Thursday, August 16, 2007

Shopping on Asbury Avenue

It's been another rainy day at the shore -- Dave Roberts on 6ABC showed a very detailed map of the thunderstorms rumbling through the towns, and even though the sun's supposed to peek out later, a lot of vacationing families are looking for something else to do. Of course I have a suggestion:

Asbury Avenue in Ocean City is a main street throwback. It's what it must have been like when there were no indoor malls, strip malls, four lane highways through the middle of town, or even online shopping. It's location near the shore and pretty far from any mall has probably preserved its main street status, and even when it's raining, popping in and out of the shops is a treat.

If you've got kids, head to Sun Rose Words & Music (756 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, 609-399-9190). They have a playful kids area with both books and activities, and plenty of stuff for you to browse. The stock is heavy with local titles, and it's a center for author signings. To dress up your kid in the finest of finery, you might consider stopping at Sea Oats (710 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City,
609-398-8399). They've been selling buckets of cute stuff for kids for 25 years now. Lots and lots of pink.

For the more musically inclined, there's
Grassroots Music and Books (1059 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, 609-398-6500). The front room is loaded with acoustic and electric guitars. My favorite spot is the back room, which is lined with vinyl, both of new albums and old.

The antiquing is fine along the avenue -- Yours, Mine and Ours Antiques (957 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, 609-525-0270) might make you regret every yard sale you've ever had, but it's a joy to browse through. Take your time here, and look up, because the entire store is packed, floor to ceiling, with gems. Only Yesterday has a store on Asbury Avenue, too, at 1137,
but it's only open Thursday to Sunday. Their store on the boardwalk is open seven days a week.

Ladies, yes, there is shopping. Fantastic shopping.
Glass Frog Studio (920 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, 609-398-7510) used to just be a stained glass studio, but the owner's added in very fashionable accessories, like hats and bags. Yes, she does have items for fall if you're thinking ahead. La
Bottine Boutique (1033 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, 609-399-6400) is a cute, small and cozy shop. Prices on the shoes aren't out of this world, but the selection is adorable.

One of my favorite stores for fashion on the avenue is Colette Boutique (900
Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, 609-525-0911). It's the first physical store I've found that sells items from Stop Staring, which makes retro vintage fashions. The sex kitten factor is high in the dresses and gowns they sell, but the shop also stocks jeans and bathing suits. Do NOT skip the shoe selection. Purrrr. If you're bargain hunting, try Whatever (817 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, 609-271-7231), where everything is $10. Very colorful stuff here, and it doesn't look cheap.

Denovum (908 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, 609-814-9084) is a fun place to browse. It's big and airy, like a barn, and full of the eclectic and just sometimes odd. It's a home furnishings and decor store, but far from the ordinary, and just a bit out of place on Asbury, which is probably why I liked it.

Asbury Avenue has plenty more spots to browse and shop -- but the best way to figure out what's there is to see for yourself.

What I'm Listening to: Several Arrows Later by matt pond PA.

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