It was a commercial glass manufacturer, once part of a huge chain which at its height had 41 plants across the U.S. This particular plant closed last summer and what we saw now were huge piles of glass, each mountain a different color, monstrous mounds of glass nuggets, strands and bottles, some of which were complete. Blinking and glinting in the bright sunlight they drew us towards them, like jackdaws to a shiny piece of foil or kids to a treasure chest. I could barely concentrate on taking photos, I was too busy rummaging. The glass wasn't sharp and we were particularly fascinated by the string pieces, which in the brown glass pile, resembled sugar strands.
Our next stop was Wildwood, N.J., a beach town looking like it had been plucked right out of the 50's, most of the hotels proudly bearing their 'doo wop' style architecture. Apparently this area has the largest concentration of this architectural style in the U.S. and it's certainly a wonderful sight.
We drove down to the end of Atlantic Avenue and then walked up onto the boardwalk, also deserted, with only a few lights illuminating the wooden walkway. The huge Ferris wheel and roller coaster were silhouetted against the sky at the end of the pier, also closed for the season.
We made our reservation for the night at The Sandbox Motel, one of the few places open, but it was delightful. Clean with a huge king size bed and a tiny 50's style bathroom tiled in teal with white walls. A superb dinner with fine beers was had at the Dog Tooth Bar and Grill. We finished the evening in a bar with crappy beer and a barman who informed us before we even sat at our stools that the draft beers weren't working, the kitchen was closed and the ladies' bathroom was out of order. When we asked him about local events, he softened a little, then proceeded to tell us that the local firefighters were mean tippers. He eventually loosened up when he saw that we weren't following suit, having laid a few dollar bills on the bar, and showed us around the building which used to be an old bank.
Next morning we were up bright and early, and back out on the street taking photos again. It was still bitterly cold as we parked back on Atlantic Avenue and again went our separate ways, this time with me clutching a hot cup of coffee in place of my hand warmers. While in the pale sunlight, it felt warm, but walking between the buildings the cars parked in the shade all wore a coat of frost. I walked back a few blocks trying to find hidden gems of architecture, but only found a miniature golf course.
The first place we tried was the Showboat, which has closed its casino and only operates as a hotel.
Out on the boardwalk we walked along the near empty promenade, peering through locked and taped up doors to Trump's Taj Mahal.
We saw no point of entry so walked around to the front, not expecting to gain illicit entry but I was hoping we could get into the lobby area for a discreet peek.