Budget Trip to New Jersey

I hope I don’t insult anyone, but let’s face it, ever since The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, New Jersey has gotten a bad wrap. It’s not all mobsters and seedy casinos. I found a few cool spots to stay and iconic sites to see all on a budget. Historic or modern, nature or city, boardwalk or beach, New Jersey has it all.

Image provided by Andy Sawieljew via Trover.com.

Historical Jersey

Step into history and book a stay at the Congress Hall in Cape May, New Jersey. I’ve traveled in Europe and in Asia and never stayed in a 200-year-old hotel. Built in 1816, the Congress Hall Hotel has recently been restored, but stepping through the doors takes you back in time. With comfortable, spacious rooms and all the amenities of any modern hotel, Congress Hall combines the best of the present. Take paddle board lessons as the beach is just steps away or stroll down to the historical society and learn about the origin of America.

Natural New Jersey

Don’t let the fancy name fool you. The Wilshire Grand Hotel is a beautiful but approachable hotel near the famed Verona Park. The hotel is locally owned and a sense of pride for West Orange, New Jersey. It’s a pet-friendly hotel, so bring your dog to explore the walking or jogging trails in the nearby park. If you like water, canoe and kayak in Verona Lake. The park offers educational walks for adult and kids, so it’s a great sport for families. When the weather is good, the park offers outdoor concerts and programs in the gazebo.

Budget New Jersey

Image provided by Jackie Grenier via Trover.com.
Located minutes away from the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk sits the quaint Royal Lodge. Since your going to lose all your money in the casino anyway, the hotel offers rooms of varying sizes all at a low rate. Choose the number of beds you need, and each comes equipped with a refrigerator and microwave. With just 25 rooms to concentrate on, the staff goes out of their way to make sure the guests enjoy their stay. The rooms are clean, and the hotel is quiet. It’s near to the beach, and the excitement of Atlantic City makes this a great hotel option for the budget minded traveler.

Nightlife New Jersey

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You can’t beat the Atlantic City/Absecon area for options for a budget conscious traveler. The Superlodge Atlantic City/Absecon is a small, clean and convenient place for your stay. What makes this hotel different is the staff’s knowledge of Jersey nightlife and evening attractions. They brag on the website how they create the perfect vacation stay for any traveler. They know the best places to eat and the best places to dance, lounge or just people watch.
It may be New York’s ugly cousin, but it has some amazing places to play and to stay. Sometimes Jersey gets a bad wrap, but to me, it’s just another cool city to explore on the east coast. What do you think of New Jersey? 

Hipmunk Hotels: Movie and Television Sets in Bar Harbor, Atlantic City, Albany, Ithaca and Stamford

I love it when I find items I want to scratch off my bucket list. Even better when they are located in amazing places I’ve never been. Going to the settings of some of my favorite movies and television shows is a bonus when they’re located in great cities, like these.

Bar Harbor, Maine

I had to watch the psychological thriller “Shutter Island” three times to understand all the nuances of this story set in Bar Harbor, Maine. Once I figured out what was real and what was in Leonardo DiCaprio’s character’s imagination, this movie scared me even more. I look forward to staying in the small seaside port and exploring where Leo lost his mind. The city and its weather are prevalent in the plot; in fact, I might consider visiting in the winter. The city offers several great hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, and none, as far as I can see, are like the place they stayed at in the movie, thank goodness.

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Atlantic City, New Jersey

I’ve been to Atlantic City, and I liked it. The boardwalk, casinos, and hotels on the Atlantic Ocean were great. I enjoyed it mostly because it was closer than Las Vegas and gave you a hint of the Vegas vibe. After watching it come to life during the Prohibition era in the HBO show “Boardwalk Empire,” I see Atlantic City in a whole new light. The show made the boardwalk, hotels, and nightclubs seem like an adult version of Disney Land. They had so much fun, in between the killing, illegal activity, and other bad stuff.

Image provided by Jackie Grenier via Trover.com

Ithaca, New York

Ithaca, New York, is a great college town. It has beautiful scenery and what you think of when you picture upstate New York. Besides Cornell University, Ithaca was the setting for the 1986 movie “The Manhattan Project.” The movie was about a kid who built an atomic bomb in his garage for a science fair to expose a plutonium plant in the city. I’m sure it is safe to stay in the many hotels and explore the countryside, free from plutonium, now. The unassuming city was the perfect backdrop to this thriller.

Albany, New York

Albany, the capital of New York, is a beautiful place to visit if you have a thing for state capitals, which I do. I plan to visit when the weather is nice. Find a great hotel, get some hiking in to check out the scenery, and then drive up and down Interstate 787 and relive the car chase made famous by Angelina Jolie in the movie “Salt.”

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Stamford, New York

I admit, before my research, I thought Stamford was located in Connecticut. It turns out there are two Stamfords. Stamford, New York, is a little village three hours north of New York City that sits between Cooperstown and Albany. It’s part of the Catskills area where movies like “Dirty Dancing,” “War of the Worlds,” “The Bourne Legacy” were shot. Several quaint hotels and B&Bs occupy the area. It’s known for having great hiking, jogging, and scenic walking trails.

Is there a movie set you would love to visit?