A Jersey Gem

Ah beautiful Cape May, the southern-most beach town in New Jersey. One of America’s oldest vacation destinations, its recorded history dates back as far as the early 1600’s when it was first explored by Captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey.

Cape May does not have a boardwalk as some of the other Jersey shore towns, packed with hotels, eateries, souvenir shops and game booths. Instead, it boasts its own unique attributes. Cape May combines beautiful beachfront with intricate Victorian architecture in its quaint bed and breakfasts, gingerbread homes, and historic mansions.  The Cape May Trolley is a great way to get around town and see many of these iconic attractions.

Besides swimming or relaxing on the beach and taking in the pretty architecture, there are more than enough cultural attractions to fill a vacation. There is the beautiful Cape May Lighthouse, the WWII Lookout Tower, the Coast Guard Training Center, and the Emlen Physick Estate dating to 1879. Not far out of town is the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum and historic Cold Spring Village.

The region is considered one of the best bird-watching areas in the Northeastern United States. Cape May Point State Park, where the lighthouse stands, offers hiking and nature trails with lookout points to observe the birds and the beach. One of them is a boardwalk type trail which is wheelchair accessible and stroller-friendly. A favorite activity is to hunt for Cape May “diamonds” at Sunset Beach, located a bit further northwest from the lighthouse. The wreck of the SS Atlantus, known as the “Concrete Ship”, can be seen just off the coast. A flag-lowering ceremony is also held there at sunset from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

There are restaurants and shopping to satisfy all tastes. The open-air Washington Street Mall is the place to go. It is an outdoor shopping and dining area located within blocks of the beach, lovely Victorian B & B’s and the beautiful Congress Hall Hotel.

One of the best things about Cape May is that the fun doesn’t end with summer. While most of the Jersey shore quiets down after the summer crowds, Cape May offers the Cape May Jazz Festival, the Cape May Music Festival, the Cape May, New Jersey Film Festival and much more.

And there is Christmas in Cape May to look forward to! The town positively comes alive with Christmas cheer and décor. A parade in West Cape May, horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday tours and Christmas lights everywhere are sure to please. The B & B’s are all decked out and the winter waves await!

A great website to check out the year-round happenings is http://www.capemaymac.org/home.html

In any season, I just love Cape May!

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