Romantic Shore: Long Branch

Once a favorite vacation destination for U.S. presidents, Long Branch remains a stylish getaway thanks to Pier Village, a two-block stretch of boardwalk with upscale dining and a shopping plaza.

Biking is a favorite Shore activity for Mary and Dickie Palazzo.

Biking is a favorite Shore activity for Mary and Dickie Palazzo. Photo by Sue Barr

WHERE TO STAY: Modern and sleek, Bungalow is nicely located one block from the beach, in Pier Village. Each of the 24 rooms is equipped with a king-size bed, kitchenette, fireplace and waterfall shower. Oversized furniture and statement art complete the picture. Guests can play billiards, backgammon and chess in the lobby or hang out on the outdoor patio. Rates vary.

ROMANTIC EATS: Dine with an ocean view at one of the varied Pier Village restaurants. The sophisticated Avenue Le Club (732-759-2900) specializes in seafood; Sirena Ristorante (732-222-1119), is an elegant Italian bistro; McLoone’s Pier House (732-923-1006), offers American cuisine and live music. For dining away from bustling Pier Village, try Rooney’s Oceanfront Restaurant (732-870-1200) or Charley’s Ocean Grill (732-222-4499). Coney Waffle (732-556-6951) creates elaborate desserts and shakes. Grab two straws and slurp with your sweetheart.

WHAT TO DO: You can catch an original theatrical production at the New Jersey Repertory Company or take in a concert at Monmouth University’s Pollak Theatre. In nearby Oceanport, place bets at Monmouth Park Racetrack or attend one of the venue’s food festivals.

ALTERNATIVE VENUES: Ocean Place Resort & Spa is a 254-room waterfront hotel with a spa and pools. Want to get off the beaten path? Cedars and Beeches Bed & Breakfast is a restored Victorian with 14 guest rooms about 10 blocks from the beach.

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