Check Out My New Facebook Page!

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The new Facebook Page is up & running! Some of the content will certainly cross over both platforms, but Facebook will provide a place for more interaction among readers, as well as fun little perks like “Tuesday’s Travel Tip” & “Wanderlust Wednesday” so be sure to check it out!

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This week’s “Travel Tip” was posted this morning…
Find out the one thing I ALWAYS bring when I travel by visiting the new page at:  www.facebook.com/tripsandtastes

Once on Facebook, please be sure to “Like” and “Share” the page with all your travel & food-loving friends!  Thanks 🙂

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An Ocean Grove Sunrise for St Patrick’s Day

I’ve been lucky enough to live a few blocks from the beach for over 20 years now, but somehow, I’ve never made it down to watch the sunrise… until this morning.  Thanks to the time change & an inability to sleep lately, this was my view this morning…

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So amazing!  You can bet I’ll be making an effort to get down here on a regular basis in the months to come… and I recommend that everyone makes this happen at least once or twice!

September Summer :)

For those of us who are lucky enough to live at the Jersey Shore year round, we know that September is one of the best months of the year here.  The weather is still warm enough to enjoy the beach during the day and cool enough to sleep with the windows open at night.  We fall back into our routines without having to deal with crowds, traffic or tourists.

IMG_20150905_160925This time of year you can visit the beach for free,
and without the fear of being impaled by hundreds
of poorly planted umbrellas. There aren’t any crazy tents or people painted white with sunscreen.  No one will be walking across your towel, feeding the seagulls right next to you or setting up shop so close that you can actually hold hands.  When you live here, beach etiquette is an unwritten rule that everyone knows how to follow.

Walking on the boardwalk or strolling around town is also more pleasurable now… you’re not sweating, or dodging in and out of crowds. No one is stopping suddenly, trying to figure out where they’re going or blocking the middle of the sidewalk while they wait for their party to catch up.  There aren’t any crazy lines for ice cream or for dinner.  You can eat anywhere, with little or no waiting, and park wherever you’d like.

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Tourism certainly helps fuel our economy so we really can’t knock this crazy influx of people during the summer months. However, once Labor Day has passed, it’s hard not to celebrate the return of our peaceful little paradise!

Sadly, the forecast looks rainy for the next few days but there will still be plenty of time to get out there and enjoy this magical month at the Jersey Shore!

Running the Boards

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This post isn’t necessarily a “trip” but it does give a little “taste” of what I’m lucky enough to see every time I head out my front door for a run. 🙂

I started running about a year and a half ago… I’m not fast, I don’t run very far, and I don’t really enjoy the process.  However, it’s where I run, that makes it all worth while.  From my home in Ocean Grove, I can head north to Asbury Park or run the same distance heading south, through Bradley Beach & Avon by the Sea. All 4 of these towns offer something a little different, but what they have in common is a gorgeous, uninterrupted stretch of boardwalk along the Atlantic Ocean.

This time of year is the best… perfect temperatures, empty beaches and photo opps galore.  I try not to stop WHILE I’m running, but sometimes, something just catches my eye and I have to pause & grab it.  At the end of my run, I usually wander down to the water’s edge as a little “reward” for completing the dreaded task. There’s nothing better than the sound of the waves, the cool breeze & a feeling of accomplishment to start the day.  Here’s a little glimpse from the past couple of weeks… Enjoy!

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Taste of the Tropics in Asbury Park

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It was finally sunny & warm enough on Saturday to enjoy a nice lunch outdoors, so we headed to Cubacan on the Asbury Park Boardwalk.  I had been once before & loved it, but somehow just never made it back… what a mistake!

We braved the cool breeze coming off the ocean and sat outside, taking in the gorgeous view.  First up: Mojitos, of course.  IMG_20150502_132844I usually shy away from the “flavored” varieties because they end up being too sweet, but that was not the case here.  Thanks to a fresh fruit puree, the flavors we tried (passionfruit, pineapple & mango) were absolutely delicious.  They offered just a hint of the fruit without overpowering the actual lime/mint combo that makes mojitos so tasty! Oh… and we tried the classic lime version as well – equally as good 😉

Ceviche Sampler

Ceviche Sampler

Now onto the food… Unfortunately, I’m a sucker for Ceviche and absolutely loved it the last time I was here, so I had no choice but to order it again.  The menu offers 4 different types of fish: Rock Shrimp, Red Snapper, Spicy Tuna & Rum Cured Salmon, each prepared in their own unique sauce.  Or you can order the Sampler and select 3 of the 4, which is what we did.  We passed on the shrimp and enjoyed the other 3, served with perfectly salted, light, crisp Plantain Chips.  This was a big portion… more than enough for 2 people to share.

Traditional Cubano

Traditional Cubano

For something a little heartier, we decided to try the Traditional Cubano Sandwich to complete our Cuban Experience.  That delicious blend of roasted pork, smoked ham, swiss cheese, pickles & mustard, on toasty, pressed bread & served with a nice side salad was “Perfecto” in my book.  No time for coffee or dessert on this visit, but I’ll definitely be returning soon to look for some new favorites! (Although, I’ll still have to get the Ceviche!)  You can check out their extensive menu here, on their Facebook page, to get your own taste buds flowing…

Eating outside on the Boardwalk is amazing, but I should also mention that the indoor atmosphere is equally as pleasing… Cuban music, palm trees and tropical decor truly make you feel like you’re away on vacation.  Inside or out, it’s definitely worth a visit.

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A perfect day for a seat outside!

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware? Loved It!

Looking for a quaint little East Coast beach town with amazing restaurants, a wide range of shops, a couple of arcades for the kids & a nice, clean beach with an equally pleasing boardwalk? This could be the place!

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The Irene on Maryland Ave

We had a great 3-night visit here over the long Easter weekend… Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t quite as warm or sunny as I would have liked, but it all worked out.  We were lucky enough to be able to stay at my cousin’s awesome beach house, “The Irene” which provided the perfect locale.  Less than 2 blocks from the water and just a short walk over to the center of town – no need to drive anywhere!

Healthy Breakfast!

The gazillion restaurants in Rehoboth range from unique fine dining, to seafood houses to your basic pizza places, with everything in between.  We enjoyed a nice, healthy breakfast one morning at The Green Man Juice Bar & Bistro on Wilmington Ave, just 1 block from the beach.  I had a freshly pressed “green” juice and then an awesome Scottish Smoked Salmon plate – totally delicious!

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Amazing…

Our favorite meal, which turned out to be a lunch, was at Modern Mixture… This easy to miss spot right on Rehoboth Ave, offered an eclectic menu combining Mexican with Middle Eastern & a little bit of the tropics.  Our Falafel appetizer was one of the freshest I’ve ever had and my Chiliquilles platter was literally licked clean.  Top that off with a fresh margarita & exceptional service, and this meal rocked it!!!  Definitely worth a stop if you’re ever in town.

We did a good amount of shopping on the main strip, visiting candy stores, surf shops & even a great Tea & Spice store, but in the end, we spent most of our time at the Rehoboth Toy & Kite Company.  Their smaller location is right on Rehoboth Ave, but be sure to visit their larger store on the north end of the boardwalk.  The owners are incredibly nice and they have a great selection of merchandise for both kids & adults. They even hosted a free Easter Egg Hunt, complete with the Easter Bunny, bagels and mimosas for the adults – marketing genius!

beachAnd of course there is the beach… Being off-season, it was wide open with only kite-flyers and a few shell seekers but it appeared long, wide & clean. There’s a great boardwalk that runs the whole length, with a few shops & restaurants in the central & northern sections and beautiful homes lining the southern end.  I had a nice run one morning and was able to enjoy the beautiful view almost all to myself!

As much as I loved it here, my only concern about this little paradise is how crowded it must get in the summer. There is only one main road leading in & out from Route 1, so the traffic must be crazy.  And there were already waits at some of the popular restaurants, even at this time of year.  If possible, I’d say the best time to visit would be June & September when the weather is great, but the full flow of tourists is still at a minimum. 🙂

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