The week surrounding the fourth of July was a week full of beaches, car rides, seriously great music, and a reunion with one of my favorite cities, Boston. K grew up in New Jersey so is obviously no stranger to the Shore, but I was a newcomer and very excited to see where so many people have made Summer memories. K and I loaded up the car, packed enough clothes to last a month, grabbed some road snacks and took off. Our first stop, Atlantic City, New Jersey.
We explored the casinos, played slots and lost, walked the beach and the boardwalk, and ate some seriously good food. We stayed at The Borgata, which was so fine. It was off the boardwalk and in addition to being a beautiful hotel, it hosted some really great restaurants. One of the best meals of my life was at their Japanese restaurant Izakaya. We ordered a variety of rolls and sashimi along with a dreamy grilled kobe beef satay and spicy tuna tartare with creamy avocado as an appetizer. It was my favorite kind of eating–small, unique bites ordered in stages at a leisurely pace. It was fantastic.
Our real motive for visiting Atlantic City, however, was that one of our favorite bands was playing at the Borgata. The Counting Crows are easily in my top five and we were able to see them play an amazing show in a beautiful venue and happened to be seated six rows away from them. I was in heaven.
It was an incredible night, an amazing show, and a great start to our trip up the coast.
Our next stop was Boston, so we loaded up the car once again and drove North. We stopped along the way at little boardwalk-towns to see the non-gambling side of the Jersey Shore. We stopped at Seaside Heights, which has garnered fame from a certain group of men and women who walked its boardwalk fist-pumping, but more notably because it got the brunt of hurricane Sandy less than a year ago.
It was sobering and also hopeful to see both the utter devastation and the incredible progress the community has made in the meantime. The haunting picture of the roller-coaster out in the waves that was all over the coverage of Hurricane Sandy? That was Seaside. The amusement rides were on piers, and while those are still in the process of being rebuilt, the boardwalk is completely restored.
The boardwalk itself has been completely rebuilt and smells brand new. All the businesses were open and while it was an overcast day–not perfect for beach going–people were still there enjoying themselves. Sandy was brutal, but the progress that this community has made in eight months or so is hopeful indeed.
We walked up and down the boardwalk, grabbed a slice of pizza and ate it on a bench looking out at the ocean, stopped in an arcade and won a finger trap and one of those popper things, and bought some salt water taffy because it’s the Jersey Shore and it’s delicious.
Later, we got back in the car and drove up to Boston. We spent a couple of very, very hot days in Boston cleaning out K’s apartment, playing at our old trivia place (!!!) and hanging out with friends. We watched the firework show as usual and really had a wonderful time. I do love Boston. After Boston we drove up to K’s parents house and spent the weekend there, before we headed back to Pittsburgh.
It was a full week with new places, friends, and lots of fun.
Take a trip up (or down) to the Shore. It’s definitely up and running and it’s a lot of fun!