Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Case of the Ocean Drive Medals

My mom still has the pictures from Sunday on her camera - I will post them when I have them because believe me, one of them is HYSTERICAL.

For now: I did OK. I didn't break any personal records, but I ran much faster than I thought I would given the hip injury. I finished in 1:22:46 - that was good for 79th place out of 491. Here are the overall results.

We had a great day for the race, too. Just sunny and warm enough that the heat wasn't oppressive, and while we did have a wind, it didn't knock me down. The rain kicked in long after all the runners crossed the finish line. Thank goodness because it was so powerful the night after the race that it woke me up at 3am (I stayed over at the Starlux in Wildwood because of work, with mom taking Emily home after the race).

Now, the controversy: The finishers of the Ocean Drive 10 did not get medals this year (marathoners did). I thought that was odd, as did other runners milling around the finish and complaining over breakfast at Dock Mike's. I've run the race three times, and swore I got a medal when I finished the first two times.

So I emailed the race director. He said that we were given medals on the anniversary of the race only, something he repeated later in a group email: "In an attempt to clear some confusion concerning the OD 10-Miler: In 2009, we issued a commemorative medal to all 10-Miler finishers to celebrate the 10th anuual running of the that event. As a policy, we award a finisher's medal to ODMarathon finishers only."

Then why do I have these?

As you can see from the dates, these are two finishers medals from the 2008 and 2009 races. Bill Scannon, another blogging runner, told me he had one from 2007 - he remembers giving it to his son at the finish line that year. Here's my blog report from the 2008 race with medal on; and the same for 2009.

Like with the White Heron/Blackfish nonsense, I throw my hands in the air over this one. I like the race - don't get me wrong - but now that I've run in a bunch of longer distance races, I can see why this is not a fan favorite.

They still don't do chip timing. That's when you're timed starting from when you cross the START line, not from when the start gun goes off. I ran this in 1:22:34 according to my GPS watch, but I couldn't muscle myself to the top of the starting line, so my time reflects the 10 miles PLUS whatever I ran to get to the start. There was no Gatorade at aid stations until mile 11. The streets in Wildwood were not completely blocked off from traffic (which almost resulted in a runner in front of me getting hit). And then this medal thing?

I've also been told that a new half marathon is coming to Wildwood in Spring 2011. If you have a limited budget for racing as I do, these issues start to factor in. I've enjoyed running the OD10 in the past, but it might need a makeover to stay on the to-do list.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Bad idea, Wildwood

I'm still waiting final results from the Ocean Drive races to post how it went. I'm also trying to figure out the story behind why we didn't get finisher's medals for the 10 miler this year.

Until then...how terrible is this idea? Allowing alcohol sales on the Wildwood Boardwalk would be a disaster. Wildwood has enough problems with their "family friendly" image. This isn't going to help.

P.S. Whoever high fived me at the end of the race - who are you? I know I should know who you are, but my brain was fuzzed and I apologize for that. But thanks for the high five!

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Ocean Drive Weekend

Time to add another pig to the shelf.

Sunday is the Ocean Drive Marathon/10 miler/5k. Despite the hip injury, I AM STILL RUNNING. I have no idea how long it'll take me to complete those 10 miles. My dream of placing in my age bracket this year is dead, and this might be my slowest OD10 ever. But I'm going to get that medal, and buy another pig for the shelf (I write my time on the tag), even if I run/walk/run the entire way.

Bonus this year: I'm bringing Emily. Well, not on the run, but we're staying overnight at the Bill Mae Cottage, which is a B&D: Bed & Dog. They gave me marching orders, too: Must be in Cape May in time for happy hour.

It'll be chilly Saturday, but Emily loves running on the beach in any weather. After the race, my mom will take Emily home so I can stay another night - this time in Wildwood - and work Sunday and Monday.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

White Heron?

Remember Friday's dust up about Blackfish/Whitefish in Stone Harbor, where I was assured Blackfish would re-open this summer?

This photo says otherwise. If it is re-opening, it won't be in the same building.

Ann Delaney snapped a picture of the restaurant that was once Henny's, then Blackfish, and now, apparently, White Heron Grill. A tipster also pointed out that the domains for blackfish.com and whiteheron.com are owned by the same person.

What's that you hear? The sound of me throwing my hands up in the air. I give up. I've shuttled these tips (which I've sat on for a bit - I saw the Blackfish marquee and signs down on Saturday) to a newspaper reporter who covers the industry. I've got my hands full with assignments about Atlantic City and can only handle dealing with one nutty industry at a time.

When that newspaper story appears, I'll share the link.

**UPDATE** And here it is.

Also in that post is information about a change at the Princeton. Can we stop trying to class up the joint, guys? You did the reno. Congrats. It's pretty. But you're a shore bar. A beyond-packed-and-charge-cover-and-too-much-for-Miller-Lite-but-get-away-with-it-because-its-tradition shore bar. You have a great shore bar menu. So why muck it up?

Another note (and this one's mine): a new restaurant called the Diving Horse will be opening at 21st and Dune in Avalon this summer. It's by the same guys who run Pub & Kitchen in Philadelphia. As always, more details when I have them...

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News from around the South Jersey Shore

This is the time of year when I stop talking about all my shore-related ventures because of work. Example: recent news of a plan to start building smaller, boutique casinos in Atlantic City. I'm writing about a key player in that movement, so I can't tell you my opinion. But I'm sure you'll form your own.


Did you know you can report your shore bird sightings? You can!

Watch your copper, people...

...and your empty shore homes.

And finally...it's time to secure your summer group rental. And I only say this because craigslist ads putting out the word for roommates have been filtering into my inbox through Google Alerts. This is my favorite so far. Hook it up!!!

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Today I was in Atlantic City with the photographer of a Canadian inflight magazine - he's in the area to photograph both Jersey Shore articles I'm writing for their summer issues.

After trudging up and down a cold, wet, rainy Boardwalk, I took him to the White House Sub Shop for lunch. He loved it and said the place is amazing.

And then the sandwiches came out.

Then he was flabberghasted and, after finishing half of his half serving (those two in the picture make up one whole), he said it was one of the best sandwiches he's ever had, in large part because of the bread.

I've heard this from people who've moved out of the region: that bread or pizza anywhere else isn't the same. I never noticed this when I lived in Tampa during college. Then again, I'm not a huge sandwich, cheesesteak or pizza fan. (I'm not Unamerican. I swear. My body just doesn't call out for those meals. They're more like a special treat.)

What is it about the water here that makes for amazing breads? Any ideas? Help me out, foodies!

Also - the Pier Shops at Caesars now has a Crocs store. Awesome. And stop giving me that look. They're comfortable. And when do you ever see my feet that they'd offend you?

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Notes from the weekend

I can't find the do-hickey that lets me import photos from my camera to my computer, so this will be a text only update. I'll try to find it pronto (because, uh, that would be a bad thing if I lot it).

I headed down to Sea Isle at 7:30 on Saturday morning. My mom and I are renting a house for the week of my birthday (yes, the big 3-0). We spent about an hour looking at houses, picked one that would give me what I call a "birthday suite" - a sink, microwave and couch in my room - and had an early lunch at Dock Mike's. Thank you for serving me lunch at 10:30am. I was hungry.

The plan was to take a walk with my mom on the beach, then sit in my beach chair and read. It was a gorgeous day, hitting about 70 and sunny enough that I saw a few teenagers in bikinis with red solo cups (i.e. probably drinking) out on the beach.

But my phone buzzed offering me an opportunity that may or may not have something to do with a secret ride in Wildwood. But I may or may not have signed a confidentiality agreement, so I'll say this: The Wildwood Boardwalk was lovely as well.

After I may or may not have gone behind the scenes of said attraction, I headed back to the Garden State Parkway to meet up with friends and pop into the Atlantic City Beer Festival - that was until I saw a big black smoke cloud hanging over Atlantic City.

The Revel Casino, which is still under construction, caught on fire. I don't think I've ever driven so fast into Atlantic City. I parked my car at Resorts and flat out sprinted to the scene, which was for naught. By the time I got there, the fire was under control, and I couldn't see much. Turns out the fire wasn't that big, just messy looking.

I never made it to Beer Fest - I had to get home to have dinner with a friend - but I saw the results spilling out onto the street, and then the Atlantic City Expressway. Yes, drunks were walking onto the expressway. It was obscene. Someone's going to get killed if they don't do something about crowd control next year.

I'm headed back to Atlantic City today to work on a feature about the town for an inflight magazine. Good thing the sun came out because the magazine is sending a photographer for pictures.

One more note: a new restaurant is coming to Sea Isle: Drifters. It's across the street from La Coasta and on the site for a former liquor store. The restaurant will have take out booze windows. This, ah, could be trouble.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Best of Jersey: Sunset Beach

In the April issue of New Jersey Monthly, I write about my love for Sunset Beach. It's part of the magazine's annual "Best of Jersey" issue and, as I say in the article, it's one thing every New Jerseyean must do.

(Note: If you're thinking the photo with the article and the photo above - yes, that's me - look the same: they were shot by the same guy on the same day).

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Alas, Strathmere!

BEHOLD! Strathmere's Bride,the Harlequin historical romance that has nothing to do with the Jersey Shore's Strathmere, but keeps coming up in my Strathmere Google alert.

That's $.75 (plus shipping) of research, people. Big dough for a historical romance bought through half.com. I'll read through it when I'm done with my current book.

I didn't get my butt in a beach chair yesterday, nor did I make it to Atlantic City Beer Fest. But a lot happened. Expect more soon about a secret ride in Wildwood and a fire at an unfinished Atlantic City casino (and how NOT to try and get to said fire). I'm putting the finishing touches on a New York Times travel piece (NOT about the Jersey Shore) and will write up those updates when that story's shipped off tomorrow.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Suds and Sun

Have you seen the forecast? Temperatures in the 70s! I predict an outbreak of sunburn and a lot of people headed down the shore.

I am going to be one of them. My butt's going to be planted in a beach chair, though I do plan to stop by the Atlantic City Beer Festival, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday. I've never been, and while I don't plan on drinking, I'm curious to see what it's all about. Saturday's sessions are sold out though you can still buy tickets for Sunday.

I'm going to be down the shore a lot in the new few months for work. I have a new project I'm working on - I'll post details as soon as I sign the contract.

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Bye, Bye, Blackfish - STRIKE THAT

That post I wrote about Blackfish - and I was wrong. Mea Culpa. Big mistake, and I'm sorry.

I talked to the owner, Chip. He says that Blackfish will be there this summer but with a different concept, and I give him props for 1. not screaming at me this morning for writing the wrong thing and 2. asking me for honest feedback as to why I didn't like Blackfish last year.

So: He says stay tuned. And I am going to put on my dunce cap and sit in the corner.

**Update** Someone else pointed this out to me. I don't know anymore. Either way - I'm glad they're addressing issues people had with the restaurant last year, and I do wish them the best of luck. I might have been harsh in criticism of the place, but it's different when they're trying to fix it.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ready for the Day After?

You're going to see a lot of green and people pretending to be leprechauns today, so I'll let everyone else have at it.

This post is to remind you of Bag Day, the annual day-after tradition at the Irish Pub in Atlantic City. I'm hearing that the fine folks behind New Jersey: The Movie will be offering a special discount code tomorrow in honor of this annual tradition (though Steve says he won't be coming down for Bag Day until 2011 when it's on a Friday - that's what happens when you get engaged. You get boring. Kidding, Steve. Maybe).

**UPDATE** The code for 15% off is "bagday." But it's ONLY GOOD on March 18.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Changing plans

See how sunny it is out right now? How nice. I'm taking that as a good sign that I made the appropriate decision because, sadly, I pulled the plug on the Jersey Shore iPhone app project.

I won't go into all my reasons here, but I will say this: as I worked on the app, I found out that a lot of Jersey Shore towns are developing their own apps - AS THEY SHOULD! NJ Tourism should be putting one together, too, but that's a whole other story.

Anyway...I'm going to step aside and work on other projects that have been piling up behind the wall that was the app deadline. Next week I'll be in Atlantic City producing a feature for an inflight magazine. That's what I love doing, so that's what I'll stick to. I should also have a big announcement about a new project to share within the next few weeks.

If you're dying for a Jersey Shore iPhone app RIGHT NOW, download Atlantic City Weekly's bar guide app. It covers Atlantic City to Cape May, and you can search bar specials per town or day of the week. Bonus? It's free.

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Monday, March 15, 2010


Since she's talked about after prom parties in Wildwood, her uncle was my grade school's janitor, and since I've had a rough couple of days, I bring to you Kelly Ripa circa 1987 on Dancin' on Air, a local TV show that eventually became Dance USA.

Thank you, @phillyradiogeek, for bringing this and other Dance USA videos back to us. It's wonderful.

**UPDATE** Dancin' on Air: IN WILDWOOD

Made. My. Day.

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Wet weekend! If you're battling with water in the basement, a leaky roof or mud all over your shoes and everything else (like your dog - Emily just face planted in the mud), take note: Even Boardwalk Hall sprung a leak. On Saturday. During the A10 tournament.

If even grand, historic Boardwalk Hall gets water (and a crane fell down at the Revel construction site) you know it was a bad weekend for everyone. But at least it wasn't snow, and sun and 60 degree temperatures are in the forecast. Spring is coming. I promise.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

R.I.P. Manchester Inn

Sad news: big fire in Ocean Grove yesterday. It took down the Manchester Inn and three other buildings with it. If you know Ocean Grove, the Manchester, which was built in 1870, was near the Great Auditorium, right in the middle of town.

Two firefighters were injured while battling the blaze, but no one was killed.

Thoughts with Ocean Grove today.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Letters in the Sea

I love this song. I hadn't heard of the Dimes until Pandora played "Letters in the Sea" on my matt pond PA channel. The Jersey Shore plays a part in the song. Enjoy.

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Midnight Knitter: Part II!

That sly midnight knitter - or knitters?

The knits done up around inanimate items around West Cape May sparked a lot of interest in Cape May but according to the Press of Atlantic City, the knitters' work is gone.

What a mystery. What a fun mystery. I've asked a few friends in Cape May if they knew the knitter's identity. Nothing. The Press's story references the Salty Knits an anonymous group of knitters in Cape May (again, another great knitting name) who are taking credit.

I need to hang in a few bars down there to see who slips up and IDs the knitters.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Marathon Mourning

Sad day, friends. I'm finally admitting something that I didn't want to acknowledge or even think about. But it's time to finally say:

I'm hurt, and I won't be able to run the New Jersey Marathon.

I could point to about a dozen mistakes I made in training for what should have been my first marathon, but I'm too down to go into it right now. I've tried changing my training, doing exercises for my hip, resting. After a week off, though I'm still in constant pain. It keeps me up at night. I tried three miles this morning, and it went OK, but I don't think I would have held up to a 18 mile training run this weekend.

So I pulled the plug (and before you guys start commenting about seeing a specialist - my insurance sucks. They won't let me see my Penn doctor, and getting a new ortho by marathon time is not going to happen because of rules about referrals. If you ever want to discuss healthcare reform, make sure you talk with someone who pays a lot of money for bad coverage because that's the only option available).

ANYWYAY: I'm sad, but part of me feels lighter for having made this decision. Could I have gutted it out? Yes. I did that sort of thing in high school, and all I have to show for it is permanent shoulder damage. It's not worth doing that to my hip just so I can say I ran a marathon.

I hope to run the Ocean Drive 10 miler on March 28, even if I have to run/walk/run the whole thing. I'm also seeing about changing my registration to the New Jersey Half Marathon on the same day as the full marathon. I paid the race fee and for a hotel, so why not?

Not a good day, friends. Not at all - add this on top of my frustrations in putting together the iPhone app, which is turning out to be way more work than I ever though it will be.
But I know my hip will thank me for this running decision.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Midnight Knitter!

What a great name for a mystery novel - Midnight Knitter! Not a slasher/vampire kind of mystery novel, but a sorta funny, light and fluffy beach reading kind.

Alas, it's not a book title, but mystery of sorts playing out in West Cape May. Someone's going around town knitting scarves and sweaters for trees and lamp posts. Delightful! Though police are looking into it because it's, well, illegal.

Will this caper ever be solved? Will police find the perp under the cover of darkness in the shadow of the moon? Will four teenagers in a bus with a big silly dog unmask the knitter as the owner of the local amusement park? (Jack Morey, you're on alert) Or is this just a guerilla marketing stunt for the next Terry O'Brien yarn?

Find out, on the next episode of the Midnight Knitter.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Greetings from Ashbury Park

As seen in AAA's New Jersey & Pennsylvania Tour Book (yes, both states are clumped into one). This isn't even the worst I saw in a day: A New Jersey Tourism map marks Barnegat Ligthouse as being in Cumberland County.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Survey Says: What should be in the iPhone app?

Thank you to everyone who's already sent in pictures. You guys are amazing. And who knew I had readers in Oklahoma and Texas? Keep 'em coming!

So I'm here to ask another question, though it doesn't require you to do anything other than write about a few of your favorite things:

What are things that I MUST include in the iPhone app? The things that, if I don't include them, you'll want to write me a slightly snarky letter?

Two qualifiers:

1. I've been given 300 entries to cover the entire Jersey Shore, so I might not be able to include every suggestion. But the best part about the iPhone app is that it WILL expand after its initial release, so I can keep what doesn't make the first cut on file for round two.

2. The app will cover things to do, places to eat, etc. I'm NOT listing hotels, motels, B&Bs, or experiences like "go this street of this beach because beach tag checkers don't go there." **UPDATE** It also won't list information like who requires what beach tag, and what towns have free parking. That's where the app is different than a guide book.

So what have you got? Drop your suggestions in the comments, or email me at jenmiller27 [at] gmail.com.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Photo Swap

OK, readers. I rarely do this, but I'm going to ask you guys for a favor.

As I mentioned in the post where I shared a video of a sea gull mislabeled as a pigeon walking on the boardwalk, I'm working fast and furiously on my Jersey Shore iPhone app. I'm writing the words but also supplying the pictures - from my own personal stash, free pics, stock images or from the owners of the places themselves.

Do you have any pictures you'd like to share? Because I'll take them. I'm looking specifically for:

1. Restaurants
2. Shops
3. Historical Sites
4. Bars
5. Casinos
6. Attractions

This isn't limited to the South Jersey Shore, either - the entire thing. What I don't need are beach photos. I've got plenty of those. Old photos are out, too - I need newish.

Now, the caveat: I can't pay you for the pictures, and I don't know of a way to attribute credit. I'm not asking professionals to lend me pictures for free - this is more along the lines of when I run "Your Shore Pictures" posts. What I *can* do is see about adding picture swappers to the list of beta testers who will get to play with the app before it's out. But I'm not sure if I can do that yet. (If it makes you feel better, I'm not making any money on this thing either, and I won't unless I sell a lot of apps. I might never make much on this at all - but if anyone's going to write a Jersey Shore app, it better be me).

If you have something you took and like and want to share, drop me a line at jenmiller27 [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bird Walking

Bill and I have this running joke about walking birds. Why, when you have wings, walk? Recently this obesssion has focused on pigeons because the Charlton Heston character in The Greatest Show on Earth, a movie I watched over the weekend, calls his gal "Pigeon," which to me sounds like the dumbest pet name ever.

So I searched pigeon and boardwalk on youtube, and this is what I got. Even though it's not actually a pigeon, it works to prove Bill's point: birds are not meant to walk.

This is the kind of stuff coming to my head as I'm chained to my desk writing my Jersey Shore iPhone app. Hey, if this can be a website, I can run a video of a sea gull walking on the Atlantic City boardwalk.

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