Sunday, July 24, 2011

Two Busy Weeks in Cape May

My recent two-week vacation was packed with more action than usual but at the same time I actually attained relaxation. I had planned a reading and writing vacation and brought a few stacks of books and notebooks. My main writing would be for's Jersey Shore Blog. I'm contributing there about extreme South Jersey (i.e. Cape May, Wildwood, and points inland) just for the summer season. Therefore, I'd have to experience some adventures so I'd have plenty to write about for the agreed-upon twice-a-week posts.

On my first day, I took a whale watching cruise out of Cape May. I've done this before and only ever seen dolphins, so I was set to write a nice little post about those Atlantic Bottlenose scamps. To my surprise, the captain announced that there were three humpback whales sighted about eleven miles out and we were headed right for them. I'd seen whales off Bar Harbor, Maine, and San Diego, California, but never off the coast of Cape May! But there was one right in front of our boat, spouting and diving, and I got some great whale's tail photos. It was magnificent. Read about that cruise here.

I like boats and I'll take any excuse to ride on one. I also like pirates. We set sail on Wildwood's Dark Star Pirate Cruise on the last day of vacay. Fred and I were the only adults not accompanied by kids, but we had a fabulous time. Those pirates maintained the action and the interest for the entire hour. We learned some pirate jokes, pirate lingo, pirate history, hauled some treasure aboard, and we got to engage in a firefight (actually water) with another pirate ship. I posted about that here.

In-between the whales and the pirates, I explored Cape May. As a lifetime part-time resident, I know this place well, but I always learn new things on these (Cape May Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities) tours. During these two weeks, I toured East Cape May to see the mansions by the sea,

West Cape May to learn about its farms and history, the iconic Victorian architecture including Show allthe Physick Estate,

the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center (including the Sunset Parade), the 2011 Designer Show House (this year on the century-old Cape May Harbor), and I had a seat on the Ghosts of the Lighthouse Trolley Tour. Ghosts are really big this year (in New Orleans, too), so I had to sample a piece of Cape May's paranormal offerings. This tour included a nighttime climb of the lighthouse, another first for me. I have or will post about all of these things on that blog, along with some local farmers' markets and the Ocean Drive. What a fun experience that has been, and I still have over a month of posts left to dream up.

There were two excursions during this vacation that required some mileage and some decent outfits: a very pleasant al fresco dinner party with friends, and a book talk and signing at the Avalon Public Library. I just happened to notice an ad for this in the newspaper, but people I spoke to at the event had been looking forward to it for months. David and Julie Nixon Eisenhower spoke about themselves, their families, and their new book, Going Home to Glory, about Dwight D. Eisenhower's post-presidential years (1961-1969). I had the opportunity to chat with Julie Nixon Eisenhower, and found her quite witty and charming. They were headed to Cape May after the talk, and when she asked me how long it would take to get there, I had the answer: 27 minutes.

Even with all of these adventures, I had to be sure to squeeze in my favorite activity, the beach! I made it to my three favorites, the Cape May Point State Park beach, the Delaware Bay Beach (with Gladys), and the ocean beach at Jackson Street. A Cape May vacation can be so much more than just the beach, though! I hope you will click on some of the links above to get a sample of how I'm keeping myself busy this summer!

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