The road never ends: A trip from D.C. to N.Y.C.
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 10:42

Sports, gaming, sightseeing all along East Coast

by Eddie Applefeld

    The car is gased up, my bags are packed and I’m ready to hit the road. I hope you’re not tired, because we have a lot of miles ahead of us. 
    I’m going to begin at our closest destination, Nationals Park, home to the Washington Nationals baseball team.
    It opened in 2008 and seats about 41,500.  It fits very well into the Southeast Washington neighborhood, near the Navy Yard. 
    The infield dirt comes from Maryland and the field consists mainly of Kentucky Bluegrass. The deepest part is of course in center field at 402 feet. 
    It is an excellent place to watch a game.  One of the features is the 4,500-square-foot scoreboard.  Single game tickets start as low as $10.00.
    Okay here we go to western Maryland, to Allegany County, and stopping at the Rocky Gap Resort and Casino, actually located in the town of Flintstone.  This is Maryland’s newest and smallest casino.  But remember not to judge accomplishment by size alone. The casino opened in May and has 558 slot machines and 10 table games.  The casino is smoke-free, though they do provide an outdoor smoking area. The gaming area is quite comfortable and easy to navigate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lost in one of the larger casinos located in our general area.
  

There’s no doubt this is a most welcome addition to the county. It provided jobs for many people and, hopefully, will provide revenue for the county.  One of the best features of the property is that it’s situated on a man-made lake.  As you drive in, you’ll be struck by its beauty. 
    There is also a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, a conference center, restaurants and nearby lakefront beach. From the beltway and I-70 it took me two hours to get there. From I-70 West go to I-68 West and follow the signs.
    Now, let’s head north and visit Lancaster.
    By this time I’m  a bit exhausted, so a good night’s sleep is in order.  For that I checked into the Double Tree by Hilton Lancaster, located at 2400 Willow Street Pike.  It’s surrounded by a par-three-and-four golf course.  There are 185 rooms including 30 suites. This is a perfect spot for families. Besides golf, amenities include tennis, basketball, a pool and water playground, Café 2400 for all meals, and on Saturdays, a complimentary three-hour bus tour of Lancaster and those great Amish farms. 
    There are various packages from which to chose, be it golf, honeymoon or amusement park. (The area features Dutch Wonderland and Hershey-park). 
    The average summer rate is about $159 per night.  I especially like the fact this hotel is locally owned. One member of the family is always on premise. For information, visit doubletreelancaster.com.   
    Okay — time to get back on the road, and we’re on our way to Atlantic City.  I wanted to stop by the Steel Pier because I heard good things are happening there.
    At one time, of course, it was one of the country’s top attractions where big names performed.  But time marched on, and over the years, this iconic pier has undergone many changes — including being closed at one point. But thanks to a New Jersey native who bought the pier in 2011,  it is open for business and is doing quite well. 
    One recent piece of news is that in early 2014 a giant Ferris wheel — 200 feet with gondola-like cars — will provide tremendous views of the hotels, ocean and boardwalk during a 20-minute ride.          The site features about 25 rides, 20 games and 16 food outlets.  On the ocean end is a stage for live performances.  When in Atlantic City, give the Steel Pier a look.  It’s located across from the Taj Mahal. For information, visit steelpier.com.
    Speaking of Atlantic City, there is currently a campaign to promote activities other than gaming. The Atlantic City Alliance has launched a season-long promotional plan to highlight such things as the museums and shopping. Ripley’s does have a museum right on the boardwalk. Cordish has developed a very nice shopping area off the boardwalk behind Caesar’s. 
    I found the beaches to be very clean and big. Lots of room from the boardwalk to the ocean. The beach patrol takes care in maintaining the beach. Outside Boardwalk Hall, there’s a free laser light and sound show every night at dusk.
    Our final destination is New York City. It’s been a few years since I last saw Lady Liberty, and since she has been through so much in recent years, I thought a visit was necessary. 
    After a massive clean-up due to destruction brought on by Sandy, she re-opened her island and her doors on July 4. To get an up-close visit, just hop a ferry from Battery Park. While in lower Manhattan, walk by the location of the Freedom Tower, the skyscraper replacing the World Trade Centers.  You’ll be amazed at its design and height.
    If you take a bus into New York, you’ll most likely be dropped off at or near Times Square. Your first stop should be the Visitors Center near 45th Street. Everything you’ll want to know about New York, including an orientation video, will be found there. Pick up brochures, ask questions and be on your way.
    I could go on for pages listing all there is to do in New York, but space limitations mean I can only list a few.  There’s always a Broadway show.Stop by the Tickets Booth on Times Square and try to get some discounted tickets. You can go in any direction from Broadway and you’ll soon run into something exciting.
    Suggestions, you say.Okay, how about Central Park, the New York Public Library, Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, Macy’s, Saks, Fifth Avenue, Radio City Music Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral ... or a subway ride anywhere, like to Chinatown, Chelsea, Greenwich Village or one of the buroughs for a real adventure. Enjoy yourself, but please don’t miss the bus home! For information, visit nycvisit.com.
    One last and most important point: when the bus driver says we’re leaving at 6 p.m., he means it.  If you arrive at 6:05, you’d better start looking for another way back.
    Okay, I have to now find the Lincoln Tunnel to the N.J. Turnpike and find my way home. Thanks for coming along.  

•Eddie Applefeld is a longtime Baltimore radio personality who can be heard on WCBM and WNST.