EXIT 0 – Cape May NJ

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This blog is a little off the beaten track for me, however I love Cape May NJ and want to share it with you.

Over the past seven years that we have been going to Cape May NJ on Easter weekend, we have stayed at 4 different seaside hotels for the ocean view factor.

The first hotel we stayed at for four years in a row was La Mer http://www.capemaylamer.com . We loved it there especially when the restaurant Pier House was operating. Due to hurricanes and flooding Pier House was destroyed however is being rebuilt and renovated . On La Mer’s website, Pier House is expected to reopen May 2019. La Mer offers comfy, nicely decorated rooms, great ocean views with a balcony, friendly but professional staff, inside hallways and places to park underneath the hotel. The bicycle racks are also underneath so our bicycles didn’t get wet with rain/dew. La Mer is the last hotel on Beach Avenue going north so its surrounded by lovely homes and is in a quieter area. There are other features such as a workout room, elevator, outdoor pool in season.

Our 5th year brought a change in venue when I saw a great on-line deal at The Montreal Beach Resort www.montrealbeachresort.com. Hesitant to try something new, we were quite pleased with our cozy corner room with balcony and front and side ocean views. Our room was just the right size, very comfy and nicely decorated. It was a slightly closer to Cape May proper. Entry to our room was from the back outside covered balcony however when you entered the room there was a short hallway so you did not step right into the bedroom ( I liked that)! The bicycle racks outside had no covering so our bicycle seats had to covered. The Montreal Beach Resort also offered a continental breakfast. They had a special to stay another night for $50 but we were told we could not do that…too bad…the place was clearing out after the holiday weekend and it would have been another occupied room for them. We thought we would return next year but….

On our 6th Easter weekend return to Cape May, both La Mer and The Montreal Beach Resort prices were more than we would have liked. I scarfed an online deal to stay at the Sandpiper Beach Club http://www.caperesorts.com/sandpiper. Our room turned out to be a “sweet suite” bedroom, kitchenette and living room with a private balcony and ocean views . There was assigned parking which was nice but an uncovered bicycle rack so you can guess what happened. The rooms were nice and comfy but again access was gained from an outside balcony and you walked right into the bedroom. The bedroom had a window to let in natural light so it was all good. Sandpiper Beach Resort, by far, was the closest to Cape May offerings. Staff were friendly and again we thought we would stay there next year but again…..

Sandpiper

To our dismay all of the above hotels were pricey in 2019 – perhaps because Easter weekend fell later in April and it bumped into another season of prices? On-line I found a great deal on Ocean Club Hotel, http://www.capemayoceanclubhotel.com which was touted on their website as redefining “the luxury Cape May hotel experience. Designed by Tyler Duncan of Duncan Design Group, this boutique hotel provides the perfect blend of style and comfort.  Indulge in the hotel’s breezy elegance with its modern sophistication, lush bedding and chic custom designed furnishings. ” The price was right and the bed was extremely comfortable, with great ocean views and a balcony. That was about it….From the covered and windowed back balcony you walk into the living room which did not have a window and was dark , drab and uninviting. Help staff were not friendly and started their cleaning rounds early with noise and talking. Staff rooms on the first floor were often left open looking into basement like rooms and staff bustled in and out. The parking lot behind was not marked and when pulled over to look at our GPS, a kind person asked if he could help and told us we had just passed the lot. We will not be returning regardless of the price. Perhaps you will have a better experience.

Panoramic from balcony at the Ocean Club Hotel

Speaking of price – there was a 13% tax on our bill…really high but I guess thats New Jersey? We will keep coming to Cape May because we love the area and things to do. In the past I looked at possible Air BnB’s however between the taxes and cleaning charge they were more than a hotel room/suite – if you want ocean views. There are several lovely Bed and Breakfasts and hotels within Cape May and although we should branch out and try some – we prefer the sites and sounds of the ocean. Not all the pictures below are places to stay but look how beautiful these homes are. Take a stroll or ride through the streets to find many more. Sometimes we bring our own bicycles and other times we rent bicycles from the reasonable family own Shields http://www.shieldsbikerental.com/.

One of the reasons we like the Cape May Easter weekend is for the Annual Cape May Easter Stroll – an old fashioned Easter parade with 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes in categories from infant to adult, families, couples and the best bonnet. Alas this too has changed and I guess all things evolve and change but you know sometimes I like things the way they were – like the Easter Stroll. Gone are the days the Easter Stroll was held on Washington Mall where it attracted passerbyers, you could get an ice cream and watch the stroll or duck quick into a store while waiting for the judging and no matter if you stood or sat in chairs they provided you had a great view to see the Easter Bunny leading the children in a circle to Easter music. While this was happening, an personable MC would chat us up on the outfits, local stores and history. The names of the winners and where they were from were announced to a cascade of clapping. Currently the Easter Stroll is relocated to the Gazebo behind Washington Mall in a pretty park setting. However viewing is difficult and seating father away and you feel removed . The Easter Bunny stands in the back and waves and the parade is less organized. There is a new MC so lets just say an MC needs to be someone personable with a gift of talk to keep it going instead of silence while awaiting the judges decision. Also this year winners were called by number not name or where they were from. It was pretty cleared out by the time they got to the last category…..too bad as it has been a Cape May tradition.

Easter Stroll when it was on Washington Mall

Another tradition we have is attending the sunrise service at The Cove Pavilion at the end of Beach Avenue. This year we learned there is also one at Sunset Beach a little further away. Our tradition is to then have breakfast at the Cove Restaurant (cash only) an unassuming place with a big heart and great views.

There are really awesome places to eat in Cape May and here I share only the ones that stand out and we would return to. Check before you go as some are seasonal or only open on weekends. We love going out for breakfast and recommend The Mad Batter (http://www.madbatter.com) Rusty Nail ( http://www.caperesorts.com/beach-shack/rusty-nail), The Cove Restaurant –cash only- (http://capemaycove.com/), and Bagel Time Cafe. For dinner we recommend Key West Taco’s (http://keywesttacos.com/), Rusty Nail, Carney’s and Carney’s Other Room (http://www.carneysnj.com and pizza take out at Louie’s – cash only- http://www.louiespizzacapemay.com. We have had breakfast and dinner at our dear Pier House which is being renovated so give the new one a try and let me know how it is!

WHAT TO DO – There is so much to do in Cape May in the Spring . During Easter weekend/break keeps families in mind with games and activities.

Our annual go to favs include a visit to the Seaside Cheese Company http://www.seasidecheesecapemay.com. GO EARLY for the focaccia bread!!! We love their breads, cinnamon rolls, large selection of cheese and olives. Also please view the local SPCA dogs for adoption – in case you can bring one home! We have not yet tried their attached cafe. Also in the “West End” another must visit is the West End Garage http://www.caperesorts.com/capemay/west-end-garage with several kiosk/booths offering unique goods from local and regional artists. Of course you want to go to the Washington Street Mall http://www.heartofcapemay.com/ where you can walk, shop, eat or just sit on one of the benches. If you want more souvenir type of purchases this is your place, however there are also many restaurants and unique art, clothing and gift stores on and surrounding the mall. A couple of our favorites are Across the Way and the Cape May Peanut Butter Co http://www.capemaypeanutbutterco.com.

Just outside of Cape May is the Cape May Lighthouse http://www.capemaymac.org/cape-may-lighthouse with access to the beach, lighthouse and activities. On the other side of the parking lot is a bird lookout area so go ahead and look – you never know what you might see! While you are in the area you should drive around Cape May Point – what a quaint and interesting place to live – I wish!

From the Lookout across the parking lot from the Lighthouse.

South Cape May Meadows is one of our favorite places to visit http://southjerseytrails.org/2019/02/21/southcapemaymeadows/ with trails leading through the meadows or to the beach or the lighthouse. Bring your binoculars as you might catch Osprey nesting, see mallards, mergansers or wood ducks or hear melodious songbirds. You may even catch a hawk sighting. What a treat!

Take in a sunset at Sunset Beach….silly me thought there would hardly be anybody there but the place was crowded and we had to park a ways up the road so go earlier than sunset. It turned out to be fine as we were all there for the same purpose – the beautiful sunset!

Sunset at Sunset Beach

This year we happened upon Higbee Beach not far from Cape May Pointhttps://www.capemay.com/Editorial/june08/HighbeeBeach.htmnot knowing its notorious history…read the link to this great article. It was a little windy so we didn’t stay long but the views are astounding and we could hear the wildlife flying overhead. I think is a place we will explore more of – with our clothes on (you will understand once you read the article)!

Thats all for now….we just returned from Cape May a little over a week ago and although we have our own little private pond with wildlife there is something memorable about Cape May that keeps bringing us back in the spring. We may try for a fall visit one of these years also!

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