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Just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia is the newly rennovated New Jersey State Aquarium in Camden. After being closed for renovation for most of the months since last summer, it reopens this month in time for summer visitors. This is a fun adventure for families eager to learn. This aquarium is on several levels with wonderful exhibits that do not seem dark and scary to timid children. If you have been to this aquarium before it is certainly time to come again to see all the new exhibits and expansion.

 

 

Aquarium Re-Opens May 2005

The huge tank of many large ocean fish has a grand viewing area in which children can view up close and feel they are getting to commune with the fish and sea mammals.
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One room is devoted to birds and local river fish and underwater life. Families can learn to identify species they may encounter in local reserves and state parks.

The large touch tanks are very popular with children of all ages. Have you ever felt the sand-papery, rubber-like skin of a sting-ray? Or looked close into their eyes? Seals and otters are playful and ready to entertain your family and seem so close, through the protective glass. These are experiences of wonder your child will never forget.
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In the back garden area of New Jersey State Aquarium you’ll find a lovely garden walk area and small theme park and carousel where you can have a picnic, or snacks in fresh air.
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River Link Ferry Dock

Whether or not it is necessary for your transportation, we also highly recommend that you extend your day’s fun by walking down to the River Link Ferry Dock just behind the Aquarium and cross the Delaware River to Penn’s Landing of Philadelphia, where you could spend another half day enjoying all the historic events and tours with your family… a lot of walking, learning, and fun for one full day into evening for this double-state excursion. Crossing the Delaware River is really fun and a good photo op between the two states. This season the Freedom Ferry has a new mate to handle the traffic: Independence Ferry was inaugurated in April 2005. The ferry will operate seven days a week from May 1 – September 30. In October, it will operate Friday – Sunday. Service will begin each morning from Camden at 9:20 a.m. and from Penn’s Landing at 9:40 a.m. and will continue every 40 minutes from each dock. Last runs of the day, Monday – Thursday, will be from Camden at 5:20 p.m. and from Penn’s Landing at 5:40 p.m., while last runs Friday – Sunday will be from Camden at 6:00 p.m. and from Penn’s Landing at 6:20 p.m. The ferry also provides extended evening service for Tweeter Center concerts. You can also arrange for charter and group rentals.
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Six Flags Great Adventure and Wild Animal Safari
Nearby, on NJ Route 537 at Jackson is another great place to spend a day or a week-end. you can even go on a real safari at Six Flags Great Adventure, which is the largest theme park in the country and includes Hurricane Harbor Water Park, and drive-through Wild Animal Safari. ( Phone Number: (732) 928-1821) There are more than 200 rides and attractions among these three parks. You can purchase tickets for each individually or for the whole package.
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The Safari theme park is free with tickets to Six Flags, or if you have only a half-day and prefer not to walk, you can do as we did and just get tickets for the drive through Wild Animal Safari. Of course, this is a delightful twist on a Zoo concept, since people are in the “cages” and the animals roam freely. How exciting for a giraffe to lick at the top of your car or for an emu to stare you in the eye or to watch rhinos bathe in their lake at a safe distance. It was a wonderful half-day of intrigue and fascination as we watched from our car windows the exotic animals from Africa, Australia, and other places. The park is very clean and the animals well cared-for. This was very thrilling for all of us, and I think the adults enjoyed it even more than the children.
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Ocean Grove, NJ, has been known for over two centuries for tent camping. You can learn more about the wonderful town, which is a step into the past and a National and State Historic District of Victorian Homes and unique tent homes. Read other articles about this coast town.
Board walks were laid each spring for healthful walks in the salt air. In the early years The Camp Association literally rolled up the sidewalks at the end of the camp season so they would not rot in the winter moisture! Today the quiet town is the only one of the Camp Meeting towns whose spirit and tents survive. In 1887 railings and electric light poles were installed on the more permanent boardwalks. Christian Camp Meetings in old revival style attracted thousands of visitors for the summer. In 1900 there were 5,000 bedrooms for rent. But the “permanent” resident campers obtained 99 year leases for their plots for $10.90 to erect their large canvas tents, which are still in use today, some in their fourth generation, handed down within the families.
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I was fortunate enough to be invited into a tent home to see the lovely interior. The bedroom and living area are under the canvas. Each tent is permitted to attach a small wooden shed, which has a tiny kitchen and bathroom and an area in which to store the tent during the winter. Owners are required to have their tents erected and beautified with hanging baskets, colorful awnings, and other lovely landscaping by May fifteenth. And owners must remove and stow their tents after Columbus Day. When I asked how anyone has any privacy with just canvas walls a resident said with a smile, “Long ago folks figured out if they had a disagreement they better take it across the lake to settle. And when we hear heavy breathing at night we just say it’s ‘Methodist Asthma’!”
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More battles of the Revolution were fought in New Jersey than in any other colony/state. If you want to make Revolutionary War history come alive for yourself and your children, go to Morristown National Historic Park was America’s first national historic park and the site of George Washington’s Headquarters and where the Continental Army wintered in 1779 after its brilliant action against the British and Hessians in Trenton and Princeton. Opened March 2, 1933, it is situated on four different locations around Morristown, NJ. Click here We first saw the Revolutionary War Museum. (Open daily 9 – 5 with interpretive tours every hour, on the hour from 10 a.m.. Admission is four dollars.) Thomas Winslow, our fascinating guide, explained the “what- happened-when and why’s” of our nation’s history here. Click here

We were ushered into the eighteenth century by a “Continental soldier” in uniform, triangle hat, and buckled “Pilgrim” shoes. He explained how to load and fire the authentic old musket and shot it into the woods in front of the museum. The bright fire and loud explosion were impressive, but he explained that the gun’s aim was only fairly accurate at about thirty feet; hence the admonition, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”
Within the Museum we saw an excellent collection of eighteenth century weaponry and George Washington’s own swords and spontoons used by officers. Washington strongly advocated using these weapons, which did not require gunpowder, a valuable commodity in the seventeen hundreds. Guns then were long and cumbersome and required time to reload. We saw a very rare breech-loaded Ferguson rifle, which loaded and fired much faster than muskets and was a great innovation in weaponry. Tourists interested in weaponry and military history will find this museum a rare treasure house. Also on display is a huge link from the famed “West Port Chain,” which was stretched across the Hudson River to prevent the British ships from entering. There is, in addition, a priceless collection of original pieces of furniture and clothing from daily domestic life of the period.

Three generations of Fords lived in the mansion here until the 1870’s when it was sold at public auction for $25,000. Farsighted philanthropists purchased it and created the Washington Association of New Jersey, to preserve the site for the state. Anyone wishing to join this organization may do so for $100 a share, a legacy which can be handed down to future generations. Today national parks are only possible because of partners in the private sector. Click here. The museum, still sponsored by the WANJ, has plans for a seven million dollar expansion to be completed by 2005 so that much more of its large collection can be displayed.

This impressive house was designed by John Russell Pope, the famous architect of the eighteenth century who also designed Mt. Vernon and buildings in Washington, DC, including the National Memorial and the National Gallery of Art. Joseph Ford, Jr., built the mansion with his wealth from iron, a grist mill, and his vast farm. He had been a loyal supporter of New Jersey against the British but collapsed on a horse in 1776 and died at the age of 39. Mrs. Ford continued to live here with her three young sons and a daughter and offered her large home for General Washington’s use. Click here

In the winter of 1777, the winter after Valley Forge, Washington and his officers had stayed at Arnold’s Tavern (formerly where Charles Schwabb Company stands today) in Morristown, which was a little village of 250 people. At that time thousands of soldiers had deserted, and the remaining men were low in morale as the war seemed impossible to win. Morristown was a place to rebuild his discouraged army of 2,000 – 3,000 men, who encamped in the surrounding area. By bitter experience General Washington and his officers had learned that germs and filth kill more solders than opposing armies.
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Today the lovely little New England town of Morristown, NJ, is very picturesque, reminiscent of the eighteenth century, and some of the buildings on Morristown Green are preserved from that era. The village green is a beautiful park with statues commemorating Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers. The historical Presbyterian Church is on the site of the original building from the 1700’s, whose pastor was Mrs. Ford’s father. Take time to walk through the old cemetery, which has Revolutionary War graves as well as modern ones. The cemetery also has the grave of a Colonial days great grandmother of President Bush. Click here The old Methodist Church building is also beautiful. Historic Morris Visitors Center is downtown, or click here.
Unique shops offer tourists numerous finds which are not the same-old, same-old shopping experience of malls and cities. You will find many wonderful little cafes, bistros, bakeries, and restaurants to please any palate and any budget. Morristown is certainly a worthwhile tourist stop anytime, but especially in this historic year. December began the celebration which will last all year to commemorate the 225th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War.

In Washington’s day, Morristown was selected by the General because of its strategic location between two mountain ranges and the Great Swamp, therefore it was easily fortified. The river afforded a way to bring in supplies. Iron and coal were also available in the area, and there was a gristmill, a sawmill, and a gunpowder mill. Good food supplies from surrounding farms and orchards meant they could get what they needed and be encamped as safely as possible.

The Continental Army returned to winter here in 1779 following a huge victory at Trenton. Their morale was high, and there were 10,000 troops wintering here this time, with the enormously multiplied needs for daily life and food. Washington had learned that discipline must be strict and the army well trained in skill and endurance. Mrs. Ford’s seventeen year old son volunteered for the army and soon took a musket ball in the thigh. He survived the wound, but the winter was terrible for everyone living in the crowded house. The temperatures and snows were fierce, and nearly everyone suffered from terrible colds. Because of the difficulties of daily life in those times, soldiers brought servants with them to prepare food and do laundry, etc.
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The Mansion is furnished with some original pieces and many replicas to show the life of an officer of the times. The “army cots” are amazingly delicate pieces of beautifully finished walnut furniture with hand-turned spindle legs which make them appear like doll beds, with canvas canopies and curtains, which serve for warmth and mosquito protection. George Washington was over six feet and weighed more than 200 pounds, and many of his officers were large also. Everyone marvels that such big men could fit into these fragile-looking beds, which fold up for marching, just like a basic army cot today.

The dining room was the strategic command center and displays old maps. We were reminded that General Washington could not trust just any map, as a mis-drawn one could have been a trick of an enemy. He had his own cartographers in residence.

Martha Washington arrived by sled in the winter of 1779, which was the worst winter in recorded history. New York Harbor froze to a depth of eighteen feet! Three-ton cannons were rolled across the Hudson River without even cracking the ice. Battles had to cease because of the bitter cold, but amazingly only 1,000 of the 10,000 soldiers deserted and only 130 died during this horrible winter. The previous winter at Valley Forge had nearly wiped out the army with typhus, camp disease, and pneumonia. By now, with General Washington’s strict discipline, these men had become hardened soldiers. He had learned the vital importance of hygiene, strict training, and careful planning of the camp quarters, which the men had to construct for themselves from any logs they could find. Trees could hide the enemy, so they did not hesitate to clear cut for what they needed to build and to fuel fireplaces, their only means of cooking or heating. The War was postponed until spring thaw.

The four Morristown Historical sites present fascinating interpretation of things which we take so for granted in modern life, but which caused unbelievable difficulties during the Revolutionary soldiers’ daily survival. The guides helped us understand what the soldiers here felt during the Revolutionary times…a great educational experience for any age.
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Continuing our tour of the Morristown Historic sites we drove to the highest point in the area, Kennedy’s Hill, where Washington built fortifications to protect his supplies should the town ever be attacked. Officially called the “Upper Redoubt,” it was given the sneering name of “Fort Nonsense” because some people believed (because the British never came here to attack) that Washington had just been trying to keep his soldiers busy. Today it has an interpretive trail, and a shady park with a beautiful view, which was not obscured by trees in Washington’s day. The hours are dawn ‘til sunset.
From here we took Western Avenue for a beautiful scenic drive directly to the final historic area of the National Park at “Jockey Hollow Encampment Area.” Today this heavily wooded natural area has many trails for jogging, hiking, and horseback riding. Dense hardwood forests offer cool shade in the summer, incredible leaf color in fall, cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing in winter, and beautiful blooms in spring. The narrow three-mile highway forms a loop accessible by all vehicles, even RV’s. Some parking is available inside the park center, even parking for horse trailers. Eric Olson is the experienced park ranger here and offers historical tours combined with nature studies of the Revolutionary period. It’s fascinating to learn that different kinds of trees were used for fences, or houses, or firewood.
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Follow Tempe Wicke Rd into the lovely forest of Jockey Hollow, to the Wicke farmhouse and visitor center. Here the Interpretive Center commemorates the enlisted men from the terrible winter of 1779-80. This was the main army camp, clear-cut with only bitter cold and snow, as shown on the large mural painted by Matternes. Visitors will be amazed to view the inside of the tiny log cabins, 14 x 30 feet in which 12 enlisted soldiers lived. The men had to fell the trees and make their own huts, according to Washington’s specifications, and if they were not exact, they had to be torn down and re-built. The huts were in very specific rows so that the men could fall out of their cabin and be in perfect marching formation for battle. In summer Washington’s tent camps were laid out in the same orderly way. Hard to imagine life in this small area with only wood fireplace to sit and hang clothes to dry, straw beds tripple bunk high and no extra space. Card playing not allowed by Washington because it caused fighting among men, but some hid and did it anyway.
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The center is open 9 – 5 daily and provides an outdoor entrance to the restrooms which are always open for hikers. Groups touring here should call ahead for appointment. Pets must be on a leash and owners must clean up after them, but the park provides a special watering place for them.

The farmhouse nearby is restored to demonstrate farm life of the times. An impressive garden is planted each year by volunteers in the way it would have been done in the eighteenth century: no pesticides, natural fertilizer, companion plantings which are worth studying. Any gardener would love visiting here in this Garden State.
When ice finally thawed battles resumed. The army left here June 7, 1780, with word of attack in Elizabeth, NJ.

When you are in the Jockey Hollow area of the National Monument you are near Basking Ridge where you will find several really good restaurants to meet your need for a refreshing break. In keeping with the history you are learning you can stop on Highway 202 at the Minute Man Restaurant where the burgers are yummy and are named for Revolutionary War figures. For a more elegant atmosphere and exquisite cuisine in daytime or night, go to The Grain House Restaurant, where grain was stored for Washington’s troops. The food and service are incomparable. Click here.

Next to the environmental center at Basking Ridge is a Raptor Trust. Click here. Visit to learn about endangered species and birds of prey, which are taken in here if they are injured. If you are planning your trip for June include watching the Peapack Trials for the US Equestrian Team and the Festival of Champions here for two week-ends. Gladstone Antique Show is here in the fall, along with many area pumpkin patch festivities and fall festivals complete with fresh apple cider, hayrides, and glorious riot of autumn colored leaves. Other places of Revolutionary historic importance in this “Crossroads of the Revolution” state of New Jersey are having special features, enactments, and celebrations during this 225 anniversary year, and are in any year places to learn first-hand our history. When planning a family vacation for summer or holidays be sure to include the Washington Crossing State Park, and Princeton Battlefield State Park, and Monmouth Battlefield State Park, and Old Trenton Barracks, all in the central part of the state.

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A most intriguing way to re-live Revolutionary War history is at The Old Barracks Museum in Trenton, NJ. It is a great place for everyone to really absorb the enormity of the soldier’s life and the sacrifices that were made. In the winter of 1776 Hessian soldiers had taken the New York City area and then Trenton and were encamped here, and the Continental Army was ready to give up the War. But Washington’s soldiers slipped in darkness across the Delaware River and took them by surprise one night. In the battle that ensued here on Christmas the tide of the War was turned and the men re-invigorated to carry on when the Hessians were forced to retreat. General Washington and his men camped here in these very barracks and practiced soldiering all winter. Here at Trenton is truly the source of our freedom, the battles that turned the tides of the War for Independence.

 

TRENTON BARRACKS MUSEUM

This is the place for your kids to discover the delight of learning history because you actually get inducted into Continental Army here and learn to shoot a musket and march. Children and adults will have some pretty amazing surprises in the mock dental and physical exam given the soldiers. Will you be qualified to load your musket properly? It is not the type of test you expect!! As we have heard a lot about smallpox in the news recently, it is very interesting to learn that in this Infirmary George Washington figured out how to keep his army from being devastated by the disease, before there were vaccinations.
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If you “pass muster” you, too, are sent to the Infirmary in the Barracks for more surprises, some gross realities of the eighteenth century, and the wonderful entertainment of the deadly serious nurse who must get these new soldiers to stay healthy in the field. This is an experience of history no one should miss! This is a great place for kids and teens to really absorb the enormity of the soldier life. And the restoration of the only remaining barracks of the Revolutionary War is really well done. Be sure to visit the gift shop for many educational items, for adults and children, pertaining to history of the period.
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At the entrance to the city you’ll want to photograph the beautiful Revolutionary War Memorial statue. Stop at city center to see NJ Historic Society Headquarters in a lovely pre-1760 house, where you can get free escorted tours of the historical sites around Princeton. Just across the street is the original building of the University, Nassau Hall, which was also taken over as an Army Barracks and Hospital and used by both Continental and British soldiers . This was the site of the British’ last stand. You can traverse the lovely Princeton campus and enter many of the ivy-clad buildings. And you’ll want to take the tour of the Princeton Battlefield State Park.

 

When In Princeton

You can ask almost anyone in Princeton the way to the Nassau Inn on Palmer Square to eat at Yankee Doodle Tap Room where Einstein doodled and worked his wonderful brain over many a mug. You’ll recognize many other faces on the wall of famous Princeton grads, which include movie stars and astronauts. The original Norman Rockwall painting of the Yankee Doodle Soldier is over the bar. Food here is deliciously hearty and portions are huge. Service is excellent, and some of the personnel even remember seeing Einstein. Don’t miss the delicious signature warm chocolate bread pudding.

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Warm Welcome in Victoriana for your real travel adventures Ocean Grove, New Jersey, is a quiet step back in time to the Victorian Era, a restorative reprieve just over an hour from Manhattan or Philadelphia.

The Melrose Bed & Breakfast is where I was lucky enough to stay. It is the only place I have ever stayed as a tourist and felt I should wirte a “thank you note” because of the hospitality. You’ll KNOW that you are the honored guest of owner Randy Bishop. The four-story Victorian mansion is one block from the ocean at 34 Seaview Avenue between (Beach and Central) and features grand porches on different levels to capture the ocean breezes and the relaxing atmosphere of the Victorian Era. Each of the ten guest-suites is comfortably modern with A/C units,ceiling fans, central heat, modern bathrooms, while still maintaining the Victorian integrity of the structure. The renovations were carefully done by the owners and each room is beautifully appointed with impeccable taste and care of detail, styled in unique theme decor. Mine was the safari suite with my own fully-equipped tiny kitchen! You can request a jacuzzi suite or fireplace also. There are several comfortable, homey parlours with over-stuffed pillows, music, TV, books, art, magazines, all just to make you feel at home and welcome. You’ll find freshly-baked cookies for your good-night treat. Breakfasts are sumptious and lovingly prepared by Randy himself and served in the lovely Victorian dining room.
Randy and a friend, who nostalgically remembered Ocean Grove from many visits in the days when cars were not allowed in town on the Sabbath, decided in 1995 to take early retirement from AT&T and city life and move here. They arrived in January and people told them they were crazy to go to a New Jersey beach town in the winter. But he remembers, “I figured if I could fall in love with a beach place in January I could love spending the rest of my life here! If I loved it there would be others who would too, and I have been proved right.” They were excited to be involved in the revival and restoration of the largest collection of intact Victorian buildings in the United States.
Call 1-800-378-9004 or (732) 774-5404 well ahead to reserve this most popular B & B. because guests return here year after year. The Melrose offers weekly rates all summer and is open year-round. Randy says, “My favorite time of year is September and October when flower gardens grow wild in a profusion of color, leaves are spectacular, the beach is quiet and the water calm. It’s just beautiful!” The warm and gracious host, welcomes his guests into his home and makes it a haven of peace and tranquility from the city stresses he himself escaped.
Captain Jack’s Restaurant at 68 Main Avenue is open Tuesday through Sundays for lunch and dinner and features delicious, fresh seafood. You’ll dine surrounded by the bright and inviting modern-impressionistic art of the extremely talented owner Jack Green, Jr. You’ll also find the 600 gallon aquarium relaxing while you dine. Call (732) 869-0770 for reservations.
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The beautifully renovated Main Avenue House is an impressive hotel which has been beautifully modernized, yet retains the Victorian charm of the three-story mansion and offers a private balcony and jacuzi in some rooms. There you’ll dine at Franco’s By the Sea with impeccable Italian/Mediterranian Cuisine and offers a delicious Sunday Brunch. You can also arrange a private, romantic dinner on the roof-top with your own sea view. The new Galleria is a boutique shop with many lovely gifts, some by local artisans. For more or call732-897-9200 or 732-897-9444
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The Starving Artist at Days (47 Olin Street on Auditorium Square) is a MUST with delicious daily homemade breakfast and lunch specials in an atmosphere of fun and friendly service by people who obviously love what they do! In January and February they feature a Dinner Cabaret (the innovation of Robert Jaffe, a performer himself) one night each week with a seating for 50 people. During the summer season the Victorian Garden is the setting for outdoor theater on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays with a seating for 75. These two events are so popular that reservations must be made about two months ahead. (You can e-mail StarvinOG@aol.com or call 732-988-1007) Days Ice Cream Parlour had its grand opening in 2001 on the 125th anniversary of Ice Cream at Days. The building is a Historic Landmark.

Manchester Inn Bed & Breakfast is a delightful B&B open all year one block from the ocean at 25 Ocean Pathway. The charming Victorian living room serves as Reception and the hallways and rooms feature most unique and beautiful hand-painted wall murals and decorations. You can tell that the inn and restaurant are the pride and joy of Clark Cate, Jr., who is your friendly host and a savvy on-sight manager. It is the only inn in Ocean Grove with a full service restaurant,
The Secret Garden. The food and service are excellent, and on Wednesday evenings you can enjoy the live music of the “Barn Burners,” a local Celtic jazz band. On Saturdays the restaurant features a pianist, and on Sundays it is light jazz. If you are in town on the second Friday in July and August, book far ahead for the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. Call (732) 775-0616 or The Sampler Inn Cafeteria and Restaurant is a must see if you are interested in needlework. Established in 1917, the walls are covered with an amazing collection of framed samplers dating to 1737! Stop in for a meal or dessert and take time to appreciate the “leisurely art of ladies.” It’s located at 28 Main Avenue (phone 732-775-1905)
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In the town of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, on Route 202, is a Romantic Historical Setting . You can enjoy a very special meal in an authentic Revolutionary War setting. The location is on the Passaic River where a miller, named Samuel Lewis, in 1768 built a water-powered grist mill and barn in Franklin Corners on land originally acquired from William Penn. The Grain House Restaurant is in the barn which was the storehouse for the desperately needed flour, meal, and feed for the Continental Army encampment at Jockey Hollow in the winter of 1777. The Grain House Restaurant features special events many times during the year, some of which benefit local charities. Talk to Chef John Tomaszek about special seating or any other personal requests.

I recently enjoyed a delectable meal there and found the food superb. Prepared with freshly herbs and specialties from Chef John’s own on-site garden, his innovative recipes and presentation are exquisite! The Grain House is open daily for lunch and dinner. Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings there is also live music in the Coppertop Pub, which is located in the 1777 horse stable of the old grist mill. The Restaurant is on site at the Olde Mill Inn, which is a “perfectly inn-timate place” for any special and romantic stays.

Enjoy turning a romantic dinner at the Grain House Restaurant into a very special overnight at the Olde Mill Inn? Ask about special packages for dining and staying overnight. For more information you can click here You can call 908-221-1150 for details and reservations.

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The first site of real tourism in the United States is also “America’s Favorite Playground,” and you’ve probably toured this city many times: You’ve been to Boardwalk, Park Ave., Pennsylvania and Kentucky Ave., St. Charles Place, St. James ….maybe even taken a “ride” on the railroads…..so where are you? You’re in Atlantic City, NJ, where the game of Monopoly was invented during the Great Depression by Charles Darrow to help people get away from their financial woes. But the first property developers and tourists came here in 1854 when the railroad from Philadelphia completed the line for city dwellers to go to the coast for the sun, sea air, and sea water, believed to be good for health. Recreational resorts were soon to follow, and the development of Absecon Island grew rapidly. Now there are 29 NJ Transit trains a day from Philadelphia, and about 33 million visitors flock to Atlantic City each year. I recently discovered many reasons why when I was fortunate enough to be there for the very first bus ride on the new Causeway which will bring traffic more easily to this playground of the Atlantic Coast. The city authorities have wisely planned to make it easy for visitors to get around town without traffic jams and parking problems. The modern “Jitneys” and busses are easy, cheap, and run every few minutes from all major tourist attractions.
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The famous world’s first Boardwalk was built in 1870. It is on concrete and steel pilings and made of thousands of two by fours of Bethabara hardwood from Brazil and Longleaf Yellow Southern Pine. It extends about four and a half miles over the sugary white sandy beaches. It was started by the railroad officials who didn’t want the sand tramped into their railcars. Atlantic City also has the world’s premier amusement pier- The Steel Pier, which opened in 1898 but has state-of-the-art rides today. Click here. And when you’re there you will have to sample their famous Salt Water Taffy which originated on the Boardwalk in 1883 when a huge wave washed over the taffy factory’s candy, giving birth to the delightful new taste which became a hit. (And even if you have many fillings in your teeth as I do, you can enjoy this taffy,as it does not seem to pull on them! You’ll be quickly addicted, as we were.)
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If you didn’t come here by car or train, you may have flown in to the world’s first “Airport” because the word was coined here. And of course the Miss America Pageant was started here in 1921 in order to extend the summer holiday season beyond Labor Day. The Pageant is held at Boardwalk Hall, (1-888-222-3638) which is currently being restored to its 1929 magnificence when it was recognized as the world’s largest free-standing building without column support and is now on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. Click here. The Miss America Pageant grew out of a Flower Festival which originated a century ago in 1902. Be sure to see the showcase of contestants’ dresses and shoes in the Sheraton. The Sheraton is also home of Tun Tavern Brewery. Click here The beer made with Atlantic City water has won several awards. The Tun (meaning keg or cask) is said to be the firs brewhouse on the Philadelphia waterfront and is acknowledged as the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps in 1775. You may also wish to tour Renault Winery; 130 years old, it is the oldest working winery in the country. It is located in the Historic Gardner’s Basin and features guided tours, wine tasting, gift shop and gourmet restaurant (609) 965-2111.
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How long has it been since you just PLAYED! It’s time to feel like a kid again and run in the sand, ride the rides on the famous Pier, jump the waves of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, crack crabs and lobsters, go to a clam-bake, lie in the sun. But you also get to enjoy activities and entertainment you couldn’t enjoy as a kid.
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Gaming is strictly controlled by New Jersey laws and has been successful in keeping the underworld out, by contrast to the history of teeming underworld escapades here in the 1920’s when some institutions blatantly defied Prohibition with speak-easies and the playground for gangsters. Visitors come here for excellent gaming of all kinds. Atlantic City features a dozen of the most elaborate Hotel-Casinos in the world, which offer beautifully appointed rooms and five star restaurants, top entertainment in revues and lounge shows. Click here . You can’t miss Donald Trump’s opulent Taj Mahal Resort with its white elephants and guilded domes. To get show and entertainment information for the Taj Mahal venues.
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But the City is not just about gambling. The Comedy Stop at the Tropicana is the place where many stars have been discovered inlcuding Rosie O’Donnell, Tim Allen, and Ray Romano. Another club to visit is Club Harlem on Kentucky Ave. which has historical significance of presenting African American entertainers in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s, many of whom became famous: Ray Charles, Sammy Davis, Jr., Pearl Bailey, and James Brown to name a few. In July each year the Kentucky Avenue Renaissance Festival is the source of much fun, music, and food.

Noyes Museum of Art (609-652-8848) offers exhibitions and special programs year round with “Meet the Artist” gallery talks, concerts, hands-on projects for families.Click here for more info. Atlantic City Historical Museum and Art Center highlights over a century of seaside mania and the many promotions that hit the City over the years. These are captured in the historical video Boardwalk Ballyhoo. (609-347-5839)

You’ll enjoy a myriad of wonderful restaurants from which to choose. One of the best known is the Knife and Fork Inn, an Atlantic City landmark near the intersecton of Albany and Pacific Avenues. Started as a private men’s club in 1912, it defied Prohibition until Federal Agents in the Roaring Twenties destroyed it and all its contents. It reopened in 1927 as a restaurant and has been owned and operated by the Latz family for four generations. On the roof you’ll see a weathervane with a 24 karat gold coating. If you can dine there, select their signature Seashore Dinner of lobster stuffed with crabmeat, and delicious corn fritters from the owner’s great grandmother’s recipe.

Shopping is a unique experience at Ocean One Mall, which looks like a cruise ship and is located 900 feet out over the Atlantic Ocean!…on the Boardwalk across from Caesar’s Hotel & Casino. You’ll also find eateries and strolling entertainment here and 120 specialty shops.

On the new Grand Boulevard you’ll see a 180 – foot long, simulated boardwalk and a 90-foot tall lighthouse replica. You’ll want to pass this at night when the dazzling laser light display is featured and announces all the major shows in town. Beautiful fountains shoot 30 feet into the air with huge rocks and boulders completing the effect. The city is currently underway with a multibillion dollar renaissance. This attractive display is part of the Corridor project, which will total $286 million dollars as part of the NJ Casino Reinvestment Development Authority taxes from Casinos to fund projects around the state.
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If sports are your interest you are in the right place! The new community sports facility The Sandcastle Stadium is home of Surf Baseball minor-league professional baseball team with games May through September and fireworks on many Friday nights. Call 609-344-8873 for tickets, which are just $3 – $12 for a fun family evening. You can also enjoy exciting basketball games by the Atlantic City Seagulls who perform in the Atlantic City High School. Call 1-888-HOOPS-97 for times. World Championship boxing matches are frequently held in Atlantic City also. Philadelphia Flyers professional National Hockey Team also sponsor a community ice-skating rink called Flyer’s Skate Zone and offer training camps by team members and coaches. There are also nine member golf courses and 30 hotels with golf packages, making this a golfers’ dream year-round. In fact, the term “birdie” was coined at the Atlantic City Country Club, and Sam Snead won his first big PGA tourny at Marriott’s Seaview Resort. The Sand Barrens Golf Club was recently featured as one of the Top 10 in Golf Magazine. And the Cape May National Links are around a 50 acre bird sanctuary. You can call 1-800- GOLF-222 to book tee times or learn more about any of the courses.
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It’s easy to know where you are in Atlantic City, which is located on the four square mile Absecon Island. The street signs all display a symbol to denote which section of town you are in. Downbeach is denoted by a sun. Uptown in the northern part is marked with a seahorse. The lighthouse on the signs signifies the midtown section. And the marina section boasts sailboats.

The City is not just for adults either. The Oscar E. McClinton Jr. Waterfront County Park has a natural environment at water’s edge for children to play and to learn from the educational signs. The statue of King Neptune signifies that you are in Historic Gardner’s Basin, a waterfront park and marina. There you’ll soon find a wonderful three-story, interactive, educational Ocean Life Center. Click here. The Basin also hosts education programs including “Introduction to the Salt Marsh” tours, and the “Classroom on the Ocean” education cruises. Call 609-348-2880 for more information and schedules.
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There is also a charter boat called “Cruisin One” for lovely tours of the Atlantic City skyline and backbays, marine mammal adventure cruises and sunset calm water cruises. Captain Applegate’s finest and fastest party fishing boats also sail from the Basin. Click here for information. You’ll not want to miss the Marine Mammal Stranding Center and Sea Life Museum which has a 1,5000 gallon observation tank, research lab, public seining sessions and much more. You’ll learn about many mammals that are saved here. Call 609-266-0538 for hours. Youngsters will love the daytrip just ten miles west of Atlantic City to see Storybook Land. Call 1-609-641-7847 for more information. TW Sports Amusement Park (609-484-8080) is in the nearby Egg Harbor Township and offers go-carts, miniature golf, batting cages, bumper boats, and kiddie rides for family fun.

Other must-sees in the area include the restored historical landmark “Lucy the Elphant,” a 65-foot pachyderm on the beach which you can climb in and walk through to view artifacts. You will also want to visit the Absecon Lighthouse, built in 1857, located at Rhode Island and Pacific Avenues.There are so many other attractions nearby you will want to return again and again, with fun for every one and every pocketbook. Contact 1-888-AC-VISIT for more information. Contact 1-888-222-3638 for help in planning your trip.