Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hangover for your Atlantic City Hangover

January 1 is National Hangover day. In honor of this momentous event, Caesar's is showing The Hangover on January 1 for free at 7pm. Well, it's more DVD release party than screening with food and drink specials, including bites from the restaurant Mia, but if you're out until 4 or 5 am, sitting and watching might be all you can do. Goodness knows I've gotten sucked into AC nightlife before. It can be a doozie.

I hope not to have a hangover on January 1. My training schedule calls for a 3 mile run that day, and I'm going to join Joy Manning in her pledge for a booze free January. Well, almost. I go on vacation at the end of January. Drinks with funny umbrellas in them are a must.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Year in Review

What a shore year it's been. Here's a few highlights from 2009.

In January, we said goodbye to the Golden Nugget, a classic dark coaster that had once reigned supreme on the Wildwood boardwalk.

In February, I tested out the ACES train for the first time. It prompted a lot of media interest, and sparked NYC-based coverage. But we would learn later in the year that the train lost $6 million.

The same month, I also ran pictures submitted by a guy named Bill who would, soon after, become my boyfriend (awwwwwwwww).

In less awwwwww news, February also saw a shore gal become a Playboy centerfold.

In March, the Beach Bar at Trump Plaza was named one of the sexiest beach bars in the country.

I also dropped my PR for the Ocean Drive 10 miler by over 16 minutes. The success in this race lead indirectly to me signing up for the New Jersey Marathon.

April brought my first trip to Boogie Nights at Resorts, an experience repeated -- not to the same level of success -- for my sister's bachelorette party in November.

The Gillians started construction of Funland in Sea Isle in April, bringing amusements back to what has largely become a bar town.

Late April also brought an early blast of summer to the shore, inspiring sunburn all over the tri-state region.

I spent a chunk of my weekends in May working on a story about upscale shore bars, which was the first time I spent a stretch of time in beaches north of LBI. It lead to my love of Asbury Park. That article ran in June in the New York Times. It was my favorite shore article of 2009 -- followed closely by this piece that ran in May in Go! magazine.

Later in May, Ocean City took the "best beach" crown from Wildwood.

I proclaimed my love of Bloody Mary drinks in June, which prompted a lot of debate about who has the best.

Dusk opened to great fanfare in late June. The success was marred by the tragic death of owner DJ AM.

In July, Time magazine named Wildwood as one of its 50 authentic American experiences of 2009.

Mid-July, I underwent surgery that removed a cyst from my shoulder, but left me in a lot of pain. Not only did I have to cancel my birthday party, but I wasn't able to work out or run for a month. NOT GOOD.

As a result, August was pretty light around the blog, though I did run the Captain Bill Gallagher 10 Mile Island Run. NEVER AGAIN.

September brought more bad news for Atlantic City, this time for the Pier Shops at Caesars...

...and the Chelsea.

I suffered a personal blow, too -- in September, Bill moved to Minneapolis because of his job. We eventually broke up. I didn't really write about it because, well, it's painful. But this is a year in review, so there it is.

In early October, I hit the beach with my best pal for one last gasp of summer.

Later that month, I ran on a two-person relay team in the first annual Asbury Park Relay Marathon. My team came in third for the open mixed relay!

In November, I posted pictures of the new HBO series, Boardwalk Empire, which should hit the small screen in fall 2010.

The shore was also hit with a major nor'easter.

Which brought us into December, signing up for a marathon, and getting ready for 2010.

It's been an up and down year. I feel good about 2010. I'm already working on summer shore stories, and the weather can't get colder than it was today. Thanks for reading along!

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News from Around the South Jersey Shore

This could be VERY interesting -- a documentary about Strathmere.

Here's a quick reminder of the misery that is the Sea Isle 10 mile island run. I started training for the New Jersey Marathon today and much prefer 40 mile per hour winds on a 29 degree day. Seriously.

I will not be doing an Atlantic City NYE round up post (it would take way too much time, and I'm in Philly for NYE), but they did.

Harrah's is looking for a lean 2010 and stronger 2011.

I'll have to check out this new Wildwood diner next time I'm in town.

Here's a video about a DIY renovation in Sea Isle.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

I love/hate this song. Whenever it came on the radio, my brother and I would do our best George Michael impersonations and kill my mother's ears. I had never seen the video, with all its 1980s ski glory.

Or, if you prefer, drunk here's a video of drunk Santas and elves from the Tropicana's Running of the Santas.

Happy holidays!

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Well, Thank You

This week, the WhyGo Family Travel website gave a nice shout out to this blog and named it as a great resource for travel in New Jersey. But the author pointed out that she lists my blog over a New Jersey Tourism site because she had a hard time finding one: 

"In the absence of much of any official tourism presence (which seems odd, given the very competitive Mid-Atlantic tourism market) I offer you Down the Shore with Jen, an excellent blog written by Jersey Shore guidebook author Jen A. Miller."

That speaks volumes for how state tourism is doing these days (yes, it's an issue I've harped on recently). How can New Jersey be so far behind and so clueless? I've privately said that the South Jersey tourism and the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority folks have it together when it comes to promotion, but the state does not. I don't think combining the Secretary of State job with Lieutenant Governor is going to help, either. I fear that tourism is going to become a side gig of someone who will have a lot of responsibilities already. Tourism creates jobs and brings money into the state. Can we afford to shove it aside?

I'll have a lot to say at the Governor's Conference on Tourism in April (yes, they did invite me to moderate a panel...baw haw haw).

But thank you to WhyGo Family!

NOTE: I don't know why the fonts are wonky. Blogger made some changes recently, which could be why. Hopefully all will be back to normal with the next post.

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Warm Thoughts for a Cold Day

I'm not sure how this blogger found me, but I'm glad she did: Beach Vintage is a blog written by Simone Georgette of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Even though she's on the other side of the world, we seem to have a lot of the same thoughts on beach style. She posted pictures from a Coastal Living shoot that I also loved, and already ripped out of the magazine to add to my file of how I want to redo my bedroom. I think she'd dig my new summer shades, too.

It's summer in Australia, and she's left for holiday. Good for her. Checking out the blog is a good way to remember, especially if you're like me and STILL SNOWED IN, that summer is not too far away.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rescheduled - Christmas Candlelight House Tour

Word from Cape May is that the annual Christmas Candlelight House Tour has been rescheduled to THIS Saturday, December 26 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. They were -- obviously -- blizzarded out on December 19.

If you have tickets, they'll be honored. If you want tickets, go to their website for details.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Shore Break: Where Have All the Catholic Schools Gone?

The January issue of New Jersey Monthly is about to hit newsstands. Most of the issue is dedicated to fitness (appropriate for January), and I have a few articles about ways to work out. The January issue also has my article about the closure of Catholic schools across the state. One of those schools is Our Lady Star of the Sea in Cape May. So give it a look if you have the time.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Jersey Marathon

I've finally taken the plunge. I've signed up for a marathon. If all goes according to plan, I'll running my fastest 26.2 miles on May 2 in Long Branch for the New Jersey Marathon.

Training starts in a week. There's two feet of snow on the ground. I've never run further than 13.1 miles in my life.

I. Am. Terrified.

I promise not to flood the blog with posts about marathon training (which is very boring, and not much different from what I normally do except I'll be doing it exponentially). But since this is an event that takes place at the shore, I figured it was an appropriate thing to mention on the blog.

Prayers are much appreciated.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

This isn't about OUR Strathmere, but doesn't it look nice? I also like Maine, especially in the fall. I'm also WAY tempted to buy this because of the name.

More Strathmere! This time from the shore one.

The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, which runs tons o' fun stuff in Cape May, has changed it's name to the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities.

File this one under bizarre Sea Isle news.

Miss'd America is returning to Atlantic City! To BOARDWALK HALL! I am soooo heartbroken that I'll be in Florida during the drag pageant.

In news that surprised NO ONE -- ACES lost $6 million.

Ican's been approved to buy the Tropicana (wasn't I write about this LAST December?)

Not QUITE on the way to Cape May...

Some cool ideas for West Cape May.

A lot of this happened while I was out sick, but Wildwood recalled its mayor and put someone else in office. Reason? Property taxes. But that's a huge problem across the state, and the obvious answer -- to merge North Wildwood, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest and West Wildwood into one town to share resources -- well, I can't see that happening any time soon.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Summer Shades

It's never too early to think spring, especially when it's dirt cold and raining outside.

I picked up these shades from 1918 Vintage right after Thanksgiving. I've been looking for this style of glasses without the Ray Ban price tag, so this vintage pair is perfect -- right style, right price.

Why for Shore 2010? The lenses are super dark, so they're appropriate for extra bright days which, yes, we can have in winter, but they're really made for summer. I don't live and die by the "white only after Memorial Day" only rule, but the white color makes them feel right for warmer months.

There's something about vintage that reminds me of the shore, too. Maybe it's all the writing I've done about Wildwood in the 1950s, or maybe it's how much time I spend on I saw a lot of throw back '80s gear on the yuppie crowd this summer, but it didn't feel right. So I'll go with these.

I'll also be bringing these glasses (along with my running gear -- I start marathon training on Dec. 27) with me to St. Pete Beach at the end of January, which will not only be warm but has a very mid-century modern feel as well.

Anything you're already tracking for Summer 2010, fashion wise?

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Running of the Santas

Ho ho ho, it's that time of year again. No, not for tinsel or Jesus, but for a bunch of drunk Santas to chase Hooters girls through the Tropicana in Atlantic City.

Silly? Yes. But it was a blast last year, and I'm guessing it'll be more crowded this year. The fun starts at 8 p.m., though the actual run (which is very very short, girls in heels) is at 10 p.m.

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Friday, December 11, 2009


I got a tweet today poking fun at me for not being able to enjoy that crap MTV Jersey Shore show. I've been getting about five of these types of messages a day. I replied as to why I didn't think the show was funny. And then I put my head on my desk and cried.

It is so hard watching a place you've championed for three years ripped to shreds because some morons from New York wanted to be famous, and MTV wanted to make a buck. I hate seeing a place I love lampooned. That is not what the Jersey Shore is like, and I'm tired of trying to fight back against the avalanche of people who want to laugh and tell me otherwise.

So I'm done. That's it. No more of it on this blog (though thank you, Guster, for suggesting it could be fun. I tried. I can't do it). I'll keep doing what I've been doing here since July 2007: Writing about the real Jersey Shore.

Until then, check out this wonderful photo essay/statement by Justin Gaynor on the same topic, and the video below. THAT'S my Jersey Shore.

Sunrise at the Belmar Fishing Pier from Justin Gaynor on Vimeo.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Jenny from the Block

I'm back from Florida and sort of stepped into something.

Check out the post below (or click here) and see the comments. Now, I was going to write a long rebuttal as to why I am not, in fact, Jenni from that MTV Jersey Shore crap show, but you know what? I'm going to leave the issue alone. It's not worth my energy nor anger at this point. But if you want to leave a comment in support, please go right ahead. also stepped up the plate for me in this humorous post. Do people really think we're the same?

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

House of Mouse

I'm off again -- this time to Florida for a few days. I'd say sunny Florida, but the weather forecast is looking rather glum. I'm headed south with my dad to see his parents/my grandparents, but we're also taking a day at Disney World. I will be sure to hit this ride. Enjoy.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

Al Alberts, who sang "On the Way to Cape May," has died.

Discount beach tags!

Lenders are ready to take over Resorts.

Get your boat off my, off my street!

This lady wants a better price if Revel wants her home.

Hey hey! You can pay for parking at the Atlantic City airport with EZPass!

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Emily

Today we're celebrating two momentous occasions in the Down the Shore with Jen household:

1. It's Emily's birthday -- at least according to the adoption papers. She's now eight years old and officially a "senior dog," even if everyone who meets her thinks she's a puppy. I am still waiting for her AARF card to show up in the mail.

2. Four years ago this week, I adopted Emily from the Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees, NJ.

I never expected this 14-pound ball of fluff to wind her way around my heart. I cannot imagine life without her. I've had her almost as long as I've been a full time freelancer, and since before I bought my house. I adopted her the day before I moved into a second story apartment in West Collingswood. When I started looking for my home, one of the requirements was that it have a fenced in back yard.

In honor of this important week, here are a few Emily pics. I do this, not only because I have an iPhone and take pictures of her all the time, but to show that a shelter dog -- an adult shelter dog -- can still be the perfect dog. No offense to puppies and breeders, but if you're looking for a new pet, please visit your local shelter and give a look.

That last picture was taken as Emily laid under a blanket with me. I've been quite sick these last few weeks, and she's stuck by my side the entire time. Good dog.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Black Friday Shopping, Shore Style

I am not going Black Friday shopping. Ever since that Black Friday a few years ago when a woman knocked me hard trying to get a pair of boots at Strawbridges (R.I.P.), and my brothers saw a fist fight at Best Buy, I have spent the day after Thanksgiving at home. This year, I'll be winding my way to New York City to see Guster at the Beacon Theatre, but still -- no shopping.

However, I know some of you love a deal, so here's some shore spots that can answer your call.

Outlets at the The Walk in Atlantic City are opening early, and offering deals, which can be found on their website. Don't forget the special offers page, which lists more deals.

If you're a Harrah's Total Rewards member, you can shop at the Pier Shops at Caesars on Friday at 8 a.m. - MEMBERS ONLY (as in having the card, not the awesome jacket). Here's a listing of their deals and specials.

Ocean City's putting their 2010 beach tags on sale on Black Friday -- you can pick it up at City Hall (9th and Asbury Avenues) from noon to 5 p.m. on Friday. Tags are $15. For an extra $2, they'll put it in a holiday gift box. Tags go on sale online December 1 at (gift box available when buying in person only). Asbury Ave. will also be hosting a "Miracle on Asbury Avenue" holiday event from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday. Pictures with Santa are on Saturday. Details here.

Our favorite shore independent book store, Sun Rose Words & Music in Ocean City, is having a few holiday specials as well. On Friday and Saturday, they're having secret sales where you can save 10% to 50%. There's book signings on Friday and Saturday as well. Sunday is customer appreciate day with refreshments, gift certificate giveaways and, as they say "lots of fun." They'll be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. all weekend. As always, my book (which they stock) makes a great gift... :-) If you want a signed copy, drop me a line at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] come and we'll talk.

This is not the be all and end all of Black Friday shopping at the Jersey Shore -- best bet is to call your favorite town's chamber to see what's happening.

Also, mark your calendars. The Tropicana's Running of the Santas will be on December 12. If it's anything like last year? Insanity with a dash of pimp.

And for readers who follow my running training, here's a report on Sunday's Philadelphia Half Marathon. Ouch. I propose a new rule, too: folks running the marathon and half marathon get not one but five shirts. That way, we can wear one for every day we are in major pain post-race so twits at the grocery store won't chide us for walking slowly down the grocery store aisle, as happened to me a half hour ago. Really, lady?

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Given the Power

Want to check out a cool video in time for Thanksgiving? Then click here for a short piece called "Given the Power," which interviews immigrants who have settled and thrived in NJ. It's a nice piece just in time for Thanksgiving.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Last Dance

Martini Beach in Cape May is shutting down for the season on Saturday. That means specials galore! On Friday, all food will be 1/2 off while supplies last. They're recommending that you make reservations.

On Saturday, they'll offer an open bar/ all you can eat buffet with live Jazz from the Eddie Morgan Trio. Doors open at 5 p.m. Cost is $25 for the open bar and $10 for the buffet.

Tempting, isn't it? I'm running the Philadelphia Half Marathon on Sunday morning (AT 7 A.M?! WHAT'S UP WITH THAT, PEOPLE?) so I'll be sticking close to home. I hope to make it down the shore soon, if this awful head cold would finally leave...

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Boardwalk Empire

Pretty, isn't it?

The producers of HBO's upcoming series, Boardwalk Empire, allowed press to visit the set this week (WHERE'S MY INVITE, HBO?)


It's a series about Atlantic City in the 1920s, and based loosely on a true story of mobsters and booze, all set inside the height of the debaucherous Jazz Era. So of course it's going to look beautiful, even if it's being filmed in New York.

To have seen Atlantic City back then. I'm not advocating the gangsters and booze rings, but before glitz meant chandeliers at Trump Taj Mahal. I'm looking forward to this one, even if my press invite got lost in the mail.

**UPDATE** I spoke with the HBO publicist for the show today. Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bye, Bye Beach

Here's a video from the Press of Atlantic City following the storm. It looks bad, but make sure you get to 3:30 for a few laughs.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Storm Damage

The shore was pummeled by a nor'easter last week. The pictures and articles I've read are scary.

I was supposed to head up to Asbury Park on Friday night, but had to cancel my plans -- both because of illness (yes, I am STILL sick) and because of concerns about the storm. I was also supposed to go watch the Atlantic City Marathon on Sunday but stayed home because I was sick.

So I haven't seen any of the damage. Have you? Hit up the comments. If you have pictures you'd like to share, you can email me at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

10 Things that ARE My Jersey

Yesterday, I had my say about a new MTV "reality" show whose premise seems to be "make fun of New Jersey.

Does that culture exist? I've heard of it, but never seen it. It's not the Jersey Shore I know.

So here is my list of 10 things that ARE my Jersey, working north to south. I've stuck to the Jersey Shore, but feel free to add shore and non-shore items in the comments.

1. History House in Sandy Hook
2. Tater Tots at Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park
3. Beach bonfires in Long Branch
4. Long Beach Blvd. in LBI (and all the names it's called on the island)
5. Atlantic City Marathon -- 51st running on Sunday. Good luck, guys!
6. Pizza with birch beer at Mack & Manco in Ocean City
7. Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor
8. International Kite Festival in Wildwood
9. Rocking chairs at Congress Hall in Cape May
10. Sunset at Sunset Beach

So what's your Jersey?

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not My Jersey, Part II

This ridiculous show is set to come out soon. It's another in a recent line of reality shows that takes a small part of New Jersey's worst culture and blows it up as a representative of the entire state. Not only is it inaccurate, but it's lazy. Shame on you, Bravo and MTV.

If you've read this blog since I started typing away in July 2007, you know that the show does not depict the typical Jersey Shore experience. Me saying that isn't going to change how people view the state because of the show, nor will it stop people from pointing and laughing at New Jersey because of it. But I had to say it...because I'm like that, and I stand up for my state.

I wish the people who sign up to be on this garbage would consider how much harm they cause before they act like fools in front of the nation because it hurts the rest of it. I also wish NJ Tourism would be proactive about these reality show attacks on the state, but I haven't seen anything so far to combat the trashy image we get. Another reason I keep writing.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

Update on the Queen Mary -- that scallop boat from Cape May that sunk this year.

A story about the Atlantic City airport as an alternative to Philly (Why are you telling people? It's my secret!)

Hey hey! The Cape May bridge gets a name!

And the Cape May Lighthouse turns 150.

It's Sherlock Holmes weekend in Cape May! ONE time -- just one -- I am going to go. It'd give me a chance to carry around my magnifying glass in public. This weekend, though, my sister's getting married. So, ah, I might be busy (and, yes, that makes two family weddings in one year if you're counting along. Think what you may about what my year's been like).

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

From Queen Emily (and me).

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

The Borgata's shutting down their newer building, the Water Club, mid-week again. BAD NEWS.

Oh, shore politics.

In case you forgot, it's still birding season in Cape May.

Update on a new station that will connect the NJ Riverline and NJ Transit, which will make another way to take the train to Atlantic City.

Is Atlantic City in a "death spiral"?

Another call to pass the Atlantic City smoking ban (I am 100% for this, by the way).

Alright kids: I'm not going to be doing a "here's what to do down the shore on Halloween post" for a very good reason: WORLD SERIES! The first home game takes place on October 31. As far as I'm concerned? Halloween's taking a back seat this year.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Series Time

In case you haven't heard, the Phillies are playing the Yankees in the World Series. This is sending everyone in an even greater tizzy than last year -- Turnpike series!

Blog regular Steve Chernoski spent the weekend interviewing folks in the middle of the state about how they cheer for and why. While I'm over my head in work and sister-wedding-related issues, enjoy:

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Winners! Turns out that there was a mix up with the timing chip, and the Running Tillies *DID* come in third place for the co-ed relay on Sunday at the Asbury Park Relay Marathon. Official team time: 3:41:00. Woo hoo!

Running with me in that picture is Brian Devers, who finished his first marathon on Sunday. Congrats, Brian!

I'm surprised at how un-sore my legs were yesterday, which was great news since I went to the Bruce Springsteen concert last night and barely sat down for three hours. He played the Born to Run album from start to finish -- perfect since it's largely about Asbury Park and I listened to the album before running my loops on Sunday.

Great show. I was one PATCO stop away from seeing the last swing of the Phillies game, but that's OK. The Boss was worth it (though I think I have a few decades of Spectrum slime on my shoes now).

Now: I'm off to DC for a few days. I'm not even unpacked from Sunday, but I'll be ready. I think someone doesn't want to see me go. She opened up my gym bag for this one:

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Running Photos

Tillie! Lots of Tillies yesterday, from the medals to pumpkins to, of course, the Wonderbar. I ran the marathon in a relay team -- I did the last 10.1 miles, so I had some time to snap pictures.

The marathon was eight loops through Asbury Park, and part of the course was inside Convention Hall. It was also where we finished.

Here are a few pics from Sunday's relay marathon.

Rain much?


Strong finish.

Know the worst time to take someone's picture? After she's run 10.1 miles in a beach storm:

After the race, we went to the Wonderbar. Oh my God, what a great idea -- the cheeseburger was PERFECT. And even though I still think Congress Hall has the best bloody marys at the Jersey Shore, for a beer bar? The Wonderbar does a great job.

The only black mark on the day? The staff at Bird, a shop in Convention Hall. Guys, there was absolutely no reason for you to be rude to the runners. We did not, as you said, put you out of business for the day. YOU put yourself out of business for the day. The Asbury Park Relay Marathon brought 700+ runners and their family and friends to Convention Hall and your doorstep on a cold, rainy, windy day in October. Where else were you going to get that foot traffic on an abysmal day? Yelling at us was uncalled for, and won you no customers where you might have picked up a few that day.

Anyway, despite the crud weather and being yelled at by a shop keeper, I had a great time and am happy with my times. If I can run through that kind of weather, I should be fine during the Philadelphia Half Marathon. I'm feeling better than I thought I would today. My legs aren't that achey, and my hip, which has been giving me problems, feels fine. I'm ready for the Boss concert tonight -- born to run!

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Born to Run

The Running Tillies sure ran. The question is -- how fast?

By our calculations, our two-man relay team finished the Asbury Park Relay Marathon in about 3:40. But according to the first results we're seeing, we've been assigned a 4:22:50, and another team got 3:41.

At 4:22, I'd already eaten two bananas, changed, and was looking for a beer. I was our last runner. The splits don't line up at all. If it was a small amount of time that was off, I wouldn't care. But that's 40 minutes. So we're going to see what's what.

Why's it matter? For finishing the marathon, you get a paperweight engraved with your team and time (it'll be mailed in a few weeks), so it'd be nice to have the right time. Also, 3:41 would put us in third place for a co-ed marathon team. Not bad when you've only got two runners.

Whatever the official time, it was a grueling race. The cold and rain didn't help, but it was nothing compared to those 30mph wind gusts. On one turn, it literally grabbed my first and told it to head westward. Not fun.

I'm tired, and up only because of the Phillies game. I took a lot of pictures, so I'll post them soon.

Until then -- I'm seeing Bruce Springsteen tomorrow night. Can you guess what marathon relay t-shirt I'm wearing?

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

OH NO! LUCY'S HURT! Lucy the Elephant has been wind damaged. Unfortunately, she has a 25,000 wind damage deductible. No word on her healthcare policy.

I've got to get to the Schiavo Library, the new Strathmere Library, next time I'm in town.

The New York Post takes a look at casino deals.

The Walk in Atlantic City is expanding.

This story is so bizarre that I'm going to leave it to the expert to tell you about it.

Yikes, Sea Isle.

Is Resorts being taken over soon?

This looks like fun: wine train.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

The Running Tillies

Hurray! The fine folks at the Asbury Park Relay Marathon have let me in!

This Sunday, I'll be running on a two-person team with Steve of, which is a great website about all things running down the shore. He's also a mega runner -- multiple marathons under his, shoes.

Our name? The Running Tillies. Tillie is pictured above, and will be on the finisher's medal.

The plan is for Steve to run the first 16 miles, and I'll do the last 10.2. Time is not a huge goal since Steve ran the LBI 18 miler on Sunday, and I'm using this as a training run for the November 22 Philadelphia Half Marathon.

I didn't even know about this race until yesterday when I saw Steve post that he'd been looking for people to split up the race. I would rarely register for something so late, so thank you to the organizers for letting me in. I'm psyched.

Bonus? I can wear my race t-shirt to the Bruce Springsteen concert on Monday. Win!

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Bachelorette Madness

I know I said I was taking a break, but here's a few notes from my sister's Atlantic City bachelorette party since, well, it happened, and I made it out alive:

1. We had dinner at the House of Blues at the Showboat. Fantastic idea -- lots of options on the menus, everyone seemed to like their food, and we had plenty of space for our party of 10 without having to be shut into a special room. Great service, very accommodating, reasonable pricing (we paid $32 a person, including tax, tip, drinks and we all chipped in to pay for my sister's meal), and my sister even sat in what looked like a throne chair.

2. After dinner, we went to Boogie Nights at Resorts. The party was fun, but if you are to do a special event there, DO NOT BUY ONE OF THE SPECIAL PACKAGES. Here's why:

-It's supposed to get you past the line. We waited in line for about 20 minutes.
-I booked the party for 12 people. I was told that they'd only accomidate 10, and charged us for the extras.
-I was charged a mandatory gratuity for someone who opened 2 champagne bottles and put out two trays of chocolate covered strawberries. I should be so lucky to get $60+ for so little work.
-For a group that dropped a few hundred dollars on that party, the staff was incredibly rude.

Like I said, I like the party. My sister had fun. But if I book a group in there again, I'll skip the special fees to wait in line and be treated like crap (sorry, Marples, for the language).

3. Because it was a holiday weekend, and because I tried desperately to keep the costs down, we stayed at the Sheraton, a non-casino hotel. This seemed to be a good option for our group, which ranged in ages from early 20s to card carrying AARP members. It didn't have that frantic energy that I sometimes feel in casino hotels, and we saw a lot of other bachelor/bachelorette parties staying there. I am so glad that the Miss America Memorabilia is still there -- my mom and I had lots of fun looking at the old dresses and shoes. I would totally wear this today:

So that's that. I did have fun despite the rudeness at Boogie Nights, and I'm glad I felt well enough to go.

As for what's next, I might be a late add to a team for the Asbury Park Relay Marathon on Sunday (Come on, organizers. Plllleeeeeeeeeeeeeaasssssssseeeeeeeee let me in), which I think would be a lot of fun. I've never run a relay before, even if our team has pledged not to run this race super fast since we're all training for something else. Anyone else going to be there?

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Brief break

Programming note: if you've been reading along lately, you know that I haven't been feeling well. I was sick, I was better, I was feeling great! And now I'm sick again. I hope that this is just a lingering head cold being drawn out by extreme stress. So I'm taking a blogging break for a bit (and a work break for a bit) while I get my feet back under me and get better.

This isn't easy, no matter how many back issues of the New Yorker and Las Vegas DVDs I have laid out before me. I don't think working at home helps, either, because work is always there, and I don't get paid sick leave. So if you have any good karma to throw my way, I would greatly appreciate it.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Part II

Alright, alright. Two more pics of Emily on the beach. Not bad for an iphone.

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Field Trip

I'm still not feeling so great -- call it a combo of a lingering head cold and stress. I'm trying to work through it, but this morning, I found myself just staring at the computer screen. So I packed up the dog, and headed down to Strathmere.

It was beautiful. I shared the entire beach with three other people and one other dog. I thought it would be cold, but the air and water were warm enough that I could have gone swimming if I'd had a bathing suit. This was Emily's first time in the true ocean -- her last beach visit was to Higbee Beach, which is part of the Delaware. She wasn't tentative this time, and ran right in. For about a half hour, we both played in the waves, except when Emily took a break to chase birds.

And that was it -- I drove down and back to stand in the sun for a half hour on the beach. And you know what? It was the best thing I could have done today. I feel refreshed, relaxed, and ready to get going tomorrow.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Atlantic City Marathon back on!

Good news today (thanks, twitter friends for the update): The Atlantic City Marathon is back on! The race has been re-scheduled for November 15.

This could be great news for folks who didn't register in time for the November 22 Philadelphia Marathon and half marathon, which sold out. Atlantic City isn't that far from Philly, so it's a viable and non-sold out option.

If I hadn't already paid for Philly, I'd consider running this one too, but it wasn't meant to be. Good luck, runners!

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Friday, October 2, 2009


The Asbury Park Zombie walk is this Saturday. Can I even tell you how upset I am that I can't go. I mean look at this -- LOOK AT THIS.

Why can't I go? Because I'm sick. Sick as a dog (but not like my dog -- she's fine). It's not swine flu, but a nasty head cold that's decided to visit for a while. Though that might make me a better zombie. Hmmmm....

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Trouble for the Atlantic City Marathon

So so sad for people on a training program for it: The Atlantic City marathon has been postponed, and looks like it's to be cancelled.

If you were training for that marathon -- oh my gosh, I want to give you a hug. I've never trained for a marathon, but I'm working on my half marathon training, and if the race was suddenly dropped? I'd be devastated.

If you were training for it, what are your plans now? Run the LBI 18 mile run on October 11? Switch to another marathon? I was hoping to hop into the 10k that day, but now I'm stuck.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bye, Bye Beach Theatre

Some unsurprising news out of Cape May: the Beach Theatre is going to be demolished -- and soon.

I wrote about efforts to save the theatre for Preservation last year. Read up on the old movie house here.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Book Sale

On Saturday, I'm running the Collingswood 5k. Since the library is involved, they've asked authors running the race if they wanted to sell books post-finish. I of course said yes.

If you haven't gotten the book yet or want to buy one as a gift, this is probably the best time to buy. First, I'll sign it. Second, I'm selling them for $10. Yes, $10.

Here are the details about the race. I'm not running my fastest these days, so I guess I'll finish in around 25 minutes, then be ready to sign. Hope to see you there!

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Happy Birthday, Boss

See you at the Spectrum in October.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bad news for the Pier Shops at Caesars

Word out today that the group that owns the Pier Shops at Caesars is writing over $100 million off the value of the property and will stop subsidizing the stores.

This is a major blow to the property, and the city. The Pier Shops has been held as a glittering example of the new Atlantic City. I tell people about it. It's fun, but it has not lived up to its proclaimed potential. I'd heard rumblings of trouble before, and they first spouted out in April when Stephen Starr sued the owners and landlord of the Pier about a deal that brought him to open two restaurants there.

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Monday, September 21, 2009


I'm just back from Minneapolis where I ate a lot of cheese, took a lot of pictures, drank a lot of local beer, and slept in every single day I was there. Except today -- I had a 4:45 a.m. wake up call so I could catch my flight home (which I did, just barely).

I know it's not sure, but it did involve a river, so I'll post pictures soon.

Until then, two food notes:

1. John and Lisa of that great food blog are running a contest having to do with LBI's Chowder Fest. Go go!
2. The Pier Shops at Caesars is having what looks like a fab wine event on Friday. Details here. I'm so very tempted to go, but I'm running a 5k on Saturday morning. And how could I turn down a chance to be part of this?

They're also doing something special with authors running the race, and I'll be selling books after the run. So if you still haven't grabbed a copy, come on down!

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

The Atlantic City airport's doing well this year. I'm happy for it, but I just hope it doesn't lose it's small airport charm. I'm serious about that -- I love flying out of AC when I can, usually to Tampa.

Headed to Cape May? It's food & wine festival time.

Sounds like the plot of a Shakespeare comedy.

This is pretty funny. I ate at this restaurant this summer and was bummed by the blocked view. Storm took care of that.


This isn't good -- wind blew glass off the new Revel casino project in Atlantic City.

The Boston Globe goes to Cape May.

Did a Wildwood meter man take the meter money?

Wildwood's having "Rowdy House" hearings on Friday. That's their title, not mine. Seriously.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Say hello to my little friend

Meet iJen, the latest member of the "Down the Shore with Jen" team. I've wanted one for a while, but couldn't justify the cost. Then, I got horribly lost in North Jersey on Saturday and nearly blew an important interview, so it was either buy a GPS or just get the iPhone. I chose the latter.

I'm hoping this will provide more immediate reporting, and I won't have any of those "I wish I had my camera" moments. Granted, my camera's better, but this one will always be with me. I'll also feel less anxious leaving the office behind when I'm on the road, which I hope will be a nice change (rather than me becoming addicted to connectivity, which would be a bad change).

The real test will be Thursday when I fly to Minneapolis for the weekend to visit Bill. For the first time in a long time, I won't be bringing my computer with me. Will iJen be up to snuff? We'll see.

(And, yes, I am wearing a Donald Duck circa 1985 t-shirt in this picture. REPRESENT.)

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Friday, September 11, 2009


I went to Long Branch today to work on a story involving Pier Village. After the interview, I headed closer to the water to grab some lunch. Today was the windiest I've ever experienced at the Jersey Shore. I had to walk sideways to stay upright, and even put on my parking brake to keep my car from swaying while parked.

I like the shore in storms, but yikes it was a windy one today.

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Rain, Rain, Go Away

I'm headed to Long Branch this morning to work on an article. I had hoped for a sunny day so I could stroll a boardwalk or something. Doesn't look like it's going to happen -- it's cold and raining outside.

I don't know what to do on a rainy day at the beaches north of LBI. Suggestions?

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Spam, ma'am

If you got a funny email from me offering you a laptop, please ignore it. My email account was hacked. My apologies.

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News from Around the South Jersey Shore

Good news for Revel, what will be a new casino in Atlantic City.

Ocean City's casting a wider net for visitors.

Shore residents say "bye, bye, shoobies."

More on that old home in Stone Harbor being torn down.

SO GLAD I did not go to this (and, yes, I was invited).

Once again, it's birding season!

This I didn't know: seven shore towns have laws that say it's illegal to eat on the beach.

Said it before, and I'll say it again: DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More on the Chelsea

Why did the Chelsea associate itself with this? I mean, really. It's not even a GOOD rap video. The cash at the end? Ugh.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Starr Leaves the Chelsea

Bad news for the Chelsea: Stephen Starr is leaving the building.

Can I say that I'm not surprised? Well, I'm not. While Chelsea Prime got great reviews, Teplitzky’s was a mixed bag. I said it before, and I'll say it again: I do not think the nightlife plan put in place for this summer was a good idea. I think it alienated a lot of people from the Chelsea, which is truly a beautiful hotel, and out from the restaurants. Would you want to have a nice steak dinner next to this? (scroll down to "The crowd at the Cabana Club was, um, interesting...")

It didn't fit. Still doesn't. I haven't been back since late June.

Hopefully this will be a wake up call for the Chelsea to go back to what seemed to be the original plan for nightlife: an upscale bar experience, not butt dancing and bottle service. It won't bring Starr back (and, to be fair, he seems to have lost is interest in AC overall), but it'll be a start.

The Cape Resorts team certainly has the tools to make this happen: the Blue Pig Tavern and Ebbitt Room are superb locations, and I'm liking the Rusty Nail. The Brown Room? A knock out bar that I recommend to everyone who visits Cape May, and what seemed to be the goal of the Game Room, which is what the entertainment area of the Chelsea was originally called.

If they can bring THAT experience to Atlantic City, I think these spaces, no matter who manages them, will do well. Use the fall and winter as a transition season, re-group and start again.

I like the Chelsea. I think it's needed in AC. I hope that this change, whatever PR smear it leaves, is a place for them to start from again.

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Romancing the Realtor

Disclaimer: I don't know this real estate agent. I've never called him, emailed with him -- I haven't even seen his signs. But an ad for his agency popped up in my gmail account, and given my interest in the subject, all I could think of is this:

Doesn't Dustin Laricks sound like the name of the hero in a romance novel?

He sorta looks like one, too. And the picture with the pup? PRICELESS!

So I turned to all-things-romance-novel expert, Sarah Wendell, to tell us what kind of romance novel hero he'd be based soley on the name.

Her analysis: "He's totally a low key guy, utterly secure and quiet, almost beta in quality, until you see him with a little kid or working with an indecisive couple or even mowing his lawn and you get a shot of bicep or a hint of his smile and PFFT. You're done. Sneak up and smack you silly with the romance, that one is."

Dustin, if you're reading, I say this all in good fun. You have a good site and a good blog, too. And, hey, the google ad worked!

**UPDATE** Dustin's wife responds! Check out the comments!

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End of Summer Mixtape

The folks at asked me to do an end-of-summer mixtape for them. Click here to check it out! You might be surprised at what I chose.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Asbury Bike Ride

On Sunday, my dad and I hitched our bikes to the back of his car and drove to Asbury Park for a bike ride. I also strapped a camera to my waist in a belt bag -- NOT A FANNY PACK as my dad joked. Laugh all he wanted, but I got some good pictures. And it's really called a belt bag. Stop laughing.

From inside Convention Hall:

Candyteria on the boardwalk:

I wore my Garmin Forerunner 405, a running watch with GPS, on the ride, so here's a map of where we rode:

Bikes are allowed on the Asbury Park boardwalk until noon -- not 10 a.m. like I thought. Also, I love my road bike, but for boardwalk cruising? Not the best ride, but I managed.

After our ride, we headed down to Ocean Grove for brunch at Nagle's. Hi dad!

I love the old signs, too:

On a sad note, Kitch & Kaboodlein Ocean Grove is closing. I bought a great double boiler for $3 at the closing sale, but I always liked that store.

I brought my bathing suit, but it wasn't a great beach day -- windy and a bit cold, so we headed home. I ran 5 miles (at a 8:37 min/mile pace -- SUCK IT, SHOULDER SURGERY), then spent the rest of the day on the couch watching Law & Order marathons.

It's gloomy out today, and even though I can detect some lingering humidity, it feels like summer's on the way out. I'm hoping for a few more heaters, though, so I can bring Emily down the shore (No beach tags! And no one yelling about my dog!) I'm probably going up to Long Branch later this week to work on a story, so my shore season definitely isn't over. I'm realizing this year that it's never really over for me -- I'm always writing about it. It's just the season that changes.

If I could re-do the summer, I'd have spent more time on the beach. I might have scheduled my surgery for the fall or spring so wouldn't have lost a month of shore time, but at least it's out and gone.

What would you have re-done about the summer? Or, for a positive spin: what will you do different next year?

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

End of Season

Yesterday morning, I was in Cape May to work on an article for the Philadelphia Inquirer. After, instead of going right home, I hit the beach in North Wildwood and hung out with a few friends (Bill left for Minnesota yesterday, so I figured I could take some time off).

Cape May seemed busy, but I didn't go too deep into town. But North Wildwood? DEAD. Sure, people were on the beach, but the streets were empty, I had no problem finding a parking spot, and most of the bars were closed -- not that I was looking to get bombed, but our group did want to have a post beach drink. We ended up at Keenan's, which was practically empty.

The reason? School's started in some areas, plus Labor Day is as late as it can be this year. It doesn't feel like summer anymore, either. I had a t-shirt on by the end of my beach stay, and it was downright chilly last night.

I know I herald the start of fall, but I wish I'd had more summer this year. Personally, summer went all over the place between surgery and Bill leaving. I feel like I lost a month or two. But I'm glad I got some beach time yesterday -- when the clouds passed, it was toasty warm.

It should be a beautiful weekend, and I'm guessing the beaches will be packed. Dad and I settled in Asbury Park for our bike ride (which will be more town than boardwalk). We'll get in that one last breath of summer.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Best Boardwalks

Forbes Traveler named Atlantic City as having the Boardwalk with the best arcades.

Now, notice that this isn't a best boardwalk list -- best boardwalk arcades (Wildwood, Ocean City, Seaside Heights and Point Pleasant are on the list, too, in that Jersey order).

We could argue endlessly which beach has the best boardwalk because there's so many criteria we could use: arcades, rides, food, family friendly, beach bars, even peace and quiet (hi Avalon!)

I've been thinking about boardwalks this week since I'm going boardwalk bike riding with my dad on Sunday. We haven't picked which boardwalk yet. I'm leaning toward an all-over-town ride since bikes are kicked off the boardwalks mid-morning. Asbury Park has a Bike Church, and we are riding on a Sunday...

If you had to pick, where would you go?

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Happy September!

Happy September! I love the fall, especially down the shore. Yes, I'm a little sad that I didn't get too much time on a hot hot beach but it's so much easier to move around when the temperature drops off a bit. You?

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Down in DC

I had a great time catching some down time in DC since Thursday. I didn't want to come back. My brain and body are tired, but I have deadlines stacking up in September, so that vacation will have to wait for fall.

But the time I did have was a blast. I went to DC on strict orders of R&R. I visited with a lot of old friends -- some who I hadn't seen in three years -- and spent time with my brother and sister in law. On Friday, I just wandered. I brought my camera with me everywhere I went. I interned in DC in 2000, and I never took pictures of things that I thought were interesting, like the Metro and Union Station. They are marvels. So here's what I photographed:

This last picture has a funny story behind it. I went to DC on this particular weekend because my college roommate and sorority "big sister" was in town. So I hung out with her while she wasn't in conference sessions. On Saturday night, we had dinner at Bistro Bis (thank you, DC restaurant week!) We took a cab back to the hotel, but while stuck in traffic, an obnoxiously drunk woman decided she needed to get in the cab with us. Her rants were along the lines of Mel Gibson -- NO LIE. The cabbie didn't know what to do, but me and Crissy figured she wasn't a real threat aside from the cigarette she tried to light, and she was dead against getting out of the cab, so she rode with us to the hotel, then the poor cabbie had to drive her to Virginia. The bellmen at our hotel must have thought that WE were the obnoxious drunks because Crissy and I laughed so hard that we couldn't walk.

The wandering did me good. I had a chance to visit the renovated Nation Portrait Gallery, actually take a tour at the Folger Shakespeare Library rather than just wander around, and stuck my feet in the National Gallery of Art sculpture gallery fountain. I strolled down to Adam's Morgan, ran through Rock Creek Park and got caught in the rain on U Street. It was a random and completely relaxing trip.

It's a great city, and one I almost moved to before buying my Jersey house. It's great in the fall, too. With Much Ado About Nothing being put on by the Folger this fall? I think I'll be back soon.

Back to the grindstone -- I'll be in Cape May on Wednesday to work on a story. I'm curious what the crowds will be. Even though we haven't gotten to Labor Day yet, a lot of schools open on Wednesday. Plus, the weatherman says it's going to be a cooler week. Thank goodness. I might be the "shore" person, but I'm no fan of humidity. Welcome, fall. It's about time!

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