I spent a week at the Jersey Shore and enjoyed every minute of it. Great weather. Friendly people. Beautiful water. Wonderful art and antiques. Fabulous shops. But one of my favorite places is Red Bank.

Sitting proudly on the banks of the Navesink River, Red Bank has had a colorful maritime history. When the 1980s brought economic hard times to the area and the downtown nearly dried up, Red Bank rallied. Today, it is an eclectic mix of some fabulous shops, restaurants, antiques and art. Either because of its proximity to New York City — or perhaps in spite of it — Red Bank offers small town appeal with big city elegance.

The town's quaint streets divide it into five main areas: The Downtown encompasses the blocks running down Broad Street toward Front Street and offers world-class shopping and dining; the Arts Corridor is a few blocks away on Monmouth Street and features theatres, art galleries, street festivals and more; the Riverfront provides breathtaking views of the south shore of the Navesink River; the Antiques district along Front Street is home to the largest selection of antique vendors in the state; and the Red Bank Station Plaza is the heart of the town – once the original train station it is now home to the Visitors' Center.

I had a great time just wandering for an afternoon in Red Bank. I spent most of my time wandering through the shops in Downtown. Check out the fashions of today at Marc Ecko or step just down the street to CoCo Pari for European designer clothing and shoes. I wandered through a fabulous collection of fine antiques and reproductions at Agostino. I finished off the day with a latte at a sidewalk café and watched people go past on Broad Street.

Hanging out in Red Bank was definitely a great way to spend an afternoon on the Jersey Shore. Want to spend more than an afternoon? Check out the Molly Pitcher Inn on Riverside Avenue. This glorious old hotel, built on the shores of the Navesink in the 1920s, is fondly called The Molly by locals. For more information on Red Bank, visit their website at http://visit.redbank.com

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