Monday, July 18, 2011

Stone Harbor disappoints but the Cape May-Lewes Ferry makes up for it.

After spending most of Saturday morning cleaning house, diaristwoman and I headed down beach to the town of Stone Harbor to visit the local town museum and perhaps catch up with a Moth Boat rumored to be on display.

We rowed the mightly Volvo S60 down the Garden State Parkway against a prodigious armada of weekend traffic and then banged the corner that leads cars over the tidemarsh causeway to the barrier island which Stone harbor shares with the town of Avalon.  These two towns have always had a "tonier" (might be a word)  reputation than the "lesser" beach communities like Brigantine and Sea Isle City but take it from me, that's just talk...

The Museum, located at 325 93rd St., seemed quiet for a busy summer Saturday.  Too quiet...  Obviously your diarist should have phoned ahead but who knew they'd take a holiday on a sunny weekend day when the town was heaving with potential visitors?

Oh Bother!  What's all this then?!

We huffed off a bit disappointed (as least some of us) and drifted over the main shopping district a couple blocks away for a bit of "shopping therapy".  Diaristwoman restrained her purchases to a few scones at a bakery and after a brief look-see in the pricy clothing shops we headed back to the car.  We got on the road and after a quick peek at the time realized that we might catch the 4:30 boat to Lewes, Delaware instead of driving back north to the Delaware Memorial Bridge at Wilmington, our more usual way back to Maryland.  Stone Harbor isn't that far from the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal.  When we came to this decision the clock read 4:12 and the boat was a dozen miles away and so enticingly within reach if we put a stick to our steed.  Nothing like a challenge says I.  We went for it and I figured we had things well in hand since it was only 4:20 or so by the time we got to the Parkway exit for the ferry dock.  The last few miles proved to be a nail-biter as we hit absolutely every red traffic light between the Parkway and the dock and in between those crawled behind ponderous camper-caravans moving at what seemed a snail's pace!  We pulled into the pay booth just as the ferry hooted its horn to back down the slip but Mr. Toll Taker radioed over and held the boat a minute or so while money was hastily exchanged for tickets and we and one more car JUST got on board as the gangway was pulled away!

We were the next to last car to catch this boat!

Our boat was the MV (Motor Vessel) New Jersey, one of several boats which ply the 17 miles across Delaware Bay between Cape May, NJ and Lewes, DE.  On a good day the trip across takes an hour and ten minutes.  Info about the fleet of boats and the history of the CMLF can be found here:

As we were leaving the MV Delaware was making her approach.
One of the last sights as one leaves the New Jersey shore is Cape May Lighthouse.  The 157 foot tower is still used as an aid to navigation.
A half dozen ships on the horizon--a U-boat skipper's dream.  Click on the photo for a better look.
All too soon we passed the first of two breakwater towers that mark the Delaware side of the bay.  This white one is still functional. Click for a better look.
The red breakwater tower was restored back in the '90s but is no longer in use.
We passed this sandy strand just before the Captain called for drivers to return to their cars.
The tan colored tower to the right of this photo is a WW II look-out and gunnery fire control tower.  There were over a dozen of these towers built on the Delaware side and at least one on the Cape May side of the bay to keep watch for U-boats.  The towers were designed to last for about 20 years.  The survivors are now over 65 years old--they built 'em good back then!

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