Monday, August 20, 2007

From Lobster to Laughter - A Weekend Down the Shore

This weekend was one of contrasts, and I think because both kinds of things exist in one close area that makes the shore so interesting.

To start, I did make it to the Lobster House (Fisherman's Wharf, Cape May Harbor, Cape May, 609-884-8296) on Saturday night. Housemate Chris and I expected to wait an hour or two for seating, and when we pulled into the parking lot, we just barely got a spot. I figured those one-to-two hour wait estimates would be correct, and was very glad I'd packed a protein bar. But when we got inside, we were directed to a hostess who took us right to a seat in the upstairs dining room. I think we planned it just right -- we got to the Lobster House at 5 p.m. By the time we left at 6 p.m. -- stuffed with gloriously fresh seafood and that amazing bread they serve -- the place was mobbed with waiting (and hungry) people.

Since we finished dinner much earlier than expected, we took a stroll through Cape May down to Congress Hall (251 Beach Avenue, Cape May, 888-944-1816) and had a drink at the Brown Room. This spot buzzes as a pre-dinner hang out, but was still relatively crowded when we got there. I highly recommend the Blue Pig Tavern Ale, which is made by Flying Fish, a South Jersey brewery.

Then Sunday was Tour de Shore. I did not participate in the event, in which groups of people dress up according to theme and ride their bikes from bar to bar in Avalon. But I had fun watching everyone else who did. Housemate Misti was in on a group whose theme was "5 year old birthday party." My favorite was the guy in full clown get up who rode his bike with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth (not that I condone smoking...I just thought he looked funny). For most of the afternoon, you could see bikes full of people in silly costumes riding through town, along with a few limos for the more affluent participants. I ended up at the upstairs room of the Rockin' Chair (2409 Dune Drive, Avalon, 609-967-3300) for Quizzo and then the Princeton (21st Street and Dune Drive, Avalon, 609-967-3456) to see the aftermath. At the Rockin' Chair, I was greeted by a Roman Senator (no suit or tie here), bees, and one piece of "future cougar bait," which brings me to these t-shirts, which I think are hysterical. Someone also started an impromptu hula hoop contest, and got up on stage and sang us some Neil Diamond.

By the time I got to the Princeton around 10 p.m., it was a zoo. Most of the people there had been drinking since around noon, so it was much like 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday night. I met a few Cobra Kais, Roller Girls, sailors, a stranger who asked me if I'd make out with him (no thanks), and a lot of people who forgot what their theme was and/or lost costume parts along the way. Most everyone was at least a little rain-soaked -- it had been a chilly, rainy day on Sunday.

My point? Oh, right. I could have a luxurious seafood meal, sip custom brews at a swanky lounge, and laugh at a bunch of drunks riding bikes in costume, all in one weekend, all in one small area of the Jersey Shore. It's what I think makes the area so much fun, and what I think will make this book so interesting. I keep telling myself this now that I'm just at about t-two weeks to deadline. Panic might start settling in tomorrow. At least I had a blast this weekend to prep for the final rush.

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