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“GACCA Annual Kick-Off”

Print Date 7.16.2021

By Judy Brenna

I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but I feel I need to say it again. What a long and strange journey this has been. As we just celebrated the annual kick off to the GACCA’s official season, last week, it’s nearly impossible to not look back over the last 16 months and reflect. I think back to the first week of July last year, mask glued to my face, always toting several hand-sanitizer-bottles in my handbag at all times, constantly annoying my then boyfriend on a regular basis, nagging him to wash his hands and straighten his mask, elbow bumping people I know ((or giving strong nods in acknowledgement)), eyebrows completely unkempt. Sure, I’ve made light of what seemed an impossible situation, trying to lighten the mood with quips and anecdotes, but truth is, what we went through as a society was tough stuff. It definitely changed me permanently, with respect to hygiene. I mean I was always clean, thanks to OCD, but I’m permanently hyper aware of constantly washing my hands, never wiping my nose with my hands or touching my eyes or mouth, always coughing into the crook of my elbow, not breathing on the backs of people’s necks for fun, and so on. I don’t even hug people anymore unless I’m emotionally guilted into doing it ((meaning they open their arms first and look at me with that expression “c’mon, bring it in” so I then feel obligated to acquiesce)). I’m also not as eager to go out with people as I used to be. I always ask myself first, “I mean, is it absolutely necessary you need see this person?”.

I remember last year when I was drafting up the invitation for the GACCA Annual Sunset Cruise, I was so afraid to RSVP with a yes. I did, naturally, because I’m on the board, but then I proceeded to spend the next two weeks trying to come up with an amazing excuse to cancel, anything better than admitting my fear to being around other people. Seems a bit silly now in hindsight. But I went, and I am so glad I did. We had such an amazing time, while also social distancing. And I only had to nag my then boyfriend once about his mask ((sorry, Mike!)). But more importantly, the experience was a monumental moment of reassurance that we were still here, that the hospitality industry could take a severe beating but still survive. That cruise last year meant more than just what it was. This year’s event had the same tone, but with an obviously much more jovial vibe. Because we had survived, we were out of the woods, and had already seen the light on the other side. Again, I reiterate, what a long and strange journey it has been.

The GACCA’s annual sunset cruise marks the kickoff to the year. I know what you’re thinking, “but it’s July, not January”. It’s the first event after membership renewals and signups are due so it’s always an exciting time of year for us. I was extremely sad I couldn’t make it this year because I was ((cue the confetti cannons: HUGE NO LONGER OPEN TO WORK ANNOUNCMENT)) working my very first wedding at my new place of employment, ((shameless plug)) The Deauville Inn, located in Strathmere, NJ. I’m not sure if you can see the beams of light shooting out of my face from all directions at this very moment, but just trust me they’re there. I’ve been waiting for a little while now to announce this. I’m so excited to be working again, I’m having a hard time containing it! And although it’s a huge thing to acclimate to, ((#firstworldproblems)) going from being unemployed for 16 months and almost completely losing my identity, to working 45+ hours a week, regardless I am beyond grateful to be back. Anyhoo… Although I was unable to make it, I heard nothing but awesome things about the event.

Starting off with delicious and refreshing beverages and cocktails provided by the uber cool happenin’ spot in Gardiner’s Basin, and home of the Basin Mason, Back Bay Ale House, and palate pleasing bites by Fish Heads Mobile Food Truck, and then setting sail for an hour-long cruise around the Inlet and bay provided by Atlantic City Cruises, what can be possibly said that hasn’t been said already? This is an event that we, as members, wait for all year. One of the many things that’s great about this event, is the destination vacation vibe you get. Gardiner’s Basin is like no other, and when you’re sitting on the dock you get a sense that you’re not in Kansas, ((record scratch)), I mean Atlantic City, anymore. Back Bay gives a Key West kind of vibe, while Fish Heads sets a southern comfort food tone. Every year this evening gives a unique escape for members and always reminds us, as concierge-folk, what a unique experience this is. One of limitless possibilities in a town consisting of only 48 blocks. I highly recommend this experience to clients when inquiring about things to do. If you want them to have nothing but great memories of their trip to our little tourist town, this is one to definitely add to their list of to-do’s.

Back Bay Ale House, Fish Heads Mobile Food Truck and Atlantic City Cruises are all located on New Hampshire Avenue, at the marina in Gardiner’s basin, right next to the Atlantic City Aquarium. Back Bay is open seven days a week from 11 am to 9 pm. Fish Heads is open Sunday, and Tuesday through Thursday 1 pm to 8 pm, Friday and Saturday 1 pm to 9:45 pm and closed Mondays. Atlantic City Cruises is open seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm, offering everything from morning skyline cruises and dolphin-watching adventures to happy hour cruises, and of course sunset tours. Find all three places on Facebook and plan you trip to Gardiner’s Basin today!

Until next week, folks… #stayjerseystrong!

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