Only a few days left until the big day. No, I'm not getting hitched or having a baby - I'm moving to Red Bank! My boyfriend, Nathan, is a Damage Controlman with the United States Coast Guard, and after three years on a boat out of Portsmouth, N.H., he's been reassigned to a land unit at Sandy Hook. A particularly discriminating friend of mine with knowledge of the area told me that if I was going to move to the Garden State, my choice was clear: "Red Bank is the Austin, Texas, of New Jersey," he told me (which is to say that it's hip, quirky, and worth living in).
For his part, Nathan is a bit of a country mouse. Raised in rural Virginia, he's always preferred quiet and calm to big and bustling. Though I was raised in the suburbs, I’ve always considered myself more of a city girl; after three years in Washington, D.C., after college, moving to a quaint New England town was more than a little bit of culture shock. I’ve always longed for a New York City life, and for a brief while, as we waited for Nathan’s new Coast Guard orders to come down from on high, I hoped we might be headed that way. Imagine my surprise then, when I learned we’d be moving not into the city that never sleeps but into a smaller city more than an hour away. Suffice it to say, the initial disappointment was debilitating. It wasn’t that I had anything against New Jersey, but moving there wasn’t even on our radar... until we learned we were moving there.
Now, having had a few months to research Red Bank and the surrounding areas, my spirits are considerably raised. Everyone I’ve spoken with who’s been to Red Bank has only glowing recommendations to relay. My musician friends have raved about the Count Basie Theatre; my foodie friends have assured me there’s plenty of tasty cuisine to be had; my outdoorsy friends insist that the nearby beaches are tops. With the help of a knowledgable broker (many thanks to JoAnn at Gloria Nillson Realtors), Nathan and I even managed to secure an apartment near downtown Red Bank without ever having actually visited New Jersey.
Still, we're a little worried. Not only have we never seen the space where we'll be living, we've never set foot into our new town! I've been doing my research, but research only goes so far; I suspect we won't be able to get a feel for Red Bank until we actually cross the city limits and settle in. Together, Nathan and I are looking forward to learning what Red Bank has to offer and to taking advantage of its proximity both to the coast and to the city, but we’re not sure where to start.
That’s where you come in.
I’d love to hear from you, Red Bank-Shrewsbury Patch readers: What’s your favorite thing about the area? What should we be sure to try? What restaurant could you never live without, which hang-out do you adore? If you were an adventure-seeking twenty-something (and maybe you are!), what would be on your Red Bank must-do list?
Our life in New Jersey begins in early July, and we’re already keeping track of everything we want to do once we get into town. Won’t you help us find the good stuff?