On Friday, 27 July, I decided to spend the entire day in Asbury Park. I hopped on the train and again noticed the Little Free Library when I hopped off. I really wish I remembered the books I wanted to give – especially since that Free Library was empty. I took a few photos and ordered Lyft to take me to Toast. Toast had gluten-free breakfast options and I wanted to check it out.
Toast was amazing. I sat at the counter and started chatting with the middle-aged man sitting next to me. He was friendly and kind; I enjoyed chatting about the area. After he was done reading the New York Times, he handed me the paper since I was reading the sports section. We chatted about the Blue Jays; NYT wrote an article about the trades that took place and I fretted about their season this year. We commiserated together about sports. Anyway, Toast had almond milk and I could enjoy coffee! The gluten-free waffles I had were delicious but heavy. I ate 3/4 of the plate, but since it was hot and I was going to the beach later, I didn’t want to overeat. Toast was also reasonably priced and I would recommend the restaurant.
I made reservations for Catsbury Park Cat Café for noon; I had an hour-and-a-half to kill. The beach was a fifteen-minute walk and since Toast was close to Catsbury Park, it was logical to stay in the area and go to the beach after the appointment. I walked into some stores and went to this one thrift store. I’m surprised I didn’t buy anything, but the decor and selection they had were interesting. I ended up taking some photos.
I then walked to the mall and visited the mom and pop stores they had inside the mall. I went to this one hippie store and took a photo with the Grateful Dead bear. The shop’s owner took the photo for me and she was a joy to chat with. I told her where I was from, she exclaimed that the shop’s headquarters are in New Hope; I should visit some time. We also chatted about art, photography, and writing – she is an illustrator, she showed me the children’s book she wrote and illustrated, then handed me her card. Professional Hippie, what a cool business card. I bought tie-dye shirts for my co-worker’s daughters (which they loved, according to my co-worker). I went to another shop for the postcards and again, had a friendly experience. The shop’s owner asked where I was visiting from, I told her, she exclaimed and told me her ex-husband used to own this one restaurant on the Main Line. The restaurant was my parents’ favourite back in the 70s. I swear it’s such a small world.
By the time I was finished at the mall, it was time for my appointment at Catsbury Park, which was across the street from the mall. I loved Catsbury Park! I played with the cats. A few took a liking to me and one cuddled on my lap.
I went to the beach after and I prefer Asbury Park’s beach to Long Branch’s beach because Asbury Park’s sands do not have pebbles mixed in – just smooth sand. My feet were happy and the waves were not rough; Friday was a beautiful day and it made a great day for swimming in the ocean.
That night I was supposed to meet up with Jared, but plans changed since he overplanned. He was hoping to have a great big party for Wayne, who was moving to Chicago for a year. I met Wayne at Jams on the Sand and he was pretty cool. However, when I mentioned Jared’s plan, Joe and Wayne said they weren’t aware of them and I knew things were going to change. However, he was all over the place with them. Wayne’s family planned a dinner and we were going to meet up after dinner. Jared said the dinner was at 6 and when I received a text from him at 8 that he was sitting down, I thought he meant where we planned to go later. I went to Asbury Park, realized he was sitting down to eat, it was later than he thought. I had to leave early and by 10:30, I just said next time. Sometimes when I’m hungry, I don’t comprehend, but I sent the conversation to Christina and she said it didn’t make sense in general, she said she was confused too. I guess it wasn’t me, but maybe someone who wanted to do it all and couldn’t. The dinner I had at the Anchor’s Bend also made me feel queasy, it was rainy, and I went back to the air bnb.
Before I headed back, I saw some tattoo artists standing outside of the Convention Hall. Asbury Park was having a tattoo convention that weekend and I asked one of the artists if he could take a photo with me. He agreed, he asked if I wanted a tattoo tomorrow, I said I had to go home tomorrow, I asked him where he was located and he is based in the Philadelphia Area. I said I was from there and I would check him out. He handed me his card. Mom’s rule is no tattoos while I’m living here, but I’m not sure. I’m pierced, but I can remove my piercings if I tire of them; a tattoo I can’t easily remove. I find getting pierced to be relaxing, I know getting a tattoo is painful.
(Yep, these went into my Happiness Box)
At least it wasn’t a totally bad experience. When I arrived at the Wonder Bar, I sat with two young women and their male friend, we had drinks (they had alcohol, I had water) and we chatted. I am glad they let me sit with them; I asked if I could sit with them before I did, and they were friendly enough to let me join. It was raining by this point, but we just sat under an umbrella and laughed about the absurdities of the business world. Although I couldn’t meet up with Jared, I met others and had a blast. I also heard some of the Bob Marley cover-band and they were awesome. I couldn’t eat at the Wonder Bar and that’s how I ended up at the Anchor’s Bend.
I had a great trip and I love Asbury Park. I’m going to plan a trip for next year, but I am going to book earlier so I can get an air bnb in Asbury Park or at least closer. Long Branch was nice, but it’s more of a business-oriented town. There is much more to do in Asbury Park and there are more food options. The people I stayed with were wonderful and their dog, Mary, was friendly. She loved hanging out with me and in between the beach and travelling, she helped me wind down.