Wednesday, April 30, 2008

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

Here's a run down of Saturday's block party in Ocean City (though they left out something important -- I'll be signing at Sun Rose Words and Music!)

Yikes: a Navy flare comes ashore in Stone Harbor.

Does anyone know what they're doing in AC's government?

Here's a silly story from The Onion about Mistress America.

I think she should stop in Atlantic City. How about you?

Will gas prices bring more or less people down the shore? My prediction: You'll lose day trippers (those 'I'm cutting work to lie on the beach' or kids with a car and nothing else to do), but you'll gain back those who might have tried places like the Outter Banks or Martha's Vineyard.

The World Series of Birding is coming up soon -- May 10 to be exact.

Thursday is Martin Z. Mollusk day in Ocean City. You'll have to read it to believe it (it's from the same folks who brought you the Doo Dah parade).

I don't get it, but I guess this is news to some people.

Painting's done at the Cape May Lighthouse. Bet it's a tad warmer up there now than it was on my last visit.

Summer help might be older this year.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Silliness Continues


As if the Doo Dah Parade weren't enough, here's another silly picture, snapped by Marc Steiner of Agency New Jersey (yes, he of the Shriver's adventure and my headshot) at the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum. Exit Zero, which publishes the Exit Zero newspaper and Cool Cape May (new edition out now), has offices in part of the museum. How cool is that? Would you want your office in an airplane hanger? Especially one that had the "Top Gun" plane?

For a brief time, I wanted to be an astronaut, a dream that switched to marine biologist after I saw the Little Mermaid. That one stuck all the way to my freshman year of college, which is when I joined the student newspaper, and it was all downhill from there. Figures that this "astronaut" photo op was kid sized. Good thing I'm not too tall.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Doo Dah, Doo Dah

This weekend, I put Emily in the car and headed down the shore. The target? Ocean City's Doo Dah Parade, which celebrates the end of tax season with a basset hound parade.

It was even sillier than I expected. I put Emily in a doggie backpack and thought I'd get a lot of strange looks. Not nearly -- how could that compete with bassett hounds in costumes?

The easiest way to show the silliness is with pictures, so here you go:





















Here's a picture of me trying to talk to Captain Noah, which I show only because you can see Emily in the dog bag. If you've ever had a Jack Russell Terrier, you know that they're not always friendly with other dogs. She was great when in that bag. At other times? Not so much.



As soon as we got down to the Billmae Cottage in Cape May, Emily found the comfiest spot and conked out. It's not often I can wear that dog out, and this was one of those times. She was even sleepy for half of Sunday.



I'm happy to report that I spotted my book in more than a few places -- every bookstore I checked out, including Atlantic Books, which is the closest you'll get to a chain bookstore down the shore:



It was a fun weekend, but I'm exhausted. I'm off to write an article about travel writing. Hey, at least I stick with what I know.

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And we're back...

...from a long rainy weekend down the shore. I'll blog an update later. Until then, you can check out my Twitter feed, or read this article about a 20-month undercover operation that exposed a multi million dollar betting ring centralized on the Borgata poker room floor.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Survey

Readers, I need your help. My book includes special sections shaded out in gray boxes that didn't quite fit into the guide book narrative. Sometimes they're bits of history or history, highlights of special locations, or memories from my times down the shore.

But these gray boxes don't have names except for...gray boxes. I've called them break outs, break aways and sidebars, but none of those titles quite fit. Any suggestions?

I had a blast at the Doo Dah parade today and am typing at you from Cape May. Wish the weather was nicer, but, hey, I'll take what I can get.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Your Shore Weekend

It's not even April, but things are already cooking at the South Jersey shore, starting with an event I have been waiting for since May of 2007: The Doo Dah Parade.

The Doo Dah Parade started as a way to celebrate the end of tax season. I'm not quite sure how 500 bassett hounds and celebrity impersonators got involved, but I cannot wait to get to the Ocean City boardwalk at noon tomorrow. If you've never been, check out this video from South Jersey Video Magazine.

If you're looking for a little more grown up fun, Saturday is also Somers Point's annual Bayfest. I liken it to Tampa's Gasperilla festival where you start the day with kegs and eggs and keep going from there (though there is actual stuff to do). I'm hoping to head over the bridge to catch the tail end of the party, but only if I don't have to go to...

The Sensational 60s weekend! This one's in Wildwood and celebrates all things '60s, including concerts, contests and car shows. For full details, click here.

And this is only April. It's going to be one long, fun summer.

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Twitter @jerseyshorejen

I finally bit the bullet and signed up for Twitter. My username is jerseyshorejen if you'd like to follow me!

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sunrise, Sunset

It was an ambitious plan: me and Steve Chernoski, he of New Jersey: The Movie set out to film one day of Jen at the shore, starting on the Atlantic City boardwalk at sunrise, and ending in Cape May at sunset.

I'm happy to say that we made it -- barely. Part of that fault was mine. I went to hit the Wawa in Collingswood at 4:50am only to see that it was closed -- a Wawa, closed? What the heck? So I detoured to the Bellmawr Wawa off Rt. 42, which got me a nice cup of coffee but had me going 90 down the Atlantic City Expressway and running through the Showboat to make it on the Boardwalk at 6am (a friend who works at Harrahs said I was lucky not to get tackled by security). Glad I did it, though. What a lovely sight -- though I snapped this a little after sunrise:



Because I want you to say "wow,cool" when you see the videos that came of yesterday's trip, I'm not going to write too much about it except that:

1. My favorite part was getting kicked out of the Pier Shops at Caesars by security at 7am. Hey, the door was open! What was I supposed to do? NOT go in?

2. Sun Rose Words and Music in Ocean City, which is hosting my first book signing on May 3, is doing a wonderful job of promoting the book (thanks ladies!) Here it is in the window:



3. The Flanders Hotel in Ocean City has a lovely special events room. I gave a minute talk at the Women in Business luncheon -- and it turns out the honoree of the afternoon reads my blog. Thanks for stopping by my table to say hello!

3. I'm glad I stopped at Avalon Campground to sign copies of my book. I stayed at the campground for a very long time, and I got to walk back to what used to be my family's campsite:



4. The Fudge Kitchen has pretzel cones, and they're open weekdays in the off season (at least in Stone Harbor).

5. By the time I got to the Wildwoods, I was ready to curl up on that big, wide beach and take a nap.

6. Lesson of the day: Don't talk about being in shape near people who are not, or else you'll get yelled at while having an end-of-day beer.

7. Watching the sun go down on Sunset Beach was the perfect way to end the day -- and not just a filming day, but any day. Not one person sitting on Sunset Beach in Cape May was angry or stressed or mad. It was the perfect end of a long, tiring day.

8. Congress Hall has my book, and they put it next to a blue stuffed pig (a pig I have). The gift shop was closed, but I managed to snap this picture:



I got home some time after 10pm and am still feeling weary. But it was worth it -- I had a great day, met a lot of people (and dogs -- hey Clancy!), and got to talk about instead of write about why I love the shore so much. I hope to run the videos on the blog some time in June.

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News from Around the South Jersey Shore

DING, DONG, SMOKING'S DEAD! Well, sort of. Yesterday, Atlantic City banned smoking on all gambling floors. Casinos are still allowed smoking lounges, but at least it'll keep the smokers and the smoke contained. Yipee! Now, let's hope none of the challenges to the resolution go through.

The Washington Street Mall project in Cape May is almost done. I was there yesterday and can tell you that it looks fantastic.

Here's a nice travel piece
about wine tasting in Cape May. And another thumbs up for the town from a Philadelphia visitor.

Not to make this post all Cape May all the time, but birding season is still in full swing. On the drive from Wildwood Crest to Cape May, I saw a cluster of birders on the side of the road.

And here's a blog post about a birding trip.

Hey, it's my friends at Atlantic City Pet Hotel and Grooming. Great place for your dog if you're going to AC.

The skatepark in Ocean City is closing.

Speaking of AC, the shoe store Aldo has put out something called an "Atlantic City pump." Um...not quite my cup of tea, but, hey, at least it's offered in a lot of colors.

Another new casino project?

New South Jersey Shore Blog Alert: Atlantic City Hotels.

Strathmere's looking good.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wonder What the AC Boardwalk Looks Like at Sunrise?

Here's your answer:


Today was amazing. Exhausting, but amazing. I'll write more about my sunrise-to-sunset tour of the South Jersey Shore tomorrow. Too sleepy now...getting up at 4am can really tire a girl out!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Girl on Film: Part II

Tomorrow I'm getting up at 4am to head down the shore for a day of filming (yes, with my clothes on...get your heads out of the gutter!) It's for a few video spots that I hope to be showing on this site sometime in the summer.

I'm also speaking at the Flanders Hotel in Ocean City at noon for an event that honors local women in business. Hmm...I wonder if there's a bathroom where I switch out of my "hey, I'm a cool author" into "hey, I'm a serious author" clothes.

Or maybe I'll just stick in the first outfit. You never know when Emily, the resident ghost, could be watching...

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Spotted: Boston, Brooklyn and Beyond

The first "spotted" comes courtesy of Carlin Reagan, who snapped a picture of the book on her bookshelf in Boston:



Carlin, a freelance TV producer, and I went to college together. She would work on the Moroccan, the University of Tampa yearbook, while I toiled away at the Minaret, the University of Tampa newspaper, across the hall. We'd visit a lot. Her office had turtles, and mine did not.

Carlin re-found me via this blog and my book blog, and it's been fun getting back in touch. "I’ve really enjoyed following your blogs, and the process of creating your book. It makes reading it a much richer experience," she wrote. "In my non-literary opinion, I think you have definitely found your voice as a writer. Very well done, you should be so proud of yourself!"

Her picture was quickly followed by writing-and-running blogger Abra of Abra Goes. Here's a picture of the book at the Park Slope Barnes and Noble:



And being carried on the streets of Brooklyn:



Her favorite part, so far, is the page dedicated to Wawa.

I also have a confession to make: I cheated on the South Jersey shore this weekend. Yes, I have 1.5 sunburnt legs and two sunburnt feet, but they don't come from taking a nap on the beach in Avalon or Stone Harbor or Cape May. I went up the shore and visited Deal and Asbury Park for the first time, and Ocean Grove for the first time in 15 years. I should have been working, but I couldn't turn down the first really summery day of the beach, or the chance to check out the legendary Stone Pony. I've been so busy trying to promote the book and freelance (I still have that mortgage after all), that I needed the break, and it was wonderful. It's not my shore, but I'm glad I got a brief tour of the other part of New Jersey's coast. Plus, I picked up a few places to write about, AND I worked on Sunday (so calm down dear editors who know I'm on deadline this week).

While I was in the area, I stopped at the Borders in Eatontown and, lo and behold, they had the book:



I asked the manager if I could sign and few copies, and he was happy to have me put my signature on the books.



This leads me to thing most people have asked me about so far: yes, that's a picture of a nun on a surfboard. She's at Nun's Beach in Stone Harbor, which is the site of a big surfing tournament every year.

I also got word today that Amazon.com sent around a blast email today along the lines of "You bought X, so you might also like to buy The Jersey Shore by Jen A. Miller." How cool is that?!

Thanks to Carlin and Abra for sending in their pictures. I'd be happy to post yours, too -- drop me a line at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com!

Quick reminder: If you're the Jamiee who posted a shore memory, please email me your address so I can send you your winning copy of my book!

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And the winners are...

Thanks to everyone who commented on this post for the chance to win a free copy of my book. I chose via the highly scientific method of asking a friend to pick two random numbers. So, without further adieu, the winners are:

Mark Miller (no relation) and Jamiee!!!!

Congrats! Since I only have your 'posting' name, drop me an email at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com with your addresses so I can put copies in the mail to you ASAP.

And remember -- send in pictures of your copy of the book along with a shore memory if you'd like me to post it on the blog. I've got a few right now and will be posting them later.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Down the Shore with...Amy Z. Quinn

I'm quite pleased to have Amy Z. Quinn a.k.a Citizen Mom on the blog today. She was the first person ever to link to Down the Shore with Jen back in July. She gives us her piece of mind at Citizen Mom, and she's writing about the election as Confetti Betti here.

And, of course, she's a shore fan. She was even there this weekend (as proven by the picture, which was taken in Ferry Beach in North Cape May). So let's go Down the Shore with Amy!

1. What do you consider 'your' shore town and why?
Wildwood, no question. I love the entire island, from Diamond Beach to Anglesea, but my heart lives right there in the center of the city. Until a few years ago, my parents owned a big house on Pine Avenue (up the block from the Fireman's Tavern) and I basically grew up on its wraparound porch. It had three little cottages behind the house, and when we were teenagers, it was Senior Week central. Don't tell my kid about that last part.

2. A lot of people go to the shore to eat eat eat. Where is one spot you always visit?
Well, this afternoon I had my first slice of Mack's pizza for the season. It was like the reward for making it through that long, drab winter we just had. Marie (the gray-haired lady, aka "Mrs. Mack") wasn't there -- she's been behind that counter forever and for a second, I feared the worst -- but the waitress assured me the old lady'd be back by the end of the month. So all's right with the world.

Other than that, I love dinner at Henry's on the beach in Cape May and breakfast at the Vegas diner in North Wildwood.

3. The Wildwoods boardwalk was overlooked in a recent ranking of United States boardwalks. What gives?
I think the Wildwoods as a whole are in a time of real transition and there are a lot of things conspiring in their favor right now. Without getting too schmaltzy, I'll say that there's a really alive feeling there these days that wasn't there for a while. For so many years, you couldn't read a story about the Wildwoods or the boardwalk that didn't contain the words "tacky" or "honky-tonk" or some other sort of backhanded insult.

And when gas was cheap and people had money, it was easy to overlook Wildwood in favor of someplace like Florida, or the Outer Banks. I think we'll see that continue to change as people are forced to take more "stay-cations," keeping closer to home.

4. How long have you been blogging?
Since August 2004, which makes me about 73 in blog years.

5. Why did you start?
I resisted it for a while, actually. Coming from newspapers it took me a while to be comfortable writing in my own voice, but at a certain point you realize it's like being a columnist without an editor -- which I think is a secret wish of every journalist.

6. What interesting places has your blog taken you?
It's more about the interesting people it's brought me in contact with -- everyone from Perez Hilton to Michelle Obama. I've made good friends and seen a lot of good bands.

7. Any advice for this still newbie blogger?
Like the book says, just take it bird by bird. Be a ruthless self-editor. Resist the urge to take yourself too seriously, even if you decide to make a business out of your blog. Most importantly, be aware of the difference between writing in the first person and writing about yourself. It's the difference between indulging yourself as a writer and just being self-indulgent.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous


Yes, that's Joel Madden. Allow me to explain.

Last night, I went to the Good Charlotte concert at the House of Blues in Atlantic City. I'm not a big fan. But I can sing along with their songs when they come on the radio (only if no one else is in the car because I'm just that good), so why not?

It was a good show, and good people watching. The crowd had a lot of teenagers, and probably adults who didn't want you to know that they were such big fans.

After the concert, I got to go to the Foundation Room, which is a members only club/restaurant (and an excellent spot for dinner), and word was that Nicole Richie was going to be making an appearance to see Joel Madden DJ.

Now, I'm not one to get all hyper about brushes with 'celebrity.' But I admit that I was intrigued. I was even sort of hoping Ms. Hilton, who is dating the other Madden brother, would show because I wanted to see the mayhem (Paris, alas, was in Africa).

My first impression of Richie is that she's tiny. During the concert, I could see her backstage from my perch on the balcony, and when she walked by me in the Foundation Room, she still looked small, but very pretty (I think motherhood looks good on her). She stayed in a private, roped off room while Madden DJed, and every once and a while, she'd pop her head out where we could see.

Given the people there, it was still a pretty chill evening. And Madden's a good DJ, which was fun for those of us dancing.

Anyway, back to work for me this morning. Remember, if you'd like a chance of winning a free copy of my book, you must post a shore memory here before midnight tonight (Eastern Standard Time). I'll announce the winners on Monday!

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spotted: The Jersey Shore

I had a slew of meetings in Philadelphia yesterday, so between them, I ran around town finding and signing copies of my book (with permission, of course).

Here it is at the Joseph Fox Bookshop:



And at Barnes & Noble on Rittenhouse Square:



So where did you see yours? Snap a picture and send it to jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com if you'd like me to post the picture!


And remember -- post your shore memory here and enter to win a free copy of my book!

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News from Around the South Jersey Shore

Hey, look, it's Steve Chernoski in the Press of Atlantic City!

More on the Margate farmer's market dust up.

More vandilism of Sea Isle City houses. When you think about it, it makes sense that they'd be targets -- most of them are lavishly furnished and decorated...and empty most of the year. Not condoning it...just saying.

Here's an update on that whole Atlantic City smoking ban thing.

Champagne Island is officially closed -- unless you're a bird.

Cape May's having a spring festival -- April 25 to May 4.

Here's a write up about a few boardwalks.

Looks like the Washington Street Mall renovations in Cape May are going well.

And remember -- post your shore memory here and enter to win a free copy of my book!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Who's that Girl?


On Monday, Marc Steiner of Agency New Jersey (and of the Shriver's adventure) took my new headshot. He snapped pictures in my dining room, office (above) and the streets of Collingswood.

I like the results. The old picture, which I refer to as 'the toothpaste ad,' had to go. It's four years old. As Marc said, I'm a different person now, and he was right. So here's the new Jen A. Miller headshot:


Good picture, good day, and -- hey! -- my book's published. I've been getting emails and phone calls from people who picked up their copies. Remember, if you post a shore memory in the comments of this post, you could win one of two free copies. And if you send me a picture of your copy of the book, I'll post it on the site!

Emily was perplexed by the whole picture taking process, but she was a good sport. And this was fun, too:


I'm working on a few shore articles this morning and will be headed to Atlantic City tomorrow. Beautiful day for it!

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

MY BOOK'S OUT!!!!!


Apparently a lot of people wanted this book, and my publisher decided to release it a few weeks early. So forget that May 5 publication date: The Jersey Shore; Atlantic City to Cape May: Great Destinationsis officially up for sale!!!!!!!

Want a copy? I'm giving two away! How do you enter to win? By posting a Jersey Shore memory in the comments section of this post by midnight on Friday, April 18 (and keep it PG, please). On Saturday, I'll pick two commentators at random, and those random folks will get a copy of the book! For free! And signed!

If you'd rather not leave things up to chance, you can of course buy a copy on amazon by clicking here. It's also available in Barnes and Noble and Borders. Click here to check if it's at your Borders, and here to check if it's at your Barnes & Noble.

Already got a copy? Then here's what I'd like you to do: Take a picture of your copy and email that picture to me at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com. You can pose with the book, take a picture of it on your coffee table, or even take a picture of it on the shelf in the store -- as long as the book is in the picture (and, again, it's PG), I'll post your picture on the blog. If you'd like to include your favorite shore memory in the email, I'll post that, too. Make sure to include your name and where you live in the email.

Something like this would work:


I took this today at the Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ. I thought I'd have a stronger reaction to seeing the book in the store, but this whole early publication took me slightly by surprise. I was ramping up for that first signing on May 3, but, well, the earlier the better!

I'm going to leave this post up top for a few days...enjoy reading everyone's comments and memories!

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Down the Shore with...Paige Wolf

Paige Wolf of Paige Wolf Public Relations is *the* girl about town. Not only does this outstanding PR gal write the fabulous "Paige Turner" newsletter, but she's also organizing a fundraiser for Career Wardrobe, a great charity that helps women in need.

She's also has some shore memories, so let's go Down the Shore with Paige!

1. What do you consider 'your' shore town and why?My grandmother has a shore house in Ventnor and my parents are big fans of Atlantic City, so I usually stay in that area when I visit. But I much prefer the simplicity of Ocean City’s boardwalk – French fries, funnel cake, and Ferris wheels!

2. What was your favorite ride on Wonderland Pier?
When I was a kid I loved all the roller coasters and spinny rides. Now I am close to 30 and my belly can’t handle all that motion! I’d rather stick to the games at this point!

3. What are your thoughts on one of my favorite Jersey shore foods, the upcake? OK, you introduced me to Upcakes and it was love at first bite – sweet and delish! The icing all over is brilliant and the flavors are fabulous! Bailys Irish Cream!

4. Where do you like to go now at the Jersey Shore?
Atlantic City has improved tremendously in the past five years. It used to be way seedier, and now there are so many great restaurants and way better shopping. It’s so nice to see them trying to be more like Vegas, but there is still a ways to go.

5. Tell us about Career Wardrobe.
The Career Wardrobe is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization that provides women in transition with free professional clothing and educational opportunities to help them successfully find and retain employment. The Wardrobe’ services empower women by inspiring the confidence necessary to achieve self-sufficiency for themselves and their families. The Career Wardrobe also offers a Gateway to Success Seminar Series, where volunteers with expertise in fashion, financial management, employment law and human resources present monthly seminars on personal and professional development. The organization helps about 5,000 women a year!
Our seventh annual fundraiser, A Perfect Fit: Fashioning Futures For Women will be held Wednesday, June 11, 2008 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at World CafĂ© Live in Philadelphia. The evening includes a fashion presentation by local media personalities, live music by Philadelphia singer-songwriter Christine Havrilla, and a live auction of handbags inspired and autographed by national celebrities. This year’s event incorporates the theme “Living an Empowered Life,” and includes a keepsake resource program book with articles detailing how women can take control of their personal and professional lives.

6. How can people get involved in the event?
Tickets are only $60 and are available online, www.careerwardrobe.org. Or they can call (215) 568-6693. The wardrobe also always has volunteer opportunities available.

7. I also know you're 'green minded.' What are some easy things you can do to go green?
There are so many super easy things! For instance, there is no excuse to not be using CFL light bulbs which also save time and money. Recycling is easier than ever –I know in my area we don’t even have to separate – paper, plastic, bottles, and cans can all go in one bin! And just say no to plastic bags! It is much more comfortable and convenient to carry one of the many reusable totes or even a large shoulder bag.

I'm donating a shore themed basket to the event. If you our your company would like to add to the basket, send me an email at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Weekend Wash Up: Foux De Fa Fa

In honor of the new Wildwoods French website:



And that's about as good as my French gets...enjoy!

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Best Boardwalks

Congrats, Atlantic City and Ocean City -- you've got great boardwalks.

Well, most people already know this, but the Fine Living television network just released their list of top 10 boardwalks in the US, and Atlantic City and Ocean City (pictured) rank three and four, respectively.

On Atlantic City: "America's most famous boardwalk dates all the way back to 1870, and while modern casinos now dominate the waterfront, you don't have to be a gambler to enjoy the wide beach and five-mile strip of hotels, shopping and entertainment."

On Ocean City: "Almost as old as Atlantic City and more in touch with its 19th-century roots, the Ocean City Boardwalk provides a glimpse of the elegant Victorian seaside resorts that once dotted the mid-Atlantic coast."

You can read the full list here.

If you twisted my arm to ask me which one I like more, I'd have to go with Ocean City since it's the boardwalk of my youth. As a grown up (of legal drinking age), Atlantic City has more nightlife to offer. But the two are so different I'd have a tough time putting one up against the others -- that 'apples to oranges' thing could apply here.

I've been spending a lot of time in Atlantic City of late, both for work and not. It's an interesting town, especially for those who live there. I don't know of any other place where you can get so many top notch restaurants and bars packed into a strip by the ocean, and now that I know where everything is...well, it's going to be a good summer!

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

Speaking of birding, check out this poem about the Cape May warbler.

Speaking of birding (again), here's a great new guide for young birders.

More wackiness has been added to Ocean City's Doo Dah Parade, which I CAN'T WAIT TO ATTEND! April 26 people! Bring your cameras!

The Press of Atlantic City
just got a boat load of awards. Congrats!

Here's some lovely pictures of Cape May.

I loved Amy S. Rosenberg's piece about the farmer's market battle in Margate from this Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer. It is the personification of small town politics, and written as such. Great job, Amy.

More on Cape May's new dog park. Can't wait to take Emily!

Thinking of buying or selling in Avalon or Stone Harbor? Then read this.

Yikes: murder at the Taj.

Another reason why the Marine Mammal Stranding Center should not be kicked out of Brigantine.

Maybe I'll see less strung out people on the Wildwood boardwalk on Sunday's morning: big drug bust in Cape May and Wildwood.

Bader Field's up for sale.

Teens throw "roving parties" in empty Sea Isle houses kids. Kids, you're not that far from being allowed into the OD's "No Shower Happy Hour." Can't you wait a few more years?

Here's a preview of the Cape May Jazz Festival that will take place on April 18-20.

If you're like me and listen to Sid Mark's Fridays with Frank and Sundays with Sinatra, you might be interested in this Rat Pack Tribute Show in Atlantic City.

The Nature Center of Cape May organizes some great events. Here's another one: Possum and Peepers.

The Anglesea Pub in North Wildwood's got new ownership: Steve Ransom from the C-View.

Stone Harbor's getting a 'crab shack' style restaurant -- another great tip from Rob Seitzinger's fab Cape Cuisine blog.

Well, congrats to you from me as well, Eric!

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

For the Birds

If you happen to be flying USAirways this month, check out USAirways Magazine for my article about birding in New Jersey. Or check it out online here (scroll down to "For the Birds." A sample:

"It’s a long flight from the Arctic tundra to South America, so it’s no surprise that tens of thousands of birds make a rest stop during their annual migration. What people probably don’t know is that the avian stopover of choice is New Jersey or that the World Series of Birding takes place in the Garden State every year."

I listed Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, The Wetlands Institute and Cape May Point State Park (pictured) as South Jersey Shore spots to check out what's flying high in the sky.

You might want to check out Scott Weidensaul's Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birdingbefore going -- and not just because he calls Cape May one of the best spots in the world to go birding. It's a fun read -- check out my review here.

And if you're really into birding, that World Series of Birding is on May 10. More info here.

Happy Birding!

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Flashback

So it's 11pm on a weeknight. I'm working and listening to Guster's Portland: Live on Ice. I haven't done this in a while -- not since I wrote the book. My routine then was to work all day, eat dinner, make coffee, come back upstairs, and work until about midnight. When I was done writing, I'd get a beer, come back upstairs and answer work emails, using Guster to pull me through.

But this time I'm up late signing and mailing copies of that finished book to family and friends. I'm starting to get feedback, too -- mostly of the "I can't even imagine how much work this took." I have a shelf full of research materials stuffed into folders and rough drafts full of edit marks to show how much went into the book, but I don't think I'll ever be able to get my head around how much time is poured into those 262 pages.

It's hard to believe that this book will be out and available for sale in less than a month, let alone that I have a stack of copies on my desk. I worked on it for far over a year. It's a wow moment.

My dad asked me tonight if I'd ever do another travel guide. I don't know if I care about any other part of the country enough to put that kind of blood, sweat and tears into a similar project (yes, blood -- I cut myself on a shell). But never say never!

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Event Update

I am official less than a month away from book publication, which made me realize that I should probably write out an updated list of all my book-related events (that way, I can, um, make sure books are with me at every signing and appearance!)

So here's an updated list of where I'll be, when I'll be there, and why:

May 3 at Sun Rose Words & Music in Ocean City, 10am. This is part of Ocean City's block party, and the *first* place you can buy the book!
May 6 at Haddonfield Borough Hall in Haddonfield, 7:30pm. I'm a guest of the Friends of the Library, and will be reading from the book and talking about the shore. I went to middle and high school in Haddonfield -- remember, free book to the Bulldawg mascot if s/he shows.
May 10 in Manayunk -- this is a maybe. May 10 is their Second Saturday festival, and I'm working out the details to sign at one of the stores.
May 14 in Philadelphia for my book party. Sorry, kids, this is invitation only (I can't pay for ALL of you to drink, but if you want to come, let me know!)
May 19 at the Pop Shop in Collingswood, 7:30pm. I'm sponsoring Trivia Night and will be asking a round of Jersey Shore questions. Lots of fun! (April is also National Grilled Cheese month, and the Pop Shop has added outstanding varieties to their already fab menu -- and they'll be on Bobby Flay's Throwdown on April 13!)
May 21 at the Inlet in Somers Point, 6-8pm. This is a "meet the author" and open to anyone and everyone. If you've never sipped a drink on the deck at the Inlet, it is a must do. Hopefully we'll have nice weather that day.
June 5 at the Barnes & Noble in Marlton, 7:30pm. I'll be speaking about how to write about your own back yard. This is part of Rutgers Camden's excellent Cappuccino Academy series.
June 14 at Robert Jay’s Unforgettables as part of Second Saturday in Collingswood, 7:30pm. Collingswood has a great Second Saturday, and Robert Jay's has a great selection of used books and awesome antiques. He just hung a Max Hedrum banner on the back wall of the store. How cool is that?
June 21 at Harbor Fest in Cape May at the Cape May Nature Center. Details about time still to come, but I think I'll be at noon. June 21 is also the re dedication of the Washington Street mall.

And there's a few more events to come, but still in the early planning stages. When I nail down those dates and times, I will let you know! And if you have any questions about any of the events (or would like to host one!) drop me a line at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Down the Shore with...Jen Singer

Jen Singer is, in a word, amazing. Not only does she run the very cool website mommasaid.net; not only does she blog for Good Housekeeping; and not only is she also author of the very funny You're a Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren't So Bad Either); but she's also a cancer survivor -- and she managed to keep all three things going, plus wrap up a home renovation and still run her family show while undergoing treatment.

She's also a big Wildwoods fan, and it plays a part in her story. So here we go:

1. What do you consider 'your' shore town and why?
For the past few summers, my husband’s family has joined us in Wildwood – actually, Lower Township. We stay at Seapointe Village, a quiet, family-oriented condo association near the end of the Wildwood beach. We picked it because it’s perfect for kids: large beach with tame waves, pools, kitchen for cooking, proximity to the boardwalk and to Cape May. We often run into neighbors from Kinnelon there.

2. Why did you start coming to the Wildwoods?
We had been vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, which I love, but it was a haul to get to, especially with kids in tow. So we looked closer to home. My sister-in-law’s friend brought her family there and recommended it. We’ve been hooked ever since. This summer will be our sixth vacation there.

Last summer was an especially sweet time for us. I had just spent my second week in the hospital undergoing chemo for non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. On the day I was to leave for the shore, my husband, Pete, was on his way into Manhattan to pick me up, and my oncology nurse was double-timing my chemo. As a result, I was snoozing on and off, tired from the benedryl blast. When my roommate asked my nurse if she could have my window-view bed after I leave, he said, “If she leaves.” I bolted awake and said, “I don’t care if you have to strap my gurney on top of my mini-van, I am going down the shore today!” Two hours later, Pete was driving me down the Parkway.

3. Most people come to the shore to eat. Any recommendations?
Every year, my husband and I take advantage of the free babysitting and head over to Cape May for dinner for two at the Ebbitt Room in the Virginia Hotel on Jackson Street. They have fantastic seafood meals and awfully good champagne drinks.

4. How did you get the idea for You're a Good Mom?
I’m a recovering mom-aholic who used to feel guilty for folding laundry because I wasn’t making teaching moments for my toddlers, even though I was a full-time mom who spent upwards of 100 hours a week with them. Over the years, I’ve seen mothers try too hard to try to keep up with Super Moms, thereby giving up and becoming Slacker Moms. One’s bad for mom and the other is bad for the kids. But I knew that there was a sweet spot between the two where you can raise perfectly good kids without losing yourself or your sanity. And so I wrote the book.

5. How did you stay inspired finish the book while undergoing chemo?
Writing is one of the things that helped me through all the chemo, baldness, pain, fatigue, all the nastiness of cancer treatments. Getting lost in the writing helped me deal with the fact that I was 40 and facing death. If nothing else, writing is cheaper than therapy.

6. Which parts of the book did you write down the shore?
I don’t even remember which I wrote before my diagnosis and which I wrote after, which, considering I write humor, is pretty darn cool. I didn’t leave our vacation rental much in the first few days down the shore, so when everyone else went to the beach, I flipped open my laptop and banged out a few pages. Or I wrote one sentence and fell fast asleep in front of the TV. Somehow, I managed to finish the book a week ahead of my extended deadline.

7. What do you hope to do in summer 2008 that you couldn't do in summer 2007?
Everything. Swimming, making sand castles, mini golf, going on the water rides on the boardwalk, visiting the Cape May Zoo and taking my kids on in that water gun game where you race to blow up the balloon. I’ve got cheap stuffed animals to win, darn it!

As a bonus, here's a trailer for Jen's book!



Read more at mommasaid.net.

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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Weekend Wash Up: Hurricane Surfing


I've sat out two hurricanes at the Jersey Shore. Neither one was a big deal (I think one had been downgraded to a tropical storm when it passed by), but it kicks up some monster waves, as this video shows.

I remember hitting the beach the day after Hurricane Bob came through in 1991. Shells lined the beach, and a sting ray was flopping around on the jetty. I wanted to help, but my mom didn't want me to going out onto wet rocks. Smart lady.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Subscription Reminder

Scared you're going to miss a post? Then drop your email in the "subscribe" box on your left. You'll be send a little reminder asking you if you really really really really want to sign up to get "Down the Shore with Jen" in your inbox (of course the answer will be yes), and then, around 7am EST on days after I post, you can enjoy a little bit of the Jersey Shore with your morning coffee!

Also, I wrote an article for the Home & Garden section of the Philadelphia Inquirer. It's in today's paper. H&G isn't one of my main freelance writing areas, but I was inspired after I got stuck on the treadmill in front of the HGTV channel. And voila, and article is born.

Off to Atlantic City today. I'm getting waaaay too familiar with the Atlantic City expressway, and it's expensive to drive back and forth. This is why I've decided -- finally -- that I am going to try to get into a shore house this year (for some reason, I didn't think I'd need to be down the shore that much this summer. I must have needed sleep). So if you know of a house that needs a roommate (I'm hoping to jump in where someone dropped out), hit me up at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Picture Perfect


Yesterday was my Shriver's adventure. I can't say much since I'm writing about it for a magazine, except that I did not have to wear the Shriver's taffy costume. I'll be sure to post a link here when the article's online.

I forgot how much energy being in front of the camera saps out of you. But it was fun. This is a picture of me and Marc Steiner of Agency New Jersey, who took the photos of yesterday's adventure. It's funny getting your picture taken in a public place, especially by a pro photographer. People stop, stare and try to talk to you while you're having your picture taken. Not that it's a bad thing. It's great book publicity!

I'm off to Cape May today, but not technically for work. I'm going with my dad and his fiance to witness the signing of their marriage liscense. Given that I woke up in the middle of the night with the vision of the Shriver's article in my head -- and yes, I got up and started writing it -- I think I'll be snoozing in the back of the car the whole way down.

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News from Around the South Jersey Shore

It's birding time in Cape May. Here's a great article about it from the Philadelphia Inquirer, and a blog response to the article. Feel free to add your dining recommendations in the comments.

And here's a birding migration report if you're on your way to Cape May.

Here's a spring trip to the Jersey Shore. Given that I spent last weekend and yesterday down the shore, and will be going back this afternoon, I have to agree that spring's a great time to go!

Ocean City might be putting restrictions on electronic scrolling signs.

Like to drink and raise money for a good cause? Then you might be interested in this event.

Atlantic City casinos are still down.

But, hey, at least NYU students are being pointed in AC's direction to test out their poker skills.

I hope they know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. If they don't, Kenny Rogers is coming to AC May 23 and 24 and can remind them.

Congrats to Andre, a blogger who ran the Ocean Drive Marathon. His blog report about it is here. For the Cape May County Herald's report on the race, click here.

The weird and wacky thing that is Donald Trump's presence in Atlantic City, as written up in the Times of Trenton.

Here's a South Jersey Shore fishing report.

This looks like a neat show in Cape May.

The situation at the Tropiciana just got a little messier. I love the "Trop Dead" headline.

The dog park's open in Cape May!

ROB ANDREWS IS RUNNING FOR SENATE! This could be the first time we'd get a senator from South Jersey in Washington since, well, before I was born. And that calls for all caps.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What's the next shore adventure?

Here's a big, sweet hint:


Should be a fun (though sticky) day.

I'm also looking for people with family shore memories to share. Maybe it's that one ride you must go on every year, or that one specific ice cream cone you get every Memorial day weekend.

Want to tell me your South Jersey shore tradition or memory? Hit up the comments or drop me a line at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com!

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Shore Spring Training

Check out the April issue of SJ Magazine for a preview of new shore stuff. You'll find information about new kayacking guides, new dog parks, and new things to do down the shore.

Don't get the magazine? Read the article online here.

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