Sorry, Belmar. We’re cheating on you. We’ve discovered Long Branch. Think “Brooklyn meets the Jersey Shore”, but in a good way, with upscale restaurants, imported palm trees and an outdoor Tiki Bar. Our last visit here was in in the early 1990s, when we stayed at the Ocean Place Resort right after it opened. To be honest, Long Branch was a bit scary back then. Amazing what 25 years of redevelopment will do. We’ll be back.
Some history: From the 1860s to the early 1900s, Long Branch was a destination for the wealthy and powerful. Ulysses Grant had his summer White House here. All told, seven US Presidents vacationed here. James Garfield died here, after traveling from Washington following an assassination attempt that left a bullet in his gut, hoping the sea air would aid his recovery. If your interested in the history of this resort town, check out A Seaside Gem Sparkles Again.
We hung out at the Laird Street Beach and had dinner at Sirena Restaurant. Ironically, I was reading Nick Laird’s wonderful poem Feel Free as I was sitting on Laird’s Beach. Check it out. Its a great read.