Homey Nantucket-Style Inn with Popular On-Site Bistro
Water lilies in soft greens in blues and hints of white fleck the walls of Firefly Bistro from top to bottom, almost as if one of Monet's impressionistic landscape paintings has jumped from the canvas into the third dimension. In the kitchen, Chef Lou Smith ties together fresh ingredients to craft dishes such as the onion-crusted halibut and lobster mac 'n' cheese. Located in the ground floor of the Inn on Main, this American bistro is one of the most popular dining spots in Manasquan; the keen attention paid to detail at the restaurant also carries over to surroundings of the Nantucket-style inn.
Like the meals at Firefly, each room in the hotel is artfully prepared, and no décor in the rooms will look or taste alike. Eggshell yellow walls, a coffered ceiling, and a leather sleigh bed deck out one of the rooms; another features a swirling wrought-iron bed dressed in a cool ocean-blue comforter and a nautical theme. Despite their distinct decorative touches, all the accommodations exude a homey feel and most feature a gas fireplace for winter relaxation and a walk-out balcony for summer sunning. The balconies overlook the garden or charming Main Street, where the village shops, restaurants, and beaches are just a short walk or bike ride away.
Manasquan, New Jersey: Laid-Back Beach Town with Lively Boardwalk
Splitting the distance between Atlantic City and New York City, the quiet hamlet of Manasquan possesses many of the boardwalk thrills of the Jersey Shore but has a distinctly more laid-back attitude than some of its neighboring seaside cities. In summer, the sandy beaches overflow with activity: crowds gather for beach volleyball and frisbee at the Manasquan inlet and the annual sandcastle competition at Sea Grit. Jenkinson's Boardwalk at Point Pleasant Beach attracts young and old alike with amusement rides in the summer, three mini-golf courses, and an aquarium. The area stays hopping throughout the winter, too: live bands and DJs perform regularly at area nightclubs, and confectioners continue to outfit guests with saltwater taffy, cotton candy, and polyester lollipops. On the dining scene, the focus is on fresh seafood and cozy Nantucket-style pubs.