City and Shore: From New Jersey to Manhattan and Back Again

By Linda Oatman High

For travelers who love both the bustle of city life and the laid-back relaxation of the beach, the Seastreak Ferry makes it easy with two stops in Manhattan (Wall Street and Midtown)  and two in New Jersey (Highlands and Atlantic Highlands). The Highlands location offers free overnight parking (a few blocks from the terminal), and the boat ride is a comfortable hour.

Some of the best hotels in New York City are those to be found in the Library Hotel Collection. The Hotel Elysee and the Casablanca provide comfortable respites from the busy city, with quiet rooms, free breakfast, and late afternoon/evening wine and cheese. Luxurious yet welcoming, both hotels are havens that make visitors feel at home. For extra-special occasions, book the Hotel Elysee’s Presidential Suite for spacious pampering.

While at the Casablanca, be sure to have a meal next door at Tony’s Di Napoli, a beloved family-owned institution serving up old New York Italian dishes since 1959. With most entrees serving two to three people, Tony’s is the perfect choice for family and friends dining.

Back in the Garden State, New Jersey offers some great options for sleeping and eating. Nestled in the peaceful town of Sea Girt is The Beacon, a B&B sure to please.

Beacon House’s innkeeper Candy whips up sweet Crème Brulee Blueberry French Toast that prompted one guest to proclaim that “if there is an afterlife, this is what will be served for breakfast.” The rooms at Beacon House are clean, cozy, and quiet, and right next door – just past the private heated pool – is The Parker House, a restaurant/bar about which the New York Times proclaimed “who needs the Hamptons when you have The Parker House.”

Visitors to the Beacon House may often be found on the lovely wraparound porch, with its wicker chairs and rockers offering ocean breezes and peace.

To be found in nearby Brielle is the famed Shipwreck Grill, a restaurant serving up some of the best seafood dishes in the area. The Pistachio Crusted Grouper is amazing, and the Molten Chocolate Cake dessert is to die for. A diner nearby announced that the clam chowder was the best she’d ever eaten and that the Shipwreck Grill, nestled near the docks of the Manasquan River, was her all-time favorite.

Just a few miles north of Sea Girt are the charming towns of Spring Lake and Ocean Grove, with the hip music scene of Asbury Park being just a short walk from Ocean Grove. A great place to stay in Ocean Grove is the Ocean Visita, one of the few oceanfront properties in town.

While in Asbury Park, be sure to have a meal at Langosta Lounge on the Asbury boardwalk. Established in 2008, Langosta Lounge has quickly become a shore favorite where city meets sea. (And occasionally, Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen shows up to eat!)

From city to beach and back again, it’s all to be found in just a few short vacation days.