Feinbergs like to travel. Marge has the beat on Europe, I have a bucket list of world’s best beaches. Linda and Larry love them some Scotland. And while Babygirl may not be partial to any vacation involving discomfort, excessive heat, budget accommodations or bicycles, she will gladly drop everything for a weekend in Hilton Head, Newport RI, or similar leisure destinations where Brooks Brothers is the uniform du jour and G&T’s flow like water.
That being said, there is one place on God’s green earth that we all agree on, as should anyone who values happiness, pleasantness, and fun: Long Beach Island, NJ. 2 1/2 hours from NYC on the Jersey Turnpike, LBI is a magical sandbar on the Atlantic coast where Feinbergs have been summering for 23 years and counting. I know, I know, the Hamptons are great, Cape Code is wonderful. Let me break it down for you – LBI is better. Here’s how it goes:
The north side of the island is where it’s at, Barnegat Light and Loveladies in particular. Less commercial, more family-oriented, tippy top drawer. Also, HAS to be an ocean side house. The island may be 1/4 of a mile wide, but that boulevard constitutes the great divide between “meh” and “hell yeah.”
Those giant megabeachmansion monstrosities are fun to gawk at, but beach vacations are about simple pleasures. We find houses on VRBO and Homeaway, so much easier than dealing with scams on craigslist or annoying brokers at an agency. Larry scored this rental house for our family a few years ago and it’s the shiz: http://www.vrbo.com/35634
Some other good options:
http://www.vrbo.com/348561 – Barnegat Light – check. Oceanside – check. Beachy and un-fancified. Check check.
http://www.vrbo.com/304779 – another Barnegat Light house, this one with a surprisingly nice kitchen.
http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p7101319h – this is actually on the same street as our rental house. Oceanside, amazing block, gorgeous house. If you have the mons, I highly recommend.
http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p195160 – right size, right location.
LBI is not a restaurant destination. But that’s what I love about it. I spend so much damn time in the city reading, going to, and talking about restaurants that the last thing I want on my beach vaca is to think about menus, reservations, slow waiters and mood lighting. This is not to say that we eat like peasants – in fact, some of our most serious grubbing happens during that glorious week in August. The Cheese Shoppe in Harvery Cedars has a “morning blend” coffee roast that makes Dunkin Donuts taste like doody water. APPLE CIDER DOUGHNUTS from the Country Corner Farm Market off the causeway! I want to cry just thinking about these! Someone has to wake up reallly early (think before 9am) to drive down and get them, they sell out quick!
Lunch on LBI is hoagies. Italian, roast beef, turkey and cheese. Mucho meat, lots of oil, loaded with salt and pepper. White’s in Barnegat and Neptune’s in Loveladies are the tits, Neptune’s has a wasabi coleslaw that’s TO DIE FOR. In the afternoon an ice cream truck rolls around and the Dynasty goes bonkers. Screwballs, Choco Tacos, Firecrackers – I love the beach!
At night we make a smorgasbord – burgers, dogs, sausages, tomato and mozzarella, Jersey corn, guac, chipotle corn salad, garlic bread. Once during the week Larry makes really dank linguini with clams from the Viking Village fish market in Barnegat, all briny and garlicky with some parsley sprinkled over for tang. BEACH! And every day needs to end with ice cream from DQ at the top of the island, under the shadow of the lighthouse. Kids, dogs, families eating soft serve. So wholesome!!
The beers get cracked at 11, much to the horror of Uncle Jay and Patrick. Magic Hat #9, Lagunitas, and Corona (duh), plus some Bud Lights if we’re playing cornhole (more on that later). Cocktails start at 4 for Bebemuchacha, who gets beached out early, and 5 for me and the rest of the beach die hards. Nothing goes better with a little sunburn and a long outdoor shower than a fresh margarita. Tequila, Cointreu, lime juice, simple syrup – WHAMMY! Shout out to Bebemuchacha’s sangria as well.
Feinbergs, LBI, boogie boarding, that’s what it’s all about. Gotta have the good boards from Ron Jon’s in a ridiculous color like pink or aqua blue. Boogeying is best at the end of August when the sandbars have built up. Velcro ball is also a must, 2 velcro paddles with a velcro tennis ball, like a lazy man’s beach version of catch.
Cornhole was a 2011 addition to the LBI itinerary but quickly became the axis by which our beach life revolved. See pic below of GREATEST CORNHOLE BOARD EVER, handmade by yours truly, Bebemuchacha, Marjorie, Snags, and the Titheads.
Last, and certainly not least, is the one and only Nardi’s. Our night starts with the aforementioned margaritas. Two of those and we’re ready to roll, Linda drives us down to Surf City where we meet the Nardi Party Bus. It’s pink, it’s loud, it’s awesome. 30 minutes later and we’re up in da cluuub! There’s a cover band every night, and maybe it’s the booze, maybe it’s the beach, but OH MY live music never sounds as good as it does at this place. Marjorie decided to join the band this year, although the band disjoined Marjorie after she wouldn’t leave the stage after the 10th damn song! Anywhowho, we always dance our pants off and we occasionally get booted for drunken conduct. Either way, it’s usually the BEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR.
All of the above in no way encompasses everything about LBI. It’s just too awesome and too special to be accurately described in 1 measly blog post. Luckily for you, LBI is a frequent topic of convo among Feinbergs, and I am a self-professed LBI psyCHO, so expect lots more where this came from.