Welcome to the fourth installment in our series called Shop Local, NJ! We’re doing all our holiday shopping locally this year and we’re taking you with us. We’re almost done shopping and we’ve really enjoyed every town that we’ve visited so far. Asbury Park, though, has a special vibe that just connects with me on a personal level. I remember hearing my great-grandmother talk about escaping the heat of NYC and taking my grandma down to Asbury every summer to walk the promenade and swim in the great big woolen swimsuits of the era. My grandma was sad about what had happened to Asbury Park in the 60s and 70s and she’d be thrilled with the way it’s being revitalized now.
The last few times we’ve been in Asbury Park, we were dressed as zombies for the Annual New Jersey Zombie Walk. Shelter Home, Robert Legere Home, The Store by the Shore, re|BEARTH and all the other great shopping that’s along Bangs and Cookman Avenues aren’t places we could visit as zombies. Luckily, for us, we weren’t wearing zombie make-up and clothes this weekend so we could pop in and discover what makes downtown Asbury Park an awesome shopping destination.
Lots of stores had Tillie items that you can pick up for people on your holiday gift list who love Asbury Park. You know who Tillie is, right? He’s the grinning face you used to see on the sides of the Palace Amusements building. One of the Tillie faces was saved by concerned citizens when the building was demolished several years ago. Now, Asbury Park has basically made him the city mascot.
One of the stores that had Tillie-themed goods was Shelter Home. As soon as we walked in we knew this would be a cool store. Modern and fun, everywhere we looked we saw awesome stuff.
Check out the pillows above and the paperweights and magnets below, all from Shelter Home.
Their whole store was actually filled with gifts that would have been perfect for us. Are you reading this family? Shop in Asbury Park or in their online store! They have lots of Jonathan Adler pottery, Anna and Alessi kitchenware and really cool holiday items also by Alessi. Honestly, I’m not joking. I want the whole store in my house, now. We even got to meet Diego and Lucia, the owners’ two beautiful standard poodles.
Got an artist in the family but get overwhelmed by those great big chain art stores? Check out re | BEARTH on Bangs Avenue. They’ve got a great curated selection of art supplies as well as shirts, gifts and really cool original art around the store. We talked with one of the owners, Tim, and he was really knowledgeable about different art supplies and materials. You could walk in and tell him what kind of artist you need a gift for and we’re sure he could help you out.
Walking into Robert Legere Home was like walking into a winter wonderland. The store has many different Christmas trees set up with different themes. There was a candy tree, “Santa Paws” animal tree, and birds tree among others. An entire section was done all in white as if snow covered the area. There are many interesting items that would make wonderful gifts for any home. They also have a section is the back with original art. We picked up a beautiful necklace and were tempted by the “12 Days of Christmas” ornaments.
What would a holiday shopping spree be without the toys? Go to The Store by the Shore. They’ve got toys for kids of all ages. There’s even something for kids my age as I fell in love with a replica of the Batmobile from the old 1960s Adam West show. But I was strong and followed our “only shop for others” rule. They also carry jigsaw puzzles and stuffed animals, books and other assorted fun items. We picked up a child’s umbrella with cool jungle animals each with its own description. They also have a section with gifts for adults.
Other stores we visited were: Fitness Lifestyles, for the gym-goer in the family; FS 20 with really unusual and neat antique and mid-century items; the Wood Shop for skateboard gift ideas; and, Paranormal Books and Curiosities for the budding ghost hunter in the family.
The shops we visited in Asbury Park had the widest selection of gifts in all price ranges of the towns we visited in this Shop Local, NJ, series. We really urge you to spend an afternoon away from the ocean walking the revitalized downtown area and seeing for yourself.
Check out all the pictures from our visit to downtown Asbury Park:
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