Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cape May

Cape May is the southern most tip of the state of New Jersey.  This particular piece of property was "discovered" by a Dutch captain named Coenelius Mey in 1611.  Cape May is located at a point where the Atlantic Ocean meets Delaware Bay and is an interesting place to visit because of the many well preserved homes as well as the beach.  Additionally, Cape May is well known as a good birder's spot along the Atlantic fly-way for watching migratory birds.  We usually visit Cape May several time a year.  It's roughly an hour's drive south of Brigantine.

Enough about birds; what my female travelers want is shopping and Washington Street, a pedestrian Street, offers plenty of that.

We parked our car in the municipal parking lot behind the liquor store, fed the meter and headed straight for Washington St.

First stop is always "Swede Things", a small shop that specializes in Nordic linens and knick-knacks.  My bride already has several of every item (bought back in the old country for less money that the prices here) that the shop offers but she still likes to look.  Must be the "gatherer" instinct.  I have no idea who this couple is, but no doubt she has the gatherer gene as well...\

Need I say more?  OK, I like to browse there too, but it would be  way more fun if they had Swedish beers or something besides lace and little Jul Tomtar.

Two things you can always count on at a beach town are shops selling candy and t-shirts.  Cape May does not defy one's expectations.
Fralinger's has not quite let go of Christmas yet.  They go way back in the salt water taffy business.

Sea Air and Sunshine sealed in every box.

The price is right but I don't need any more hoodies.

Casale's shoes--another "must stop" location for my bride.
But enough of merchandising.  The other thing that Cape May is known for is it's collection of "painted ladies"; old Victorian era homes that now are for the most part Bed and Breakfast joints.

What is it that appeals to the female mind about a B 'n B?  Is it the fancy beds and linens?  Is it the fact that the place is "just so" but they didn't have to make it that way?  What, already?  Oy! It gives me the Heebie-Jeebies!  I mean, I could see it if it was part of a Lionel train lay out...

Ok, Ok, I get it--it's the architectural stuff
Like the "snickar glädje" on this house.  But SOMEBODY has to paint all this stuff!

There are lots of fancy signs in Cape May.

I've often wondered where Betsy Ross went for vacation.  Now I know.
An interesting house on Jackson Street
Zooming in on the details.  I like the iron work around the widow's walk on the roof.

I've just touched on the surface of the interesting buildings in the old part of Cape May.  We'll visit again went the weather warms. But now I must start packing for Gulfport.


  1. Even old men in the Midwest known about the Cape May Warbler and the bird watching. Someday we may get out there during migration. The town itself? the town is cute and quaint ... and looks like a place I would avoid like the very plague.

  2. Bird watching, particularly during the spring and fall migrations, is a big deal in Cape May. Song birds, water fowl and raptors must pause on one side or the other of Delaware Bay and eat enough before attempting the roughly 20 mile crossing between Cape May and Cape Henlopen. In the spring many birds feast on energy-dense horseshoe crab eggs--kinda clever how ma nature has timed crab spawning and flight migration. In the fall I assume some birds load up on berries and others (raptors) load up on song birds. Although the span between the two capes is the shortest distance over open water, it still creates a formidable bottleneck much to the enjoyment of bird watchers. One wonders how many birds don't make it.

  3. We have some thing like that at Hawk Ridge above Duluth in the Fall, and some in Spring. The raptors coming out of Canada follow the updrafts along Lake Superior and get funneled to the tip of the lake. One year they counted 150,000 hawks and eagles.

    Last Spring we went to Nebraska to see the Sandhill Cranes. They estimate 400,000 rest on the Platte River. Stunning to see them rise up like a noisy cloud and move out to the fields at sun up.