Friday, August 17, 2007

Cool Cape May

Today's a Cape May day in the offices of Jen A. Miller. No, I'm not there (yet) but editing the Cape May chapter.

It's such a cute town, one I didn't appreciate when I was a kid. I thought it was boring, and that the shopping along Washington Street was nothing compared to what any boardwalk had to offer, except for Whale's Tale (312 Washington Street Mall, Cape May, 609-884-4808), which has a fantastic room of kids stuff, including a tower of hand puppets.

Now that I've been digging into the history of this town, can enjoy restaurants where my placemat cannot be drawn on with crayon, and can afford to stay at some of the B&Bs, I love it. And it has such a colorful past. For example: the Cape May we know today -- that mecca of romance and Victorian archteicture -- wouldn't be here today if it hadn't been for a manmade disaster.

Early on the morning of
November 9, 1878, arsonists set fire in Ocean House, a hotel that had been shut down for the winter. The fire quickly spread to Congress Hall (251 Beach Avenue, Cape May, 888-944-1816), and then from one more wooden structure to another. Total damage: 35 acres.

Of course the fire was devastating (though no one was killed). But something had to be built once the ashes were cleared away, which is when most of Cape May's gorgeous Victorian B&Bs were built. I've found most clock into existence around the 1880s.

I'll be in Cape May this weekend, too, finishing up research, noshing at the Lobster House (Fisherman's Wharf, Cape May Harbor, Cape May, 609-884-8296) and strolling down Washington Street to see the town at is vacation height.

If you're headed to Cape May this weekend -- or any shore town -- make sure you bring a jacket or someone to snuggle with. Highs are only hitting the 70s during the day, and dropping into the low 60s at night. It's the kind of weather I like best, but only if I'm not chilly.

What I'm Listening to: Dulcinea by Toad the Wet Sprocket
What I'm Reading: Gilded Lilli: Lili St. Cyr and the Striptease Mystique by Kelly Dinardo

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1 comment:

hgilchrist said...

Hi Jen,

Thanks to your post's inspiration, I'm now thinking about doing some video blogging/walking next weekend in Cape May and was wondering what your suggestions would be for places to visit.

Also, thanks for the subtle reminder that I need to rap up my video walks down the jersey shore before the summer ends.

I also blogged about your post over at

Have fun in Cape May this weekend,
Harold Gilchrist
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