Blog: The Chicks Uncorked
While the old adage “Location, Location, Location” might be the number one rule in real estate, it also rings true when it comes to our own personal joy. For many of us, the importance of place has been underscored during the trying COVID era.
For the longest time, we had to stay in one place. Travel was out minus an emergency, and visits to our familiar stores and restaurants were minimal or nonexistent. Vacations were really out, so we had to find a way to make our homes as comforting as possible for months on end. Strange, and often sad and scary times, but fortunately we’re on a path to return to many of the places we once cherished.
Have you ever lived or vacationed in a place that just felt so right? Somewhere that makes you feel in the zone and extra joyful?
For me, that somewhere is a little town along the Jersey Shore called Ocean Grove. Known as “God’s Square Mile,” the town is steeped in Methodist history, and I’ve spent anywhere from a few days to a month here every year for the past 11 years. I’ve stayed with family, rented a tiny yellow beach cottage, and stayed at a cozy bed and breakfast across the street from the ocean. As in see the sunrise over the Atlantic without leaving my bed!
I keep coming back to this haven because of the serious bliss and inspiration that envelop me while I’m here. I work, I write, I read books, meditate more, and come up with all kinds of new ideas and ways to reimagine projects and problems. Must be something about the ocean waves, salt air and all the friendly, witty people here. Maybe it’s the yoga classes I take on the pier that extends over the ocean. Or the incredible food in the dozens of restaurants that populate this and the neighboring beach towns.
Perhaps it’s the throngs of dogs I meet walking joyfully with their pet parents. Or it’s chatting with the many city folk in town for their shot at weekend chill. Oh, and my wonderful, extended family and the many friends I’ve made here over the years are pretty important too. Obviously, it’s the combo of all these things that cause me to feel completely refreshed and happier when it’s time to head home. Never fails.
Now, funny thing about Ocean Grove is that it’s a dry town. A bit of an odd draw for a gal so passionate about her wine! Yet, that too isn’t a problem as drinking wine is an experience I so enjoy savoring, which is made all the more special when I can’t just order a Cabernet to accompany my meal — I actually have to make more effort than that!
The town is dry as in you can’t buy alcohol here, but you’re certainly welcome to BYOB, which makes your dining experience more affordable and you get to bring the wine of your choice versus ordering from what’s available.
So to make this happen, once I settle in to my temporary home, I hoof a half mile to a place appropriately called Lush Wine – Beers & Liquors in bordering Asbury Park. The store has an excellent selection of all my favorites, which includes Paringa Sparkling Shiraz, the wine I gushed over in my recent post, “Occasion to Stray.”
As testament to my routine, the man behind the counter remembered me and greeted me warmly when I popped in just yesterday to pluck a couple ripe Paringas, recognizing me despite my mask and my 18-month absence. I made the trek despite the winter-like winds and cold rain, which may reveal too much about my determination to stock up, but I am a woman of habit and true to my desires.
Post-schlepp and pre-dinner, I enjoyed a magically delicious glass of Paringa, while bundling up on the porch in my happy place, a little chilly but savoring every sip.