Friday, July 31, 2009

CapeMay.Com's Picture of the Day

Today's CapeMay.com photo of the day is of "The First Arcade"...there are so many arcades in the world, but this is the one you can never forget!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


While I look for some Cape May news for the blog, please entertain yourself with these critters...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Ocean View Restaurant

Ocean View on the map

Near the Cove end of the boardwalk you will find the Ocean View Restaurant (see the map above). The Ocean View is basically an old fashioned diner. I doubt there's a better bargain for a great dinner in Cape May. No, it's not the fanciest restaurant in Cape May, but I have never heard anyone complain after eating there. The food is usually very good and the service is better. When I was a teen, my grandparents would eat dinner at the Ocean View just about every night of August. Sometimes I would join them if I wasn't too busy with my "COOL" friends. Now, of course, I wish I had eaten with them there every night. Nowadays, my children insist on eating at the Ocean View for our first meal of the vacation each year. Above you'll see a photo of the four rugrats at the Ocean View last year. Hope to get back there soon!

More from "Contrarian Consulting" blogger in Cape May, and other bloggers

Mr .Weiss has another Cape May blog post, with wonderful photos and a mention of the landmark pictured above, HERE.

The WilliamPennsmanship blogger suggests that the concrete bunker at the Point has been purchased by a certain restaurant chain. Check it out

The "Artful Diner" has a roundup of recommended and not recommended Cape May restaurants at this location on NJ.Com.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Whale's Tale

There are so many places in Cape May about which it's fair to say "no visit to Cape May is complete wihthout a visit to "_________." I know I've used that construct already several times. But truly no visit is complete without a visit to The Whale's Tale. A gift store that has been on the Washington Street Mall basically since just after I was born, every year when I return to the store I find something new - or old but previously missed - that is just perfectly Cape May. 25 years ago I first heard George Winston in this store when I was a kid; I can still hear that music that absolutely floored me as it emanated from the store on a summer night, and demanded that I come in so as to find out what the music was. Now as an adult I regularly find gifts for my children in the Whale's Tale, and in the past I know I would use the store as a great place to find gifts for my Mom on Mother's Day. Since I have previously written about horseshoe crabs, I will provide you with a link to The Whale's Tale's horseshoe crab gift page. Please don't miss this wonderful one-of-a-kind store -- and rest assured, this endorsement was not paid for!

Cape May Boardwalk Photos

Just a few photos to brighten your day...

Cape May in History

I can remember when the NY Times made you pay to search its archives. That time is no more; it's amazing the treasure trove of history that is available for free at the search engine within the New York Times. Believe it or not, the search engine searches the Times all the way back to 1851. And since this is a Cape May blog, it is not difficult to pick the right search terms to find interesting articles to spend some time considering.

HERE you can read a piece that appeared in the Times on Monday, July 14th, 1873! The old Stockton Hotel - photo above-- is mentioned (you can read more about the old Stockton Hotel here), but the real pleasure in the article is the amount of time the writer spends waxing on about the attractive women to be found in Cape May. As the author puts it: "If Americans want to see the true beauties of their charming country, let them come to Cape May." And as if to emphasize that pretty women is the real key to the story, the heading of the story was "CAPE MAY: THE VISITORS FROM PHILADELPHIA, BALTIMORE AND PITTSBURG PRETTY QUAKERESSES."

Monday, July 27, 2009

News on the Cape May & Miller front

As I've previously detailed, there are two Millers, Ben and Jen -- neither related -- who are writing about Cape May and making a living at it. As opposed to me, writing about Cape May for fun and no-profit.

Anyway, one of those Miller's latest story is "write" here, a nice story in the Philadelphia Inquirer about romantic dates in Cape May. Also, there's a nice new profile of Ms. Miller here.

Carnival of Cape May Photos on the Web

There are any number of great Cape May photos posted to the web today (or at least over the last few days). First, a blog entitled has a very nice Cape May photo collage (or mosaic) of photos taken this weekend RIGHT HERE.

Next, Alan Weiss who blogs at contrarianconsulting.com, has a great short piece -- also with photos -- about the vacation he has just begun in Cape May. Read about it HERE. This is at least the second year in a row that Mr. Weiss has written about his vacation, and you can see his entries from last year here and here; I hope he writes about his trip all week.

And finally, a site called "SouthFloridaDaily", of all places, has Cape May Point photos. You can see them HERE and HERE.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

BOLO: Butterflies -- 105 of them actually

Good Morning!

According to this website, there are over 105 different species of butterfly that make their homes in Cape May at some time in the year. "BOLO" = Be On Look Out -- for butterflies. If you're visiting Cape May, and worried about getting to the beach, getting to breakfast, getting to a nice restaurant, seeing all the sites, slow down! Notice the butterflies. You'll be glad you did.

There are beautiful butterfly gardens all over town, as you can read about HERE.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

More News on the Cove

Yesterday I wrote about the disappearing Cove Beach. I linked to a story in the Atlantic City Press; now, there are several more stories about the disappearing beach: look HERE and HERE and especially look HERE if you want to read some good stories on the erosion; the last story includes great photographs, as well. The photo above is from that great photo set on the Cape May County Herald's website.

The Original Fudge Kitchen & Morrow's Nut House

Buy a Lb of Fudge and get a box of Free Taffy!

Morrow's Nut House- Heaven on Earth

I can't go any further with this blog without acknowledging two true Cape May landmarks: the Original Fudge Kitchen & Morrow's Nut House.

There may be no SMELL more associated with Cape May than the fresh ocean air mixed with sweets smell that Morrow's has once you walk in the door. I think they must mix some kind of drug into the air b/c Morrow's is intoxicating! I recommend just walking around the store, very slowly. If you walked in thinking you didn't want any candy, by the time you are done you will walk out with 1/2 lb of fudge, licorice, candy coke bottles, cocunut haystacks, and probably some peanuts as well!

And as for The Original Fudge Kitchen. Who could imagine the Cape May Boardwalk without a piece (or two or three) of free sample fudge from the cuties who offer a tray of fudge day and night in front of the Fudge Kitchen? And no trip to CM is complete without buying a lb of fudge for friends at home and getting the free box of salt water taffy that the Bogle Brothers have offered as a "special" for years and years...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Disappearing Beach: Same old Same old

Click to see larger version of marked-up photo showing erosion of Cape May Point beaches over many years

If you've been visiting Cape May for decades, then you well know the long and tangled history of the disappearing -- and artifically reappearing -- beaches of Cape May.

Lately, I have been wondering from afar about Cove Beach. The beach at the end of the boardwalk was replenished over the last two decades, but according to the live video HERE the Cove Beach has just up and GONE. I mean, GONE. The live video shows a beach not unlike the Cove Beach I remember from my childhood in the 70s and 80s, meaning: NO BEACH.

Actually this morning it looks worse than I remember, as it appears the ocean is about to spill onto Beach Drive AND the ocean clearly is just easily washing over the jetty at the "end" of the last beach (a/k/a 2nd St. Beach I believe) before Cove Beach.

I wondered if the different camera angles that this surfer webcam broadcasts (the link above) were somehow misleading me, but apparently not; according to this article today in the Press of Atlantic City, the Cove Beach has up and disappeared because of the full perigee moon over the last several days. According to the article, "the beach is disappearing."

Cape May beaches have been washing away for years, and washing up in Wildwood. Millions of dollars have been spent pumping sand back onto the Cape May beaches. I wonder if it would make more sense to figure out if the jetties -- actually called groins -- are causing the washing away behavior. And if so, wouldn't it be cheaper to JUST GET RID OF THE GROINS? Yes, the jetties/groins are part of our memories, but if they are causing the erosion of the beaches our memories should be trumped by common sense. And I'm not just speculating about the jetties -- according to people much more knowledgeable than me, the jetty-groins are the problem:

Pressure was put on the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps finally admitted a big mistake had been made in anticipating the negative aspects of cutting through the canal 45 years earlier. The Corps agreed that the design of the canal, with the extended older jetties, had a devastating affect on Cape Island beaches.

“It’s obvious from aerial photographs that the north jetty creates a severe offset that interferes with the river of sand that flows offshore,” says Army Corps Project Engineer Dwight Pakan. “The sand gets trapped at the north jetty and impedes the natural drift southward toward beaches in Cape May City, the Cove, the Meadows, the Lighthouse beach and Cape May Point.”

These two paragraphs are taken from a CapeMay.Com article about the history of beach replenishment.

If we know what the problem is, why isn't this solution being considered? And I'll note that the photo above suggests that beach erosion has gone on for many, many years, so it's probably not just the groin/jetties. But that photo also indicates that the erosion accelerated after the jetties were put in.

Has anyone considered removing the jetty/groins? Anyone? Anyone?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oldies 94 has new home on Internet

I have previously written about Oldies 94 -- now called WIBBAGE -- both here and here. Since those posts, Oldies 94 has changed its internet home. Wibbage.FM will now take you to 94.3's home page, and then you'll see the "Click Here to Listen to Wibbage.FM Live" to your left -- click that icon and your Windows Media Player should open and start playing Wibbage live. Although the web pages have changed (along with ownership), Rick Rock serves as Program Director and for this reason the playlist has changed little despite the change in ownership. Thanks, Rick!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Recommendation: Avalon Coffee Company

the youngling in front of Avalon Coffee Co.
Just west of the corner of Beach Drive and Guerney, you'll find Louie's Pizza, a bike rental shop, and Avalon Coffee Company. If you're looking for a nice place to grab a quick breakfast sandwich, or muffin, and a cup of coffee, then this is the place for you. It's particularly nice to cut over from an a.m. boardwalk bike ride and grab a quick bite. It gets crowded by 8:30 or 9 but if you get there early you can grab your bite, sit outside as the sun rises, and then get back to your morning excursion. It may not be as fancy as the Mad Batter, or as well known as Uncle Bill's, but the Avalon Coffee Company is a great morning spot in the heart of Cape May.

Sister Act

I've written previously about the Sisters of St. Joseph and their home at Cape May Point. Today there is a nice story in the Philadelphia Inquirer about how the Sisters have opened the home for non-Catholics to use for retreats. I can't remember the plot of Sister Act exactly, but this summer home for nuns sounds like a great place to hide out when you want to get away from it all.

All I'm saying is, if you visit the nuns keep an eye out for Whoopi Goldberg and Sister Kathy Najimy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Obligatory Concrete Ship Post

click this link to better see the hulking remains of ship (and two cute kids!)

Did you know that a Concrete Ship ran aground off the coast of Cape May Point during WWI? Actually, you probably did know that if you're enough of a Cape May fan to be reading this blog. Roadside America has a nice little story about the ship. Plus, the good folks at that site have done a few updates, as well.

Well, if no cape may blog would be complete without a story on the concrete ship, I guess I've passed that test. Let's see what the news brings tomorrow, as there has gotta be something more interesting to write about than the Concrete Ship!

Lemon Tree... very pretty

a sweet girl in front of a sweet restaurant

No visit to Cape May should be complete without a visit to Washington Street Mall's longstanding restaurant -- The Lemon Tree. Actually, you probably need a few visits for the trip to be satisfactorily complete. Midway through the northernmost block of the mall -- at the beginning of "Liberty Way" -- you'll find the landmark pictured above.

Of course you need to try the lemonade, but what I really recommend are the french fries. My mother would take my children each year to Lemon Tree to get a hot dog and the fries, which she loved. Although her favorite fries were Nathan's on Coney Island, with Curley's Fries on the Wildwood Boardwalk most likely a close second, somewhere either right behind those two or even ahead of Curley's, I suspect she would have ranked The Lemon Tree's fries. Indeed, the Irish lass knew her potatoes, and she relished Lemon Tree's fries, which only got better each time we went.

It is casual though, not a spot for dinner, and with all the breakfast choices, there's only one way to go -- I highly recommend The Lemon Tree for lunch. At least once!

Monday, July 20, 2009

TV Appearance for non-related Miller

I just realized that not one, but two MILLERS have published books about Cape May before I have! One- Ben Miller - and Two- Jen Miller. Harumph. I need to get working on my own book! Anyway, I wanted to give another SHOUT-OUT to Ben Miller, who will be on TV tomorrow at 11 am on NBC-10 which I think is out of Philly. Another congratulations your way, Ben! I am looking forward to reading your new book!

Emil Salvini -Tales of the Jersey Shore

One of Emil Salvini's books

Emil Salvini has written one of the finest books on Cape May, named Summer City by the Sea. It was one of the first Cape May histories I read, and remains my favorite. I have not read his newest book, called "Boardwalk Memories" -- that is the book in the above-photo.

Mr. Salvini also has a relatively new blog: Tales of the Jersey Shore. I have enjoyed following his blog, and his most recent post, about the Mt. Vernon Hotel, is another great read and interesting to anyone who loves Cape May history. Thanks for the history, Mr. Salvini!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

John F Craig Inn

The John F. Craig Blog is the blog for the John F. Craig House, a wonderful bed and breakfast in Cape May. Don't take my word for it that it is wonderful; check out these reviews.

When you're hungry for Cape May tidbits beyond the usual sites, check out the blogs kept by the different Inns. The John F. Craig blog is one of the better ones.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cattle Chute mooved away

The infamous Cape May Point "Cattle Chute"

Earlier this week I reported about the long fence that had been put in at Cape May Point to stop beach sneaker-onners from getting onto the beach without a beach tag. B/c the Point didn't hire enough taggers, they tried to allow for one tagger to do the work of two by setting up a fence to prevent beachgoers from getting onto the tagger-less beach without seeing the tagger at the adjecent beach.

ONLY IN CAPE MAY, I think is how the saying goes.

Well, common sense finally one a battle this week. Cape May Point backed down. If people sneak on, they sneak on, was the paraphrase of one official.

Good for him, and good for Cape May Point!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Horeshoe Crabs Fascinating?

If you find this interesting, you may be strange

For whatever reason, I find stories about horeshoe crabs very interesting.
Here is a great diary of a horeshoe crab counter working on Delaware Bay.

It's a great read. Seriously - check it out!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ben Miller's New Book "The First Resort"

from the Book
Ben Miller -- another Miller who is not related to me -- has writting a wonderful Cape May history book called, The First Resort. Ben, like me, is a frequent internet commenter in some of the Cape May forums I have previously mentioned, like Trip Advisor. Here is his facebook page. Congratulations, Ben!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New(?) Webcam

In my neverending quest to bring you new Cape May-related internet website, I bring you: the Cape May Surfer Webcam!

This camera must be close to the other live webcam I have posted, however, this camera points out to the surf at the Cove instead of pointing at the Lighthouse from the Cove. I like this view because you can see a little bit of the boardwalk/promenade, as well.

Let's see how long this live webcam stays online. But for as long as it does, this is nice.

UPDATED: 9/24/09-- this webcam's exact web address has been tweaked at least once if not twice this summer. But the link above has been fixed as of Sept 24, 2009 to take you directly to the webcam. If it doesn't, then just look around the The Surfer's View website for webcams and you'll see the Cape May pretty quickly. I've provided this update b/c a search for "Cape May webcams" often brings people to this specific page of the blog.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beachcombing the Cove

Although many of the activities I do in Cape May with my children are the same ones I did with my parents (and grandparents) many years ago, there are a few activities that are new and enjoyable. There's a nice story in the Cape May County Herald about one of them. Beachcombing at the Cove gives your children a chance to see all the creatures that are swimming in the ocean with them all the while we are mostly oblivious. From the article:

Famous for its sunsets and surfers, the Cove Beach at 2nd Street in Cape May has much more to offer the discerning eye and curious mind.

Bring the family for fun and discovery with the Nature Center of Cape May as we explore the beach, ocean and dunes of one of Cape Island’s most beautiful coastal habitats.

Program Director Sue Ann Slotterback leads Beachcombing the Cove every Friday from now through September 4 at 8:30 a.m.

Participants will seine the shallows with a net to see exactly what they have been swimming with, comb the shoreline to learn about the sea’s treasures and walk along the dunes in search of wildlife.

Meet Slotterback at the 2nd St. Pavilion on the promenade on Beach Drive in Cape May.

The fee for Beachcombing the Cove is $10 adults and $5 children ages 3 to 12. There is no fee for children under three years.

It's been at least two years since we did this activity as a family, yet I just asked my children what they remember from that morning and they can remember seeing and holding jellyfish, starfish, tiny little crabs, and many other little sea creatures. If you have children, I can't recommend this activity enough! I can think of a few better ways to spend your Friday morning in Cape May than teaching your children a little bit about nature while you soak up the beautiful Cape May morning.

A photo for the day


This photo may be found at "Selected Pixels", a photo blog. If you check out the link you'll find some other beautiful Cape May photos as well.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Cape May Rule to Live by

Morning in Cape May

I think I've mentioned before that CapeMay.Com runs a wonderful series of photos they call 100 Magic Days. I believe that title began several years ago when they ran a photo for each day of the summer (give or take 100 days). But then this online gift morphed into an every day of the year "photo of the day." That must have been four or five years ago at this point.

More recently, the proprietors of that site added the ability to follow the daily photo with a comment. And today, "CarolH" has penned one of the finest comments I've ever read, appended to a photo of Cape May beach very early in the morning (not the photo above, but that photo gives you the idea). Her comment:

"Another lovely early morning shot…the last three shots are examples of what you’re missing if you sleep late in Cape May. Even the dogs are an example, I’ve seen nice big beautiful dogs being taken out early, unusual breeds that are fun to see in person. You never know what you’ll see when you get out early. You can always sleep late at home. I always try to make the most of the limited hours I have in my favorite place on Earth."

I couldn't have said it better myself, CarolH! I could not more recommend getting up early every morning in Cape May, for many reasons. For one, sunrises are amazing. Whether you go down to Poverty Beach, or watch the sun rise over the island from the vantage point of Cape May Point, you can't lose getting up early. Even the misty mornings still make for interesting colors on the horizon. Second, I can't recommend strong enough bike riding or walking on the boardwalk. It gets crowded in that last hour before ten, but between 6 and 8 or so there is nothing more peaceful than gliding down the boardwalk on your bike, all the way to the Cove and then back to where the promenade ends near the Golden Eagle/Grand Hotel. What? You want another reason? Well, all those popular breakfast restaurants are easy to get into before 8 am, and it's nice to relax over a cup of coffee at Uncle Bill's, or McGlade's, or the Mad Batter.

Bottom Line: If you're going to be in Cape May, DON'T JUST SLEEP THERE! DO SOMETHING. SLEEPING IS FOR NON-CAPE-MAY-LOVERS! You can sleep when you get back home!!!


July 13, 2009: News of the Day

News from Cape May on this mid-summer day...

Cape May Point residents do not like the "cattle chute" that officials have set up to ensure no one avoids paying for their beach tags. Beach tag craziness never fails to amuse, year after year. From a distance, I found the 2007 criminal prosecution of a hotel owner for abusing the beach tag system humorous, but I'm sure he didn't (after clicking link, scroll down to photo of beach tags and read snippet to the right of photo to get the whole scoop on the "beach tag sting"). Cape May never runs low on peculiar stories.

In news to be classified as better late than never... CapeMay.com has some great
photos from Cape May's Fourth of July parade. Check'em out!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Story of the man behind the Chalfonte (then)

Most Cape May goers know that Lieutenant Colonel Henry Sawyer founded this beautiful hotel (The Chalfonte) upon his return from the Civil War. An attorney from Ohio, Eric Wittenberg, moonlights as a Civil War historian, and he has written a very interesting article about Sawyer. The article focuses on Sawyer's exploits as a soldier for the Union, including his near-execution at the hands of the Confederacy.

Sawyer's achievements in the Civil War are definitely worth remembering, and I thank attorney Wittenberg for his work.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Maureen Miller, 1947-2009

I promised myself I would update this blog everyday, however, life decided to get in the way. The day after the last post -- Wednesday, June 24 -- I received a call that my mom was about to move on. We dropped everything and screamed up I-95 in order to beat Father Time. We spent the next week with my Mom as she got ready to go, and then spent the following week planning her sendoff, and then doing same. Now that she is firmly ensconced in Heaven, it is time to get back to living like I know she would want us to do.

I will miss my mom for many reasons, not the least of which is her love for Cape May and her love for my children/her grandchildren. Above is one of the last photos of her taken in Cape May, with my two older daughters. The real Cape May lover will recognize the location as McGlade's, my Mom's favorite breakfast restaurant. She and my father ate there most days of the summer for the last several years, and more than once they tried to set up a waitress with my youngest brother. I look forward to my next visit and a toast (not the bread) to her as the ocean gently laps at the beach.

Hopefully I will post other photos of her as this blog continues, at some of her favorite places -- The Colonial Hotel, Poverty Beach, and some of her not-so-favorite, like Wildwood! Even though she did not like the Wildwood boardwalk, she dutifully took her three sons there every summer as we grew up, knowing it meant the world to us.

I miss you, Mom.