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Trip Report: Romantic weekend with a family party

Queens, NY
Level Contributor
9,233 posts
16 reviews
Trip Report: Romantic weekend with a family party

We were coming down from NYC for our wedding anniversary and my cousin's birthday party in Brigantine. Thanks to the nice folks here, we decided on the Claridge. We spent a lot of time romantically gazing into each other's eyes, of course, as one should on an anniversary trip, but here's a trip report for the actually relevant trip stuff. I'd love to hear locals' and DEs' thoughts on what we saw and what we missed!


We took the NJT 319 bus down after reading reviews saying that it was superior to Greyhound. The bus left promptly at 4:45, and it had a bathroom, luggage space and comfy seats. It's good that the seats were comfy, because the trip was scheduled for 2 hours, 35 minutes but we were on it for four hours solid. It took us two hours to get to Perth Amboy, and then two hours for the rest of the trip! It's not like any other bus would have been better, because it looked like every road was stuck in similarly gridlocked traffic. But wouldn't it be nice if there was a train to Atlantic City?

We got to AC and immediately knew we had picked the right hotel in the Claridge. We like to walk, and the Claridge is walking distance from the bus station, the outlets, restaurants, and the beach, and it's connected to Bally's and Caesar's. Our room was clean and spacious, with a big bed and a view of the city. We headed out to Los Amigos for dinner - average quality but super friendly and welcoming, just around the corner, and very local-feeling.

We walked home through all the connected casinos. Wild Wild West definitely has the most amusing theme, but something seemed ... off about everything. Big, howlingly empty spaces for a Friday night. Half the restaurants and snack bars in the casinos seemed to be shut down. We'd assumed things would be bustling because the weekend hotel rates were pretty high! We made note of what looked like an awesome buffet space at Caesar's, and wandered extensively around WWW being amused by the decor.

Then we finished with a drink at the Claridge's rooftop bar. Great view of the water.


We struck out for that awesome buffet, only to find it closed - everyone at Caesar's was eating from a tiny buffet in the coffee shop instead. Nope. So we headed to the Claridge, to find an even worse buffet experience; there appeared to be no staff, no bacon and no home fries. I'm not buffeting without bacon, that's for sure. We stole some pastries from the Claridge to hunt further and ended up at the buffet in Buca di Beppo at Bally's. Still not a great buffet - more Courtyard by Marriott than major casino resort. Rubbery eggs and canned peaches. But there was bacon, and the bacon was good.

Spent some time in the Claridge pool. It's shallow, but so delightfully heated, and the light coming down through the skylights is terrific. However, the men's locker room was closed and there was nowhere to check in, and once again - like with the buffet - seemingly no attendant. Hotel zombie apocalypse. Where was the staff? It was like the hotel was running at about a third of what seemed to be optimal staff. With no locker room, I dripped my way back up to my room to change.

Did some people watching. The rodeo was in town this weekend, and a ton of people were in rodeo garb! Neat. Saw one old guy with an obvious hooker, which felt oddly reassuring, like the machinery of sin was in fact functioning properly even though the place was a little deserted. Everyone was really friendly - friendlier than NY, for sure, and also friendlier than Vegas.

Walked out to the beach. Quiet beach was quiet and lovely. But it was SO COLD and the wind was really whipping up so we couldn't stay out long.

Then we went to the outlets. So, yeah, we have all of these stores in NYC, but shopping in NYC tends to be a dog-eat-dog experience - long lines, lots of elbowing and waiting. This is one area where the zombie apocalypse really came to our aid. The nearly empty shops were mellow, friendly, with super friendly and helpful staff. We got presents for our kid and ended up chatting with the staff for a while at Hot Topic. I scored actual Levi's jeans at Levi's for SEVEN DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS. Big savings mood.

We headed back to the hotel to drop our purchases, and then out to the party in Brigantine via the 501 bus. The bus terminal is surprisingly big and well-organized, and the buses leave on time and are efficient. Nice. On the way we passed the Borgata et al, which seemed a lot fancier than the hotel cluster we were in. We'll have to check those out next time. Sang karaeoke like an idiot and got blasted on rum until we closed the bar down and we took a $20 Lyft back.


Lounged around. Ordered room service; they only had french fries, not home fries or hash browns, which is super weird but whatevs. Ate all the french fries because I was hung over. Watched TV. Headed for the noon bus back to NY, which got us back in -less- than 2.5 hours!


* We hadn't expected the shopping would be so good!

* We'd love to see the beach actually in action!

* We hadn't expected the lack of hotel breakfast wealth! We wanted MORE BREAKFAST.

* It would be nice if there was a train.

* My cousin's party was awesome. No, you don't get to hear me sing "Under Pressure."

8 replies to this topic
West Chester...
Level Contributor
253 posts
28 reviews
1. Re: Trip Report: Romantic weekend with a family party

Great trip report and thanks for the follow up. I’m surprised Caesars Palace Court Buffet was closed. Last year we had the buffet at Cafe Roma and I thought it was decent. If I can get a made to order omelette with some bacon and breakfast potatoes, I’m a happy boy. We also like Johnny Rockets for breakfast at Bally’s, very reasonable prices. Good choice of the Claridge Rooftop Bar, Vue, for a drink.

I kind of think the weather on Friday may have played a part for the poor crowds. I was driving on the AC Expressway towards Philly around 6 pm and almost pulled off the road because it was raining so hard. I saw a westbound NJ Transit bus do so.

Agreed, the outlets are awesome and as you know, no sales tax on clothing in NJ, unlike the Empire State.

Hope you return in the summer you will find some great beach bars and activities.


As for Karaoke, you picked a tough song with those high notes. My go to is Tom Jones’ Delilah, or Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, a true Jersey Shore song.

Edited: 11 November 2018, 22:33
Daytona Beach...
Destination Expert
for Atlantic City
Level Contributor
3,806 posts
36 reviews
2. Re: Trip Report: Romantic weekend with a family party

nice trip report...yes, Claridge does lack the food you were looking for...if you ever stay at Borgata, thy have a lovely buffet - or a few other places for breakfast. wow - jeans for $7.50 is like a jackpot!! glad you had fun shopping...Come back in the summer - the beach is lovely and you will enjoy it.

Scottsdale, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Newark, New Jersey, Binghamton
Level Contributor
12,745 posts
7 reviews
3. Re: Trip Report: Romantic weekend with a family party

This weekend was also teachers weekend, which we always used as an excuse for to days of no school. Even though I never remember any of my teachers ever attending it, they still price hotels like every pre K through 12 teacher in the state is attending. Glad you enjoyed my home land.

Queens, NY
Level Contributor
9,233 posts
16 reviews
4. Re: Trip Report: Romantic weekend with a family party

Other than the rodeo, the one convention we ran into was some medical student thing happening at Bally's. Lots of baby doctors! By which I don't mean obstetricians, I mean people who practice medicine who to me appeared like children :)

new york
Destination Expert
for Atlantic City
Level Contributor
9,636 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: Trip Report: Romantic weekend with a family party

Thanks for sharing back here your most interesting trip report. What time were you in the WWW? I seen it quiet early evening but get mobbed after 10pm or so with weekend bands or DJs playing. Glad you were able to enjoy the view from the Vue.

Not many teachers stay in AC during the teacher meeting days. But many administrators, [and maybe a few with secretaries or . . . ?] from all over the state do, especially when they can do it on the taxpayer's dimes. And I don't think many spend much time at the WWW at night either.

I agree, try to return during warmer weather for more action along the Boardwalk.

Edited: 12 November 2018, 02:42
Baltimore, MD
Level Contributor
2,056 posts
125 reviews
6. Re: Trip Report: Romantic weekend with a family party

"Saw one old guy with an obvious hooker,"

That's where I wish you had your camera handy.

new york
Destination Expert
for Atlantic City
Level Contributor
9,636 posts
2 reviews
7. Re: Trip Report: Romantic weekend with a family party

"That's where I wish you had your camera handy."

Why, do you think it may have another well-known businessman/politician?

New Jersey
Level Contributor
4,315 posts
165 reviews
8. Re: Trip Report: Romantic weekend with a family party

Nice report, I'm glad you overall enjoyed the Claridge. I agree that its dining selections are minimal and Bally's isn't that much better. Hopefully you're able to come again with warmer weather and check out the marina district and the other resorts on the boardwalk.

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