Asbury Park

Goldenrods and Boneset (I think) blooming in Asbury Park this week

When I go to the beach it’s in the spring or fall, and even in glorious weather like we’re enjoying this week, I don’t really lie on the beach. As a plantaholic, I gravitate toward nearby gardens and plant-filled natural areas instead. There the blogger in me takes over, so I snap photos and later post my favorite scenes here. (See North Beach, MD or Rehoboth Beach, DE.)

Home in Asbury Park, NJ

I’ve walked and cycled Maryland and Delaware beach towns so many times over the decades, it was a thrill this week to discover a beach I’d heard about (from Bruce Springsteen) but never visited.

I’d read that Asbury Park had gone to the dogs but that lately, it’s returning to its glory days. So finally, people are fixing up the funky old homes, and some of them are even gardening.

Home in Asbury Park, NJ

Like these I noticed in or near Asbury Park.

Home in Asbury Park, NJ

I won’t show you the typical homes I saw, with their sad patches of turfgrass and nothing else. Hey, maybe the owners will notice the stark contrast with these homes and get inspired!

Home in Asbury Park, NJ

Home in Asbury Park, NJ

Nothing unusual here – just the common Knockout roses – but they sure deliver.

Restaurant in Asbury Park, NJ

I was naturally drawn to this restaurant, even though I suspect the vines are fake. Whatever! The whole gardeny effect is terrific.

Historic Howard Johnson Restaurant in Asbury Park, NJ

The landscaping for this restaurant on the boardwalk is fine with me but wow, the architecture! It was originally a Howard Johnson – could you tell?

Paramount Theater and Convention Center, Asbury Park NJ

Okay, now I’m going totally off-topic because the town’s original Beaux-Arts buildings blew me away! Above, the Paramount Theater and Convention Hall .

Casino Arcade, Asbury Park NJ

The historic structures in this view have yet to be renovated – the Casino Arcade and Carousel House.

Empress Hotel, Asbury Park NJ

The stayed at the Mid-Century Modern Empress Hotel, where entertainers like Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland once stayed, the manager proudly told me. From my fourth-floor ocean-view room I could watch the sun come up over the ocean without getting out of bed. (For only $79 a night!)
Live Music on the Boardwalk, Asbury Park NJ

Asbury Park was never just a beach town; it was an entertainment mecca in its heyday. Signs of that focus coming back were clear to me even on a Monday night in October, when I heard a terrific blues band playing along the boardwalk.

Wonder Bar, Asbury Park NJ

Also on a Monday night in October? Three bands performed at this large, lively venue.

Stone Pony, Asbury Park NJ

Finally, the spot made famous by the Boss himself – The Stone Pony.  It’s open all winter on weekends.