- Chantez et vous trouverez votre chanson -

Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.
     -George Bernard Shaw

It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves- in finding themselves.
      -Andre Gide

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Burnt and Burnt Out...Long Beach

Summer is officially here.  Whew, I'm beat.  I took a beating from the sun and got very little sleep this weekend in Long Beach, Long Island and I loved every minute of it.

Long Beach is a fun little beach town in Nassau County of Long Island just about a 20 minute drive (or LIRR trip) from my area of Queens.  It's a cute little town that's nothing like the city...yet it's still just a short commute, and the people there (young and old) love a good time.

Two examples:

1. One night we headed out to Saloon, and were drinking within a mixed crowd of folks in their mid-twenties and some in their mid-fifties.  I'll admit, as part of the mid-twenties grouping, those fifty-something party animals provided a dose of humor for the night, but hey, when I'm around that age, I still want to have places to go out with my friends and have a good time!

2. As we walked back to our car after a weekend of sun and a little too much fun, an old couple sitting on their porch laughed at us and asked if we had a good night last night. What kind of old folks say that?? haha

There's an active boardwalk full of bikers, joggers and walkers, plenty of little coffee shops and restaurants, and even a town parade on Memorial Day.  On the other hand, there's a long strip of bars made for bar-hopping and, this is key, they are all within walking distance from the houses... perfection in my book!

Summer is a celebration in Long Beach, as it should be.  There were constant barbeques to attend, the beach was always lively (but not too packed), and the West End where I stayed had a college-anything goes-laid back vibe.  The houses in the West End are typically small bungalows stacked close together and parking can be difficult, but the bonus lies in their community feel and close proximity to the beach.  Everyone sits out on their porches and chats with neighbors on nice afternoons, and the beach is literally only a block or 2 blocks away.

Things to note when heading to Long Beach:

- You will need to get a  beach pass from a kiosk on the boardwalk to head to the beach for the day (or bum one from a resident in the area with a summer-long beach pass).

- Parking can be tight on the West End near the "state streets" (Indiana Ave., Louisiana St., etc.).

- Breakfast (or lunch or dinner) is cheap and good at the West End Coffee Shop at W. Beech and Georgia Ave.  On busy weekends, expect a bit of a crowd in this cute small town diner.
1042 W. Beech St.
Long Beach, NY 11561

- Bring your volleyball!  Lots of people set up nets on the beach and love joiners interested in a game.

- Saloon at Indiana Ave. and W. Beech St. is a fun bar with a mixed crowd of young and old.  They often times have live music or karaoke.  
1016 W. Beech St.
Long Beach, NY 11561

-Ever wished you could do the Pleasantville-small town stereotype of riding a dainty bike with a basket and a bell?  Now's your chance.  The boardwalk is long and the small alley streets are free from traffic making Long Beach a biker's paradise.

- Minnesota's Restaurant & Tavern at Minnesota Ave. and W. Beech St. is known to have the youngest crowd in Long Beach.  I found it to be a really good time (but then again, I'm only 23!).  
959 W. Beech St.
Long Beach, NY 11561

I've only been to Long Beach three times, but I hope to go a lot more this summer.  Anyone else have other places to recommend in the area?  

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