Claiming its title as the headliner in Monmouth’s 2013 stakes schedule, the $1 million Haskell Invitational is one race you surely won’t want to miss. Warm July weather, fast horses, and unique attractions complete this ideal weekend getaway. If you’re Jersey-bound for the last weekend in July, here are some local hotspots that should be on your personal hit list …
Bobby’s Burger Palace: The list of achievements that Bobby Flay boasts are that of a culinary genius, including (but not limited to, we’d be here for days) critically-acclaimed chef/restaurateur, award-winning cookbook author, restaurant owner and television personality. Additionally, the man loves horses – owning, racing, and advocating for Thoroughbreds through various board positions within the industry … impressive! That being said, the chef’s dedication to all things food can be found (and sampled) in this casual burger joint, which is one place I suggest you check out while in Oceanport. All burgers are made with your choice of beef, turkey, or chicken with variations and toppings that are sure to please even the most discriminating critic. Round out your dining experience with a Frozen Cactus Pear Margarita, and get to enjoying your weekend at the races!
Back to my Texas roots for the Dallas Burger featuring coleslaw, BBQ sauce, pickles, and Monterrey Jack chesse:
Great Ga-Zee-Boat: Time to hit the harbor. To head to New Jersey without taking a saunter out to the water would be downright disgraceful, and I have the perfect endeavor for you to embark on. Grab your crew and set sail down the inland waters of the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers or the Sandy Hook Bay. Your unique octagonal (yes, eight sides … think stop sign) boat resembles that of a Victorian gazebo, and was built in Monmouth County, N.J. Choose from a variety of options from sightseeing tours to cocktail tours to bachelor and bachelorette parties – this is one outing to get creative with. Ahoy!
Citizen Cope at the Stone Pony, July 28th: After setting sail down in New Jersey, it’s back to the mainland to continue rocking out your trip to the Haskell (literally). Head to The Stone Pony, one of the world’s best-known music venues since its launch in Asbury Park in 1974, for a Citizen Cope concert after the big race day. A traditional-folk meets urban-edge take on music (clearly you need to hear his music to understand), Clarence Greenwood will transport you with every song to his diverse musical roots, which include Greenville, Miss.; Memphis, Tenn.; Vernon, Texas; Austin, Texas; Washington, D.C.; and Brooklyn, N.Y. (how’s that for bang for your buck during this Oceanport trip!). His music is magical and warrants a trip after the races to be experienced and appreciated. Grab your ticket before the show for $35 at Ticketmaster, or for $38 at the door.
Asbury Park Boardwalk: After a busy weekend racing, rocking, and grubbing; a change in pace may just be what a racing fan needs. If that’s the case, head to the Asbury Park Boardwalk for a less-strenuously paced afternoon. After facing destruction in the face of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, this mile-long boardwalk - featuring various shops, attractions, and restaurants - has been reopened for the 2013 season and is worth the short 10-minute drive from Oceanport. Take a walk, see the ocean, and enjoy!
With lures to appease all racegoers, Oceanport and the surrounding areas will cater to all of your extracurricular needs surrounding the big race. Sample the scene, play on the water, and grab a killer burger (don’t forget the margarita). Make some memories along the way, and check back in before your next racing road trip for the next set of hot spots!