Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Summer Trip to Cape May, New Jersey

Last week TD and I had a delightful trip to Cape May, New Jersey, which is at the southern end of the state and definitely worth a visit. First we stopped in Ocean City, New Jersey, which we always enjoy, and then drove further on down to Cape May, which we had not been to before. The town was a very popular seaside resort in the nineteenth century, but in 1878 a devastating fire that lasted five days destroyed 30 blocks at its center. When the homes were rebuilt, they were designed in the style of the day - Victorian. In 1976 the entire city of Cape May was declared an historic district and so today visitors stroll along block after block of beautiful Victorian houses painted and trimmed in a range of charming colors. Picket fences run along the sidewalks, and the streets are draped with tall shade trees. "I feel like I'm in Meet Me in St. Louis," said TD.

Luckily he had found a room in a charming B and B called Twin Gables where we unloaded our bags. The house is owned by the friendly and warm innkeeper Regina, who reminded me a little of my mother. Coincidentally, the B and B turned out to be around the corner from the home of TD's distant cousin Mary Ellen, who arrived at cocktail hour on the porch with her husband Joe. After a glass of wine, they took us on a quick walking tour of Cape May. Street after street of the prettiest houses and inns stretched out before us. The town reminded me of Cooperstown, New York, which is also an historic district, and of Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard.
Red, white and blue –

A cool porch under shade trees –

I liked this handsome chocolate brown Cape Cod house with turquoise blue trim –

A great spot in Cape May is the Congress Hall hotel. The large resort hotel was rebuilt in brick after the big fire in the nineteenth century. It was fully restored in 2002, and now it's a beautiful destination with enticing restaurants and bars. The striking main thoroughfare at Congress Hall features American flags and Victorian light fixtures – 

The hotel lobby was decorated dramatically with green walls plus red and black accents. Someone who knew what they were doing did a good job designing this hotel –

One night we ate outdoors at an excellent Mexican restaurant called La Dona. Many of the restaurants are BYOB so we picked up a small bottle of tequila and the restaurant made the most delicious orange, lemon and lime margaritas. The best I have had! The food was also excellent. Later, we walked to the big, old Chalfonte Hotel, which was built in 1876.

Simple and authentic, the rambling place has an old-school charm. There's a little bar on the side, and we sat and enjoyed a night cap on the long, wide porch, like that at the Sharon Spring Hotel in upstate New York. Families and friends who seemed to be there on an extended holiday pulled up rocking chairs and talked in intimate groups.
One day it rained, not a beach day alas, but afterwards a rainbow shone bright.

A fitting end to a fun adventure in Cape May –