Tuesday, October 5, 2010

76-Second Travel Show: 'Monopoly Travel to Atlantic City'

Episode #043
F E A T U R I N G * 1 8 2* B O N U S * S E C O N D S

Question: Can a Monopoly board be used as a guidebook?

Why yes! In Atlantic City, it can!

Parker Brothers first published Monopoly 75 years ago this year -- it began in various forms decades before as 'Landlord's Game.' Some people don't realize that the color-coded properties encircling continuous layout -- eg Connecticut Avenue, St James Place, Marvin Gardens, Park Place -- are based on real ones in New Jersey's famed seaside beach destination. And with the exception of one -- St Charles Place -- all can be visited, and doing so (sometimes) leads to Atlantic City's best survivors from past-gone eras.

I followed the board around Atlantic City recently. Several locals independently advised that the Baltimore Grill on Atlantic Avenue served 'the best pizza in the world.' It didn't -- and didn't have a grill either -- but I loved the '50s-era throwback. Meanwhile, at the corner of Vermont Ave & Pacific Ave, I peppered the keys of an antique pianola in a 19th-century lighthouse, now surrounded by housing blocks.

But the best stop? Easily St James Place, home to a classic pub and hotel at the Inn at the Irish Pub? Most memorable stay in an American hotel I've had. Like walking into a Little Rascals set, with picks from local estate sales that date to the Depression, lacy curtains blowing in AC-free rooms, slanted floors and -- in my room at least -- an embroidered Norwegian scene hanging opposite an inspirational quote taped onto a paddle.

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