Monday, November 29, 2010

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

A church in Stone Harbor panels.

Convention stats are looking good for AC (which again makes me wonder about an article in a major daily newspaper recently that questioned whether or not AC had enough, hello?)

This study says that new legislation regarding Atlantic City casinos and the so called "tourism district" will not stop slumping gambling revenues. Well, duh. This does nothing about the fact that there's increased competition in the area. And this statement that they need to make AC more than just a gambling destination? OLD NEWS. They've been saying this FOR YEARS. But I guess someone had to do something to save face. Harumph.

Not a huge shocker to those of us who cover casinos: Harrah's re-brands as Caesar's.

As soon as I saw this headline, I *knew* the story was about Ann Delaney :-) Fun fact: Ann's given my book to visitors of her house. Apparently, it was very popular with a few German tourists.

Brian Donohue of the Star Ledger is doing a project on which NJ towns should merge. If you don't play along with NJ politics, the sheer number of separate teeny tiny towns that refuse to share services with other towns is a big reason NJ property taxes are so high. I've said to him a few times that absolutely, without a doubt, all four towns that make up the Wildwoods should become one. They are four small towns on one piece of land. West Wildwood is .25 square miles - and has its own fire department! I haven't heard a good argument yet that would make me even consider a reason for them staying apart. If you have one, hit up the comments.

On a non-shore note, my latest piece for AOL Travel is about former banks that have become something else. This topic fascinates me, and that B.A.N.K. restaurant in Minneapolis is one of the coolest buildings I've ever seen. So enjoy.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Jersey Shore Holidays

The Jersey Shore doesn't roll up the welcome matt and lock the front door at the end of summer. The holidays are a busy season. I know a lot of people who continue to go down the shore right through the fall and always have Thanksgiving dinner at their shore homes.

Even if you don't have a shore home (c'mon keep sending me real estate listing...), there's plenty to do. I'm going on a Cape May weekend getaway in December myself. More on that later. But for now, here's a sampling of what's going on.

Black Friday alert! The Atlantic City Outlets-The Walk is....Every Tuesday and Wednesday through December 22, they'll do free wrapping on up to three gifts at the Holiday Headquarters.

The Quarter at the Tropicana goes out all for the month of December for their Sixth Annual Holiday Spectacular. The highlight - for very silly reasons - is the Running of the Santas on December 11. Yes, it involves the Hooters girls, but the writer in the jeans and tshirt MIGHT be the one asked if she needs a pimp.

The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor is having a Holidays Hoopla on Saturday, November 27 from 9:30am-4pm. They'll have live animal demonstrations, crafts, and offer discounts at the Tidepool Shop.

There is SO MUCH going on in Cape May that my brain can't process all the activities. Do yourself (and myself) a favor and check out everything that the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities has going on, including Christmas Candlelight House Tours, the Mad Batter Beer School and Christmas themed trolly tours.

I just finished writing an article about how to learn from holidays displays at hotels and public spaces to spruce up your space. One hotel I name checked was Congress Hall. Their holiday spectacular kicks off on Friday with their annual tree lighting except this year the tree has moved out of the lobby and onto the grand lawn. It's over 40 feet tall and has a train (yes, big enough for kids to ride) ringing it. The "Winter Wonderland" opens at 10am on Friday with tree lighting at 5pm. Then on Saturdays starting this Saturday through December 18, you can have breakfast with Santa. That'll be $14.95 for adults and $9.95 for kids. Also on those Saturdays - and free - is storytime with Mrs. Clause at 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm. You can do holiday ceramics on those Saturdays, too, from noon to four (I don't have a price on those so call to ask if you'd like to know).

This obviously isn't everything that's going on. I'll be tweeting and re-tweeting shore events over at through the holiday weekend.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Cape May VIP - Worth it?

The Cape May County Chamber of Commerce announced that it's starting a "Cape May VIP" card program.

The premise is simple: You buy the card, and get discounts at Cape May spots.

I don't know if I'd recommend it just. Twenty bucks seems a little steep considering how few businesses are signed up. Unless you absolutely positively go to some of these places, I'm not sure it's worth it.

This could change as they add more businesses to their roster. Would you use this card enough to make back your $20?

Speaking of discounts - the "New Jersey Resident" program is still working, though you can only get it at the Chelsea in Atlantic City at this moment (Beach Shack is closed for the year). So if you're planning to stay at the Chelsea and you have an NJ Driver's License, make sure to get your 30% off and $30 per day resort card.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

More on Miss America

I have a weird fascination with Miss America. When I was writing the book, they were in limbo between Atlantic City and Las Vegas, and before their headquarters moved out of the Sheraton Atlantic City, I got the chance to tour their offices which - surprise surprise - were very girly.

That why I'm making a post about this piece in the Press of Atlantic City rather than just putting it in a news round up.


If you have any insights - or feel the same way - hit up the comments.

Speaking of dressing up, I'm going to the Meridian Gala at Ocean Place in Long Branch on Saturday. No, I will not be wearing a tiara.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Writing for AOL Travel

I picked up a new gig that's just shown its face on the mighty mighty interwebs: I'm now a contributing writer for AOL Travel.

My first piece, which is about using debit vs. credit cards while traveling, went online yesterday.

My next piece is about a topic that I've wanted to write about for a while - and no, it's NOT about the Jersey Shore. I love it, of course, but I've written travel about other areas since I started freelancing. My first piece was about a tea shop in Oxford. That was probably back when I still had an AOL email address. Full circle...

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Boardwalk Empire in the New Yorker

Ben McGrath has an interesting short piece in the New Yorker about fact checking the HBO show Boardwalk Empire.

Can I fact check this? First, Revel is not an unfinished high rise. It's an unfinished mega-casino. Second, Phish at the "old convention hall"? I don't think that's the best way to describe Boardwalk Hall, which is an amazing - and recently renovated - building of its own right.

I quibble, yes. But hey. It's my territory.

UPDATE: I went and wrote a letter to the editor. I doubt it'll run, but at least I had my say.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Winter Wonderlands

Calling all shore folks: I'm going to be writing a post for the week before Thanksgiving of what holiday things are going on in my favorite place in the world. So if you know of something (yes, all two of you PR people who read this site), let me know what's cooking!

Side note: I've been planning two trips for December: one for Washington, DC, and one for Cape May. I've been reaching out for advice on DC. But Cape May? I think I've got that covered :-)

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vintage Shore Tees

If you've read this site long enough, you KNOW I love vintage shore stuff. So you can imagine how I feel about these t-shirts being offered by

I'm PARALYZED by the options. Do I get the jitney tshirt? Mr. Peanut? Or honor the Anchorage, which is still one of my favorite shore bars? Or SKEEBALL?

Way too many decisions to make at once. At least I have some time before Christmas.

Hat tip to Enrico for the link.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

Cape May knitters: click here.

Well, this is good news - spending on things OTHER than gambling has gone up in Atlantic City.

Though this news about the city's credit rating isn't great.

I saw a version of this in London. Hysterical - and in Cape May!

I usually lament "small town politics" when linking to stories about Cape May, but this week, Sea Isle gets in on the action.

So this has nothing to do with Stone Harbor, NJ (it mentions a Stone Harbor Resort) but I had to link anyway because the guy's name IS JACK MONEYPENNY. Awesome.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Resorts gets a revamp

And boy do they need it.

Resorts, which was Atlantic City's original casino, a mismash of the old Haddon-Chalfonte Hotel and gaming, is going retro. They're being re-themed to harken back to the 1920s. Good time to play up on the Boardwalk Empire trend that's going around.

It could be fun, and Resorts could use something new. I've only really gone for the Boogie Nights club nights - which is STAYING, thank God. Maybe this will bring back new life to the original AC casino.

Sorry again for the relative blog silence. I've been adjusting to life as a full time employee, and probably went on shore overload while finishing the book. I'll be back. Promise :-)

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