Monday, February 2, 2009

I Want to be a Travel Writer When I Grow Up

I had the most fabulous time this weekend at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino! I was there on a research trip--I have to write an article about gambling on both sides of the Delaware Bay and other interesting things to do in and around the casinos. Atlantic City is easy. I've been there plenty of times and it's about an hour from home. But Delaware would be all new. I chose Dover Downs to explore although there are a couple of other places. Well...

They treated me like a queen! I was able to set up a comp night at the posh hotel and I had a great tour with Lisa from their PR department. she showed me all around the "property" as they call it, including the casino, the grandstand (by the NASCAR and harness racing tracks), the year-'round simulcast area, the dozen or so restaurants and bars, the beautiful new Colonnade with its retail shops, the spa (they gave me some free goodies), and last but not least, the swanky upscale restaurant, Michele's. The whole tour took about ninety minutes, and then...

Bob at Michele's offered to feed me and I had a wonderful dinner. Minestrone soup, warm bread, filet wrapped in bacon with a herb demiglaze and four-cheese sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, and fresh vegetables, and ultimately the ultimate warm chocolate lava cake with a side of raspberry gelato. After that meal, I was ready to crash, but I really wanted to explore the casino late night. I didn't make it, but a surprise was in store : Chef Tara from Michele's sent up to my room a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries and brownies. What a decadent late-night treat!

I finally hit the casino the next morning and signed up for my gold card. Slot machines are a lot different now from the last time I played. Everything is digital. The machine reads your cards and keeps track of your winnings and points towards bonuses. The machine is operated by buttons rather than the arm of "one-arm bandit" fame. Machines have diverse themes from all areas of human existence including Ebay, Tabasco, Mona Lisa, and my favorite, Moolah Rouge. My best winnings came from the Tabasco machine. I had only planned on losing ten dollars at the most (this was research after all), but I walked out of there with TWO THOUSAND cents. Yeah, I won a cool twenty dollars at the Tabasco machine.

What a great time I had at Dover Downs. It's only about an hour from the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, so it's within reason to go there for races or shows (Jimmy Dorsey's, Glenn Miller's, and Harry James's bands are all scheduled to appear this summer!!!), or just for dinner and some slots.

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