TV reporter Jayne Miller enjoys vacationing on the beaches of Ocean County, N.J.
WBAL-TV investigative reporter Jayne Miller with her dog at Island Beach State Park along Barnegat Bay in Ocean County, N.J. (Courtesy of Jayne Miller, Baltimore Sun / August 22, 2011)
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But asked to cite her favorite travel destination, Miller said her favorite getaway is practically next door.
It's the place she considers her second home — property on the remote Barnegat Peninsula, along New Jersey's north-central coast, that has been in her family for two generations.
What is your favorite travel destination?
I have been very lucky to have traveled many places, but my favorite destination is Island Beach State Park, along the Jersey shore.
How long have you been frequenting this spot?
Since I was just 6 weeks old. In the 1940s after World War II, my family began vacationing in that area. Ultimately, my father bought a house on Barnegat Bay, near Seaside Park, which I still own with my brother. I discovered Island Beach State Park when I started having dogs, because you can take your dog there.
What inspires you most about this destination?
Island Beach State Park is miles of untouched, undeveloped natural coastland. You know the East Coast: There is practically no undeveloped land. This is a pristine, peaceful place. There is nothing like going there first thing in the morning, because the only people out are the fishermen, and it's not yet hot.
This [Ocean County] is an area that is rich with history, with really old bay-head towns. New Jersey has gone to great lengths to restore and maintain its beaches in recent years, and there are fabulous beaches along the coast. Of course, Seaside Heights has now been made famous by Snooki [of MTV's series "Jersey Shore"] … and by the way, it's all real!
Is this a bustling beach town?
Nearby me, there are mostly family houses and very few motels. Our property is on Barnegat Bay, near Toms River. I have my best memories of my parents there. My brother and I now own it, so our families and friends are visiting all the time.
What regular rituals do you follow when you visit?
Every morning we head over to the park, where the dog runs and swims, and we just walk for miles. We're avid boaters, which is why we're on the bay…even the dog comes in the boat.
Do you have a favorite restaurant?
You know what? It's the backyard grill — because the best food we get is the fresh fish from the Ortley Fish Market in Ortley Beach and the fresh Jersey produce available at vendors along Route 35.
There's nothing quite like steaming some clams, boiling some corn on the cob, packing it up and taking it out to watch sunset over the bay by boat. We, and many of the locals, do a lot of cooking while we're there.
When we do eat out, one of our favorites is Lobster Shanty in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. It's on the Manasquan Inlet and a great spot to watch fishing boats come and go.
Considering all the travel you have done, what other destinations do you recommend?