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Pleasant, Easy Days in Cape May, NJ

Author: Host Bonjour
Date of Trip: May 2008

This HOST has FINALLY gotten a little vacation time !!!!!!!

There had been an open invitation to go down to my Dad’s place in Cape May & I had missed SO many chances to go (for various and sundry reasons, lol) but THIS time was different. A week ago Saturday morning in the last days of May, I decided “yes, I am going to go to Cape May!”

I set my clock for early Saturday morning & hadn’t bothered to pack the night before – I was going kamikaze style Sat. morning & packing for me, the dog, going to the bank and stopping at the pharmacy & then OFF we were on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey en route to the Cape & off we were in what turned to be record time as NOBODY was on the road & we just kind of got there in a whirlwind time – no law breaking! We made it to the condo which is on Beach Ave (that’s the ocean drive for folks who don’t know the area, cause I didn’t!!!) & dumped off my bags & the dog’s stuff & then we set out to walking around & showing me the lay of the land. Cape May is known to some as “Exit Zero” because it is literally the last bit of land that IS New Jersey before one hits Delaware. It also happens to be a little slice of beach heaven.

The season hadn’t kicked into “high” yet but it’s about to; translation, we can’t go back to the condo until September when it isn’t rented out anymore!! Dad’s gotta pay the mortgage Anyway, we had a wonderful weekend together walking, riding (Cape May is bicycle friendly) & eating great food. The “main house” of the condo is actually a bona fide historical landmark house & so the main has like two units in it (& the main house is beautiful, especially out front & the circular stairways as one looks up – so very Victorian, well preserved) & the condo units are actually built onto the back of the house & go through to the back of the next street, Stockton. What was sometimes one of the more pleasurable moments for me, since I have the kind of skin that burns in a nanosecond even with my back turned away from the sun on beach (still got burned on ankles, top, legs, face..??) I found I took quite a liking to sitting on the beautiful Verandah that wrapped around the house, although front & center was the place to be – overlooking the beach & the ocean!! We’d bring down some snacks & beverages & my dog & just simply take it easy & rock in the period rocking chairs. Gave new meaning to the sound “aahhh” being out there on that verandah!!

Cape May also boasts a lovely “pedestrian only” area with shops & restaurants; some shops are just typical beach souvenirs but others have some really interesting items. Also, every year they raffle off a Mercedes Benz. I didn’t check the raffle ticket price; it used to be $10 but like everything that’s gone up – it too may have gone up. I enjoy going through this area because sometimes I find some unique things or just enjoy the walk. On the way there are some SPECTACULAR and HISTORIC VIctorian homes – gingerbread style or something out of one of those little Christmas Villages people collect but it’s the real thing & they are painted in the most marvelous, eye popping colors you’ve ever seen. Picture postcard visions, these houses are & for the most part, most of Cape May. We drove all the way down Beach Ave to have a peek at the Cape May Light House; all fans of lighthouses have to go for a look but if you have a car I recommend driving down there because from where the “main zone” is, it is quite a bit out of the zone. But there are some condo rentals down there too & some people want that quiet & just access to the beach & then they either cook breakfast or make lunch in their unit & then go out to dinner – lots & lots of great restaurants to choose from, only minutes away.

From where I was staying, one was in walking distance & I went to it twice. It was called “Cabanas” down Beach Ave and I think to the corner of Ocean. Service was very good, atmosphere friendly and casual and the prices were reasonable. Great Menu.

Another favorite, closer by on Howard Ave & Beach, was The Green Cafe which focused on Organic food. I went there 3 times for breakfast (yes it was that good – blueberry/lemon pancakes, ummmmm – a waffle with fresh fruit – all of the food was made with whole wheat flour) & one lunch, chicken tacos with cheese, beans, salsa, scallion sour cream (last two items on side) over bed of mixed greens. Oh & they make great coffee & although I didn’t try one, it sounds like they made great smoothies. It seemed there wasn’t anything there that wasn’t good. So there’s s few cheers for being green & organic in Cape May, NJ!!

When Dad was still around, we went to Lucky Bones restaurant, just at the turn off entrance to Beach Entrance from main road. REALLY GREAT food – had a Scallops dinner special that was FANTASTIC & the place was really popular as evidenced by our not too long wait (& well worth it) for a table. Dad was there this past weekend, going there to see the Belmont Stakes (we’re a family that has always enjoyed racing though it seems things aren’t going as well as they used to) & I was so jealous! We also went to eat at C-View restaurant & has a really wonderful meal there. Again, I went with a meal from the specials list & had a stuffed pork chop (stuffed with spinach & mushrooms) along with green beans & home made mashed potatoes. Very delicious. Very good service too & prices were also in the reasonable zone. Restaurant was on the route you would pass to get to Lucky Bones, it would be on the left side.

The nice thing about being in a condo is that you can also go to the Cape May Acme & buy some things for the fridge/pantry etc so you can have some of your lighter meals, snacks or whatever one forgot to bring for the trip down!! Acme is easy to get to & is near the pedestrian only zone but is near to the end of it & as such, there is a streetlight so the next driveway is your right turn into the Acme market parking lot! Everything one needs whilst being in Cape May is IN Cape May!!

Sun, fun, beautiful pristine beaches – clean & fun. Beach passes are REQUIRED & are available by the day, weekend, weekly or seasonal. Boogie Boarding is a VERY popular pastime on Cape May Beach. The waves get to be great by a certain point in time in the day!! There are arcades, hotels, condos to rent if that suits, bikes for 4 or 2 that you can rent, the trolley tour that you can take, kayaking trips to go on, everyone is kind & friendly & oh so clean. People say hello to you when passing by, I checked on an elderly man who had set himself down on a brick wall, just to see if he needed anything or was just “taking a break” & he thanked me for checking. What else would one do? Someone did me a good turn. I’d bought my Dad a card in the Cape May shops to thank him for making it possible to have this great little escape from NYC which felt oh so good. I’d written the card, stamped it, & then LOST IT!! I could only hope that someone would find it & since the postage was there and it was all written out, would mail it. And they DID! My Dad got the card the very next day, in fact. How nice that someone did that for me. It’s just a tiny example of the “feel good” you get from being in Cape May, along with all the tiny treasures that it has to offer almost EVERY visitor to Cape May. It is simply the most heavenly beach in the N’east (that’s not too cold to swim in – Cape Cod is great but even in high summer, don’t know if I’d take to the waters!) area, for me, the N’east is New Jersey & northward, including Long Island and anywhere.

Cape May, may just be the BEST. I’m a convert & there’s no going to any other beach here up North at all. Other than that we move on to Florida or the Caribbean…………

I’m glad I had the offer to go, glad I TOOK the offer to go & happy it turned out to be such a wonderful experience. Previously, I’d been there before but we’d always gone on day trips. So I KNEW it was really nice but I didn’t know just how HEAVENLY it could feel to be there for so many days in a row. It was my MAY great escape (pun intended but it did technically start in end of May!!)!! Now with the condo, we can go kind of right before high season & then just after peak season & hope for a great September! Weather was great & there is even a little movie theatre there too, in case you should want to take in a flick – hey, ya never know, sometimes it rains.

Here are some Cape May websites to help you discover for yourself:

My car is good on gas & although it hurt to fill up before I left, I drove down, drove back & still have more than a quarter of a tank left & that includes driving a little down there & driving a little bit back here at home. So the only real travel expenses were road/bridge tolls; for some reason Garden State cost less going south than it did going north – maybe that’s because it’s heading back to NYC oohhh! ugh. Otherwise, it’s an affordable vacation but it will seem like you spent more because Cape May presents to you a very beautiful beach destination unlike many others – classy yet fun, distinctive, historic & still available to the everyman. A cut above, but open to everyone & they are calling all beach-goers to come & see.

Take it from me, a very FUSSY beach-goer, world traveler, this place HAS IT ALL, you won’t be disappointed! When the water warms up – now it’s about 60F, you can’t GET ME OUT of the OCEAN!! Now THAT is GREAT BEACH!!

If you are within 150 +/- miles radius of Cape May or more if you’re looking to spend a weeks’ time or more, think of Cape May for your vacation this summer. It might just be a good way to make use of your summer vacation funds, or, reinstate your summer vacation plans if you were thinking that maybe you couldn’t do a vacation, maybe NOW YOU CAN. THINK CAPE MAY!!

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