After spending most of my adolescence in a small town in Monmouth County, I couldn’t wait to get out. When the time for college applications rolled around, I was granted the opportunity to escape the place where everyone knew your name. However, it wasn’t until I went away for school that I realized how great I had it growing up. I became nostalgic for summer nights at Strollo’s (or Lighthouse, if you’re one of those kids). I began to miss late night drives to the Inlet (Manasquan side, of course). I wanted nothing more than to be back in that small-town environment. If you didn’t grow up in this wonderful place, I’m genuinely sorry. Here’s why us, Monmouth County kids, have it the best:
We grew up on the beach.
Monmouth County is home to the most beautiful beaches on the Jersey Shore. From Long Branch to Manasquan and everywhere in between, we are completely spoiled with a vacation-like lifestyle. Of course, we could always do without the Benny’s. But without them, we would have no one to point and laugh at for a solid three months.
We have the best options for food.
People think they know what real bagels and real pizza are until they come to Monmouth County. It’s hard to figure out which restaurants I want to shout out in this article because there are just too many. For a good pork roll (not Taylor Ham), egg and cheese sandwich, I recommend Belmar Bagels. If you’re craving a late night snack, there’s no better place to go than Inkwell Coffee House. When you want a decent pizza, and a trendy spot to take photos, Porta Pizzeria of Asbury Park is a prime location. Thanks to Monmouth County, we reap the benefits of all of these restaurants. And we even get to “go bowls deep” at Playa Bowls.
We live for summer concerts.
Once the summer lineups are released for both the Stone Pony and PNC Bank Arts Center, we’re practically forced to say goodbye to our summer paychecks. Monmouth County is home to some of the best summer concert venues, and we are fortunate enough to be right around the corner from them. And we’ll never forget those rowdy train rides to PNC.
We grew up knowing what a real rivalry was.
Whether it was the rivalry of Manasquan and Wall, the Middletown schools or Rumson Fairhaven versus Red Bank Regional, growing up we have all developed a hatred for at least one high school. You wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the wrong colors at a sporting event or you were shunned from the fan section.
We will never lose our small-town pride.
The town I call home is only one square mile wide. I can probably count on one hand how many stoplights we have. As much as I wanted to escape what I considered to be a small bubble, I realize now how happy I am to have grown up in such a familiar place. I could not be more proud to have been raised in the 732. No matter where life takes me, I’ll always call Monmouth County my home.