Asbury Park, Long Branch, NYC Trip 2018 | Part I: The Arrival

Last Saturday I returned home from a wonderful trip to Long Branch and Asbury Park, NJ with a stop in New York City. I would like to tell you about my trip and share some photos with you. However, I will share them in a few posts.

I woke up at 5:30 AM to catch the 6:15 AM train to Philadelphia – I swore the bus from Philadelphia to Asbury Park left at 8:10 AM – and when I arrived at Jefferson Station at 7 AM, I decided to charge my phone for a half an hour. It turns out that I memorized Saturday’s bus schedule (since I had a pressing need to be somewhere early on Saturday, I didn’t really have a pressing need to be in Asbury Park early on Wednesday, though I wanted to be there early); when I arrived at 7:30 AM to the bus station, the Asbury Park bus had just left at 7:25. The next one would leave at 9:15. Let me tell you, that left me feeling salty, but I went to Starbucks and hung out for an hour and a half.

I went back to the station at 9 AM, as not to miss the 9:15 bus, and I was greeted by pigeons. Pigeons are one of my favourite birds and I enjoyed watching them until it was time to board the NJ Transit bus. While I was feeling salty earlier, the bus driver I had for the 9:15 AM trip was very kind. He helped me with his luggage and when made one stop along the way, he made sure I was doing okay. It was a 3 hour, 50-minute bus ride with one bathroom break an hour away from Asbury Park. His kindness changed my saltiness to gratitude.

I arrived at Asbury Park on Wednesday, 25 July at around 1:15, right as my WRTI At Your Request’s request finished playing my request (yay! Water Music!). As soon as I exited the bus, the driver said to me, “we made it baby girl! Welcome!” He helped me with my luggage and he agreed to a selfie with me (I am going to add this to a travel album). I thanked him for everything and I was on my way.


The sun was out and I was happy that I could get to the beach eventually. I was hungry and saw that there was a café across the street from the transit center. The transit center even had gluten-free options and I ordered a gluten-free bagel with radish spread and avocados. As I was eating, a young woman sat down next to me and after I finished my bagel, we started to chat. She was from California, but living in New York City for a few months and handed me her card to keep in touch. I then started talking to someone else about the best way to get to Long Branch from Asbury Park. The young man suggested the New Jersey Transit app because I could buy tickets and check schedules. I followed his suggestion and I’m glad I did, but since I had luggage I ended up taking Lyft to the air bnb. I wanted to drop my luggage off before going to the beach in Long Branch (I decided that the Asbury Park beach was too far with luggage).



When I dropped off my luggage, I realized I wasn’t right next to the beach, I would have to walk. I texted Jared about if he knew the area and he gave me some directions. By that point, it was drizzling a bit, but I still wanted to check out the beach. The walk was only ten minutes and by the time I arrived at the beach, the rain had stopped. The water was rough from the storms and I could only go up to my waist. I still enjoyed the water for forty-five minutes and had fun playing with my GoPro. I took a few pictures, but I was cautious because I didn’t want my GoPro to be swept up by rough waves. The waves made me tired and that is why I decided to leave. I was also hungry. By the time I left the beach, it was raining.


After I situated myself back at my Air bnb, I looked up gluten-free dinner options and decided that I would take an impromptu trip to New York City for a delicious dinner and walk around, I wanted to see the city at night. I was only a two-minute walk from the train station and since I could order tickets on the NJ Transit app, I booked the 6:33 train to New York City. I loved riding through New Jersey, I even passed South Amboy, where Jared lives. I texted him a picture of the station, but he wasn’t home at the time (he wish he was), but he was glad I was exploring New York City. I loved looking at Northern Jersey through the train window.

I was in New York City by 7:45 and at Friedman’s at 8. I decided to eat at Friedman’s since it was close to Penn Station and they had gluten-free Reubens. I was dying for a Reuben since I hadn’t been able to eat them since going gluten-free. Let me tell you, it was delicious! The dining experience at Friedman’s was amazing, the waitstaff was attentive and helpful, and the restaurant wasn’t expensive for NYC ($30 for the Reuben with French fries, a lemonade, and a gluten-free brownie to go). I loved my waiter and he agreed to a picture that I could put into my Happiness Box.

New York City is gorgeous at night. I decided to walk around Madison Square Garden and the experience at night was awesome. New York is truly a city that never sleeps. I saw a statute of lego humans and murals around Madison Square Garden. I asked a young man in a Wu Tan Clan shirt to take my photo in front of the Madison Square Garden sign, then he agreed to a selfie for the Happiness Box.  I visited some shops and took photos of some of the interesting statues in the area. I am glad I could visit the shops and see the sights before it started to pour. When I was walking to Penn Station to head back to Long Branch, it started pouring. I arrived in Long Branch at midnight, I fell asleep with the sound of pouring rain hitting against the window.

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Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

2 thoughts on “Asbury Park, Long Branch, NYC Trip 2018 | Part I: The Arrival”

  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    What a great adventure! I am always amazed how you bring out the best in people wherever you go. Think of all the people who stop to chat with you, give you helpful directions and advice, take pictures and pose with you for selfies. I am also delighted to read about all the food items you are finding that meet your restricted diet requirements. The gluten-free bagel with radish spread and avocados sounds delicious as does the gluten-free Reuben and gluten-free brownie. I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip to New York. You have done far more traveling in your 20s than I have my entire life.

    I wish you a wonderful week ahead, dear friend JM!


    1. Hi Shady,

      I am happy and amazed to be finding delicious gluten and dairy free foods. I am grateful for it because some older people have told me, “be glad you’re being diagnosed now, ten years ago it was extremely hard to shop allergy free.” I was born lactose intolerant, so I sort of know how difficult it was. Mom couldn’t breastfeed and she often struggled to find a suitable dairy free formula. Eventually, I drank soy. I drank soy until my thyroid disease (soy is toxic to the thyroid if you are prone to thyroid disease).

      That’s so true! I have so many selfies with people in the past three years that I can’t wait to put them into the Happiness Box project scrapbooks. I am thankful for all of the people I meet and the lessons I learn.

      Have a great Tuesday, dear friend.


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