Asbury GetawayEver since I was invited down to Asbury Park for a weekend by a friend three summers ago, I have been one of the town's biggest cheerleaders. (Click on the Jersey Shore link below to see some of my previous posts on the subject.) Once one of the most popular destinations on the Jersey Shore, Asbury Park fell on hard times in the 70s and 80s due to racial tensions and corrupt local government. That is, until the gays found it in the late '90s. Imagine it--grand old Victorian beach houses just blocks from the ocean at rock-bottom prices. Sure, the neighborhood around them was pretty shabby, but nothing a few gay urban pioneers couldn't conquer with some fresh paint, perennials and a flair for design. Fast forward a few years and the town is now in full-scale renovation, homes are being bought and sold, new condominiums are being built and a movement to restore the waterfront to its former grandeur is underway.
This past weekend I was invited by my sister, whom I encouraged to buy a home in Asbury almost three years ago, for Road Trip 6, the town's biggest gay and lesbian event all Summer. There are beach parties, big name DJs and headline entertainers. (We saw Judy Gold at the newly renovated Paramount Theatre--hilarous!) Despite gloomy weather reports, Saturday turned out to be a perfect day for the beach and the rain stayed away long enough on Sunday for my sister's house full of guests to enjoy brunch on the patio.
The community pride in Asbury is such that celebrations are called for almost every weekend. Earlier this summer the town celebrated its 110 anniversary of the incorporation of the city. A grand and memorable party was planned for the occasion featuring among other things, a cake designed by Ace of Cakes' chef Duff Goldman modeled on Asbury Park's storied carousel. The episode featuring the cake and the town's anniversary party will air on the Food Network tomorrow night (August 2) at 10 PM Eastern. I am told that my two-year-old niece, Charlotte, who was visiting that weekend might be seen getting her groove on to one of the bands playing at the festivities. Catch the episode if you can!