Friday, October 31, 2008

World Series Parade

I covered the World Series parade for the New York Times, and am so glad I grabbed my camera before heading out the door. Here's a few photos from today...I'll post more next week.

And to the young man who screamed "Jen A. Miller! I read your blog to me -- hi back!

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I can just hear you thinking: "Enough with the Phillies nonsense! Get on with the shore already!"


Today is, of course, Halloween -- boo! If you'll be in the shore area, you have a few options.

Tonight, I'm judging the costume contest at the Phantom Ball, which will be held at Congress Hall in Cape May. The theme is "passed singers." I started to put a costume together, but then this whole World Series thing dropped, and I went with something I sort of already had. I'll post pictures, of course, next week. She's not a singer, but it should be a good get up.

Also on Friday night is Seven Sins Halloween at Harrah's. Expect many many sexy costumes.

On Saturday night, the Windrift in Avalon has its big Halloween to-do. I considered heading to this one, too, but will be at a Halloween party in Central Jersey.

I wonder how many kids ditched their Halloween costumes to don Phillies gear instead? Especially if they're headed to the World Series parade. I know, I know, I said no more Phillies, but it's not every day this happens in the Philadelphia area, and I'm writing about it, so it's on my mind.

Until next time, I leave you with Emily dressed in her Halloween best:

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Looking for New Jersey Phillies fans...

Are you a New Jersey-based Phillies fan going to the World Series parade tomorrow? Please email me ASAP at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com. I need to hear from you by 9am on Friday!

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A Reporter on Broad Street

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that the Phillies won the World Series last night. It doesn't feel real -- maybe because I didn't think it would happen, maybe because I worked through the celebration. Though I had an interesting viewing spot for the end of the game: I watched on a portable TV run on a car battery with about 20 Philadelphia police officers at a shut down news stand on Broad Street in South Philadelphia.

In any case, here's a few photos from Broad Street between Passyunk and Shunk Avenues from last night.

That last shot is of me filing my story at about 1am. I don't usually cover news, so it was all new to me (har har). How was it? For the first hour it was fine. I had a good time, found lots of great people to talk to, and watched the show. But as the celebration ran on, things started to get ugly. I was away from the worst of it in Center City, but I still saw fights, I still saw fireworks shooting off at people, and, in the worst instance, heard someone shout "Yeah, shoot off those fireworks. That's how we're going to shoot Obama if he's election president." I don't care who you're voting for on Tuesday, but those comments are inappropriate and vile -- especially at a World Series celebration. That's about the time I realized it was time to get out of there and start typing.

My pictures aren't the best -- for some good ones, check out the photos by Marc Steiner of Agency New Jersey. He also took the pics of me in the midst of things:

Thank you, Marc, for the goggles. Great idea -- really. I didn't worry about my eyes when I jumped into the middle of the mob.

Tomorrow -- I PROMISE -- I will get back to shore posting since I'm headed to Cape May after the parade. So stay tuned...

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Yup, that's me with the goggles on wondering "what the heck am I doing here covering this story?" Good thing I had them on, too -- it kept beer and glass out of my eyes.

I'll post more tomorrow from the Broad Street bedlam. But for now I've filed my story and am going to start the long journey home.


**UPDATE** My article, which was for The New York Times, is now online. W00t!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

True Phillies Fan

Check out this video that I did for the fine folks at the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation:

For more fun Phillies videos, check out

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

Here's some nice fall-ish pictures from Stone Harbor.

A California look at Cape May.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

One, two, three: awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Shore towns are banding together to prevent erosion.

Yikes! A young man threatened to jump from a casino parking garage ledge. Police talked him down, thank goodness.

The former owner of the Tropicana wants the casino back.

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"Why Can't Us?"

Today is not my day, folks: last night's Phillies game was played in muck then suspended. I was trapped inside the PATCO high speed line for an hour and a half with a few hundred wet, drunk and ticked off Phillies fans. And I woke up feeling sick this morning.

But there is a bright lining: I wrote a piece for today's New York Times about the "Why Can't Us?" t-shirts. It's a fun piece. Enjoy!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Atlantic City International Airport

And we're back. Phew. That concludes the month of traveling. My dog is very happy.

Instead of dealing with the morass that is the Philadelphia International Airport, I flew in and out of Atlantic City International Airport. This was my airport of choice through college since Spirit Airlines runs a direct flight between AC and Tampa.

The airport's changed a bit since my last flight, which was probably in 2002. You used to park wherever you could for no charge (I still remember my dad parking on the grass once). Even though there's now a garage and economy parking (neither for free), the airport is much the same. It's small, quaint and charming. It's usually handling only a few flights at a time (when I flew out, ours was the only flight of the morning). My security checkpoint time was zero, and getting to and from the airport to my car via free shuttle was a breeze. I was more than happy to drive the extra distance to AC rather than deal with Philly (especially after my last flights to and from Rome). So if you can snag a flight out of AC, I'd recommend taking a look.

I'd also like to make a travel bag recommendation: the Stella McCartney Small Bowling Bag:

Sorry for the reprint of the web page, but it's the only image I could find. And before you say "you spent $350 on a bag?!" know this: it was 75 percent off through the website.

I used this as my "personal" item carry on. It has lots of roomy pockets, plus that zip section along the bottom that's perfect if you buy items along your travel ways and need a place to stash them for the flight home (my "Betty Draper" dress just fit). The sale's still going on...or you can check out new options at the Atlantic City store at the Pier Shops at Caesars.

Speaking of my dad, he and my brother appear in today's Philadelphia Inquirer in an article written by Kristen A. Graham. Those lucky ducks went to both the Eagles and Phillies games yesterday. I don't know how I'm going to concentrate today considering there *could* be a championship team in Philly tonight. Fingers crossed.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

More from Tampa, non-World Series edition

While I've run a lot of Phillies coverage lately, I didn't plan this trip to be part of the World Series hoopala. I'm here for the Freelance Success writer conference. And since I'm a graduate of the University of Tampa, I planned a bit of a longer trip to visit friends my school. Above is a picture of Plant Hall, the historic building that used to be the center of the University of Tampa (the center now is a cluster of gaudy buildings that went up, thankfully, just after I graduated. They are quite ugly -- sorry UT).

Plant Hall is a big, old rambling Victorian hotel with moorish architecture. It's odd, but pretty. Here's some more pictures:

The building does not have central air, believe it or not. When it was a hotel, it stayed closed during the summer. They use a lot of window units now. Will it ever get central air? It's a historic building issue, I think. But it's nice to know that while the rest of the campus morphs into something quite unappealing (at least architectually), Plant Hall stays the same.

I also stopped in at the offices of The Minaret, which is the college's student newspaper. I ran the Minaret from 2000-2002, and I credit it with giving me the skills that made me the writer I am today (and, I should say, I also had breakfast with Dr. Andy Solomon, the paper's long time advisor who played a big role in my writing education).

Anyone who's worked on the paper, especially from the days before the office move, will recognize this:

This is a safe that had been in the old Minaret offices. We didn't use it. We couldn't open it. Why it was even moved is beyond me. But I can report that someone finally -- FINALLY -- got inside. What was in there? Sadly, nothing. We spent a good deal of time trying to guess what was inside. Oh, well.

I was also startled to see my face on the office wall -- well, my freshman face. Someone had posted a lot of old Minaret pictures on the office walls. Someone remind me never to cut my hair short again, OK?

After UT, I headed over to Ybor City, a section of Tampa where I learned to drink (or learned how NOT to drink). It's a lot like Philadelphia's South Street, but with a Cuban Vibe. Only two college haunts -- Full Moon Saloon and Prana -- had the same names, which is surprising because they weren't the most popular spots when I was in school. Then again, I don't know how the bar world works and realize that they change name/image/theme all the time.

It was weird walking down the strip and seeing where I spent all that time and money in college. It reminded me of all those mistakes I made in school and how much I've learned since then. A good thing, right? But there's a part of me that still wants to head down tonight to see how much the night scene has changed. Maybe -- but then I'd go over to Four Green Fields after -- another newspaper staff haunt.

Even as much of Ybor has changed, at least one store is still the same:

This is one of the shop windows at La France, the coolest vintage shop I have ever seen. What do they have? Everything, from vintage and vintage-themed dresses to fur coats to jewelry to hats to purses to sexy vintage underthings to even Ringling Brothers costumes (they bought a bunch from the Ringling family, a group of which was then bought by the producers of Big Fish to create their movie costumes).

How absolutely gorgeous is that dress? Unfortunately, it was over $700, which I couldn't justify spending. But I did find the absolute PERFECT Betty Draper dress plus matching earrings (and for buying accessories, I got 20% off the dress), so I have a Halloween costume now, and a completely authentic, vintage one at that. Thanks to the gals working today...I tried on a dozen different dresses and spent a half hour picking out jewelry. They were fantastic...and patient.

So now I'm typing at you from a Panera Bread in Tampa near Hyde Park (listening to an almost painful employee meeting...I'm guessing they were 'secret shopped' and didn't do that well. Thank goodness I don't work in retail anymore). Hyde Park is another nice part of he city but seems too chain store now in the Pottery Barn/Restoration Hardware sense of the word. Hyde Park used to have a great department store called Jacobsons, I believe. A Brooks Brothers and gym is there now.

Sad to see how some things have changed, but the vibe of the city is very much the same, and its reminds of the things that kept me from moving here after college. It's not just the heat, but the laid back culture bothers me, too. Too many people drive SUVs who obviously don't need them; too many women are addicted to tanning beds (news flash: it does not give you healthy glow); and there's way to many rhindstones used as fashion staple, and too many fake boobs.

Now, this isn't all of Florida, but more than I'd care. I guess I'm an east coast girl.

Game two is tonight, and I'm not sure where I'll go. Our conference includes a lot of Philadelphia fans, so we'll figure things out. But no matter where I'll be, GO PHILS!

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Last night, of course, I watched the Phillies game and, of course, they won. We had a diverse group at the Double Tree, a combination of "Tampadelphians" who hadn't managed to snag tickets to last night's game, and Philly people looking for fellow fans.

Just look at this picture. From left to right: woman whose name I didn't catch but who was wearing an awesome Phil & Phillis t-shirt; Cara Schneider of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism & Marketing Corporation; Howard Altman of the Tampa Tribune (yes, the same Howard Altman who said this -- though he seemed a nice enough guy to me) and Paul Parone, who runs Tampadelphia.

I pity anyone staying at the Double Tree last night who was looking for a quiet drink at the bar. My voice is still hoarse from screaming last night. Lots of fun.

I've been wearing my Phillies hat all day as I've toured Tampa, and heard nothing but compliments from people who saw me. I still don't feel much love for the Rays from Tampa. I think Altman put it best when he said that the fans are just so excited about their fan love that has been building for...four weeks (he's a former Philly guy and Mets fan, FYI). You can't just make up long-time fandom. Doesn't mean I can't make fun of Rays fans, though ;-)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sights from Tampa

I'm here! It's a lovely day in Tampa, Florida, and it's Phillies phever everywhere. That's right -- Phillies. The only sign of Rays fandom was in a sign in the airport.

I just wrote up a post for about my trip over, to stay tuned there for a longer update. Until then, though, here's two pictures. The first is of the group of guys behind me on the flight. Their Phillies party started bright and early at the airport bar:

I thought they were nice, but one of them said that they'd prefer to be infamous so he was rude, crude and quite a good belcher ;-)

There are a few guys from the Double Tree in Tampa, which is where the Tampadelphians will be meeting and cheering -- an where I'll be:

That's it for now. Time to join up with the fans!

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Tampa Guide for Phillies Fans

Good morning from the Atlantic City International Airport, where the security wait is zero minutes and the shuttle from the parking lot stops if he sees you walking toward the terminal.

As promised, here's my Tampa Guide for Phillies fans from today's Philadelphia Inquirer. I'm not seeing many other fans in the terminal, but it's still early!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tampa Bound

I'm writing this post rather late (for me) on a Tuesday night. I'm up packing for tomorrow's trip to Tampa, Florida. I'll admit it: I'm exhausted. Didn't I just get back from Italy? And now I'm leaving on another jet plane to another place that looks nothing like New Jersey or my beloved shore region (bay and gulf waters look nothing like the Atlantic).

But there's another reason I'm tired: the freelancing writing arm of my business is booming. And you know what's at the center of the workload? The Jersey Shore. It might be cold out now, but in the last week, I've talked to three editors of three magazines about coordinating shore coverage for Summer 2009 which, yes, needs to start now. Heck, we even shot the photos for one of those articles in August.

So if you're worried about the blog veering off course as of late, never fear. The ship will right itself soon -- I'll be in Cape May for Halloween, after all.

But temporarily, Down the Shore with Jen will be my point of coverage for the World Series while I'm in Tampa. I planned my trip long before the possibility of a World Series even entered the question, but since I'm down there, I might as well join in. Plus, I'm a University of Tampa grad, which adds another layer to the fun (my piece about Tampa for Phillies fans should be running tomorrow, and of course I'll post it here).

So for the next few days, check back for photos, reports and fun from all those Phillies fans in Tampa. I'll be kicking things off tomorrow night with the Tampadelphians, a group of Philly sports fans based on Tampa. Here's details of where we'll be.

Still need a shore connection? I'm flying out of Atlantic City International Airport -- Spirit Airlines offers a direct flight from AC to Tampa...I might be traveling this fall, but I'm still, at heart, Jersey Shore Jen.

(Pretzel from Philly Soft Pretzel Factory)

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Phillies fan in Tampa

Another shore break (sorry, guys...I promise I'll get back to the shore shortly): I'll be in Tampa from October 22 through October 26. I didn't plan this trip to go along with a World Series, but, hey, might as well roll with it!

I'm a University of Tampa alumni, so I know the city quite well. If you are an editor (thank you for reading) and need anything World Series related, drop me a line at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

From Italy

Italy was amazing. Absolutely amazing. I'm still shocked that I dropped everything to go overseas for a few days, but I'm so very glad I did (lesson to take away: always ALWAYS have a current passport. I'm glad I did).

Here's a few 'greatest hits' from my trip to Sienna, Pisa and Rome:

Even though the language was different, the trip reminded me a lot of when I lived in England while studying at Oxford University. I forgot how much Europeans walk and how little waste they produce compared to the U.S. At gas station restaurants, for example, they don't do takeaway coffee. You drink it -- from a reusable cup -- at the rest stop, then go. Want orange juice? They make it fresh to order and serve it to you in a glass. It's the best orange juice I've ever had, and made the small bottle I bought last night before teaching class seem flat and tasteless. As more people in the U.S. "go green," I can only hope that these kinds of attitudes become more prevalent here.

That last pictures is of Emily's Italian cousin. I knew it was time to go home when I sought out other people's dogs and tried out my French on Italians to ask if I could pet the dogs. My mom brought Emily to the airport when she picked me up -- I've never seen a dog freak out as much as she did, but in a good way. Here she is on the day of my return:

I feel bad leaving the little gal again next week. Yup, I'm on the road again, this time to Tampa. Now, I planned this trip before the possibility of a World Series involving the Phillies even presented itself, but if there is a series, boy, will it be a more complex trip.

I hope to be back to the shore soon. I've heard a rumor that my face is on a handbag being sold in Cape May...something to do with the Cape May Star & Wave turning their pages into handbags, and my mug's on one of them. I won't get down to Cape May until Halloween, so if you see one and have a digital camera, let me know. I also hear that I'm in this week's Exit Zero...a copy's being mailed to me, so we'll see what they say!

**UPDATE**Since so many people have asked: these photos were taken with a Canon Powershot SX110IS. I love it. I'm not a pro, but I found it easy to use (of course, it helped that I had this guy, who showed me how to use some of the special features). It's also light enough and small enough to carry in a purse, and the price isn't outrageous. Glad I got it before I went to Italy!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

Hey athlete-types! Registration for Sea Isle City's Tri for Our Veterans is now open!

Stupid. Just Stupid. But here's temporary moment of clarity. I just don't get it, and quotes like this one don't help me understand: "'It ruins my rhythm when I play,'" said Dorothy Dondero, 69, of Runnemede, while she took a break from the slots at Resorts Atlantic City yesterday." That doesn't seem enough validation to let smoking continue. Remember the huff when bars banned smoking? Doesn't seem a big deal now, unless you're a place like the Irish Pub in Atlantic City, which can't allow smoking while casino bars can. Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox now...

West Wildwood election STILL not settled. Avalon wedding.

Good news for Cape May: Forbes Traveler named the town one of the 20 prettiest in the country!

And the most important news of all: THE PHILLIES WIN THE PENNANT! THE PHILLIES WIN THE PENNANT! THE PHILLIES WIN THE PENNANT! I was very jet lagged yesterday but manated to stay up for the win. If they play the Tampa Bay Rays, things will get interesting since I'll be in Tampa next week for a conference. Stay tuned...

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

And we're back...

I've returned from Italy, and my oh my was it fine! But while I'm back, I'm not 100 percent up to speed (jet lag and all). Will post back soon!

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Friday, October 10, 2008


Middle managment is headed overseas, so the CEO of "Down the Shore with Jen" will be taking over the blog, bringing her trusted assistant Duckie along to help her shoulder the task.

I kid. Emily's headed to my mom's while I hope in a big ol' jet plane and visit the country of my grandfather (yes, blondes can be Italian -- don't let the last name fool you). I'll post back here sometime next week when I've had my fill of wine, cheese and gelato. Ciao!

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