Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vacation Dining Adventures Part 2

This is the second and probably last part of my series on vacation dining at some of the finest resorts in the world. Ok, the finest resorts in Southern NJ, specifically the Atlantic City/Cape May area.
When we go away, we like to stay at decent hotels. We are every bit as happy at a Motel 6 as at a 5 star hotel. After all, the main reason we go away is to experience local culture, not to watch local TV in a hotel room. Generally, we do little more than sleep in the room, so the room is usually not that important.
We found a great place to stay a few miles out of Atlantic City (actually about half-way between AC and Cape May.) It's called the Pier 4 Motel in Somers Point, NJ, and it is terrific for a number of reasons. It's very reasonably priced. It costs half or a thrid the price of a place to stay in AC or Cape May. To save hundreds a night, we'll travel the 20 mnutes it takes to get to the casino. Same with visiting beautiful Cape May. We'll pocket those Benjamins and use them at the restaurant right next door to the Pier 4.

The Mrs. and I are foodies, you knew there had to be another reason for us to choose this place.

They serve a free continental breakfast, that is so far from the traditional free breakfasts I have seen, it's almost hard to call it that. We have been in hotels (some fancy name ones) that "continental breakfast" means a box of Krispy Kreme donuts (and you better get there early before they run out) and coffee. The feature at the Pier 4 is fresh baked mini blueberry muffins. Plenty of waffles, cereals, pastries (I'm starting to have a diabetic incident here) but those muffins are the most wonderful taste treat. We go and get them and bring them up to our room to have breakfast on our tiny outdoor balcony overlooking the bay.

We usually eat a late lunch next door at the Crab Trap. This is one of the finest seafood restaurants around. The meal starts out with hot rolls, and........warm blueberry mini muffins. Oh yeah, those same great muffins from the hotel next door.
The restaurant menu features such great starters like BBQ'd clams, and too many to list here. For a main course I usually have the Crab Imperial. Delicious and so rich, I can take half back to the hotel for the next day.

Then, at night, they have live music at the Tiki Bar next to our hotel. Few things are more satisying than enjoying an adult beverage while listening to music and feeling the soft, warm breeze wafting across me. It's a bit of paradise in New Jersey.

If you go away this summer, give the local places a try. Chains like Red Lobster, and MickeyD's are pretty much the same as back home. But the Crab Trap, and places like that, are perfect to enjoy while on vacation.

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