Concierge CAPE RESORTS MAGAZINE 2019 - 2020
Welcome to your Happy Place 1
What’s Inside 4 12 16 32
Welcome Letter Man Who’s Made it Happen Be Well New Member of the Family
Our Properties 39 Congress Hall 40 Congress Place Suites 41 The Virginia 42 The Virginia Cottages 43 Beach Shack 44 The Star 45 Sandpiper Beach Club 46 Cottages at Beach Plum 47 Baron’s Cove Beach & Pool 48 50 53 54
At Your Service Rules of the Beach Private Beach Tents Jersey Gulls
Food & Drink 60 Good Food Guide 62 Beach Plum Farm 68 Beach Plum Pickles 72 The Rusty Nail 80 A Pooch Paradise 82 The Ebbitt Room 88 Classic Cocktails 90 The Blue Pig Tavern 98 Breakfast/Lunch Guides 102 100 Years Since Prohibition 108 Prohibition Cocktails 110 The Brown Room
116 The Boiler Room 122 Year of the Pig Campus Activities 128 Summer Activities 130 Activity Central 132 Feasts for the Family 134 Independence Week 138 Magical History Tours Shopping & Spa 140 Beach Chic Fashion 146 Tommy’s Folly 148 What to Wear 152 West End Garage 153 Market at Beach Plum Farm 154 Sea Spa 156 Yoga on the Beach Fall, Winter & Spring 158 A City for All Seasons 160 Fall at the Farm 162 Winter Wonderland 168 Winter Wellness Retreat 169 Home Away from Home 170 Spring Break 2020 172 Easter at Congress Hall Special Events 174 Weddings & Retreats 176 Beach Plum Weddings 177 Rooms for Every Occasion Going Off-Campus 178 Our Activity Partners 192 The Shopping Guide
Read Us Online In the event that a family member, friend or random stranger borrowed your copy of Concierge, or it fell victim to the quicker-thanyou-realized incoming high tide, you can read it on your iPad, cellphone or computer. Please visit caperesorts. com/concierge. Our cover features a detail from the new Brown Room wallpaper Photography Jessica Orlowicz, Aleksey Moryakov, Charles Riter, Frank Weiss Published annually by Cape Resorts Produced by Exit Zero Publishing and designed by Jack Wright printed in usa
In the Beginning
cape resorts founder & managing partner
have been checking guests in and out of hotel rooms for half of my life. It was 30 years ago, on June 2, 1989, that we opened The Virginia, beginning what would evolve into Cape Resorts. I had worked in hotels since I was 15 and had dreamed of owning one since 17 â€” although that didnâ€™t become a reality until 1989 with the renovation and grand opening of The Virginia. I remember that first night as if it was yesterday, especially the sudden change in my responsibility and viewpoint. We had overnight guests! These folks were coming to my house to stay over. They were paying for a place to relax and unwind at my invitation. I was their host. I was no longer clocking out and going home from a job. It was different. And that feeling remains even today. In the 30 years that have followed, company has been coming every day â€” and it remains my job to welcome you and make you feel at home. Fortunately, we have a much larger team
Curtis Bashaw opens The Virginia hotel and Ebbitt Room restaurant in 1989, transforming a dilapidated former boarding house into Cape Mayâ€™s first boutique hotel. It would herald the beginning of an adventure that changed the face of hospitality in Cape May. 5
Curtis during the painstaking renovation of Congress Hall, which was completed in 2002.
now. Our initial merry band of 40 back on June 2, 1989 has grown to an army of more than 800 co-hosts. And our offering of 24 rooms has increased to more than 300. Since opening The Virginia, we have added an iconic historic landmark, a beach motel, town and farm cottages and condominiums. We’ve also added houses and apartments for the many seasonal team members who have joined us as we began to offer year-round hospitality in a variety of formats. We have also grown geographically, from Cape May to New York’s Long Island, where Baron’s Cove sits proudly on the waterfront in the lovely village of Sag Harbor. Later in this issue we will tell you about our new partnership on nearby Shelter Island with the Petry family and their beloved hotel, the Pridwin. But we don’t just offer guests a key to a place to sleep. We have people to breakfast and lunch and dinner and cocktails. And we 6
provide entertainment, from music to carnivals to tours and exercise. This year we are upping the ante on our programs, including a daily shuttle for all Cape Resorts guests back and forth to Beach Plum Farm and West End garage, complimentary passes to yoga and boot camp and even tickets for the kids to better enjoy the carnival. The history tour and walk to Davey’s Lake will be complimentary to our guests and the large, spacious Sandpiper gym will be available to every property, offering a full fitness option for all of our Cape Resorts guests. As we continue to try and improve the overall experience for you, our visitors, we have created special places available only to overnight guests of Cape Resorts. Knowing that sometimes it can be difficult to get a drink in the ever-popular (and newly renovated) Brown Room, the Congress Hall pool bar will now be open for drinks and light bites until 9pm nightly, exclusively for guests. And the garden patio of The Virginia will offer an exclusive place for evening dining. Milestones make us pause. And reflect. For me, 30 years is significant. But in reality, milestones are just that — stones along the highway that were used to mark each mile. The Romans started it. We still have them — mileposts now, instead of milestones — along the Garden State Parkway. As you head south, they tick off each tenth of a mile all the way to Exit 0. What a journey it has been. Welcome from all of us at Cape Resorts. We are your hosts and our job is to create a vacation for you to enjoy and remember. So, please, do make yourselves at home.
Above: In 1996, after securing financing for the $25 million renovation of Congress Hall, Curtis is joined by Governor of New Jersey Christie Whitman, mayor of Cape May Jerry Gaffney and special projects manager Sandy Montano. Right: The grand reopening of Congress Hall on June 7, 2002. Curtis is pictured with the late Reverend Robert Davis, Governor Whitman and Congressman Frank LoBiondo. 7
Farmer Jaime Alvarez used to run Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May — now he’s tilling the land at Fincas del Mar, near Higbee Beach.
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1989 - 2019: The Evolution Of Cape May’s First Boutique Hotel
After Curtis Bashaw purchased a dilapidated boarding house on Jackson Street, there followed a year-long renovation before the grand opening on June 2, 1989, when it seemed like the whole town came out to look. This year, to commemorate the 30th anniversary, the hotel’s lobby and front desk area were transformed again by Cape Resorts’ designer Colleen Bashaw, who first redecorated the hotel in 1997. See the following pages for the finished product. 9
Enter The Virginia, halfway down Cape Mayâ€™s beautiful Jackson Street, and youâ€™ll be greeted by a new color scheme in the lobby and front desk, along with a revamp of the cozy fireplace lounge.
A Man Who’s Made It Happen PATRICK LOGUE, CAPE RESORTS’ VICE-PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS, HAS SEEN A LOT IN THREE DECADES WITH THE COMPANY. HERE, HE SHARES A FEW IN-HOUSE SECRETS, HIS CAPE MAY RITUALS... AND SOME FAVORITE ESCAPES.
Cape Resorts is 30 years old and you’ve been there for most of it. Do you remember your first day on the job? I arrived for my first day of work at The Virginia on August 21, 1992. I’d come from a corporate-oriented hotel culture at Hilton and had to adjust to the more casual guest pace of a boutique hotel in a resort town. Curtis [Bashaw] told me to lose the suit and tie after my first few days. What attracted you to the job? The Virginia was unique in its look, feel and services, not only amongst the other accommodations in Cape May, but even along the east coast. When did you first visit Cape May and what did you think of it back then? I worked as a front desk agent at Congress Hall in the summers of 1984, ’85 and ’86, during college breaks. This is when I first met Curtis. We were both college students. It was my summer escape — my happy place. When you were in high school, what was your dream? Where did you see yourself? I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my brother Peter, who was a successful sales12
man in corporate America. I wanted to go into sales. Are you surprised you ended up in a small town by the sea? I am because when I worked in Cape May during the 1980s, I never imagined there would be a an opportunity to work in the hospitality industry in such a seasonal environment, on a year-round basis. My career with Cape Resorts is a testament to Curtis’ vision for hospitality in Cape May and to his tenacity — he continues to exceed my wildest expectations of him. Ever wonder what it would have been like if you’d chosen to go work in, say, Philadelphia or New York? I always wanted to work in Manhattan and imagined that my corporate hotel years would take me there, but I have no regrets. We’ve had an office in Soho for over 25 years so I’ve have had opportunities to work in and out of New York for project meetings — I got a taste for work-life there, without having had to deal with the New York cost of living. You’ve been involved in some big
changes over the years. Let’s talk about some of them. After the opening of the Virginia, the next big project was Congress Hall. That took years after delays caused by red tape and objections from some people in town. What do you remember about that time? For two years leading up to the opening of Congress Hall in 2002, I split my time between development-related issues and the actual planning of what it would be as a hotel, while keeping a pulse on the Virginia, which I had turned over to a new general manager. The thing I remember most from the pre-opening years was the mission to keep singularly focused on simply getting Congress Hall open. We knew that if we could just get the building open again as a functioning hotel, all of the doubters, objectors and red tape would be behind us. We were right — as of opening day, all of the political struggles during development were silenced. Now tell us about the weeks running up to the opening of Congress Hall. They were frantic and exhausting. Hotel openings are never completely satisfactory to those on the development side — you have to pick and choose what will get done by opening day. The baby’s coming and that’s that! Despite the best-laid plans, some things are out of your control. But the magic is to make guests on opening day feel that it IS complete. We were still rolling sod onto the lawn, in the dark, the night before the governor’s arrival for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The next big project was the Rusty Nail. Was the old bar a place you would go to? I frequented the Nail long before we acquired it. And for me it remains today much as I remember it back then. I would go there with all of my friends after a day on the beach. The mugs were frosty, the chicken wings were awesome and Jules Hober was bartender and a terrific host, along with his sister, Renee. I have a great deal of respect for the Hober family — they built and operated the Coachman’s Motor Inn and Rusty Nail up until we purchased it. How was the process of turning around an iconic bar? Did you get any pushback 14
Patrick behind the desk at Congress Hall in the mid-’80s, pre renovation. Below: the Baron’s Cove property in Sag Harbor — as Cape Resorts’ vice-president of operations, Patrick often makes the five-hour road trip.
from regulars and locals who didn’t want it to change? We really focused on not changing much about the Rusty Nail because we all loved it. We made nuanced changes in the beginning, focusing more on the legacy of the bar as a hangout for lifeguards after they go off duty. The Nail really inspired how we renovated the hotel, which we renamed the Beach Shack. You’ve also been closely working over the years at Baron’s Cove, in the Hamptons. Regarding Sag Harbor and Cape May, what are the differences and the similarities? Spring and fall in Cape May are significantly busier than they are in the Hamptons. The off-season in Sag Harbor reminds me a lot of what Cape May was like back in the late ’80s, early ’90s. But it’s building and I can see that we will have success there in developing the year-round franchise we’ve built in Cape May.
I love that we’ve had guests from our Cape May properties staying at Baron’s Cove. On the other hand, we’ve also convinced some Sag Harbor loyalists to visit Cape May. I see similarities in Cape May and Sag Harbor — the size, the beauty, the unhurried pace. How has your experience in the hospitality industry affected your own vacations? Are you ever able to just sit back and enjoy the restaurant and the hotel room? I have an appreciation for the myriad details that form an overall hotel experience, so I’m usually feeling grateful when I’m away. But I can’t stop myself observing the details of the design, the service and just the overall experience. I have my overly critical moments, at which time I have to be reminded that I’m “supposed to be on vacation.” But, overall, I love visiting other hotels to get new insights, and I usually bring home a fresh perspective of some kind, which is always useful. Favorite places to visit in the US? I love hiking in the Adirondacks with my partner Patrick and staying at Mohonk Mountain House. Other favorite spots are Bar Harbor, the Outer Banks and Santa Monica. What about abroad? My mom’s family are still in Ireland — traveling there always feels like going home. Rome is also a favorite city to visit — we love it there!
Closer to home, how do you relax in the summer season? I always enjoy an early morning walk with my dog at Beach Plum Farm before anyone is there. I am usually up before sunrise in the summer. Occasionally, I will take a short drive out of town to change things up — dinner in Wildwood Crest or Strathmere is usually on the list. What about the offseason? Beach walks with my dog — I’m far more inclined to walk the beach down to Cape May Point on stormy days versus sunny ones, when the ocean is churned up and the rain is driving. Chalk it up to my Irish genes. I love winter dinners at the Lobster House, with a window seat for a harbor view, a cozy table at the Blue Pig Tavern or a bar seat at the Ebbitt Room during a quiet, midweek night. You obviously love being surrounded by the ocean, but do you ever feel like a change of scenery? We own a house in Wilmington, in the Brandywine Valley. It offers an entirely different experience from Cape May — we’re surrounded by woods, hills and hiking trails. It’s Wyeth country. We have a little bit of land so I do a lot of pruning, gardening and barbequing. Some people see it as work and think I’m nuts, but I relax while I’m working in the yard. On my days off, I feel the need to be outdoors.
Enjoy the perfect Cape May vacation AND give yourself a major health boost at the same time... hereâ€™s how!
It’s possible you feel bombarded by the wellness industry.
They’re coming for your creamer (oat milk is the new skim),
Stay tuned for info on our upcoming winter retreats. Integrating healthy diets, exercise, massage and comfort, our upcoming winter three-to-five-day workshops will be all inclusive and great for individuals, couples or groups of friends who want to enjoy interesting, fun and informative daily exercise activities, specifically curated menus complete with recipes and cooking techniques and daily massages — all in the comfort of our Cape Resorts portfolio of rooms and cottages at Beach Plum Farm. Our creative programming team has cooked up a menu of amazing adult programs for those practicing dry January, for those interested in learning about vegan and vegetarian diets, and for those who want to focus on healthful living. All programs will help you shake the holiday indulgences and reset for a new year.
your moisturizer (plant-based or bust), even your Fitbit (it’s time to — hashtag — unplug). It can be overwhelming and, let’s face it, exhausting. Who’s to say what separates truth from trend. Godsend from gimmick. Health hack from health hustle. But beyond the noise (and those athleisure ads on your Instagram feed) is the simple, sensible idea that prioritizing your physical and mental state is key to a happier, longer, more fulfilling life. There may be strange and elaborate options for discovering our most zen selves (see: sensory deprivation tanks or infrasonic sound-healing studios) but the truth is you don’t need unlimited access to gadgets and gizmos in order to reset and recharge. A growing body of research suggests that simply being outdoors in a serene place can do wonders for the mind and body. One study found that surgery patients with a green view heal faster. In Scotland, doctors are issuing “nature prescriptions” to address health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stress. In other words, taking a hike, combing a beach or going on a boat ride are no longer luxurious vacation activities — they’re practically necessities. With all the natural beauty Cape May has to offer, this place is ideal for health enthusiasts and couch potatoes looking for an easy entry into the world of wellbeing. Throw in the locally grown food and superlative spa experiences offered by Cape Resorts, and you’ve got a recipe for wellness. On the following pages, you’ll find ideas that will enhance your vacation and maybe your health, too. It’s precisely what the doctor ordered. 18
Indulge In A Sunset
A study out of the University of California, Berkeley, found engaging with something naturally beautiful — like taking the time to watch a sunset — can help people experience greater satisfaction with their lives. Because of our location at the tip of a peninsula, this island is one of the few places in the world where you can see the sun rise AND set over salt water, meaning both the ocean and sky become a brilliant, painted canvas twice per day. We’ve even got a designated Sunset Pavilion located at the western end of the promenade, by the Cove beach. For a particularly moving experience, consider the sunset flaglowering ceremony at Sunset Beach, overlooking the famous, half-sunk concrete ship. Every summer since 1975, this nightly ritual has taken place, and each one honors a departed US veteran. The event is free and attracts up to 500 people at a time. Alternatively, nightly from May 27 through September 11, check out the Sunset Ceremony put on by Cape May’s Kiwanis Club at the Cove Beach — it’s also free and complete with patriotic music. Children who volunteer to help with the lowering will be awarded a signed certificate from Cape May’s mayor, which makes an excellent contribution to any show-and-tell. Tip: If you’re at Congress Hall between November and February, you can see both the sunrise and sunset from the hotel’s flagpole.
Have you taken your own spectacular sunset or sunrise photographs in Cape May? Tag your favorite Cape Resorts hotel as we love to share our guests’ content! @congresshall @virginiahotel @beachshack @beachplumfarm
Go Birding Recent research out of England and Australia reveals that birdwatching, now the secondmost popular outdoor hobby in America, reduces anxiety. Scientists, analyzing 270 subjects, found that the more birds people see over the course of a given afternoon, the happier they are. This is great news for visitors to Cape May. In 2018, this island was named the second-best birdwatching destination in the world, second only to South Georgia Island, off of Chile’s Cape Horn. While fall is an especially great time for spotting migrating hawks at the Hawkwatch Platform in Cape May Point State Park, birds are everywhere, year-round. On the crest of our dunes in the winter, keep your eyes peeled for the beautiful snowy owl, whose ghost-like body belongs in a Harry Potter film. In the spring, you’ll see large seabirds known as northern gannets hanging behind fishing boats as they pull into the harbor, hoping for scraps. In the summer, in the weedy 20
woods that run parallel to Higbee Beach, you’ll spot beautiful indigo buntings fighting over territory with interlocked feet. In other words, whether you’re looking for majesty, drama or comedy, in Cape May, there’s a bird for that. This year, Cape Resorts offers guided birding trips — you’ll learn to develop skills that will change the way you look for birds. With expert guidance, the focus of the walks will be to not only see the birds, but to better understand and enjoy them. For more information, call 609-8846542 or visit caperesorts.com. Our own Beach Plum Farm is located in the heart of the top four local birding destinations — Rea’s Beanery, the Meadows, Cape May Point State Park and Higbee Beach. We also recommend a trip to Cape May Bird Observatory’s Northwood Center, at 701 East Lake Drive in Cape May Point.
Take A Walk Walking, even for 20 minutes per day, can have a great impact on heart health. It also helps curb a sweet tooth, boosts the immune system, eases joint pain and has mood-lifting capabilities. It’s the reason Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calls this the “closest thing to a wonder drug.” Such a wonder drug of an activity deserves a wonderful venue, and the 244-acre Cape May Point State Park delivers. There are trail options that, although surrounded by nature, are well maintained and safely marked. For something a bit more strenuous, end your adventure by climbing 199 steps to the top of the lighthouse. Also located in the park, it was built in 1859 and offers panoramic views.
Hike To Davey’s Lake Plenty of visitors will make the tree-lined drive down New England Road on their way to Higbee Beach, which has a very rustic feel, with gnarled driftwood and, in fall, the occasional bald eagle pair keeping watch from a red cedar in the dunes. But have you ever forgone the beach for a hike through the less-traveled woods that run adjacent? This place is an explorer’s dream. The trails — wild with bayberry, beach plums, sassafras, holly, persimmon and scrub oak — are rich with swans, red foxes, ospreys, turtles, chirping frogs and, after dark, coyotes. It’s a place where traces of the Lenni Lenape tribe may be found beneath the shrubs and sandy soil; a place where sand was extracted for the building of the Panama Canal. The trails ultimately lead to Davey’s Lake, a watering hole with a legendary, secretive local history. During Prohibition, it’s said that the largest dune here, Signal Hill, was the perch of choice for rum runners awaiting deliveries from ships. In the 50s and 60s, the lake became a popular spot for teenagers to skinny dip on sunny days while playing hooky. Join us on this two-mile hike full of history as we search for everything from arrowheads to hawks (we’ll supply the refreshments). The trek to Davey’s Lake been described as “Walden Pond with grit,” so please dress accordingly. Tours, offered seasonally, are included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest. Call 609-884-6542 for more details.
Look For Diamonds
Go For Glass
Hunting for treasure on the beach can be a meditative experience at any age. At Sunset Beach, located at the very end of Sunset Boulevard, you’ll find the HQ for perhaps the most enticing beachcombing experience of all. Here, Cape May Diamonds are plentiful. While these little quartz crystals are not actually diamonds, after eroding from the Delaware Water Gap and tumbling underwater for years, they look the part. These quartz stones have a history that predates the birth of the US. In the 1750s, it is said that a large Cape May Diamond was presented to Christopher Leaming, a local whaler, by the last chief of the Kechemeche tribe of the Lenni Lenape, King Nummy. The possession of this diamond could be traced through the Leaming family up until the 1970s. The Kechemeche believed that the diamonds contained supernatural powers, and used them to seal bonds of peace and friendship. Learn about the mysteries that lie within the sand at Sunset Beach. Our Cape Resorts guides will be on hand to help you gather and identify this precious local gem. Tours are available year-round and are included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest. Cape May’s bayside beaches are also known for turning up Native American artifacts from the Kechemeche tribe. For food, men set fire to natural vegetation along the beach to smoke out deer, which they then shot with spears or, later, bows and arrows. Projectile points were chipped by the water using stone. While these are the most recognizable artifacts, lucky collectors may also come across shards of pottery, tobacco pipes, bone whistles and pestle and mortar devices used for crushing spices. For more information, call 609-884-6542 or visit caperesorts.com.
Collecting sea glass is a fun experience for some, and a professional undertaking for others — Cape May is home to local artisans who craft and sell jewelry made from these “mermaid tears,” as collectors call them. They’re produced from broken bottle and jar bits that have been lost at sea, tumbled and smoothed by the tide, then washed ashore. (We’re wondering if some of those bottles are from failed rumrunning expeditions! See pages 102-107.) In Cape May, enthusiasts comb the shoreline for brown, green or coveted turquoise glass. It’s so popular that the North American Sea Glass Association has held its annual festival at Cape May Convention Hall. (This year, on September 28 and 29, it’s in Wildwood.)
Visit An Oyster Farm Some find it hard to believe that we have a farm just two miles from the beach, but did you know that there are farms out on the water as well? Wade out into the tidal flats and learn all about the techniques used by the local oyster farms that supply restaurants throughout Cape May and all along the East Coast. Not only are they bringing us delicious additions to the raw bar, but this kind of farming helps to keep the water of the Delaware Bay clean and assists in the sustainability of local ecosystems. We’ll take you straight from your hotel to the farm. Enjoy learning all about the oysters (and eating them, too), and come back with a new appreciation for Cape May’s favorite bivalves. Tours are available from June to November on Sundays and Wednesdays. Be sure to bring old boots or sneakers and prepare to be muddy! For more information, call 609-884-6542 or visit caperesorts.com.
Witness a Spectacle Every May and June, the prehistoric horseshoe crabs crowd moonlit beaches to lay their eggs on Delaware Bay beaches (Higbee is the closest to us). Those eggs are then fed on by migratory red knots. Cape Resorts will offer guests an up-close look at this amazing natural occurrence. Guests of all ages are welcome for the walks under the full moon where they’ll learn all about this incredible creature and see it in action. Guided tours are available for Cape Resorts guests on May 18, 19 and 20, June 17, 18 and 19.
Explore The Farm Cape Resorts purchased the 62-acre Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May in 2007. What started as a modest operation has grown to include more than 100 crops, often picked the same day they appear on your plate (or in your glass) at a Cape Resorts restaurant. We’re thinking of the juicy plum tomatoes used for the Boiler Room’s wood-fired pizzas, the fresh lavender used in the scratch-made doughnuts at West End Garage, or the veggies that comprise colorful salads at the Blue Pig Tavern or The Ebbitt Room. Because this place grows its own kale, asparagus, spinach, lettuce, zucchini, cabbage, onions, bok choy, squash, radishes (you get the idea), the menus of Cape Resorts are sustainable and seasonally driven. On the farm, happy chickens, turkeys and pigs roam free across several acres, meaning even the meat options (buttermilk fried chicken, hickory-smoked pulled pork) have been sourced humanely. You can also choose to have your healthy meal at the farm itself — there’s a kitchen offering breakfast (served all day) and lunch. You’ll be served outdoors at a picnic table (perhaps near the firepit) or inside a beautiful, Amish-built, post-and-beam barn. Also, we’re a distributor for Hawk Haven wines and offer bottles of whites, reds and rosé. You don’t need to eat to have a rejuvenating experience — you can simply wander by foot or by bike, on a guided tour or solo, for an up-close look at the natural world. That long, shaded path that connects the front of the farm to the back was reconstructed using aerial maps from World War II. And be sure to check out the bird-rich woodland marsh trail that wraps around the duck ponds. It will takes you past sweetgum trees with vibrant, heart-shaped leaves — Native Americans in the area once used the amber-colored sap of this species as medicine. In other words: This is an idyllic place for stopping to smell the flowers (or the herb garden). Guided farm tours, available seasonally, are included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest.
For health-food enthusiasts (or merely tasty food enthusiasts), one of the most exciting things to come out of the Beach Plum Farm collaboration has been the coldpressed juices — made with farmfresh fruits, veggies and leafy greens — that perfectly complement a freerange omelet or, for that matter, an afternoon of lounging poolside. Order from your breakfast or lunch server at the Blue Pig Tavern, or pick up a packaged juice from Tommy’s Folly Café, the market at Beach Plum Farm or at the Beach Plum Bakery and Café at West End Garage. Happy sipping!
Enjoy A Classic Boat Ride It’s no secret we’re home to some of the most spectacular sunsets on the east coast. Visitors flock to Sunset Beach and the Cove to wait for that magical moment. But have you ever wondered what it would be like to catch the show from the ocean? Join us on a private tour aboard the Liberty (pictured below), a reproduction of the wooden commuter boats that ferried businessmen from Long Island mansions to Manhattan in the 1920s. Travel through the back bays and into the Atlantic, where you’ll get a unique view of Cape May’s majestic beachfront. Enjoy light bites and beverages, surrounded by nothing but open water and nature’s beauty. For more information, call 609-884-6542 or visit caperesorts.com.
Hit The Water In the Victorian era in Cape May, “sea bathing” was prescribed by doctors looking to cure patients of everything from broken bones to indigestion. Turns out, the ocean really does have healing power. Research shows the low, harmonic pitch of the sea triggers a calming, meditative response. Breathing in the sea spray of a breaking wave improves mood by releasing endorphins. And immersing oneself in the water increases blood flow to allow for a feeling of zen. It may also help regulate the circadian clock and stimulate creative impulses. Luckily, the water in Cape May is clean and inviting — it’s partly why Coastal Living magazine dubbed us the “grand dame” of the Jersey Shore and named us among the 10 best beach towns in America. The water here is also safe — it’s protected by the Cape May Beach Patrol, who haven’t had a drowning in their 108-year history. So feel free to swim at any protected beach — just ask a lifeguard if you have any questions about conditions. If you want to get in some serious core exercises, kayaks (with lifejackets on board) may only be launched east of Poverty Beach (Wilmington Avenue) and west of the lifeguard stand at the Cove on the opposite end of the promenade. If you’d rather hang ten, surfing is permitted at Poverty Beach, Gurney Street, Queen Street and the Cove.
The importance of taking time for yourself is well documented — myriad studies show that a little bit of pampering can improve body image, boost your overall outlook on life and even strengthen your relationships. At Congress Hall, this kind of holistic self-care comes easy. The on-site Sea Spa offers bright and airy, cabana-style treatment spaces where you can choose from a variety of indulgent facials, massages and nail treatments plus hair, makeup and waxing services for men and women. Plus, we offer couples massages in a cabana off the veranda, adjacent to Sea Spa, AND in our beach tent! There are also a number of menu options that take the spa experience next level — we’re thinking of the full-body sea salt exfoliation or the luxurious, purifying seaweed wrap. You’ll notice most of the services here incorporate products sourced straight from the ocean for an organic, nutrient-rich and invigorating experience. To book an appointment, call 609-884-6543.
Feeling motivated to work out on vacation doesn’t always come naturally. But research shows breaking a sweat in a beautiful place can make your exercise routine feel easier. Yoga on the Lawn/Beach and Beach Boot Camp are offered daily during the season and are included in your stay. Also, Cape Resorts guests can use the wellequipped gym at the Sandpiper.
Bike The Island Ah, biking by the beach, feeling the sea breeze in your hair. It’s an invigorating sensory experience, and a popular one on Cape May’s promenade — just be sure to be off the boardwalk by 10am. No bike? No problem. The Congress Hall Bike Shop can hook you up with a rental and a helmet. (In New Jersey, all cyclists under 17 must sport one, but everyone else should, too!). We recommend Cape May’s Shoreline Ride (which you can access online), a spectacular route that begins and ends at the lighthouse. The trip, which will take you over the bridge and through some of the peninsula’s prettiest barrier islands, is 46.4 miles — but how much you do is up to you! It’s a relatively easy trip, with elevation tapping out at 60 feet above sea level, and it will take you past some of the county’s most important landmarks and prettiest vistas. Another option is to ride your bike onto the Cape MayLewes Ferry and across the Delaware Bay. It’s a beautiful, 80-minute trip that typically includes dolphin sightings. Waiting at the other end is Cape Henlopen State Park, which offers a variety of rustic bike trails as well as a 3.5-mile, paved biking loop with options to branch off for scenic overlooks and wide views of the Atlantic. Alternatively, consider the Cold Spring Bike Path, which begins at Seashore Road (just north of the West Cape May Bridge) and runs all the way to the beautiful Cape May County Zoo, rated 13th-best zoo in the nation by TripAdvisor.
Meet The New Member Of Our Family A family-owned, grand old property on a magical little island. No wonder the exciting new partnership between Cape Resorts and The Pridwin is a marriage made in heaven.
ometimes, on an especially starry night, Glenn Petry likes to lie on his back on a wooden dock that extends over Shelter Island Sound, at the eastern end of New York’s Long Island. If he glances behind him, he sees The Pridwin — the hotel his parents purchased the year before he was born — illuminated like a cruise ship. In front of the Gatsby-era building, the leaves of majestic, 80-foot oak trees, backlit by the night sky, rustle in the breeze. These trees are just about the only thing in this tableau to have changed in eight decades — pictures from the 1930s show the trees at 30 feet high. But the view from the Pridwin, located on the aptly named Crescent Beach in Shelter Island, has been the same for decades. The sunsets cast the same pink light on the same glassy water. Across the bay, the same small cottages dot the same lush landscape. The hotel, named for King Arthur’s shield, conjures thoughts of protection. Tucked away on an eight-acre lot of the beach’s southwest corridor, the property is indeed protected from severe weather patterns and the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But it appears, also, to be insulated from time itself. “There’s the sense that time is not progressing here,” Glenn says. “Peo-
The Pridwin and its crescent-shaped beach on Shelter Island, featured in a 1960s-era postcard. Inset: How the terrace looks today.
“Even though the world may be evolving so quickly, change happens slowly here. This contributes to the magical feel of the place.”
The Pridwin, above, in 1947 and, below, Edie Frost at the hotel in 1947. Her parents, Fred and Mildred, loved the place so much that they put up the capital for Edie’s husband Richard to take it over in 1962. The Pridwin has remained in the family ever since.
ple come back year after year partly because they love this. Even though the world may be evolving so quickly around them, change happens slowly here. This contributes to the magical feel of the place.” Glenn and his family have always sought to preserve this facet of the Pridwin, a classic and nostalgic American resort hotel that harks back to a simpler time. And this is why, over the years, they’ve resisted many offers from hoteliers who’ve recognized the potential of the property. It never felt like the right fit. Until, that is, kismet brought the Petry family together with Curtis Bashaw, the founder and managing partner of Cape Resorts — a man who, Glenn says, has a proven record for honoring the history of his properties, including Cape May’s Congress Hall and Sag Harbor’s Baron’s Cove, and the communities on which they depend. Moving forward, the Pridwin will partner with Cape Resorts in renovating the Shelter 34
Island hotel and extending its traditionally short season well beyond July and August. But the spirit of the storied resort will remain intact. “We like to be that place that makes islanders think: That’s OUR place,” Glenn says. “We want to be a part of Shelter Island — not something that merely exists here — because we love and respect that island way of life. With Curtis and Cape Resorts, this is a shared value. It’s not about changing the hotel so much as making it more accessible, more available.” The Pridwin was built by an English company in the early 1920s. But, as the Great Depression settled in, the project stalled and local builders stepped in to finish the job by 1927. (Today, the granddaughter of one of these builders serves as hotel bookkeeper.) The spot has been important to Glenn’s family since the beginning — his maternal grandparents, Frederick and Mildred Frost, began vacationing here with their young daughter, Edith, in 1930. “As the story goes, my grandfather heard from a friend that this was a place you could get a good meal, and my grandfather really loved to eat,” Glenn says. “But at the same time, it was also during Prohibition, and I think it was pretty
well known — Shelter Island was a place you could get a drink, too.” Fast forward to 1961. Edith, now a grown woman working as a secretary in the Chrysler Building in Manhattan, had married Richard Petry, a top graduate of the Merchant Marine Academy. Weary of life in New York City and years of working for Grace Lines shipping company as a stevedore, Richard began looking for opportunities elsewhere, ideally close to the water so he could pursue his true passion of fishing. Frederick mentioned that the Pridwin was up for sale, and he offered to put up the capital if his son-in-law would put in the sweat equity. Richard recruited a friend to join them as a third partner, and the deal was made. “It was risky, but that’s what young people do,” says Richard, now in his 80s. At the time, he had no prior hotel experience. “In those early days, it wasn’t unusual for for us to be working around the clock.” At first, that work included large-scale renovation projects, like building a grand new dining room or turning a hill of sand into state-ofthe-art tennis courts. When the hotel opened for the 1962 season, Richard also took over the
Fred and Mildred Frost on the Pridwin’s crescent-shaped beach in 1947. Their annual trip to Shelter Island would change their family’s destiny when they took over the hotel in 1962. 35
Richard Petry waterskiing off the Pridwin beach in the 1960s; the famous cookouts that began in the 1970s and which have endured as a Long Island tradition.
bookkeeping and maintenance work. Edith raised the children — Glenn was born that June, and his brother Gregg came along six years later. She also worked as a cocktail server and, according to her kids, “chief social butterfly.” “It wasn’t until my adult years that I realized, wow, what an absolutely unique opportunity to grow up in this setting,” says Glenn. He spent his childhood suffering through seemingly interminable winters until the Pridwin came alive again each summer, a season of adventure spent exploring the grounds, playing with young hotel guests, dishwashing and doing odd jobs to help out the college-aged staff of the hotel. “At one point, my parents sent me to camp for two weeks because, they figured, I was a kid, and all kids should go to camp. It was an absolutely horrible experience, because it paled in comparison to everything I had at my fingertips.” By age 13, Glenn was captaining the Pridwin’s boat in order to teach hotel guests how to waterski. During the evening hours, the bay 36
became his own playground. “As dusk approaches on Shelter Island, the breeze dies down,” Glenn says. “So as the sun sinks lower in the sky, the water gets totally flat and glass-like. All the other boaters go in for cocktail hour, so this is the moment my friends and I would always wait for. We’d ski up and down the beach. We’d do silly things, too, like take the boat as fast as we could and jump off the back in our jean shorts. Or we’d tie a rubber tire onto the back with a rope and go makeshift tubing, long before there was actual equipment for this sort of thing. This was the routine for many years. The freedom of a childhood like that... I realize now what a luxury that was.” On Wednesday nights throughout Glenn’s youth, the Pridwin hosted a cookout on the lawn that, to this day, is a beloved community event complete with live bands playing classic tunes. For many years, Richard baked scratchmade brownies for which hotel guests would come off the beach in their bathing suits, then he’d dance with his bride as the sun set behind them. What started as a small affair now draws between 300 and 400 attendees per week. From the North Fork of Long Island, people routinely pull up by boat. For the Fourth of July, the cookout crowd admires fireworks over the water in a patriotic celebration similar to that at Congress Hall. “We didn’t intend to create this quintessential Americana type of thing,” Glenn says. “It just happened that way.” When it came time for college, both Glenn and his brother set out to forge their own careers — Glenn does PR work for opera singers and classical musicians, while Gregg’s background is in finance. But both have found their way back to the hotel in recent years. Today, Glenn handles managerial duties while Gregg works on the business side of things and, along with his dad, catches the majority of fish served at the Pridwin. They both have children of their own, most of whom work in the hotel, just as their fathers did. The kids also spend much time on the water, although Glenn’s boys prefer wakeboarding to waterskiing. “I was offended at first, but I’m over it now,” he jokes. In June of 2017, Edith, the matriarch of the family, passed away, a loss with which the Petrys
From Shelter Island to Cape May... the Petry family, with patriarch Richard center, enjoy Winter Wonderland during a visit to Congress Hall in December of 2017. The plan is to bring a yearround ambience to the Pridwin, too.
are still coping. That year for Christmas, a holiday usually spent on Shelter Island, the family decided to do something different — they came to Congress Hall. Here, they experienced the hotel’s Winter Wonderland festivities, complete with a 30-foot Christmas tree on the grand lawn and a shopping village by the pool. The feeling of goodwill and childhood magic that’s been drawing thousands of visitors to Cape May since Winter Wonderland launched in 2011 was
not lost on the admiring Petry family . “It was perfect,” Glenn says. “Such a warm, great place. It’s what we imagine when we dream of extending the season at the Pridwin. Christmas at the Pridwin — what an exciting thought. We’re looking forward to realizing this dream with Cape Resorts.” It might not be such a tough sell for Shelter Island visitors. Those starry skies and oak trees are beautiful, Glenn adds, any time of year. 37
Congress Hall est. 1816
what The oldest seaside hotel in America. where The majestic L-shaped building sits on the beachfront and also on Congress Place, next to the Washington Street shopping district. history Built in 1816 by Thomas Hughes, the hotel was so big — reportedly the largest seaside hotel in the country at the time — locals thought it could never work, and they called it Tommy’s Folly. Hughes called it The Big House by the Sea. Twelve years later, it was renamed Congress Hall because of Hughes’s election to Congress. Four sitting presidents stayed here — Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Ulysses Grant and Benjamin Harrison, who in 1891 turned the ground floor of the hotel into his Summer White House. vibe This Cape May landmark is a haven of relaxed elegance and historic charm. best for Families looking to create memories, and couples in need of a getaway. awards Since 2012, Congress Hall has been honored by Condé Nast Traveler magazine as one of the top US hotels in the Northeast. Most recently, it was awarded the #13 spot in the magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards Top 20 Hotels in the Mid-Atlantic and New York regions. It was also named Best Hotel in New Jersey by Travel and Leisure magazine in its annually released World’s Best Awards. WHAT’S NEW The Brown Room, Congress Hall’s famous bar, underwent an exciting, top-to-bottom renovation to commemorate its 85th anniversary.
Congress Place Suites est. 1890
what Beautifully renovated apartments located across from Congress Hall. where In the heart of historic Cape May, one block from the beach on Perry Street. history These newly renovated, fully equipped apartment-style rooms joined the Cape Resorts family in 2017. Sitting above the quaint shops of Washington Street, one of the earliest examples of a pedestrian-only zone on an American main street, these secondstory suites were built to mirror the same fresh, cool blue tones and whimsical seaside decor characteristic of sister property Congress Hall. vibe Bright and sunny, thanks to picture windows that allow for natural light and provide the ideal frame for people watching. A couple of the suites also provide the ideal vantage point for dolphin spotting, taking in the fireworks on the Fourth of July or the annual West Cape May Christmas Parade. best for Families or couples looking for a comfortable home from home. WHATâ€™S NEW Congress Place Suites are available for extended winter stays of up to 13 weeks, a place to call your second home at the seaside! See page 169 for more information.
The Virginia est. 1879
what The Virginia is an impeccably restored 1879 landmark hotel. where In the middle of beautiful Jackson Street, a half-block from the beach. history Like many Cape May hotels, The Virginia was built following the catastrophic fire of 1878 which wiped out 35 downtown acres. When Cape May slumped in the 1900s, The Virginia went from a high-class hotel to a rooming house. It was condemned in the 1980s and then bought in 1986 by Curtis Bashaw and his family. It was renovated and reopened in 1989, the first Cape Resorts property. vibe Polished and elegant, cozy and intimate, The Virginia is a jewel box of quality — think of bathroom amenities made with ingredients fresh from Beach Plum Farm, infused with lavender, lemon verbena and mint. And then there’s its highly acclaimed restaurant, The Ebbitt Room, plus a classic cocktail lounge with piano entertainment. best for Couples looking for a boutique hotel experience. awards Since 2012, the hotel has been honored by Condé Nast Traveler magazine as one of the top US hotels in the Northeast. It was awarded the #4 spot in the magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards Top 20 Hotels in the Mid-Atlantic and New York regions. WHAT’S NEW In celebration of its 30th anniversary, The Virginia lobby and front desk area was treated to vibrant new wallpaper and a paint makeover, while the fireplace lounge (above) is cozier than ever! Also, the hotel’s garden patio is now reserved exclusively as a dining destination for Cape Resorts guests. 41
The Virginia Cottages est. 1891
what A collection of five charming cottages — Red, White, Gray, Brown and Pink. where On historic, breezy Jackson Street, a half-block from the beach and the mall. history In 1891, Edward Knight, owner of Congress Hall, hired architect Stephen Decatur Button (who also designed Congress Hall and once lived next door to Walt Whitman) to draw up plans for seven identical cottages. The buildings changed use several times — three are now owned and operated by Cape Resorts. vibe Equal parts classic and comfort. best for Available as separate apartments or full-house rentals, these are ideal for families or groups of friends, girls’ getaway trips or wedding groups. WHAT’S NEW The White Cottage received a major spruce-up, from garden level to penthouse! 42
The Beach Shack est. 1966
what A stylish, laidback oceanfront hotel. where Just west of Grant Street, directly across from the beach… everyone stands on their tippy toes to peer over the dunes when the dolphins start leaping. history Established by Philadelphia builder Jules Hober, this laidback hotel began as The Coachman’s Motor Inn in 1966. Ten years later, construction began on the Rusty Nail bar and restaurant, in a style inspired by the chalets Hober found at the ski resorts he frequented. He saw a table fashioned from a tree in Vermont, and loved the look of it so much he tracked down the carpenter, who made Jules a bar from the same wood. The Coachman’s and Rusty Nail remained in the Hober family until 2005 when they sold to Cape Resorts, who relaunched the hotel property as the Beach Shack in 2009. vibe Fresh, fun and flip-flop friendly all year-round, thanks to the addition of heating in the rooms (and a rustic-chic fireplace indoors at the Nail, too). The shades of blue and orange and the pineapple motif carpeting evoke a 1970s Hawaii vibe. Kids in particular will love the bunk rooms, a popular new coastal design trend. best for Anyone who likes to feel the sand between their toes. awards The attached Rusty Nail is one of Travel and Leisure magazine’s top 10 picks for best beach bars in America. WHAT’S NEW The specially made Rusty Nail Ale is now being poured ice cold at the bar.
The Star est. circa 1926
what The Star, Congress Hall’s remarkably versatile little sister, consists of an inn, a motel and carriage house, where On Perry Street, close to the shops, beaches and restaurants. history This property used to be the site of the Ocean House Hotel, a grand old dame that took up the whole block. It is also where the Great Fire of 1878 began. Embers from this blaze blew off the roof onto Congress Hall, burning that down and eventually raging through 35 acres of town. When the Star Inn property was renovated by Cape Resorts in 2003, they found ash under the foundation from that same fire. vibe Imaginative and inspiring (with a coffee shop on site). best for Family vacations (you’ll love the 10 Star Inn suites equipped with kitchenettes, separate living rooms and bedrooms, and private backyards or front porches) or group getaways (ask about the Carriage Suites with two bedrooms and bathrooms each). Couples love the nine small en suite bedrooms, the best value of Cape Resorts’ offerings. WHAT’S NEW New floors and new kitchenettes were installed in the Star Suites, while the rooms at the Inn were also renovated, with new carpets, paint colors, reupholstered headboards, plus new wall sconces and love seats.
The Sandpiper Beach Club est. 1977
what A condominium resort with 51 one- and two-bedroom suites with full kitchens, living rooms and balconies… most with spectacular ocean views. where Overlooking the dunes of Cape May’s beautiful main strand. history The original building, which shows up on maps from 1878, was built around 1870 by Richard D. Wood, a wealthy Philadelphia businessman who helped establish the Cape May Ocean Wave newspaper and West Jersey Railroad. In 1940, the property was demolished and replaced by the Cape May Motel before being bought in 1977 by Robert and Ruth Escher, who enlarged the building to the 65-room Sandpiper in the early 80s. In 2004, Cape Resorts acquired the property and renovated it into condos. The company now manages the property on behalf of the owners. vibe It feels like a luxe hotel (think pool, daily housekeeping, beach service, sauna, concierge, expansive fitness center and in-house arcade) but with a sense of home-sweethome. best for Families who want to plant some roots in America’s first seaside resort (with signing privileges at all Cape Resorts properties). awards For the last five years, the Sandpiper has been named one of Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards Top 20 Best Hotels in Mid-Atlantic and New York. WHAT’S NEW The pool area was spruced up. Also, new equipment has been installed in the gym, which is now available to all Cape Resorts guests. 45
Cottages At Beach Plum Farm est. 2018
what A collection of cottages located on a 62-acre working farm. where An idyllic spot on Stevens Street in West Cape May. history Beach Plum Farm launched in 2007 as a way to provide local produce for the Cape Resorts restaurants. What started as a modest operation has grown to include more than 100 crops. And the concept of the farm has expanded, too. Since the space opened to the public in 2009, it’s become a serene place for connecting with nature and one another, usually over a meal of farm-fresh food and drink. The space offers a produce market and store in an Amish-built barn; a kitchen that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner; and, new this season, overnight stays in five farm cottages. vibe With a beautiful landscape and a soundtrack of bird song and free-to-roam contented farm animals, yes, it’s as chill as you would imagine. best for Families, groups of friends or wedding parties... and everyone who appreciates sunshine, pretty scenery and real, clean food. awards Beach Plum Farm was awarded a “Hero” designation from Edible Jersey magazine in 2019 for working to protect the “culinary soul” of the Garden State. WHAT’S NEW Five cottages — Winona Cottage, Whalers Cottage, the Plum Barn, the Hill Barn and the Hidden Barn — are now available to rent, either individually, or as part of a group — perfect for weddings or corporate retreats!
Baron’s Cove est. circa 1962
what An All-American resort destination situated on a harborfront. where In Sag Harbor, a charming little village in the Hamptons of New York. history After a two-year renovation, Baron’s Cove reopened to guests in the summer of 2015. It embraces the history of the original 1960s hotel, which boasted prominent guests including John and Elaine Steinbeck, Paul Newman, Art Garfunkel and Richard Kind. Local leaders, out-of-town guests and regional artists regularly gathered in the restaurant and hotel. vibe The resort offers the same spirit of creativity and community while also offering upto-date amenities expected from a modern resort. It’s a quiet, intimate and accessible place to stay any time of year. The nautically inspired lounge is the place to relax with a cocktail or glass of wine, whether it’s a summer afternoon or a chilly fall evening. best for Anyone looking to explore the wineries, farmers markets, antique stores, shopping and culture on offer in Eastern Long Island. This is the perfect home base. awards Baron’s Cove was honored as one of the Top 20 Hotels in the New York and Mid-Atlantic region by Conde Nast Traveler magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2018. WHAT’S NEW Starting in January, we are offering extended stay options at Baron’s Cove. It’s just like having a second home. These 13-week rentals will include breakfast any day that you are in residence. Please visit baronscove.com for more information.
Beach & Pool The summer season is all about our beaches and pools. Cape May’s wide, breezy, whitesand beaches are regularly named among America’s best in numerous annual surveys, so we know you’re going to want to spend a lot of time on them — especially since you’re being pampered by our beach staff. There are reasons why your mind and body crave beach time — studies have shown you get a vitamin D boost from the sunshine, the iodine in the ocean is an excellent immune system booster, the sand does a fine job of exfoliating your body and salt water helps remove toxins from the skin. If you’re not a beach person, relax on a poolside lounger, dozing and reading, snacking and cocktailing (the prohibition of alcohol on Cape May’s beaches does not apply at our pools), being waited on by attentive staff and splashing around with family and friends.
Guests of Congress Hall, The Star and The Virginia can enjoy Congress Hallâ€™s pool bar, surrounded by lush gardens and overlooking the hotelâ€™s famous Grand Lawn. Serving lunch, snacks and drinks, the pool bar facilitates long, lazy, self-indulgent (in a good way!) days. Not only is our delicious menu offered poolside at Congress Hall, but the pool bar is open daily in season from 11am-9pm. The menu features treats such as a chicken BLT, housemade guacamole and our irresistible caprese sandwich. Wash all that down with a craft beer or a poolside-appropriate cocktail. Guests of the Beach Shack and the Sandpiper can enjoy poolside food and beverage service from the Rusty Nail.
Please Respect Our Beach Rules The beaches in front of our properties are public and are shared with our neighbors and visitors. As a result, please take note of the following rules so that everyone may enjoy a wonderful day by the ocean... A PLACE IN THE SUN Our attendants will set up your chairs, umbrellas and towels once most members of your party arrive on the beach and are ready to occupy their chairs. Please note that we cannot set up chairs in advance. City laws forbid us from doing so â€” please do not ask our attendants to bend the rules (however nicely you do it!). Beach attendants will arrange the set-ups on a first-come, first-served basis, once guests are present. This applies to families, multiple families and groups. We hope that you trust us to try to accommodate your needs while respecting the public aspect of our beautiful beach. EMPTY NESTING Please notify our attendants if you intend to be away from your chairs for more than 30 minutes. They will happily collect your chairs and umbrellas and reset them upon your return. REFRESHMENTS Alcohol is not permitted on the beaches of Cape May. We do, however, have a selection of water, sodas, juices and smoothies. Alcohol is available at Congress Hallâ€™s pool bar and the Rusty Nail. TIPPING We do not automatically add a service charge to pool and beach checks. Please tip according to the service you receive when you receive your check.
For The Perfect Beach Day, Reserve A Private Beach Tent
Lounging by the Atlantic is a relaxing and refreshing experience, no matter how you cut it. But for the ultimate beach day treat, rent one of our gorgeous, classic beach tents, which are based at three locations. The yellow-and-white striped tents of Congress Hall are directly in front of our landmark hotel. The Virginiaâ€™s red-and-white tents are located at the end of Perry Street. And the rustic orange-and-aqua tents of the Beach Shack are between Grant Street and Patterson Avenue. Private beach tent rentals include two lounge chairs, plush beach towels, a cooler filled with water, soda, and iced tea (Congress Hall and The Virginia only), a table and food service. They are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. There are three ways to book a tent (based on availability): 1. At the time of your initial hotel reservation or with our pre-arrival concierge. 2. At the Concierge desk or the front desk of any Cape Resorts property upon check-in. 3. When youâ€™re on the beach. Half-day rates are available same day only, but please note there are no half-day rentals at the Beach Shack. If you reserve your tent with your hotel reservation, check in at the beach service desk and our staff will do the rest! There are a limited number of tents, so we recommend reserving them in advance.
You know them as French fry-stealing pests and by their iconic cries. BUT, thereâ€™s more than one gull around these parts â€” 11 in fact! Get ready to play the beach game of the summer... can you tell a Bonaparte from a Herring? 3
et’s face it: Gulls get a bad rap. Lamplighter Brewing Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, brews a Stupid Seagulls lager. GQ magazine included seagulls as number one on its 2016 list of nine lamest birds in the world, writing: “Say what you want about pigeons,
they at least add some practical value to the world.” Disney took aim by depicting the gulls in Finding Nemo as a dumb, greedy cult — an appropriate foil to the helpful, empathetic pelican with an interest in dentistry. But is this spectacularly awful PR accurate? “Gulls are gregarious so they’re not afraid to get in your face for something they want,” says David La Puma, a local birding expert and a former director of Cape May Bird Observatory. “But, man, they are stunningly beautiful if you take the time to look at them, and they really are a fascinating species.” Sure, gulls swipe our sandwiches and fries. And, yes, they occasionally leave unwelcome... gifts, let’s say, on our shoulders or beach bags. But you also have to admire them. Consider their adaptability — unlike other animal species driven away by development, gulls are able to exist everywhere people do. Then there’s their sociability — La Puma can tell you about a onelegged laughing gull who comes to the Cove beach every year to see the same surfer. The trickiest part about gulls is actually identifying them. While we tend to affix all of our long-winged, web-footed seabirds with the same loaded label — seagull — there’s no such thing. On a typical year in Cape May, we see ELEVEN kinds of gull. Here, we’ve compiled a photo guide to getting started. Take this book to the beach for help with labeling the birds in your periphery (we’ve numbered them to help you with ID-ing) — or use it to cover your sandwich while you eat! The gulls are coming for it.
Laughing gulls WILL eat out of your hand... but please don’t try this on the beach!
1. American Herring Gull year-round These hefty birds are competitive and they’re not afraid of threatening other birds over food. They love their herring, hence the name, but will also eat mussels, crabs and other marine life… sometimes whole. But don’t let it be said these guys aren’t romantic — during courtship, males feed their mates. Like dogs, they pant to cool off. And, in order to drink ocean water and survive, they secrete salt through their eyes. They’ve been known to live nearly three decades.
2. Great Black-Backed Gull year-round All hail the king of the Atlantic waterfront — that’s how experts at Cornell Lab of Ornithology refer to these broad, powerful birds.
At more than two-and-a-half feet, they’re the largest gulls in the world, and we get a ton of them breeding in Cape May. Like the glaucous gull, these guys are significant predators of other seabirds (although more than half their diet comes from human trash). They’re also extremely curious, happy to investigate any small organism. At nearly 27, the oldest one recorded was spotted in New Jersey.
3. Laughing Gull spring, summer, fall These black-headed cuties are appropriately named — their call sounds more like a nasal cackle, and it’s as much a part of Cape May’s summer soundtrack as lapping waves and lifeguard whistles. Laughing gull colonies in this part of the country — sometimes 25,000 57
pairs strong — were nearly wiped out by egg and plume hunters in the 19th century, but the birds have made a comeback. A progressive species, both males and females pitch in to build a nest. Sometimes, you’ll catch them hovering over the head of a pelican, hoping to steal its catch.
4. Ring-Billed Gull fall, winter, spring Here are your acrobats. If you were to throw a French fry into the air (you’ll be a very unpopular person on the beach if you DO) a ring-billed gull would likely swoop out of nowhere to catch it. But while they’re super-skilled at recognizing food, they’re not so good at recognizing their own babies — they’ve been known to pick pebbles off the ground and place them in their nests, mistaking them for fallen eggs. The birds — who have a built-in compass for navigating migration — have also been known to crossbreed with other species, including the laughing gull. Their name comes from an easily recognizable black band around a yellow beak.
5. Bonaparte’s Gull fall, winter, spring One of the smallest gull species anywhere (and the second smallest in Cape May) Bonaparte’s is named for a French ornithologist, Charles Bonaparte, the nephew of French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. He’s excellent at catching insects while in flight (the bird, not the emperor), and he’s the only gull type to regularly nest in trees. These guys like to keep to themselves, rarely joining larger gulls at trash dumps. Look for a white triangle on the outer part of the wing.
6. Lesser Black-Backed Gull spring and fall Fifty years ago, it would have been very rare to see one of these birds in Cape May — 58
they were a Europe-only species. But, like a lot of folks, they’ve since discovered the joys of a trip to Cape May. Also, like a lot of our visitors, they enjoy getting their feet wet, so you’ll regularly spot several of them standing in the surf at Cape May Point. Recognize them by slate-grey wings and a smudgy patch around the eye.
7. Little Gull spring and fall The first little gull nest in North America was not discovered until the 1960s, but no one’s sure what that means — were they new to this place, or had they always been seriously good at hiding? Either way, the dainty bird lives up to its name — this is the smallest gull in the world, weighing in at less than six ounces. Recognize it by its pale grey winter wings, dark ear patch and smudge on its head.
8. Black-Headed Gull winter This is an infrequent visitor to North America — an average of only three to five are spotted in Cape May per year, and you might find them hanging with the Bonaparte’s crowd. They’ll be hard to pinpoint, because they don’t actually have a black head — when breeding, it’s dark brown. And when not breeding, like during winter in Cape May, it’s white with some dark smudging behind the eye. The gull’s calls are a bit harsh… listen for their signature kar and kek sound.
9. Iceland winter These guys breed on large cliffs in the Arctic, building mossy nests on a rock face, but you’ll usually spot one or two of them wintering on the Cape per year. They’re super-graceful flyers (more so than the similar-looking herring gull) and you’ll recognize them by their signature move, an ability to scoop fish out
of the water without landing. The people of Greenland hunted this species extensively in the 19th and 20th centuries, but it survived largely because so many flocks prefer the continent’s least accessible places.
catch them shallow diving or snatching fish from the surface of the water.
11. Glaucous Gull
winter The name comes from the bird’s call, a highpitched kitty-wa-aake, though the birds are
winter This bird, the second largest gull in the world, is what La Puma calls a “winter special treat” — we see only one every few winters or so in Cape May. (Its white wingtips distinguish it from similarly sized gulls.) For
usually quiet in winter. But the scientific name, tridactyla, means “three-toed.” (The fourth, or hind, toe of this gull is really more of a nub.) Keep your eyes peeled, also, for the exceptionally short black legs. Because the black-legged kittiwake winters at sea, pelagic birding trips off the Cape are the best way to
food, hyper-predatory glaucous gulls have been known to pick off the eggs — or even the chicks — of other seabirds. They’re efficient about it — sometimes, they wait for a fox or a human to do the work of distracting a colony and then swoop in to steal their target.
10. Black-Legged Kittiwake
Cape Resorts Food Guide THE Blue Pig Tavern The cozy tavern style is enhanced by a wood-burning fireplace. On warmer evenings, reserve a table on the lush garden patio and enjoy classic American fare. Location: 200 Congress Place Meals Served: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Reservations: Recommended (dinner) Phone: 609-884-8422
the Ebbitt Room Using the freshest produce from Beach Plum Farm, Chef Jason Hanin’s menu wows customers — the buzzy-yetintimate vibe helps, too. The bar is a favorite spot, along with the front porch. Location: 25 Jackson Street Meals Served: Dinner Reservations: Recommended Phone: 609-884-5700
the Rusty Nail The hottest beachfront spot in town offers reasonably priced fare from Chef Jimmy Burton with an emphasis on local seafood. Don’t miss Chef Jimmy’s Monday Night Pig Roast. Location: Beach Avenue, near Patterson Meals Served: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Reservations: No Phone: 609-884-0017
The Brown Room The spectacular new renovation created a space that’s just the right combination of classy and cozy. Enjoy a great cocktail menu, excellent appetizers and live music. Switch it up by enjoying drinks on the veranda rocking chairs. Location: 200 Congress Place Meals Served: Dinner, Cocktail Snacks Reservations: No Phone: 609-884-8422
the Boiler Room Thin-crust, brick-oven pizza, pasta, meatballs and seasonal salads. Plus six draft beers. Don’t miss the live entertainment from Thursday-Sunday. NEW: Open for lunch from June 28! Location: 200 Congress Place Meals Served: Lunch, Dinner, Late-Night Snacks Reservations: No Phone: 609-884-8421
Ebbitt Room Lounge/Porch There are four cozy nooks as an alternative to the dining room. Try to snag a seat on the front porch. There’s no better place to indulge. Location: 25 Jackson Street Meals Served: Small Plates, Snacks Reservations: No Phone: 609-884-5700
beach plum farm kitchen Breakfast and lunch dishes loaded with produce straight from the farm. And look out for Farm-to-Table dinners throughout the year. Location: 140 Stevens Street, West Cape May Meals Served: Breakfast, Lunch Reservations: No Phone: 609-602-0128
Tommy’s Folly CAFÉ Tommy’s Folly has a full menu of La Colombe coffee drinks, plus freshly made breakfast sandwiches, pastries, patio tables for an extra treat. Location: 200 Congress Place Meals Served: Breakfast, Lunch, Treats Reservations: No Phone: 609-884-6522
beach plum bakery & café West End Garage’s eatery serves up housemade doughnuts, sweet and savory pastries, sandwiches, soups, cold-pressed coffee on tap, classic coffee and espresso beverages, teas and La Colombe Draft Lattes. Location: 484 West Perry Street Meals Served: Breakfast, Lunch Reservations: No Phone: 609-770-8261
the veranda Congress Hall’s breezy veranda is the setting for a menu that includes raw bar items and small plates. Please consult our concierge for hours of operation. Location: 200 Congress Place Meals Served: Dinner, Small Plates Reservations: No Phone: 609-884-8422
POOL service A family-friendly lunch menu, served from 11am, which might be the only way you lure the kids out of the pool. Available at Congress Hall, Beach Shack and the Sandpiper. Meals Served: Lunch Reservations: No
Beach service No need to cross the road. From the comfort of your lounger, fill out an order card and have lunch delivered right to your beach table. Available at Congress Hall, The Virginia, Beach Shack and the Sandpiper. Location: On the beach at Perry, Jackson and Patterson. Meals Served: Lunch, Snacks Reservations: No
Ebbitt Room executive chef Jason Hanin samples the goods at Beach Plum Farm. To see some of the magic he works with farm-fresh ingredients, turn to pages 82-87.
Great Food Starts At Our Farm The 62-acre Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May has been evolving into one of the island’s most charming, serene and naturally beautiful locales to visit for a stroll, a meal or even — newly available this season — an exciting place to stay. Cape Resorts purchased the farm in 2007, a decision spearheaded by managing partner Curtis Bashaw, a man with agribusiness in his blood. His dad’s dad tended a small farm in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where Bashaw was inspired by the fresh turkey, chicken, tomatoes and corn. Meanwhile, his mom’s dad operated a farm in Port Norris, New Jersey to raise food for the Christian Admiral Bible Conference in Cape May, where Bashaw worked as a boy. In the 1850s, Congress Hall also had its own farm, which supplied guests with a “profusion” of fresh vegetables, according to 19th century newspaper reports. Cape Resorts put Cape May back on the farm-to-table map. What started out as a modest operation — a first harvest of tomatoes, squash and cucumbers — has grown to include more than 100 crops, often picked the same day they appear on a plate or in a cocktail glass at one of our restaurants. Think juicy plum tomatoes used for the Boiler Room’s brick oven pizzas or beets, carrots and leafy greens used in fresh-pressed juices served at various Cape Resorts eateries. Also on the farm, happy chickens, turkeys and pigs roam free in large, sunny pens, meaning even the meat options on any given Cape Resorts menu (buttermilk fried chicken, hickory-smoked pulled pork) have been sourced humanely. But Beach Plum Farm doesn’t merely provide clean food 63
for a collection of restaurants — it also provides a community gathering place. During the shoulder seasons, the farm hosts festivals with live music, craft beer, marshmallow roasting, hay rides and, of course, farm-fresh food. Parents come to see their kids interacting with nature instead of iPads. Birders come for rare sightings over protected marshlands that flank the back of the property. And couples come for a fun and different, artisanal sort of date. Throughout the summer, guests take self-guided or guided tours that wind through wooded marsh trails, around a duck pond and down a breezy path leading to an apiary. Inside the farm’s post-and-beam barn, built in 2015 from Pennsylvania hemlock by an Amish family using peg joinery, you can peruse a farm market for eggs, veggies, herbs and flowers. (Try the blue borage, a traditional garnish for Pimm’s Cup cocktails, best enjoyed on a breezy Cape May porch.) Or savor a meal prepared with these farm-fresh ingredients at a picnic table outside — there’s
a kitchen on site. Throughout the year you’ll find rustic-chic Farm-to-Table dinners and holiday celebrations held inside this beautifully decorated space or inside the nearby, twinkly-light-illuminated hoop house. New on the property are five cottages — three are meticulously renovated, historic homes and two are new barns that were constructed by the aforementioned Amish family. Rent each individually or as a compound for family reunions and wedding parties, and fall asleep to nature’s soundtrack. Each space, beautifully appointed with a mix of antique and modern pieces, comes with its own outdoor shower, screened-in porch, firepit and a golf cart for riding into town, as well as access to a shared, 40-foot salt water pool. In the mornings, have scratch-made pastries and fresh coffee delivered to your door. In other words: This is your farmhouse fantasy come to life, minus the labor, plus doughnuts! Hurry up and get here… so you can slow right down. 65
Summer Supper Series At The Farm beginning june 16
Sundays Backyard BBQ Come chase lightning bugs with us in the soft summer breezes at our Summer Sunday Suppers. The stars of the grill are Beach Plum Farm’s sustainably raised pork and pasture-raised poultry with a casual, hearty supporting cast of all your favorite home-cooked salads and sides. Just like having a backyard BBQ with friends and family without all the clean-up. Don’t miss the games in the yard! Join us from 4-8pm. No reservations needed.
Wednesdays Farm-to-Table Dinner As the scents of honeysuckle and hydrangeas gather in the summer air, come celebrate the bounty of our farm at our Farm-to-Table Dinners. We’ll be serving up sustainably raised pork, pasture-raised poultry, succulent ripe tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, squash blossoms — all the fruits of summer, hand-harvested in the back fields of Beach Plum Farm in a four-course, familystyle meal crafted by our chef as each vegetable comes into season.
Fridays Farm & Fin Open Fire Dinner This summer, we’re fire-cooking our farm-fresh fare and pairing it with local seafood wild-caught right off the shores of Cape May — charring and intensifying its flavor for a memorable dining experience. Join us Fridays for a special four-course, flame-cooked, family-style meal that showcases the farm-to-table and dock-to-dish connection on Cape Island. visit bpfcapemay.com
TIP Blue’s Clubhouse, the Cape Resorts sitting service (see page 131), is available for both the Wednesday and Friday dinners to keep your kids entertained and engaged.
A day in the life of a Beach Plum Pickle!
ou could be forgiven for assuming that all is quiet on the Beach Plum front during the winter months. But this is not a time for the staff to hibernate. This past winter the crew assembled to embark on a pickling project; they took to the kitchen to bottle all of the flavors and rich nutrients that come from fresh vegetables. Twenty-four pickle recipes were tested and six were chosen to create a small batch for the Beach Plum Farm Market. “The process was a team effort and several months in the making,” says Christina Albert, farm manager. “We had the chefs, executives and employees from the Cape Resorts properties out to the farm for a taste test and we came up with the six recipes.” The winners included three types of cucumber pickles — Bread and Butter, Lemon Verbena and Fireside. In addition, carrot and beet pickles were chosen. So how exactly do you make 2500 jars of pickles? First, all of the jars are sterilized. Then a blend of spices is added to each. For Bread and Butter, it was a combination of celery 68
seed, mustard seed, turmeric, sugar and brown sugar. Fireside pickles have a smoky flavor derived from their spice blend, which includes black peppercorn, whole coriander, mustard seed, smoked paprika, crushed pepper and salt. The Lemon Verbena variety includes leaves grown on the farm, with mustard seed, coriander, salt and sugar. The carrot pickles get extra flavor from bay leaves, mustard seeds and garlic, while the beets were bottled with ground sage and smoked paprika. After the spice blend is placed in the jar, the sliced vegetables are added. A vinegar-water combination is brought to a boil and poured into the jars. Once the jar is full, it’s sealed and placed into a water bath for 10 minutes, then set aside for a week. And voila! Tasty pickles! It took a lot of hard work, but the result was 800 24 oz jars of Bread and Butter, Lemon Verbena and Fireside cucumber pickles; 200 16 oz jars of beet pickles; and 250 16 oz jars of carrot pickles. It’s a lim-
ited small batch that is available at the Farm Market, so you’ll want to stop by soon to see if you can snag a jar. The pickling project was a huge success this winter at Beach Plum Farm — it should be the first of many pickling parties on the horizon.
Start a new tradition this season with a holiday farmto-table dinner at Beach Plum Farm. Begin your evening with a stroll among the twinkling lights of the Elfin Woodland Marsh Trail where we’ll have cocktails and hors-d’oeuvres around the glow of a crackling fire. Each menu will be based on what’s fresh at the farm that week. Highlights might include roast heritage turkey with sweet potato spätzle or braised Berkshire pork loin and gratin of leeks. Visit bpfcapemay.com for more information. For a special treat, combine the dinner with a stay at one of our cottages — see facing page. 70
Magical Stays At The Farm Come home to Beach Plum Farm, where the alarm clock is the sound of the rooster crowing and, at day’s end, the stars put on a show. The cottages and barns at Beach Plum Farm provide a singular experience, set apart from the buzzy downtown (though it’s only a bike ride away). Each cottage provides an authentic farmhouse experience, with the benefits of modern comforts, including fully equipped kitchens. The cottages sleep from 2-12 and can be rented individually or as a group — perfect for weddings, reunions or corporate retreats. Visit bpfcapemay.com. 71
Itâ€™s Always Chill Time At the Nail
For decades, the Rusty Nail has been the place where Cape May’s surfers and lifeguards hang out. This iconic bar/restaurant is one of the must-visit establishments in town, a place where beach lovers congregate around the indoor wooden bar which was long rumored to be the longest in Cape May (later confirmed by Exit Zero magazine) or around the fire pit. Thanks to the addition last year of a stunning indoor fireplace, you can enjoy the appeal of the Nail from spring through December and enjoy the heated rooms at the Beach Shack. The Nail’s enduring popularity is due, in part, to their draft beer, which is the coldest in town (a fact once again confirmed by Exit Zero in a cold beer test) and favorite dishes like the fish tacos and Nail wrap. Executive Chef Jimmy Burton, who comes from Cape May’s most famous cooking family, offers a menu full of seaside classics and satisfying salads. The kids are guaranteed to love it — children’s meals are served on a frisbee. And every Monday from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Chef Jimmy roasts a Beach Plum Farm pig on the outside grill. It’s no wonder Travel & Leisure named the Nail one of America’s Top 10 Beach Bars and it’s one of ZAGAT’s 10 Hottest Restaurants on the Jersey Shore. Day and night, there is often live music — the Nail has cultivated an eclectic crew of performers who keep the party going. But it’s a mellow kind of party — you’ll be chilling all afternoon or night. Just be aware of the dress code — flip-flops are strongly encouraged.
Ask A Bartender BILL SCOTT ON SURFING THE WORLD, ALWAYS RETURNING TO CAPE MAY ... AND THE PERFECT TIME OF DAY TO HEAD OVER TO THE NAIL Bill Scott, 32-year-old bartender with a background in marine biology, has been slinging drinks at the Rusty Nail for six years. An avid surfer, he takes off every offseason to search the world for waves, but he always comes back to Cape May. We caught up with Billy to find out what it is about this place that draws him back. Where’d you go this winter? Nicaragua, Hawaii, Panama and Puerto Rico. How was it? It was pretty good! There was actually the biggest swell ever recorded while I was in Hawaii, but it came with a bunch of bad weather. Still pretty cool to see. I can’t really complain. Given how many beautiful places you’ve experienced around the world, how does Cape May stack up? It’s right up there with anything else I’ve seen. Different in the sense that you get all four seasons, which I like. And definitely full of culture and history. It offers so much, especially for such a tiny island. What Rusty Nail drink tastes best after a long day in the water? Our margarita, made with homemade sour mix. What about your personal specialty? The margarita! So what’s in that pretty fancy copper pineapple mug? Pineapple Jawn — it’s vodka, passion fruit and piña colada. People go crazy for that container.
THE NAIL REFINES THE ART OF CASUAL DINING
With its beachfront location, you’d be right in assuming the Rusty Nail offers seafood specialties — highlights include lobster, grilled fish tacos, BBQ clams and fried flounder sandwich. You’ll also want to try the pulled pork sandwich, steak and cake, plus the ridiculously good BBQ ribs.
Nailed It BRINGING THE HEAT (AND THE FUN) YEARROUND
Thanks to the addition of a wood-burning stone fireplace, you can enjoy the charms of the Rusty Nail all the way through December. (And with heat now installed at the Beach Shack, you can stay there, too!) Tip: The hottest (and beachiest) New Yearâ€™s Eve party now happens at the Nail...
â€œGood food and great atmosphere: This place was perfect for chilly weather at the beach with its real wood-burning fireplace. The outside fire pit was also a good place to hang out on cooler evenings.â€? brian d, lititz, pa via tripadvisor
A Pooch Paradise AT THE BEACH SHACK AND RUSTY NAIL, IT’S FUR CENTRAL! Ah, vacation. We spend all year planning for it, budgeting around it and — most of all — looking forward to it. But, if you’ve got a very good dog at home (and, let’s fact it, all dogs are very good dogs), leaving the pup behind can put a damper on a beach holiday before it even begins. At the Beach Shack hotel and Rusty Nail restaurant, there’s no reason to part with your pooch — this beachfront favorite is VERY dog friendly. The hotel offers a PAWS UP package that includes a $20 dining credit per day, a Beach Shack dog leash, waste disposal bags, a customized frisbee and tasty treat, plus use of a dog bed and food and water bowl. But your dog won’t be resigned to the room. In addition to their surf-inspired 80
human cuisine, the Nail offers a canine menu (complete with hound-friendly beer) your dog will enjoy to a soundtrack of live music. (That’s right — we’ve seen more than a few labradors head-bobbing to acoustic guitar by the firepit.) If you’re here in September, you might consider entering your pet into the annual Rusty Nail Doggie Pageant for a chance to win a $250 gift card and your dog’s image on our doggie beer label. So, now that you’ve got your accommodations worked out, how can you ensure your beach vacation is the happiest, smoothest, tail waggiest of holidays for both you and your furball friend? Below are some expert-approved tips for taking the stress out of a pet-friendly trip… no bones about it. Consider the car ride. Yes, dogs get motion sickness, too. According to the American Kennel Club, moving your pooch closer to the front of the vehicle (say, a middle seat rather than a third row space) will help. If your pup has never been in a car before — or has only been in a car for anxiety-ridden trips to the vet — prepare him or her for the journey by conditioning them a few minutes a day in the week or two leading up to your departure. Simply bring the dog into a running vehicle in the driveway with a favorite toy — without actually driving anywhere. Finally, invest in a crate. This will keep your dog safe in the event of a sudden stop. Battle the bark. Being in a new space might provoke some anxiety for your dog, which can result in whining, yelping or barking. Understandably, that might make you want to coddle, snuggle or belly rub the anxiety away. But celebrity dog behaviorist Cesar Millan cautions against inadvertently encouraging the noise through affection. Instead, he writes, before you even enter the hotel room, “Stay calm and assertive and take him out for some exercise to calm him… A recently exercised dog will be in a more relaxed state during any long trip.” Pro tip:
Dogs are VIPs at the Nail, with a host of inroom benefits. Then there’s the annual Doggie Pageant (opposite page). Above: Last year’s winner, and this year’s mascot, is Louis!
Cape May’s Higbee Beach on the Delaware Bayshore allows leashed dogs all year long, any time of day. Take control. Another one of Millan’s tips? Upon entering the hotel room, it’s important YOU explore all areas first, so that your scent is everywhere. While you do this, make sure your dog stays put in an area of your choosing. This will keep him calm and reassure him that you are, in fact, in control. Have fun! If your dog seems nervous, this is normal — if you get nervous, too, it will only exacerbate the situation. If you’re happy and relaxed (just look at that view!), your dog will follow suit. Then you and the family — dog included, of course — can focus on enjoying a pawfect seaside getaway. 81
How A ‘Hero’ Chef Is Making Magic At The Ebbitt Room
When dining out, itâ€™s nice to know youâ€™re in good hands. Competent hands. Experienced hands. But heroic hands? Is that overreaching a bit? Not at The Ebbitt Room, the critically acclaimed restaurant at The Virginia. This year, from hundreds of nominees, executive chef Jason Hanin was selected one of six Food Heroes in the state by Edible Jersey magazine, which highlights those gastronomic leaders who buck trends, push boundaries and generally make our dining lives more joyful, exciting and worth celebrating. In other words: those
who protect the state’s “culinary soul.” Jason, a Philadelphia native who’s been cooking since he was eight and whose formal training came from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, honed his craft in myriad places — Aspen, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Utah, Malibu and the Caribbean, to name a few — before landing at The Ebbitt Room. Now, he’s on a mission to curate a menu that is creative without being fussy; his dishes, he told Edible Jersey, are approachable. “The food is relatable,” he said. “Our pork chop blows me
away each time I taste it.” The secret, Jason will tell you, is high-quality ingredients, and with the local Beach Plum Farm providing much of The Ebbitt Room’s meat and produce, high-quality ingredients are easy to come by. “Our farmers Christina and Andrew are my colleagues,” Jason explains. “The dishes are designed around what is growing. The fact that it’s a mile away, I know what the food looks like, 84
I know how it’s packaged and how it’s cared for. I know how the chickens are being fed and how the piggies are being loved by the children who visit. I know they have a happy life. We are constantly collaborating and working to grow beautiful food for beautiful plates — the end result is a beautiful product, whether it’s produce or poultry or pork. Everything has been treated with love.”
Classic Cocktails at the ebbitt room
1. SIDECAR Reportedly created by a cognac-loving American army captain in Paris during World War I and named after his motorcycle sidecar. cognac, orange liqueur, lemon juice, orange peel
2. BLOOD ORANGE MARTINI The first Martini was apparently poured during the mid-1800s in Martinez, California. This drink is The Ebbitt Room’s modern twist. vodka, champagne, blood orange
3. FRENCH 75 This classic also dates back to World War I — an early form was created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris. sparkling wine, cognac, lemon, simple syrup
4. OLD FASHIONED The first use of this name for a bourbon cocktail was in 1881 at a gentlemen’s club in Louisville, Kentucky.
whiskey, bitters, simple syrup, orange, black cherry
The Blue Pig Tavern RAVE REVIEWS FOR AN AMERICAN CLASSIC
he Blue Pig Tavern is Americana on a plate — offering a classic tavern atmosphere with a reliable menu of comfort foods, augmented with modern updates and healthy choices, too. Whether you’re looking for a cozy date night in front of a roaring fire, a casual family meetup served al fresco in the leafy, charming patio or a comfortable spot to read your morning paper over a mug of high-quality coffee (or a glass of fresh-pressed juice), the friendly staff are happy to accommodate you. But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what the experts have to say… As part of their 36 Hours series, The New York Times has recommended fueling up for a morning bike ride with the Pig’s “fresh and simple” American fare. “Ask for a seat in the outdoor courtyard next to the trickling fountain and order a side of turkey sausage for sustenance.” NJ Monthly magazine has called the Pig “long on charm,” adding that “the food deserves as much credit as the scene and the occasional opportunity to stargaze.” Atlantic City may be the East Coast’s playground, but according to their paper of
record, The Press of Atlantic City, the Pig is a must-visit for Shore visitors. “Settled in a corner of historic Congress Hall, the Blue Pig Tavern hails from a decor lineage dating from the 1700s and 1800s. White linen-covered, candlelit tables aside, the interior certainly looks like a tavern, but the unpretentious menu reflects more sophisticated fare…” The Philadelphia Inquirer has profiled The Blue Pig Tavern for “feeding an appetite for local food.” “[Serving locally grown produce] is catnip in Cape May, where residents as well as the summer crowd (predominantly from New York) and day-trippers (many from the preppier pockets in the PrincetonWilmington corridor) value the notion of maintaining authenticity in the face of growth.’” Or, as the Jersey Bites website put it… “The farm-fresh flavors come as no surprise, as the Blue Pig’s devotion to slow food and sustainable practices takes the farm-to-fork concept to new heights.” AAA.com has recommended starting with something from the raw bar, followed by the “gooey mac and cheese”, “impossibly fresh crab cakes or delectable burger.” But no worries, they say — no matter what you choose, you can’t really go wrong. “This cozy spot serves generous portions of hearty American cuisine… Diners are sure to find something they like from the extensive menu or the list of blue plate specials.” 92
â€œThe Blue Pig is my favorite place to eat in Cape May. Sitting outside in the heart of the garden with beautiful flowers and landscaping makes this a great summer date spot. At night it has a romantic feel with candles on the tables. The food is also to die for.â€? jacqueline o., philadelphia, via yelp
Classics Expertly Prepared
Think of the word â€œtavernâ€? and you likely imagine a cozy place that serves weary travelers with food and drinks to revive and refresh them. At the Blue Pig, some of the favorites include grilled herb-marinated chicken, cedar planked salmon, old fashioned fish and chips and steak and cake. Prepare to be refreshed and revived!
â€œMy wife and I spent four nights at Congress Hall for our Christmas vacation and ate all our meals at The Blue Pig Tavern, including Christmas dinner. The food was excellent and service was friendly and attentive. We could not have asked for a more Christmasy experience.â€? donzdi, haddon heights, nj via tripadvisor
A Quick Guide To Breakfast across our properties Farm Juices & Smoothies
WHAT’S IN IT: Produce from Beach Plum Farm, juiced into your glass. Flavors include Ultimate Green Juice, and Carrots, Apples and Ginger. Smoothies are made with vanilla yogurt and seasonal fruit purée, in flavors like mango and strawberry.
WHAT’S IN IT: Cold-pressed coffee on tap, La Colombe draft latte.
WHAT’S IN IT: Bloody Mary and Mimosa are among the favorites.
WHERE TO GO: Beach Plum Bakery and Café at West End Garage. La Colombe coffee in cans is also available at Tommy’s Folly Café, Blue Pig Tavern and Beach Plum Farm.
WHERE TO GO: The Blue Pig Tavern and the Rusty Nail (where the Bloody Mary is a Rusty Mary).
Beach Plum Farm Omelet
WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Tommy’s Folly Café, Beach Plum Farm, Beach Plum Bakery and Café.
The Healthy Start WHAT’S IN IT: Two egg whites any style, fresh berry and fruit salad, whole wheat English muffin with housemade honey-almond butter, plus freshly squeezed Beach Plum Farm juice.
WHAT’S IN IT: Low-fat yogurt, fresh berries and crunchy granola. WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Tommy’s Folly Café, Pool Bar, Rusty Nail.
WHAT’S IN IT: Our own free-range eggs, with farm-fresh, seasonal ingredients. WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail.
WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern.
Macadamia Nut Pancakes
Eggs Benedict Variations
WHAT’S IN IT: Three fluffy pancakes with delicious toppings and finished off with your choice of coconut or classic maple syrup.
WHAT’S IN IT: Try something a little different — Eggs Blackstone on a fresh scallion biscuit, or The Nail, which is poached eggs on a crab cake.
WHAT’S IN IT: Eggs, cheddar and bacon or ham on a croissant. The Rusty Nail has sandwiches on bagels, biscuits and everything in between, while Beach Plum Farm has a breakfast sandwich with farm eggs.
WHERE TO GO: The Rusty Nail.
The Grain Bowl
WHERE TO GO: Eggs Blackstone is available at the Blue Pig Tavern. The Nail is available at the Rusty Nail.
WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail, Beach Plum Farm.
WHAT’S IN IT: Typically includes quinoa, farro, barley and seasonal vegetables.
WHAT’S IN IT: Farm egg whites, sautéed mushrooms, tomatoes, leeks and American cheese.
WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Beach Plum Farm.
WHERE TO GO: Tommy’s Folly Café.
WHAT’S IN IT: Homemade doughnuts available in your favorite classic flavors — plain, powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar.
WHERE TO GO: Beach Plum Bakery and Café, Beach Plum Farm.
A Quick Guide To Lunch across our properties
Sandwiches & Wraps
WHAT’S IN IT: For meat lovers craving the All-American Classic, you’ll find a half-pound grilled sirloin. Make it your own with all sorts of toppings, like mushrooms, onions, avocado or cheddar cheese. Or stop by the Blue Pig Tavern for a delicious Veggie or Turkey Burger.
WHAT’S IN IT: The Nail Wrap is made with fried local fluke topped with cheese and fresh pico de gallo. The Blue Pig Tavern offers a crispy fried chicken breast sandwich with housemade coleslaw.
WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail, Pool and Beach services.
WHERE TO GO: Rusty Nail, Blue Pig Tavern, West End Café, Beach Plum Farm, Tommy’s Folly Café, Pool and Beach services.
Frisbee Children’s Menu
WHAT’S IN IT: Parents may say don’t play with your food, but no one ever said don’t play with your plate! This kids’ menu is served on a souvenir Frisbee — perfect for the beach and sand pit.
WHAT’S IN IT: Using farm-fresh tomatoes and lettuce. WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail, Beach Plum Farm, Beach Services.
WHERE TO GO: Rusty Nail. The Blue Pig Tavern also has a great kids’ menu — served on grown-up plates.
Grilled Baja Fish Tacos WHAT’S IN IT: Tacos packed to the gills with grilled mahi, corn, salsa, cheddar cheese, black beans and guacamole, served with coleslaw. WHERE TO GO: Rusty Nail.
Salads WHAT’S IN IT: Fresh lettuce and delicious vegetables from Beach Plum Farm. Try the Barley and Quinoa at the Blue Pig or the Nail’s filling Cobb. WHERE TO GET IT: Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail, Tommy’s Folly Café, Beach Plum Farm, Pool and Beach services.
Pizza WHAT’S IN IT: Premium ingredients inspired by Beach Plum Farm, with six irresistible pizza toppings. WHERE TO GO: New this year, lunch is being served at the Boiler Room!
Pulled Pork Sandwich WHAT’S IN IT: Slow-cooked Berkshire pork with housemade Carolina-style BBQ sauce. WHERE TO GO: Beach Plum Farm, Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail.
Mac & Cheese WHAT’S IN IT: This rich and creamy blend of sharp cheddar cheeses can be enjoyed as a side dish or a full meal. WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail (where you can also enjoy deep-fried mac-n-cheese balls).
Garden-Inspired Soups WHAT’S IN IT: The freshest of ingredients from Beach Plum Farm. WHERE TO GO: Beach Plum Farm, Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail, Tommy’s Folly Café, West End Café.
WHAT’S IN IT: The Nail’s Boardwalk Cones are the perfect starter for a seaside lunch — from Boardwalk Fries to yummy Conch Fritters. Pair perfectly with a cold drink and warm sunshine.
WHAT’S IN IT: Enjoy a nice cold drink with a kick — The Rusty Nail’s Hammer is a frozen concoction of Gosling’s Black Seal rum, Cruzan coconut rum, passion fruit purée, fresh lemon and pineapple juices.
WHERE TO GO: Rusty Nail.
WHERE TO GO: Rusty Nail, Blue Pig Tavern, Pool Service, Boiler Room.
The Day The Pouring Stopped AS WE COMMEMORATE 100 YEARS SINCE PROHIBITION BEGAN, A LOOK INTO HOW IT AFFECTED LIFE IN GENTEEL CAPE MAY
Right: The Philadelphia Inquirer celebrates the end of Prohibition, which began on January 17, 1920. 102
ne might assume that 100 years ago — when the country passed its 18th Amendment and entered into the boozeless, 13-year experiment called Prohibition — little Cape May would have toed the sober line. Because we’re steeped in Victorian architecture and all the strait-laced stigma that goes along with that, you may well think we tossed the hooch into the sea and went back to scrapbooking, strolling the promenade and other more genteel activities. But, turns out, America’s first seaside resort was full of organized criminals (and some not-so-organized criminals) who couldn’t resist the draw of demon rum or the siren call of a speakeasy. “This period fell after Cape May’s first golden age, which ended after World War 1,” says local historian and retired professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Bob Heinly. “By our standards, this place was now a sleepy little town that tourists seemingly forgot.” In other words, the economy in Cape May had taken a hit. The town had been a popular spot when Victoriana was in vogue and steamship had been the primary mode of travel for DC and Philadelphia-based vacationers. But, as railway options increased, seaside spots further north, especially Atlantic City — glitzier and more modern — became accessible. Subsistence farmers, small shopkeepers and hoteliers on the peninsula — no longer able to depend on tourist dollars — needed a way to supplement income. And rumrunning appeared an obvious fit. “The Jersey Cape is full of wonderful little coves and inlets and bays,” Heinly says. “And we were home to a nautical population, people who knew all the nooks and crannies and best places to hide.” 104
Some became only occasional, spontaneous criminals. On July 16, 1926, when a Schellenger’s Landing man walking by the tideline in Cape May discovered two bottles of whiskey washed ashore after a storm, the Standard Sentinel newspaper reported: “Thirsty persons are rushing to the beach with crab nets to comb the surf.” Others, more calculated and professional, would have worked under the direction of Max “Boo Boo” Hoff, the kingpin of Jersey Shore rumrunning. Based in Philadelphia with acres of marshy property near Ocean City, Boo Boo was a gangster who didn’t smoke or drink. His major vice (other than crime) was slinging his elite party guests with tinfoil pellets, which he purchased from a young boy, using a rubber band. His bootlegging operation netted him $5 million per year, or $50 million in today’s money, some of it from his Cape May operators. Also managing some Cape May players would have been Enoch “Nucky” Johnson, a ruthless and flamboyant Atlantic City-based racketeer whose dealings were famously portrayed in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. So… how did all this work? Three miles offshore sat “rum row,” a line of freight ships that came down from Canada or up from the Caribbean toting legal cargo and illicit booze. They anchored in international waters, just beyond where the Coast Guard, tasked with policing this criminality, had jurisdiction. (In 1924, this maritime limit was changed to 12 miles offshore.) Under cover of darkness, local rumrunners might shine a light to these ships from Signal Hill, a high dune behind Davey’s Lake near Higbee Beach, to help guide them in. Or they might hop into their own small, high-speed boat to unload the liquid goods at sea. Some especially daring fisherman would pile their day’s catch over the bottles of alcohol before confidently driving through Cold Spring Inlet and into Cape May’s harbor, where the
A US Coast Guard plane conducts a rumrunning training exercise off the coast of Cape May during Prohibition.
Coast Guard was — and is still — based. Sometimes, patrolmen were savvy to the hoax, but they purposely looked the other way. “At the time, everyone was interrelated, based on an original 35 families who settled the Cape before all we outlanders came down here,” Heinly says. “So the very same people at the Coast Guard base trying to run down the rumrunners are in some way related to the rumrunners, who are also related to the tavern owners. And if they get caught, the juries are made of their relatives, and the prosecuting and defense attorneys are also their relatives and so is the judge. So it was a super-interesting dynamic.” Still, raids did happen. In January of 1930, a one-masted sailing vessel called a sloop managed to elude Coast Guardsmen in Cape May Harbor by entering an inland waterway too shallow for the military boats to navigate. This left the “baffled dry gobs
dancing up and down in rage on their decks,” according one newspaper account. With no other option, patrolmen began following the bootleggers from the shore via automobile. At this point, according to the same article, “the chase took on the ludicrous aspect of an early film comedy. The sloop sailed serenely through the meadows, its crew blandly puffing pipes and making ribald [aka indecent] signals to their pursuers,” while “a forest of upraised, clenched fists merely aggravated gales of salty laughter from the rum craft.” The Coast Guard did, eventually, catch up to its target as the ship’s crew hurriedly worked to unload whiskey, champagne and wine into convoy trucks on Cardinal Road in Wildwood Crest. While the bootleggers were able to escape by jumping into the marsh, running in a zigzag pattern to dodge bullets and, it’s believed, making their way to vehicles parked nearby, 1,000 crates of booze were impounded. 105
If the Coast Guard ever thwarted too much of the Cape’s bootlegging operation, vigilantes took matters into their own hands. In 1928, the Courier Post reported that “15 rum-chasers, composing the entire fleet of the Coast Guard ‘dry navy’ operating in South Jersey waters, have been put out of commission. Vandals, presumably allied with run-running interests, have boarded the craft at the Coast Guard base here and have smashed the compass on every vessel.” Of course, not all local citizens were on board with bootlegging. After a local butcher and fisherman cut open the stomach of a 50-pound channel bass he’d caught off of Cape May Point in 1924, revealing a quart of scotch inside, he proudly told curious reporters: “I smashed the bottle. I’m a prohibitionist.” And one Cape May County Circuit Judge, Henry H. Eldredge, believed in prosecuting the casual, quiet imbiber with the same severity as the professional whiskey 106
peddler. “Why should liquor on a truck be bootleg and the same liquor later served by a prominent host in his home or club be called ‘American hospitality’?” he posed. Not surprisingly, this was NOT the same judge who oversaw a Cape May liquor case in 1930, when the Evening Sun newspaper reported a jury “drank most of the evidence” before acquitting five of six defendants. Perhaps the loudest pro-Prohibition voice in town came from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which held a strong presence on the Cape. The religious group believed moonshine was not only ruining men and boys on the peninsula, but that it was “making it unsafe for women to appear on the street,” according to a 1921 article in the Courier Post. The powers that be were less than convinced. “Every time somebody drinks a glass of sweet cider down there, those women want me to turn out the whole prohibition
Celebrating in a Philadelphia bar following the end of Prohibition. Opposite: Another raid by federal agents.
enforcement squad,” responded federal prohibition director for New Jersey, Charles H. Brown. “Yesterday we uncovered 1,000 cases in Trenton and 500 barrels in Newark… If our agents had been chasing around Cape May finding out where somebody’s boy got the stuff to get drunk on, they wouldn’t have been able to do these big things.” In some cases, at least, imbibing on the Cape would have been less seedy and more a posh, high-brow sort of affair that wasn’t technically unlawful. Take the drinking culture at Congress Hall — it’s rumored that fishing boats carried the hotel’s elite, VIP guests out on the ocean or the Delaware Bay, beyond the maritime limit, to enjoy their booze with a view of the sunset and without the stigma of illegality. Of course, if true, the alcohol used to make drinks on these boats and, indeed, anywhere on Cape Island, would have been pretty subpar. Whether bootlegged whisky,
bathtub gin or moonshine, the options weren’t exactly smooth, and people took what they could get. But necessity is the mother of all mixology, and mediocre liquor inspired an entirely new genre known as Prohibition cocktails. Resourceful bartenders saved undrinkable spirits by adding sweet fruits and citrus, sweeteners like honey, long pours of soda and other natural flavors like mint. In fact, many of today’s classic cocktails have their roots in this time period. This season, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of this grittier side of Cape May’s history, you can enjoy many of these cocktails (including one called 12 Mile Limit, a nod to the location of rum row at sea) at The Ebbitt Room in The Virginia or at The Brown Room in Congress Hall, home to the first post-Prohibition bar on the island. For a look into some of these options and how they came to be, simply turn the page. Then, feel free to order from a server… no 107
Prohibition Cocktails at the brown room
1. BOULEVARDIER Often referred to as a Whiskey Negroni, the Boulevardier is a sophisticated cocktail that might actually have predated the Negroni. bourbon, sweet vermouth, campari, orange twist
2. BEE’S KNEES To mask the taste of bad booze, adding a sweet element to a cocktail became popular during Prohibition — enter the honey syrup. gin, honey syrup, fresh lemon juice
3. MONKEY GLAND Packs in the fruit with orange juice and grenadine, but it’s the absinthe rinse that makes this a memorable sip.
gin, orange juice, grenadine, absinthe, orange slice
4. HEMINGWAY DAIQUIRI A Cuban bartender created a recipe for the writer in 1921, adding maraschino and grapefruit to take the classic to a new level. white rum, maraschino liqueur, grapefruit juice
The Brown Room. Reimagined.
If you’re a regular Cape May visitor who hasn’t visited The Brown Room since last year, you’re in for a lovely surprise. The bar, which is celebrating its 85th birthday (it was the first bar to open in Cape May post-Prohibition), recently received a stunning renovation. To see what it looked like long BEFORE it was brown, turn the page for another surprise... 110
Before The Brown Room Was Brown
ase yourself into one of the tufted new banquettes in The Brown Room, which nestles in the bosom of Congress Hall. As you sip on your drink and take in the Gatsbyesque feel of the room, you might get the feeling that you’re steeping yourself in a little bit of history. Some rooms do that to you. In the case of The Brown Room, there’s a LOT of history within these four walls. If you’re visiting the bar for the first time, you’d be forgiven for not realizing it’s a brand-new space — even though it was gutted this winter and renovated from top to bottom, it feels like it’s been this way for years. That’s the beauty of good design. If you’ve been a regular here over the years, however, you will notice a huge difference, courtesy of designer Colleen Bashaw, who has been taking care of Congress Hall’s interiors since the renovation began in 2000. First of all, the bar took a 90-degree turn and was moved against the wall overlooking the lawn,
Under the ownership of a Wildwood boardwalk entrepreneur, Congress Hall became a colorful place in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Note how the bar was against the windowed wall overlooking the lawn â€” the same position the newly renovated bar now occupies.
Philadelphia hotelier Joe Uhler (right) took over Congress Hall in 1941 and enjoyed his busiest time during the war, when servicemen filled the place. (Weâ€™re sure his 50c specials went down well.) Note the bar occupies yet another location, to the right of the lobby entrance.
where it used to sit in the 1960s before the bar was tossed onto the lawn by firebrand (and teetotal) preacher Reverend Carl McIntire, who bought Congress Hall in 1967. The bar has also been enlarged and completely rebuilt, featuring bar stools all the way around, producing a convivial lounge vibe. The brown-and-white Schumacher wallpaper, together with the placement of gold leaf mirrors, adds another layer of sophistication and texture to the old room. Four sitting presidents drank at this place (a couple of them much more copiously than others). Then along came that big old ban on booze and, when it ended, Congress Hall 114
became the first hotel in post-Prohibition Cape May to open a cocktail bar. As a result, the hotel became, not for the first or last time, the center of Cape May nightlife. During World War II, locals rubbed shoulders at the bar with naval officers and troops stationed in town, listening to the sounds of Eddie Sheppard, an RCA and CBS recording artist who played requests on his Hammond organ. In the 1960s, the formerly conservative decor was given an update. Decorated in red vinyl, it was named the Yankee Doodle Cocktail Lounge (“fabulously beautiful,” said local newspaper advertisements). It was by all accounts a rocking and occasionally raucous little joint, open until 2am. The entertainment was supplied by Kenny Shaffer, whose lyrics were the sauciest ever heard by an entertainer at Congress Hall. Often, people would end up dancing on his piano. That all ended in December of 1967, when Reverend McIntire bought the hotel. On his first day, McIntire summoned a group of help-
What you now know as Uncle Bill’s Pancake House was once a circular bar, built by Congress Hall owner Joe Uhler in the 1950s, who presumably was running out of room in the hotel’s main bar. But the number of visitors to Cape May hit a big downward spiral in the 1950s. It wasn’t long before the bar was turned into a Howard Johnson’s.
ers and had them dismantle the cocktail bar. It would be 35 years before another drink was poured at the hotel, when McIntire’s grandson, Curtis Bashaw, managing partner of Cape Resorts, reopened the hotel and renamed this historic bar The Brown Room following a renovation that featured, well, a good deal of brown paint, brown chairs and bar stools. So, today, whether you’re sipping a scotch (as President Ulysses Grant very much liked to do) savoring a fine glass of cabernet or working your way through our new Prohibition menu, you’ll be continuing a long Congress Hall tradition. 115
Perfecting The Art Of
ituated in the basement of Congress Hall, the Boiler Room offers a distinct contrast to the Victorian elegance of the grand old hotel. The bar and tables are brushed stainless steel, the walls are the original ballast stone and exposed brick from the old hotelâ€™s original boiler room, while the crimson shades add a warm, jazzy vibe to the industrial aesthetic. The installation of a brick oven added another reason for guests to head downstairs to the Congress Hall basement. The thin-crust pizza, inspired by fresh ingredients from our Beach Plum Farm, is seriously good. Choices include Pepperoni, Margherita, Smokey Pulled BBQ, Beach Plum Farm Vegetable, Prosciutto and Arugula, Sopressata and Capicola, Berkshire, and Mushroom. Add in some farm-fresh salads, plus crowd-pleasing favorites such as meatballs, and you can 119
see why the Boiler Room is a favorite new destination for discerning diners in Cape May. NEW THIS YEAR: The Boiler Room is open for lunch and pool/beach delivery beginning June 28. Daily drink specials feature fresh ingredients from Beach Plum Farm and you can also wash down that tasty pizza with one of the draft beer specials, which always feature seasonally appropriate crafts, including award-winning beers from Cape May Brewing Co. But the Boiler Room doesnâ€™t just look (and taste) good. It has the quality sounds to match. Throughout the season, top-shelf entertainers perform live blues, swing and vintage rock. Not surprisingly, this has become one of the liveliest dance floors in Americaâ€™s Original Seaside Resort. For sports fans, 12 flat-screen TV monitors throughout the room make sure that no one misses any of the action. 120
It’s The Year Of The Pig! In the Chinese Zodiac, 2019 is the Year of the Pig! Here at Cape Resorts, we celebrate the pig every single day — from the special dishes produced from the meat of the Berkshires at Beach Plum Farm to the myriad pig-themed merchandise in our Tommy’s Folly stores. And then there’s our official mascot... Blue the Pig! All winter long, families have enjoyed visiting with Blue at the Blue Pig Tavern. And the party continues this summer in the ballroom, when fans will get the chance to visit with Blue, play a few rounds of bingo, and enjoy a delicious dinner. Children in attendance will get a special set of Blue Pig ears — exclusively available at the event. We had the chance to sit and chat with Blue the Pig about celebrating this very special year.
So, Blue, what exactly does it mean to be in the Year of the Pig? Well, the Chinese Zodiac follows a 12-year cycle. Each year celebrates a specific animal — the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. As the story goes, the Emperor Jade, the ruler of all gods in Chinese mythology, held a party to decide which animals would be in the Chinese Zodiac. The catch? Their order would be decided by the order in which they arrived at the celebration. Long and short of it... the pig arrived last. Whoops! Does it mean it will be a lucky year for you? Not only am I a pig, but I was born 12 122
years ago here at Congress Hall, which was the last time the Year of the Pig was celebrated! Those born in the year of the pig are said to have beautiful personalities, and to be rather lucky in life. They like to be entertained and will treat themselves to the simple pleasures that make them happy. It is said that we pigs are social, which you can probably tell if you’ve seen me strolling along the veranda in the summer. This year, pigs will get a dose of good luck when attending family gatherings and social events. That won’t be hard for me! Especially on Wednesday nights, when I get the chance to host Bingo in the Ballroom. What have you done to celebrate your
Wednesday nights during the wintertime, Blue visits the Blue Pig Tavern to pose for selfies with families and spread good cheer. 123
“I’m a rare magical breed. I am named after the Blue Pig Tavern, which is named after a gambling group that came to Cape May every summer in the 1850s.” year so far? In the wintertime I got the chance to visit the Big Apple! I don’t particularly like that nickname — a bad association for pigs. I had the chance to see Times Square and I rode the subway! It was lots of fun. Of course, all winter long, I looked forward to Wednesday nights at the Blue Pig Tavern when families would come to visit with me and say hello. I’m so excited for summertime when we get the chance to play bingo in the ballroom together. How do you deal with your celebrity status? I try to stay grounded and true to myself, but I will say I get better looking with age. Have you seen my #tenyearchallenge on Instagram? @bluethepigcapemay How do you compare yourself to, say, the Phillie Phanatic? There is no comparison. I admire him and his work but I think I am a personality in my own right. I’m not the resentful type. I’ve met and worked with the Philadelphia Eagles’ mascot, Swoop. He and the Eagles cheerleaders came to our annual Clam-A-Rama at The Beach Shack in 2013. We had a lot of fun together playing a couple rounds of clam pitching. I won! Has anyone asked you why you’re, you know, blue? Yes. I’m a rare magical breed. I am named after the Blue Pig Tavern. Bet you’re wondering where the Blue Pig Tavern got its name, right? So often people ask me, what came first… the tavern or me? I must admit, it was the tavern. It’s named after a gambling group that came to Cape May every summer in the 1850s from upstate New York. They would pitch a tent outside, conduct their business for a few weeks and then go home with their winnings — or losses. In the early 2000s, there was evidence of this gam124
bling group found during the renovation at Congress Hall, and it was fitting to name the tavern in their honor. What’s the best part of being the Cape Resorts mascot? It’s probably Blue’s Clubhouse. First of all, the parents get some quality time on their own while I help look after their kids for the evening. And seeing the joy, smiles and laughter on the faces of the children as we enjoy some active fun together? That NEVER gets old. Is there a downside to the job? It’s hard to go anywhere and not be recognized — I do stand out. Humans like to approach me for a selfie. Selfies are the new autographs, you know. But I don’t mind, really. What’s your favorite yummy snack here at Cape Resorts? Not bacon! It’s hard to pick just one dish, but I would have to say I love the burgers at the Blue Pig. And your favorite tipple? (We assume you never actually drink on the job.) On special occasions, I like to pig out with a Blue Pig Tavern Ale. It’s no secret that many admire your fashion sense. Where do you draw your inspiration? Thank you! I try to dress up for special occasions like Winter Wonderland, the Fourth of July, Easter and so on. Every once in a while I like to stop in Tommy’s Folly and see what’s new. This summer there will be new patriotic Blue Pig PJs, and your fourlegged friends will love the line of dog collars, leashes, dog costumes and pet toys, which are great for dogs and cats. Where do you see yourself in five years? Hopefully finding myself a Miss Piggy of my own and having little blue piglets to continue my legacy at Congress Hall.
As part of this very special year, Blue took a winter trip to New York City, visiting all the sites, riding the subway and, of course, taking in the glitz of Times Square. 125
How We Celebrate the Pig at Cape Resorts!
Kitchen. Plus, you can buy Beach Plum Farm bacon from the Farm Market. Chef Josh is excited to incorporate ham into the Farm Dinners at the end of the year: “Hams are especially great during the holiday season.”
Chef Jimmy Burton hosts his famous pig roast at the Rusty Nail every Monday night in the summer season.
Farm Dinners “Farm dinners aren’t just about serving a meal that’s farm to table — it’s about serving a meal at a table that is actually on the farm.” As Beach Plum Farm’s manager, Christina Albert makes sure that every meal that comes out of the Farm Kitchen reflects the hard work that went into growing every plant and raising every morsel of meat. In thinking about the special farm dinners that are curated each season, Christina notes that the pigs are raised just a few yards away from the table where so many have gathered together to enjoy the fruits of that labor. The farm dinners are seasonal meals created depending on what’s fresh at Beach 126
Plum that week. Naturally, pork that was raised at the farm will make its way onto the menu. Joshua Liwoch, chef at the Farm Kitchen, plans to use every part of the pig in creating a menu that showcases the seasons. “In the winter I would use the shanks and shoulders when it’s a good time to eat braised meats and stews. The long bone pork chops are great any time of the year, but will change depending on how many we have available at any given time. The heads are really nice to make patés out of as well as scrapple. Bellies can be braised or more often smoked and turned into bacon.” Bacon is one of the most recent additions to the Farm
“Unstressed animals yield a wonderful product,” according to The Ebbitt Room’s executive chef, Jason Hanin. “Our pork chop always blows me away each time I taste it.” The Tomahawk Chop is the centerpiece of the menu at The Ebbitt Room. It’s a double-cut pork chop that weighs in somewhere between 20 and 28 ounces. While it’s served yearround, the Tomahawk won’t be found on the menu if the cuts don’t make serving weight. It’s paired with a seasonal vegetable and a simple sauce in order to let the quality of the meat shine. Recently, The Ebbitt Room has been able to utilize pork from Beach Plum Farm to create charcuterie. Pork shanks have been incorporated into meals, and in the future The Ebbitt Room hopes to feature farm bacon. On Christmas Day, Beach Plum Farm ham was served with yams, braised greens and skillet cornbread.
At the Tavern Where else would you expect to find high quality pork than at the restaurant that bears the name of a wholesome hog? Chef Michael Greenstein likes to feature pork shoulder
in some seasonal dishes at the Blue Pig. Hard Cider Braised Pork Shoulder is served with cavatelli pasta and delicata squash. This delectable dish is a Blue Plate Special, a heartwarming meal served during the winter months with your choice of soup, salad or dessert. For a year-round treat, roll up your sleeves and get ready to sink your teeth into the Beach Plum Farm Smoked Pork Sandwich. The meat is seasoned to perfection and smoked for approximately four hours on site. Piedmont-style Carolina barbecue sauce is added before placing it on a warm, toasted bun. The pulled pork sandwich is served with house made coleslaw and French fries.
Pork on Pizza Down in the Boiler Room, some of the signature pizzas were created with Beach Plum Farm pigs in mind. “Bacon and ham are used in a lot of our pizzas,” says Boiler Room chef Dylan Rutherford. The Berkshire Pizza is named for the Beach Plum breed. It’s topped with smoked Beach Plum Farm ham, fontina and ricotta cheeses, caramelized onions, wood-fire roasted wild mushrooms, lemon chili kale chips and white truffle oil, making it a Boiler Room favorite. Other pizzas that incorporate fresh pork from the farm include the Sopressata & Capicola, two cured meats created with local resources. They share the pie with tiger
The Berkshire, with smoked ham from the farm, is one of the irresistible brick oven pizzas served at the Boiler Room. figs, rosemary, aged balsamic, red onion, goat cheese and mozzarella. Finally, if you can’t decide between a Pulled Pork Sandwich at the Blue Pig or grabbing a slice of pizza, you’ll find the best of both worlds in the Boiler Room. The Smokey Pulled BBQ Pizza features house-made BBQ sauce, Beach Plum Farm hickory-smoked pulled pork, red onion, spicy padron peppers, aged white cheddar and cilantro.
Going Whole Hog Every Monday night from Memorial Day to Labor Day, if you’re taking a walk along the promenade on Beach Avenue you may start to hear the sounds of a guitar strumming or a steel drum playing. The music joins in with the sweet smells of barbeque that fill the air. Before you get to the Cove, you may want to take a detour and stop at the Rusty Nail for their weekly Pig Roast. Chef Jimmy roasts a whole Beach Plum Farm pig every Monday
night in the summer time. It’s become so popular over the last few years that sometimes he even roasts two! Enjoy the fresh pulled pork on a bun or as a part of the piggy platter, with sides like cornbread and baked beans. In the fall the Pig Roast moves to Sundays, featuring Pig and Pig Skins. The Nail is a great place to catch the game while enjoying an icecold beer and a pulled pork sandwich. Each year, about 40 whole Beach Plum Farm pigs are served at Jimmy’s Smokin’ Pig Roast. The pig roasts are able to utilize all parts of the animal, and tend to take center stage at the Rusty Nail. The rest of the menu, however, does not shy away from using some Beach Plum Farm pulled pork to enhance dishes that are already pretty delicious. Some fan favorites include the Macn-Cheese appetizer topped with Beach Plum Farm pulled pork, which can also be added to the classic quesadilla. Happy eating. 127
Summer Activities Even the perfect getaway needs some planning. That’s where our Concierge service comes in. You can either call 609-884-6542, visit the Concierge desk or chat with any of our front desk agents for more information and to make reservations. In this book we have organized our favorite activities into two categories... ON CAMPUS This is all the fun stuff that happens at Cape Resorts — from the Grand Lawn of Congress Hall to the sand pit at the Rusty Nail. For details on these activities, please check your daily Concierge newsletter. Again this year, we are offering an exciting menu of guided private excursions and small group activities. They include a cruise around the island on a vintage wooden boat, visiting a local oyster farm, hiking to magical Davey’s Lake and searching for Cape May Diamonds. For details, call the number above or visit caperesorts.com. And don’t miss our ‘Be Well’ feature on pages 16-31 in this book! OFF CAMPUS We have partnered with area companies who offer activities that will enhance your Cape May experience. We also offer a curated shopping list because we know a little retail therapy is an essential part of your vacation. You will find this information on pages 178-196. From the moment you leave your room in the morning to the moment you hit those crisp white sheets in the evening, we are full of ideas to help you get the most out of every day. We have lined up activities from clambakes to ceramics classes, swim nights to soccer. We will be delighted to book off-campus activities — restaurant reservations, theater tickets, wine tours, golf games, paddleboarding, parasailing, trips to the lighthouse and trolley tours around our historic streets. If you are bringing the kids, Blue’s Clubhouse is staffed with seasoned sitters and, of course, Blue, our legendary mascot. He’s a hero among our youngest guests. And remember, as a valued guest of Cape Resorts you have signing privileges across ALL of our properties and outlets. Now go enjoy your perfect Cape May day! 128
Welcome To Activity Central Mondays at Congress Hall (from June 18 thru August 26), the Grand Lawn transforms into a carnival with booths, games for all ages, face painting, balloon twisting and train rides on the Congress Hall Express. It’s one of many activities available over the summer to keep the family entertained and engaged — others include yoga on the beach, tie dyeing, family ceramics, soccer, swimming and, new this year, bingo! As always, check your daily Concierge newsletter for more details.
Beach Boot Camp
jun 17 - sep 1
8:00am - 9:00am
Yoga on the Beach
8:30am - 9:45am 8:00am - 9:00am
Carnival on the Lawn
jun 17 - sep 1 jun 1 - 15 sep 7 - oct 12 jun 17 - aug 26
5:30pm - 9:00pm
Tie Dye Tuesday
jun 18 - aug 27
1:30pm - 3:00pm 4:30pm - 6:00pm
congress hall rusty nail
tue - sat
jun 18 - aug 31
5:30pm - 9:00pm
jul 9 - aug 27
jun 19 - aug 28
3:00pm - 5:00pm
Dinner & Bingo with Blue
jun 19 - aug 28
6:00pm - 8:00pm
jun 20 - aug 29
2:00pm - 3:30pm
jun 20 - aug 29
noon - 1:30pm
Backyard BBQ on the Lawn
jul 11 - aug 29
jun 21 - aug 30
11:00am - noon
Movie, Smores & Lawn Games
jun 21 - aug 30
Soccer on the Lawn
jun 22 - aug 31
1:00pm - 2:00pm
Dive In Movies
jun 22 - aug 31
jun 23 - sep 1
8:00pm - 10:00pm
Blue’s Clubhouse Blue’s Clubhouse, the Cape Resorts sitter service, includes a night filled with fun activities, games and arts and crafts. An evening at Blue’s may include: Arts & Crafts projects that your child can take home with them; Dinner & Dessert from the Blue Pig Tavern; Outdoor Games on the Lawn; Story-Time and Indoor Activities; Indoor Games, including Beach Bingo and board games. The program is run by Guardian Angels Sitting Service, a reputable agency providing child care. It’s available Tuesday through Saturday from June 18 through August 31.
Feasts For The Family!
FROM BBQ BLISS TO CLASSIC GAMES OF BINGO, THIS SUMMER SEES THE LAUNCH OF SOME CAN’T-MISS EVENINGS AT CONGRESS HALL THAT WILL ENTERTAIN AND FEED THE WHOLE FAMILY.
Our famous Carnival Night got a major upgrade this summer — with Dinner in the Ballroom. Enjoy all the fun and games on the lawn that has made Monday night a highlight of the summer calendar... AND also join us in the ballroom for burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs and French fries, from 5:30-9:00pm.
Don’t miss the ultimate backyard summer party overlooking the Atlantic, with Clambake on the Lawn. Share in this family-style feast on picnic tables full of shrimp, mussels and middleneck clams. Also, you can add on steaks and full lobsters. Enjoy fresh sides of Jersey corn, cucumber-tomato salad and plenty of drawn butter. Live entertainment provides the perfect soundtrack to this summer tradition at Congress Hall. To reserve, please call 609-884-6542.
New this year, a night of family entertainment, with Dinner and Bingo with Blue. Put on your pig ears (included with the dinner) and join Blue the Pig in the ballroom as he hosts his own dinner this summer! The night starts with a family-style fried chicken dinner, and ends with Blue hosting bingo (his FAVORITE game). Dinner is at 6:00pm, with bingo kicking off at 7:00pm.
Another can’tmiss new event this summer is Backyard BBQ. Bottomless platters and chuck wagon favorites will please the whole family. Come one, come all, just come hungry! This all-youcare-to-enjoy meal offers BBQ chicken, sausage, ribs and sides. We will also have entertainment to tap your toes to, plus games to keep the kids happy and engaged!
A Glorious Time! Over the decades (and centuries), Congress Hall has traditionally hosted Cape May’s Fourth of July party. Today, we have expanded the celebration into a week-long soirée. The centerpiece is a lobster bake and family picnic on the Grand Lawn, where there are also games and live music — linger later to watch the magnificent firework display.
Patriot Games Throughout its 200 storied years, Congress Hall has hosted Cape Mayâ€™s annual Fourth of July party. Here is our week-long lineup of events to commemorate Independence Week. Happy Fourth! Carnival on the Lawn july 1 5:30pm - 9:00pm Patriotic Tie Dye
july 2 1:30pm - 3:00pm
july 3 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Picnic & Carnival
july 4 5:00pm
july 4 7:00pm *Reserve
july 5 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Soccer on the Lawn
july 6 1:00pm - 2:00pm
All-American Swim Party july 7 8:00pm - 10:00pm
America’s Oldest Seaside Hotel
This illustration, believed to be the earliest existing image of Congress Hall, is from 1838 and shows what is likely the 1818 hotel (with pillars). This building, which replaced the burned-down 1816 original, remained until 1870, when it was replaced by a huge extension — then THAT building was destroyed by fire in 1878. The current building was erected in the spring of 1879.
Did you know that Congress Hall is the oldest seaside hotel in America? Or that four sitting presidents have stayed there? And that one of those presidents set up office in the hotel’s ground floor, establishing the first Summer White House? There’s a whole lot of history in this old place, which is why we published a book about it. Discover stories about the inferno that destroyed much of beachfront Cape May, the night America’s most famous gambler lost $900,000 on one game of poker — and how the grand old hotel lay rotting for more than a decade after a stand-off between owner Annie Knight and the city council.
Four sitting presidents have stayed at Congress Hall so far (hey, you never know!). They are, from left: Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Ulysses Grant and Benjamin Harrison. 138
BUY THE BOOK, TAKE THE MAGICAL HISTORY TOUR!
«Our Congress Hall History Tours are guided by highly informed actresses in the role of Annie Knight, who ran the hotel for three decades and was reponsible for a major renovation in the 1920s. You’ll find tour times on our daily Concierge newsletter or call 609-884-6542. « Everything you could ever want to know about Congress Hall (along with a rich collection of Cape May stories) can be found in TOMMY’S FOLLY, a stunning coffee table book full of historical photographs and anecdotes. Copies signed by the authors are available from Tommy’s Folly General Store in Congress Hall. 139
Shopping & Spa Raffia sunhat $118 and tote $142 by Florabella. V-neck cover-up dress by Bell $168. Flip-flops by Ipanema $25.
Sometimes we overpack for a vacation — maybe those folks at the Weather Channel freaked you out into bringing the perfect outfit for every possible weather pattern! And sometimes we pack a little too light — in which case, maybe you need something to freshen up your outfit for dinner. Or maybe you’re searching for the perfect post-beach coverup. Stop by Tommy’s Folly Boutique — with ladies’ men’s and children’s apparel and accessories, this stylish clothing boutique has the whole family covered. We are ever-vigilant in our search to bring the latest styles to Cape May. Every time you visit you will discover our staple lines mixed with items from emerging designers. For ladies, we carry flirty dresses from Juliet Dunn, fashion and everyday denim from Blank [NYC]. For the beach, we have coverups, beach totes, sun hats and fun skirts. Need to accessorize for the evening? We carry preppy jewels from Lisi Lerch, plus a wide range of sandals from Jack Rogers, Ipanema and Castañer. For men, we have classic lines such as Johnnie-O and Relwen, plus shorts from Castaway Nantucket. Welcome to the definitive by-the-sea shopping experience. Turn the page to see some ideas we’ve put together for evening wear.
Flower drop earrings by Zenzii $55. Embroidered tassel top by Oliphant $160. Kick flare pants by Blank [NYC] $88. Fair trade pompom trim tote by Indego Africa $110.
Sunglasses $15.95. Flower ball earrings by Mignonne Gavigan $110. Double bell sleeve sweater dress by Sail to Sable $268. Racing stripe tote $98.
Raffia earrings by Oliphant $48. Palm print kaftan by JOSA Tulum $335. Raffia sunhat by Florabella $149. Crossover slide sandals by CastaĂąer $110. Fair trade bucket tote by Indego Africa $149.
Ball and raffia fringe earrings by RUSH $48. Embroidered flutter sleeve dress by THML $88. Tortoise bangles by Zenzii prices vary $16-32. Suede and leather cross body clutch $80.
Bird earrings by Oliphant $55. Floral ruffle dress by Saylor $215. Vegan leather clutch $50.
The Shops At Tommy’s Folly The shops at Tommy’s Folly offer a kaleidoscopic retail experience — from stylish boutique clothing to great branded items, an unmissable kids’ store, plus a café and general store which will keep you supplied with all of those vacation necessities. Tommy’s Folly Café is a great place to start your day — enjoy coffee and snacks and browse the comprehensive selection of newspapers, magazines and everyday essentials. Next door, you’ll find an exciting array of Congress Hall-branded merchandise, featuring the new ‘Concierge’ font collection, including sweatshirts, tees, tanks and hats; active wear and outerwear from Zero Restriction; and new patriotic piggy pajamas for women, men and kids from Roller Rabbit. If you fell in love with the china and linens found in this grand old hotel — or you just HAVE to take home a Blue Pig coffee mug — you’ll find all that here, too. Across the lobby, Tommy’s Folly Boutique offers a selection of carefully curated resort wear and accessories. Essentials for women include chic dresses from Julie Brown NYC; easy tops and dresses from Nimo with Love; beachy jewelry from Meg Carter Designs; and wardrobe staple espadrilles from storied Spanish maker Castañer. For men, an expanded Johnnie-O collection includes Congress Hall logo pieces plus shorts and swim; embroidered Blue Pig pants and shorts from Castaway Nantucket; and Dad & Lad swimwear from Snapper Rock. Next door to the Boutique is Tommy’s Folly Kids, where cute always meets cool. You’ll find charming southern styles for boys and girls from Beaufort Bonnet Company; play clothes from British staple Joules; Mommy and Me styles from Roller Rabbit; plus pool and sand toys, swim goggles, puzzles and all the rainy day activities to keep them engaged. 146
For Women Clockwise from top: Gold tassel necklace $49 and cloth tassel necklace $48 by Oliphant. Sunglasses $15.95. Tie shoulder top by Pink City Prints $129. Cutoff denim shorts by Blank [NYC] $88. Beaded sandals by Skemo $129. Woven fold-over clutch by Langdon $128. Palm flip-flops by Ipanema $25. Reversible orchid bikini by Snapper Rock $110. Sunglasses $15.95. Raffia fedora by Florabella $98. Tiered ruffle neck dress by Oliphant $180.
For Men Clockwise from top: Golf hat $39. Ball cap $32. Polo $89 and shorts $85 by Johnnie-O. Blue Pig belt by Smathers & Branson $148. Suede moccasins by Jack Rogers $128. Trunks by Snapper Rock $78. Board shorts by Johnnie-O $89. Flip-flops by Ipanema $26. Blue Pig necktie by Vineyard Vines $115. Silk necktie by Alynn $45. Buttondown $98 and polo $85 by Johnnie-O. Blue Pig card wallet by Smathers & Branson $55.
For Girls Clockwise from top: Ocean star flounce bikini by Snapper Rock $48. Dotted & striped dress by Joules $37.95. Canvas backpack by Roller Rabbit $50. Mermaid tail kickboard by Bling2O $24. Cupcake sandals by Ipanema $28. Secret sloth journal by eeBoo $12.95. Mermaid heart goggles by Bling2O $26. Terrycloth hooded towel by Snapper Rock $49. Llama purse by Iscream $32. Sunglasses $12.95. Embroidered dress by Roller Rabbit $79. White Jeans by Blank [NYC] $52.
Perfect Summer Outfits for Him 150
For Boys Clockwise from top: Reversible bucket hat $34, stripe rash top $45 and shark swim trunks $48 by Snapper Rock. Paisley swim trunks by Johnnie-O $55. Shark kickboard by Bling2O $24. UFO flip-flops by Ipanema $18. Usborne Travel Journal $12.99. Usborne Pirates Little Transfer Book $9.99. Shark sunsuit by Snapper Rock $46. Striped cotton polo $48 and monogram striped half zip $69 by Johnnie-O. Monster swim mask by Bling2O $32.
West End Garage Shop in a browsing wonderland, then stop for a break with a housemade gourmet doughnut or pastry, washed down with a La Colombe draft latte or flavored iced tea. All of this is possible at West End Garage — you can enjoy the wares of more than 50 vendors AND the aforementioned treats at Beach Plum Bakery and Café. Wherever you look at West End Garage, there is extraordinary stuff at every turn. Local photographers and artists display their goods here — painting, printmaking, glass, pottery, wood graphics and more. Plus, there are antiques, home furnishings, books, jewelry, vintage clothing and gourmet food (including olive oils, vinegars, sauces, jams and candy) . The best thing? “The inventory changes regularly” says general manager Wendy Guiles. “Which is why it’s such fun to keep coming back.” 152
Beach Plum Farm Market
In the Amish-built barn at Beach Plum Farm, youâ€™ll find a market that sells produce straight from the farm fields surrounding this beautiful building. There is a line of housemade preserves, condiments and pickles, plus bacon, sausages and salami from the Berkshire pigs, along with whole chickens from the farm, as well as irresistible Beach Plum Farm merchandise. Upstairs, there is a beautifully curated selection of kitchen goods, cookery books, rustic-chic home goods and accessories.
Sea Spa Everything you need to know about the Sea Spa at Congress Hall — it’ll take your vacation to a whole new level of relaxation. What services are offered? An enticing selection of massages (from relaxing to therapeutic) as well as ocean-inspired facials and body treatments. Plus an array of beauty services including manicures, pedicures and waxing. What kinds of products are used? SkinCeuticals products, which are made in the USA and feature clinical skincare used by dermatologists, plastic surgeons and medi-spas for daily home care and to complement aesthetic procedures. This product line works to correct signs of aging, protect healthy skin and prevent future damage. We also offer lotions, bath salts and shampoo using herbs from our Beach Plum Farm. Any specials and packages on offer? Throughout the year, Sea Spa is always coming up with inno-
vative ways to help you unwind, from facial and massage combinations to beach massages. Call ahead, visit seaspacapemay.com or stop by to see what specials are being offered during your visit. Do you feature massages for couples? Yes! We offer an Outside Garden Couples Massage in a cabana off the veranda, adjacent to the spa. And we also offer couples massages in our beach tent! Do you have any services for men? We have massages, body treatments, facials and nail services all tailored to a man’s needs. The Gentleman’s Facial is for that hard-working man who wants to erase some of those signs of tiredness and stress. Men can also enjoy hot towel treatments plus gentlemen’s manicures and pedicures. What do you have to offer wedding parties? Customized facials, exfoliation, massage treatments and mani-pedi combinations will have your hands ready for the ring! New this year, we offer hair and makeup services! Do you cater to groups or other special events? Definitely! Relax and indulge with family, friends or corporate guests. For more information, call 609-884-6543 or visit seaspacapemay.com. 155
Yoga on the Beach Who says you can’t get a workout lying on the beach? You can if you’re lying savasana as part of a yoga session! Instructor Kelsey Wise will be hosting sessions daily during the season from 8:30-9:45am as well as on Saturdays from June 1-15 and from September 7 - October 12 from 8:00am-9:00am. If you’re looking to push yourself a little harder, beach boot camps have become one of the faster-growing outdoor exercise classes. Working up a sweat on Cape May’s beautiful white-golden sand while breathing in the air from the Atlantic and enjoying the sun on your face beats a gym session any day of the week. Instructor Donna Valentine will put you through your paces daily this summer from 8:00am-9:00am. To book either of these classes, please visit the Concierge desk at Congress Hall or call 609-884-6542.
Fall, Winter & Spring Cape May is different from most east coast resort towns. It might snooze occasionally, but it’s the resort town that rarely sleeps! Even in deepest winter, people are drawn here for events such as the Ice Ball in February (visit fundforcm.org for more details), a fundraising soirée hosted by Cape Resorts’ Curtis Bashaw; and the Exit Zero Burns Weekend, a Scottish-themed festival at the end of January, based around a supper at Convention Hall that attracts 400 people (visit exitzero.us for more details). Then there are the lively fireplace-warmed lounges at Congress Hall, The Virginia and the Rusty Nail, plus bustling dining rooms and lower room rates that lure regular devotees who love the ambience of a weekend in winter. While your typical beach town begins to wind down after Labor Day, Cape May is the little resort that just keeps on going. September and October offer perfect conditions for hiking and birding (and, sometimes, hitting the beach too). Plus there are SO many activities to enjoy, from the Bird Show in October to the world-class Exit Zero Jazz Festival in November and April. At Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May, we have Fall at the Farm, running on select weekend days from late September through late October. And now you can stay at the farm, which is home to a gorgeous collection of new barns and restored historic cottages. Then there is Christmas in Cape May... thanks to the rich Victorian legacy of America’s Original Seaside Resort, we have the Dickensian architecture that provides a perfectly charming backdrop to celebrating the most wonderful time of the year. Which is why Congress Hall’s Winter Wonderland has become one of the must-see holiday attractions in the country. At Cape Resorts, spring is a pretty big deal, too — witness the myriad events we organize for Spring Break, anchored by our exciting new Cape Resorts Explorers Club. Turn the pages for more details of how you can enjoy Cape May every day of the year! 158
Fall At The Farm
A FUN AFTERNOON FOR EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY
On select days from late September through late October, Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May offers treats like a pig roast, award-winning local craft beers from Cape May Brew Co., homemade pies, sâ€™mores roasting, live music and hay rides for all the family.
MAGIC Of Winter Wonderland 162
Fun With The Clauses GOOD FOOD AND A SERIOUSLY FESTIVE TIME!
During Winter Wonderland, enjoy a breakfast buffet with Jolly Old St. Nick. Kids can tell Santa their Christmas wishes while parents snap a picture. And donâ€™t miss Dinner with the Clauses! Sing along to your favorite carols and enjoy a delicious three-course meal in Congress Hallâ€™s Grand Ballroom.
Your Christmas HQ
A MONTH-LONG FESTIVAL OF GLAD TIDINGS
Fun for the grownups at Winter Wonderland includes exploring the shopping village and seeing our annual festive play. For the kids, thereâ€™s gingerbread decorating, storytime with Mrs. Claus, a train trip aboard the Congress Hall Express, a ride on the classic carousel... and a lot more!
Your Winter Wellness Retreat
The thought of getting in shape can be daunting. The thought of doing it in a beautiful place? A little less daunting. And when that beautiful place offers supportive trainers, rejuvenating workouts in a clean, ocean-air environment, and farm-fresh meals with which to refuel? Then it’s enticing. Cape Resorts is introducing a winter wellness program, with accommodations offered at The Virginia and the Cottages at Beach Plum Farm for the ultimate selfcare experience. Packages will be offered between January and March, when the air is crisp and the sunsets especially vibrant. Imagine getting out of a sterile, intimidating gym environment and out of the mindset where exercise is punishment for the body. Instead, picture inventive workouts meant to honor your body — like running up the 199 steps of Cape May’s lighthouse to experience a panoramic view of the beach, doing yoga to a soundtrack of lapping waves, walking the bird-rich trails of the South Cape May Meadows nature preserve, or hiking through dunes to the cedar water of Davey’s Lake. The serenity provided by these natural landscapes will help you forget you’re working out at all. Throughout the day, you’ll refuel with clean, nutritionist-approved meals expertly prepared by our acclaimed chefs using ingredients from our Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May. At the end of your stay, you’ll feel relaxed and rejuvenated… we guarantee it. For more information, visit caperesorts.com. 168
Home Away From Home The luxury of a second home is that you can have an alternative place to escape the hurly-burly of your daily life in the comfort of a place that is familiar and constant. Second homes are places from which you can come and go, leaving a favorite weekend sweater or walking shoes or even a project ready for your return. This winter, we are offering a limited number of suites, apartments and cottages for extended stay options. Like having a second home, these 13-week rentals, starting in January, will include breakfast any day that you are in residence. Whether you want to experiment with a second home or just enjoy a quiet retreat in Cape May, we would be excited to welcome you to spend the winter with us. 169
A Wilderness Adventure Awaits! SPRING BREAK 2020 There’s an ongoing debate about the effect that smartphones and social media are having on our children. If you’re looking to cut down on your kids’ screen time, set them off on an adventure they won’t forget in a hurry. Visit Cape May for Spring Break 2020 and join us for fun-filled activities as your kids become proud members of the Cape Resorts Explorers Club! The club can be summed up in three words: Explore. Learn. Grow. Hop on the Cape Resorts shuttle to Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May, where a day full of Wilderness Adventures awaits. Discover rare birds, plant a beautiful garden, create nature-inspired art, get to grips with archery, learn about life on the farm, gather around the campfire and more! At Congress Hall, help the scientists in the CH Lab with their latest experiment, or put on your chef ’s hat to create a culinary masterpiece. Each explorer will receive a sash and a field guide at check-in to use throughout their adventures. With each completed activity, explorers will receive a special button for their Adventure Sash! Throughout all of Spring Break, shuttles will be available to and from Beach Plum Farm to each Cape Resorts property. For more information on this exciting program, please visit caperesorts.com/springbreak. 170
Easter at Congress Hall As the air starts to warm and flowers begin to bloom, head to Cape May for a very special celebration based at the magnificent Congress Hall. Enjoy a delicious brunch in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom and experience the highenergy fun of egg hunts on the Grand Lawn. As always, the Easter Bunny and his furry friend Blue the Pig will be in attendance. 172
Other children’s activities include an Egg Roll and rides on the Congress Hall Express. Our famed Easter Celebration at Congress Hall is the perfect start to a beautiful spring season in America’s Original Seaside Resort. Book your Easter 2020 getaway early! For more information, please visit caperesorts.com.
Weddings & Special Occasions Cape May is one of the top wedding destinations in the country and Congress Hall is its shining jewel. The grand old building is the most exclusive wedding location in New Jersey and offers the entire wedding experience, from a relaxed rehearsal dinner on the pool deck to an exquisite reception in our Grand Ballroom to a post-wedding brunch. NEW this year, we are offering hair and makeup services at Sea Spa — so you’ll be able to look your best without even having to leave the building! As one couple said, “Our guests described this wedding as the BEST they have ever been to!” Congress Hall’s 108 rooms are now available, at select times of year, for exclusive use for weddings and other milestone events such as big family reunions, anniversaries or special birthdays. Yes, you really CAN book the entire hotel. If you’re looking for a wedding as luxurious as those at Congress Hall, but on a smaller scale, The Virginia is the ideal combination of opulence and intimacy, perfect for weddings (or any special event) of up to 65 guests. Ceremonies can be held on the Grand Staircase or Garden Patio. Packages range from brunch to cocktail receptions and feature amenities such as onsite event coordinators, ZAGAT-rated menus and private tastings, valet parking for guests, vendor recommendations and a staff and service of superior quality. For a beach-casual wedding experience, the Rusty Nail is available for wedding receptions from May through December. Soak up the beach chic vibe and enjoy a fun menu, from passed small bites to delicious entrées inspired by executive chef Jimmy Burton’s menu. Your reception will be set up inside the Nail, but if you want your guests to get some sand between their toes and mingle with our guests out on the patio, then feel free to spread your wings! For more information, contact our wedding specialists at 609-884-6553. 174
A Beach Plum Farm Wedding Start your love story at Beach Plum Farm, in rural West Cape May, where youâ€™ll enjoy wideopen spaces, farm-to-table cuisine, and an idyllic setting for a romantic celebration with all the ones you love on your special day. Guests will adore staying on the farm where alarm clocks are the sounds of the rooster crowing and where every night the stars put on a show. Join in the rhythm of farm life when you stay in one of the five charming, newly renovated cottages that are located just a short walk down a winding path from the main barn. Our full Farm Wedding Package offers a one-of-a-kind experience exclusively for you, your family and friends. Whether you choose to tie the knot in the barn, garden or beneath the shade of a big oak tree with rustling branches, thereâ€™s no better place to promise forever than on the beautiful old and open spaces of Beach Plum Farm. Please note that the farm is also available for special events and corporate retreats. For more information, please contact Annie Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609-972-8070. 176
Rooms For Every Occasion
Congress Hall offers Cape May’s most unique and finest banquet and conference facilities. As a year-round destination with more than 2,000 square feet of meeting space, the hotel can accommodate corporate groups and businesses of all sizes. When combined with the assets of its sister properties, more than 200 guestrooms are available, with multiple meeting spaces, restaurants, spa and nightlife. A block away on Jackson Street, The Virginia’s Richmond Room is perfect for smaller meetings. Whether your plans are for an executive retreat, corporate meeting or recognition dinner, Cape Resorts’ amenities and conference services are tailored to meet your needs. Onsite event and conference planners are available to assist in curating the ideal function for your business needs — from team-building and leadership development to group retreats and everything in between. The staff at Congress Hall is dedicated to providing a personalized experience. Contact our meetings specialist Jessica Nagel for more information on 609-884-6592 or by emailing email@example.com. 177
Going Off-Campus With its acclaimed beaches and beautiful collection of Victorian architecture, Cape May isn’t just the country’s oldest seaside resort — it’s one of America’s most appealing vacation spots. And that appeal only continues to grow as a new wave of dynamic young business owners brings a burst of energy and fresh ideas. Every year, new stores, restaurants and activities are sprouting — there’s never been a better time to visit this charming little island. On the following pages you will discover activities that we have partnered with — our Concierge will be happy to book a whole range of fun tours, trips and tickets for you. Looking to get out on the water? Choose from paddleboarding, kayaking, parasailing and enjoying the thrill of a jet boat, or the gentler rhythm of a whale and dolphin-watching cruise. If you need to keep the kids distracted, engaged AND inspired, there are plenty of choices, from the world’s best seaside amusement park to a compelling living history museum, pirate and mermaid-themed cruises and ghostly trolley tours. For a cultural fix, there is Broadway-quality theater plus a jazz festival that regularly attracts world-class performers. See why Cape May County is emerging as a serious player in the winery and brewing market when you sample award-winning wines and beers in beautiful surroundings. And when you need to enjoy some fresh air, away from the beach for the day, enjoy topclass golf and organized fishing trips. When it comes to shopping, you’ll find a growing array of quirky boutiques and artisanally minded stores that will get your tastebuds doing overtime (be warned — the quality of candy on this island is premium grade). Add in some irresistible resort wear, high-quality jewelry offerings, cute and cool baby merchandise and the kind of T-shirts you won’t find anywhere else, and you’ll see why shopping has never been better in Cape May. 178
New, faddy workouts come and go all the time… think karaoke spin class and antigravity yoga. But stand-up paddleboarding — in which you take to the water with an oversized, stable surfboard and a long paddle — has proven its staying power around the globe. Aqua Trails includes the activity with its kayaking lineup and the response has been phenomenal. Maybe it’s the way stand-up paddleboarding sculpts your core and improves your balance. Maybe it’s the rare connection it allows with the natural world… or maybe it’s the combination that makes paddleboarding a favorite Cape May pastime, enjoyed by seasoned and amateur paddlers of every age group. If paddleboarding’s not your thing, Aqua Trails’ kayak tours are beloved by locals and visitors alike. Naturalists will lead you on a tour of Cape May harbor and the surrounding salt marsh, getting
you closer to glowing jellyfish and migrating shorebirds than you ever thought possible. There’s so much beauty to experience during your time on the water — be prepared for gorgeous sunsets and gliding ospreys above. Aqua Trails’ trips can be thrilling… or relaxing, depending on what you’re looking for. Adventurers will love the Cove to Higbee’s
Beach tour, romantics will rekindle the fire during the full moon expeditions, and budding naturalists will learn about the flora and fauna of unspoiled wetlands on a tidal marsh tour. There’s a camp available to kids between 12 and 18. Or venture out on your own; Aqua Trails rents all of their equipment and will deliver to your hotel, inn or rental.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 Aqua Trails, 1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, aquatrails.com 180
Cape May Brewing Company
Cape May County’s first brewery began with three guys and a passion for brewing. Most of their equipment was homemade, and tastings were held only for a few hours on Saturdays. Much has changed since those early days. Now one of the largest breweries in the state, they’re open daily from 12-8pm (11-9 during the summer season) and have as many as 23 beers on tap at a time, rotating the 100+ seasonal and year-round varieties they produce. Take a tour of their two production facilities — one, a 15,000-square-foot warehouse with a 30-barrel brewhouse; the other a designated space for experimental brewing (sour beers, barrel-aged brews, and whatnot). Try a Signature Flight of four beers with a souvenir glass and enjoy your brews in the expanded and renovated Beer Garden. There are handcrafted, homemade sodas for the kiddies and your faithful designated driver. Then visit The Brewtique gift shop for cool swag, as well as beer-to-go in six-packs, cases or kegs. Check out that growler filler — it fills your 64-ouncer in under a minute with zero spillage. Please note, they do not serve food, but take advantage of their BYOF policy and pack a picnic lunch or grab takeout from your favorite local joint. Here are some of their top brews... Cape May IPA Emphasizes a ton of hop flavor and aroma, but none of the bitterness. Coastal Evacuation Hurricane season hits hard, and CMBC hits back with this Double IPA. Summer Catch A citrusy, refreshing and crushable Belgian-style wheat ale. The Bog This cranberry wheat ale is blended with lemonade to create the perfect summer shandy.
For more information, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 Cape May Brew Co., 1288 Hornet Road, Cape May, capemaybrewery.com 181
Cape May Stage
The great poet Carl Sandburg wrote, “Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.” This season explores the concept of surprises heralding major life changes, with stories that are surprising and inevitable, the elements of all great art. The season includes one of the most staged plays in the United States in 2018, the most produced female playwright in our nation, a new work, a musical — and a favorite text from the past. The high level of artistry may surprise newcomers to Cape May Stage, but it’s no surprise to returning patrons — the actors, designers, playwrights and directors work at the very highest level of expertise. Heisenberg By Simon Stephens May 22 – June 21: One of the most produced plays in the US in 2018, this is a funny and surprising play about a chance encounter between a reserved, older gentleman and a rowdy young New Jersey woman. Sylvia By A.R. Gurney June 26 – August 2: Empty nesters Greg and Kate have moved back to Manhattan after 22 years in the suburbs. However, life has a way of giving you what you think you don’t want. When Greg finds Sylvia, a street-smart dog and brings her home, she becomes a bone of contention between Greg and Kate, testing their marriage to hilarious, touching effect. Sidekicked By Kim Powers August 7 – September 20: It’s the last night of taping I Love Lucy and America’s favorite sidekick, Ethel Mertz, played by Vivian Vance, has a lot to get off her chest. The play gives a glimpse into the-behindthe-scenes drama of I Love Lucy as well incredible unheard stories from Vance’s extraordinary career. The Taming By Lauren Gunderson September 25 – November 1: In this raucous, all-female “power play” inspired by Shakespeare’s Taming of
the Shrew, Miss America contestant Katherine has political aspirations to match her pageant ambitions. All she needs to revolutionize the government is the help of one ultra-conservative senator’s aide and one bleeding-heart liberal blogger. Murder for Two: The Holiday Edition Book and Music by Joe Kinosian / Book and Lyrics by Kellen Blair November 6 – December 29: It’s Christmas Eve… and a mystery writer has been murdered. With a bevy of suspects, an intrepid policeman aims to identify the killer. This musical features just two actors — one playing the investigator, one playing the variety of suspects — and the only weapon at their disposal is a piano. Murder for Two: The Holiday Edition puts the laughter in manslaughter. PNC ARTS ALIVE Presents The 2019 Broadway Series These one night only events feature stellar talent from Broadway & Beyond... Steve Ross: July 8 Lucie Arnaz: July 15 Carole J. Bufford: August 12 Will & Anthony Nunziata: November 30
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 Cape May Stage, 405 Lafayette Street, Cape May, capemaystage.org 182
Cape Sea Excursions
The breathtaking sights of the world’s largest mammals surfacing and breaching never gets old. Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center was founded 33 years ago, and they’ve been the pioneers in whale and dolphin watching along the New Jersey coast. While this is an activity that should definitely be filed under “F” for fun, it’s also a great opportunity to learn about the wonderful world of sea life. There are marine biologists and marine geologists on board for every trip. Joining them are college interns enjoying hands-on education. As can you! Check out the touch tank, marine debris station
with Clean Oceans Initiative, and learn about their Cape May Atlantic Bottle Dolphin Catalogue. To keep your appetite satisfied there is complimentary continental breakfast on morning trips, or go for the ever-popular dinner cruise, with complimentary pizza and hot dogs. So while people-watching is fun in Cape May, don’t forget that from May through November you can treat yourself and your family to an experience that’s fun AND educational. Plan now — trips often sell out in advance! Please note that the company is now based at Utsch’s Marina.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 CMWWRC, 1121 Route 109, Cape May, capeseaexcursions.com 183
Dark Star Cruises
The Cicchitti family has created seafaring adventures everyone in the family can enjoy. There are SEVEN trips daily aboard the Dark Star, a 50-foot pirate ship that’s authentically designed, but outfitted with all the 21st-century amenities you may need. There are pirate stories, face-painting, a treasure hunt, water cannon battle (wear appropriate clothing) and more. The last cruise of the day is A Siren’s Call — there’s a missing mermaid, a heartbroken captain and a
mystery to be solved! Don’t miss A Mystical Mermaid Cruise for ladies (21-plus). Enjoy an evening of Siren’s Spritzers, light fare and get a makeover! PS: The Dark Star will get “marooned” at Two Mile Landing. Then there’s the After Dark Cruise (passengers 21-plus) — cruise Sunset Lake, Jarvis Sound and Cape May Harbor, enjoying music, beer and wine, with a stop at the Crab House at Two Mile Landing.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 Dark Star Pirate Cruise, 6200 Park Blvd, Wildwood Crest
The Cicchitti family has 40 years experience providing top quality deep-sea fishing trips on the Starlight 101. The boat is spotles and has a large enclosed cabin with restrooms for ladies and gents. There is a galley on board, serving snacks, soda and beer. The Starlight 101 experience is perfect for either the first-time angler (there are friendly mates to help you every step of the way) or the experienced fisherman. There are fourhour trips three times a day, at 8am, 1pm and 7pm.
Another experience you cannot miss on the ocean is a dolphin and whale-watching trip aboard the Atlantic Star, a 100-foot, air-conditioned boat that has been offering trips like this for nearly 30 years. There are two trips daily, at 10am and 1pm. And don’t miss the Sunset Buffet Cruise, rated #1 Dinner Cruise in the People’s Choice Awards. Cruises, which include dolphin-watching, start every night during the season at 6pm.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 Starlight Fleet, 6200 Park Blvd, Wildwood Crest, capeseaexcursions.com 184
East Coast Parasail, Jet Ski & Jet Boat
For years, East Coast Parasail has been bringing you the high-flying thrill, panoramic views and adrenaline-filled experience of parasailing at the Jersey Shore. They’ve also been bringing you the opportunity to enjoy one of the coolest and most refreshing activities on the island: jetskiing. Then there’s the East Coast’s most recent innovation — the newest adventure activity in South Jersey and, really, North America: jet boating. It’s a one-hour ride on the ocean and harbor that includes enough spins, tricks and speed to get your heart pumping. Experience the historic beaches and back bays aboard Get Some, a rip-roaring New Zealand-style jet boat. It seats 24, so it’s an experience to share with friends. East Coast Parasail’s professional, friendly and courteous crew guarantee an unforgettable time for all. You don’t need any skills or experience... the company’s US Coast Guard-licensed Captains and crew will take care of everything for you. Boats depart every 90 minutes and fill up fast, so book early. And there’s more! East Coast also operate dolphin-watching tours. On each tour, they find our finned friends for an up close encounter like no other.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 East Coast Parasail, Utsch’s Marina, Cape May, eastcoastparasail.com 185
Exit Zero International Jazz Festival
t’s a phenomenon. Twice a year, every spring and fall, sensory experiences go on overload in Cape May when the Exit Zero Jazz Festival stages its world-class music fest in our little town. Music, sweet music, can be heard everywhere in Cape May, on the streets in the form of New Orleans-style second line parades, in the clubs and restaurants bursting at the seams with music and energy and on the Convention Hall stage with international touring artists throwing down at what has become one of the most respected and creative jazz festivals in the country. Exit Zero Jazz takes its cue from European festival
models, which puts the city of Cape May center stage. Festival-goers stroll from club to club along the streets of Cape May soaking up the exhilarating sounds — proving that the magic of the festival is not so much who you know, but the discovery of bands and music performing on the concert stages and in the intimate clubs. Put simply, it’s a blast. The 2019 Main Stage headliners include 22-time Grammy Winner Chick Corea, jazz and pop superstars The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Lizz Wright, Bria Skonberg, The Hot Sardines and Red Baraat.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 Exit Zero International Jazz Festival, exit0jazzfest.com 186
Mid-Atlantic Center For Arts & Humanities
Breezy 45-minute trolley tours by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities share Cape May history daily on relaxing rides. Stories about ghosts, dramatic blazes, Victorian bathing costumes and strange Victorian customs are told in entertaining fashion by knowledgeable guides. Discover why the town’s architecture is nationally famous. Don’t miss the 2019 Cape May Designer House Tour, a self-guided tour of four of the Cape May
area’s finest, privately owned homes, showcasing the creativity of local and regional designers. It’s a design lover’s dream! The 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, an 18-room mansion, is a perfect example of Victorian Stick Style. The 1859 Cape May Lighthouse is a working beacon you can climb for a spectacular view, while the World War II Lookout Tower is a preserved landmark. These historic sites are restored and maintained by MAC which provides tours and events year-round.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 MAC, 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, capemaymac.org 187
Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Water Parks
Morey’s is celebrating 50 Years on the Piers! All new for 2019 is a brand-new family coaster. Watch The Runaway Tram Car Please! If you thought the boardwalk tram was out of control… wait ’til you see this family-friendly coaster coming to Morey’s Surfside Pier. With 3 huge amusement piers, 2 beachfront water parks, 4 restaurants, concessions, games and more, it is no wonder they were voted the Best Seaside Park in the World by Amusement Today. Morey’s offers rides ranging from mild to high-intensity, including six world-class roller coasters and extreme rides as well as traditional favorites like the old-fashioned Carousel, the kid-friendly Wacky Whip and the classic-spinning Tea Cups. Surfside Pier mixes family fun with thrills in an environment fueled by neon colors, bright lights and music. Get ready for high-energy with thrilling attractions like “it”, The Great Nor’Easter roller coaster and AtmosFEAR. Mariner’s Pier brings your child-
hood memories back to life with the atmosphere of a traditional seaside amusement park full of classic rides like the Tea Cups, Bumper Cars, Carousel and the Giant Wheel. Need more adventure? Take a ride on the Sea Serpent roller coaster or walk your way through the menacing underways of the Ghost Ship. Adventure Pier is packed with extreme rides, our world-famous Great White coaster and the 3-Point Challenge Basketball Game. Soar through the air over the beach on the SkyCoaster, feel the G-force of the SkyScraper or shoot your way to the moon on the SlingShot. Come see why TripAdvisor voted Raging Waters and Ocean Oasis
Water Parks at the top of the list for best water parks in the US. Each park has its own unique vibe of rides and slides and offers buckets of fun for the whole family. The kiddies can splash around in the kiddie play areas, families can race each other down the 6-lane WipeOut slide and thrill seekers can plunge 5 stories in 3 seconds on the exhilarating Cliff Dive. Each water park also offers private cabanas, food and beverage service, and locker rentals. Enjoy a wide variety of food options with over 25 outlets to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Morey’s serves up boardwalk favorites like cotton candy, funnel cakes and hot dogs. A trip to the piers also gives guests a full culinary experience with their restaurants and bars — Joe’s Fish Co., Jumbo’s Restaurant, PigDog Beach Bar + Grille, and Stubborn Brothers Beach Bar + Grille. Each of these restaurants offer a variety of group dining experiences, each with its own atmosphere and dining and drink menus constructed by our executive chef.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 Morey’s Piers, Wildwood, moreyspiers.com 188
South Jersey Marina
South Jersey Fishing Center Deep-sea fishing on the Jersey Cape is some of the best on the east coast and the South Jersey Fishing Center, located at South Jersey Marina, is right in the heart of it. The South Jersey Fishing Center offers you the quickest run to the productive fishing grounds of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. Their party boats run on a daily schedule and offer you the option of a four- or eight-hour inshore (ocean or bay) fishing trip for mackerel, bluefish, flounder, tautog, sea bass, striped bass, drum and other seasonal species. The charter boat fleet offers you a personalized private fishing adventure and gives you the option of either inshore trips or
offshore trips for big game such as shark, tuna, marlin and swordfish. If you are interested in enjoying some of the best deep sea fishing around, the South Jersey Fishing Center is the place to be. All boats have US Coast Guard-licensed captains, are competitively priced and are outfitted with the latest safety, navigation and fish-finding equipment. For further information please call the charter hotline on 609884-3800. Saltwater Cafe If you prefer to have your food served instead of catching it yourself, you can enjoy a dockside seated breakfast or lunch at South Jersey Marina’s Saltwater Cafe. This cafe has been a growing
seasonal hotspot here in Cape May since its new ownership in 2013. The canopied outdoor seating is available to enjoy the views of the water as well as the inner harbor hustle and bustle. Don’t let a little weather change your decision, though. Indoor seating is available as well with a casual but elegant feel. Fathoms Coastal Clothing & Gifts After your meal, pop in next door to Fathoms, South Jersey Marina’s clothing, coastal gifts and accessories store, offering the latest casual resort wear for both men and women. Brands include Barba Gerwit and Veronica M for women and Salt Life and Guy Harvey for men.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 South Jersey Marina, 1231 Route 109, Cape May, southjerseymarina.com 189
Spirit Of Cape May
The Spirit of Cape May was established in 2007 by Captain Jeff Stewart and his wife Mary, who have been owners of Cape May Whale Watcher since 1993. Captains Jeff or Jeff Jr., with combined experience spanning over 80 years, pilot the many cruises available. Spirit of Cape May offers their signature Dinner Cruise, with a full prime rib buffet featuring delicious, homemade delicacies. This excursion offers topquality food, along with a Sunset Dolphin Watch around the island of Cape May. Guests will enjoy a family-style meal and dolphins are guaranteed to please AND sights are guaranteed by this local family business, or ride again free.
Since 1994, Captain Jeff has carried 10,000 patrons on his Grand Lighthouse Tour. This adventure takes guests around Delaware Bay on a 100-mile journey to discover nine lighthouses. The excursion includes a catered breakfast and lunch. For a special treat, try the Sunset Lighthouse Cruise, which includes three lighthouses, each with their own wine pairing. Wines will be provided by Cape May Winery and heavy hors dâ€™oeuvres are served. The bar serves wine by the glass along with draft beer and cocktails. The boat also hosts daily whale and dolphinwatching excursions and is available for private events.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 Spirit of Cape May, 1218 Wilson Drive, Cape May, spiritofcapemay.com 190
Stone Harbor Golf Club
Looking to add an unforgettable day of golf to your shore vacation? You’re in luck! Since 1988, Stone Harbor Golf Club has been the east coast’s home of world-class golf. A Desmond Muirhead signature course, Stone Harbor offers 18 uniquely designed holes set against the exhilarating beauty of 350 wooded acres and more than 40 acres of pristine lakes. Muirhead was selected to create 18 original holes at Stone Harbor, each of which is like no other in the world. He carefully considered the strategy of each hole and its rhythm and sequence for the entire course. A million cubic yards of earth were moved and an entire oak and pine forest was painstakingly preserved. Muirhead’s design provides a powerful visual experience. The 18 unforgettable, individual holes challenge the tournament-quality player as well as amateurs of all levels of ability. To complement the championship golf course, Stone Harbor features an award-winning clubhouse
and an extensive practice area for driving, chipping and putting. Lunch is served year-round, seven days a week, in the mahogany-paneled Mixed Grille Room. Their culinary staff offers a variety of menus with a gracious style of service that is not to be missed. Championship golf, superb cuisine and personalized service have drawn families to Stone Harbor Golf Club for more than 20 years. Whether your interest is golf-re-
lated or of a social nature, the staff is poised to offer an unparalleled experience. Because of the private nature of the club, you and your family will enjoy a refined experience in a relaxed, private atmosphere. Set in historic Cape May Court House, and minutes from the South Jersey beaches and Atlantic City, Stone Harbor Golf Club offers world-class golf and gracious hospitality.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 Stone Harbor Golf Club, 905 Route 9N, Cape May Court House 191
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CAPE MAY HONEY FARM A jar of Cape May Wildflower Honey is a great take-home gift. It is collected here on the island, made by their hardworking bees. The store also offers over 40 honey varieties from all over the country. Not sure what to get? There is a Tasting Bar! There’s also an expansive selection of candles. supplements and cosmetics. 135 Sunset Blvd, 609-425-6434 CapeMayHoneyFarm.com
CAPE MAY OLIVE OIL CO. Cape May Olive Oil Company’s tasting room offers an exciting culinary experience. When you visit, you can taste more than 50 different imported olive oils and balsamic vinegars, dozens of spreads and tapenades, sea salts, spice blends, mustards, sugars, jams, pasta, spiced chocolate and more. 324 Carpenter’s Ln, 609-898-4441 capemayoliveoilcompany.com
CAPE MAY PEANUT BUTTER CO. A fun place for the kid in all of us. Freshly ground nut butters, baked goods, candies, sandwiches... and sushi made with peanut butter! Don’t forget the 50 different jams and jellies. Add in a wonderful courtyard to enjoy your sandwich or snack, and you can see why this is a must-visit. 516 Carpenter’s Ln, 609-898-4444 capemaypeanutbutterco.com
CAPE MAY SWEET HOUSE For over 100 years this building has held a candy shop — the last one being Morrow’s Nut House. The tradition continues with the Sweet House, offering freshly roasted nuts made in-house, traditional candies and chocolates. The shop has a colorful, happy and whimsical design. Get ready to start making some new candy-filled memories! 321 Washington Street SweethouseCapeMay on Instagram
CAROLINE BOUTIQUE This shop has been a Cape May favorite for many years. Situated in an 1890s carriage house, it has two levels and a sweet bricked sitting area out front. Inside, you’ll find contemporary clothing in comfortable natural fabrics — cotton, linen, rayon and silk. Come and see them! Carpenter’s Lane between Jackson and Decatur 609-884-5055
COTTON COMPANY Purveyor of all your island needs, Cotton Company’s philosophy embraces “style for all” and carries men’s and women’s clothing, activewear, outerwear and swimwear from XS to 3X. Labels and boutique brands include Tribal, Vineyard Vines, Southern Tide and Fish Hippy. Our shop specializes in styles from everyday living all the way to island living. Experience the excellent service, fun atmosphere, and top-of-the-line brands. 517 Washington St, 609-600-2923 cottoncompanyforall.com
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COTTON COMPANY Cotton Company is your go-to store for beach town essentials. Yeti tumblers and coolers in all sizes are available in array of different colors. The shop offers men’s and women’s sustainable brands such as Patagonia, Tentree and Prana. From beachwear to everyday living, Cotton Company has it all! 517 Washington St, 609-600-2923 cottoncompanyforall.com
EXIT ZERO FILLING STATION Cape May has never seen anything like it! A gas station with good, old-fashioned service, an Exit Zero merchandise store AND a restaurant and bar. All in one place! The store is packed with cool Exit Zero garb, from high quality T-shirts to caps and hoodies, plus a great range of mugs, glasses and Cape May artwork. 110 Sunset Boulevard 609-770-8479, exitzero.com
FLYING FISH STUDIO Want something high quality and unique, made locally? They design and screen print every one of their cool, offbeat garments — you WON’T find them anywhere else! The Fish staff have created a line celebrating Cape May life and traditions... this along with their Beach Series is sure to provide something for everyone. 130 Park Blvd, 609-602-2760 theflyingfishstudio.com
GALVANIC The clean, contemporary interior of the store is enticing, but it is Galvanic’s merchandise, curated by husband-and-wife owners Ryan and Sam Platzer, that is the best reason to visit. They work with brands from across the country and the globe. Their offerings are constantly changing both weekly and seasonally to give their customers a fresh experience. 301 Washington Street 609-600-2608 galvanic.co
GIVENS Offering a curated selection of finely crafted goods and inventive design in downtown Cape May, the gallery mixes talented local makers with artists and designers across the US and beyond. From distinctive jewelry to clever notecards, beautiful pottery to artful clothing, the shop is full of unique gifts and future heirlooms! 418 Washington Street givenscircle.com Instagram @givenscircle
GOOD SCENTS It’s easy to escape the outside world when you step into the great vibe of this cool, calm little store in the heart of the Cape May shopping district. Good Scents, celebrating its 34th year, is a favorite for jazz, blues and world music, handcrafted jewelry (see the Cape May Find Your Way Back line above), local art, quirky books and cards, irresistible accessories and hidden treasures from around the world. Open all year. 327 Carpenter’s Ln, 609-884-0014 goodscentscapemay.com
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HAPPY BABY Stylish, earth-friendly apparel can be found in modern and bold patterns and prints. There is more than clothes on offer — decorate your little one’s space with chic nursery decor. While your baby gurgles happily (and dressed oh-so-chic), you can be contented by the fact that so many of the beautiful products in this store are handmade by artisans in the USA. 405 West Perry Street 609-884-5922 happybabycapemay.com
HENRY’S LANDMARK JEWELERS Henry’s stocks the latest releases from Alex and Ani, and proudly features this limited edition, custom-made design. Capture the beauty of Cape May with this simple but sophisticated, eco-friendly bracelet. For decades, visitors from throughout the US have shopped at Henry’s for beautiful, well-crafted jewelry. See this and so many other designs that reflect Cape May’s special sea life and landscape. 407 Washington Street 609-884-0334, henryscm.com
HENRY’S LANDMARK JEWELERS Since 1972, Henry’s has offered the most beautiful and unusual designs, such as this lighthouse charm made exclusively for Henry’s by PANDORA®. From museum-quality gemstones and diamonds to fun accessories, each selection represents uncompromising quality and matchless value. That’s why Henry’s was voted one of America’s Top 50 Designer Retailers. 407 Washington St, 609-884-0334, henryscm.com
LACE SILHOUETTES LINGERIE Welcome to the lingerie store for real women! Shop the best selection of bras and panties, including summer styles. Brands you will love like Wacoal, Natori, Cosabella, Hanky Panky and Chantelle. See what a difference a great fitting bra can make. Walk in or schedule a complimentary bra fitting appointment today — a great girl’s day out! 429 Washington St, 609-898-7448 lacesilhouetteslingerie.com
LACE SILHOUETTES LINGERIE The PJs and Jammies shop at Lace Silhouettes offers the largest selection of pajamas and robes in sizes XS to 3X. The store offers your favorite brands like P.J. Salvage, DKNY, UGG, Eileen West and much more. There’s something for everyone! Check out the UGG lounge wear for stylish comfort that can be worn in or outside of the home. 429 Washington St, 609-898-7448 lacesilhouetteslingerie.com
LOUISA’S CHOCOLATE BAR An amazing product line is loaded with a variety of chocolate bars made with cocoa beans grown around the world. Whether you’re looking for a bar made from beans grown in Peru or Bequet caramels from Bozeman, Montana, this place is your chocolate HQ. Louisa’s beats out the competition for a couple of reasons: their chocolatiers’ use of fair-trade beans, and their courteous service. 106 Jackson Street, 609-884-5519 louisascapemay.com
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THE ORIGINAL FUDGE KITCHEN For the best in fudge, you be the judge… The Original Fudge Kitchen is the clear winner. All of their fudge is hand-whipped in small batches, using the finest natural ingredients. They offer samples of their fudge so you know you are getting the most delicious and creamiest fudge this side of heaven. 513 Washington and 728 Beach 609-884-2834 fudgekitchens.com
OUT OF THE PAST ANTIQUES Come browse for hard-to-find antiques and priceless memories. This is Cape May’s best antique shop for experiencing vintage memories at a reasonable price. Located just a short walk from Congress Hall, this is the antique shop for a tremendous variety of hard-to-find treasures to suit every taste, interest — and budget. 394 Myrtle Avenue, 609-884-3357 outofthepastantiques.com
PATRICIA JACKSON JEWELERS Patricia Jackson has been Cape May County’s Jeweler since 1980, featuring original designs in platinum, 14k and 18k gold and sterling silver. Patricia Jackson is the only store in town with onsite bench jewelers — we’re talking serious craftsmen here. They specialize in custom designs, engagement rings and wedding bands. They also carry out all fine jewelry repairs. 414 Bank Street, 609-884-0323 patjacksonjewelers.com
PATRICIA RAINEY Patricia has painted just about all of Cape May’s inspiring buildings and landscapes. Her oils and watercolors are available as matted or framed prints, notecards, placemats and coasters, as well as a calendar. Her work can be seen at shows and exhibitions around town as well as in finer gift shops and galleries. To view originals for sale, go online or call to visit the studio. 609-886-4863 patriciaraineystudios.com
QUEEN MAY Queen May occupies that striking black building on the Washington Street Mall. With their large collection of estate jewelry and pre-owned Rolexes, Queen May is the best spot in town to find something with a bit of history along with a stunning range of contemporary jewelry. 325 Washington Street 609-854-4936 queenmayjewelry.com
QUIRK This haven of good taste has become a popular addition to the mall since taking over the spot previously occupied by the old Galvanic. Quirk features many goods handmade in the US, along with local makers, too. Browse beautiful home decor, jewelry, art hand-poured candles and gourmet goodies. Also, Quirk is a Miss Mustard seed milk paint retailer! 514 Washington Street 610-213-7735
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RED OAK From the people behind Good Scents, one of Cape May’s bestloved stores. Discover an eclectic selection of handbags, jewelry, clothing and accessories, many of them handcrafted in America, along with a fun-and-fashionable range of imports, such as Balinese jewelry and handprinted tees from Thailand. As a bonus, their quirky selection of on-trend books will entertain the guys! 324 Washington, 609-827-8320 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
SEA STAR BOUTIQUE Don’t miss this jewel located in the heart of Cape May by Louisa’s Café. Sea Star carries something for women of every age — handcrafted jewelry, unique handbags, accessories, apparel and resort wear. Their styles are updated frequently and stocked in small quantities. Pick up your size and the season’s must-have. 108 Jackson Street Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
SIGNATURES BY KAREN THOMPSON A curated selection of designer and unique boutique brands, as well as casual clothing. Whether you’re shopping for a work wardrobe, a stand-out dress for a special event, or treating yourself to a pick-me-up, Signatures has the outfit! Complete it with a piece of Brighton jewelry. New collections of Renuar and Lyssè arrive daily! 429 Washington St, 609-884-1434 signaturesstyle.com
SPICE CELLAR OF CAPE MAY From the same people who brought you Cape May Peanut Butter and Cape May Olive Oil, this is a spice lover’s dream. There are 150 spices and other gastronomic treats to choose from. You’ll see cinnamon, sure, but Vietnamese cinnamon, too. Overwhelmed by choice? The staff will help you navigate the shelves and provide tastings. 324 Carpenters Ln, 609-898-4441 spicecellar.net
SPLASH If you like Whale’s Tale (see right), you’ll love Splash… Whale’s Tale’s upscale offshoot! Find a gallery of the finest jewelry, handcrafts, local art and unique home décor. Stop in for their local sea glass jewelry. They’re tucked just behind the Washington Mall on Carpenter’s Lane. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram. 513 Carpenter’s Lane, 609-8467100 whalestalecapemay.com
WHALE’S TALE Located mere steps from Congress Hall is Whale’s Tale, a Cape May tradition for 45 years. The Pritchard family continues to surprise customers with a variety of creative, carefully chosen gifts, jewelry, cards, toys and books that you won’t find anywhere else in town. Plus they’re open all year! Follow them on Facebook and Instagram. 312 Washington Street 609-884-4808 whalestalecapemay.com