Cannes, Revisited ~ France

In the 1950s, the Festival became more popular thanks to the attendance of celebrities such as Kirk Douglas, Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot, Cary Grant, Romy Schneider, Alain Delon, Simone Signoret and Gina Lollobrigida.

Marilyn Monroe is pictured on the poster celebrating the film festival’s 65th anniversary. Otto L. Bettmann took this photo of Marilyn.

Today, May 16, marks the start of the annual Cannes Film Festival that runs until May 27. In a nod to its 65th anniversary, Marilyn Monroe was chosen as the icon to grace the festival’s official poster; it also pays tribute to the star on the 50th anniversary of her death.

I visited Cannes in May 2011 – my first taste of the French Riviera. This is an international scene stretched along the coast of the Mediterranean complemented by the provincial feel of its charming old city. As I have written about my time in Cannes previously, I thought it would be fun to revisit those sentiments and display them here. Enjoy this reblog!

The Allure of Cannes

originally posted on November 19, 2011

Prior to visiting Cannes, I had associated it with the glitz and glamor of the Côte d’Azur; a town frequented by the paparazzi, and super stylin’ jet setting crowd who would make it their base during the warmer months, seeking respite on their super size yachts anchored in the marina whenever necessary. I knew it to be the town that bestows such honours as the Palme D’Or at its annual Film Festival and the Lion Award at the International Advertising Festival (having worked in the media industry I would regularly speed read through this annual list of awards, which were accompanied by social snaps of ad exec’s dressed to the nines, in the ad trade magazine: Ad Age).

Armed with all this knowledge, I thought I knew enough about Cannes to justify not buying a guidebook. I was simply prepared to expect the expected – and I hoped, at the very least, to be pleasantly surprised with a typical French pastry: a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth croissant that seems oh-so-hard to come by in New York.

Wall Art in Cannes

Well here’s the clincher – I got what I expected… and more. Our trip to Cannes had coincided with the final preparations for the Film Festival, so not only had the town propped itself for our arrival, but Cannes had also charmed us with its French provincial appeal.

The main shopping street, Rue D’Antibes

Cannes doesn’t even need to try to seduce you because you’re drawn in by its effortless beauty as soon as you arrive. The one main street that runs along the waterfront, La Croisette, is fringed with palm trees: lined on one side by la plage, and on the other, by huge hotels overlooking the sea that are interspersed with outdoor cafes for the all-important sport of people watching. Though the Film Festival hadn’t officially started during our visit, the streets were filled with a joie de vivre. There were people from all over, walking around with their ‘media: authorised access’ neck tags, zoom lens cameras and notepads.

Accents were flying left, right and centre; paparazzi were staking the best spots outside the festival’s main venue, Palais des Festivals et des Congrès ; hospitality staff were setting up beachside cabanas for private events; the police were madly trying to control the traffic orchestrated by a bunch of small cars – Citroens, Renaults, and Peugeots.

The hotels were covered in full on film and press regalia: a Daniel Craig cutout adorned the Carlton hotel (that the closest we got to seeing a film star); Variety magazine had dressed up The Grand Hotel, and even rolled out the red carpet; The Weinstein Company seemed to have misplaced the memo and brought the bare minimum – a sign with just their name in bold type, stuck to the penthouse balcony of the hosting hotel. All this jazz could have easily made Cannes look and feel like a European version of New York’s Times Square, though it didn’t. There was a certain je ne sais quoi about it all. The place was buzzing.

One street behind La Croisette is the main shopping area, home of brand name stores for deep pockets such as Valentino, Jimmy Choo, Escada, as well as the more affordable Zara and Mango. Cannes is a pretty small town so with no real use for the token tour bus, we boarded their tour train. If but for no other reason than saving our feet from an uphill climb to the Old Town, La Suquet, it did also provide the obligatory commentary via headphones that covered a very brief history of Cannes (note: more music than words) as it drove around part of the island’s circumference (all beach and apartments) before getting to La Suquet.

The train wound its way through La Suquet‘s cobblestones streets, a mainly residential part of Cannes. You know you’re surrounded by family homes when laundry is hanging out of the windows to dry. Here, the streets become narrower and their scape is a photographer’s dream.

The multi level buildings are painted in yellows, greens, whites; their windows hinged with coloured shutters; their iron balconies and rooftop gardens abloom with potted plants. Bars, boulangeries, and other small stores selling such things as linens and homewares unexpectedly pop up throughout the neighbourhood.

At the top of La Suquet, the view of Cannes is panoramic. The terracotta tiled roofs of the homes, a mosaic of different shades of brown, frame the city to one side; the Mediterranean frames it on the other. It’s up here that you will find the Musee de Castre, housed in a fortified tower and in the Chapel of St Ann, which features a rather eccentric collection of decorative arts and relics.

Decidedly, I was probably better off without a guidebook for this day trip to Cannes as the town is superb in letting your day unfold perfectly, naturally. You may be asking whether I bought myself that delectable croissant. Well, yes I did, from a patisserie. And not only that, but I purchased the most beautiful bunch of my favourite flowers. After we had alighted from the tour train to take a final stroll through the town centre, I had spotted a weathered Frenchman, sporting a classic beret and wearing overalls. He was pulling a wooden cart full of his latest flower offerings. I just had to have the most spectacular bunch of blooming pink peonies that stood out from the other bunches of fleurs. They may have cost 10 Euro but hey, but when in Cannes, you can.

Breathing Travel: My Photo Picks; Meaningful Scenes

Choosing a favourite photo is not an easy task so I am bending the rules a little in my coursework at Breathing Travel | MatadorU and featuring three meaningful shots taken on a recent trip to Southern California, as well as a bonus image from Spain.

I am open to your critique of the shots as this is part of the learning experience so please share any feedback if you can; I am developing a thick skin.

Here goes….

I like taking night shots, though struggle with them because I am always shooting from the hip. (The tripod hasn’t had a test run yet). This first shot, of the Capitol Records building, was taken on our final day in LA enroute to the airport. I jumped out of the car to take this photo; I tried to keep a steady hand though I was shaking in my boots for standing in the middle of a downhill sloping road.

To me, the photo is symbolic of the the music industry in its heyday; the architectural design is meant to resemble a stack of records on a turntable. I also like the lit up Patron Tequila bottle, advertised in the background.

The second image was taken at Westwood Memorial Park. It is symbolic of Old Hollywood. It is in the memory of an icon that will never be forgotten. “We are all stars, and we deserve to twinkle” – Marilyn Monroe

The third image is of The Cafe at the Getty Villa in Malibu. I like this shot for a couple of reasons. It was taken at one of my favourite museums. Secondly, in composing this photo, I was drawing inspiration from the talented photographer, Julius Shulman.

This last image – a bonus shot – was taken with my Sony Cybershot of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. I was scrolling through photos today and really liked how the cranes seemed to mimic the towers of the church. A cool juxtaposition, I thought. Gaudi’s masterpiece is due for completion in 2030 (or thereabouts).

Vintage Inspired California

Sweet life. A never ending stretch of palm fringed coastline. Rolling waves. Salty fresh air and long sunny days. Bougainvillea wrapped terraces. Glorious Pacific Ocean sunsets, from Aliso Viejo to Zuma. A gold-lit horizon. Cocktails served against infinite water views. This is Southern California.

Stretches of grassy spaces. Laguna’s steep cliff faces. Mountains overlooking a beautiful Malibu beach. Santa Monica and its famous Pier. The twinkling lights of a widespread LA. Winding hikes through Runyon Canyon. Ah, those uphill climbs! Don’t despair – they’re worth the million dollar views, once you get to the top.

From Hollywood Hills to Beverly Hills. Immaculate gardens and imaginative homes. Clean architectural lines and ranch designs. All things retro-inspired. Traditional colonial Spanish styles: elegant archways and terracotta tiles. Deck chairs, cabanas; lunch served poolside. A climate that inspires outdoor living. Such a sweet life.

The eternal glitter of The Golden Age. Silver screen and Technicolour. Hollywood stars – always remembered, never forgotten. The glamour and the rock’n’roll.  The music; the movies; and, the awards. A place of Oscars-worthy moments. The buzz of the paparazzi. The bustle of the press – the who’s who, and the best dressed. The show goes on.

Inspired, this is Southern California in monochrome style, with a splash of colour. Enjoy!

Keith Richards and Ron Wood, Los Angeles, CA, 1979 ~ Copyright Henry Diltz

Capitol Records in LA, 1959 ~ Unknown

Night: New Host International restaurant at Los Angeles airport, 1962 ~ Photograph by Ralph Crane

Los Angeles Development Boom, 1953 ~ Photograph by J.R. Eyerman

Actress Martha Hyer talking on the phone in the living room of her luxurious home, Beverly Hills, 1959 ~ Photograph Leonard Mccombe

The two photographs below show a “A landmark image in the history of modern architecture: Julius Shulman’s nighttime shot of Ann Lightbody and Cynthia Murfee in Case Study House No. 22, the Stahl residence in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking Sunset Boulevard. Architect: Pierre Koenig. The photo, taken with a Swiss-made Sinar 4×5 view camera, is a double exposure: Seven minutes for the background, then a flash shot for the interior, the house lights having been replaced with flashbulbs.”

Julius Shulman photographing the Stahl residence

Night time shot of the house, 1960 ~ Photograph by Julius Shulman

Rosen House In Los Angeles ~ Photograph Michael Rougier

Segel House on Carbon Beach, Malibu ~ Photograph by Julius Shulman

Marilyn in Malibu, 1962 ~ Photograph by George Barris

Malibu, 1938 ~ Photograph by Alfred Eisestaedt

Malibu, 1961 ~ Photograph Allan Grant

Seaside Home, CA, 1945 ~ Photograph Nina Leen

President Richard M. Nixon's Residence In San Clemente ~Photograph Arthur Schatz

Actress Singer Doris Day driving Universal Production Dept. golf cart as she waves at a saluting security guard at Universal's movie lot , 1963 ~ Photograph John Dominis

Street set used in production of movie westerns on Paramount Studios ranch, Hollywood, 1937 ~ Photograph Margaret Bourke-White

Gregory Peck at Universal City construction site, 1963 ~ LIFE magazine

Actors (L-R) Gregory Peck, Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, Sophia Loren, Doris Day (back to camera), Cary Grant, Ronald Reagan and Dorothy Malone listening to director Parker during rehearsals for 30th annual Academy Awards

Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, David Niven during a break from rehearsals for 30th annual Academy Awards show at the RKO Pantages theater, 1958 ~ Photograph Leonard Mccombe

Natalie Wood & Warren Beatty at Academy Awards, LA, 1963 ~ Photograph by Allan Grant

Audrey Hepburn wins Oscar for Best Actress in Roman Holiday, 1953 ~ Unknown

Photographers with Grace Kelly and Marlon Brando, Oscars winners for Best Actress & Actor at the 27th annual Academy Awards ceremony, RKO Pantages theater, 1955 ~ Photograph by George Silk

The 1958 Governors Ball; Elizabeth Taylor with her first Academy Award for Butterfield 8 in 1961 ~ LIFE magazine

Actor Paul Newman as a guest on Hollywood Diary Program, 1958 ~ Photograph Leonard Mccombe

Alfred Hitchcock with the MGM lion, 1958

Looking east towards Hollywood and Vine, LA, 1945

Hollywood Blvd, 1953

I love Los Angeles. It reinvents itself every two days. ~ Billy Connolly

New Host International restaurant at Los Angeles airport, 1962 ~ Photograph by Ralph Crane

'Beatles' arrive at airport on 2nd US tour, LA, 1964 ~ Photograph by Bill Ray

John Lautner’s Chemosphere house, 1961 © Julius Shulman J. Paul Getty Trust

Interior of Segel House (shown previously) ~ Photograph by Julius Shulman

Actress Bette Davis skimming through the morning papers, Beverly Hills, 1939 ~ Photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Hollywood Guides, 1938 ~ Photograph Alfred Eisenstaedt

Joan Crawford at home in LA, 1949 ~ Unknown

Palms, 1932 ~ Photograph Alfred Eisenstaedt

Humphrey Bogart in his Hollywood Home ~ Architectural Digest

Hollywood Hills, 1938 ~ Photograph Alfred Eisenstaedt

Hollywood -Night Beverly Hills, 1938 ~ Photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Schwabs on Sunset Blvd, 1960

Drive-In Movie, LA, 1949 ~ Photograph J.R. Eyerman

Silvertop Hollywood Dawn, 1972 ~ Available at Michel H.Lord Gallery

Not Another Valentine’s Day Post ~ Black and White Inspiration III

Every day should be Valentine’s Day. Sounds like a cliché? Maybe, though you might just find some truth in this sentiment. Enjoy ~ with love.

Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life. ~ Leo Buscaglia

Milano, anni Cinquanta, 1950 ~ Photograph by Mario De Biasi

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. ~ Henry Miller

Scott Pommier

I want to know you moved and breathed in the same world with me. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in San Angel, 1940

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~ Pablo Picasso

Picasso and the loaves, 1952 ~ Photograph by Robert Doisneau

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage. ~ Lao Tzu

Joanne Woodward showed off her Oscar statue with husband Paul Newman by her side at the Governor’s Ball in 1958

I have found that if you love life, life will love you back. ~ Arthur Rubinstein

Motion, 1930 ~ Photograph by Andreas Feninger

Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow. ~ John Lennon

Andy Warhol ~ Photograph by Dennis Hopper

I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best. ~ Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe in New York City, 1957 ~ Photograh by Sam Shaw

The most important things in life aren’t things. ~ Anthony J. D’Angelo

Seagulls ~ Photograph by chillbrook via

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. ~ Henry David Thoreau

New York City, February 1954 ~ Photograph by Andreas Feininger

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~ Howard Thurman

James Dean in NYC ~ Photograph by Dennis Stock

There is only one happiness in life — to love and to be loved. ~ George Sand

Wedding Day ~ Photograph by Antony Schuster

The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and let it come in ~ Morrie Schwartz

Round Tower, Copenhagen ~ Photograph by Robert Floerke

Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Inspiration: Shades of Black II

Life is like a good black and white photograph, there’s black, there’s white, and lots of shades in between. ~ Karl Heiner

Brad and Angelina, 2005 ~ Steven Klein

The Chrysler Building in Hotel Room, 1997 ~ Bonni Benrubi Gallery

Coffee Trip, 2011 ~ © of Brendan Comey via

Lost and Lonely ~ Thomas Hawk

'Bladerunner' ~ promotional photo

Rain in Martin Place, Sydney, 1937 ~ Sam Hood (State Library of NSW collection)

New York, Jan 1953 ~ Maloof Collection

New York: Chinatown Reflections ~ Matthew Goddard-Jones

Umbrellas of Belgrade ~ © of

The Reservoir in Central Park ~ Marina Chetner

Empty Streets of Paris ~ © of Brandie Raasch via

Marilyn Monroe and James Dean in NY ~ Photographer Unknown

Rural France ~ © of Jean-Pierre de Greef via

Le baiser de l'Hotel de Ville, 1950 ~ Robert Doisneau

Coming in from the Cold ~ © of Karen McRae via

Gone for 24 Hours: A Wintry Escape to Atlantic City, NJ

Fringed by a stretch of ocean that seemingly goes on forever, Atlantic City’s Boardwalk is sublime in the wintertime. In the morning, it’s practically yours to enjoy, shared only with a few other souls and felines. Relaxing in the sun, with a pristine view of the Atlantic Ocean; breathing in the salty sea air; melting away any niggly stresses brought about by the daily grind – this is a winter-worthy short escape from New York City.

I had arrived to Atlantic City (AC) with preconceived notions of it; generalizations based on hearsay and TV shows. My previous word associations with the place included: gamblers, casinos, rowdy tourists, a beach, Jersey Shore. Having just returned from a trip there, I can assuredly say that AC proved me completely and utterly wrong. I’ve thrown all aforementioned assumptions to the wind, and I can confidently pair the City up with the following word/phrase/fact associations: never-ending stretch of beautiful beach; glorious Atlantic Ocean; hedonistic hotel & casino experiences; the inspiration for Monopoly; a historic Boardwalk; nostalgic architecture; salt water taffy; Boardwalk Empire (I have since started watching the show).

In a similar vein to Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover, the New York Times’ 36 hours in… and, at a stretch, Jack Bauer’s adventures in 24 (though hardly as dramatic and drawn-out), here’s an unraveling of how to spend a night & day in Atlantic City, from my point of view.


6pm: Arrive in Atlantic City. The Trump Taj Mahal’s Chairman Tower is a great base. Located at the northern end of the Boardwalk and without too many buildings abutting it, there’s a feeling of spaciousness here. Breathe a sigh of relaxed relief. The path from the main lobby to the Tower rooms is a sea of escalators, chandeliers, mosaic tiles, shops and restaurants. It’s all pretty bedazzling, in a good way. Highly advisable: Pause and take in the view from your room – though it’s impossible not to, given the wrap around floor to ceiling windows showcasing a cascade of flickering city lights below.

Lights and reflections: from 93rd floor of Chairman Tower

8pm: Dinner at Trattoria Il Mulino. Carpaccio, Risotto al Frutti di Mare, Salmone Livornese, Arugula & Prosciutto Pizza – this is good Italian food. For kicks, add a few items that may not be part of your everyday dining repertoire: oysters, prosecco, tiramisu, limoncello – so good! Best ambient feature about this restaurant: a frosted windowed wall that separates the kitchen from its diners; the staff’s hustle and bustle is always on show. Located on the lobby level of the hotel, you’d hardly know that you’re dining just steps away from the casino floor.

Trattoria Il Mulino

11pm: Casino Territory. Slot machines, Blackjack tables, Baccarat. Not a huge gambler? Just enjoy the table activity all around, and admire the Indian inspired interior design – concave ceilings adorned with mirrors, ornate gilded fringing, and elaborate crystal chandeliers. Have a nightcap – you’re here for one night, after all.


7.30am: The amazingly stunningly gloriously delightfully breathtaking morning view.

Yes, this sentence makes absolute sense when you wake up to a vista of the Atlantic Ocean and a never-ending sky, lit up in pinks and blues as the sun rises. In winter, a vista of the Atlantic Ocean and defined cityscapes are not visible after nightfall, so this view may indeed come as a surprise. Once you’ve gotten a hold of yourself, and reasoned as to why you don’t wake up to a view like this every morning, you’ll may feel a sudden urge to grab your coat, head outdoors and see the Ocean for yourself. First things first though – coffee is required.

"You and your pink sky..." from Sex in the City, Season 5, Episode 3

Order room service. Ask for a pot of freshly brewed coffee (pronto!) and a selection of breakfast pastries. Watch as the sunrise gives way to a new day. If you simply can’t wait, grab a Starbucks coffee and croissant from downstairs. Leave your things with the 24-hour Bell desk, head through the casino, and exit onto the brightly lit Boardwalk. Breathing in fresh air never felt so good!

A Boardwalk perspective

9.30am: Relax. Put your feet up and recline on one of the benches lining the Boardwalk, whilst soaking in the sun’s rays. At this time of year, the beach is enjoyed by a few wandering souls, puffed up seagulls as well as sun baking alley cats that set up home under-the-boardwalk in the cooler months. Originally built in 1870 as a temporary structure to protect hotel interiors from sand, the Boardwalk had undergone about five restorations before it was finally finished. At 4-miles long and 24 feet wide, the loveliest features about it are its Parisian inspired lamp posts and the herringbone pattern of the floorboards.

This part of the Boardwalk is defined by the Steel Pier. Opened in 1898, it was the first pier to be built on iron pilings and steel girders. In its earlier days, the pier required full evening dress and one admission ticket allowed for 16 hours of continuous entertainment! Today, the Steel Pier continues its tradition as an amusement park. As it is on hiatus during winter, I cannot speak for its admission prices, though can say that it makes for a beautiful vista from the Boardwalk; its Ferris Wheel set against a eternal hue of sky- and ocean-blues.

Steel Pier, reflected

Steel Pier - a southern vantage point

10.30am: The Beach. There are a number of pathways to the beach that may be accessed from the Boardwalk. The beach is made for meandering during the wintertime: tune into the meditative sounds of its gentle waves; breathe in the salty sea air; take in the still beauty of the day; hear the crack of seashells underneath your (covered) feet. If you’re a fan of the ocean, this is a great season to enjoy it.

View - under and through the Steel Pier

Wandering soul

11am: Strolling. Find a pathway from the beach leading back to the Boardwalk. It becomes more built up the further you walk south; enjoy the decades-old architecture of the stores, colourful (and empty/closed) ice cream and apple dumpling kiosks, and the gently undulating grassy sand dune vistas.

Ice cream kiosk - empty

"Isn't this amazing? It's like a postcard from the twenties..." Carrie Bradshaw

Your jaunt along the Boardwalk will undoubtedly be interrupted by the pusher of a rolling-chair, asking if you’d like a ride. These rolling chairs debuted on the Boardwalk in 1887, imported from the Philadelphia Centennial of 1876, and provide the weary walker with an excuse to be (physically) pushed along the length of the Boardwalk. A centuries-old tradition, they’d make sense on a rainy, extremely cold day, though would clearly limit your photo opportunities.

A rolling-chair pusher

Taffy Time. Stop for some Salt Water Taffy at Fralinger’s, and keep these delectable sticky treats in your bag for later. The story behind the sweet that made its debut in AC, is that a storm swamped a candy store in 1883 and dampened its supply of taffy. The salty flavour of the sweets was a palette-pleaser, and so ‘salt water taffy’ was born. Personal favourites: watermelon, peach and sour apple flavours.

Fralinger's, on the Boardwalk

Set installation on the Boardwalk

Reflect. Pause at the Korean War Veteran Memorial, located near the arch in Brighton Park. Here, beneath an eternal flame, 822 names of soldiers from New Jersey are engraved – either killed or still missing in action.

Behind the memorial you’ll notice one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings in AC – The Claridge. Opened in the 1930’s and known as “The Skyscraper by the Sea”, Marilyn Monroe stayed here when she was grand marshal to a Miss America pageant. For a time, it was the only hotel to offer in-room fresh and sea water for its purported healing qualities. Known as one of the last pre-casino hotels, it is now owned by Bally’s Atlantic City.

The Claridge (right)

The Claridge - up close

Game Trivia. This area in which the hotel stands is also the setting for Park Place, made famous by Charles Darrow who developed the game of Monopoly in 1929 using the city’s streets.

A little further on, and you’ll come to ‘The Pier Shops at Caesars’. Walk right through its shop-edged pathway and onto the outdoor deck. Here, you’ll experience a 360 view of the Atlantic and the Boardwalk. Standing over the ocean, this vantage point shows just how huge those casinos are relative to say, the Steel Pier and the Boardwalk’s shops. Bask in the knowledge that you’re livin’ on the edge.

Down the line and on the edge

Voluminous cloud cover

Boardwalk, further south. Boardwalk Hall (right)

12.30pm: Lunch. None of the mobile kiosks are open during the cooler months, and food options on the Boardwalk are limited to casino buffets or chain restaurants. Pure Americana: head to Johnny Rocket’s and order that burger and fries. It’s cold out there and this is vacation food that tastes good.

1.30pm: Boardwalk Hall ~ a beautiful example of Roman Revival and Art Deco architecture. Built in 1929, this was once the largest freestanding building in the world. The Boardwalk Hall was AC’s original convention centre though in World War I, its use was slightly altered – it served as a training facility to prepare thousands of soldiers for service.

It has hosted Miss America Pageants as well as Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 presidential nomination during the Democratic National Convention. This convention took place one year after Kennedy’s assassination, during which time a statue of President John F. Kennedy was dedicated. It stands in the Kennedy Plaza directly in front of Boardwalk Hall, which is now a concert/event venue.

Boardwalk Hall

Kennedy Plaza's seats: This space contains an amphitheater for outdoor concerts and is also used as a speaking point by politicians.

2pm: Photo Opps. Turn around and head back in the direction from which you came. This is the perfect opportunity to take those photos of what you may have missed along the way.

Civil Rights. At around the Central Pier (an amusement arcade), turn off the Boardwalk and onto Martin Luther King Blvd. A few blocks down is the Civil Rights Garden – a public sculpture space designed by Larry Kirkland, and made up of 11 granite columns, inscribed with quotes by American civil rights activists. A sculpture of a hand and bell over a reflective pool (in warmer months) also stand here, in the centre of the space.

Entrance to the Civil Rights Garden

2.30pm: Back Streets.  You’ll walk through a poor neighbourhood; past a lot of churches, abandoned buildings, motels reminiscent of another time and storefronts that wouldn’t look out of place on Route 66. You’ll finally come to the casinos – you can’t miss their signage.

3.30pm: Victorian Houses and Lucy the Elephant. Drive south along Atlantic Avenue, heading to Margate. Enroute, you’ll be forgiven for gawking at the beautiful mansions that line both sides of the road, and its side streets. Large balconies, turrets and spires – there’s some striking architecture here.

Mansions and summer houses, lining the beach

At #9200, you’ll come face to face with Lucy – The World’s Largest Elephant. With a story not unlike that of the infamous Hollywood sign; Lucy was built to in 1881, as a gimmick to attract potential buyers to land holdings along the coast of South Atlantic City (now Margate). She has survived the test of time and since been completely restored – at a cost of just under $2 million. In 1976, Lucy was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976; “the oldest surviving example of a unique form of zoomorphic architecture, and the oldest roadside attraction in America.” Open to the public, though closed at this time of year, she can be viewed from the street or the beach. 4pm: Shopping. Head back down Atlantic Avenue, towards the Atlantic Expressway. If you’re up for some shopping, the Outlet shops are located in the town’s centre. Avoid a headache and don’t park in their dedicated Lot – the paid street parking is much closer, and a spot shouldn’t be hard to find.

5.30pm: Back to NYC. Once you’ve loaded up on the essentials, bid adieu to AC. Be grateful that you were able to revel in its wintry glory; the next time you come, it may be at the height of summer.