Under 40 bucket list
- Take in a Lakewood Blue Claws minor league baseball game. They bring a bit of the boardwalk and the Shore to the stadium.
- Exercise your fingers at the Silverball Museum Arcade in Asbury Park, a mecca for fans of vintage pinball and video games.
- Go to the Wildwoods. Staab admits to being a huge fan. "There are so many things to do in Wildwood it just kind of blows your mind," he said.
- Slip on the suit and go to a waterpark. "They're pretty amazing," he said of eight along the Jersey Shore. If you don't like one, drop in on another, Staab said.
- Sample Shore food options. Frozen custard with Kohr Brothers (the "original," introduced by brothers Archie, Elton and Lester on Coney Island in 1919). Popcorn from Johnson's Popcorn in Ocean City ("The smell is intoxicating," Staab said.). Salt water taffy from James Candy Company in Atlantic City (Fralinger's taffy: "Sea air and sunshine sealed in every box."). "What kid doesn't want ice cream, popcorn, salt water taffy and water ice?" Staab asked.
Over 40 bucket list
- Tour the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society museum. Its giant airship hangar is stunning, the author said. Lakehurst is the site of the horrific Hindenburg accident: "She carried hundreds of passengers and traveled thousands of miles before being destroyed in a tragic fire on May 6, 1937 at NAS Lakehurst," according to the historical society.
- Interact with animals and marine life at the Jersey Shore. Whale watching in Cape May. Get to know the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine. Walk with the llamas at Second Wind Farm in Plumsted Township. Meet wolf dogs at Howling Woods Farm in Jackson.
- Return to an old era of gambling with a visit to Monmouth Park in Oceanport for thoroughbred racing. What's striking, Staab said, is the size of the venue.
- Browse the West End Garage in Cape May. "A lot of the gift shops from town to town in Jersey are all the same," Staab said. This collection of cubicles with antiques, art, local foods and clothing offers shopping for unique items, he said. Staab and his wife sampled Cape May Peanut Butter there for the first time and have been hooked every since. Staab acknowledged West End Garage as one of his favorite places to visit.
- Architecture lover? Realize there's more than Cape May along the Shore. In the north, there's Ocean Grove, a virtually intact community founded by the Methodists in the 19th Century, with its massive wooden auditorium that at one time accommodated 10,000 and now can handle just over half that amount. Along the Toms River is hidden gem Island Heights. "There’s barely a sign to tell you even to turn to get to it. It’s nearly impossible to find," said Staab, who recommends a visit and a walk around the borough with its 400 Victorian structures. Long after Victorian: the Doo Wop preservation program in the Wildwoods. Motels, restaurants and even new construction designed in homage to that era.