Jersey Shore N-R

The pleasures of the Jersey Shore run the gamut from A-Z. To prove that it's not just a figure of speech,we decided to present this year's guide letter by letter.we're not getting all Merriam-Webster on you-just showing the incredible range of sure things and surprises .We've divided our tips so that each

Nerds
The Benjamins, Hyperactive, Daddy Pop—plenty of good New Jersey bar bands work the Shore. But the one with the greatest legacy is the Nerds. The geeky quartet with the thick-rimmed glasses formed in 1985, playing covers and originals. Ten years into their career, their Poultry in Motion album convinced them that on-stage banter and Top 40 sing-alongs went over bigger than their own tunes. Since then, they’ve rocked MTV, Carnegie Hall, and jello-shooter-fueled nights from Long Branch to Avalon. The Nerds will play Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant and Joe Pop’s in Ship Bottom throughout the summer. The-nerds.com—Jon Coen

Nude Beach
Defeat tan lines for good at Sandy Hook’s Gunnison Beach. Since it first went nude, or “naturist,” in the 1950s, Gunnison has grown steadily more popular. A state law that banned nudity at Higbee Beach near Cape May in 2000 does not apply to Gunnison because it is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, and designated clothing-optional areas are permitted in National Parks. Still, there are rules, including no cameras, no lewd behavior, no sex, and “no gawking.” Gunnisonbeach.org.—Jennifer Weiss

Ocean Activists
Dr. Bill Rosenblatt, a co-founder of the Jersey Shore chapter of the Surfriders Foundation, was named chairman of the foundation’s national board of directors in 2006. A psychologist by day, Rosenblatt, 46, served as mayor of Loch Arbor from 1998 to 2006. He has been surfing since he was fourteen and campaigning for healthier oceans for almost two decades. “I would really love to know that my grandchildren have an ocean that’s clean and protected and a place where they can enjoy playing and getting their spirits lifted,” he says.

Two of the accomplishments Rosenblatt is proudest of: working with local, state, and federal officials and the National Park Service in 2002 to save the renowned surf break in the “Big Cove” at Sandy Hook, and organizing surf clinics for underprivileged children from Asbury Park.—Jen Brown

Cindy Zipf, who grew up in Rumson and spent countless hours as a girl splashing in the ocean and tidepooling for shells (still among her favorite pastimes), is pushing for legislation to create a “clean ocean zone” off the coast. The law would permanently ban oil and gas exploration, mining, and other extractive assaults. Zipf is the driving force behind biannual citizen beach sweeps that generate invaluable data about the kind of trash that lands on our shores and how it gets there.

It was twenty years ago this summer that discarded hypodermic needles, other medical waste, raw sewage, and trash began washing up on Jersey beaches. Dolphins in respiratory distress beached themselves with their flesh sloughing off.

“It was, in a way, a kind of serendipity,” says Zipf, who three years earlier had founded the nonprofit group Clean Ocean Action to end ocean dumping of industrial waste. “It galvanized people against any kind of contamination of the ocean.” A decade later, Zipf and other activists forced the closure of federally sanctioned dump sites off the coast, mostly north of Manasquan but also two off of Cape May.

“I couldn’t name anybody more important when it comes to protecting the ocean, and that’s been the case for years now,” says Jim Lovgren, a director both of Zipf’s group and the Fishermen’s Dock Cooperative in Point Pleasant, which does not always see eye to eye with environmentalists. “She is a uniter. It’s a big tent for Cindy, and she wants everybody in it.”—John T. Ward

Open-Water Rowing
The 19-foot-long rowboats weigh upwards of 300 pounds, and the course ranges in length from one to ten miles. Even on a calm day, fighting the surf to launch the boat and battling the surging water just offshore to make headway takes a special breed of athlete. That would be Dave Healy. Last year, Healy, 46, an assistant principal at Middletown High School North and a veteran Asbury Park lifeguard, formed the Jersey Shore Rowing Association with a group of friends and fellow competitors. When Healy began competing in the United States Lifesaving Championships 23 years ago, open-water rowing was a popular event. For some reason, enthusiasm for it dwindled over time, especially among younger lifeguards.

So to introduce a new generation and keep themselves in the game, Healy and friends formed JSRA (jsrowing.org) last summer after several months of planning. The karma must have been right, because in August, Healy and his rowing partner, Warren Towns, 40, of Ocean Township, won the open surfboat race at the United States Lifesaving Association’s national competition in Huntington Beach, California. “You stick with something long enough and work hard enough,” Healy says, “and the time will come.” The ten-mile Old School Row starts at 7 am on July 14 in Bradley Beach. The New Jersey State Rowing Championships (rowrace.com) kick off at 5:30 pm July 26 at Toms River Yacht Club. —JB

Palm Trees
Tall, slender, and tousled on top, palm trees started popping up along the Shore about a decade ago. “You get a palm tree, you’re happy,” says Wayne Holdorf, a Red Bank seller and installer of tropical plants. “No one’s unhappy around a palm tree.” Problem is, the trees don’t survive the winter. In the late 1990s, businesses along the Boulevard in Seaside Heights tried them but decided after about two years that the cost of replacing them each spring was too steep, says town spokesman Peter Smith. Now they seem to be making a comeback at nightclubs, hotels, and fancy private residences from Sea Bright to Atlantic City. In 2005, Holdorf actually ran out of palms because of demand, despite price tags of $300 to $1,000.—JTW

Party Boats
Near my fifteenth birthday, in 1975, my dad gave me a copy of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and refused to let me out of the house until I finished it. The next week, he loaded the car with fishing gear and a cooler of beer and took me to Point Pleasant, where we boarded a boat called the Sea Devil. Unlike Hemingway’s old salt, who fought an epic battle with a swordfish using hand-lines, we had fishing rods and the Yankees on the radio. My dad hooked several tuna, handing one of the rods immediately to me. I proceeded to lose one of our rods off the back of the boat. I consumed massive amounts of Yoo-Hoo, which I regurgitated into the Atlantic on the return. Still, the memory remains fresh, and I always smile when I see boats return, knowing they’re full of fish, bleary-beery men, and probably a nauseated kid or two. Party boats still leave daily from Point Pleasant Beach, Belmar, Brielle, Atlantic City, Barnegat Light, and Cape May. Funnewjersey.com.—Michael Moran

Pet Hotel
The idea dawned after Jackie Winston and her husband, Scott, were kicked out of an Atlantic City hotel room two years ago because Jackie’s dog, Baby, barked while the couple was out to dinner and someone complained. The couple, who worked in the travel industry, decided to strike a blow for bowsers (and their owners) everywhere. Last July, they opened Atlantic City Pet Hotel and Grooming, a 20,000-square-foot facility in the original Atlantic City Salt Water Taffy Factory. Pets are walked and played with regularly (and individually). They get sleeping areas instead of cages. Grooming is available for cats and parrots as well as dogs. You can pick up or drop off your pet 24 hours a day, or hotel staff will shuttle Milo or Felix to your A.C. hotel. 547 N Trenton Ave, 609-348-8660, atlanticcitypethoteland­grooming.com.—Jen A. Miller

Pier at Caesars
Want to drop a few grand on a purse or a fair bundle on a luxe meal? The splendiferous three-story Pier Shops at Caesars, which opened last June, has you covered. The 70 shops range from Gucci, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany to Juicy Couture and the Levi’s Store. There are seven restaurants, from the pan-Asian Buddakan to the sports bar Game On. But the coolest, cleverest, most relaxing thing is free. On the third floor, facing glass walls that look out over the sand and surf, white Adirondack chairs have been placed on boxed-in areas of sand, which have real beach grass growing out of them. Relax, bug-free and air conditioned, and wriggle your toes in the sand while gazing at the ocean. If you want to feel the rush of wind on your face, step outside to one of the balconies. 609-345-3100, thepieratcaesars.com.—JAM

Pier Village
These 320 Long Branch luxury apartments and more than 30 shops and restaurants up the ante for sophistication and decadence at the Shore. “We saw an opportunity to do something really creative, really vibrant,” says Dave Barry, president of Applied Companies, the driving force behind Pier Village. The most extravagant component is Le Club—by day a luxe Mediterranean-style beach club, by night (Thursday through Saturday) one of the trendiest nightclubs on the Shore. Ponying up a $5,000 annual fee gets you a cabana with flat screen TV, nice furnishings, rooftop pool and sun deck overlooking the Atlantic, towel service, spa services, and food and beverage service on the beach. Le Club’s tony restaurant, Avenue, is open to the public. Pier Village is not just for those with deep pockets. Free outdoor concerts  by local bands take place every Thursday evening starting June 21. Every other Wednesday is “Movies Under the Stars” night. If nothing else, take a walk through Pier Village—it’s worth seeing. Piervillage.com.—JB

Poll
Our latest Monmouth University/New Jersey Monthly poll shows that 60 percent of Jerseyans plan to visit the Shore this summer, but 46 percent say they spend less time there than they did as a child. 24 percent of those who spend a week or more at the Shore own a second home there. Those most likely to spend a week or more at the beach earn $100,000 or more a year. “Given the ever-increasing rental rates for a Shore house, it’s perhaps not surprising that Shore vacationers tend toward the wealthier end of the spectrum,” says Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. We’re creatures of habit: Only 20 percent of Jerseyans try different Shore towns, while 52 percent come back to the same town every year. For 54 percent of us, the Shore is our primary summer vacation destination.—Jennifer Melick

Putt-Putt Mini-golf=Maxi fun.

Q-Tips Best way to remove sand from your ears. Let sand dry, then tilt head and gently swab out.

Quahogs
The big mud-loving chowder clam is plentiful from New England to New Jersey. Did you know you need a license to dig them in NJ? See capemaytimes.com/fishing/clamming.

Reggae
“The alternative reggae scene has been evolving over the past few years,” says musician Stephen Fowler of Wall Township. “It’s comparable to the grunge movement in Seattle.” By alternative he means a genre mix rather than traditional Jamaican reggae. Fowler and his younger brother, Dave, for example, lead Echo Movement, which plays surf-reggae-soca (a blend of surf rock, reggae, and soul calypso). The laid-back sound suits summer. “Heavy metal doesn’t go with chilling at the beach,” Fowler says. Monthly showcases are organized by jerseyshoreislandbeat.com.—A.V. Neglia

Route 9
It originates up in Middlesex County, but U.S. Route 9’s real character shines in area code 609. Through southern Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May Counties, the venerable highway often narrows to a one-lane path. Discounting traffic, the Parkway will get you there faster, but you’d miss the charm of small-town taverns, antique shops, family-run farm markets, and bushels of blue-claw crabs sold by the roadside.—JC

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