My first day in New Jersey was pretty chill. I spent the morning trying to catch up on blog posts. Then I met up with my friend Jesse from Camp Ramapo. We went out to dinner with her dad and brother to Zinburger. Their veggie burger was pretty good, even if I got it without half the ingredients: no avocado, cheese, or mayo. It still had alfalfa sprouts and tomato!
On the drive back from dinner her dad took us to see the view of the NYC skyline from the top of a hill. There were lots of new developments in the area, but we could still sort of see the skyline through the trees. Back at the house Jesse and I watched a couple episodes of Say Yes to the Dress and then watched Crazy Stupid Love. I forgot how much fun it is to just chill and watch tv.
The next day Jesse and I went on a hike at High Mountain Park. Then we drove up to the lake so I could meet her mom and we walked around the neighborhood for a bit. Side note: Jesse’s mom makes killer pumpkin and zucchini breads. I ate so. much. bread. Yum!
I desperately needed to do laundry, so when we got back to Jesse’s I was going to do that before heading on my way. I was supposed to stay with a Couchsurfing host in Trenton that night, but my laundry took forever, so I ended up staying another night at Jesse’s instead. We had another movie night! This time it was Easy A. Apparently we were in an Emma Stone mood. When we finished Easy A we watched Murder Mysteries on Dateline which were interesting and terrifying all at the same time.
My third day in New Jersey started with a successful trip to a full service gas station. Thankfully, the day before Jesse had to get gas so I saw how it was done and managed my, “Fill-it-up, Regular, Cash” with no problem. On Jesse’s recommendation my first stop of the day was Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, NJ. Carlo’s Bakery is apparently quite famous and was featured on Cake Boss. Cool. The line was to the door when I got there, so they’re obviously doing something right.
I figured a chocolate chip cookie would be a pretty good indicator of how good Carlo’s Bakery was, but the canoli also looked pretty good and I love a good carrot cupcake. So, I decided to splurge and get all three. The chocolate chip cookie was phenomenal. Perfectly soft and sugary, absolutely delicious. The canoli was good. I’m not sure that I’ve ever actually had one before, which is why I wanted to try it here. The filling had a cream cheese like texture and was sweet. The shell sort of reminded me of a combination of a fortune cookie and a waffle cone. The canoli was good, but not my favorite. The cupcake had chunks of carrot in it which I didn’t like at all. The carrot cupcake also wasn’t super flavorful. The pumpkin carrot coconut whoopie pie I had with my host in New Hampshire was way better. I realize that was a completely different dessert, but still.
After my sugar high, I drove to Cape May which was pretty similar to every other beach town I’ve been to thus far. Most of the shops were closed for the season and there weren’t a ton of people there, which was fine with me. It was cute and I’m sure it’s a lot of fun in the right season.
Next I drove to Atlantic City. I wandered up and down the boardwalk. There weren’t too many other people around. I saw a nice sunset and learned that Atlantic City is where the Miss America pageant happens every year. Who knew? Not me.
I also spotted a couple on the beach doing some funny wedding photos. He was holding her standing on his shoulders and you couldn’t see his head…umm…ok. Random.
I’d decided I was going to brave a casino, just so I could say I’d tried. Though I was going to take a page from eighteen year old me’s book and stick to only spending $5 in a penny slot machine. (When I turned eighteen some friends and I went to a casino on the way to our friend’s cabin. I put $5 in a penny slot machine. I ended up leaving with $25. That was the first and, prior to this, only time I’d ever been in a casino.)
The sun had set and it was a little chilly. I was right by Caesar’s so I figured I’d start there. I wandered around getting a feel for the place and then pulled up at a machine next to an old lady. I put my $5 in and didn’t know what to do next. I figured pushing a button and pretending I knew what I was doing was a good option so I pushed a button and, to my dismay, a receipt for my $5 spat out of the machine. Well, this is embarrassing, I thought. So I quickly collected my receipt, hopped off the stool and left that machine, lest the old lady next to me start making fun of me. I found a cash out station, inserted my receipt and got a crisp new $5 in return. You see, I didn’t realize I could insert the receipt in the machines too. What a nube.
Now, with only $5 to spend, it made the most sense to stick to the penny slots so I could a. have the most opportunities to win and b. get the most “fun” out of my meager money. So, armed with my crisp new $5 I found another machine and decided not to press the button furthest to the left and see what happened. What happened, from what I gathered, was that this “penny slot” had a minimum 50¢ bet. What the heck?! So, I cashed out again and went in search of a penny slot that didn’t have such a high minimum wager. I still hadn’t realized you could stick the ticket right into the machine so I pulled out a dollar and tried that on the next machine. I don’t know what happened but I lost my dollar. I was about to give up altogether because I was literally just throwing my money away at this point. I decided to take one more lap around and see if I could find a penny slot that was actually only a penny. On this walk around I found a set of machines called Gold Fish. Now, it had been a solid seven years, but I was pretty sure when I’d won $20 when I was eighteen the slot I played had something to do with fish. So I picked a machine and sat down. Lo and behold, I finally found a game where the minimum bet wasn’t 25¢ or 50¢! This one was only 2¢! Huzzah!
I’d also figured out at this point that I could just insert my ticket right into the machine. I played 10 lines at a time at the 2¢ minimum bet, and after a couple rounds I won! And then I won again! And again! And again! I had been keeping track, but then I was winning so many times, it was getting to be too much to keep track of.
When I had played when I was eighteen I decided to play until I’d spent my $5. I was with a group of people so it would’ve been annoying to play like five rounds and quit having won a dollar. When I was down to the last of my original $5 was when I won $25 and decided to call it a day.
In Atlantic City I figured I’d do the same, spend $5 and then call it good. Well, when I got to $9.25 I was like, you know, $3.25 (accounting for the dollar I’d lost earlier) isn’t bad and then I didn’t spend any money either, so I decided to call it quits. As soon as I was outside the casino though, I was like, well, I came to spend $5…maybe I should keep the $4.25 and put $5 back in and see what happens. So I turned around and went back in the casino. I weaved my way back to where the Gold Fish slots were and of the seven or so slots available slots an old lady was at mine. I decided to do a few laps around the floor in case she finished soon. After my seventh lap I realized I was being kind of a creeper and that she wasn’t leaving any time soon. I was also pretty sure she’d seen me lurking and felt kind of awkward about it, so I left. On my way out the second time I passed by a craps table and some guy said hello to me. I said hello back and he smiled. That was as close as I got to a crazy awesome story about being some rich person’s good luck charm and chilling with the high rollers. Oh well, maybe in Vegas…