Posts Tagged 'Sandy Hook'

One More Shore Dinner

Sunset on Sandy Hook Bay

Sun setting over Sandy Hook Bay

We did it! We snuck away last weekend on a SUNDAY night to have dinner down the shore. Now if you know my husband, you know that he NEVER does anything anymore on a work night. *grin* I remember when we used to go out bowling with friends on Monday evening, starting at 9pm once the leagues were done. Hard to imagine that now. We were both going to be working from home on this Monday, because we had a kidney stone follow-up appointment. When he suggested heading to Inlet Cafe in Highlands, NJ, I was thrilled.

Highlands beach

public beach at Highlands, NJ

We drove down with no trouble. I took the local way, not the Parkway, for those of you who know what I mean (and care about which road is which *grin*). Of course we took the convertible. We’d scoped out the parking the last time we were here, and I headed for the little municipal lot I’d noticed then. Although there were cars there were still spots. It only holds perhaps 10 cars maximum, maybe even only 8. What I hadn’t realized was that there was a BEACH behind the lot. There is a small gazebo, and a small beach. If you don’t mind swimming in the bay (as opposed to the ocean), there’s no reason to head over the causeway to Sandy Hook. All of a sudden the allure of renting in the Highlands became much clearer. There are a lot of cute looking restaurants and cafes in that area, as well as the Twin Lights (the historic lighthouse situated on the bluffs above the bay).

view from our table

view from our table

It’s only 2 blocks over to the Inlet Cafe. They have a corn hole game set up, 2 large lawn swings, some benches, and of course a great view of the water, in case you have to wait for a table. They have 3 dining areas – indoors, outside under a roof but with open sides (the bar was there), and then outside at tables along the water. Of course we opted for outside. We had a table right along the water and it was perfect. Like many of the restaurants there, they had a dock so you could motor up in your boat, moor, have your meal, and head out again. I always enjoy watching the boats come and go.

swans by table

motor or paddle right on up!

The drinks were great, the food extremely tasty. That is why I’m posting a food picture. I had the tuna tacos and Jim had steamers. That’s my ‘chick drink’ martini – vodka, chambord and pineapple. I do appreciate getting a good-size drink, but it shouldn’t be filled to the brim. Use bigger glasses so that I can have the proper amount of liquid without losing half of it every time I lift the glass. 😦 That’s probably my only complaint of the evening.
Fish tacos and martini

I want to call out the wait staff as well, and the hostess – both pleasant and professional. My husband had left his fork on his salad plate and so had no fork when his entree arrived. I was looking about for our waiter, wearing that familiar “diner in distress face”. 🙂 Another waiter went by quickly, arms full of dirty dishes. He might have been 2 steps past me when he stopped, backed up and asked if I needed anything. He brought a new fork in under 30 seconds. Now THAT is good wait staff.
sign post

Before we left I wandered down to the dock to get better pictures of the swans. I know they thought I had food, so they posed for me, hoping for a reward. Alas, I’d eaten MY dinner. As we were leaving, we wandered over to see the lawn swings, and the sign post and check out what else might be there. We were easily 6 feet from the hostess stand as we headed to our car, but she called out to us, thanking us for coming and wishing us a good evening. Again – she could have ignored us, as the waiter could have justifiably ignored us. But I went back to chat with her about how much we enjoyed the meal and how management should be aware of that waiter’s professionalism and concern.
swan and reflected lights

We got back to our car and the little municipal lot was now full. As I was about to unlock the doors I felt eyes upon me. Next to us were 2 LARGE dogs. They looked like happy friendly dogs – a lot of snuffling the window and drooling – no growls or barking. I’m not sure they’d have FIT in my car!

guarding their car

Car Guardians (St Bernards?)

I am not sure the restaurant is open all through the winter. I seem to remember being told that they close for a month or two. In any case, we really, really enjoyed Inlet Cafe and will be heading back there for the food, service and view!

more swans and water

Great ambiance. Water. Swans. Boats. Pilings. Shore.

Dinner Down the Shore

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I think it must have been the fried clams at the county fair. In the middle of the week my husband suggested that we go down the shore for dinner on Saturday – he had a craving for fried seafood. “Down the shore” – that’s a Jersey thing. You go down the shore so you can go to the beach. I have still not made it to the beach this summer but I’ve been down the shore for dinner twice. 🙂 I am a Jersey girl through and through. We’re the best. Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen know that. *grin*
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There are many places we like to go for dinner, but one of the most fun, most convenient and ultimately least expensive is Moby’s Lobster Deck. It’s owned and run by the same folks who run Bahr’s Landing restaurant (which has been there for over 100 years). We learned about Moby’s from friends of ours when our son was still in single-digits. As you can see from the pictures, it’s not much to look at. It really is a seafood shack. You go to the window and place your order and get a number. Then you go up on the deck and hangout and wait for your number to be called. I seem to remember that when we first started coming the picnic tables were covered with red and white checked plastic tablecloths, but I may have added that memory on my own. What I do know is a factual memory is that my son snitched a piece of fried food from his dad’s plate without asking. He’ll never do that again, because when he found out WHAT he ate, he was not a happy camper. *grin* I don’t remember it if had tentacles or suction cups, but my son did NOT want to be eating it. Some lessons are best learned first hand, pun intended.
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When we left the house it was hot and sunny. Of course we took the convertible with the top down. It’s the best way to go down the shore. 🙂 (It’s the best way to go most anywhere, as I think I’ve mentioned.) The weather was perfect and traffic was light, despite it being a Saturday. We were doing something a bit different than our usual down the shore trek for dinner. We left around 2:30 pm (we had a stop to make on the way). We figured we get there around 3:30 or so and have an early dinner, before the crowds started coming. I’d not had lunch yet so that timing was going to work for me. We took the local roads, not the highway, which led to an interesting observation by my husband. He noted that in one short stretch of road we’d passed FIVE pizza parlors. 🙂 We immediately began counting pizza parlors the rest of the trip. That led us to the all important question: Are there more Chinese restaurants or pizza parlors? I will tell you that we asked Siri, and she failed utterly. But I think we may have discovered the beginning of a new car travel game.
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We were on the last stretch of road on the way to Highlands. There is one hill you climb, and then start down again to the coast. As we crested the hill I thought I was seeing smoke. My husband said no, that’s fog. Sure enough, as we came down the hill, it was fog. What a sea change from when we left! I have been down to Sandy Hook in the rain and the fog, so it was not a new view for me, but it was a bit uncommon. We do tend to go down the shore in nice weather, not fog. I actually enjoy a bit of fog in the mornings, or late afternoons when we are staying for a week. There is something so soothing and exotic about a touch of fog with the salt air, and the sound of the water. I will tell you that when there is NO fog, you would be seeing the sandy stretch of beach on the other side of the Shrewsbury river.
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You can see by the pictures that we did indeed beat the crowd. We had a lovely dinner listening to the seagulls (wow, those are BIG birds) and the water lapping against the pier. My husband indulged with fried clams and steamers. I had a fried fish sandwich and corn on the cob.
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We had time after dinner to drive a little further to what used to be one of our favorite restaurants. It has changed ownership, name and menu. When I’d checked it out online the menu was not especially appealing – it wasn’t seafood oriented anymore. They still have the tiki bar and live music, but I’m not sure that will be enough to pull us back. There is another restaurant next door, that we have always observed, but never investigated. This time we found a place to park the car (parking is an issue in that area – not many spaces for out-of-towners. We wandered over and discovered that this place had a VERY interesting menu, as well as 3 different seating areas – the outdoor tables with umbrellas, an open-air covered area, and then the inside typical restaurant area. We decided we’d really like to try that restaurant next time. It’s going to take a bit of planning, however, because parking really is an issue down there. Too bad they don’t offer valet parking like our old favorite does. That was, I confess, a big lure for that place. We headed back to the car, and I cruised a few more blocks, scoping out where we might be able to park if/when we return. There did appear to be hope of spaces about 2 blocks away, so it’s certainly a stronger possibility now. *grin* All we need now is to find a time to get back there.
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Travel Fragments

IMG_8858We saw this Arizona license plate when we were up at a mall in Scottsdale. It was too wonderful not to share.

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IMG_8912I love the road art out west. I’ve seen this in Nevada and it was everywhere around Tempe as well. The highways have rock designs along the embankments. The bridges and walls have decorations. Most of the time we were moving too fast to capture any decent images. I was able to take 2 pictures from my hotel finally.
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We drove through what seemed to be a sandstorm on our way to the airport for my flight home. I couldn’t catch the sign that was warning of reduced visibility due to blowing sand, but I think this picture can give you an idea of what it was like.

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IMG_8926There were many things to love about Tempe: the variety in cuisine, the friendly people, the acceptance of dogs at restaurants and in stores, the road art, the wide highways and the awareness of all things ecological and green. This shot is from the airport restroom.

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IMG_8952One of my all-time favorite views: Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook in the distance (top of the photo).

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IMG_8961The sun rising over Port Newark.


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