Long Beach Island
Where New Jersey forsakes Camaros and Bon Jovi

From the March 26, 2001 Issue of New York

We're not sure what got into the people who named the towns on Long Beach Island. Harvey Cedars. Ship Bottom. Loveladies, for heaven's sake. But if you can get past the names -- and the Jersey jokes -- this skinny sandbar that skims the shore for eighteen miles turns out to have a semi-discovered, low-key chic, like a sort of Hamptons sans Nick & Toni. LBI's scene varies from town to town, from the shingled mansions up in Loveladies to the kitschy aqua-and-white motels down in Spray Beach and Beach Haven. At the northern tip of the island, Barnegat Light, a red-and-white lighthouse built in 1859, is open to visitors all summer; a short walk away, a B&B called the Sand Castle has bay views and its own gym. For dinner, the hands-down-best restaurant is Raimondo's -- and even though you're not on the East End, you'd best take the advice of one regular, who books her twice-a-week table in May for the entire summer.

The Sand Castle, 609-494-6555 or www.sandcastlelbi.com (doubles start at $135); Raimondo's, 609-494-5391.