bye bye summer vacay...

So we just got home from our annual summer trip to the Jersey Shore… and before you think to yourself, “ugh, how tacky…”, NOT THAT JERSEY SHORE!!!

While I’ll admit that I was at times entertained by the mindless train wreck that was the reality show and my name is Jenni Farley… although please call me Jenn and not Jenni and I swapped out my middle name for Farley when I got a new last name a few years ago… unfortunately, MTV gave one of the prettiest coastlines I’ve seen a really bad rap.

For the past several summers we’ve been spending a week gym, tan and laundry’ing (sorry, couldn’t resist) in Ocean City, NJ. If you haven’t been there or to one of the towns between Atlantic City and Cape May, I encourage you to go. Ocean City in particular, is a laid back, family oriented beach town with amazing homes stretching along its blocks and blocks.

 If you happen to find this beach spot on your travel agenda, here are a few of my favorites…

Watching the sunrise with coffee or set with a cocktail. Yes, doing this is generally breathtaking anywhere, but something about the quiet and peacefulness of the Shore, especially on the South End where we like to stay… well it makes even the not so spiritual believe in a higher power.

Mike’s Seafood. I love staying on the South End and being a quick walk to Mike’s is one reason why. We generally get dinner from here twice or, ok, maybe three times while we’re in town. A total no-frills place that specializes in carry out; the fresh, steamed King Crab legs, peel and eat shrimp, crab fries and crab balls are truly addicting!

Voltaco’s. Totally worth taking it easy on the beach cocktails for a day (that’s something for me to say!) so you can drive up to the North End to bring this home for dinner. This OC staple does subs right. I’m partial to the Philly Cheese Steak but have sampled some others and you really can’t go wrong.

Surf Café. We found this place one cloudy morning this year and I have to say it’s one of the BEST breakfast’s I’ve ever had, and as my food baby generally shows, I like me some breakfast. There seems to generally be a wait but it’s definitely worth pulling up an Adirondack and getting in line!

Manco and Manco’s. Don’t be afraid of the line streaming out the front door as these guys keeping it moving. This traditional east coast thin crust pizza is deserving of it’s well known fame as it’s delish! I recommend going simple with the pepperoni. You won’t be disappointed.

The Spotted Whale. I promise I did more than eat on vacation!!! Well, maybe only a little more but I was happy to stumble upon this shop’s new location on Asbury Avenue. An upscale gift shop where I found several new “gifts” for my home. They have everything from hostess gifts to small furnishings, rugs, throws, artworks and the list goes on. The best part is that I didn’t have to fit everything I wanted in our car, I can shop their wares from here in Chicago on their website!

What to pack?

Not much. Seriously, I tell myself that every year and every year I still overpack but I am getting better. Swimsuits, cover up’s, shorts, tees and flip flops are the way to go. Throw in a sweatshirt for when the sun drops and maybe a cute dress and wedges for a nicer dinner out in Avalon and you’re set.

 

One fairly important thing to note … if you’re like me and enjoy a beach drink or two or three… well you get the point. It’s important to know that Ocean City is a family town. Translation – Dry Town. Translation - No booze. Before you freak out… you just can’t buy it in the town and the restaurants are dry. You can however buy it from liquor stores in any of the neighboring towns and enjoy your adult bevvy’s at your beach house or on the beach in your fave opaque drinking vessel. If you’re driving to the shore, I recommend packing it up with your stuff. While you can buy it nearby, your fave $20 bottle of wine is likely $25+.

So, can you tell I like this place?!?! As a girl who grew up spending a few summer weeks a year at South Carolina beaches, I was initially skeptical and definitely very biased but this was the fourth year of this new tradition and it’s something I look forward to coming back to even as we join the line of cars headed inland at the end of the week. Till next year Snooki!

-          Jenni “not J.Woww” Farley