Spring Lake Five (May 2011)

And they're off...

For many New Jerseyans, summer begins with the Spring Lake Five, a five-mile run held in Spring Lake, NJ on Memorial Day weekend.  This race is over thirty years old, but still maintains a non-commercial and community feel.

About 500 runners participated in the first race in 1977, and then just a few years later, over 1000 runners were participating.  Those numbers continued to grow over the years, and this year, there were over 8,000 people – of various running abilities – running in the race.

My sister was one of them.

The first to cross the finish line.

Though she’s been running for a few years now, this was her first race.  She was a little nervous at the start, but she had been training, and I knew she would be great.  She was going to be running with friends and knew that by being there, she was helping to support a good cause.  Several good causes, actually.

The first woman to cross the finish line.

Proceeds from the race fees go to support Spring Lake recreation and local charitable organizations.  Since 2002, over $500,000 has been raised for recreation programs and charitable projects.

With my sister right before she ran the Spring Lake Five.

This year’s charity partners included The Sharing Network Foundation, The Wellness Community, Arthritis Foundation, Holiday Express, Charity House Foundation, The Front and Center Fund, Ocean of Love, Team in Training, The JT Foundation 4 Autism Awareness, Covenant House, and Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign.

My sister did do really well, just as I expected.  And though my role at this year’s race was simply as a spectator, a photographer, and a supporter, I could feel the contagious excitement of those who participated, and perhaps next year I’ll run in the race too.

But I’ll have a lot of training to do before I’m ready!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

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What A (Sports!) Nut

What an arm!

Sports. Sports. Sports.  It’s like another language to me sometimes.  Lately though, sports are everywhere I go.  And you know what?  Even though I may not follow any sport or team in particular, or understand it too well, it’s kind of fun!

Recreation T-Ball
My oldest nephew is quite an athlete in the making.  He can throw a ball – harder, faster, and more accurately than many kids two (and maybe three) times his age.  He already enjoys playing soccer and golf (yes, golf!), and now, his newest sports venture is T-Ball.

This has to be the most adorable sport ever invented.  Seriously.  Pint-sized ball players take to the field and run in all the wrong directions and haven’t yet figured out that the glove is for catching the ball, but somehow they manage to learn the rules of the game – and more importantly, good sportsmanship and how to be a team player.

I’m a huge fan!

Trenton Thunder
In keeping with the spirit of America’s favorite pastime, my annual trip to a Trenton Thunder game is approaching.  I’m super psyched because I had a blast when I went last year.  Of course, I was pretty focused on all of the food (especially the ice cream) available at the ballpark.  This time, I promise to be a little more focused on the game!

THE Princeton Bar and Grill on Nassau Street.

Princeton Sports Bar 
When live sports are not enough – or not an option – one can always turn to a good sports bar to fill the void.  Those in the Princeton area are lucky to have THE Princeton Sports Bar and Grill.  Located on Nassau Street, this sports-oriented hangout is open until midnight or later seven days a week.  They provide a great atmosphere for the biggest sports fanatic – or the casual fan like me – to enjoy all kinds of games and events.

Maybe I’ll become fluent in this language of sports after all…

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

America’s favorite pastime… in Trenton, NJ

Ahh, baseball.  It’s just as much a part of summer as swimming pools and ice-cold lemonade.

Though I’m not an avid sports enthusiast, I really do enjoy going to a live event and had a great time at a Trenton Thunder game (in June) at Waterfront Park in Trenton, NJ.

Trenton Thunder is at bat

From the Trenton Thunder website:

“Come out to a Trenton Thunder game and you’ll experience Minor League Baseball at its best! As the Class AA Affiliate of the New York Yankees, the Thunder offer the highest level of baseball in the state of New Jersey and have been recognized as the “Nation’s Best Franchise” for providing an outstanding and unique fan experience while conducting unprecedented community outreach.”

A dog looking to find a good home with a Trenton Thunder fan or family of fans

One of the team’s community outreach initiatives involves helping homeless animals. During each home game, a dog in need of a good home is brought out to the baseball field for all in attendance to see.  The announcer provides details about the dog’s personality, unique situation, and encourages someone out in the stands to give the dog a home.

There are also plenty of eco-friendly reasons to support the Thunder.  Partnered with Eagle Maintenance Supply, Waterfront Park offers environmentally friendly paper products and hand soap, and the beer cups in the stadium are GreenWare, an alternative to plastic.  The Thunder Company Store sells a sweatshirt made from recycled PET (which is created by breaking down used soda bottles into polyester yarns).  Even the light bulbs throughout the stadium are energy-efficient, and the printer toner cartridges that the front office uses are refilled at a local ink re-filler.

Of course, my favorite part of any event is usually the food.  At Waterfront Park, there is a great selection of food to choose from.  Choices include Thunder dogs, baby back ribs, healthy salads, garden burgers, funnel cakes, mozzarella sticks, chicken sandwiches, French fries, cheese steaks, peanuts, popcorn, sunflower seeds, nachos, fruit salad, and (my favorite) ice cream.

There’s plenty of time left this season to go see a game, have some good food, and maybe even find your next family pet – Trenton Thunder has home games on their schedule through September 2nd.

“Root, root, root for the home team…”

Every summer evening should include ice cream, in my opinion.

Melissa
~The Jersey Girl

Related Links:
http://www.trentonthunder.com
http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/style/trenton-thunder-helping-homeless-dogs-find-happy-homes

BareWires Surf & Skate ~ Spring Lake, NJ

Warning: THIS IS NOT YOUR AVERAGE SURF SHOP!

BareWires Surf & Skate in Spring Lake, NJ (photo by Cresitello/ESM)

Surfers, skateboarders, and shopaholics alike have a new place to call home in Spring Lake, NJ.

Focusing on smaller, less mainstream brands like RVCA, Patagonia, Ezekiel, Insight, Nike 6.0, and Chemistry Surfboards, owners of BareWires Surf & Skate,  Adam Holloway and Brian Smith, have taken a unique approach to their new store.  “We want to thank brands like RVCA, Patagonia, and Ezekiel for taking a chance with us.  We got a lot of feedback that this area was over saturated in terms of surf brands. But people like Paul Kane with RVCA and Jimmy Pasch with Patagonia understood our vision and supported us,” says Smith.  Those interested in smaller independent labels are in luck as well since the guys have also paid special attention to labels like AMBSN out of San Clemente and Rhythm an Australian surf company based on The Gold Coast.

Ezekiel clothing at BareWires in Spring Lake, NJ (photo courtesy of BareWires)

The Spring Lake shop is the second BareWires location, and it has a distinct vibe compared to the other shop in Long Branch.  Holloway and Smith worked really hard to get the store to look the way it does, carefully planning the layout and executing finishing touches.  Creating a shop with a cool atmosphere and core knowledge was important. Just because it’s a surf shop doesn’t mean it shouldn’t look nice,” says Holloway.

“We feel like we have a lot to bring to the community in terms of knowledge and experience.  Brian and I grew up here, we surf here and live here.  We want BareWires to be a shop that has something for everyone, all skill levels; everyone is welcome,” says Holloway.

Can you find the Jersey Girl? I'm somewhere in this photo from the night of the BareWires grand opening party! (photo by Cresitello/ESM)

To celebrate the grand opening of the shop, BareWires hosted a party and attendees included company representatives, local surfers, and many of Holloway and Smith’s friends.  Also in attendance was New Jersey artist, Ronnie Jackson.  Jackson’s energetic, colorful artwork – inspired by the ocean, beaches, and wildlife found around the Jersey shore – is featured in the shop.

With breathtaking photos from Eastern Surf Magazine chief photographer, Donald E. Cresitello on display, to a BareWires original surfboard from the 1970s, to fashions the whole family will love, you won’t find a similar shop or experience around.

Stop in soon and check out BareWires Surf & Skate in Spring Lake, NJ!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl


Related Links and Additional Information:
Address:  219 Morris Avenue, Spring Lake, NJ
Phone: 732-359-7780

BareWires Blog: http://bwbombast.blogspot.com
BareWires on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BareWiresSurfSkateSpringLake
BareWires in Long Branch: http://www.barewiresurfskate.com