Atlantic City, New Jersey

Welcome to Atlantic City.

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The airline hostess explains the debriefing process and points to the tarmac of the Atlantic City airport. You stand up, take your carry-on luggage and off you go to the car rental booth. The airport started out as a municipal airfield and is considered one of the first in the country.

You leave the airport behind, thanking God for the invention of GPS as you make your way along the roadways to your hotel/casino along the beach. You pull up in front of the hotel, allow the valet to take your car into the six-story parking garage, and check into your hotel room. (Let’s face it, you can afford the best on this trip!) Up to the top floor you go and look out the window to see the breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean sprinkled with sun sparkles.

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You let yourself get lost in the moment before going over your mental list of what you hope to accomplish in the next day. First thing’s first, you head down to the casino to see for yourself what the lure of the glimmering lights are about.

You can hear the musical dance of the slot machines before you enter the doorway, where your ID is checked by the doormen (after all, you are as young as you feel). The room opens up to rows of machines and tables where people are placing bets and laying down cards. What a sight.

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You sit, play a few hands and win before strolling outside in search of lunch. When you exit the building, the wind off the ocean greets you and plays with your hair. Taking a deep breath, you can smell and almost taste the salt in the air. The seagulls are racing each other along the beach to the sounds of laughing children. The beach is a sea of umbrellas and blankets, sprinkled with a touch of sunglasses, suntanned bodies, and flip-flops.

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The boardwalk is only 5 miles in length and was the first in the country. There are a multitude of shops, arcades, game booths, food stands, and bars lining the boardwalk. Lunch is served at Animations, located in Bally’s Park Place Casino & Resort. Handy if you wanted to drop in for another round of Black Jack or Texas Hold ‘Em.

You stroll further along to Steel Pier where there are multitudes of games and rides. Looking over the edge of the pier, the Atlantic Ocean seems endless. You spot a few large boats along the horizon and momentarily wonder if they are fishing boats or large container ships, heading towards the New York Harbor. You feel as if you are in your own world here. As you spin around, you decide to ride Crazy Mouse as a tribute to your youth when rattling cars on rails didn’t make you fear for your life.

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Afterwards you decide to drive over to the Absecon Lighthouse, located on the northern end of Atlantic City. The Absecon Lighthouse is the tallest in the state of New Jersey and is third tallest masonry lighthouse in the United States. The lighthouse construction took three years to complete, lighting the Absecon Inlet for the first time on January 15, 1857. Although the lighthouse was deactivated in 1933, the light still shines every night.

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As the afternoon fades into evening, you see another side of Atlantic City. The neon lights of the hotels and casinos seem to wake up the city even more as strings of cars make their way into the many parking garages of the casinos. After dinner, you find yourself sitting on the beach, watching the moon brighten the darkening sky. Turning towards the Boardwalk Hall, you enjoy the free 3D Light & Sound Show, Duality on the facade of the Boardwalk Hall.

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As the laser lights dance you reflect on your day and hope to make it back in August to watch Thunder Over the Boardwalk – a fantastic display of various military planes that fly anywhere from 50 feet to 14,000 feet above the water. But for today, now, the escape from the daily craziness of life was worth the short trip. Next time, you might fly into Newark Airport and drive down the Garden State Parkway to experience the rest of what Jersey has to offer. Until then, you make your way back to your hotel for a good nights rest before flying back to the real world.

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