White House” before burning down.
In 1929 the residence was rebuilt in its present French Neoclassical by the president of the Woolworth Company by an architectural firm that employed Julian Abele, America’s first black female architect. The university uses this building for classrooms, administration offices and rents it out for private functions.
Woodrow Wilson Building
Next stop head to the Church the Presidents and St. Stephanos Church along Ocean Avenue. From here head to Roosevelt Avenue in Deal, NJ where you can drive by magnificent turn-of-the-century Neoclassical and Cape Cod style mansions on large lots with sweeping verandas and magnificent porches. Continue driving south toward Asbury Park through Loch Harbor and Allenhurst and enjoy similar “summer cottages” that remain some of the best examples of these architecture styles in the Northeast.
Option 1: For a more “back to the future experience” park your car and spend some time on the Boardwalk and visit the Stone Pony – where Bruce Springsteen’s had his first performance. A few options: for a fast food option head to Cookman Avenue to MOGO korean tacos, for something more formal go to Moonstruck overlooking Wesley lake; Pascal & Sabine for a french/continental meal; for drinks and to mix in with the amazing local lively Gay and Lesbian population head to the new Asbury hotel bar.
Option 2: for a more family friendly destination go another mile and head to Seaview Sweets on Main street in Ocean Grove. Ocean Grove was developed in the late 1880’s as a Methodist summer destination this town still has a feel of original enclosed community where until the 1980’s you where not allowed to drive or open a store on Sunday. In 1975, Ocean Grove was designated a State and National Historic District as a 19th-century planned urban community. It has the greatest extent of Victorian and early-20th century architecture in the United States.
For hotel options try the Bungalow in Long Branch, the Berkley or the Asbury Hotel located in Asbury Park.