Photography by Lizzie Mognoni
Thank you for everything, LBI; the views, salty air, warm days, and perfect memories. I grew up in Barnegat…fifteen minutes from the causeway. I was a beach baby, spending countless days on the beach. I’m thankful for my connection to such an incredible place and for all of the moments I’ve spent on the island from weeklong vacations to day trips.
I love the days I spend at Barnegat light and watching the waves crash in Holgate. I live for the sunshine in Surf City, as I’m listening to the sounds of the ocean. I crave those long walks on the beach and shopping at Five 0 Six Boutique…every moment spent on LBI becomes a part of me. I’ve done a lot of growing up on the island, and there’s something about being near the water that heals old wounds. I always go home missing my ocean view, but I also feel renewed. Life is about finding happiness and chasing moments and in LBI every moment feels special. We all have that place that makes us feel alive and reminds us of what’s truly important. Some crave the hustle and bustle of the city and others desire to be out in the country, surrounded by fields and blue skies.
I love driving over the causeway, rolling my windows down, and smelling the salty air. I swear that salty air and sand beneath your toes heals physical and emotional wounds. Even after a restorative day trip to LBI I feel healed and peaceful. My favorite time of the year to spend on the island is actually fall and winter. I love the island off season and I adore walking on the beach cuddled in a sweater and jeans. The ocean is so beautiful when it’s cold. There’s something magical about walking on the sand during the colder months. After a big snowstorm years ago, I drove out to LBI and walked on the beach in my Uggs, jeans, and a fluffy jacket. There was snow everywhere and the dunes were touched with white, glistening powder. It was breathtaking. When I leave the beach I take a little bit of the environment with me and I feel inspired.
I married my best friend in Surf City, surrounded by the ocean and listening to the sound of waves crashing against the shore. We rented an oceanfront beach house for the weekend and the bridal party stayed in the house with us. It’s one of those massive, coastal themed, cedar shake homes right on the dunes and water. We had the master suite, of course, that had the best view of the water and the beach. I woke up to a perfect, oceanfront sunrise and we got ready the morning of the wedding looking out at the beach. Our first look was on top of the beach entrance, encompassed by the dunes, and looking out at the ocean. The ceremony was simplistic and intimate inside the home, in their huge living room with vaulted ceilings and beach accents. It was a beyond beautiful day and weekend. After our wedding and the reception, (the reception was at Daddy O Restaurant & Hotel) I ran on the beach in my wedding gown and laughed with my close friends. We went for drive-in food at Woody’s (a famous, surfer restaurant) with our bridal party, late that day and walked there and back, soaking up the LBI experience. The wedding was very us and truly memorable.
The following day was Mother’s Day, which we celebrated oceanfront eating breakfast and having mimosas with my family and my man of honor. We got a beach storm on Mother’s Day, which is always beautiful to watch from the comfort of your beach house. LBI will always be a part of one of the most important days of my life, the day I said I do to my soulmate.
I always have fun shopping on the island, but I’m head over heels for my new clothes that I just bought at my favorite boutique. Five 0 Six Boutique is my favorite store in general, but it’s also my favorite shopping destination in LBI. It’s located in Surf City, New Jersey and filled with gorgeous clothing. The quality can’t be argued and the environment is fun, beachy, and inspiring. They carry my favorite brand of jeans, that I could literally live in, especially in the fall and winter. Just Black Denim makes comfortable, pretty, good quality jeans and the different styles allow every woman to find their perfect match. They’re pricey but completely worth it! Any girl whose ever bought a really good pair of jeans knows that you need to spend a little money in order to find the perfect pants. The company is a contemporary, American made jean brand and they pride themselves on the value. Every woman should have that store that feels like them and that instantly brightens their day. For me, that store is Five 0 Six. They’re open until January, which means even off-season I will be driving to LBI for retail therapy 😉
I also want to share my favorite coffee house in LBI with all of my readers, because I love to support local businesses, and there’s nothing better than grabbing a cup of coffee with someone and going for a walk. Coastal Coffee (the Beach Haven & Surf City locations) has the absolute best coffee, little treats/snacks, and my personal favorite…an Iced Chai Latte. They have an Apple Cider Chai Latte that tastes like fall in a cup! I love grabbing a latte and walking down the street to the bay. I instantly feel zen and enlightened. After chatting with the sales associate at the Surf City location the other day, I was told the Beach Haven Coastal Coffee location is open year-round. I hope that remains the case because I will be visiting that location in the fall and winter!
For anyone traveling to Long Beach Island, New Jersey for a summer vacation I am here for you for all of your shopping and dining recommendations. I know the best spots for sunsets and for sunrises, where to take your significant other for date night, and the best ice cream shops. I’ve immersed myself in the island lifestyle and the township and that makes my connection with the shore town very strong.
Thank you for the endless sunsets, the sunrises that brought new beginnings, and delicious food. Thank you for being a part of my childhood and for watching me grow up, become a wife, and a mom. Thank you for being there for me on my wedding day with pretty views, salty breezes, and for making our wedding photos perfect. Thank you Long Beach Island, for everything. I love you.
Whatta a tribute to a place.
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