Friday, November 27, 2009

Autumn in Cape May

Autumn seems tranquil and untroubled in any beach town, but in Cape May there is also an element of merrymaking. Cape May, with all its history, has extended the summer "season" into the spring and fall and offers numerous events to entertain oneself with. Normally, I participate in Sherlock Holmes Weekend in November (it is also offered in March), walking around in Victorian costumes trying to solve a convoluted mystery I know I'll never solve. This year I opted to skip the Sherlock Weekend and observe the town in order to fill out my work-in-progress article about Sherlock Holmes Weekend. For one thing, Sherlock's weekend in November usually coincides with the Jazz Festival, and jazz draws many more visitors than Sherlock. Birders are in town to check out the migrating birds, some of which stop off off at few sites besides Cape May on their way south. All visitors and locals alike enjoy ignoring the pesky parking meters and parking close to their venue, and walking into the restaurants so popular in summer without reservations. (We couldn't wait to pop into George's Place for some really good Greek food--in summer we steered clear and let the tourists enjoy it.) And then there's the shopping: really cool stuff from the previous season marked down 50% or more to make room for next year's stuff. Even on my spending diet I scored quite a haul.

I like photographing doorways, and Cape May's inns always have some clever ones to welcome their guests.

The beach is popular almost all year long except for the really icy-cold days when the moist wind shears right through a person. Late fall is especially pleasing to me because all of those mosquitoes and tiny black flies are gone. And, we November beachgoers can enjoy the sunset before dinner:
Victorian Christmas is a big deal in Cape May with house and inn tours, special meals, plays, and other events special to the season. Some of the inns involved already had their festive decorations up by late November, and some were still festooning the wrought-iron fences with fresh pine garlands and decorating elaborate doorways.

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