Day Six – Saturday 1st August
It was our final morning in New York so we went for one last run in Central Park, packed our suitcases and popped out to a deli for breakfast bagels before being picked up by our airport shuttle. We picked our car up at Newark Airport (which meant we avoided scary central New York traffic!) and set off to Atlantic City. We shared the driving there, stopping off for lunch at the busiest service station before getting our first glimpse of the city – it reminded me so much of Vegas!
We were staying at the Sheraton Hotel which was a couple of blocks from the Boardwalk and absolutely huge (we had two double beds in our room.) This hotel is also where Miss America is held each year so there was memorabilia everywhere and some sort of child beauty pageant going on too so I kept finding little girls with full faces of make-up on in the lifts!
When I booked this holiday, even my travel agent wasn’t sure why I wanted to go to Atlantic City, and people we met whilst in the States looked bemused with this choice of location too. I think it has a reputation similar to our Blackpool but I have to say I absolutely loved it and would definitely go back! Yes, it’s brash and has casinos and a funfair but it also has excellent shopping, beautiful beaches, great restaurants and every evening we enjoyed walks along the Boardwalk with gorgeous pink sunsets. We were only here for three nights but it was a lovely mini beach holiday.
After a quick change and cup of tea, we headed out to explore. We were staying right next to a huge outlet shopping centre (my dream location!) but wanted to go straight down to the Boardwalk and see the sea.
We walked all the way along to the Taj Mahal (Sex and the City fans will remember this episode!) where I persuaded Ian to have a go on the fair ground with me before going for our belated anniversary meal.
We ate at Ruth’s Chris Steak House (which always makes me laugh as my Mum is called Ruth and my brother is called Chris!) and had an amazing meal of steak, lobster and lobster mac ‘n’ cheese followed by cupcakes in our room!
Day Seven – Sunday 2nd August
We woke up and I had a lie-in whilst Ian was good and went for a run along the Boardwalk. That morning was dedicated to shopping and I did some serious damage!
We met for lunch in what became our favourite place to eat and drink during our stay – Wingcraft, dedicated to chicken wings and craft beers.
After we were fed and watered, I was itching to get in the sea so we dropped off our shopping bags, got in our swimming costumes and hit the beach for the afternoon.
That evening, we walked along the Boardwalk to the Tropicana hotel and a restaurant called Cuba Libre where I had found a 15-course Cuban taster menu…yep, 15 courses!
I really liked this hotel and would probably stay here should we visit Atlantic City again. The restaurant was also fab. We started with Cuba Libres (cherry for me, coconut for Ian) before embarking on the biggest meal of my life!
We started with plantain chips and three delicious dips including an amazing black bean hummus I will definitely try and recreate, before moving onto our starters which consisted of shrimp ceviche, chicken empanada (a South American pasty!), beef filled potato croquettes and spinach and manchego balls. All four of these starters were served with their own sauce and salad and I loved them all.
We were pretty stuffed at this point but powered on to the main courses which included steak, mahi mahi fish with squid ink rice and pulled pork with black beans. We had rice, beans and plantain wedges on the side but barely touched them if I’m being honest. Sadly, we were defeated and had to ask for our puddings to go…and they were delicious for breakfast the next morning!
Day Eight – Monday 3rd August
Today was quite possibly our favourite day of the whole holiday! After our Cuba Libre puddings in bed, we hopped in the car and headed to Cape May. I read that this was voted the best beach resort in New Jersey and I am so glad we made the trip.
This was possibly the most beautiful and quintessentially American beach resort I have ever been to. There were no chain restaurants or huge malls, just local family businesses and cafes, pretty pastel-coloured beach front houses and a stunning beach.
We parked up and hit the beach first. You do have to pay a daily rate to use the beach here but it was absolutely spotless on there so we didn’t mind too much.
Now one thing my Mum and I have in common is our love of big waves – you know, the kind that almost knock you over! Cape May had these huge waves and it was amazing playing in them and trying to stay on your feet when a particularly big one hit. My highlight of the whole holiday however came when we were in the sea and looked out to the horizon to see a pod of about 15 dolphins playing about 20 metres away from us. It was so beautiful and I could have stayed in that moment forever.
We were getting peckish then so had a quick shower, dried off and went to a little beachfront café for clam chowder, grilled cheese sandwiches, the seafood catch of the day, fries and root beers.
After lunch, I surprised Ian with a trip to the Cape May Brewery. I had tried to get us a tour of Brooklyn Brewery when we were in New York but couldn’t so thought this would be a good substitute. The bar staff here were so friendly and we spent some time in the garden working our way through the various ales.
For our last night in Atlantic City, after washing the sea and sand off, we went for one more meal at Wingcraft where I combined two of my favourite foods; chicken wings and pizza. Sounds weird but was amazing!
We realised through dinner that we hadn’t done any gambling in AC so walked along the Boardwalk (where we saw a cool light and sound show and my hair grew inexplicably huge due to the heat, sea breeze and humidity) and managed to lose all of our dollars on the slots and roulette!
Not a typical holiday destination for us Brits, I would wholeheartedly recommend Atlantic City and Cape May for a mini beach break whilst on the East Coast – we had a fantastic time! x