Cape May: Our Home Away from Home

Cape May: Sunset Beach

Every year around our anniversary (and sometimes in between), we head down to the southern tip of New Jersey for a stay in the lovely shore town of Cape May. We’ve been coming here regularly for over a decade now, to the point where we’ve come to think of it as our second home (I know the roads almost as well as if I were a resident). With nice beaches (including areas to take the dog on the bay side), beautiful Victorian homes, great restaurants, a charming pedestrian mall, and tree-lined streets, it feels like a small town that just happens to be on the beach rather than a town designed to be a beach resort like the other major shore destinations in the area.

If you stay in the northern end of town (as we usually do), with its neighborhoods full of well-spaced houses and green lawns, you can almost forget that you’re even at the beach. But you’re close enough to Wildwood that if you’re itching to spend a night on the boardwalk (and indulge in my favorite pizza, Mack’s), it’s just a quick drive up the coast. We enjoy staying in Cape May during the offseason, particularly in September when we can watch the Monarch Butterfly migration. Unlike other shore resorts that basically become ghost towns after Labor Day, you can pretty much have the same experience in Cape May as you would in-season, only with fewer people.  Our dream is to retire here.

There is so much to love about Cape May, but rather than describe it in words, I thought I’d just share some of my favorite photos taken over the last decade, starting with a few panoramas followed by a gallery of photos that vary in quality depending on the camera that was used. I know there are quite a few, but it’s hard to compress a decade’s worth of photos into one blog post. 🙂

Typical summer beach scene.
Higbee Beach
A view of some of the oceanfront properties.
Overhead view of the main part of town.
The canal that separates Cape May from North Cape May.
The Main Beach
Sunset Beach featuring the iconic sunken concrete ship
(which may not be visible much longer in light of how much it has sunk recently).

And here is the gallery. I had to keep the thumbnail images small so the page wouldn’t take too long to load, but you can click on any image to view a larger size.

Wildwood

Author’s Note: This is a slightly modified version of a poem I wrote in the early 1990’s (which explains some of the dated references) and published in Avant, the literary magazine of Rowan University.

Wildwood

Suntanners sizzled
beneath a blazing blue sky…
Screams
from the Sea Serpent seared my ears…
I kissed Kayla’s lips as we caressed
in the sand, singing a lover’s song…

At night we walked
the boards, our hands a single limb,
the wood creaking beneath our feet,
Dracula’s Castle’s eerie organ
… echoing …
in our ears…

An abundance of carnival games beckoned
my business and I finally gave in,
blowing twenty bucks on a ten-buck teddy bear
for Kayla…

By the amateur singing studio
a group gathered to guffaw
at a girl’s butchering
of Mariah Carey…

Across the boardwalk sat the
Old Fashioned Photo Booth
where Kayla and I
were once Bonnie and Clyde…

We stopped at Mack’s and I
salivated
as my nose picked up
the scent of scorching pizza.
The cheese, still boiling
when I took my first bite,
stuck to and stung my tongue
while the excess oil
… oozed …
out the corners of my mouth…

We washed the pizza down with a Lime Ricky
and indulged in some chocolate fudge
before suddenly jumping to avoid
a yellow monster shouting at us to
watch the tram car, please…

As the night grew old
the piers closed and the people departed,
leaving me alone with Kayla,
lying in the sand and
staring at the starlit sky
accented by the crescent moon,
and listening to the sweet soothing sound
of the ocean in motion