We’re kicking off a new series, Neon Travel, with a spotlight on my favorite seaside town: Bay Head, NJ!
For Sam and me, summers mean carving out a few glorious weekends to head south to the Jersey Shore where Sam’s dad and uncle both have homes on the 1,001 population village of Bay Head. The moment we step off the NJ Transit train, the warm ocean breeze hits our faces and all of the stresses of New York City living instantly melt away.
These weekends consist mostly of family dinners, happy hours on the porch, naps on Bay Head’s private beach, and bike rides around town to grab a refreshment and check out the local shops.
Over the past few years, a smattering of cool new businesses have cropped up, slowly transforming Bay Head from a sleepy shore town into a commercial hidden gem. While classic haunts like Mueller’s Bakery and Hoffman’s Ice Cream will always draw a crowd, Bay Head has welcomed a trendy smoothie bowl joint, numerous boutiques touting chic wares, and the cutest candy shop you’ve ever seen (it’s in a cabana!), not to mention a behemoth of a restaurant that is already booked straight through the summer.
I was fortunate enough to connect with fellow Shore-based influencer/budding photographer Hunter Hulbert for a fun shoot highlighting some of my favorite spots in my favorite beach town. I’ve also mentioned a number of Sam’s and my favorite restaurants and shops not pictured in this post in case you decide to check out our little gem of a beach town. Enjoy!
First stop: Playa Bowls! This surf-y smoothie bowl shop offers dozens of delicious combos beyond your typical açai version. I opted for the Electric Mermaid, a pitaya bowl topped with kiwi, pineapple, mango, coconut flakes, granola and honey. The Bay Head outpost is located at 68 Bridge Avenue, and there are over a dozen more locations around New Jersey.
Our next stop was brand new sweet shop, Candy Cabana. Candy Cabana is the brainchild of entrepreneur extraordinaire Jacquelyn Burke, who was less than thrilled about her kids biking across busy streets to purchase candy at 7-11. The shop offers almost any candy you can think of, plus piñatas for stuffing, a curation of chic accessories and home goods, and Jackie’s other brainchild, The Preppy Italian pasta sauce. Pop by the cabana to grab ingredients for a delicious pasta dinner while your kids take their pick of tasty treats! Located at 64 Bridge Ave.
The last stop on our photo journey was The Grenville, a restaurant and inn that’s been in Bay Head since the 1800s! While I can’t attest to the hotel’s accommodations, it is a damn good spot for a photo op. (Y’all know I’m a sucker for all things pink!)
The fun doesn’t stop there. There are more great boutiques and restaurants we frequent regularly. Hang onto this list in case you’re ever in the area!
Noon Design Shop – This boutique and coffee bar is more like a dream living space where you’re invited to enjoy a caffeinated beverage while a gorgeous curation of art. (Seriously, the main entrance to the store has a dining table, coffee table and a large L-shaped couch for relaxing.) All of the goods at Noon Design Shop are handmade in one of their three stores or by local artists. Plus, with all that gorgeous space, Noon is known to throw some pretty fun in-store events. Next up: a pompom workshop with yours truly on July 29th! Get all the info here. 524 Lake Avenue, Bay Head.
Source and Tradition – Attached to Noon Design Shop is ceramic studio Source and Tradition. Artist Alexandra Vaga sells her gorgeous dinnerware, platters and other ceramic giftables, which are streaked with rich colors and gold detailing. (We’re planning to get our dishes from here!) If you’re grabbing a coffee at Noon, you’ve got to stop in and check it out. 524 Lake Avenue, Bay Head.
Del Mar East – Located next to Playa Bowls, Del Mar East sells all the clothes and accessories you want to wear when you’re at the beach, from airy coverups and embroidered blouses to pompom-adorned straw tote bags. There’s also a men’s shop around the back, which sells clothing from local designers like Faherty, plus lots of giftables like man-approved candles and coffee table books. 68 Bridge Avenue, Bay Head.
Shore Fresh – Our absolute favorite restaurant in town, this little fish market conveniently doubles as a restaurant. While you may have to wait a little for a table outside, it’s totally worth it. Fresh fish from the market counter is prepared dozens of ways, plus there are always delicious specials. We like to add a side of mac and cheese, which is prepared with penne pasta and some of the best I’ve ever had. Oh, and it’s BYOB. (You see why we love it so much?!) 703 Bridge Avenue, Point Pleasant.
Surf Taco – If you head towards Point Pleasant, you’re bound to run into Surf Taco, our absolutely favorite go-to for a quick lunch or when we’re in the mood for a fish burrito (aka always). This local chain offers an extensive menu of tacos, burritos and bowls, all with a surf-y twist and a side of salsa from their extensive homemade salsa bar. I usually opt for the Surf Burrito with mahi mahi, done “baja style.” 1300 Richmond Avenue, Point Pleasant.
Theresa’s South – One of the only proper restaurants in Bay Head, Theresa’s is one of those Italian restaurants where you just can’t go wrong. We love their homemade pastas and the eggplant pancake appetizer is divine. Theresa’s is also BYOB, so be sure to pop into the the liquor store a block away for a cold bottle of wine to go with dinner. 530 Main Avenue, Bay Head.
If you’re planning to visit Bay Head, feel free to hit me up for more recommendations – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
peace, love & neon,
< photos by hunter hulbert >