I have always appreciated the adorable little downtown areas along our shore.

Some of the places that make me feel warm and fuzzy for strolling/shopping/dining are the little towns of Spring Lake, Manasquan, and Ocean Grove. (I also appreciate the area of Cookman Ave in Asbury Park, and downtown Red Bank, but don't get to spend as much time there.)

This past Saturday, on a sunny and cool spring morning, my son and I found ourselves with some time to relax, and I had a birthday gift to find for a friend, so we decided to spend the morning in downtown Point Pleasant Beach.

We started at Green Planet (on the corner of Arnold and Bay Aves.) where we relaxed over coffee and tea. It's a great little place that also serves muffins and such (but accepts cash-only). We then leisurely strolled around town, enjoying so many of over favorite shops.

Of course I found a couple of things for myself as I shopped for some gifts for friends, but it was more the feeling of being in a great little town on a beautiful day, the neighborly feel of stopping to chat with some of the residents, petting lots of dogs, conversing with some of the friendly shop owners, and enjoying 'the find' of great, original gifts in fancy gift bags that I can feel good about giving.

(photo by liz jeressi)

We especially enjoyed (and would highly recommend) Deena's on Arnold Ave. Her shop is a couple of doors down from Green Planet and the toy store, which she opened shortly after Sandy.  Now she's expanding and that means more of the great items (some by local artisans) that you can find in her shop.

I can also bank on finding a great gift for someone at Stella e Luna on the corner of Arnold and Bay Aves. Really creative stuff for so many occasions and for your own home decor!

stella e luna
(photo by liz jeressi)

My boys know they can always go into Sunshine Daydream on Bay Ave and get me a piece of jewelry that they can afford on their allowances and know I will love. (They have a range of affordable prices and fantastic gift ideas).or lunch we look forward to The Beanery -- an adorable and cozy cafe on Bay Ave.

I also love Squan Dry Goods on Bay Ave (they have another shop that I love in Manasquan). At this awesome place, you'd never know by walking in the door that this is a thrift shop. You can walk out with the best finds, from clothing to costume jewelry to shoes and handbags. Definitely worth checking out! And if you want something new for your wardrobe, Lola's Boutique, also on Bay Ave., is a great place to shop for a new outfit and more.

For lunch we look forward to The Beanery -- an adorable and cozy cafe serving lunch only, or 10th Ave Burritto (which also serves dinner), both on Bay Ave.

There are hundreds of other great shoppes and restaurants (and fabulous antiquing!) in Point Pleasant Beach, and a wonderful selection of dining along the inlet and ocean as well, and, of course, the whole boardwalk area, so I could go on all day...but on this day I just wanted to enjoy the small-town feel of a cozy little downtown area, and support some local small businesses.

And in the summer in this town, you can come to monthly 'Cruise Nights' where they close the downtown to traffic and let you stroll the streets and enjoy the classic cars!

For more info on this great downtown, CLICK HERE!

Where do you like to stroll, dine, and shop? Please comment below!

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