Shop Earlier Than the Bird and Support Ocean City Businesses

There may be quite a few Ocean City events that had to be canceled this holiday season due to the current health crisis but rest assured that Earlier Than the Bird isn’t one of them!

Wake up early on Saturday, November 21, grab your first cup of coffee, and then head out the door for some spectacular shopping at the businesses around Ocean City. Best of all, you can do it all in your pajamas, if you like, and could even win a prize for doing so (in addition to just being extremely comfortable!). The shoppers selected as the best dressed will win a free turkey!

Earlier Than the Bird takes place 8 a.m.-noon mainly between 6th and 11th Streets along Asbury Avenue. Many shops and restaurants around town are offering special shopping deals, giveaways, and more. Here are some deals you should be on the lookout for as you walk around town:

And after you’ve completed your shopping spree for the day, reward your efforts by having lunch at one of the downtown restaurants or hop on a free horse and carriage ride taking place noon-3 p.m. in front of City Hall.

It’s always important to support local businesses and small business owners, but now more so than ever! When you shop local, you’ll be able to find extraordinary gifts but also help support local business owners and the stores that make this town so great.

Trick-or-Treat Along Asbury Avenue in Ocean City on Halloween

Get the Halloween festivities started early with the Trick-or-Treat Event along Asbury Avenue in Ocean City on Saturday, October 31.

The fun will take place along Asbury Avenue (6th Street through 11th Street) from 2-4 p.m. when participating Ocean City merchants will be handing out sweet treats and other Halloween goodies. Put on your Halloween costumes and head down to Asbury Avenue for an afternoon of entertainment your entire family is sure to love.

Some of the participating businesses include:

Don’t miss out on this exciting event! Put on your spooky, fun, or creative costume and head down to Asbury Avenue this Halloween!

Miniature Golf is Open with Outdoor Dining and In-Store Shopping Coming Soon in Ocean City

Great news! Miniature golf courses are now open in Ocean City. Many individuals have been eagerly anticipating the opening of these family fun-filled courses. Now the time has come to choose your putter and ball and engage in some friendly competition out in the open air.

And, as if this news isn’t exciting enough, get ready for outdoor dining and in-store shopping to begin in Ocean City on Monday, June 15. Certain restrictions will be in place for the safety and welfare of the employees, shoppers, and diners, but this is an excellent start to getting the businesses open after the COVID-19 shutdowns.

Restaurants that have the space for outdoor dining will be able to offer this service. As for stores, in-store shopping will be allowed to begin on June 15. Masks will be required when indoors and there will likely be certain maximum occupancy requirements for in-store shopping in order to maintain safe social distancing.

Contact your favorite restaurants to see if they’ll be offering outdoor dining and call your favorite stores to see what the procedure will be for in-store shopping.

Today is the perfect day to head out to enjoy a game of mini-golf and then get ready for outdoor dining and in-store shopping on Monday, June 15!

Full Weekly Rentals Start Today in Ocean City

Starting today, Ocean City will be welcoming in the Saturday-to-Saturday crowd for full weekly rentals. Although rentals less than 30 days were allowed to begin starting June 1, many weekly rentals operate on a Saturday-to-Saturday basis, so today will be the first group of Ocean City weekly vacationers.

Since there are still some restrictions in place for Ocean City residents and visitors, the following provides some information on what’s currently happening in Ocean City:

Dining

Many Ocean City-bound vacationers can’t wait to head down the shore for a taste of South Jersey dining offerings. From funnel cake to fresh seafood entrees, Ocean City restaurants and food vendors help to satisfy all the culinary cravings for residents and visitors alike.

Here are some of the guidelines currently in place for Ocean City dining:

  • Takeout/delivery available from restaurants and boardwalk vendors that offer it.
  • Outdoor dining allowed at restaurants beginning June 15.
  • All restaurants are allowed to be open during normal business hours.
  • No dine-in services are available yet.

Face masks are required when entering an establishment to pick up your food order. All individuals are encouraged to practice social distancing. In addition, each restaurant and food vendor may have their own restrictions in place.

Shopping

Governor Murphy recently gave the green light for certain “non-essential businesses” to open their doors for curbside pickup, which includes retail stores. In response, many Ocean City retail shops are offering this option which provides a way for individuals to get the items they want while supporting local businesses at the same time. The statewide opening plan goes further to note the date of June 15 for retail stores to start allowing limited in-person shopping.

Activities

If you’re wondering what recreational activities are allowed in Ocean City at this time, here’s the current list:

  • The beach is open for sunbathing, swimming, recreation, and fishing. Lifeguards are on duty. Beach tags are required and available to purchase at multiple locations. Discounted seasonal beach tags are on sale for $20 until June 30. Weekly and daily tags are also available.
  • The boardwalk is open for biking, walking, and exercise. Social distancing is required and masks are optional. However, many boardwalk vendors require masks when approaching their storefronts, so be sure to have your mask handy so you can indulge in boardwalk culinary treats and “curbside” shopping.
  • Amusement centers remain closed.
  • The Ocean City Municipal Golf Course is open with some restrictions in place.
  • The Ocean City Skate Park is open with restrictions.
  • The Ocean City Aquatic and Fitness Center remains closed.
  • Recreational fields are open, as are tennis and pickleball courts.
  • Fishing boat charters are available.

As you get ready for your Ocean City vacation, remember that the refreshing ocean air is always there to greet you. There may be some restrictions in place that make your vacation a little bit different than past years, but the beautiful Ocean City memories you’ll make with your family will still be as abundant as ever.

While on vacation, be sure to enjoy the takeout/delivery dining and curbside pickup options from local restaurants and stores. Not only will you be getting exceptional food items and products, but you’ll be supporting these local businesses that look forward to your return each and every year!

What’s Open in Ocean City and How You Can Lend a Hand to Local Businesses

It’s April 1 and with the current coronavirus pandemic still firmly in place, you may be wondering what the latest information is regarding what’s open and what’s happening in Ocean City. Many of the local restaurants are still offering takeout and delivery services while some of the shops on the island have their online shopping sites in full swing. And other stores are helping you plan ahead for Easter with their takeout Easter-themed items, such as The Beachin’ Bakery who will be offering Easter cookies (and who made this extremely cool cake for my daughter’s birthday this past summer)!

There are many ways to continue to support local businesses while keeping social distancing and flattening the curve in mind. You can order takeout and delivery items, purchase gift cards to be used at a later time, or buy online from their virtual stores. Here are some of the shops and restaurants you can support in Ocean City along with what they’re currently offering:

Dining/Food Items:

  • Beachin’ Bakery: Will soon be taking orders for Easter cookies. Check out their IG page for details (@thebeachinbakery) and their website, too.
  • Sack ‘O Subs: Open for takeout/delivery.
  • Barefoot Market: Open for takeout/delivery.
  • Mallon’s: Open for curbside pickup on Easter weekend.
  • Randazzo’s: Open for takeout/free delivery.
  • Rauhauser’s: Open for curbside pickup/delivery.
  • Dot’s Pastry Shop: Place orders this Friday by phone, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., pay over the phone by credit card, and then pick up your order on Saturday or Sunday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Sandwich Bar: The Sandwich Bar will be open for takeout on Saturday, April 11. Call ahead and place your order/pay for your order by April 9. Find all of the details on their IG page (@sandwichbarocnj).
  • Hobby Horse Ice Cream: For every $50 worth of gift certificates you purchase, you’ll receive a $10 gift certificate for free!

Shopping:

  • Henry’s: Shop online at Henry’s and have the items shipped directly to your door.
  • Leiki Boardshorts: Shop all of your favorite Leiki Boardshorts gear online.
  • Grassroots Music Store: Because we all need music at a time like this, it’s good to know that Grassroots Music Store offers online shopping and shipping to your door.
  • The Road: Open for curbside pickup/delivery.
  • Bohemian Mama: Shop online at Bohemian Mama. You can grab a 25% off discount for a few days in the beginning of this month plus help to support CASA all throughout April. More details can be found in the recent article on OCNJHappenings.com.

These are just a few of the local businesses that you can lend your support to during these concerning times (and any time after as well).

Stay positive, stay healthy, and be well!

Virtual Ocean City Girls Weekend (April 3-5)

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Ocean City had planned to hold its annual Ocean City Girls Weekend April 3-5. Now, with all events removed from the calendar for the entire month of April, that in-person shopping, dining, and entertainment event is a no-go. Fortunately, new local business DriftSpaces, a collaborative work venue, has come up with the idea to hold a virtual Girls Weekend event.

Here’s what’s happening during Virtual Girls Weekend:

Friday, April 3

Noon: Loosen Up Lunch Break with Peak Mobility

4 p.m.: Seagrass Boutique: 20-75% off sale via Facebook Live

4:30 p.m.: Diamond Barre Fitness: $5 Express barre class

7:30 p.m.: Hand Sani & Sips with Jordan Simone Wellness

Saturday, April 4

8:30 a.m.: Downtown Pilates: Free mat Pilates class

9:30 a.m.: Diamond Barre Fitness: $5 barre class

10 a.m.: Yoga Ginger: Free 30-minute yoga class

3 p.m.: Bowfish Kids: 30% off sale via Facebook Live

8 p.m.: Ladies Night Couch Karaoke with Cibon in the City

Sunday, April 5

9:30 a.m.: Virtual Sound & Healing Yoga with Michelle Whelan Yoga

Stores Offering Sales During Virtual Girls Weekend

In addition to being a great way to connect with others and learn new things, this virtual Girls Weekend event is also a fundraiser for OCNJ CARE, a local nonprofit organization originally formed back in 2012 in response to Superstorm Sandy and the need to help out the local community. OCNJ CARE was put back into action to respond to this current crisis and raise funds to help local individuals in need. Find out more by visiting the OCNJ CARE site.

Pretty cool, right? Next weekend, plan to attend Girls Weekend from the comfort of your own home. And be sure to visit this list throughout the week as it will be updated with new links and activities once they’re announced.

In order to join in on the fun events and sales, visit the websites and social media pages of your chosen business for more information!

What to Do When Staying at Home in Ocean City

With Governor Murphy’s “stay at home” executive order in place amid the coronavirus pandemic, individuals might wonder how to get through each day with positivity and not get overwhelmed. Fortunately, technology allows us to reach others in different homes, including locally, in other states, and across the globe. It also opens up a world of activities to help us through this necessary order to stay at home and flatten the curve.

Here are some activities to take part in at home which the whole family will love:

Online Yoga Classes with Suzanne Chew of Yoga Ginger

Suzanne Chew, owner and lead instructor of Yoga Ginger in Ocean City, is posting online yoga videos to help your mind, body, and soul. Visit the Patreon website and get started with the relaxing classes offered by Suzanne.

Paint Jams and Coloring Pages from Peace of Wood

For those who love to create, Peace of Wood is offering live daily paint jams at noon on Instagram, Monday-Friday, and coloring pages for download every Friday. If you miss the live paint jams, you can still paint on your own schedule. Simply visit the Peace of Wood Facebook page for details.

Digital Offerings from the Ocean City Free Public Library

If you just need some time to sit back quietly and read a good book or watch a movie, the digital library at Ocean City Free Public Library offers plenty of options. Check out the digital content section and see what piques your interest. You’ll find tons of options for adults and kids to enjoy.

Learn About Immune Boosting Foods from Conscious Cooks

Conscious Cooks is a South Jersey culinary company that offers cooking classes and culinary services for individuals and groups in the area. They also provide interesting content on food topics and recipes, such as their latest blog article on immune-boosting foods and a recipe for anti-inflammatory ginger tea!

Virtual Cabaret with the Greater Ocean City Theatre Company

The Greater Ocean City Theatre Company is also helping us get through each day with a smile by offering its virtual cabaret. Held on certain days throughout the week, you can view a special guest performer online and keep music in your life. The next virtual cabaret is set for 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, and will feature Andrew Pace. Find all the details on the Greater Ocean City Theatre Company Instagram page and tune in on March 26!

Wishing you all well!

 

SoBar: Pop-Up Parties in a Sober Environment

When you’re looking for entertainment options and the opportunity to meet new people, where do you go? The bars and clubs are good options, but not always viable ones for people who don’t drink, either by choice or necessity, or simply don’t want to socialize in those types of establishments. Fortunately for Ocean City residents and visitors, a new option has emerged, thanks to the ingenious efforts of local resident Ashley Crooks.

As a licensed therapist and owner of Counseling by the Sea, Ashley came up with the idea to create a sober socializing experience and opportunity for those who wanted to enjoy a night out without alcohol being a factor. As a result, the concept of soBar was born!

SoBar Inaugural Event

SoBar comes in the form of a monthly pop-up party at different locations in Ocean City and surrounding towns. The inaugural soBar event recently took place at Jon & Patty’s on February 19. For a $10 cover charge, guests enjoyed the sounds of live music from Originaire and food and mocktails created by the team at Jon & Patty’s. As for upcoming soBar pop-ups, two are on the schedule and include:

“As someone who doesn’t drink, and who works with a ton of people who struggle with social anxiety as well as don’t drink, I wanted to provide a safe space for people to enjoy a night out, meet new people, and have fun without alcohol,” states Ashley. “I also wanted to expand on the movement of overall wellness and wellbeing in learning how to have fun without mood-altering substances.”

And soBar is for everyone. You don’t have to be living an exclusively sober life to take part in all that soBar has to offer. It’s just requested that you come to the events sober and enjoy this alcohol-free experience.

soBar is hoping to turn the pop-up experience into a permanent location. But, for now, follow the soBar event calendar via the website or Facebook page and see what new events pop up each month and where they’ll be held.

Take conversation and entertainment to a whole new level. Attend an upcoming soBar event and see what a night out without the alcohol holds for you.

Photo credit: soBar

Don’t Miss the Market Madness Shopping Event at The Flanders Hotel on March 7

On Saturday, March 7, over 40 vendors from Ocean City will fill The Flanders Hotel, offering their must-have products for sale.

The Market Madness event is hosted by the Boardwalk Merchants Association and Downtown Merchants Association and will take place from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. From your favorite Asbury Avenue shop to your go-to boardwalk vendor, you’ll find something for everyone at Market Madness. Store owners will be selling their products as well as offering discounts and deals you won’t want to miss.

Free parking is yours for the taking, and food will be available for purchase when you need to recharge during your shopping spree.

Gather your friends together and head over to The Flanders Hotel on March 7 for this not-to-be-missed event!

Save the Date: Girls Weekend 2020 in Downtown Ocean City

With only 100 days left to go until Memorial Day, it’s a good time to talk about springtime Ocean City events. One popular event that brings in the crowds each year is the Girls Weekend event. This year’s Girls Weekend will unfold April 3–5 and include offerings such as a fashion show, shopping deals, hotel packages, dining options, and more.

Here are some events being held during Girls Weekend 2020:

Fashion Show Kickoff Event (April 3)

The Girls Weekend Fashion Show has been so popular in prior years that it’s being moved to a new, larger location this year. Purchase your tickets and reserve a seat for the fashion show taking place at PLAAY Fitness and Yoga at 910 Asbury Avenue. The show will start at 7 p.m. and feature a display of fashions available at local Ocean City boutiques.

The cost is $20 per person and includes light bites offered by local restaurants during the event. Tickets are required to attend, and this show sells out each year, so be sure to get your tickets early. Tickets can be purchased online and at various area locations, including the Route 52 Causeway Welcome Center, City Hall Welcome Center, Ta-Dah (1040 Asbury Ave.), Making Waves (836 Asbury Ave.), 7th Street Surf Shop (720 Asbury Ave.), and the Sneaker Shop (704 Asbury Ave.).

Accommodation Deals and Packages for Girls Weekend 2020

Many local hotels and B&Bs will offer special deals and lodging packages for Girls Weekend 2020. Here are some of the latest deals being offered:

  • The Flanders Hotel: Reserve a stay for the night of Friday, April 3, or Saturday, April 4, and receive the following: early check-in with complimentary gift upon arrival; overnight stay in a deluxe one-bedroom suite; a 30-minute leg and foot massage or 30-minute mini-facial with free product samples from Divine Images Salon and Spa; a coupon for 10% off at The Shoppes at Flanders; breakfast in Emily’s Ocean Room; and, late check-out. The cost is $169 per person plus tax and gratuity (cost based on double occupancy).
  • Port-O-Call: Enjoy a two-night stay at the Port-O-Call for Girls Weekend 2020. The package includes two-night deluxe accommodations, dinner at a local restaurant, breakfast both mornings at Adelene, and your choice of a relaxing spa service including a 25-minute facial provided by a local salon, 25-minute massage by Blue Garden Wellness (6th floor of the hotel), or manicure or mini-pedicure provided by a local salon. Prices start at $295 per person (based on double occupancy; includes taxes and hotel dining gratuity).
  • Northwood Inn Bed and Breakfast: Stay for two nights and get the second night 50% off. Plus, enjoy complimentary pizza and drinks on Friday night.
  • Biscayne Suites: Enjoy two nights of accommodations for $239 plus tax and you’ll also have access to a late 6 p.m. checkout, so you can fully take advantage of the entire weekend. Just mention “Girls Weekend” when calling for reservations.
  • Inn the Gardens Bed and Breakfast: Book your Girls Weekend stay and you’ll get $25 off the second night at Inn the Gardens Bed and Breakfast.
  • Ocean City Mansion: Book your April 3–5 stay and receive two complimentary beach tags for the summer of 2020. Just mention “Girls Weekend” when calling to reserve your room.
  • Impala Island Inn: Stay at the Impala Island Inn for $160 for the weekend, plus tax. Just mention “Girls Weekend” to snag this deal!
  • Wild Dunes Inn: Book a weekend stay at the Wild Dunes Inn for $190 for the weekend, plus tax. You’ll be able to get this deal when you mention “Girls Weekend” when reserving.

Shopping Deals, Exercise Classes, and More!

Besides the Girls Weekend Fashion Show and fabulous lodging deals, Girls Weekend 2020 attendees will enjoy extraordinary sales at local shops and boutiques, dining specials at local restaurants, exercise classes, spa specials, craft projects and demos, and so much more!

Keep checking back to OCNJ Happenings Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages for additional information as Girls Weekend 2020 draws closer and make your reservations today!