Monday, September 29, 2008

Down the Shore with Jen...sort of

"Central Jersey" is a mythical, mysterious, undefined beast. Like Bigfoot."

This from photographer Justin Gaynor whose work I've linked to on the blog before.

He's right, I think. This was one of the topics of discussion this weekend at the Ocean County Book Festival, where I signed books on Saturday. I say that Toms River is NOT in South Jersey, but others say it's part of South Jersey (and cheered me on for my Phillies devotion).

Anyway, it was a fun book festival, and of course there's pictures. I met two very handsome gentlemen:

I also met some wonderful New Jersey bloggers: John and Lisa of John and Lisa are Eating in South Jersey and Deb of Jersey Bites. One of the best things to come out of this book (and this blog) is meeting so many people I'd have never met before. Thanks, guys, for coming out!

Since I was that far up in the state and that close to the water, I decided to work the weekend in the area. First up? Getting a new camera. If you've noticed, I've had less pictures on the blog as of late. That's because I'm a klutz and dropped my camera. Sad -- I photographed my book with that camera.

But I'm already happy with the new one. I went to the famed B&H Photo Video in New York City and picked up a Canon Powershot SX110 (along with a warranty that will even cover being a klutz). Hopefully I'll last me through the next book (hint hint).

Then it was to work and, before I headed back home, a trip over to Sandy Hook, the most northern beach in New Jersey.

That last picture is of Clementine, a 2-year-old basset hound/something mix. Sandy Hook is dog friendly right now, and Clementine loves the beach. I didn't have Emily with me this weekend...but of course I had to try out the new camera on her when I got home.

It was a fun weekend, but one that spilled over a day (though, hey, spending Monday on the beach isn't such a bad thing). Is Tom's River Central Jersey? What about Sandy Hook? To me, it's all north. Like I've said before on this blog, I think it's all relative. But it's all Jersey.

Digg this

A little cottage by the sea

I love little beach houses, and, yes, I said little -- not those gianormous things have have been built wherever a little house goes down.

Which is why this little blog is lovely. I don't say it's little in that the quality is poor, but that it seems an appropriate way to describe a blog about a little shore house.

If you are the owner of this blog, could you get in touch? I'm at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Digg this

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Shore Break: Go Phils

Sorry, Mets fans. It had to be done. See you next year.

More shore tomorrow...

Digg this

Friday, September 26, 2008

Want to Check out the Chelsea?

So I was helping a bridesmaid plan an Atlantic City bachelorhood party and told her about how you can compare room prices and book rooms through that link on the left hand side of this page that says "Going to AC?"

I decided to take a look and see what they're charging these days, and now is a good time to grab a steal: The Chelsea, which I wrote about before, is charging $169 for a room tonight. $169! Great deal courtesy of a 15% off booking discount.

So if you're looking for a last minute getaway, check it out.

Digg this

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Your Shore Weekend

Two events to point out for the weekend:

I'll be signing books at the Ocean County Bookfest on Saturday from 11am to 3pm. Yes, it will still be held if it rains -- we'll just be inside.

If you'll be either north or south in the state, you'll have a chance to see New Jersey: The Movie, which is about just that -- where is the middle of New Jersey, a film by our friend and the man behind the "Down the Shore with Jen" video series, Steve Chernoski. I was filmed for the movie, and apparently my comments about the Driscoll Bridge make people LOL. Seriously. They laugh. Out loud. It'll be showing Friday night in Wildwood and in Wildwood AND Rutheford on Saturday. For details about the screenings, click here.

Digg this

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

Watch what you say: libel lawsuit from one Wildwood vendor against another.

Speaking of lawsuits, I'm not surprised this one was thrown out.

Given how the markets went haywire, I doubt Pinnacle is going to happen. Well, I doubted it before, but I doubt it more now.

A new Sea Isle amusement pier? Anyone remember the old one? I spent many Saturday nights on that ride with the weird seats that did little more than turn slowly. It was a great ride for little kids -- much nicer than the townhomes that are filled with Ocean Drive fans that are there now. No offense to the OD -- it just draws a different crowd than parents with toddlers. I also had one of my biggest gaffes of my young life on that pier -- when getting into a bumper boat, I missed the boat and stuck my leg in the water. Whoops. And I shall not speak at gaffes from the OD. What happens at the OD stays at the OD.

Follow an Airstream Trailer's trip to Cape May. Wonder if they made it over to the Starlux to see the Airstream trailers there? Though they don't go -- they're swanky rooms to rent.

Houndstooth Gourmet goes to Cape May.

Never though I'd mention Anne Hathaway twice on this blog, but here you go.

Could the Tropicana finally have a buyer?

This is a good question about food in Atlantic City. I recommend White House Sub Shop. But the more interesting part to me -- a Rocky Horror Convention? Apparently, it's happening this weekend at the House of Blues. DANG IT! If I wasn't going to be at Ocean County Bookfest, I'd so be there! I make a pretty good Janet.

More Strathmere pictures from one of those shore bloggers I'd love to meet.

The Ludlam’s Beach Lighthouse is in trouble.

If you try to dodge tolls in NJ, watch out.

Three Wawas closed in Cape May County. And, yes, that is a big deal if it's part of your daily routine. I knew a Wawa was part of mine when I actually got dressed in the morning, er, I mean worked in an office (and I do get dressed in the morning...just in more clothes that don't require a belt).

If you don't get the importance of Wawa, you're probably not from Philadelphia or South Jersey. That's a topic I'll write more about on Saturday since New Jersey: The Movie is screening in Wildwood on Saturday. It's a fun debate.

Digg this

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Are you lean and green in NJ?

In my non-shore life, I'm a contributor to Edible Jersey magazine. And a pirate. Kidding.

If you've never read it and you live in NJ, seek out this magazine. It's free, and chock full of information about food and green living without being overlayered in marketing spin.

For the fall issue, I wrote about conserving water. For the winter issue, I'm writing about what NJ residents are doing to be lean and green to save money and mother Earth at the same time.

So what are you doing? Drop me a line at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Digg this

Monday, September 22, 2008

Someone's Got a Case of the Mondays

Happy, er, hello Monday. Here's a cartoon to cheer you up.

I would have posted it sooner, but my plans to lounge around reading the New Yorker on vacation were dashed by Nora Roberts. I found it last night while reading and watching the Phillies game (which, yes, I can do).

I get why this is funny to a lot of people, but I can tell it's mocking the area, too. Thoughts?

Digg this

Friday, September 19, 2008

Your Shore Pictures: Day Break

Today's morning picture comes from reader Bob Barclay. It's a picture of day break in Cape May. Lovely, isn't it?

Speaking of Cape May, this weekend is the start of their big wine and food festival, which lasts through September 25. For a complete schedule, click here.

Also, check out today's Philadelphia Inquirer for an article I wrote on mid-century modern design. It's not shore related, but I have talked about how much I love Mad Men on this blog, so that fits, right?

Digg this

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On and off topic

Off topic: I'm selling my kitchen set. If you're interested, click here.

On topic: I forgot to mention one thing about my shore vacation -- one of those things I wouldn't usually do. I bought a Cape May t-shirt. Now, this isn't just any Cape May t-shirt. It's a Cape May Point t-shirt from the Flying Fish Studio. They print artist's works on t-shirts and many other items. I highly recommend the visit PLUS I hear they might be making a Higbee Beach t-shirt for next summer, which would be great for all of us who take our pups there to swim.

Digg this

And we're back

I am back from my brief vacation, and I can say this: the Jersey Shore is a great place to go when you need to get away.

Yes, you read that right: when you want to get away. Even though I have poured so much work time into the Jersey Shore for the last year and a half now -- and will be back on Thursday for work -- I couldn't wait to get down to the Billmae Cottage Cape May and enjoy the shore like a lot of other people do: as a vacation. And in true vacation form, I planned nothing -- NOTHING -- for the entire time I was there.

How liberating! How wonderful! My only regret is that it didn't last longer!

Still, I wanted to share a few things out of the ordinary that I did on my way to doing nothing:

1. Ate steak. I'm not a big beef eater, but after an afternoon lazing on the couch watching America's Test Kitchen (it was 95 degrees on Sunday, after all, and I could stay in if I wanted), decided my next dinner would involve beef, so on Monday I had the fillet at Oyster Bay. Yum.

2. Did not run. Yes, I'm training for a half marathon, but a few aches and pains have been dogging me, so I kept the running shoes packed away and did a lot of walking with the dog.

3. Speaking of...Emily swam! She went into the ocean and paddled her little self to exhaustion, using her tail as a propeller. Well, sort of. It looked like a propeller. A bit of background: I adopted Emily, a Jack Russell terrier mix, about three years ago when she was a four year old pup. I don't know much about her background, and in all the time I've had her, never knew if she would swim. I'd taken her to the beach, sure, but only when the water was too cold. So, on a whim, I took her down to Higbee Beach in Cape May, which is dog-friendly -- as are all of Cape May's beaches on the Delaware Bay. She ran to the water and splashed around, getting used to the fact that water kept crashing in little waves. Then she ventured out further, chasing birds and smelling everything. Then I went in up to my thighs. I turned to watch a boat go by, and when I turned back, she was swimming! This prompted three straight days of beach time with Emily. A tennis ball in the water made everything more fun. She's still exhausted. And, no, I don't have pictures. I was worried about keeping an eye on my pup!

4. Went to Terry-Oke. Terry-Oke, as you might know if you read this blog, is Terry O'Brien's karaoke set up that rotates around the bars of Cape May. I promised I'd make it at some point, and on Monday night, I did. I went to Martini Beach and watched people, um, try to sing. Now, I didn't belt out a show tune or anything, but I'm told I'm the only person who has ever gotten up to dance at Terry-Oke (it was to "That Thing You Do." Who wouldn't want to do the twist?)

5. Went to be at 9pm. Yup, I said it. On my break, I slept. A lot. Naps were in heavy rotation as well.

So that was my big shore vacation. Like I said, I would have liked to stay longer, but there are classes to be taught and articles to be written (given that I'm a contributing editor at, there's plenty to write about with this whole Lehman/AIG/Merrill Lynch situation we got going on here). Maybe next fall I'll take a whole do nothing.

Also, I wrote an article that appears in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. It's about the Philadelphia Distance Run -- check it out here.

Digg this

Friday, September 12, 2008

Woah, Here She Comes

Emily, my dog, needs a little R&R, so I've oblidged by taking her on vacation. We'll be gone through part of next week, and by gone I mean no emailing, no twittering, and no blogging. I, er, she hasn't been unplugged in four years, so we're looking forward to a break.

Until we return: Here's a recap the entire Down the Shore with Jen series, starting in Atlantic City, and ending in Cape May.

Digg this

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Your Shore Pictures: Summery Ocean City

Today's pictures come from Bridget Hanahan of Yellaphant. You should check her blog...she's funny and has a new puppy of unknown origin, which is the kind we like best around here :-)

Digg this

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Help a Writer in Need

I'm going to take a break from the fun and games of the Jersey Shore to write about something very serious, and about someone who needs our help.

Lori Hall Steele is a freelance writer. She has had a long and flourishing career -- in fact, you can read one of her essays published in the Washington Post by clicking here. Read that essay first, then continue on.

In September 2007, Lori lost the ability to move her feet. The paralysis then spread to her arms and legs, and she was eventually confined to a wheelchair. Then she could no longer move her hands, which meant that she could no longer work. Freelancing is how she supported herself and her seven-year-old son, Jackson.

You can guess that the story does not improve from here. She's now confined to a hospital bed and depends on a Bi-Pap breathing machine, and doctors surmise that the cause is ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Her medical bills -- which the insurance company says are not their responsibility -- are already at $50,000, and are expected to go up to $120,000. She is days away from foreclosure.

Lori is a member of Freelance Success, a writing group that is the main reason I am sitting here in my home, a successful, published writer. We're a very tight knit writing community, even if we live all over the world. All of us who have blogs are writing about Lori because she needs help. The American Society of Journalists and Authors, of which Lori is also a member, has already maxed out on how much we can give her from the organization's fund for writers in need. So if you have any change to spare, please click on this link and donate what you can via paypal. Everyone in our organization is giving at least $25. If we can all get one more person to donate to the fund, we'll help out a wonderful person and writer, and her son.

Digg this

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

Here's a blog post about looking for, um, love in Atlantic City.

Another Atlantic City doom and gloom article.

There's an air show in Ocean City this Sunday.

Hanna: the storm that wasn't (at least at the Jersey Shore).

Want more shore? OK, then check out this pretty picture from Stone Harbor.

And click here for pictures of Nightmare in Strathmere.

Here's a yummy recipe learned in Sea Isle.

John & Lisa review Stone Harbor's Sea Salt.

Want to go to Cape May this fall? Here's what you can do -- or do nothing at all, which sounds like a great plan to me!

Digg this

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Your Shore Pictures: Beaches and Bars

Today's pictures come from Shannon Morrison of Philadelphia. The first two are of a Sea Isle/Avalon bar crawl. "The band that was playing outside at La Costa brought out a box of pots and pans and let us play percussion for them for a song or two," she writes. "I wish my camera had caught the conga line we created!" The second picture is of the group singing "Pianoman" during the same bar crawl.

The last picture is sun set at the beach on East Atlantic Boulevard in Ocean City. "I've gone to this beach my whole life," she writes.

Got a shore picture from your shore summer that you'd like to share? Send it to jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com.

The third shot is another from the bar crawl.

Digg this

Monday, September 8, 2008

Down the Shore with Jen: Cape May

This is it! The last chapter in my Down the Shore with Jen Video Series. Appropriate, too, since I'm going to be spending some quality time in Cape May at the end of this week. More about that to come.

My very VERY special thanks to Steve Chernoski for filming, editing and being the grand master of ceremonies for this series. Steve's also the producer and host of New Jersey: The Movie, a wonderful and funny documentary about the dividing line between North and South Jersey that's about to be unleashed all over the state soon (they'll be at Ponzio's in Cherry Hill tomorrow, but the screening's already sold out). Time to put out the hat here: the movie needs a little bit more financing to help it make the film festival rounds, so check out more information here.

Digg this

The #$*& Dentist

Last week when news broke that a dentist was responsible for medical waste washing up in Avalon, NJ, my comment (sent via twitter) is WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

I still feel that way. Why would someone just dump a bag of waste in the water? There's lots of theories popping up: he'd been part of a group that wanted Avalon Manor to become part of Avalon, a move that was denied; he's stressed from his wife's cancer battle.

But it doesn't change the fact that New Jersey beaches will continue to be labeled as dirty because one idiot from PENNSYLVANIA decided to take a joyride in his boat with some needles and cotton swabs as his co-pilot.

Sound angry? That's because I am. I've heard enough jokes about Jersey dirty beaches when, in fact, the beaches I covered in my book are very clean. Stone Harbor's even won an award for what they do to keep everything nice and tidy, and I'd take Avalon over Clearwater, Fla. any day. People complain about beach tag fees, but they do keep most of the beaches clean.


So let's wash away that bitter taste with some more of your shore pictures, shall we? Lisa Clarke forwarded over links to some of hers, so check out Ocean City fun here and here. When you click on the second link, you'll see a picture of a book that says "Welcome to Ocean City." Those Ocean City carousel pictures were taken for the 2009 version of that book.

Got a shore picture from your shore summer that you'd like to share? Send it to jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Digg this

Sunday, September 7, 2008

And since we are equal opportunity sports fans...


I'm actually a much bigger Phillies fan than Eagles fan, but Emily wasn't wearing her Phillies collar today. This is an older picture -- pre-house days, in fact. I still have the curtains, though!

Digg this

Fly, Eagles, Fly

Another sign fall is here -- Emily brings out her Eagles gear. GO BIRDS!

Digg this

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Your Shore Pictures: Skimboarding

Today's picture comes from Lloyd Taylor, who runs the website The gent in the pictures is his son, Sam, skimboarding (of course!)

Got a shore picture from your shore summer that you'd like to share? Send it to jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Digg this

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Your Shore Weekend, Abridged

Now that the summer season at the shore is over, I won't be doing as detailed "Your Shore Weekend" reports (sorry, kids. Even Jersey Shore Jen needs to be winterized a bit). But for a run down of this fall's big events, check out this piece I wrote for today's Philadelphia Inquirer.

If you're in Wildwood, watch out -- it's Roar to the Shore weekend. Lots of motorcycles, lots of parties.

But on a wider scale, if you're going anywhere down the shore this weekend, watch the weather reports. There might be one of these (hurricane, that is, not civil rights case):

I've also had this song in my head, which my dad sang to me whenever a hurricane threatned to hit Tampa while I was in college:

Digg this

Send Your Pictures to Dear Old Jenny Miller

Tired of seeing pictures from my shore trips? Send your own!

Just drop them in an email to me at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com, and I'll post them on the site.

Here's a few of my favorites from the summer:

Ocean City hermit crab beauty pageant
Tram car without a tram
Meeting the Marples
Book party pictures
Wildwood kite festival
After-storm pictures
My dad's wedding
Behind the scenes for NBC10 (yellow Crocs included)
Trip to the Central Jersey coast
Fresh Jersey strawberries
Ocean City carousel photo shoot
The Doo Dah Parade.

And don't forget -- I'm always looking for vintage shore photos to run on the blog. Click here for examples, though they can be "vintage" if they're from the 1990s -- as long as the fashion matches!

If you don't 'get' the headline to this post, this should help:

Digg this

The Last Weekend

I ended my shore season on just about as high a note as possible. I had a wonderful time over my extended Labor Day weekend, and didn't work too much -- promise!

Things kicked off on Thursday when I had my photo taken for next year's Ocean City book, produced by Exit Zero, which I posted about earlier this week. That modeling stuff isn't easy. Don't believe me? You try balancing on a wooden horse in a gold stiletto and red strapless dress and making it look like you're not straining every muscle in your body to make sure you don't fall off. But it was lots of fun, and I'm glad we were able to take the pictures during the summer season.

After all was said and done, I stopped off at Dixie Picnic. Even though they were closed, I still managed to get a dozen upcakes, which were devoured over the course of the weekend.

I didn't get in any beach time, both because of the cool temperatures on Friday and that whole medical waste thing. I did take some pictures in Strathmere, though:

Saturday would have been a nice beach day, too, but I had my final signing of the season at Sun Rose Words and Music in Ocean City:

The ladies were great to me this summer and have already invited me back for Ocean City's fall block party...not sure if I'll be there yet, but if I am, of course I'll write about it here.

Then it was back to my little temporary hideaway at a cabin in Avalon Campground for some relaxing and pool time:

I don't remember what I'm looking at in this picture, but it might have been weird. Still, I haven't frolicked in a pool -- especially in THAT pool -- in quite some time.

Then it was off to dinner at Stumpo's in Cape May after two important stops:

1. Sunset Beach for the ultimate Jersey Shore souvineer, a Cape May diamond necklace:

2. Chat with Jack Wright, publisher of the aforementioned Exit Zero, and show him proofs from Thursday's photo shoot. Exit Zero had quite a weekend -- columnist and author Terry O'Brien was featured on NPR. Congrats, Terry.

I thought I'd be really sad as I headed back home on Sunday, and I had my moments -- one in Marge's Diner in Clermont and one while driving through Haddonfied to my mom's to pick up my dog. But I haven't had that "wow, it's over" smash yet -- could be because I'm going to be down the shore next week for vacation or that I've realized the shore isn't held within the bounds of Memorial Day and Labor Day. Plus, it's been a great summer, and is that something to be sad about? I think not...

Digg this

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Down the Shore with Jen: Wildwood

Summer may be officially over, but the Down the Shore with Jen video series isn't. Let's go to Wildwood:

In an unrelated note, Oprah stayed at Cape May's Congress Hall this weekend. I didn't run to blog it because, well, I was on my way to dinner when I found out. But I did send out the information via my twitter page, which I can update via text message. If you'd like to follow along, click here.

Digg this

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ocean City Outtakes

On Thursday, I had my photo taken by Marc Steiner of Agency New Jersey for Exit Zero's Ocean City 2009 book. I was in the Cape May book 2008 and, instead of having my picture taken in January at the top of a light house, got a photo shoot in this summer at the carousel at Wonderland Pier. The photo was taken now so I'd look summer-y (and so I wouldn't freeze!)

Here are a few outtakes:

Like the Uggs in the last picture? After an hour on the carousel in those gold stilettos, my feet hurt, so I put the Uggs on until we were ready to do the second set of pictures.

What was the shoot like? Awkward. Not only do you have to look your prettiest while spinning on a carousel for over an hour, but you also have to do while sometimes standing, sometimes sitting, sometimes leaning, sometimes balancing on the ball of one gold heeled foot without looking like you're flexing every muscle in your body to stay on the horse -- all while being gawked at by people wondering why the heck a woman is wearing a strapless red dress and heels on a carousel in 60-something degree temperatures -- and add in that right before I got on the horse, a patron puked so loudly in the trash can near the set up that I could hear splashing.

But props to the crew who worked on the shoot, especially Marc since this was a much more complicated set up than the first shoot we did and he still got me to laugh even though I was N E R V O U S, and especially the Gillian's folks. This was a major inconvenience to them, and they were even willing to shut the ride down on the start of Labor Day weekend (though we didn't have to do that). But they were more than happy to help and seemed to think it was fun.

My only tip? Don't scarf down cheese fries right after you're finished a photo shoot. That did not sit well and made for an uncomfortable car ride home.

You'll be able to see the final pictures next spring.

More about my final shore weekend to come on Thursday. And tomorrow I'll roll the next chapter in the "Down the Shore with Jen" video series! See? Summer's not over quite yet...

Digg this

Monday, September 1, 2008

Last Dance

"...and save me the first dance in your dreams tonight."

Digg this