Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Visit to Beach Plum Farm

John Howard-Fusco of the foodie blog EatinginSouthJersey recently visited Beach Plum Farm.  He gives some good insight to this 60+ acre farm that sits in the outskirts of Cape May, what I think would be known as Lower Township.  You can read John's blogpost HERE.

Photo of Beach Plum Farm courtesy Cape Resorts Group.

Monday, May 28, 2012

"Welcome to Cape May Convention Hall"

At the request of the City of Cape May, Harry Bellangy and the Greater Cape May Historical Society put together a wonderful video about the history of Cape May's Convention Halls in pictures.  The photos and video were on display this weekend at the new Convention Hall.  To see this great video, click this link:  http://youtu.be/jttqCtuiVtQ  (you may have to cut and paste the link).  I should mention, a truly great artistic choice made in the video is the accompanying music, provided by a player piano.  It's been a long time since I listened to one of those, and even longer since I heard one in person.  Nothing says "great memories" like a player piano.

 Thank you to Harry and the Greater Cape May Historical Society for allowing me to link to this fantastic video.

Memorial Day 2012

Cape May historian and author Ben Miller (no relation) put together a nice slide show for Memorial Day of America's heroes stationed in Cape May.  Here it is; thank you, Ben:

Three Years On

I opened up this little blog three years ago today (Memorial Day 2009).  From a very small start the blog has grown ... whereas for a long time the blog was lucky to get 10 hits a day, now I average over 60.... and on big days (like July 4th weekend and last year's hurricane season) I get hundreds of hits. Amazingly, the blog has even made it into the dead-tree edition (the paper edition, not just online) of New Jersey Monthly!  Thanks to Jen Miller (no relation) for that happening.

That's great fun but the best part of the blog is it has caused me to make many friends in Cape May (most online, but a few in person) that I probably would never have met, otherwise.  Since it's been three years, I thought I would copy and past my first blog entry here, to reiterate what it was I was trying to accomplish when I started the blog.

Here's the link: http://bloggingcapemay.blogspot.com/2009/05/welcome-sun-rising-on-new-blog.html

and here's the post:

If you've landed here, it means you and I share an interest -- Cape May. If you know me, you might strike the word "interest" and insert "obsession." I can't argue with that. I'm going to use this blog to highlight the places on the internet where you can address that Cape May obsession, and often learn something in the process. I may also use it to share a photo, or a story or two.

Above you will see the sun rising adjecent to the old World War II Lookout Tower that has just been retrofitted for tourism. That photo pre-dates the recent fix-up that took place. Yes, the Tower is in Cape May Point. I will not make distinctions between Cape May, Cape May Point, West Cape May, etc., for purposes of this blog. I may note that the location or site featured is not in Cape May proper, but Cape May is as much a state of mind as a place.

Anyway, in case you don't know, there's a story below (written by Susan Tischler of CapeMay.com, more about that site and that great writer later) about the "new" Lookout Tower that is obviously quite old. I have driven, walked, and ridden my bike past it many times, and it's fun to know that now I can check it out up close and personal.

And again, Welcome!

Fire Control Tower No. 23 Grand Opening
By Susan Tischler • May 20th, 2009 • Category: Look at This
Grand Opening Ceremony for the World War II Lookout Tower

Lower Township - The Grand Opening Ceremony for the World War II Lookout Tower (Fire Control Tower No. 23) was held Saturday, May 16 at 10 a.m. Local World War II veterans were present and honored. A dove release was made to honor their service to our country. Dignitaries included Freeholder Leonard Desiderio, Congressman Frank LoBiondo, Senator Jeff Van Drew, Assemblymen Nelson Albano and Matt Milam, representatives from the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) and those involved with the restoration project.

Fire Control Tower No. 23 was part of the immense Harbor Defense of the Delaware system known as Fort Miles. Built in 1942, the tower was one of fifteen concrete lookout towers that helped aim batteries of coastal artillery, stretching from North Wildwood, N.J. to Bethany Beach, DE. Four were in Cape May County, N.J.-the towers located in North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest were torn down and a third tower is located inside Cape May’s Grand Hotel, Beach and Philadelphia avenues.
With the Tower restored, visitors can climb to the sixth floor observation platform at the top and see equipment used to determine firing coordinates for massive guns on both sides of the Delaware Bay. Each level of the tower includes interpretive panels and photos that explain the tower’s function, as well as Cape May’s important role in homeland defense during World War II. The third level of the tower is dedicated to the brave men and women from the Cape May area who served during World War II and contains the “Wall of Honor” as well as “Cape May’s World War II Honor Roll.”
The World War II Lookout Tower is located on Sunset Boulevard in Lower Township near Cape May Point. The tower is open to the public daily; times vary.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Peter Nero Opens the New Convention Hall

Jack Fichter fills us in on last night's Peter Nero Concert at the New Convention Hall.  Hope it went well.

Once again, I must note that if you want the news in quickly and without a coat of varnish, Jack Fichter of the Herald is pretty much the only game in town.

Photo credit Deborah Maguire of the Cape May County Herald.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Congratulations to the City of Cape May & Its Government

If you've been reading this blog for the last few years, you know that I have followed the saga of Cape May's new Convention Hall for a long, long time.  If you read my old posts on Convention Hall -- which you can do right here -- a theme emerges.   Long before they broke ground on the new Hall, even as far as back as early 2010, the City leaders promised that a new Hall would open on Memorial Day Weekend 2012.  Frankly, like many people, I was dubious that the City would meet that deadline.  I never suggested I didn't think the City would pull it off, but I implied I thought it was unlikely.  Lo & Behold, thanks to good weather and hard work, the City achieved that long-stated goal.  The City deserves congratulations on a job well done, and this is a time when a job was well done. Kudos to Mayor Mahaney and the City Manager MacLeod for pulling this off.  I hope everyone going to tomorrow night's concert has a great time!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Howell House Makes Endangered Historical Property List

Preservation New Jersey has added the Howell House in Cape May to this year's Top 10 List of Most Endangered Historical Sites in New Jersey.  You can read about it here in Shore News Today or read it here at Preservation New Jersey's website.  Although it's good to be featured on this list, I must note that the Beach Theatre made this list about four years ago and the Christian Admiral about 17 years ago. Not exactly reassuring for fans of the Howell House.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Victorian Motel Continues to Win Plaudits at Trip Advisor Website

I haven't visited Trip Advisor's Cape May Hotels page in months.  Upon visiting today, I discovered that the Victorian Motel remains #1 overall with the customers who post at the Trip Advisor website.  It has held that spot a long time, which is unsurprising in that the proprietor is the President of the local Chamber of Commerce and very dedicated to customer service.  Kudos to John Cooke for the continued #1 ranking.  If you're looking for a place to stay this summer in Cape May, I recommend giving John a call at the Victorian Motel.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Why People Come to Cape May, Books, & A Random Cape May Jetty Photo

Stay off the jetty! (I never do...)

Temple University has spent the last three years studying why people visit Cape May.  They presented their findings last week at the New Convention Hall. Thanks to Jack Fichter and the Herald for the story.

Jersey Shore Jen Miller (no relation) wrote last week about Cape May's newest bookstore.  You can read the story HERE.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wall Street Journal Brings Even More Attention to Cape May

[GARDNER]David Speiser for The Wall Street Journal
Red Knots in flight at Cape May

The Wall Street Journal sent a writer to Cape May to write about Red Knots, horseshoe crabs, and life.  Here's a link to the whole article: 
and here's a snippet to whet your appetite:
Red Knots migrate more than 9,000 miles each spring and fall—from Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America all the way to the Arctic, and back again. Cape May is a crucial way station: It's where they gorge on the tiny pale-green crab eggs, doubling their body weight over the course of 10 days before continuing their journey to the top of the world.

[GARDNER]David Speiser for The Wall Street Journal
Birder Richard Crossley with a horseshoe crab. The Red Knots feast on the crabs' eggs.

So on Friday morning we met up at Cape May's Virginia Hotel with Richard Crossley, a famous birder who is the author of "The Crossley ID Guide," and Curtis Bashaw, the CEO of Cape Resorts, who'd invited me down. Mr. Crossley sometimes leads birding expeditions for Mr. Bashaw's guests.

But first a word about birding guides in general, and Mr. Crossley in particular. The uninitiated might think that one birding book ought to be sufficient. But as far as I'm concerned, you can never have enough. The problem is that when you see a bird for the first time, one book's illustrations or photographs may be better able to confirm the sighting than another's, and using several in tandem might be best of all.

Varied perspectives is the theory behind Mr. Crossley's book. Rather than, say, the famous "Sibley Field Guide to Birds," which offers meticulous illustrations, Mr. Crossley's book may employ a dozen photos of each breed—large and small, perched, flying, stabbing an insect out of the air—and against the typical habitat where you might run across them.

"People feel they have to learn the name straight away," said Mr. Crossley, a Brit who has birded the world but settled in Cape May, as have several other of the world's great birders. "They feel like they failed" if they can't. "It's personality—where it lives and what it does. It's learning the bird and not the name."

The Red Knots we saw at high tide on an unimprovable spring morning at Reed's Beach, several miles north of Cape May, would have been easy to spot in any case—even among an avian crowd that included Laughing gulls, Ruddy Turnstones, Semipalmated Sandpipers and Willets. Red Knots are barrel-chested, salmon-and-gray-colored birds. (The Peterson guide described them as "dumpy," a description Mr. Crossley took issue with, if only because of its imprecision.) As we peered through binoculars at a couple hundred of them hunting for the crab caviar among a shoreline littered with horseshoes, both alive and dead, in a protected, roped-off area, he explained that the birds' bodies are made for storing energy, and their short, pointed wings for speed and power to travel great distances.

"This is as good as it gets for Red Knots," he stated. When he started visiting Cape May in the 1980s, he said they were so numerous they obscured the beach.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Race at the Cape

If you're in town tomorrow, there is only one place to be:

On Saturday, May 19, from 10 am to 3 pm, Cape May Forum (CMF) presents a re-creation of the famous 1905 automobile beach races in Cape May between Henry Ford and Louis Chevrolet - only this time as a “race” of energy efficiency with the latest hybrid and electric cars from Ford and Chevrolet. 
The "race" will re-create the historic contest with vintage cars, and also pair vintage Fords and Chevrolets with the most advanced models to illustrate how far we have progressed since 1905. East Lynne Theater Company will have actors and performers re-creating the look-and-feel of the old race event.
 The “races” begin at 1pm in front of Convention Hall on the boardwalk in Cape May. A pre-race exhibition of cars will be held in Rotary Park, in the center of Cape May, starting at 10am, and a post-race exhibition at 1:30pm. on Gurney Ave. and Beach Ave. The events are free and open to the public.
CMF is partnering with the City of Cape May, which has been a municipal leader in energy efficiency.  The event is being co-sponsored by Ford and the Quality Plus Ford Stores, and Chevrolet. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Jersey Monthly Features Cape May for its Annual Shore Guide

New Jersey Monthly just released its annual Shore Guide for 2012, and two of our favorite things are the stars of this year's Shore Guide: Cape May and freelance writer Jersey Shore Jen Miller. Jen penned a wonderful article about the "upscale newcomers [who] have brought 21st Century appeal to New Jersey's southernmost resort."  You can read Jen's great article here -- and I would call it great even if your humble ole' Cape May Blogger didn't get a mention in the article! But putting me in the article certainly makes the article just that much greater! (he's not kidding -- ed.)  Talk about knocking me over with a feather.  You can also read about John Cooke, Jack Wright, Ben Miller, and many more of Cape May's illustrious residents and visitors in the article, as well.  Plus, there are other articles about Cape May in the issue, including an article about Cape May's birdman, Pete Dunne.

Illustration courtesy New Jersey Monthly.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Internet is like a box of chocolates

Here's a video of an elevator expert visiting the Inn of Cape May's (Colonial Hotel's) original Otis Traction Elevator.  As someone who LOVES this elevator, it was a fun video to watch.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cape May's New Convention Hall In the News

Cape May's police officers are picketing the City in front of the new Convention Hall.  The police have worked without a labor contract for the last 18 months.  The AC Press has the story HERE.

Meanwhile, Convention Hall had its unofficial grand opening this past weekend - hosting the local high school prom. Sounds like it was a great night without a hitch! You can read about that right HERE -- just keep scrolling until you see photos and talk of the new Convention Hall.

Finally, here's a nice CBS News video of the Sunset Ceremony. I've posted it before but it's a good one so I'll post it again:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Nana Mo & four of the lights of her life
 When May arrives, thoughts turn to time in Cape May a little more seriously.  Summer is around the corner after all.  I think of times to come, but I also think of memories of past times in Cape May.  For my family, Cape May memories are infused with the memories of my Mom, Maureen Slattery Miller, who passed on her love for Cape May to me, my wife, and our four children.  

Mom by McGlade's
A few years ago on Mother's Day I mentioned that my Mom loved Ireland as well as Cape May. She also loved Little House on the Prairie (the tv show).  As a child, I only watched the show because it meant I got to watch tv and stay up a bit later than my usual bedtime.  But now, I truly enjoy the show.

Here's one of my Mom's favorites quotes from her favorite episode:

"Remember me with smiles and laughter, for that is how I will remember you. If you can only remember with tears, then don't remember me at all."

I try to abide by that quote, as my Mom asked. It's easier said than done.

We miss you, Nana Mo.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Biking Around the Cape of May

Shields Bike Rental is our favorite!

NorthJersey.Com suggests that you take a bike trip around Cape May: read about the trip they suggest here and check out the actual route distance there.

Make Sure You Wear Your Helmet!

West Side is the Best Side!
My family and I love riding around Cape May. This  NorthJersey.Com bike trip is a bit more ambitious than the bike routes we choose, but it is similar ...

We wouldn't make the jaunt all the way out to Historic Cold Spring Village, but otherwise our bike trips usually involve much biking around West Cape May, Cape May Point, and the 'other side of Cape May' out by Rea's Farm, etc.

Surrey Bikes Are Fun Too!

We usually rent bikes at Shields Bike Rentals -- they are friendly and always want to make the customer happy.  They remember us each year.  And often times they throw in a free surrey rental when we rent bikes for the week.  That's a very nice bonus.

This post brought to you by the four most handsome and beautiful children in the world...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Planning Your Mother's Day

Are you headed to Cape May for Mother's Day? Sounds like a plan to me!
Courtesy of the Cape May County Herald, here are some restaurants planning special meals for Mother's Day.
Aleathea’s- A delicious Mother’s Day Brunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. and their dinner menu is available from 4 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Mother’s Day. Please call 884-5555 or visithttp://www.innofcapemay.com/ to make your reservations.
Butterfly Tea Room- Sit awhile and savor your cup of tea with your mom at The Butterfly Tea Room, located on Sunset Boulevard in West Cape May. Mother’s Day tea will be served on Saturday and Sunday, May 12th and 13th from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. featuring a variety of hot and iced teas, quiche, soups, finger sandwiches and pastries. Reservations are recommended, call 609-898-4550 or visit
www.thebutterflytearoom.com .
Hemingway’s at The Grand Hotel- On Mother’s Day Hemingway’s will offer a Breakfast Buffet from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom featuring Belgian Waffles, cream chipped beef, breakfast meats, and so much more! $16.95 for Adults & $8.95 for kids. Dinner will be available from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. with additions to their regular menu, such as: 10 oz. Cold Water Lobster Tail, Veal Marissa & Petit Medallions of Filet. Call 884-5611 to make reservations or visithttp://www.hemingwayscapemay.com/ .
Lucky Bones- There will be a variety of specials here for all Moms including fudge! Call (609) 884-2663 or visitwww.luckybonesgrille.com/ for additional holiday information.
Mad Batter- Mother’s Day Dinner will be served at the Mad Batter from 4 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. A 3-course prix- fixe menu for $30 will also be available. Call 884-5970 or visit www.madbatter.com for additional details.
Marq’s Pub- A specialty Prime Rib will be offered on Mother’s Day for $14.99 all night long! Also, all moms can enjoy a free dessert with any entrĂ©e purchase! Call 884-3500 or visit www.marquiscapemay.com for more information.
Merion Inn- At Merion Inn a regular menu as well as Mother’s Day Specials will be served from 12:30 – 8 p.m. An Additional Brunch is available on Mother’s Day from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Call (609) 884-8363 or visit www.merioninn.com to make reservations.
Tisha’s- A scrumptious Mother’s Day Brunch is available from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Mother’s Day and dinner will be served from 3:30- 8 p.m. Call 884-9119 or visit www.tishasfinedining.com for menu options.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Jen Miller Visits West Cape May

Our favorite freelance journalist, Jen Miller, has written a feature about West Cape May.
Read it here: NewsWorks: Wandering to West Cape May.

Jen highlights some of the great businesses in town.  I note as an addendum that it is a great city to bike through when you're biking around Cape May. Many places to visit that are out of the way and beautiful.

Photo by Me

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rocks on the Beach, Rocks in the Head

The one and only Jack Fichter reports for the Herald on stone-strewn east-side beaches right HERE. Apparently they've decided to wait until after vacationers start visiting before they fix this problem.  Why would you wait to fix this? Why wasn't this fixed in April?

Don't ask why. Just figure the powers-that-be know what they're doing.  Right?

P.S. Here's the AC Press's version of the story.

Photo courtesy Press of Atlantic City.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012