Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Atlantic City: Boardwalk & Camping, I

If you read this blog in late 2009, you may remember that Jonathan and I spent a night in Atlantic City back in December. We kinda wanted to get back there and see some of the non-casino sites... mainly the Boardwalk. The rough plan was to drive out there early and then drive back late that night, since the drive isn't too terribly long. We considered a hotel, but beach season increased the prices exponentially in comparison to the winter. Then, Jonathan had the perfect solution: camping.

We had planned to go camping soon after we first moved to Pennsylvania, but it was practically snowing before we knew it. It's been on the "to-do" list all spring, but it just got overlooked in favor of other exciting things. So, as our time in PA winds down, it made lots of sense to camp and do Atlantic City in one fell swoop. We planned on driving in, doing the daytime Boardwalk thing, leaving to set-up camp, then driving back in to do a little night-time Boardwalk stuff before heading to the campsite for the night.

The plan really got put into motion when a couple of our friends asked if we could take them to the airport on Saturday morning. It was an early flight, so we were already crossing the Walt Whitman into Jersey by 7am. We didn't have a solid parking plan, but found a metered spot on Martin Luther King just after 8am. We put our one quarter into the meter, with the plan to go find more change. It took a little work, but ultimately one of the many 99-cent stores agreed to give us a few dollars of our change in quarters. We poured in enough to last us until 12:45pm, then set off to explore. (We also called the campground to reserve a spot at this point as well.)
a shot of the ocean and shorelinethe steel pier with the rides on it

We kinda mapped our walk around a walking tour that I found online. We were parked near the north end of the "stuff," even though the Boardwalk extends a bit further. We had planned to go north until we came to the lighthouse, but construction fouled that plan quite a bit, so we only went as far as the Atlantic City Historical Museum. It was a neat place, but showing a 30-minute video isn't the best plan. They'd do much better if they had a couple shorter videos, I think. Similarly, about a third of the museum was being re-done, so there were several missing exhibits. There were some interesting things, however, including information about how the city was started (what a gamble they were making with that railroad!), the Miss America pageantry, the creation of Monopoly (which, honestly, they don't play up enough in that city. We found NO Monopoly souvenirs ANYWHERE), and even the story behind the famous rolling chairs. We signed the registry, and were kinda surprised that they didn't even have a donations box, as we would have put in a few bucks.
we stayed in the Taj Mahal last time, but never got this view of it!
some of the gigantic hotels/casinos

From there we made our way south, stopping at an arcade to cash in a few more dollars for quarters. We looked at the beaches, admired the large hotel-casinos, and avoided the million people trying to get you to ride the rolling cars. I took several photographs of signs that were clearly related to Monopoly, so at least that was cool. As we walked by MLK Blvd again, we stopped to put more quarters in the meter, this time to carry us until around 2pm. We went into the pier shops at Caesar's and saw the fountain show.
We stopped at the Korean War memorial and the JFK tribute. We popped into the visitors' center for a couple of souvenir maps. We began thinking about food as we neared the end of the excitement, and turned around just before we reached the Hilton.After scoping out several lunch places we ended up eating at LoPresti's, which happened to be the closest eatery to the car, anyway. I got the fried shrimp and fries while Jonathan got the sausage-peppers-onions. Everything was a bit overpriced, but the food was good. I could have used tartar sauce instead of cocktail sauce, but no biggie. The most important part was that we snagged a table! LoL.
I wanted to add this in because I liked the advertisement and they were ALL OVER the place!

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