Category: Tourism & Promotions

Philadelphia’s Hotel Monaco Is One of Fodor’s Top 100 for 2013

hotel monaco

Photo by Laura Kicey

The Fodor’s 100 Hotel Awards is pretty much what it sounds like: a contest honoring the best 100 hotels around the world. And Philly’s own Hotel Monaco, in operation for just one year, has made the cut in the Sleek City Addresses category, which acknowledges “glossy city hotels that offer high style and first rate amenities.”

In case you haven’t seen the glorious Monaco, here’s a gallery of photos by Laura Kicey:

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Morning Headlines: Atlantic City Scores PR Win With Miss America

Photo via

Photo via

Last night, the Jersey shore got a much needed reprieve from bad news: The Miss America pageant (say what you will about its retrograde values) returned to Atlantic City for the first time in a decade, and on TV and social media, it came across pretty darn well.

Contestants were grouped in different spots along the boardwalk, in shops, in front of local restaurants. There were interstitial transitions between show and commercial that showed the “girls” delighting in ice cream and jitney rides. The aerial views showed the city as a mini-Vegas, the signs as glowing red embers.

The national coverage insistently paid tribute to Atlantic City history, and the fact that the pageant was back where it belonged, as they kept saying. It was one big AC lovefest, and it felt pretty good to see. Put it this way: If Chris Christie was watching, he didn’t feel like he was going to throw up. And if there’s any way that some of that AC luster can shine on Seaside Park and Seaside Heights, all the better.

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Bucks County: Once An Eden, Now “Devastation”

bucks county farm

Photo of Traugers farm in Bucks County by Frenchtowner via Wikimedia

A lengthy article in the International Business Times by Palash Ghosh uses Bucks County, Pa., as a microcosm for the evils of suburban sprawl, and it’s about as harsh as it can get.

Though not unique, of course, Ghosh contends that Bucks County development is a perfect example of the postwar “expansion of suburbia and concurrent gradual disappearance of unspoiled countryside.” Though many people who live in Philadelphia County, for instance, still see Bucks as countryside, 70 percent of the county’s farmlands disappeared between 1950 and 1997, according to figures Ghosh obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

And longtime Bucks residents like Mark Arbeter feel the difference acutely. Arbeter, chief technical strategist at Standard & Poor’s, told Ghosh about his Bucks County youth:

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Philly Is One of the 10 Best Cities for Twentysomethings

best-city-twentysomethingsPhiladelphia may rank No. 2 in cities plagued by bedbugs, but it’s also No. 10 on a new list of “20 Best Cities for Twentysomethings.” The team at was looking, they said, “for ultra-cool spots where young adults could find jobs they love, unwind at happy hours, join sports leagues, and make new pals.” Other criteria:



    Park space


    Efficient transit systems


    Ethnic and cultural diversity



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Most Awesome Boardwalk Smackdown Has People Talking Smack and–Possibly–Taking Smack?

Photo of Ocean City Boardwalk by Laura Kicey

Photo of Ocean City Boardwalk by Laura Kicey

Okay, we’re fairly certain that even those who didn’t make the list of Budget Travel Magazine’s Most Awesome Boardwalks have not reached a pit of despair so deep that they’ve been reduced to pursuing drug addiction. But these debates can get passionate, that’s for sure, when the stakes are high.

Everyone at the Jersey Shore is looking for tourism this summer, worried that Sandy, or national perceptions of Sandy, will keep people away. Budget Travel included area boardwalks at Atlantic City, Point Pleasant, Wildwood and Rehoboth–but did not mention Ocean City, NJ, which does, indeed, seem odd. But Ocean City, Maryland, got a strong mention, and perhaps the writers felt it would be too clunky to have two Ocean Cities on the list (far-fetched, we realize).

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Afternoon Obsession: Streets of Philadelphia


Great American cities often employ tourism campaigns filled with love. There’s “I Heart NY,” of course, on t-shirts, buttons, and cups stacked and spilling out of the numerous tourist shops sprinkled over the state. And the association with love is unavoidable in this city of ardor–between our amorous etymology (Philos and adelphos translate to loving brother) and LOVE sculptures at JFK Plaza and Penn’s College Green. And then there’s the city’s Love Letter campaign, which assures travelers via notebook scribbles that we’ll love you as much as you’ll love us.

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Do A.C.: Atlantic City Takes 15,000 Lb. Pop-Up Casino Resort on the Road

atlantic city billboards

Photo: Liz Spikol

Not enough people going to Atlantic City? Then the Atlantic City Alliance will bring AC to the people. The  ”Live From AC” roadshow starts this weekend in Philly with a pop-up casino resort (15,000 lbs. and two stories) at the waterfront that includes “key AC experiences” all framed by the “DO AC” advertising campaign.

The Alliance is a nonprofit that markets the city to tourists, which  has been an uphill battle in recent months. So the organization has partnered with BMF, a company that helps build brands with experiential marketing of this kind. This roadshow will also go to Baltimore and NYC.

In a statement, Atlantic City Alliance President Liza Cartmell said the goal of the roadshow is to  ”introduce AC to people in a new way, create a social media buzz and represent all 12 casinos in key markets.” She said it’s an opportunity to engage “our target audience of fun seekers.” (Are there fun seekers in Philly? If so, where do they pass the time? Not on SEPTA, that’s for sure.)

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Fourth of July Housing Report: Elfreth’s Alley “Half House” Finally Sold


It’s not too often that houses come up for sale or rent on Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously occupied residential street in the the nation. This three-bedroom 18th-century home is as enormous as Alley houses get, though its nickname is Half House because it’s so narrow. Prior owners apparently tired of the 18th-century footprint, as they built a two-story addition in 2007. The systems, thankfully, were modernized as well: The house has radiant, zoned heat and A/C.


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Cape May Ranked No. 1 Jersey Shore Destination for Renters


In the wake of Ocean City’s ranking as No. 1 for vacation home buying, Cape May gets in on the action as the No. 1 shore destination for renters. The rankings were released by FlipKey, a TripAdvisor product that serves as a HomeAway-style portal for users who want to rent vacation homes.

However, as Jen Miller points out on the Philly Post, the results–derived from reservation requests made through FlipKey–are probably not as scientifically reliable as a study from Johns Hopkins, say.

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Popular Ocean City Vacation Homes in Every Price Range


Ocean City, NJ, got quite a bit of attention when it was recently ranked No. 1 on the list of The Most Popular Towns to Buy a Vacation Home. That ranking was determined by the online real-estate listings service Trulia, which based its results on the number of searches users made on its site for the months of March 2013 and April 2012. North Wildwood came in at No. 2, but Ocean City real estate had higher median home prices at $525,000.

Such popularity had tongues wagging about a possible home shortage and even a rental shortage. We were there this weekend and saw plenty of signs advertising rentals near the beach, and there are absolutely homes available–depending, of course, how much you’d like to spend.

Let’s break it down by price range.

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