Hot Sand’s studio buzzes with activity as instructors dip pipes into molten glass and then demonstrate how to blow the globs into recognizable shapes. Nearby, other students work on finishing their pieces, refining contours atop wooden blocks and polishing surfaces on a diamond wheel. Hot Sand's glass-blowing artists impart these techniques through basic walk-in experiences and immersive workshops, showing guests how to craft objects such as candy dishes, pumpkin-shaped ornaments, or one-time-use dodgeballs. Welcoming visitors of all ages, Hot Sand earned the distinction as a top kids' destination in New Jersey Monthly's 2012 Jersey Choice awards. The studio also expands the aesthetic tastes of the community through a gallery that showcases original works for sale.
With personalized curriculums designed for novices and virtuosos alike, Music Makers' range of lessons teach students ages 5 and older how to strum, pizzicato, and wail. Music Makers' handy tips for getting the most out of each class include pairing children in each age group with their ideal melodic noisemakers such as guitar, piano, drums, violin, school-band instruments, and recordings of auto-tuned frog croaks. University-trained instructors conduct each weekly lesson with a music-education and performance-based syllabus, focusing on styles such as classical, pop, and jazz. Music Makers sells and rents a symphonic stockpile of instruments, in addition to hosting community performances.
AVEYOU Beauty Boutique, Your Unique Beauty Boutique. Created by Lisa Esposito and her brother Brian to bring the finest hair, nail, skin, and body care products to all of their online and in-store shoppers. Lisa and Brian were able to create this new concept stemming from their father, Anthony Esposito's, guidance and ski
Voted one of the state's best museums by New Jersey Monthly readers, Paranormal Books and Curiosities tingles spines with creepy exhibits and spooky, 90-minute tours along the Jersey shore. Fright enthusiasts feel the icy touch of phantom fingers during a lantern-lit walk through the ghost-ridden streets of downtown Asbury Park. Tourists can also take a moonlit stroll along the boardwalk while absorbing the haunting tales of a doomed luxury liner and a mysteriously flammable theater, or head into Smithville's historic Village Greene for a chance encounter with the Pine Barrens’ shadow-stepping Jersey Devil and his terrifying harmonica solos.
When a shop on Ocean Grove's Main Street became available in 2011, fourth-generation resident Cindy Stiles seized the chance to combine her business savvy with her love for animals. She opened Ocean Grove Pet Boutique, which welcomes pet owners and four-legged friends as long as they're vaccinated and leashed. Stiles also enlisted the help of a baker to help make their own all-natural cookies and frozen yogurt. A baker might seem like a misfit at a pet store, but these goodies aren't for the humans. They're for the pets, and Stiles makes sure to give every visiting pup a complimentary cookie fresh from the store's cookie bar.
Aside from the doggie deserts, the boutique also draws in customers with its pet collars, shampoos, and other products made with natural ingredients. Staying eco-friendly is as important to Stiles as being pet-friendly, and as such, there are no plastic bags to be found in the store. Instead, she offers shopping bags made from recycled materials, and when customers bring them in, they receive 50 cents off future purchases and a silent thank-you from every tree they walk past.
With accolades such as being dubbed the Best Irish Bar in New Jersey in 2010 by NJ.com, you'd expect St. Stephen's Green Publick House to be authentic?and you wouldn't be disappointed. The owners named their traditional pub for the famous St. Stephen's Green park in Dublin. After setting up shop, they cemented this focus on Irish cultural heritage by installing ample dark wood paneling, hanging old photographs, and beer signs. This authenticity isn't lost on the cuisine: chefs prepare traditional foods ranging from roast beef sandwiches to Guinness beef stew and shepherd's pie. These traditional eats are also served alongside more original fare, including Irish cider-glazed salmon and pan-seared chicken in whiskey sauce. Events such as live music and trivia help keep the dimly lit pub lively four nights a week.