So my buddy and i filed ifr to aiy(atlantic city-bader field) yesterday. clouds were reported 5-7000 broken, but winds were hellacious out of the west--50k at 6000. we filed for 3000 east bound to stay out of any ice. as soon as we contacted departure out of manassas(hef) they had us (heading 320) makea left turn to 090. then they sent us on a left downwind (for 19r) at dulles for spacing. once we hit midfield at dulles we watched an airfrance heavy come in and land on the 1L. if that wasnt cool enough atc advised of traffic 12:00 and 12 miles-767 heavy. she cliimbed us to 4000 and we watched as the 767 passed 1000 ft below and about 1/2 mile off our left wing opposite direction. we were pumped. then we were told in intercept v-214 to bal. we had no gps so we were really testing our instrument skills. we navigated to bal and as we approached we had a c-130 pass 1 mile off our left wing and then climbing left turn behind us. again, awesome. we got a great view of baltimore harbor, and a southwest 737 departure from bwi. we flew direct smyrna and then direct acy/aiy. landed on rwy29. anyone who has flown that approach knows you are supposed to fly a right pattern for noise abatement. we were approaching on a left base so we took it out over the ocean, then came in on top of balleys casino--literally 100 ft high. windshear of about 10-15 knots on final in the arrow and the bay came up fast. she will drop when she loses power like a rock. full power and restablizied. saved the landing. greased it with wind 300 at 23. now my question. we were returnning at night after losing all our money and were at 4000 about 100 ft below a broken layer. atc kept ammending our clearance. then told us to climb to 6000. i knew there were several broken layers starting at 4000, and oat was 28 at 4000. we refused the clearance and he said "you cant climb because of clouds.?" in a rather condescending voice. well apparently that was the wrong answer because he vectored us all the way(th elong way) around bwi...dropped us to 3000 and apparently 3000 was the right altitude to hit major turbulence. bounced around the whol way home. we were vectored down the old vfr corridor back manassas. landed and was glad to be home. my question is, do you think is those layers were broken i would have had to worry much about hte ice. i dont have alot of experiecne with ice, and wasnt sure so i declined the climb. there was a chance we would have broken out on top. should i have climbed and then if we were in the clouds advised atc? 3000 ft put us at a warmer temp--about 33/34. anyone have experience wiht this situation. sorry so longwinded, but i wanted to share. and oh yeah, aiy is great about getting you gas and a taxi waiting but dont ask to use the restrooms. filthiest fbo ive ever been to.... EVER!