Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Asbury Park: Fourth of July

Oh dear readers, I'm so "bloghind". We are having such a fun summer so hope you will indulge my lateness.

Our Fourth of July began with a red, bacon and blue breakfast at the Asbury Ocean Beach Inn.  Chip made me a special gluten free waffle with tons of berries. A horrible photo but a delicious meal once again.

Walking just a block away from the inn held a charming village of restaurants, vintage clothing shops, antique markets, affordable boutiques, a skate shop and a fabulous coffee shop that we frequented often. As we walked down Cookman Street a police car drove up and down the street with a "service announcement" blasting from the car reminding residents that their cars would be towed due to the parade. Just to hear a loud speaker coming from a cop car was so vintage I looked at E. and said, "Is it 1955?" We missed the parade but loved hearing the bagpipers practice and see the classic cars line up for the parade.

Foolish Ginger was one of my favorite finds. They had hand made jewelry, lovely origami and cute accessories. 

I found this darling blouse for $18 at Foolish Ginger on the Fourth.

We headed to the beach and sat right next to the area where a group of pyro-specialists were setting up the fireworks.

The beach was great, and crowed on the Fourth of July but died down the rest of our week in Asbury.

I loved having sand on my toes and all over our beach blanket.

Each afternoon we left the beach to clean up and grab a coffee at our favorite cafe in Asbury Park.

Cafe Volan had opened just one week before our arrival. The two owners had only met each other six months prior. Paul Cali had pulled "spro's" for years and their friends set him and Doug Parent "up" on a blind business date. Doug said, "EHarmony." Hilarious. 

After my detox I'm completely caffeine and milk free. The lattes at Cafe Volan were so tempting however. They designed the space, picked the china and coffee beans themselves. Vintage patterned wallpaper hung below a chair rail. Tattoo inspired Indian artwork hung like a gallery display above four small cafe tables. A reclaimed wood communal table hosted a lovely game board that boasted of chess, backgammon and a deck of cards. An inviting place that begged for one to sit and stay a while. The open space, light, and tall ceilings create a very non-coffee shop vibe.  The ceiling lights look exactly like our Natty Boh lamp at Stone Hill. There weren't shelves of merchandise to purchase and the sweet stand had simple syrup and natural sweeteners with nary a pink bag of fake sugar in sight.

E. knows the coffee language way better than I ever will. He spent a lot of time at this bar cussing and discussing all things La Colombe

I was admiring the surf boards and the stacked skate boards inside while sipping on my green tea most mornings and afternoons. We became regulars in our short five days and the owners greeted us by name every time we stopped in.

The owner of the Wood Shop, across the street, came in one day and was showing a client his new skate board artwork. I mean, how cool is it to have a resident skate artist all up in the coffee joint?

When I asked the origin of the name, Cafe Volan, Doug kindly explained to me that "volan" is an obscure surf reference having to do with fiberglass holding more resin, or something. I did a little surf dropping about my trip to Oahu and my one wave caught among the sea turtles in Haleiwa. So what if my surf coach pushed me into the wave...I still got it and it was "rad". Each day we saw surfers coming in or going out seeking swells

Four legged friends were welcome and shoes were NOT required.

Hat approvals all around too.

On our final day I asked Paul if I could shoot a few of his tats and he obliged. His body is a work of art...heehee. But seriously his tattoos were fabulous. I loved his Charlie tat, since I love my Charlie. (Eric's name is Charles Eric hence the nickname.) His is in honor of his grandfather.

Anything...anytime...and a lovely "most" on the back of the "anything" arm. Classic.

Check out their Tumblr page for more beautiful photos and to see what the fellas are up to. We truly miss you guys and, most importantly, your lovely welcoming space.

The beach cruiser was the best mode of transportation in Asbury Park. It is a very, very bike friendly town.

You could also see skate boarding folks often cruising down Bangs.

Paul recommended that we try Ivan and Andy's for dinner, right on Cookman Avenue and a stones throw from the cafe. We had dinner plans back at the Asbury Ocean Beach Inn but decided to have a cocktail first. E and I had a one martini ritual each night of vacation. He got a Woodford Reserve Manhattan and I had a Bombay or Blue Coat Gin Dirty martini. 

Ivan and Andy's had been open three days prior to our arrival. We were the ambassadors of the corner on Cookman Street and had to direct people to the front door of this restaurant it was so new. The owners had a connection to a Brooklyn butcher shop so we were the town criers hailing the fine cuts of meat they had inside...even though we didn't enjoy a meal there, we could tell from the cocktails it was awesome.

We met so many friendly people and pets in AP.

Check out the first video below (Blogger won't let me cut and paste it for some reason). These girls were hilarious and had their IPod blasting the Boss. So appropriate for Asbury Park don't you think?

I gave Bruce a little love on the way back to the Inn for the Fourth of July cookout.

It was only our second day in town but we felt right at home.

After the party at the Inn we walked back down to the boardwalk for the fireworks.  I loved seeing the cops out in their Asbury Park uniforms. Off in the distance is our pal Paul from the coffee shop.

The boardwalk was packed with people and it was fun feeling like a local running into friends. Doesn't the Casino look great in the background? 

Paul admitted he was pretty tired. They keep the shop open from early until 10pm I think.

They dimmed the boardwalk lights and we got to enjoy a very cool show. E said he had never been so close to the lighting (see the second video).

Asbury Park Boss Babes.

Fireworks launching.

Asbury Park Fireworks Finale.

Thanks again for being patient with my posts. We have had such a lovely few weeks after our vacation and realize that our time together is way more important than feeling obligated to post so often. We still have many fun Asbury Park memories that we hope to share over the summer. Paul and Doug, thank you so much for your hospitality, for remembering our wedding anniversary and for your delicious brews. It was great meeting you and I feel certain we will meet again soon. Best of luck to you both on this adventure in coffee. Come see us in Baltimore!

1 comment:

Ella said...

Hi Nelle
Wonderful summer shots! I'm also "of line" and doing other things parts of this summer, but I think that's ok. Keep on having a very great summer!