30 Hours in America’s Coolest Small Town, Asbury Park, New Jersey: The Lowdown!

Budget Travel Magazine this month named New Jersey’s Asbury Park, as the “coolest, small town in the United States.” So, I decided to revisit the coastal town, roughly 60 miles from New York City. I reserved at The Asbury, a hotel located at 210 5th Avenue, that opened about a year ago.

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The Asbury Hotel facade

The 110-room beachside lodging, converted from an old Salvation Army Building, was the first hotel built in Asbury Park in 50 years.

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A wall of shelves houses a turntable, LPS and cassettes

 

At the hotel, a music theme prevails. In the lobby, an 18-foot wide wall of shelves houses LPs, cassettes and a turntable. Music-themed books dot shelves. Song titles decorate walls. And live bands play music.

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Song lyrics and titles decorate the walls.

 

While the music was entertaining, the check-in process hit a sour note. I had a 3pm reservation but didn’t get into my final room until nearly 5PM. Once I unlocked the door to the first room I was shown, I found other guests’ suitcases in the room. I was quickly escorted back downstairs to the lobby for another half-hour wait before being show to my final room. (There appeared to be only two hotel employees checking-in guests–including a blonde male and a woman with a cheap red wig. They are woefully understaffed.)

 

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Bedrooms are open and airy featuring minimalist, blonde wood furniture

 

Upstairs, the light gray hallways match grey carpeting with a multicolored abstract design. Yellow-framed doorways open up to generously-sized light-filled rooms with industrial, blonde wood furniture.

 

 

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Black-and-white photographs pay homage to Asbury Park’s history.

Vintage black-and-white images from Asbury Park beach scenes decorate the walls.  In room 427, my windows provided  an oceanside view.

 

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Malin+ Goetz product dispenses hang in the shower.

Once settled into the room, I tried to shower. Malin + Goetz shampoo, conditioner and shower gel dipsensers hang from the walls. There was just one problem: No shower gel came out of the dispenser. (Note to cleaning staff: Check all dispensers when cleaning to make sure they are full. The good news: There was plenty of toilet paper!)

 

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The Salvation rooftop bar offers a chance to sip cocktails and take in a beach view.

Later, I went up to the Salvation rooftop bar where a local band was playing live music, mostly covers.  Hotel guests  lounged on outdoor furniture sipping a variety of cocktails including the hotel’s signature drink, The Asbury, made from Tequila, fresh watermelon, lime and club soda.

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Take a stroll down the Asbury Park boardwalk and pick up frozen drinks, pretzels, t-shirts, funnel cake and ice cream from mom-and-pop shops.

 

If you want to get a feel of the town, the boardwalk and beach are less than a three-block from the hotel. You make a right out of the entrance and walk about a half block to Kingsley Street, then another block to Ocean and another block to the boardwalk.

The boardwalk seems like the town’s emotional center where you see a variety of people: heterosexual and homosexual couples, millennials, Generation Xers, Baby Boomers, retirees, African-Americans, Caucasians, Latinos, Orthodox Jewish families and Asians strolling and enjoying ocean air. Along the boardwalk, you can get waffles and cream, ice cream, coffee, funnel cake, pretzels from local mom-and-pop shops.

 

 

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Stella Marina Restaurant serves some of the best Italian cuisine in town.

At the end of the boardwalk, you will find Stella Marina, an upscale restaurant. try the Eggplant Parmesan ($16), the Scottish Salmon ($29) and the Margherita Pizzetta ($17).

 

 

The Stone Pony, where Bruce Springstein, got his start, features live music acts.

Just off the boardwalk on my way back to the hotel, I checked out an iconic Asbury Park spot: The Stone Pony, a music venue where Bruce Springstein performed in the earlier days of his career.  The venue still boasts a robust lineup of live music acts. On another visit, I plan to actually go in and check out the music!

 

 

The next morning, I wanted to kick back and unwind so I headed down to the pool.  Yellow lounge chairs and a few cabanas surround the pool. Blue hydrangeas in mutlicolored barrels provide a touch of foliage. A sophisticated sound system streams an eclectic mix of tunes infusing the pool area with lounge-like feel.

 

The pool at The Asbury Hotel.

The hotel is family-friendly. Children splashed away in the pool playing Tag.  So, if you are kid-averse, the pool may not be the most relaxing place for you. But, if you don’t mind hearing kids take turns being “it” in games of tag,  you will enjoy chillaxin’ by the pool.

 

Before I knew it, my visit to Asbury Park was wrapping up. Checking out was easier than checking in and the hotel staff made amends for the clumsy check-in.

So, if you want to check out a new town with a laid-back vibe, live music scene, great food and a beach and boardwalk, head to Asbury Park.

That’s the Lowdown!

For more on a great eatery in Asbury Park, check out this link:

Talula’s Asbury Park, NJ: The Lowdown
For more on the hotel, check out their website: www.theasburyhotel.com

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10 thoughts on “30 Hours in America’s Coolest Small Town, Asbury Park, New Jersey: The Lowdown!

  1. Bruce really didn’t get his start at Stone Pony. He played there a lot though. He played at many places in town but most importantly the Upstage 700 Cookman Ave. Building is still there.

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    1. I didn’t really mean the Bruce played his very first one or two gigs at Stone Pony. However, I have updated the copy to say that Bruce performed in the earlier days of his career at Stone Pony.

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  2. Bruce really didn’t get his start at Stone Pony. He played there a lot though. He played at many places in town but most importantly the Upstage 700 Cookman Ave. Building is still there.

    Like

    1. I didn’t really mean the Bruce played his very first one or two gigs at Stone Pony. However, I have updated the copy to say that Bruce performed in the earlier days of his career at Stone Pony.

      Like

  3. Asbury Hotel only block and a half at most from Boardwalk, not 3! You didn’t mention all the great restaurants and outdoor bars along the boardwalk. Didn’t you go into town? So many great restaurants & venues downtown including a Biergarten.

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    1. Lydia, first, thank you for reading the Lowdown with Mikey B. During my 30 hours in Asbury Park, I think I ate 2-3 meals, so I had a limited time to eat and drink. I mentioned Stella Marina in the post as well as an Asbury Hotel rooftop bar. I try to keep blog posts under 500 words so I was not able to feature all the innumerable great places in AP. However, I referenced the Stone Pony within the post. I also included a link for people to read about a nice Cookman Avenue restaurant that serves gourmet pizza. Again, thanks for reading and if you have a place that you’d like me to review and/or photograph, I am open to suggestions.

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    2. Hi Lydia. The entrance of the Asbury Hotel is mid-block. So when you walk out of the hotel, you have to walk about a half block to Kingsley, then another long block to Ocean Avenue. You have to cross that street. Then you walk another block past buildings and shops to the boardwalk. So, I would say it is more than a block and a half. As an out of towner, the blocks seem long. I can agree that the walk to the boardwalk is less than 3 blocks but more than a block and a half. I have updated the copy so that it reflects that the walk is fewer than 3 blocks and I have named the streets that a person has to cross, which will help them find their way. Thank you for reading the Lowdown! I welcome feedback and suggestions.

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  4. I know the hotel employee with ‘the cheap red wig’. She can be very rude, but upon check in…we noticed that she appears to wear dentures because she adjusted them in front us. The blonde male employee was a little more helpful, but very aloof -acting as if he was ‘too important’ to be accommodating guests. Our room also had no soap, which was easily remedied. And parts of the lobby smelled like ‘feet’ so the hotel needs to maybe use some Febreeze.

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