Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Earl and Spongebob

Not much in the news other than Hurricane Earl... So I thought I'd share this Lifeguard Spongebob in Cape May photo with you. I guess he'll be busy with the water dangerous and full of waves b/c of the storm.

A random photo for a random day. I can't remember the name of the shop where I found this towel in a window, it's on the boardwalk next to the Original Fudge Kitchen I think. I should've bought that towel! (It says "Cape May" on it, just look closely.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Historical Markers

The Historical Marker Database asks readers to find historical markers and share them with other web-surfers. As the site says:

There are countless thousands of great stories marked by markers—and some boring ones too. Some markers simply recite facts while others are insightful, obscure, cryptic, patriotic, fascinating, sad, funny, or just downright bizarre. Many of those markers are on these pages, others are waiting for you to discover and add them to this database.

So hit the road and experience history first-hand yourself. History happened nearby.

A few days ago somebody posted the marker for the Fire Control Tower at Cape May Point. Check it out to see the photos I've included here, and some interesting facts you may not know.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Build it and We Will Come

Jack Fichter asks can the new Convention Hall be built for $10.5 mill? Read the article if you want to be depressed, as it sounds unlikely. If it can't be built for $10.5, then what?

The guy who said they should put up a tent -- yes, somebody at the Herald's Mensa group of Spout Offers actually suggested that -- may win this argument. G*d forbid.

Interestingly, Jack Wright appears to endorse the new design in this week's Exit Zero. Jack writes:

As I sat there watching [Jaws on the beach] it was hard not to think about the building lurking in the background – old convention hall – and what is to become of it. Regular readers will know that I was very much in favor of the beautiful building concept that two-thirds of the people of Cape May voted for in a referendum nearly two years ago.

Since then, as most of you will know, there has been a public debate that’s been a lot of things – highly democratic, feisty, tense, unseemly and at times farcical. And still we don’t have a definite plan. We’ve already lost the summer of 2011, and the earliest a hall could be built is 2012, meaning a four-year gap without a convention hall, which has been a terrible thing for certain Cape May businesses.

As we stand right now a special committee set up by city council has chosen a new plan – a scheme called design number six. This calls for a one-floor building slightly larger than the current one, and it would necessitate the demolition of the Solarium, which has itself been a controversial subject, though I am wondering why some people are treating a building that is less than 20 years old as some kind of historical talisman – let it go, people. Let’s move on with the plan that city council recently voted on or I, and many folks like me, really WILL think a certain group of you have nothing better to do than cause trouble.

An interesting turn of events. Jack's point seems to be -- let's just get something built at this point. He's right.

I digress for a second... I like Exit Zero's new Customer Service column (new to me, anyway)... it reminds me of an anonymous Cape May waitress's blog I featured a few weeks ago that has mysteriously disappeared from Wordpress.

Anyway, back to Convention Hall. Build the darn thing already! And don't make it a tent! And please ignore the idiotic suggestion to turn Morrow's Nut House into a feature of the new Hall. Morrow's Nut House IS Cape May.

I'm rambling, think it's time to call it a night. Have a great Thursday. And here's a house (a Morrow's Nut HOUSE) photo for you...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

another nice blog post

A nice blog post with lots and lots of photos of homes, many taken while the photographer toured the city by horse carriage.

Concrete Ship 1959

CapeMay.Com's Facebook page has a number of photos posted by visitors. The concrete ship photo above was taken in 1959, according to the poster who published it on the page. I recommend checking out the whole series of photos.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Here,There & Everywhere

The decore to adore blog features Cape May this week. It's always fun to read a visitor's take on the city.

Want to spend a few nights at the Carrol Villa this Fall -- all expenses paid? Then enter this contest at Baristanet.

Jack Fichter shares a great story about a sound tracking system at the old bunker that was used to track Russian subs during the Cold War. You learn something new every day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sign of the Day

The idea behind 'sign of the day' is to feature Cape May signs which you will not find anywhere else, and which tell you that you are in the best town in the world. This photo above has three of those signs.... Avondale by the Sea, Aleathea's Restaurant, and of course, the Inn of Cape May (should say the Colonial)..... I don't know if any hotel says Cape May more than the Inn of Cape May. Others may say it 'just as much,' but none say it more.

Have a great Monday!

The Chalfonte featured in the Press

Great Story in the AC Press this weekend about the Chalfonte. That's the porch of the Chalfonte in the photo above, a photo taken 2 or 3 summers ago.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

From the Past

Shorpy's Always Something Interesting Blog posts the photo above of the Lifesaving Station of Cape May Point, circa 1913 today. If you click through to the Shorpy Blog, you can see the photo enlarged, and the people in the photo are quite haunting.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dolphins in Cape May

A nice AC Press article about all the dolphins in Cape May this summer right here. The article validates my feeling that there really were an unusually large amount of dolphins in Cape May this summer. And the picture above from the Press is a dolphin at the beach by Pittsburgh Ave., which is where I often visit the beach and where I saw an incredibly show put on by dolphins earlier this summer (along with 2 or 3 whale watching boats). But the dolphins were everywhere: the Point, the Cove, everywhere I looked.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Crazy Boardwalk Talk

Read this Herald article about the new Convention Hall and tell me whether some of the comments seem.... bizarre.

No personal attacks please; but there are some... different ideas out there about how to handle this project.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Solarium can be yours

Jack Fichter says the city is giving away the Solarium to anyone who wants it, as long as you're not from West Cape May. That's a strange requirement.

Anyway, today's house of the day photo day at the blog, thus I give you this photo of the Abbey (below). I featured the Abbey's sign on Monday, therefore I thought I'd give you this photo to complete the set. Is the Abbey still for sale?

Latest News on Convention Hall

CAPE MAY – The Convention Hall project team is working at lightening speed, holding two formal meetings in the past two weeks alone in its quest to have conceptual plans completed by Sept. 15 – and a new Convention Hall completed by May 2012.

On Thursday, Aug. 13, the team toured the site of the closed Convention Hall, and, after a presentation by architect Martin Kimmel, by a 7-2 vote agreed to pursue a scaled down version of Kimmel’s original, 32,000-square-foot diagram. The original was cut down to 20,000 square feet, a size Kimmel advised will stay within the budget of the $7.5 million available for construction of the new hall.

Click the link to read the whole thing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

From High Point to Cape May -- for a good cause

Alex's Lemonade is raising money for childhood cancer research. Great stuff -- but why do I feature it here? Well, two young men -- wise beyond their years -- have spent part of the summer skateboarding from High Point, NJ to Cape May, to raise money for this cancer research. You can read about them at SkateCapeMay.Com.

From the westernmost tippy top of the state, to the southernmost end. Very nice job, Danny Brookes and Edward Zhang of West Morris Central High School. And here's a video with their story:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Then and Now

A great CapeMay.Com feature shows different scenes along Beach Drive from the early 20th Century and compares the scenes to today. The photo above is yesterday; the photo below is today.

Click the link to see more comparison shots like this.

Monday, August 16, 2010

cape may radio

On a Sunday night, I don't know if you'll find a nicer accompaniment to quiet time in Cape May than Cool Bobby V's Doo Wop Stop, which runs on WIBG out of Wildwood on Sunday evenings from 9pm to midnight. If you like oldies, you should give WIBG a listen, which you can check out by clicking that link and then clicking "LISTEN LIVE."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Photos! Get Your Photos Here!

The other day I linked to a photography website, where people post their shots. Anyway, click here for some gorgeous stormy Cape May photos from that website. A few examples:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pohlig's John F. Craig Painting this year's Vic Week Poster

(Post updated below)
Local artist Thomas Pohlig has painted the Victorian Week poster for the last twelve years; that's this year's painting above.

To see some of his other posters, click here. Mr. Pohlig has a keen eye that I have raved about previously. To buy his work, click here. And as always, I endorse because I like.

UPDATE: Since today is 'picture of a house day,' I suppose Mr. Pohlig's great painting covers that schedule. But just to further the cause, I present two photos of that same John F. Craig house, from earlier this summer:

And lastly, to make it a JFCraig theme, don't forget the John F. Craig House Blog. This is one of my favorite blog posts from the blog.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More Admiral Memories

The comments on CapeMay.Com's recent Christian Admiral article are at least as good as the article itself. My favorite comment discusses Shelton College (the building in the above photo):

T says:
August 3, 2010 at 4:08 pm
We likely know a lot of people in common — students and faculty of Shelton College, Bible Presbyterian Church — all from that time. We moved to Cape May in 1969 when my dad joined the faculty and left in 1971 when Shelton College moved to Florida. I lived in the Admiral Aug-Dec., 1969 on the 4th floor in fact. You likely resided on the either the 1st or 2nd floor, which served as girls dorms and the clinic – or at Morning/Evening Star Villas — or possibly at Pilgrim Place and Liberty Lodge (now known as the “Angel of the Sea” currently for sale for a mere $10MM!) I was a teenager but remember participating in a March in Trenton, NJ in July 1969, countermarching the 2nd Moratorium Againt the War in Vietnam on November 15, 1969, attending the “Ky-less” breakfast in Washington DC, and participating in 3 Marches for Victory in Vietnam on May 4, 1970, October 3, 1970, and May 8, 1971.

I transferred all my family’s Kodachrome slides to digital and have some marvelous shots of the inside and the grounds of the Christain Admiral from that time — and those Marches too. Even dedication of the then new Shelton College building in May, 1970 and the Double decker busses. In the ensuing years, I have also obtained yearbooks, hotel plate service pieces, promotional items and rare postcards from the Hotel Cape May, US Army Hospital No. 11, the Admiral, and Christian Admiral, and even a “Victory” sweatshirt and a slice of the carpet bearing the Christian Admiral logo from the George Washington Room. I passed up a chance to own the original room key box which sat behind the desk on the wall behind which was “Peggy’s snitch-board” — i.e., the telephone exchange. I think I may have the sole remaining post card that featured the painting which hung in the staircase going down to the lower level — where “Chuck the baker”‘s sugar cube model of the Admiral resided. The painitng was entitled “Morning Tide in Cape May.”

I am looking at the original key and fob to Room 322 hanging in my office desk even as I write this. The sad thing to realize is that the vote to save the hotel was lost by only 1 vote on Council. The ocean air had pounded the ocean facing brick mortar almost to dust due to failure to maintain it for years, fire codes would have required an enclosure of all staircases and the plumbing for sprinklers was declared substandard. The locals would not allow a Marriott to step in and re-furbish the place, like they’d done successfully for places like the famous Wentworth in NH or Copley Plaza in Boston.

And so the “Titanic” of hotels with its long history of openings, closings, and reopenings came to an end in 1996. I wouldn’t necessarily sing the praises of MacIntyre’s nephew, – whose estate sits dead center in the middle of the McMansions that occupy that property now. His dad was MacIntyre’s “business manager” with an inside track on all property transactions. The son was as much of a real estate investor as was his uncle Carl — he sudivided the lot the Christian Admiral sat on — one building site is still empty (NJ Ave side). He made out quite well in the end – has that dome from the Admiral laying around over at Congress Hall, at last I heard. Congress Hall, which also ownes had served as the boys’ dorms for Shelton College. In fact at least one of the marble staircases from the Admiral was salvaged and retro-fitted into Congress Hall bar when he renovated it.

And that haunting smell everyone remembers is the residual of the mustiness left over from the 1962 flood, which filled much of the entire lower level. McIntyre bought the hotel at a fire sale price, when everyone thought Cape May might not come back from the damage. If you remember the bowling alleys (lanes 4, 5, and 6) you’ll recall how warped they were. This was the reason why. Before the new library was built for Shelton College out behind the Christian Admiral, the library was in the lower level next to the student dining quarters. The book stacks also retained much of the mustiness, since the building for all its years after the flood never really fully dried out.

I am headed to Cape May on Saturday as my company regularly holds its annual “board meeting” there. I’ll be staying within eye sight of the old Christian Admiral property.

I've shared a few Admiral memories in the past. The bowling alley and ice cream parlor were unforgettable. In retrospect, they had the prettiest young girls working at the ice cream parlor. And us kids could fool around in the bowling alley for at least an hour before anyone at the hotel paid the least bit of attention to us. And before reading these comments, I think I had forgotten the hulking, rotted double-decker buses that sate behind the Admiral.

Lastly, talk about forgotten memories -- the 'sugarcube' model of the Admiral! Wow what a blast from the past that is.

Monday, August 9, 2010


latest installment in the "sign" for Monday...not exactly a sign on the side of the truck but the idea is there...

Foodie alert: The Virginian has a very neat "Farm to Table Epicurean Package"... Bashaw is always working on a new angle, gotta give him credit.

Nice article in the Inquirer about the neverending love for skeeball. And since skeeball is on the mind, here's a classic Cape May shot for you:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

For Sunday

...I'd rather be at Our Lady Star of the Sea...
Sorry about the photo not being the clearest, but it's a good one for a Sunday evening.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"I can still see it."

Just an absolutely fantastic article about South Cape May in the NY Times today:

Remembering a Town Swallowed by the Sea
WEST CAPE MAY, N.J. — Joseph G. Burcher draws in the sand using his cane, mapping from memory a town that no longer exists. He stands near the site of the home where he spent much of his childhood, but he cannot be sure if it was here, or beneath the waves that break behind him.
Nothing remains to guide him — no sign of the houses, the hotels, the streets or the railroad that ran through his beloved beach town. Just dunes, marshes, squawking shore birds and a cove that curves hundreds of yards inland from the former shoreline.
For a century, the spit at the southernmost tip of New Jersey was a summer colony with a small number of year-round residents, first called Mount Vernon, and then incorporated in 1894 as South Cape May. But nature had other ideas, as storms regularly battered the borough and dragged chunks of it out to sea. The Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 wiped out most of what was left, and a 1950 storm chased away the few remaining residents.
Mr. Burcher, 86, a retired teacher who now lives here in West Cape May, is one of the few people still living who knew the former town intimately. He and his son-in-law, Robert Kenselaar, 55, have written a new book, “Remembering South Cape May: The Jersey Shore Town That Vanished Into the Sea.”
Many human settlements have been shaped by nature, but few have been erased so quickly and completely. To Mr. Burcher, who is cheerfully contentious and profane, the point is not just to preserve the names and dates. He also wants people to remember a rougher Jersey Shore in a less pampered time, and a kind of childhood that he pities today’s children for missing.
Neighboring Cape May was the summer playground of rich families traveling with servants. But South Cape May was never so genteel, and Mr. Burcher’s memories date mostly to the Great Depression, when most of the families he knew were struggling. He was one of 12 siblings who survived past infancy, and their mother, Theresa, made them contribute financially as soon as they could.
“She had us dance and sing for coins in the street,” he said. “We’d swim out to pleasure boats and ask people to toss nickels and dimes. My mother was a tough Irish broad. Any way to teach us to make a buck and survive, she would do it.”
The children walked several miles into Cape May each day. They sold newspapers, or fish they had caught, but their main job was scavenging the beach for whatever people had left behind. Their mother made forgotten towels into diapers; sweaters became bathing suits; and wallets were emptied of cash and then turned in to the police.
The Burchers lived inland most of the year but spent summers with family in South Cape May. There was little adult supervision, the risks balanced by autonomy and adventure. Mr. Burcher remembers hiding in the dunes with his brother and watching rum runners bring their contraband ashore and, once, shoot it out with the Coast Guard.
“How can they deprive kids of those kinds of experiences now?” he asked.
Some physical pieces of South Cape May endure, along with Mr. Burcher’s memories and the photos he and Mr. Kenselaar collected. At least 17 of the town’s houses, some originally owned by Civil War veterans, were relocated to safer ground, including lovingly maintained works by the noted 19th-century architect Stephen Decatur Button.
Most of the surviving houses now sit in Cape May, a resort known for Victorian architecture, where there is nothing to suggest to passers-by that these particular landmarks are survivors of a ghost town. One well-kept example, owned by Lee Krumenacker, 67, and her siblings, was bought by her great-grandfather and still has furniture dating back generations.
The story passed down about the move from South Cape May, she said, was that “they put a glass of water on the dining room table and said they wouldn’t spill it, and they didn’t.”
After the people and buildings were gone, South Cape May was legally dissolved. For years, a local farmer used some of the remaining territory as a cow pasture. Three decades ago, the Nature Conservancy took over and created a refuge for migratory birds. The group restored dunes to keep back the sea, allowing a freshwater wetland to form.
Now there are head-high grasses, and nesting grounds for least terns, piping plovers, American oystercatchers and swans.
Mr. Burcher and his wife of 61 years, Vida, can gaze on it from the front porch of their ramshackle house, which he built decades ago. They live at the southern edge of West Cape May, literally across the street from the former site of the vanished town of South Cape May.
“I can still see it,” he said. “I can still see it.”

Friday, August 6, 2010

Abandoned World War II Bunker, Cape May NJ

Even I, crazy-Cape-May-lover that I am, can't deny that this video is mindbendingly boring:

What possesses someone to put this on youtube?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Meme from Miller (not me) & a very bloggy day for blogs

Jen Miller has a great post on what you would do with 48 Hours in your favorite shore town. I left her a comment about my 48 hours, and I recommend you leave yours here or over at her blog. Your comments may work their way into the 2nd edition of her book on the South Jersey shore.

In other bloggy news, a blog named Lilac and Grey that is apparently very "elegant" (according to the proprietor) has a nice Cape May featurette here, including many nice photos.

And Tom's Workbench, a woodworking website, features the craftsmanship of Cape May right here.

Funny how two seemingly quite different blogs -- one about 'elegance,' and one about 'woodworking,' can both feature photos of Cape May homes on the same day.

And lastly, if you're a vegan, check out this blog, which features Cape May vegan-vacationing both here and here.

And I think today is 'house' day on the blog, so here's your photo:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Convention Hall, Jen Miller, and other Assorted odds and ends

Latest update on Convention Hall in the Atlantic City Press today.

A very funny photo -- hard to believe it's real but it is -- on Jen Miller's blog, which she labels "Rude or Genius?" I think -- genius and funny, to boot. Jen, did it work?

And here's a great article on the many winged-insect visitors that Cape May sees. This article gave me an excuse to post one of my own Cape May butterfly photos -- that's it over to the right.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shout out to Town Bank

I'm quite certain I haven't featured Town Bank before, a little townlet on the Bay. The photo above is borrowed from the Plastic Safety Blog... a blog by and for those who use orange plastic safety cones.
Since Town Bank's in CM County, it's close enough for our purposes. A pretty picture, too.

I'm tellin ya, there ain't much else in the news today. If and when breaking news hits the street, I will post a news alert.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A foodie's blog

Kristastes, i.e. Kris Tastes, is a foodie blog. Kris reviews restaurants in philly and Cape May. Click this link to check out her reviews of George's Place, Lucky Bones, the Lobster House and more.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Nice Article About the Mug

The AC Press has a nice article about some great southern Jersey restaurants. This story in the article about the Ugly Mug is famous but worth reading again:

Mugs for the fallen
The Ugly Mug Bar & Restaurant in Cape May honors its patrons for the same kind of loyalty - even after they die.
On the ceiling of the popular 64-year-old Cape May bar hang hundreds of mugs. But upon closer inspection, some of the mugs hang in the opposite direction of the majority.
"It's something that we've been doing since the 1940's. … It's absolutely an important part our charm," said manager Dwight Dunbracco, 30, adding that the walls of the restaurant also are covered with photos from its annual Froth Blowing charity event. "We give our regular customers a mug that they can use whenever they're here. If they die, we don't take it down. We turn it towards the ocean."
Dunbracco said the backwards mugs can sometimes draw as many people to the bar as those facing forward.
"Friends and family will come by to have a drink out of their loved one's mug, or maybe just to see if it's still there. We've had people come by looking for their great-grandfather's mug," he said. "And there was one young couple who got married, but the husband died shortly afterward. Every year, people come in on that date and put money in the cup for the guy's wife."
Carrying the tradition can be difficult, however.
"The number one thing we run into is a lack of space," Dunbracco said while looking up at the jam-packed ceiling. "And we never throw any of them away. … So even if a spot opens up because certain cups aren't being used anymore or maybe one gets knocked down, we wrap them up and store them in case anyone ever comes looking for it."
This has caused a waiting list for a mug to rival that for Green Bay Packers season tickets, which averages about 30 years.
"We have people who have been waiting for over five years," Dunbracco said. "There's just no room."
And it's not always the decorations on the walls of bars and restaurants that serve as conversation starters. Sometimes it's the walls themselves.