Saturday, January 31, 2009

Golden Nugget Goodbye

Today Wildwood and a few hundred people said goodbye to the Golden Nugget, a classic roller coaster that has lived at Hunt's Pier in Wildwood for nearly 50 years.

I went because -- of course -- I'm writing about it. My father came along, too, because the Golden Nugget had been his favorite ride as a teenager. Roller coaster enthuasists will tell you that it was unique between it was both coaster and dark ride (e.g. like a funhouse). It last ran in 1998, and the Moreys, who bought Hunt's Pier. It sat for so long because the Moreys tried to figure out what to do it. When I interviewed Jack Morey a few weeks ago, he rattled off the possible ideas they'd developed: the Golden Nugget as part of a picnic pier; Golden Nugget as quasi-museum; and of course Golden Nugget as a new ride. In the end, though, keeping the ride was too expensive. The Golden Nugget wasn't up to code, and it wasn't grandfathered by any historical society. The Moreys would have had to spend three to five million dollars to save it.

I didn't know what to expect today. Even though a sad occasion, the 952 folks who braved 20 degree weather made it feel like a carnival. I saw lots of parents with children who were old enough to have ridden the coaster as a kid, and parents younger than my father whose kids didn't know what they were seeing, but still posed for pictures next to those (creepy!) artifacts. The ride has been gutted on the first floor, but posters of what the ride looked like were hung on the wall. Artifacts were out on display, too, and a video of the ride played on a screen where the tracks used to drop carts down into the dark.

That last picture's not of an artifact -- that's my dad. Here's both of us by the ride.

I don't remember riding the Golden Nugget. I'm not sure if I did -- we spent a lot of time in Ocean City when I was a kid. But Adam Revesz of the American Coaster Enthusiasts gave a great speech, describing the ride from what he remembered when he was eight years old. Even he admitted that the time had come for the Golden Nugget to go into wherever coasters go when they pass on. Part of it will live at an amusement park in Pennsylvania, which has bought the tracks and cars. Parts will live in those who showed up early for the event. I now have a piece of the nugget on my desk.

Here's a shot of the crowd:

And even more people waiting in line for one last "ride" -- pictures in the carts:

For how sad a day this was for so many people, it was also one to remember Wildwood of the past and celebrate the future. The Moreys unveiled their plans for a new pier-to-pier coaster in a ceremony after the ceremony (thank you, too, for the cupcakes!) Here's those plans:

My article about the Moreys and the Golden Nugget won't be published until the summer. Until then, check out this piece from the New York Times about the ride. Also, mark your calendars: January 31 is now and forever more Golden Nugget Day, as proclaimed by the city of Wildwood.

I hope that's my last cold weather assignment of the year. I've been home for over an hour, and my fingers still hurt. I'm headed to Florida on Thursday. Will I be thawed out by then? Here's hoping.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The final number of people who showed up was 952. I had guessed the number before, so the post has been edited now that the fine folks at Moreys had an exact number!

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Short Report

What a long day! (Collingswood to AC to NYC to AC to Collingswood) But it was worth it. The ACES train was a lot of fun. I'm impressed.

But tired. I'll write more later. But if you're in NYC and planning on heading to AC any time soon, give that train a look. It starts running on February 6.

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Choo Choo!

I'm off riding the rails on ACES this morning. Hopefully the experience will be more this:

Or this:

Than this:

Or this:

Speaking of Sex in the City, you know that episode where they all go to Atlantic City for the weekend, and Carrie and Charlotte ride tramcars on the Atlantic City Boardwalk?

FAIL. Tramcars are in Wildwood. Hello?

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Free Falling

More bad news for Atlantic City today: Revel, a new blockbuster casino under construction in Atlantic City, has been delayed. They'll finish the exterior of the building and then let it sit for a year. As the daughter and granddaughter (and niece and sibling) of people who have worked their entire lives in the construction industry, I know this is an uncommon step, and only taken in dire circumstances.

Atlantic City is in a free fall.

Six of the town's 11 casinos are in or close to bankruptcy. Revenues continue to slide, jobs shed. This isn't a playground by the sea, folks. It's becoming a graveyard.

I'm the last one to talk smack about the shore, and I try to keep it light on this blog, but those who know me are aware of my deep suspicion of making money off senior citizens' slot habits. But that doesn't undo the fact that casinos are major employers and money makers for the state of New Jersey -- in the gambling and non-gambling sections of casinos. Right now jobs and money are in short supply. This announcement from Revel means lay offs for hundreds of construction workers, and potential jobs for casino workers that won't materialize.

I think it's only going to get worse.

We'll return to the frivolity and fun on the blog tomorrow, but I couldn't let this one pass without a mention.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

Hey you -- yeah, YOU! Recycle your clothes, please. It's very much needed in Ocean City.

Want to know how scared people are about the future of Atlantic City? Read this.

Speaking of, more on Resorts. I'm not a big fan of a lede (that's "lead" in newspaper speak) to the story -- the casino has a Boogie Nights dance party that's quite popular, so that lede is confusing, too.

But that Aces train is still a-coming. I'll be taking a ride on Friday. Of course, I will report back (as if you ever doubted it!)

Commentary about Miss America that I'd put in the "yeouch" category. I didn't bother to do a post this year because she's so far gone from Atlantic City. Yes, you'll find some crown stuff here and there, but she really has been booted out of town.

Scrabble night in Stone Harbor!

Small town politics are afoot in Ocean City.

Yes, the shore is quiet in the winter, but I like it that way -- no offense to the summer crowds! But there's something to a cold, windy beach that is calming. Nothing quite like it.

Ah, here come the Golden Nugget stories. I'll be there on Saturday. Ceremony starts at noon. Will you be there? My dad's excited about getting a nugget of the nugget for himself, but even Jack Morey admitted that he has no idea how many people will show up.

But, hey, they carts will keep riding on! Just in a different place.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Ray of Sunshine

Yes, that post on Friday was depressing. So here's a sun beam of light for you: Dixie Picnic, home of the Upcake (and so much more), has opened up a year-round location in Frazer, Pa. And, no, I do not own shares in the company. I just love love love their food.

Even if you can't get to Frazer, you can still order Upcakes, and they freeze well. I served them at my New Year's Eve party and froze the rest. Had one yesterday, and it was so very good.

Also, if you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen this update yesterday, but here it is again: Given recent events in the ol' personal life, I might have to do the Sea Isle City polar plunge on February 14. I'm not sure yet. I would like to see it even if I don't do it.

So I'm wondering -- anyone else here thinking about it or do it every year? I can tell you this: if it's 10 degrees out, I won't, but if it's above 40? Maybe. I'm thinking about it enough to have scouted out red Speedos because if I'm going to run into the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey on Valentine's Day, it won't be in this.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Now is the Winter of Our Discontent

Bad news came across the transom yesterday: Resorts Atlantic City has missed three mortgage payments, and their lender wants to foreclose on the property.

I knew things were bad -- real bad. But I didn't know that Resorts was this close to the edge. Trump Resorts has missed a payment, too, and that rumor about the Atlantic City Hilton closing are still floating around (though this affects them, too, since Resorts and AC Hilton are both owned by Resorts International Holdings).

So what does this mean? Not much right now. The Tropicana was taken over by the state in December 2007 and is still operating. The owners of Resorts are looking for someone to buy it but will most likely keep it in operation while they're looking.

The question for all of these casinos is who's going to buy them given how the city is hurting. Trump managed to unload Trump Marina this summer, but the numbers keep getting worse. Who knows. It's not pretty.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009


It's cold -- BITTER COLD. Anyone else hibernating? I am. Except to go the gym and my mom's, I've done my best to stay inside. Emily's feeling the same way, too, though she's actually hibernating. The old dog is sleeping the days away.

Looking to break out of your funk? The Tropicana's firing up a canrivale celebration Friday night.

Here's how it works: admission is free, but you can buy Carnivale dollars. One Carnivale dollar equals five regular dollars, and the Trop's restaurants, bars and entertainment venues are offering $5 specials. Sound confusing? I thought so. Check out their event website for details.

If you care about such things, Jessica Burciaga, Playboy's Miss February 2009, will be guest bartending at Providence, a night club in the Tropicana, from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., after which she'll play Blackjack and then go back to da club. She'll also be making a guest appearance at War at the Shore, an Extreme Mixed Martial Arts event taking place on Friday night.

And that, readers, is the most bizarre paragraph I've ever written on this blog. Then again, I *am* writing about Atlantic City. In the four years I've covered the shore, I've learned to expect the unexpected when it comes to AC.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

Still wondering what to do with your old Christmas tree (hey, some people take their time): what about dune builder?

That's one cold beach. But it's not too cold for birders.

Or for the Wetlands Institute to keep holding events.

Or for Harlow, a pup from Strathmere, to eat snowflakes.

Get your kilt on! Thursday is Cape May's infamous Robbie Burns dinner. They're serving haggis, which sounds gross but I've tried and can say wasn't too bad. Though one Scottish friend told me it's sorta like salt water taffy in Scotland in that only the tourists eat it. If meat's not your thing, they'll be serving a vegetarian option, too.

Interesting...Cape May diamonds on Etsy.

Remember that dentist who allegedly dumped medical waste that washed up along the Jersey shore this summer? He plead not guilty.

More Strathmere land issues...for such a small shore town, it sure does generate a lot of news.

Be careful at your shore Wawa (the ones that are left anyway).

If you're looking for a shore deal, you might want to click here.

Also, the Golden Inn Hotel in Avalon is doing Girlfriend Getaways until February.

Not a surprise, but still scary to read: the coast could be in trouble.

Ever wonder what about that tower you pass on your way to the Cape May Lighthouse? Here's your answer.

I remember when this happened: after a rehearsal dinner in Strathmere, a bridesmaid to the wedding was killed in what appeared to be a drunk driving accident. The driver of that car was indicted yesterday.

The shore is not immune to the country's housing woes.

DOG SHOW IN WILDWOOD JANUARY 29 TO FEBRUARY 2! It's the same weekend as the dismantling of the Golden Nugget. I just might have to go.

And just because:

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Monday, January 19, 2009

On Your Mark, Get Set...

Ocean Drive 10 Miler training starts today. Well, I start training today. I have been looking forward to this since Thanksgiving. As cold and as brutal and as boring as training can be, I still like getting into a routine when it comes to getting ready for a race. So even though the Eagles disappointed (bah humbug), it's still an exciting day.

The race, which takes place on March 29, is part of the Ocean Drive marathon and also includes (obviously) a marathon and a 5k. Anyone else going to be running that morning? I believe one reader is doing the marathon (right, Matt?)

I talked to a lot of people who did last year's race after the fact...I'd love to see who's going to be there in advance this year. It's not so much the support you need on race day but more so through the training. The race only lasts a few hours -- the training is 10 weeks. So raise your hand if you'll be there.

I'm also signed up on Daily Mile, so if you'd like to follow along or friend me, click here. If you're on Daily Mile, here's the race's DM site.

And let's not forget our polar plungers! Sorry I couldn't be there...but here's a video of the event. My favorite part is near the end when you can hear a gentleman say "this is the dumbest thing I've ever done." HA!

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

On the Obama train route

I'm not sure how you polar bear plungers are doing, but I'm still trying to thaw out my toes. Today was a COLD one, and I was out in it for three hours to report on Barack Obama's train stop in Claymont, Delaware today. My report was for the New York Times Caucus blog (under "Waving in Claymont"), and bits of it will probably be used in tomorrow's paper.

It was a fun time, but bitterly cold (the station is across the tracks from the Delaware River) and tiring. But here are some photos before I go figure out how I can get my toes to warm up.

Fun time, but tiring, and it was much colder than the boardwalk on Wednesday. Glad I added a fleece mask that covered part of my face.

Three pairs of socks, two pairs of pants, two pairs of gloves and four layers of shirts/coats helped, too.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Your Shore Weekend

Your shore weekend in January? Sure, why not. There's a lot going on.

Let's talk about you, I mean swimmers. Saturday is the Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge in Wildwood. It also also going to be one of the coldest days of the year. If you are still willing to brave it, the plunge will take place at the beach by the Wildwoods Convention Center. Registration starts at 10 a.m. Plunge time is 1 p.m. Of course, this is for a good cause -- plungers must raise $100 per person to participate with the money going to, of course, the Special Olympics. I heard a few Eagles players did it last year but they're, ah, busy at the moment. For more information, check out Unfortunately, I will not be there, but I will be out in the cold. I'll get to that at the end of the post.

In other, warmer, news, Samantha Ronson will be DJing at the Borgata's mur.mur on Saturday night. Depending on what you read or who you believe, Ronson is Lindsey Lohan's girlfriend (which of course is firing off rumors that Lohan will be in town this weekend). Big whoop, right? Hey, some people care. There's also huge billboards advertising the appearance in Atlantic City, which caught my eye. I wonder how many people would know Ronson without, or if the Borgata would make such a big deal about it if not for the Lohan connection (and what the heck happened to her after Mean Girls? Sigh.)

Don't care about that? How about this one: Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero and Jayson Werth of the World Series Champions Philadelphia Phillies will be appearing at the Casbah Club at Trump Taj Mahal on Saturday as well (though I'm wondering if J.C. Romeo will be there given this controversy). They'll be there from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

So where will I be on Saturday, standing in the cold if not in Wildwood? Claymont, Delaware, reporting and writing for the New York Times' Caucus blog about that spot along Present Elect Barak Obama's inauguration train route (so if you happen to live in or near Claymont and are willing to give a reporter a spot to warm up, let me know!) Good thing I tested out my winter gear on Wednesday. I'll be adding extra layers and hand warmers into the mix, and, hopefully, some adrenaline of interviewing people who chose to be out in the cold for reasons other than work. I'll fire up a link on this blog when my reporting goes live.

Until then, bundle up because it's a chilly one out there. Got a case of cabin fever? I like to bake in such instances. If you're the same, take a look at these recipes from Cape Cuisine's Rob Seitzinger. I might have to try that blueberry one.

**UPDATE** For all you polar plungers, here's what you should expect on Saturday via Thomas Brabson, DO, medical director of the emergency center and emergency medical services at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center City Campus in Atlantic City:

"Plunging into water at that temperature jolts the person into becoming hypothermic. His or her heart rate will increase, stressing the heart and lungs and making it difficult to breathe. After a while the skin and body will go numb, muscles will weaken and the person will become confused and disoriented. He or she will become really cold, really fast. The important thing is to get out of the water and immediately dry off and get clothed or covered to get warm again."


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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brrrrr on the Boardwalk

Shiver me timbers! It was a cold one down the shore today. With temperatures hovering between "brrr" and "OMG get me inside NOW," today was chilly around the shore. But since assignment deadlines are looming, and I happen to like the shore in the winter, to the beach I went.

My first stop was in at Brigantine Beach Bagel to interview author Beth Ciotta, whose book All About Evie I reviewed on my other blog.

What a nice, lovely woman! I'm writing about Ciotta for an article on romance novels and romance fiction writers in the area. Fun conversation.

Then I wound my way down to Wildwood, stopping to see how the winter was treating the shore. I was also reminded that, even though I hate driving in Philadelphia, I hate driving in Atlantic City even more. Ugh.

Anyway, the Ocean City boardwalk was just about empty, but it was still lovely:

Hey, we got a runner!

Even though Shriver's was closed, of course -- OF COURSE! -- Mac and Manco's was still open (9th street location only):

I took a quick walk on the beach, too. Yes, it was cold, but so very pretty. Plus, that combo of Columbia fleece and Northface jacket kept me pretty darn warm (thank you, REI January sale).

AGH! Oh, wait. That's not an alien or the Unibomber. That's just me. Yes, with very chapped lips. If anyone has advice on how to keep my lips from shedding like a snake in this very cold weather, please please let me know!

Then it was south down to Wildwood to interview Jack and Will Morey of Moreys Piers. I have written on the blog about all the hub bub surrounding Wildwood's choice to use rainforest wood as boardwalk wood. But I didn't realize where that project was taking place: smack in the way of getting to the Moreys offices:

I gotta say, it's jarring to see part of a boardwalk just gone. Same thing about seeing an empty and winterized amusement pier:

My interview with the Moreys went really well, and I think it'll be a great article. Because of my contract with the magazine for which I'm writing the piece, I can't say much more than that. But I can share this:

That's a picture of me and Jack Morey. He's wearing a "Team Iz" hat -- it belonged to Steve Izenour, who he quoted heavily and often and credited has having a huge influence on the businesses. Aside from being an influential architect, Izenour loved to bike, and that's his biking hat that Morey is wearing (and I'm wearing quite possibly the most comfortable fleece I have ever owned -- seriously. I couldn't find a direct link or I would link to it). I was also flattered that Morey had a copy of my book already in his office. You can sorta see it in the picture (it's by the book slightly to the left with the book with the Empire State Building on it with the left books leaning on it).

Next up was a quick trip down to Cape May to see if I could find that handbag with my face on it I've heard about (no go -- store was closed) and visit to the offices of Exit Zero to take a sneak peek of the books they're working on.

OK, that's not the offices of Exit Zero. That's my office with an Exit Zero mug I picked up today. Their offices are much cooler than mine (with the coldest bathroom in the world. Brrrr, Jack!)

Overall, it was a great trip. I wish I could have stayed longer, but work and the dog called me home. I hate, though, leaving Cape May home right before sunset because the view in the rear view mirror is so pretty. Today's sky was a wonderful blur of yellows, oranges and purples surrounded in a haze of dusty pink. Leaving town right when those colors hit their peak always makes me feel that I'm leaving something important behind.

I had a lot of time to think on that drive home, especially today. Why today? Because tomorrow is a big date for me: I'll have been freelancing full time for four years, so my drive both to and from the shore was filled with memories of a lot of stories I've written and people I've met along the way.

And even now, I can't believe it. I know a lot of freelancers who take their anniversary day off. I can't -- I have too many deadlines. That fact alone is comforting. I've nearly thrown the towel in many times, the latest (believe it or not) in May. So thank you to everyone who's helped me out along the way. I appreciate it.

Enough sap. Let's get another look at the bug lady:


Another tip from the trip: for most of my drive time, I listened to matt pond PA's "The freep." As the title suggests, it's a free ep. Go get yours now. Like today was for me, it's lovely.

I also twittered today's trip (my tweet about Mac & Manco's triggered a lot of replies and commentary about pizza). If you'd like to follow me, I'm @jerseyshorejen.

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News from Around the South Jersey Shore

I'm down the shore today working on a few things and hope to bring you back a bunch of wintry pictures tomorrow. I know that many of you like the beach in summer, but it really is beautiful in winter. You just gotta be bundled up!

Onto the news...

Yikes! Bulkhead broke in Sea Isle City and flooded a bunch of condos. Some might even be torn down. As much as that stinks, it is a barrier island and, well, these things are gonna happen. Just saying...

A Strathmere native gets a nice award.

I don't even know what to say about this article. It be choking on PR spin. I'm all for promoting the Garden State, but I doubt that the perception of New Jersey has changed THAT much. No mention of the Chelsea's rumored financial troubles, either. Hmmm....

This Wildwood-using-rainforest-wood story just keeps getting worse.

Cape May is raising taxes, water bills and beach tag prices.

What happened to all those Atlantic City construction projects on the books? Folded.

If you own a shore house that you rent out, you might want to read this one.

If you were to, say, steal $1 million from your employer, what would you do with it? Run away? Invest? Buy the Mercedes AND the Jeep Wrangler (I have no idea, but I've been fixated on getting a Jeep lately...and it's not my Honda's fault). Anyway, point is: there's lots you could do. But for pete's sake, would you really go gamble it all?

Yikes again! And if you do gamble and win big with your OWN money, be aware, alright? This winner got jacked.

Granted, things in Atlantic City are bad -- real bad -- but they're not the only gambling area hurting. Check out this fantastic story from NPR's Marketplace about what's going on in Macau, which had been the biggest gaming spot in the world. Yes, they even beat Las Vegas. But now they're in a free fall.

And let's end things with nice shots from Poverty Beach in Cape May.

Anyone out there doing the polar bear plunge in Wildwood on Saturday? Could you email me if you are? I'm at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How the Eagles Post Season is Like a Last Minute Trip to Atlantic City

The gents over at have put together a fantastic post called comparing the Eagles season to a last minute trip to Atlantic City. It's titled -- duh -- "How The Eagles Post Season Is Like A Last Minute Trip To Atlantic City."

Writing students, take note: great extended simile.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside




What a cold, blustery weekend! Even though we didn't get the promised snow storm, I took a cue from Emily and hibernated this weekend. But it won't stay that way for long -- this week I'm working on a big piece about Atlantic City, interviewing the Morey brothers, and meeting Beth Ciotta, former AC show gal and now romance author. Good thing I hit up the REI sale this weekend. It's going to be cold down the shore.

But it's going to be even colder this upcoming weekend. Adam Joseph of 6ABC is calling temperatures to top out in the TEENS. The teens! What do you say to that, polar bear plungers? I think that's too cold for me to even watch on Saturday (and I also might be working on a story that has to do with the Eagles. I'm sorry for your loss, Giants. Well, not really).

So it's going to be a busy one in the world (and on the road) of Down the Shore with Jen. Now that I found my camera -- which, of course, was where it should have been -- I should have pictures along the way, too.

I played with that camera this weekend, and given that I spent the entire weekend with a dog bent more on hibernation than, well, doing anything, here is a series I call "Ms. January."

Meet Emily, a jack russell terrier mix from Collingswood, NJ. She never thought she was a pretty girl but blossomed in middle age.

Turn ons include long walks and peanut butter. Turn offs are squirrels and rude people.

In her spare time, she serves as CEO and Chairman of Jen A. Miller, Inc. She also sleeps a lot and looks adorable while doing so.

This is normally the spot where I'd include awkward high school pictures (involving bangs, no doubt), but since Emily showed up fully grown, I'll just use that silly one.

Cabin fever much? Good thing the job is getting me out of my house this week!

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

I WILL Take that Midnight Train to Georgia

I didn't get to play Simon, Randy or Paula -- just Jen -- but I still had a blast judging AtlantiCare Idol on Thursday night.

The night started with my first trip to Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, which on a cold winter night is sort of an eerie drive through the woods. It reminded me of a horror movie or at least the Jersey Devil hunt (which, let's be honest, is done at the speed of Girl Scouts instead of Saw).

Once I got to the performing art's center, the fine folks from AtlantiCare led me backstage to a cacophony of noise and contestants getting ready for the competition. We had pirates (Susan Fisher Brown & Family), a lady in red (Kimberly Nasseredine), the "Nursettes" practicing their dance routine with Nancy Hayes, and a lot of glitter. It reminded me a bit of this:

For the next few hours, we were entertained by singing and dancing from the staff. What a great idea! Could you imagine seeing your boss belting out "When I Fall in Love" (Jaime Pinter) or giving a full out performance of "Wanna Be Startin' Something" (La'Quinta Price) with wig and silver eyelashes included? I used to work at a hospital, and what fun that would have been!

The winner was Nancy Hayes (and her "Nursettes," of course), singing a very soulful "Midnight Train to Georgia." She was so good that she sang it twice, which is why I had it in my head the whole drive home. Congrats much to Hayes, who not only won a trophy but an extra week of vacation time. And who doesn't want that?

A few other blog notes to share:

1. Friend of the blog Steve Chernoski has been getting quite a bit of media attention with the upcoming Eagles/Giants game. Check out his blog to see what's cooking.

2. Got nothing to do Saturday night? Then come out to the second Brian Hickey fundraiser. It's at the Pen & Pencil, a member's only club. It's got, um, character. That's all I'll say.

3. Ocean Drive 10 Miler training starts -- at least for me -- on January 19. Anyone else planning to do that run or the full marathon? Let me know. Need inspiration? Click here.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

AtlantiCare Idol!

Apparently someone read about my singing prowess, which I wrote about on another blog, because on Thursday night I'm a judge at the third annual AtlantiCare Idol talent competition, which is being held at 7 p.m. at the Stockton Performing Arts Center at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. I'll be one of a panel of judges that picks the best of the best from a field of 12, who have already been chosen picked as finalists from field of hopefuls.

Best part? It's open to the public and tickets are only $10, and the event benefits the United Way of Atlantic County.So if you're looking for some real, live talent to brighten up a cold night, head on down. Want tickets? Call 609-441-2118.

Now, I refuse to call myself a "celebrity judge" as the press release does, because that's silly. But if they want me to get hopped up on pills and booze to play the Paula role, I'm long as they send a driver :-)

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Polar Plunges

On New Year's Day, folks up and down the Jersey Shore did something that I consider absolutely bonkers: went swimming. In the ocean. Yes, outside.

There's two more polar plunges (that I know of) coming up this winter -- the Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge in Wildwood on January 17 and the Sea Isle City Polar Bear Plunge on Valentine's Day. I'm tentatively going to the Wildwood one to see what all the fuss is about, though dressed in winter gear and NOT going in the water.

But I want to hear from you, plungers. Why jump in the ocean in the winter? What do you wear? And how do you ever warm up after?

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Monday, January 5, 2009

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

Here's more info on the ACES train (and, yes, I am taking a ride on it as soon as it opens. Weeeeee! I like trains!)

Want some super cute pictures from a chilly Sea Isle City? Then click here.

Speaking of Sea Isle City...want to bike from there to Washington, DC?

Diamond Beach robbery!

Will Wildwood be using rainforest wood on the boardwalk? That didn't go over too well in Ocean City last year...and what is wrong with people? I'm not referring to the rainforest wood issue, but what people are saying in the comments. Ugh.

See? I'm not the only one who loves the shore in the winter.

Elizabeth Norton shares her top shore picks of 2008.

I wasn't kidding when I said Cape May was a destination for birders from around the world. Here's a great site for them (and any birders in the area).

And here's another "best of."

Wildwood's high school might close. This has been a problem in shore towns since prices skyrocketed and houses were bought out for big vacation homes -- less year round residents.

Bad news for Trump.

And bad news for Atlantic City in general. Oh, wait -- here's some more.

But -- hey -- they're trying.

General blog alert: Atlantic City Weekly's got a great one.

Barnegate Lighthouse lights again!

Here's information about all the polar bear plunges that happened last week. I gotta admit it: I don't get it (I don't get Mummers, either). But I'm hoping to check out either the Wildwood or Sea Isle plunges...

I'm excited about Boardwalk Empire, a new HBO series that seems to have gotten the greenlight. It's about Atlantic City in the 1920s.

Anyone resolving to lose weight in the new year should read this article -- that's dedication.

Not shore related, but I got a new computer over the holiday break (Macbook weeeeeee!) and have been re-doing my itunes collection, which reminded me that Ari Hest, one of my favorite artists, was working on a 52 songs in 52 weeks project last year. Well, the cycle is now complete and you can download all 52 songs here or buy them on itunes. I've been listening to it all morning -- highly recommend it!

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Friday, January 2, 2009

The 2009 Radar

Before I hung up my 2009 calendar, I wrote in a few key shore dates. Most of them are in the first three months of the year, and I know this list will expand, but here's what I've got so far:

January 17: Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge
January 31: Dismantling of the Golden Nugget
February 14: Sea Isle City Polar Bear Plunge
March 1-7: Atlantic City Restaurant Week
March 29: Ocean Drive Marathon/10 Miler (I've already registered!)
May 23: Tri for our Veterans

So what's on your 2009 shore radar?

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Thursday, January 1, 2009


One item on my year-end to do list was find a place to stay the night before the New Jersey Marathon. Some of the prime spots have already sold out. I wasn't willing to pony up $260 per night (with a two-night stay required) or take my chances with what could be a roach motel.

What to do? First, I hit, which is where I start most of my travel searches. That lead me to a few options on where I found a room in a very nice B&B in Ocean Grove for $100 -- and they're letting me stay one night instead of the two normally required (no, I'm not telling you which one, stalker).

Why a B&B? Besides the price and location, I don't want to worry about late night partiers keeping me up the night before the marathon (even though I have a feeling I won't be able to sleep much). Ocean Grove's a dry town, too, so there's even less chance of next-door debauchery.

One question I'm asked a lot is about places to stay, either in casinos or B&Bs in Cape May. I can give you my suggestions, of course, but you might also want to try to search a lot of B&Bs at once.

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