Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hidden Gem: Cape May, New Jersey

My wife and I recently returned from a short two day trip to Cape May, New Jersey. Cape May is probably not as well-known as some of it's South Jersey neighbors such as Ocean City, Wildwood or Stone Harbor.  But it certainly offers a sensational, one of a kind, vacation experience.

Located at the very Southern tip of the Jersey peninsula, Cape May offers unparalleled charm.
Cape  May is America's oldest seaside resort, having been established in the mid 18th century. To me, it looks like an English resort town such as Brighton. It is very Victorian in its architecture with many of the houses decorated with the traditional Victorian gingerbread. Because of the  multitude of historical homes, all ofCape May has been designated as a National Historic District. One of those houses, the Emlen Physick Estate is available for touring for a modest fee.

Cape May has over 30 hotels and motels,many of which are located directly across from the beach.We stayed at the Cape May Grand Hotel.  The hotel has free parking available It also has both an indoor and outdoor pool. Our third floor room was a typical beach room with a king bed, sofa, desk and a small balcony. The bathroom appeared to have been recently renovated.   There is a restaurant located off of the main lobby, called Hemingway's.  Specials are offered daily and everyday there is a very reasonably priced breakfast buffet. Give it a try.One person we met said that she and her whole family of 9 children eat the buffet as their breakfast and lunch. almost every day.

Over 40 to 50,000 vacationers visit Cape May each year. Many of the hotels and attractions are open   year round.The beach is quite nice with long expanses of sand protected by dunes.  We rented one of the cabanas  available across form our hotel and spent the day there. Comfort stations are available all along the beach. There is also a small arcade on the beach for rainy day entertainment.

In town, off  Ocean Street is an outdoor mall consisting of a number of shops and restaurants of all varieties. There is even a Stewart restaurant where in addition to the famous Stewart sodas, a full menu is offered.

Just outside of town is the Lobster House restaurant. The restaurant is huge, serving some 500 people at a serving, so get there early. My wife and I ate there twice, once having the lobsters and the second night, the fried shrimp dinners. Both were excellent and reasonably priced.  The shrimp, mu wife and I agreed, were probably the best fried shrimp we had ever eaten.

At the very tip of the peninsula is the Cape May Light.The lighthouse was built in 1859 and continues to be in operation. Although we  did not tour it this last time, we have previously climbed  its 217 steps to the top. Whew!

Another interesting attraction is a ferry that travels to Lewes,

If you are looking for a beach town with a difference, Cape May is for you.

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