"Oh my God, I can't believe they built it up. It was perfectly low-key. And they took out my swing set and put in a look-at-me, look-at-me version," Smith says as he stops by the grassy patch, which has long views of the river and the hoity-toity houses across the banks. "It's better for the kids, but have they no respect for movie history?"
On the 10-minute drive back to Red Bank, the car streams by streets named after generations-old Red Bank families (the town dates to 1870). But none is called Smith, and that clearly bothers this Jersey boy.
Director Kevin Smith poses with his comic alter-ego at his Red Bank store.
(Ming Chen For The Washington Post)
Paulsboro, the town about 90 miles south of Red Bank where Smith filmed "Jersey Girl," named an access road after him. But what he really wants to see someday is an envelope that reads:
Kevin Smith Way
Red Bank, N.J. 07701
Andrea Sachs will be online to discuss this story Monday at 2 p.m. during the Travel section's weekly chat on www.washingtonpost.com.
Details: Kevin Smith's Red Bank, N.J.
GETTING THERE: Red Bank is about 215 miles from Washington. Take the New Jersey Turnpike to Exit 11 (Garden State Parkway), then Exit 109 to Route 520 east. Go left onto Broad Street, the town's main thoroughfare. The drive is on the Jersey shore route, so traffic can be knotty in the summer.
Amtrak does not go to Red Bank, but you can take it to Newark airport for $79 one way, then switch to the N.J. Coast Line for the 55-minute, $12.05 ride. Info: 973- 762-5100, www.njtransit.com.
STAYING THERE: The town has two high-stylin' sister properties, the Oyster Point Hotel (146 Bodman Pl.) and the Molly Pitcher Inn (88 Riverside Ave.), both of which sit on the Navesink River. Doubles start at $160 a night. Info: 800-221-1372 , www.mollypitcher-oysterpoint.com. Although less pretty (no water views), the Courtyard by Marriott (245 Half Mile Rd., 888-236-2427, https://marriott.com/default.mi) offers rooms from $154.
EATING THERE: Smith recommends the filling eats at Broadway Diner (45 Monmouth St.), where you can get your eggs with or without the yolks but with plenty of "honey." Prices are around $5 or less for breakfast, about $5 and up for sandwiches. For less grease, try the Broadway Grill (80 Broad St.); sandwiches and burgers are in the $7 range, pastas from $14.99. Juanito's (159 Monmouth) offers hard-core Mexican, or get more kitschy South of the Border cuisine at Carlos O'Connor's Mexican Restaurant (31 Monmouth).
Ashes Cigar Club (33 Broad St.) is Smith's pick for steaks and cigars; entrees from $16 to $80 for surf and turf. And for the staples in life: Bagel Station (168 Monmouth St.) for big, thick East Coast bagels, and Mr. Pizza Slice (10 Monmouth St.) for its walk-up window. The four coffee houses in town include the House of Coffee (Galleria, West Front and Maple Avenue), which served as a backdrop in "Chasing Amy."
COMICS, MOVIES AND MORE: For Silent Bob, or Bluntman, or any of Smith's other personas, visit his comic book store, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash (35 Broad St.). For a bit of Springsteen, check out Jack's Music Shoppe, directly across the street. Most of the shopping is along downtown Broad Street, including the Funk & Standard Variety Store (No. 40).
For the performing arts, check out the entertainment at the refurbished Count Basie Theatre (99 Monmouth St., 732-842-9000, www.countbasietheatre.org), the open-mike nights at the Internet Cafe (1 W. Front St., 732-842-4503, www.icafenj.com) or the flicks at Clearview Cinema (36 White St.). Smith & Co. also host a film festival in town; check his production company's Web site (www.viewaskew.com) for more info. For movie sites in and around town, check out www.viewaskew.com/toursaskew. The Quik Mart in "Clerks" is a couple of miles out of town -- ask Walt (yes, that Walt) for directions in Stash.
INFO: Red Bank Visitors Center, 732- 741-9211, visit.redbank.com. The Web site www.redbank.com is also helpful.