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Greetings from Asbury Park: A New Jersey Travel Guide For Bruce Springsteen Fans 

Listen up Springsteen fans: If you love Bruce’s music, you’ll want to book your next vacation to New Jersey. Besides the fact that the Jersey Shore is becoming the new luxury vacation site, there are a number of great places to visit if you’re interested in learning more about everyone’s favorite Jersey-based rock star. 

Grab your favorite shotgun rider for a road trip, Jersey style, as you take a tour of Bruce Springsteen’s home state.

The Stone Pony, Asbury Park

The Stone Pony opened its doors on February 8, 1974, and it has since become the namesake of the Jersey Shore. The club credits its success to locals like Springsteen for creating a “musical legacy” along the shore. It has had its ups and downs, but it’s a great location to visit for any music lover, especially if you’re a fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

The Stone Pony is open Thursday through Saturday from 12 PM until 5 PM, and you can visit any time to take a look at the amazing memorabilia, including signed guitars by the Boss himself. If you’re there during the warmer months, grab tickets to a concert either inside or at their summer stage. Take in an awesome show while the sun sets behind the stage and you hear the faint sound of the ocean behind you.

Convention Hall, Asbury Park

Image by Gary Hershorn/Contributor

Not too far from The Stone Pony (roughly a 5-10-minute walk, depending on how quickly you can weave through thick crowds on the boardwalk), is the Asbury Park Convention Hall and Paramount Theatre. This unique arena stretches out into the ocean and is one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture on the shore. In 2007, the boardwalk was restored to ensure its continued legacy for generations to come. 

Bruce Springsteen saw iconic rock acts at the Convention Hall as a teen, such as The Who, The Doors, and Janis Joplin. In 2002, Springsteen kicked off his reunion tour with the E Street Band in Asbury Park with appearances all over the boardwalk. His album release on The Today Show was live from the Convention Hall, and on July 25, 2002, a handful of lucky fans listened to an exclusive performance from inside the building, while others listened from the boardwalk.

Madam Marie’s Psychic Booth, Asbury Park

Marie Castello, aka Madam Marie, told fortunes out of a booth on the boardwalk for 76 years until she passed away in 2008. Castello and many others called her small shack “The Temple of Knowledge.”

Madam Marie’s, which is still open to this day, inspired a line in Springsteen’s song “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy).” Though the lyrics were completely made up, Springsteen did have a relationship with Marie Castello. Castello’s granddaughter Sabrina said Marie told Springsteen “that he should continue with the love of music.” Springsteen confirmed her story, saying that his fortune was always positive from Madam Marie.

The Student Prince, Asbury Park

Image by Porta

Now known as Porta, 911 Kingsley Street is the location where Springsteen met Clarence Clemons, the beloved saxophonist of the E Street Band, in 1971. At the time, Springsteen was forming his band and Clemons was playing in cover groups like Joyful Noize. Clemons later left the band to play with Bruce, and the rest is history. Though the club has changed owners and names on a number of occasions, it is still a part of the story of Bruce Springsteen’s success.

The small club was a major part of the Jersey Shore music scene when Springsteen and Clemons were coming up. Though temporarily closed, this location plays a heavy role in Springsteen’s history. Throughout his career, he would return there time and time again, first trying to earn extra money for the holidays and then testing new material for albums like Dancing in the Dark in 1984.

E Street, Belmar

As the namesake for the E Street Band, die-hard Bruce fans will want to make this stop, even if it seems a little strange. Springsteen’s former keyboard player, David Sacnious, lived on E Street, and the band would frequently rehearse at his house. 

In 2011, an eight-foot replica of Bruce Springsteen’s Fender Esquire was erected on the corner of E Street and 10th Avenue in front of the Belmar Public Library. The artist, Bob Mataranglo, was commissioned by the Belmar Tourism Commission to complete a sculpture in Springsteen’s honor. Mataranglo drew inspiration from the Born to Run cover from 1975 to create his sculpture, and it was put on display in June of that year.

The Osprey, Manasquan

Image by The Osprey

Even though it’s only open for the summer, The Osprey has become quite a popular location for people looking to rock or dance. The Rock Room hosts a live band, and the Boom Boom Room houses a number of guest DJs, making for a unique party atmosphere no matter where you spend your time. The Osprey is also the first and only bar Springsteen has written a song about.

Released in 1998, “Seaside Bar Song” chronicles Springsteen’s first drink he took at the bar while listening to Bo Diddley play the club. The Osprey first opened in 1946, and though it has changed owners a handful of times, the name remains the same. The bar is still a favorite of the Boss, and he still makes visits when he’s in the area.

39 ½ Institute Street and 68 South Street, Freehold

Bruce Springsteen’s childhood home still stands, and although it isn’t for sale right now, lots of fans still visit the multi-family abode. The tree in front of the home appeared in the Born in the USA tour book from 1984. Springsteen lived here with his family from age five until his early teenage years. It was in this house that Springsteen saw Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show and begged his mother for a guitar.

Later on, when Springsteen was in high school, his parents moved to another two-family home on South Street. He lived in one other house in Freehold, but that one was torn down and turned into a parking lot. He lived on South Street with his family until he graduated from Freehold High School.

Which of these locations will you be visiting on your next trip down to the shore?

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