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GOOD READS
Did you know the Jersey Shore was once the top vacation and recreation destination along the East Coast? Historians and authors Rick Geffken and Muriel J. Smith will tell you all about those times and more in their new book on the county’s rich past. The not-yet-titled piece is due out next year. 

Geffken, of Farmingdale, is a longtime newspaper contributor and wrote Lost Amusement Parks of the North Jersey Shore (above) with George Severini and co-authored The Story of Shrewsbury Revisited, 1965-2015 with Shrewsbury Mayor Donald Burden.

Smith, a Freehold resident and member of the Monmouth County Historical Association, is a regular newspaper contributor and columnist. The book will be a blend of their unique writing styles and fascinating stories.

RAISE YOUR GLASS!
You don’t have to travel to a Tuscan winery for the pinot noir of your life. Wine Spectator has announced the winners of its annual Restaurant Awards, which pay homage to the best-of-the-best wine menus spanning 50 states and 75 countries. Out of the 3,759 honorees on 2018’s list, three are right here in Monmouth County.
We think this calls for a toast:

  • Birravino, Red Bank
  • Rooney’s Oceanfront Restaurant, Long Branch
  • Undici Taverna Rustica, Rumson

RIDE IT OUT

Ready for the ride of your life? Stretch your legs, strap on your cycling shoes and sign up for the annual Cycle Mon-mouth, a satellite event of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Cycle for Survival initiative. One hundred percent of the money raised during the event will fund cancer research studies and clinical trials. Since its inception in 2013, Cycle Monmouth has donated more than $233,000 to the cause. The indoor cycling event takes place Oct. 4 at AB Fitness in Sea Bright. A familiar face, instructor Ginger Whitenack, will lead the challenging (but fun) ride. Not to worry—riders of all skill levels can participate! Find Cycle Monmouth on Face-book for more details.

KUDOS
Let’s Dance
We don’t think, we know Cole Mills can dance. The Ocean Township resident was one of eight finalists competing in Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance this season. Mills, who has taken up football, lacrosse, rugby and surfing, as well as studying theater and dance at Montclair State University, is a national ballroom dancing champion who caught the judges’ eyes for his versatility. When he excelled at a contemporary routine, judge Nigel Lythgoe likened the Latin DanceSport specialist to Dancing with the Stars and World of Dance star Derek Hough.
Garden Party
The Master Gardeners of Monmouth County donates more than 3,000 pounds of produce to area food pantries through the Monmouth County Plant A Row garden program. The initiative, run in conjunction with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, encourages all gardeners to dedicate a row of their produce for local food banks and pantries. This year, the Monmouth green thumbs have grown cucumbers, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, snow peas, radishes and  kale in the 2,000-square-foot garden in Freehold. 

HOT WHEELS
Two wheels can be better, faster and cheaper than four. And several Monmouth towns want residents to share in the experience. Earlier this summer, Keyport launched LimeBike, a dockless bike-sharing program that rents bicycles at an hourly rate ($1 for 30 minutes). You can find your wheels by using the LimeBike app—but it’s likely you’ll spot one to rent on the street. Asbury Park began its own bike-sharing program last year, and Red Bank is developing one too. It’s part of a growing trend as cities across the globe are looking for sustainable means of transportation and ways to ease environmental stress. One of the goals is to get commuters to ride them to and from the train station. The result: less congestion and healthier citizens.

NJ’s Top Dog
State Sen. Anthony Bucco is working hard to pass a law  that would designate the Seeing Eye dog as the official pooch of the Garden State. “That’s not a breed,” we can hear you muttering, but doggone if there’s not a certain logic here. The 90-year-old Morristown-based philanthropic organization The Seeing Eye breeds dogs—mostly Labradors and golden retrievers—as service animals for the visually impaired, both locally and internationally.

To become a law, legislation must be passed by the Senate and Assembly and signed by the governor. But considering Jersey officials recently established a state rep-tile (the bog turtle) and even a state microbe (streptomyces griseus), a celebrated canine would fit right in.

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