Where the Buys Are, From Kitsch to Glitz
If you can extract yourself from the beach long enough, here are eight shopping areas along the coast where you can spend some money.
1. ASBURY PARK. In the revitalized Cookman Avenue area, you can shop for beach gear, sporting goods, taffy and other familiar fare, but the accent is on home furnishings and fine art. At the Shoppes at the Arcade (658 Cookman Ave.), for instance, vendors include Anglesea Treasures, with such eye-popping home decor as an $850 pair of metal dogs, and LaPlaca Pottery Works, with a wide range of raku designs.
2. OCEAN GROVE. If Mayberry existed on the Jersey Shore, it would be the strip of Main Avenue, with its tall trees and abundant flowers. Stores include Cheese on Main (No. 53), where you can buy, uh, cheese on Main, and Kitch & Kaboodle (No. 76), a fun place to pick through vintage housewares, linens and knickknacks.
3. POINT PLEASANT BEACH. Head to the corner of Bay and Trenton avenues to get your antiques fix at the Point Pleasant Antique Emporium and nearby Fond Memories Antiques (628 Bay Ave.) and Canvas House Antiques (614 Trenton Ave.).
4. ATLANTIC CITY. Spend your big winnings at the Pier Shops at Caesars (Boardwalk between Missouri and Arkansas avenues), a glittery mall with top-end shops (Gucci, Burberry, etc.), restaurants, bars and a free fountain show. Those on the losing side of the table should head to Atlantic City Outlets, the Walk (Michigan Avenue between the convention center and the casinos).
5. OCEAN CITY. Asbury Avenue (from Sixth to 14th streets) caters to shoppers of various tastes and credit lines. Among the fare: clam baskets and wood watermelons at the Gingham Whale (No. 636); punk-rocker dresses with complementary soundtrack at Toilet Water CDs and Apparel (No. 642); brown-sugar raisin cookies and fruit bars baked at Ward's (No. 730); and dynamic murals, painted furniture and stationery made by the neighbors and/or owners of the Butterfly Boutique (No. 811).
6. AVALON. The stretch of 21st Street between Dune and Ocean avenues is sprinkled with boutiques. Try Ciao Bello (No. 268) for dresses and trendy tunics, Bellissima (No. 264) for high-end shoes and Tiger Lily (No. 271) for Nanette Lepore and Diane von Furstenberg swimwear.
7. STONE HARBOR. The main street here is 96th Street, with kitchen-gadget-filled Love the Cook (No. 272) and Trendz (No. 209) offering unique housewares. On Third Avenue, People People (No. 9810) stocks dresses from Shoshanna, among others, and OXOXO Gallery (No. 9727) features handmade jewelry. Dorothy Carrol Gifts & Fine Arts (No. 10829) markets blown-glass martini glasses, seascape paintings and Tiffany-style lamps.
8 CAPE MAY. The pedestrian-only Washington Street Mall is lined with shops selling sunglasses, surf gear, candy, Cape May sweatshirts and other summer goods. Bring back some Victorian spirit with vintage clothing from Uniquely Yours (24 Decatur St.).
-- John Deiner, Anne McDonough and Andrea Sachs