Courier April/May Courier - Page 36

CITY SPOTLIGHT ATLANTIC CITY A town to tour After our hotel inspections, we embarked on a drive-about; Heather had lots more to show off in her hometown: • Atlantic City offers tax-free shopping on clothing and shoes, and at the 100-plus stores in Tanger Outlets, you can say, “Let. There. Be. Clothes and shoes.” Situated on three streets, the NTA-member retail center includes Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Chico’s, H&M, DKNY and Bass Pro Shops. Tour oper- ators can get coupons for their groups and vouchers for group leaders and coach drivers. Wine, please • Gardner’s Basin is a maritime park located in the city’s back-bay area. “This place is hopping during the spring and summer, and we enjoy what we call ‘local summer’ during the fall,” Heather said. In addition to shopping and dining, sightseeing boats and fishing excursions, there’s the three-story Atlantic City Aquarium. I’m no oenologist, but I loved visit- ing Sharrott Winery in Hammonton, a 45-minute drive from AC. Upon our arrival, Heather discussed with owner Larry Sharrott Jr. the tasting party she hosted using only his wines. And then we had our own party. I sampled a dry Riesling, an unoaked Chardonnay, a cou- ple of reds and Wicked, a port-style red that makes you sit up and pay attention. The winery is adding a tasting room that will seat 80 and include two bars and several seating configurations. Scheduled to be completed by early April, the new space will have glass garage doors opening onto a patio and a wall of windows overlooking the vineyard. Sharrot is formally educated, with a wine degree from University of California at Davis. “I like to think of myself as a jazz musician who is grounded in classical music—and then goes out and creates,” he said. • The Sheraton Atlantic City is adjacent to the convention center, and it also houses the unofficial Miss America museum, which features gowns, crowns and other memorabilia. • Boardwalk Hall is a multipurpose arena that hosts concerts, events and meetings. It has quite a history, including in August 1964, when the Democratic National Convention nom- inated Lyndon Johnson there. And a week later, with “All the Way with LBJ” banners still hanging from the rafters, The Beatles performed to a sold-out crowd of 18,000, including President Johnson’s two daughters, who stayed in town to catch The Fab Four. • A tunnel connects the Boardwalk to the back bay and several large hotels, including Golden Nugget, Borgata and Harrah’s. “A lot of people like that vibe,” Heather said, “and they can connect to the rest of the city with 24-hour jitneys as well as Uber and Lyft.” Lucy the elephant has been an Atlantic City resident since the 1880s. Built as a 65-foot-tall eye-catcher for selling real estate in South Atlantic City, Lucy has served through the decades as a tea room, bar, private residence and, now, a museum. There are guided tours, and visitors can get a good view from the howdah. 32 April/May 2018 At 171 feet, Absecon Lighthouse is New Jer- sey’s tallest lighthouse. Visitors can climb 228 of its 240 steps for a nice view of the city. (I could not have mounted those final 12 steps.) Decommis- sioned in 1933, the light still comes on at sundown—but for tourists, not ships. Open every day, July and August; Thursday through Monday the rest of the year. Answer: An elephant, a lighthouse and the world’s loudest organ. The Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ is the largest organ in the world—with 33,112 pipes. It’s also the world’s loudest: One of the stops blows out 138 decibels. (A jet fighter engine registers 120 decibels.) From May through September, there’s a free 30-minute concert every day at noon. And on Wednesdays at 10 a.m., take a two-hour walking tour of the building and the organ, currently being restored.