Best of the Shore 2010

And we do mean the whole Shore. From great Boardwalk eats to fancy boutiques, quiet places for a sunset dinner to rowdy bars for partying, we bring you the tops up and down the Garden State coastline, including the Jersey Cape, LBI, and for the first time ever, the North Jersey beaches. Come on in, the water's fine.

   From Sandy Hook to the tip of Cape May, the new eating-out option that excites us most is the Diving Horse, a rustic-chic dinner-only BYOB by the guys who brought Rittenhouse the justly popular, thoroughly fun, deliciously outfitted Pub & Kitchen. Get on the reservation list now, or hope for clear weather for seats at one of the first-come, first-served community tables on the deck. However you get in, order the fried oysters.  2109 Dune Drive, 609-368-5000,

PICNIC FOOD   With the beach a few blocks away and no onion rings or cheese-steaks in sight, Isabel’s is a sub shop gone Avalon. This cafe-cum-BYO shuns pedestrian sammies for fancy-delicious panini. Our favorite: crabcake with garlic mayo on a ciabatta. Add a chocolate-chipper from the bake shop—and be sure to keep the gulls far, far away.  2285 Dune Drive, 609-967-5776,

  The once-clandestine, now cult-followed house sale by Kathy Cochet and Anne Flynn has gone big-time. For three days, Nine will sell modern furniture, sailcloth beach bags, Thomas Paul whale pareos, snatch-’em-up hostess gifts (ask what they discovered at Liberty of London), plus their own-design skinny summer tees and custom subway-style signs (the most perfect gift for those on-the-beach baby showers) from the Avalon Yacht Club.  July 1st, 6 to 10 p.m.; July 2nd, noon to 6 p.m.; August 19th, 6 to 10 p.m. 704 7th Street, 856-428-9991,

Surfer-artists make most of the merch filling Dunehouse, where proceeds from certain items go to the Brendan Borek High Tides Memorial Fund.  2170 Dune Drive, 609-967-4242;

SHOPPING   Add to the above list of shops and sales: the Preppy Palm for Lilly home goods and Melly M separates; Tiger Lily for Trina Turk and Tibi; Closet Boutique for Vince and Three Dots; and She Be Surfin’ and the Avalon Surf Shop for classic surf wear—and be amazed at what formerly retail-lite Avalon can do to your gold card.   The Preppy Palm, 2533 Dune Drive, 609-368-7300,; Tiger Lily, 271 21st Street, 609-967-4300,; Closet Boutique, 2509 Dune Drive, 609-368-7400,; She Be Surfin’, 2516 Dune Drive, 609-967-3100; Avalon Surf Shop, 2249 Dune Drive, 609-967-7115,

SEAFOOD BYOB   Known for its full complement of fresh catch to-go, casual, side-street picnic-style-BYO-meets-fish-market Sylvester’s is justly famous for its crabcake (20,000 sold per season—holy crab), best enjoyed when the tide is high and the breeze is ocean—and the Jersey corn is sweet.  503 21st Street, 609-967-7553,

PREPPY PUB   Terry White—formerly a partner in Union Trust, and an apprentice, way back when, of Georges Perrier—is bringing his culinary acumen to the kitchen at the Princeton Bar this summer, adding even more Waspy luster to the polished watering hole where the unofficial customer uniform is Lacoste (and, of course, Docksiders, no socks). There’s a reason the word “Princeton” is in the name.  2008 Dune Drive, 609-967-3456,

Stone Harbor

SEAFOOD   The perfect blend of rustic boathouse and convivial restaurant (try for outdoor seating in the quaint back garden area), Quahog’s Seafood Shack offers some of the freshest—and most expertly prepared—seafaring fare at the Shore. The buttery lobster roll is a must.  206 97th Street, 609-368-6300,