Concierge CAPE RESORTS MAGAZINE 2018 ~ 2019
After a long trip from_____________________________, we arrived in Cape May on ______________________. Upon check-in, we discovered that our hotel room was______________________. The ___________________________________________ was an especially nice touch! But it was a beautiful day, so we didn’t stay inside for long. On the beach, we spent time _______________________ and ___________________ ________________________________. Thankfully, we only had ______________________________ stolen by the seagulls. On the days we were patient, we saw ______dolphins surfing in the waves. Everyone except ______________________________ wore their sunscreen, so we didn’t get burnt. When we got hungry, we had so many great options from which to choose, but our favorite restaurant was _________________________________________ mostly because the _____________________________ were so good. The drinks were tasty too; so refreshing that ________________________________may have had one too many. In the evening, we caught a beautiful sunset over the beach that turned the sky ______________________. Unfortunately, we didn’t get around to ________________________________ ________________________________ on this vacation, but we’re looking forward to trying that next time. However, we DID have a great adventure when we tried __________________________ ____________________________. And boy did we laugh when ___________________________________________. We found the perfect souvenir, a _________________________ _________________________________________ at one of our favorite shops, ______________________________. But the things we’re most looking forward to bringing home are all of the _____________________________________________ memories we made in Cape May! 1
Table Of Contents 6 Welcome Letter
82 Cocktails at The Ebbitt
8 Cape Excursions
86 The Blue Pig Tavern
12 By the Numbers
96 Good Food Guide 98 What’s for Breakfast/Lunch?
CHAPTER 1 Our Properties
102 Gourmet Doughnuts
14 All-American Experience
110 The Boiler Room
16 Congress Hall
114 Rebirth of the Oyster
106 The Brown Room
18 The Virginia 19 The Virginia Cottages 20 Beach Shack
CHAPTER 5 Shopping & Spa
22 The Star
118 Beach Chic Fashion
23 Sandpiper Beach Club
124 Tommy’s Folly
24 Cottages at Beach Plum Farm
125 What to Wear
26 Baron’s Cove
130 West End Garage
CHAPTER 2 Beach & Pool 30 The Ocean is Good for You! 34 Rules of the Beach 35 Private Beach Tents 36 The Art of Clamshell Pitching CHAPTER 3 Campus Activities 40 Planning a Perfect Day
132 Sea Spa 134 Beach Boot Camp CHAPTER 6 Fall, Winter & Spring 136 A City for All Seasons 138 Fall at the Farm 140 Reign of the Monarchs 144 The Happiness Hobby 150 Winter Wonderland
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. Cover Design Maxwell Moran Photography Jessica Orlowicz, Aleksey Moryakov, Charles Riter, Frank Weiss Published annually by Cape Resorts
48 Independence Week
CHAPTER 7 Special Events
Produced by Exit Zero Publishing and designed by Jack Wright
50 A Remarkable History
printed in usa
42 Summer Activities 46 Get on Your Bike
CHAPTER 4 Food & Drink
156 Spring Break 2019
162 Rooms for Every Occasion
58 A-Z of Beach Plum Farm
CHAPTER 8 Going Off-Campus
64 The Rusty Nail
166 Our Activity Partners
74 The Ebbitt Room
180 The Shopping Guide
Welcome CURTIS BASHAW Cape Resorts Managing Partner
This photograph was shot in 2003 at Davey’s Lake, but little has changed at this magical secret spot, where I like to walk several times each year. It’s one of the exciting new guided excursions we’re offering our guests this year. 6
welcome to our cape resorts family of properties! Our returning guests often say that they never quite get to experience everything they would like to do in Cape May. And while we think that’s a good thing, we also thought we would like to try to do something about it. And so, over the next four pages, you’ll read about a few new adventures created by the Cape Resorts team that will enable you to tick off some of those things on your wishlist. I’m not talking about obvious things like climbing the 199 steps to the lighthouse (an amazing trek if you haven’t done it). I’m referring to local below-the-radar experiences — like hiking to a secret lake in the sand dunes, exploring the Delaware Bay oyster farms, taking a sunset cruise around Cape Island in a wooden boat, and paddling a kayak in the back bays. All of these new excursions are available privately and in small groups — and they’re led by local guides who know all the details that aren’t in the guidebooks. Sometimes, though, the perfect day at the seaside is a lot simpler. Less exploring and hiking, more exhaling and lounging. This book is full of advice about those less-adventurous pursuits — from renting a beach tent to spending a day at the pool, where
your only guides are those who bring you cold drinks and tasty treats. I’m particularly excited this year about the new gourmet doughnuts at Beach Plum Bakery and Café, in West End Garage. We have been testing them all winter to get them ready for their debut. They’re baked daily, with flavors that include Chocolate Black Walnut, Blackberry Jam or, if you’re feeling really savory, Honeyed Bacon. Warm doughnuts are a short stroll from our hotels — a perfect excuse to slip away for a morning walk and surprise the family. Speaking of things that make us happy... stripes are the stars of Cape Resorts! I think of the awnings of summer on The Virginia porch or the Congress Hall beach cabanas; the carpets designed by Colleen Bashaw in the guest rooms of Congress Hall and Baron’s Cove; the candy canes that line the lobby of Congress Hall during the holidays. Stripes are playful and happy, evocative of the simple pleasures that we promote. That’s why you’ll find them on the cover of your Concierge book. I hope they make you happy, too. Enjoy your vacation with us. I hope it’s a time that you will treasure and remember.
Sunset Cruise Around The Island 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 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 the city’s majestic beachfront. Enjoy light bites and beverages, surrounded by nothing but open water and nature’s beauty. For more information, please contact the Concierge on 609-884-6542. 8
Oyster Farm Tours Yes, we have a farm two miles from the beach, but did you know there are farms on the water too? Wade out to the tidal flats and discover techniques used by local oyster farmers who supply restaurants along the east coast. Not only are they delivering delicious additions to the raw bar — oyster farms help keep the Delaware Bay clean and assist in the sustainability of our ecosystems. We’ll take you from your hotel to the oyster farms, where you’ll not only learn about Cape May’s favorite bivalves, but enjoy sampling them too. For more information, please contact the Concierge on 609-884-6542.
Kayak The Beautiful Back Bays Join us on a backwater adventure through the marshes of Cape May. Gather with friends and family as our expert guides take you on a tour through lush ecosystems and scenic natural habitats. Experience a breathtaking sunset, scored by the sound of gentle waves lapping alongside your kayak. To sustain you through all of this paddling, weâ€™ll supply snacks and beverages. For more information, please contact the Concierge on 609-884-6542.
Hike To Davey’s Lake Tucked away in the marshes along the shore of the Delaware Bay are some of the most fascinating, fertile and diverse ecosystems in the world. 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. 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.
For more information, please contact the Concierge on 609-884-6542. 11
CAPE RESORTS BY THE NUMBERS
Number of tomato varieties grown at Beach Plum Farm — New Girl, Champion, Big Beef, Sun Sugar, Black Cherry, Super Sweet, Pink Brandywine, Hawaiian, Green Zebra, Black Prince, Goldie, Striped German and Cherokee Purple.
4 Ranking earned by The Virginia hotel in the 2017 Condé Nast Traveler Top Hotels in New York State and the Mid-Atlantic Readers’ Choice Awards, up from seventh last year. 12
Number of Tesla charging stations at Congress Hall
Number of lights on the 35-foot Congress Hall Christmas tree
Number of tomato sandwiches on The Blue Pig Tavern menu.
Number of massage treatments at Sea Spa
Number of columns in the Congress Hall colonnade
Number of hayrides given at Fall at the Farm festival at Beach Plum Farm in 2017
Number of panels in the Virginia hotel’s stained glass window
Number of draft beers on tap at The Boiler Room
Number of pizzas made in The Boiler Room in 2017. Most popular selection? Margherita.
359 Number of rooms offered by the Cape Resorts group
Number of years it took Dutch Captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey to explore and chart the area now known as Cape May, from 16111614.
Number of mischievous little Santas who take over The Virginia hotel during the holidays
Number of people employed by Cape Resorts in peak season
Number of sitting U.S. presidents who have stayed at Congress Hall — Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Ulysses Grant and Benjamin Harrison (above)
Number of exterior windows at Congress Hall
Number of miles separating Congress Hall in Cape May and Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor, Long Island
Number of steps from Congress Hall to the lighthouse, via the beach
Number of miles of electrical wiring used in the most recent renovation of Congress Hall, which was completed in 2002. The contractors also used 11 miles of plumbing pipe, cleaned and reused 158,000 bricks and brushed on 240,000 gallons of paint.
# of pounds that Juno’s Anchor weighs 7100
Number of hot chocolates consumed during Winter Wonderland 2017
Our Properties Wherever you’re staying with us in Cape May, we hope you’ll recognize the distinctive touch that makes your visit memorable and meaningful. Each Cape Resorts hotel has its own personality, but all share the same warm, welcoming spirit and reflect our commitment to giving our guests an authentic, all-American resort vacation. That means beautiful settings — from The Virginia’s quaint spot on Jackson Street to the majestic beachfront location enjoyed by Congress Hall — accompanied by an approachable (and fun) design ethos, an array of wonderful dining options, plus can’t-miss activities for everyone in the family from morning ’til evening. We believe this is why our properties regularly receive acclaimed reviews from both critics and guests. In the 2017 Condé Nast Traveler Top Hotels in New York State and the Mid-Atlantic Readers’ Choice Awards, The Virginia took fourth place, followed by Baron’s Cove at #5, Congress Hall at #9 and Sandpiper Beach Club at #17. Thank you for helping us to achieve these honors. On the following pages, you can become more acquainted with the diverse properties that make up the Cape Resorts family. For us, it’s the simple pleasures that matter most. We look forward to serving you.
Congress Hall est. 1816
Now in its third century, Congress Hall is America’s oldest seaside hotel, enjoying a nationwide reputation for its hospitality and amenities. Before and after the Civil War, the hotel attracted powerful business leaders and politicians. 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. This haven of relaxed elegance and historic charm is the preeminent Cape May landmark and is open all year with its warm hearth and rocking chair-filled veranda. Congress Hall is an oceanfront resort with the feeling of a classic beach house, while offering all of the amenities and services of a world-class hotel. 16
Since 2012, Congress Hall has been honored by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the top US hotels in the Northeast. Most recently, it was awarded the #9 spot in the magazine’s 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards Top 20 Hotels in the Mid-Atlantic and New York regions. It was also named 2016 Best Hotel in New Jersey by Travel and Leisure magazine in its annually released World’s Best Awards.
Congress Place Suites est. 1890
Located in the heart of historic Cape May, one block from the beach, the Congress Place Suites (which joined our family last year) offer newly renovated, fully equipped apartmentstyle rooms. The suites feature the same fresh, cool blue tones and whimsical seaside dĂŠcor characteristic of sister property Congress Hall. Sitting above the quaint shops of Washington Street, these second-story suites provide unmatched views of Congress Hall, Carpenterâ€™s Lane and Perry Street. Bright, sunny picture windows let the light flood in and provide the ideal frame for people watching or enjoying a great perspective on this historic city. The Deluxe and Superior Suites include a balcony, the perfect perch for watching sailboats or fireworks on the Fourth of July. 17
The Virginia est. 1879
A Brief History
Appealing to today’s most discriminating traveler, The Virginia is an impeccably restored 1879 landmark hotel on beautiful Jackson Street. Each room is furnished with classic pieces custom designed for The Virginia by Colleen Bashaw. Bathroom amenities are made with ingredients fresh from Beach Plum Farm, infused with lavender, lemon verbena and mint. Enjoy continental breakfast each morning in your room, on the front porch, or by the lobby fireplace during cooler months. In each room is a refreshment bar, featuring beverages and snacks from local artisans. Guests enjoy complimentary beach service during the summer, which includes beach towels, umbrellas and loungers. The Virginia also offers a highly acclaimed restaurant, The Ebbitt Room, and a chic cocktail lounge with live entertainment.
«Like many Cape May hotels, The Virginia was built following the catastrophic fire of 1878 which wiped out 35 downtown acres. «It was originally called the Ebbitt House after its first managers, Alfred and Ellen Ebbitt. «The hotel’s initial heyday came in the early 1890s, when it was regularly mentioned in the society section of the Philadelphia Inquirer. «When Cape May slumped, 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 (Managing Partner of Cape Resorts) and his family. It was renovated and reopened in 1989, the first Cape Resorts property.
Since 2012, Condé Nast Traveler has named The Virginia one of the top hotels in the Northeast. It was voted #4 hotel in the Mid-Atlantic and New York regions in the magazine’s 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards.
The Virginia Cottages est. 1891
The Virginia Cottages offer four delightful accommodations along historic Jackson Street. They are available for rental as a full house or separate apartments and are ideal for families or groups of friends, “girls’ getaways” and for hosting wedding groups. The location is as good as it gets — Jackson Street is a half-block from both the beach and the Washington Street Mall. Together, the cottages represent a Cape May vacation experience that is equal parts classic and comfort.
The Beach Shack est. 1966 The Beach Shack guest rooms offer a fresh and fun alternative for beachfront vacations. Long, lazy days at the beach and pool flow into nights full of music and laughter at the iconic Rusty Nail bar and restaurant, where the mood is family AND flip-flop friendly. With the addition of heating in the Beach Shack rooms and the installation of a rustic-chic indoor fireplace at the Nail, you can now enjoy hanging out at the beach all the way through December!
A Brief History «The Beach Shack began its life as The Coachman’s Motor Inn in 1966, established by Philadelphia builder Jules Hober. «In 1976, construction began on the Rusty Nail bar and restaurant, with a style inspired by the chalets Hober found at the ski resorts he frequented. He saw a table fashioned from a tree in Pico Mountain, Vermont and loved the look of it so much he tracked down the table’s owner. The man agreed to make Jules a bar from the same wood — a bar that’s the longest in Cape May. «The Coachman’s and Rusty Nail remained in the Hober family until 2005, when they sold to Cape Resorts, who relaunched the property as the Beach Shack in 2009. 20
Surfâ€™s Up At The Shack Say aloha to the happy decor at the Beach Shack. Debuting in 2017, the fun guest rooms created by Colleen Bashaw are a hit. The shades of blue and orange and the pineapple motif in the carpets evoke a 1970s Hawaii vibe. Kids in particular will love the bunk rooms, a popular new coastal design trend. All this, plus the Rusty Nail is steps away... 21
The Star est. circa 1926
The Star, Congress Hall’s little sister, is a remarkably versatile establishment, consisting of an inn, a motel and carriage house, enjoying a fantastic, close-to-everything location. There is also a coffee shop, where guests can enjoy a morning cup on the porch with a view of the Atlantic Ocean. Here’s what The Star can offer you... «Romantic Retreats: The beautifully furnished Star Inn offers nine small en suite bedrooms. «Family Vacations: The motel is outfitted with 10 Star Suites, equipped with kitchenettes, separate living room and bedroom, private backyards or front porches and an imaginative and inspiring decor, ideally suited for young families «Home Away from Home: Two beautiful Carriage Suites, each with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen and an oceanview balcony, offer the perfect backdrop to a group getaway. So, which Star is right for you?
The Sandpiper Beach Club est. 1977
The Sandpiper is a familyfriendly oceanfront condominium resort with 51 one- and two-bedroom suites with full kitchens, living rooms and balconies. Most enjoy spectacular ocean views. It features the amenities of a luxury hotel, including a pool, daily housekeeping, beach service, sauna, concierge, expansive fitness center and an in-house arcade offering popular and classic games. Guests have signing privileges at all Cape Resorts properties. For the last four 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.
The Cottages At Beach Plum Farm est. circa 1750
When Curtis Bashaw and his partner Will Riccio acquired the land that is now Beach Plum Farm in 2007, the vision was to grow food for the Cape Resorts restaurants and to perhaps one day build a home. They were inspired by the farming heritage of South Jersey and knew that the economy here was always a mixture of tourism, fishing and farming. In fact, the Millers and Cakes, owners of Congress Hall for a good part of the 1800s, also owned a farm in West Cape May where they grew food for the hotel. As the years have passed, Beach Plum Farm has become much more than land that grows food â€” it has become a destination for thousands of visitors each year to see the animals raised and witness the food grown. The farm stand opened in 2011 under a tent. The barn was added in 2015, giving the farm market a permanent home. A kitchen was added in 2016, allowing people to enjoy breakfast and lunch and special farm-to-table dinners. When the opportunity arose to acquire the original farmhouse and barn for the land that became Beach Plum Farm, Bashaw and Riccio jumped at the opportunity. And so the vision was born to create cottages and barns for people to stay and participate in the rhythm 24
of farm life. To arrive and leave your car and be given keys to a golf cart and bicycles. To have the fridge stocked with fresh eggs and meats at turndown in the evening so that you can cook your own breakfast in the morning — or to come to the main barn and join others for breakfast. To participate in the egg harvest, or potato or strawberry harvest. To take a dip in the pool set in an orchard or to wind down the evening around a campfire, enjoying the night sounds on the farm. Our farm hands will offer personalized service to help you enjoy your time at Beach Plum Farm. There are five residences — two cottages and three barns — sleeping from 2 – 12; featuring cooks’ kitchens, screened porches and wood stoves. The Whalers’ Cottage Sleeping 2 – 8, this cottage dates back to the late 1700s, making it one of the oldest homes on Cape Island. Philip Hand was a descendent of Mayflower pilgrims who found their way to the southern tip of New Jersey chasing the burgeoning whaling industry. Philip established a plantation and when his daughter Martha was married, he built a home on a parcel of land as a wedding gift. With its winding staircase and original fireplace and special kids’ loft, the Whalers’ will take you back to the fron-
tier days on Cape Island. It was the homestead for what has become Beach Plum Farm. The Winona Cottage Sleeping 2 – 12, this cottage is one of the original Sears, Roebuck and Co mail order homes. Called the Modern Homes program, Sears sold over 75,000 homes between 1908 and 1940. The Winona was a popular model between 1927 and 1932. The arts and crafts cottage vibe runs throughout, with its beautiful floors and airy southern-facing porch. The Barns Sleeping 2 – 8, the Carriage Barn dates to the 1850s and was used as a carriage house. Converted to a home in the 1950s, it has been restored featuring the original beams and beadboard. The Owl Barn is set atop a rise next to a towering dawn redwood. The Hidden Barn is nestled in a grove of evergreens. Both were built in 2018 by the same Lancaster County, Pennsylvania family who built the farm’s main barn in 2015. Using Pennsylvania Hemlock and mortise and tenon joinery, the timber frames were raised on a chilly March day and are held together with wooden pegs. All three barns have a rustic charm, full kitchens, spacious screened porches and wood stoves. For more information on The Cottages at Beach Plum Farm, please call 833-327-6268. 25
Baron’s Cove est. circa 1962
Our sister property Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor, New York is the perfect base for exploring the wineries, farmers markets, antique stores, shopping and culture that Eastern Long Island has to offer. Family-friendly amenities include a heated saltwater pool, fitness studio, tennis court and complimentary bicycles. A private shuttle takes you to the beach, where you are set up with umbrellas, chairs and towels. And our menu of activities and excursions offers even more options. The nautically inspired lounge is the place to relax with a cocktail or glass of wine, whether it be during a balmy summer afternoon or a chilly fall evening. A breezy outdoor restaurant loft allows you to watch the sunset over Sag Harbor during dinner before returning to your private garden terrace. And when you feel like leaving the comforts of Baron’s Cove, Sag Harbor’s iconic Main Street is just a five-minute stroll away. Note: Dog-friendly rooms are available. Please call (844) 2276672 for more information.
Critically Acclaimed Baronâ€™s Cove was voted the #5 hotel in the New York and MidAtlantic regions in the Conde Nast Traveler Readersâ€™ Choice Awards 2017. The hotel is also rated as the top hotel in Sag Harbor on TripAdvisor.
Beach & Pool The summer season is all about our beaches and pools. Cape May’s wide, breezy, white-sand beaches are special (they’re routinely 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, salt water helps remove toxins from the skin, plus that salty air is very relaxing. If you’re not a beach person, that’s where Cape Resorts’ pool areas come in — relax on a lounger, dozing and reading, snacking and cocktailing (the prohibition of alcohol on Cape May’s beaches does not apply at our pools), waited on by attentive staff and splashing around with family and friends. Guests of Congress Hall, The Star and The Virginia can enjoy Congress Hall’s pool bar, surrounded by lush gardens and overlooking the hotel’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 beach 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 Sandpiper can enjoy poolside food and beverage service from The Blue Big Tavern, while guests of the Beach Shack are pampered by our servers at the Rusty Nail.
Science Says... The Ocean Is (Really) Good For Your Health
We know from experience that being near the liquid energy of the ocean makes us feel calmer, happier, healthier and more in control. It’s a waterinduced sense of peace that Wallace J. Nichols referred to as “Blue Mind” in his 2014 book by the same name. But what’s actually going on — physically and psychologically — to create this H20-triggered high? We combed through university studies, as well as the pages of Nichols’ bestselling book, for some of the science behind this watery sense of wellbeing. Advisory: This list is best read in the presence of gently lapping waves…
PS: This photograph was shot at Poverty Beach, but the water at other beaches in Cape May is equally good for you. 31
when a wave crashes, creating sea spray, invisible charged particles called ions are released into the air. Breathing this air increases oxygen flow while triggering the release of endorphins and serotonin, the body’s “happiness” hormones. In other words, that “surf stoke” we hear so much about? It’s a real thing. the sound of the ocean — its harmonic pitch and low volume — can improve mood and lead to relaxation because it triggers the same sensations as meditation. Because the brain interprets the whooshing of the sea as non-threatening noise, it often uses this natural soundtrack to calm the body into sleep, and to block out other noises that might otherwise startle you awake. The result? Especially sweet dreams on the beach. the color of the ocean has a relaxing yet energizing effect on the body — early humans were hardwired to seek out blue (read: clear skies and clean water) and this programming has stuck. Exposure to the color also helps regulate our body clock while increasing creative impulses. The blue wavelengths of the ocean may even help mitigate the effects of SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. we are transfixed by the motion of the ocean (and the glimmer of sunlight and moonlight on this water) because it’s never quite the same, yet there’s a comforting repetition to 32
it. This unusual combo works magic, researchers say, for quieting an overstimulated mind. when a person is immersed in the ocean, a 30 percent greater volume of blood gets circulated throughout the body. To allow for this increase, blood vessels need to relax. In order to make this happen, hormone balance is altered to a level more like that experienced during meditation. The result? A feeling of zen. because the ocean engages all senses at once, the mind becomes caught up in what experts call “soft fascination” — in other words, zoning out. In these daydreaming moments, the brain is adept at processing data, making connections and coming up with solutions to problems that may have eluded the beachgoer when actively thinking about them. short-term memory is improved around 20 percent by taking a short walk along the water’s edge. we feel calmer when we hit the beach partly because we expect to. It’s a placebo effect for which we can thank pop culture... movies and television have conditioned us to expect tranquilty from a watery landscape, so that’s what we get. And the effect isn’t just imagined, researchers say — the placebo response creates real (and really welcome) changes in the brain. Happy bathing!
Bottlenose dolphins (the ones you see when youâ€™re sitting on the beach in Cape May) frolic in the Atlantic Ocean. Now we know why dolphins always look so carefree.
OUR RULES OF THE BEACH
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... 1. 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 strictly forbid us from doing so — 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. Please do not put the staff in an awkward situation. We hope that you trust us to try to accommodate your needs while respecting the public aspect of our beautiful beach. 2. 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. 3. 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 Hall’s pool bar and the Rusty Nail (alcohol may not be taken off the premises). 4. TIPPING To ensure better service, 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. 5. GET TAGGED You must be in possession of a beach tag to access any beach in the City of Cape May during the summer season (Cape May Point has a separate tag). Note that hotels are not permitted to sell them. A day tag is $6, three consecutive days are $12, a weekly (Saturday – Saturday) is $18, and a tag for the entire summer season is $28. Funds from these tags help to keep the city’s beaches pristine.
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-andwhite striped tents of Congress Hall are directly in front of our landmark hotel. The Virginiaâ€™s elegant red-and-white tents are located at the end of Perry Street. And the rustic orangeand-aqua tents of the Beach Shack are between Grant and Patterson. 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, firstserved basis. There are three ways to book a tent (based on availability):
A Private Beach Tent... The Ultimate Beach Day Indulgence
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. 35
When the Rusty Nail launched the clamshell pitching tournament, Clam-A-Rama, in 2012, participants were jazzed about the beautiful simplicity of the game — dig a couple of holes in the sand, then try tossing your quahogs inside, or at least get closer than your opponent does. Instantly, families, friends and couples discovered a new favorite pastime. But this tournament wasn’t JUST about having fun in the sun. This was about reviving a seashore ritual forged over nine decades on the Cape, one toss at a time. To understand a bit more about this friendly competition — rooted in trash talk and tradition — we’ve put together a timeline of the game’s quirky evolution on this island, best read over a cold beer at the Nail — it’s tradition! 1867 Brooklyn native William Cummings throws the first curveball while playing for the Excelsior Baseball Club. He first figured out the technique by tossing a clamshell. 1940 Cape May Clamshell Pitching Club is established by a group of World War II veterans in need of some relaxation. The practice ground is Steger’s Beach, but the “official training house” is Henri’s Bar, now Cabanas. Members include “Speedy” Bosh Prichard, a star halfback (read: 97-yard kick-off return) for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1942 and from 1946 to 1951. 1946 Cape May Clamshell Pitching Club evolves into the International Clamshell Pitching Club of Cape May, with the launch of the end-of-season International Clamshell Pitching Tournament on Labor Day Weekend. Jim Stevens takes home the title of first champion. Members begin traveling to compete, winning matches against teams in both Avalon, New Jersey and Annapolis, Maryland. 1947-1949 Members of the club compete yearly in Philadelphia. They cart sand into the city and construct a court on top of the old Penn Sheraton. 1965 The City of Cape May teams up with the 36
The Art Of
The Cape May Clamshell Club was established in the 1940s...
here they are pictured before they added the tongue-in-cheek â€œInternationalâ€? to their name in 1946. 37
A HOLE LOT OF FUN… SCENES FROM PREVIOUS RUSTY
club, providing trophies for the International Clamshell Pitching Tournament. 1970s The club considers plastic shells as a solution to a clam shortage, but no satisfactory prototype is developed, and the idea is shelved. The Junior Clamshell Pitching Tournament begins this year for kids age 17 and younger. 1971 Club member Rich Reinhart, a great player who is known as “Crash” in the pitching circle, takes over running the international tournament, which has been attracting more than 200 people at a time. During his 25 years in charge, Rich writes a column for The Cape May Star and Wave under the pseudonym Howard Coshell, a little tribute to one of America’s most influential sports broadcasters, Howard Cosell. One of his more memorable quips... “It’s tough on top. There’s always this new kid with his clamshells strapped low on his hips riding into town.” 1988 The club’s yearly invitational gets off to a bad start, as the shells, scoreboard and Crash’s own beach bag are “picked up and dumpsterized by the city’s finest…” Despite this, the tournament goes on, and Mark “Three-Mile” Phinney accepts his fourth championship title. An indicator of the game’s competitive spirit: Players are now painting their shells to quell any controversy over whose have landed where. “What began as a peaceful, friendly competition of clamshellers 38
erupted into a shouting match on the strand last week,” Coshell reports one week before the international tournament is set to take place. At the big event, it’s 70-year-old Tom Stear who is named singles champion, after 15 years of trying. The Associated Press picks up the story, earning the pitching club national recognition. 1989 Member Irv “Fingers” Jacobsen reports on a dearth of clamshells in Cape May — particularly at the Coast Guard Base and at Poverty Beach — due to beach replenishment, and revisits the idea of looking into artificial models that will mimic the real deal. “It’s out of necessity,” he says. “Our shells are buried, and being breakable, must be replenished. But there are very, very few.” Despite this, the international tournament takes place… in 25 mile per hour winds. Also this year, Crash reports that female numbers in the sport have increased dramatically. “As recently as a decade ago, there were probably only three ladies with a realistic chance of winning. And now, you can at least triple that.” 1990 The shell shortage gets serious! “We’ve got trouble right here in Cape May City,” the Press of Atlantic City reports. “Trouble with a capital ‘T’, and that rhymes with ‘C’, and that stands for clam… there is a clam shortage that could require the use of (gasp) artificial clam shells.” Crash admits to raiding the beaches of Sea Isle
NAIL CLAM-A-RAMA EVENTS, HELD EVERY MAY
City and Strathmere, but to little avail. The shortage doesn’t stop him from challenging Vai Sikahema, an NBC sportscaster and former Philadelphia Eagle, to a clam pitching match. Vai accepts, and is defeated on national television. 1995 The city prints an anniversary beach tag for the 1995 season which commemorates 50 years of clamshell pitching in Cape May. 2001 After 57 years, the International Clamshell Pitching Tournament comes to an end due to problems created by beach replenishment. The Junior Clamshell Pitching Tournament continues on Windsor Beach. 2006 Rich Reinhart passes away at the age of 63. In his honor, the city renames the junior tournament The Richard Reinhart Memorial Junior Clamshell Pitching Tournament. 2012 Filling a need for an adult competition, the first annual Clam-A-Rama tournament is held across the street from the Rusty Nail. Nervous participants steady their nerves with cold beer at the Nail before the first toss. 2013-2016 Buzz around Clam-A-Rama grows greater with every tournament. 2017 Clam-A-Rama is canceled due to a pesky nor’easter. But the shell tossers can’t be deterred — they pile inside the Nail for bar games and tasty food, getting a head start on the trash talk for next year’s tourney. (Hey, it’s never too early...)
RULES OF THE GAME They vary depending on what seaside town you’re playing in, and who you’re playing with. Here are the rules of Rusty Nail Clam-A-Rama. The Court Dig two holes 25.5 feet away, which is around 10 to 11 steps. To judge the width of your holes — before you dig, place four clamshells on the sand, point to point, with a circle around them. The depth should be four to six inches. The Object To toss the clamshell to the hole. HOT TIP: Whether you throw across the body like a frisbee or not isn’t important — as long as your shell is flat and spinning when you toss it. Too much arm or wrist will kill your accuracy. Full extension of your arm is key. If you’re going to miss, miss in front, because your shell can still slide in. Scoring Play teams of one against one, or two against two. Draw a scoring circle around your hole. (Line up four guide shells back to back, extending out from each side of the hole. Draw a circle around the outer points. Remove your guide shells.) Any shell outside the circle receives no points. A shell inside the circle closest to the hole receives one point. (If you have the two closest, you get two points.) A shell hanging over the edge of the hole (a “clam lip”) is two points, and beats out any closest -to-the-hole points. A shell in the drain is three points and beats out any clam lips, and closest-to-hole scores. READY TO PLAY? Cape Resorts organizes regular clamshell pitching games. For more information, call the Concierge on 609-884-6542.
Campus 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. New 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, kayaking the back bays at sunset, visiting a local oyster farm and hiking to magical Davey’s Lake. For details, call the number above. See pages 8-11 for more information. 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 164-184. From the moment you leave your room in the morning to the moment you hit those crisp white sheets in the evenings, we are full of ideas to help you get the most out of every day. We have lined up activities from clam bakes to ceramics classes, karaoke 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! 40
Activity Central Mondays at Congress Hall (from June 18 through August 27), the lawn transforms into a carnival with booths, games for all ages, face painting, balloon twisting and train rides on the Congress Hall Express. Itâ€™s one of many activities available over the summer â€” others include yoga on the lawn, beach boot camp, tie dye, family ceramics, karaoke , soccer and swimming. Check your daily Concierge newsletter for more details! 42
Play Time! When you need a break from the beach, there is a roster of activities to keep the family entertained and engaged. Check your daily Concierge newsletter for details. MONDAY Yoga on the Lawn, Beach Boot Camp, Carnival on the Lawn, Pig Roast at the Rusty Nail TUESDAY Yoga on the Lawn, Beach Boot Camp, History Tour, Blue’s Clubhouse, Tie Dye, Clambake on the Lawn WEDNESDAY Yoga on the Lawn, Beach Boot Camp, History Tour, Family Ceramics THURSDAY Yoga on the Lawn, Beach Boot Camp, History Tour, Family Karaoke, Blue’s Clubhouse, Crafty Painting FRIDAY Yoga on the Lawn, Beach Boot Camp, Guided History Tour, Blue’s Clubhouse SATURDAY Yoga on the Lawn, Beach Boot Camp, History Tour, Blue’s Clubhouse, Soccer on the Lawn, Movies at the Pool SUNDAY Yoga on the Lawn, History Tour, Sunday Swims
Clambakes On The Lawn The best backyard summer parties are when the backyard is on the beach. Visit Congress Hallâ€™s Grand Lawn this summer for a good oldfashioned clambake. Share in this family-style feast on picnic tables full of shrimp, mussels and middleneck clams steamed over Allagash Ale and lemon. Enjoy delicious fresh sides of Jersey corn, cucumber tomato salad and plenty of drawn butter. Live entertainment provides the perfect soundtrack to summer Clambakes at Congress Hall, every other Tuesday during the summer season.
Bike The Island Is there a particularly good time to ride your bike around Cape Island? Yes. Most of the year. The city is flat, very pretty and you don’t want to be stuck in summer traffic — bikes sometimes go faster than the cars on Beach Avenue. We are delighted to be running our own bike rental program again this year, in partnership with Anita and Tom Roth, whose family have been serving our beach community since 1886. A range of singles, doubles, children’s bikes and surreys are available at Congress Hall Bike Shop. Guests of Cape Resorts can pre-order rentals. The front desk agents at each property as well as the Cape Resorts Concierge at Congress Hall can assist you in setting up your rental. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the handy little map we produced. In the meantime, here are three recommended bike routes, all of which start from Congress Hall... THE HISTORIC TRAIL Go down Perry, left on Beach, then ride until you see Convention Hall on your right. That’s your cue to take one of the streets on the left — like Howard. Then, rather than give you specific instructions, we advise you to wend your way through the streets of the Historic District. Check out the charming Chalfonte Hotel, on the corner of Howard and Sewell. Other streets to hit — Columbia, Hughes and Franklin. It’s a wonderful house-watching trip. 46
TO THE FARM Head down Perry to the 0cean and go right onto Beach. Take in the sea breeze and turn right onto Grant, just past the Sandpiper. Continue across Broadway and enjoy a view of the Cape May Meadows and the lighthouse just before you turn right onto 1st Avenue. Take a left onto Sunset then a quick right onto Pacific. Turn left onto Second and cruise to the end of this quirky West Cape May street, where you will turn right onto West Drive. Turn left onto Stevens and you’ll soon see Beach Plum Farm on your right. TO THE LIGHTHOUSE Follow the directions to Beach Plum Farm. When leaving, turn right onto Stevens and go around the curve. Cross Sunset and Stevens becomes Sea Grove. Follow it to Lighthouse Avenue and turn left. Enter Cape May Point State Park on your left. In addition to the lighthouse, the park is home to a museum, hiking trails, a hawk watch platform and access to the beach, where you can find an abandoned World War II bunker. On your return, take Lighthouse all the way out to Sunset and turn left — Sunset Beach is at the end of Sunset, where you can find the remains of the SS Atlantus, an experimental concrete ship, and Cape May Diamonds on the rocky beach.
BIKE RULES You can ride your bike on the promenade in the summer months, but ONLY before 10am. FYI: The promenade is 1.4 miles long, end to end. BIKE TIP The Congress Hall Bike Shop provides locks for all bikes. Be sure to use them!
TO HIGBEE BEACH Follow the directions to Beach Plum Farm until you are on Second. Turn right onto Bayshore and follow it through farm country. On your left, note The Beanery, where lima beans were once loaded onto trucks to be shipped out into the wide world. Follow Bayshore to New England and turn left. (If you want to take a look at the canal, which makes Cape May an island, and splits Bayshore in two, cross New England Road and continue for one more block until you see the water). On New England, you’ll pass more farms, including Bay Springs Alpaca, and at the end of the road, you’ll find the parking area for Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area. Take a stroll and catch a glimpse of the Cape May-Lewes ferry making its trip across the Delaware Bay.
Independence Week PATRIOT GAMES AND FAMILY FAVORITES
Congress Hall has traditionally hosted Cape May’s Fourth of July party. Now 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 fireworks.
Below: 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.
Remarkable History Of The Big House 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. Turn the page to 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 hotel lay rotting for more than a decade after a standoff between its owner and the city council. 50
WANT TO KNOW MORE? BUY THE BOOK, TAKE THE TOUR!
« 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 in Congress Hall lobby.
«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 the Concierge on 609-884-6542. 51
Cape May’s birth as America’s oldest seaside resort is likely down to a newspaper ad. In 1801, a visionary innkeeper called Ellis Hughes placed an advertisement in the Philadelphia Aurora and General Advertiser which stated, “The situation is beautiful, just on the confluence of Delaware Bay with the ocean in sight of the lighthouse... Carriages may be driven along the margin of the ocean for miles... It is the most beautiful spot that citizens can retire to in the hot season.” Soon after, the wealthier folks in America’s first capital city were heading for Cape May in horse-drawn carriages and, later, stagecoaches, sloops, schooners and steamboats. It was Ellis Hughes’ son, Thomas, who built what became the first Congress Hall. Hughes’ place, known informally as The Big House after it was completed in 1816, accommodated 100 guests, making it one of the largest hotels in America, as well as the first to be built by the shore. The locals thought Hughes was out of his mind building such a large accommodation. Guessing the plan would be a bust, they called the building Tommy’s Folly. He proved them wrong. Hughes was a commanding figure in town — he became sheriff, then assemblyman — and he clearly knew a bit about business, too, since his trailblazing oceanfront hotel was a big hit. Was it a fancy place? Not even close. “The building was one hundred feet long and thirty five feet wide, with not a square inch of plaster on its walls and not an ounce of paint upon its boards. You would hardly call it much of a hotel,” one elderly native later recounted to the Cape May Ocean Wave newspaper. Fire after fire. The building was destroyed by a blaze in 1818, but Hughes quickly rebuilt it. However, this wasn’t the only fire Congress Hall would endure It wasn’t named Congress Hall until after Hughes sold the building. In 1828, new owner Samuel Richards gave it the name in honor of Hughes’ ascension to the House of Representatives. 52
Waters B. Miller bought Congress Hall from his father, Jonas. Waters went on to become one of the wealthiest men in Cape May and served as mayor and state senator. He made a big impact at Congress Hall, adding two wings in an L-shape that dwarfed the 1818 building. He also owned a local farm and the produce supplied what became a critically acclaimed dining room.
Winging it. In 1853, Waters Miller (who bought Congress Hall from his father for $42,000) added a 300-foot and a 200-foot wing in an L-shape that dwarfed the original building, which remained, squeezed between the new additions. Miller also incorporated the columns that gave Congress Hall the style of a Southern plantation, a look for which the hotel remains famous. Capacity increased to 800 guests. The original farm-to-table! In 1855, the Baltimore Sun raved about Congress Hall’s menu, noting that Miller had his own farm which supplied the hotel. In a newspaper ad, Miller wrote that the hotel boasted “a dining hall unsurpassed by any in the United States.” Sound familiar? Today, much of the hotel’s produce comes from a farm in West Cape May owned by Congress Hall’s managing partner, Curtis Bashaw. The first President. Maybe word of Congress Hall’s great dining room got around. In 1855, Franklin Pierce became the first of four incumbent presidents to stay at Congress Hall. On July 4, President Pierce addresssed the large crowd gathered on the lawn. President #2. Pierce presumably spoke highly of the hotel to his Minister for Great Britain, James Buchanan, who followed him into the White House and, subsequently, into Congress Hall’s guest book. Buchanan (who, thus far, is the only U.S. president who never married) stayed at the hotel for a few days in 1858.
And then... crickets. It would be two decades before another American president would visit Congress Hall. What happened? The Civil War dealt a huge blow to Cape May’s tourism industry. The southern visitors who used to head here in the thousands stopped coming. As a result, times were tough on Cape Island. The comeback. The 1869 season marked Cape May’s return to riches. Emboldened by this upturn (and likely sensing an opportunity to get one up on competing hotels which had been wiped out by a huge fire that year), Congress Hall owner Jacob Cake added a huge wing running toward the beach, demolishing the 1818 building in the process, at a cost of $250,000. The hotel was twice the size of the building you see now. Return of the presidents. It was this magnificent building that President Ulysses Grant visited in 1875. But, as the Baltimore Sun reported, a misunderstanding prevented him from receiving his proper salute from Congress
Hall pier. As Grant and “his distinguished party” were setting sail from the Navy Yard in Philadelphia on a Saturday evening, an old government tug that had been chartered for the use of Congress Hall left at the same time. It arrived at the hotel’s pier just ahead of Grant’s party. Sadly for the presidential party, the hotel’s five-gun salute was wasted on the rather surprised occupants of the old tug. Meanwhile, the president’s boat slipped in quietly, with nary a cheer nor a whistle to greet them. The ultimate poker game. In 1891 the CourierJournal of Louisville, Kentucky ran a story on legendary gambler Henry Cleveland, a frequent visitor to the Blue Pig, a casino situated at the end of Perry Street, near the spot now occupied by Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. A witness to the game told the newspaper, “I saw the biggest game of poker at the Blue Pig in ’56 that I ever saw in my life.” That wasn’t one of Cleveland’s better nights — he lost $32,000 in the game. In today’s money, that’s nearly $900,000. The Blue Pig? Yes, you guessed correctly... that’s
The rarely seen Perry Street entrance to Congress Hall, added when the hotel was enlarged in 1870.
how Congress Hall’s restaurant got its name. Congress Hall Pier. In 1875, a 550-foot pier was erected on the beach across from the hotel. It welcomed passengers from Philadelphia, Maryland, Washington D.C. and New York. The Great Inferno. In November of 1878, a fire that began on Perry Street, across from Congress Hall, quickly developed into the worst fire in the city’s history. Nearly 40 acres of prime beachfront real estate were destroyed... including the magnificent Congress Hall. It looked like the end. Four days after the fire, the Times of Philadelphia published a frontpage article that seemed to make it clear that Congress Hall was finished. “It does not seem that Congress Hall will be rebuilt, and a meeting of the company held yesterday morning showed that the sentiment of the owners of the ground was not in favor of replacing that famous hostelrie,” wrote the paper. A Knight to the rescue. Philadelphia businessman Edward Knight took over ownership and gave the instruction to rebuild. At 153 feet by 200 feet, the new Congress Hall was around half the size of its predecessor
Ulysses Grant stayed at Congress Hall in July 1875, though his arrival at the hotel was undermined when the hotel set off a five-gun salute... to the boat that arrived at the hotel pier just BEFORE President Grant’s presidential cutter. Below: Owner Annie Knight closed Congress Hall after a standoff with the city council that lasted for a decade — the deserted hotel is shown in 1915.
and accommodated more than 500 people in 268 rooms. The new hotel was also moved closer to the ocean. To raise financing for the rebuilding, Knight and his partners cut a new road, Congress Place, through land that had previously been occupied by the massive old structure and sold off lots — those homes are still there today. Quick work. Construction of the new Congress Hall began in March of 1879 and, remarkably, was concluded in just 90 days. In an article from May 23, 1879, the Times of Philadelphia stated that, “Men still hammer away till dark on the new buildings at Cape May. Congress Hall has risen like a red cloud in the east after sunset.” Farewell to wood. After seeing the destruction caused by fire in Cape May over the decades, Edward Knight decided the new hotel had to be built from brick, which was highly unusual in the Victorian resort. Initially, the hotel was painted sage green — the famous canary yellow color you see today wasn’t introduced until 1884. Visit from a maestro. Famed conductor John Philip Sousa, leader of the United States Marine Band, played on the lawn of Congress Hall in 1882, in front of 3,000 spectators under a shellshaped bandstand. Sousa was so taken with the hotel that he wrote “Congress Hall March,” one of his better compositions. Summer White House. In the summer of 1891, President Benjamin Harrison and his wife
Caroline moved out of the White House, which was undergoing a four-month renovation that primarily involved the installation of a new phenomenon called electricity. They stayed at a cottage in Cape May Point, though Harrison spent most of his time at Congress Hall, setting up offices in the ground floor (today, the site of Sea Spa) where he wrestled with, among other issues, the attempted annexation of Hawaii.
play its part, by resurfacing the streets that surrounded the hotel, including Beach Avenue. The city wouldn’t play ball, preferring to put tax dollars into the East Cape May development at the other end of town (which ended badly).
Left to rot. In 1908, Annie Knight, daughter of Edward, the man who had rebuilt the hotel in 1879, and the major shareholder of the hotel’s operating company, became involved in a dispute with the city that kept the town’s most famous hotel closed for a decade, allowing it to fall into serious decay.
Finally... a rebirth. In 1920, the two sides reached an agreement. The city would spend $200,000 ($2.5 million in today’s money) repaving Beach Avenue, while Knight would carry out a major renovation. The Star and Wave reacted enthusiastically to the news, saying that the plan was to convert the hotel into a “tropical palace,” with sunken gardens enclosed in glass, filled with palms and tropical flowers. A large swimming pool would be built, “where aquatic sports may be continued during the winter months.” That was over-the-top. Knight’s renovation was more conservative — it actually set the tone for the style you see today. And it would be nearly 40 years before a pool would be installed at Congress Hall.
What was the problem? Knight had been planning to carry out a major renovation of the hotel but had been expecting the city to
Cheers! In June 1934 the hotel became the first in post-Prohibition Cape May to open a cocktail bar. You know it today as The Brown Room.
Lean years. Thanks to the rise of Atlantic City, which became the east coast’s most popular resort, Cape May (and, by extension, Congress Hall) went into a slump that would last well into the latter half of the next century.
Congress Hall owner Joe Uhler, right, in the hotel bar (now The Brown Room) during World War Two
Food & Drink Your eating options at Cape Resorts are diverse (our at-a-glance guide on pages 96 and 97 provides evidence of that). You’ll enjoy critically acclaimed dishes at The Ebbitt Room, housed in the elegant Virginia hotel, while over at The Blue Pig Tavern, nestled in the heart of Congress Hall, American classics are the attraction. In the basement of Congress Hall, The Boiler Room is earning rave reviews for its thin-crust, brick oven pizza, which go down well with an excellent selection of draft beers. Further along the beachfront, there’s the Rusty Nail, regularly recognized as one of the best beach bars in America. Sit with your toes in the sand while you pick from an eclectic, exciting menu — starring fish tacos and cold beer. And those are just our restaurants. The new Beach Plum Bakery & Café at West End Garage offers an irresistible line of specialty doughnuts (inspired by produce from Beach Plum Farm) baked daily on the premises. Wash them down with La Colombe draft lattes or other specialty drinks. In the Congress Hall lobby, Tommy’s Folly Café is the perfect pit stop if you need breakfast, lunch or snacks on the go. If you like your food delivered beachside or poolside, we have you covered there too. As diverse as these eateries are, they have one thing in common... and that’s Beach Plum Farm. Our beautiful 62-acre farm, located a bike ride away in West Cape May, supplies fruit, vegetables, eggs, pork and poultry to our establishments. Not only that, the farm has its own kitchen, producing artisanal breakfasts and lunches as well as hosting a series of themed dinners throughout the year which have proved to be a huge hit. Wherever you choose to satisfy your appetites on the Cape Resorts campus, we can promise you one thing... we’re as fresh as it gets. Over the following pages, we’ve featured some of our edible highlights and offer up behindthe-scenes info for your delectation. Happy eating... 56
Of Beach Plum Farm
The 62-acre Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May was launched in 2007 as a way to provide local, clean produce for the Cape Resorts restaurants. What started as a modest operation — the first harvest included only tomatoes, squash and cucumbers — 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 has become a community hub and a serene place for connecting with nature and one another, usually over a meal of farm-fresh food and drink. We’ve laid out some of what makes this spot so special, including the additions of our renovated cottages and new barns that will allow guests to spend the night on the land. 58
rustic charm makes it the ideal spot for the farm’s Market and Kitchen. hickens. They’re free-range. In other words, “We let them roam free, expressing their chicken-ness,” says Farm Manager Christina Albert. “They have our enduring devotion.” And they love being fed by visitors to the farm. Be sure to say hello to Beach Plum’s turkeys as well! aily. That’s how often deliveries of fresh, hand-picked produce are made to the chefs at The Ebbitt Room, Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail, Boiler Room and Louisa’s Café — all less than two miles away. ggs. They taste better when they’re coming from stress-free chickens. And these chickens ARE stress-free — when they’re cozied up in their clean, airy coop, farm workers are sure to knock before entering, to keep from startling the animals. It’s no wonder the eggs are delicious in a Blue Pig Tavern omelet, on a deviled appetizer at The Ebbitt Room, or in your own kitchen — they’re for sale at Beach Plum Farm Market. estival: The fall harvest season is celebrated every Saturday in autumn, complete with craft beer from award-winning Cape May Brewing Company, firepits and s’mores, farm-fresh food (including a pig roast), live music, pie-eating contests, hayrides to the pumpkin patch and lots of activities for the kids. uided tours. They happen on weekends, and they’re full of fun info. Did you know that the long, shaded path that connects the front of the farm to the back was reconstructed using aerial maps from World War II? Or take a selfguided tour by foot or bike. Be sure to check out the 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. erbs and Honey. Beach Plum Farm offers at least 10 varieties of herbs at a given time — think thyme, rosemary, garlic chive, sage, six different kinds of mint and more. (And yes, that herb garden was constructed as a parterre, or a mirror image of geographic shapes.) Beach Plum
menities. Beach Plum now provides its own rosemary-mint shampoo, conditioner and body wash as well as lemon verbena body lotion to all of our Cape Resorts accommodations. You can take them home, too — larger sizes are available for purchase at the Farm Market. arn. The farm is home to an Amish-built, post-and-beam barn that was built in 2015 with mortise and tenon and peg joinery. The frame — made from Pennsylvania hemlock, pine and cypress — was raised in a day and a half. Its
Farm also harvests and sells its own honey. There are six beehives on site. ced tea. The farm makes dozens of varieties of iced tea — from lemon verbena to chocolate mint — and serves them daily at the iced tea bar at the Farm Kitchen. uices. The Beach Plum Farm Market makes fresh options daily, including beet, apple and ginger, and ultimate green juice, which is made with kale, spinach, green apples, pineapple and celery. You’re welcome to bring your own champagne to mix for brunch. These refreshing drinks are also served poolside at Congress Hall, at Tommy’s Folly, The Blue Pig Tavern and Beach Plum Bakery & Café at West End Garage. itchen. The Kitchen at Beach Plum Farm is open for breakfast (served all day) and lunch. Farm-raised bacon and egg sandwich on fluffy brioche, anyone? Your meal — which you’re free to enjoy on one of the farm’s breezy picnic tables beside a fire pit, or inside the farm’s rustic-but-elegant-greenhouse-turned-hoophouse — is prepared by Todd Phillips, a graduate of the
Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and an avid gardener who walks the farm-to-table walk at work AND at home. avender doughnuts: Beach Plum Farm has always made tea out of its home-grown lavender, and they already sell freshly picked bunches and sachets. New this season are scratch-made doughnuts done with a lavender glaze, baked fresh daily at the new Beach Plum Bakery & Café, at West End Garage. arket. Beach Plum Farm Market offers fresh produce, eggs and herbs daily. It also features the farm’s turkey, chicken and pork
cuts and charcuterie as well as a second floor loft stocked with home goods and gifts. asturtiums. That’s just one kind of edible flower grown (and sold) at Beach Plum Farm. Keep your eyes peeled for (non-edible) dahlias, sunflowers, zinnias and evergreens. Or how about some blue borage, the garnish for a Pimm’s cup cocktail? It’s best served with friends on The Ebbitt Room porch, to a soundtrack of a clip-clopping, horse-drawn carriage. vernight. Beach Plum Farm has renovated several historic cottages and erected new barns so that people can spend the night on the
farm. Farm weekend packages debut in September. igs. These humanely raised Berkshire and Hereford pigs are as happy as they are healthy — no antibiotics here. This ensures that all the bacon and hickory-smoked pulled pork you see on the farm or on a Cape Resorts menu is of the highest quality. uack, quack. Ducks are raised for meat and eggs at Beach Plum Farm this season, but they aren’t the only birds you’ll see at the farm. World-class birders flock (pun intended) here for rare sightings over the protected marshlands that flank the back of the property. eserve. Farm-to-table dinners are held on weekends throughout the summer. The meal — a salad or gazpacho, two entrées, sides and a dessert — always including a protein raised on the farm (turkey, duck, chicken or pork) as well as just-picked-and-prepared produce. (Buttered radish dipped in sea salt sound good?) The food is served family-style at a long table in one of the farm’s rustic structures or on one of its beautiful, breezy fields. There’s even a kids’ dining area that includes a designated storytime, so adults are freed up to savor their meal.
tudents. Beach Plum Farm has become a destination for local elementary, middle and high schools, who organize trips for students to learn about the day-to-day operations of a working farm. In the summer months, the farm also runs an intern program. ulip poplars. Recently planted at the farm, these majestic trees will grow to be 90 feet high over the course of the next 50 years. “I may not be able to see some of the shade these trees provide, but someone will,” says Curtis Bashaw. “I think if you’ve marveled at something elsewhere, being able to create that someplace new is a gift, and this land allows us to do that.” nder the stars. On a beautiful summer’s night, enjoy s’mores and a bonfire and then head to the back field where an astronomer will help you navigate the sky. These star-gazing expeditions are new for 2018. egetables. The long and growing list includes kale, asparagus, spinach, lettuce, zucchini, cabbage, onions, baby bok choy, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, squash, radishes, rutabagas, turnips and more. ine. Beach Plum Farm now carries varietals from the Hawk Haven Vineyard and
Winery… because locally grown wine is perfect for pairing with locally grown food. ylem. That’s the cell system in a plant that circulates water and nutrients. The loamy soil of south Jersey provides a ton of both. ear-round. Because of the farm’s greenhouses, certain offerings are always available. Take the tomatoes — the farm grows at least eight varieties, supplying, among other things, sauce for the pizzas at The Boiler Room. ero. As in zero synthetic herbicides or pesticides are used here. Ever. Other ways that Beach Plum Farm is sustainable? Cover crops are planted to sequester excess carbon into the soil. And because Cape Resorts’ restaurants are receiving most of their produce from this local land, they’ve seriously cut back on their greenhouse gas emissions — a mile-and-a-half is a short distance to travel to deliver the food.
X Y Z
Weekend 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. Weekend packages are available this fall. 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. Call 855-290-8467. 63
The Rusty 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 a story in Exit Zero magazine) or around the always-popular outside fire pit. Thanks to the addition this year of a stunning indoor fireplace, you can enjoy the special appeal of the Nail from spring through December and enjoy the recently renovated and heated rooms at the adjacent 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.
BREAKFAST AT THE BEACHFRONT
Start your Cape May day with your feet in the sand and a Rusty Nail menu in your hand. Your appetite will thank you for it! Here are some highlights (feel free to wash it all down with a classic Bloody Mary or Mimosa). Omelettes Western, Norwegian or Build Your Own. Comes with the Nailâ€™s irresistible home fries, plus your choice of toast, English muffin or biscuit. Pancakes & French Toast Comes with maple syrup and butter. Add blueberries, chocolate chips or banana â€” or Beach Plum Farm berries and whipped cream. Sammies on the Fly Ham, bacon, pork roll or Canadian bacon and egg on your choice of bagel, wrap or English muffin. Served with home fries. Breakfast Burrito Scrambled egg, ham, cheese, black beans and pico de gallo. Served with home fries.
REFINING THE ART OF CASUAL DINING
With its beachfront location, you’d be right in assuming the Rusty Nail offers seafood specialties — highlights include grilled fish tacos, BBQ clams and a fried local flounder sandwich. But you’ll also want to try the strawberry hot wings, pulled pork sandwich, steak and cake and the ridiculous BBQ ribs.
BRINGING THE HEAT (AND THE FUN) YEAR-ROUND
Thanks to the recent 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...
YOU CANâ€™T MISS THE DOGGIE PAGEANT... FUR REAL!
Every dog DOES have its day at the Rusty Nail Doggie Pageant. Every September, some of the smartest and cutest pups around vie for the privilege of becoming the Nail’s official mascot. Our current champion is Dexter (below). We’ll see you in September for more tail-waggin’ antics...
Chef Jason Is Making Magic At The Ebbitt Room For Jason Hanin, executive chef of The Ebbitt Room at The Virginia, cooking is an adventure. “I feel most alive when stepping out of my comfort zone,” he says. “I love the thrill of continuously picking up and doing it all again, even when it’s scary.” The Philadelphia native graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Then followed a series of travels that took him from Aspen, Colorado to Philadelphia, Florida and the Caribbean. He did head back to his native New Jersey for a few years, but after Hurricane Sandy destroyed his Ventnor home, he set off on another odyssey that took him from Utah to Texas and then Malibu, California. Last year, he headed back east and took over the kitchen at The Ebbitt Room. We talked with Jason about the things that drew him back, and why he’s fallen hard for Cape May… 74
How did you fall in love with cooking? I started messing around in the kitchen when I was eight, to spend time with my mom, to get dirty, to be a kid and play. I would pick the beans or the asparagus, or peel whatever she needed. Remember the first dish you ever made? The first thing my mom taught me to make from scratch was Caesar salad. Every holiday — Thanksgiving, Rosh Hashanah, Passover — I made it at the table where everyone was seated, mashing up the garlic, anchovies, salt, oil, Worcestershire sauce. I loved having all eyes on me, and I loved the instant gratification of it. So when did you realize you wanted to make a living out of making food? I knew I wanted to be a chef by the time I was 14. I didn’t even show up for my SATs, because I didn’t need them for culinary school. My family’s always been in the tire and automotive industry — no one’s worked in the restaurant industry — but they were supportive. I think they saw that it came naturally to me, that this is where I belonged. To me, being in the kitchen… it was like making music. Thinking about the stereotypical chef we see yelling on TV — the Gordon Ramsay or Anthony Bourdain — who is rough around the edges, no-nonsense, maybe even a little… mean? How do you compare? I’m part of the last generation to have worked for lunatics. People like Gordon Ramsay are real, and Chef Gordon worked for some really talented, really crazy, people. Kitchens are rough — it’s hot, you get irritable, it takes years to understand your craft and you’re constantly correcting people and trying to create future chefs. The hazing that was done to me wouldn’t happen in today’s world because of social media and lawsuits. It’s not a democracy in a kitchen… it’s a full-blown dictatorship. And chefs have egos. They are artists and perfectionists and craftspeople before anything. Any valuable lessons learned early on? One of the best things to happen to me happened in Texas, when the director of culinary pulled me aside after service and said, “Jason,
what are you doing? This tyrannical way of being, you can’t be like that. You can’t have staff who are afraid to talk to you. They’re too worried about what you’re going to say or do.” Even though I’m only five-foot-eight, that’s how I was coming across. It’s just an intensity. It’s the Super Bowl every night and the chef wants everything right. But that conversation struck home. I knew I could be kind of crazy, but I was a product of my environment and the people I had worked for, and all of that was acceptable at one point. I’ve grown immensely in that respect over the years. Speaking of all the adrenaline in the kitchen, does this carry over outside of the kitchen, too? Are you rock climbing and racing cars in your off-time to chase that intensity? I surfed as much as I could in California and I still do. My typical day, I walk in at 9:30am and leave at 11:30pm. I do think balance is very important, but it’s hard to find in the restaurant industry. I think it’s very important that my cooks and sous chef are able to enjoy their personal time. The pea toast on your menu — is this an indication you’re fed up with the avocado toast hysteria that’s been sweeping the nation? Are you kidding me? I spent the last handful of years in California — ground zero for avocado toast. The toasts are just a fun, simple, rustic way to start a meal. I’m working on something with peaches, because they are in season. Do you planning on sticking around in Cape May for a while? I definitely see myself here for a while. There’s a knife shop in Beverly Hills where all the chefs hang out and talk, and I’m friendly with the owner. I had a conversation with him after I received the job offer here and he said, “Jason, what you’ve just been offered — a 70-seat restaurant with its own farm a mile away — chefs kill for that.” And he’s right. There are so many attributes to this operation that I’ve wanted for a long time. Since I’ve been here, I’ve fallen in love with my craft all over again. You mentioned the farm. Do you think 77
the farm-to-table phrase is overplayed at this point and, if so, how is The Ebbitt Room different? We aren’t just farm to table — Curtis has created something more like farm AND table. We have our own farm, you know. The farmer is my colleague. The dishes are designed around what is growing. That fact that it’s a mile away, I know what the food looks like, 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. Also, we collaborate — I can ask for specific items. The end result is a beautiful product, whether it’s produce or poul78
try or pork. Everything has been treated with love. What would you choose for your last meal on earth? I’d love a seared foie gras dish, a pint of coffee ice cream and an all-you-can-eat Korean barbeque. How do you walk the line between executing your vision for a menu and appeasing those longtime customers who’ve been coming to The Ebbitt Room for years? It’s about earning trust. If there are staples on the menu that are here forever, so be it. Instead of treating them like the stepchild, I’m going to make them the best they can be. There’s still plenty of room
to keep the ball moving forward. What dish that you’ve added — or dish that you’re planning to add — is giving you a particular thrill right now? Yellowtail crudo is so much fun to make. And I love seeing the salmon dish go out. I thought the pea toast would be a fun, cute thing, but it turned into a crazy seller. What else has been fun to make? The squash blossoms stuffed with homemade ricotta with simple marina underneath — such a simple, classic dish but so enjoyable when done right. We started getting corn from the farm so what I did the other night was a beautiful corn and coconut chilled soup poured tableside with
lobster and peaches and cucumbers off to the side. It’s a really fun, sexy dish — pretty, simple and elegant. I’ve always had access to incredible product, but to have my own product from the farm is very cool. What’s your impression of Cape May? It’s a whimsical, dreamy town that couldn’t possibly exist in real life. It’s something a country singer would sing about when he says “hometown USA,” and it’s really cool to be a part of that. But I don’t want people to come to The Ebbitt Room out of default, because they’re already in Cape May. I want The Ebbitt Room to be the destination. 79
The Ebbitt Room
FARM-INSPIRED FOOD AND COCKTAILS
Picking your favorites from The Ebbitt Room menu may be a challenge â€” there are a lot of dishes competing for your tastebudsâ€™ attention. Where to eat is the next question. In the buzzy dining room, or at the bar? How about the breezy front porch or the intimate side porch? So many choices.
Mix It Up At The Ebbitt
Blackberry Smash 2 oz bourbon 1 oz honey syrup Muddled blackberry Garnish with blackberry, rosemary and mint served up
Conventional wisdom states that necessity is the mother of invention. Put another way, when faced with a challenge, you’re often inspired to take your thinking to a new level. This was the case for those folks who thumbed their noses at the 18th Amendment and concocted illegal booze in back alley and basement bars. Because liquor was obviously hard to come by during the years of enforced temperance, bartenders had to think outside the bottle. Instead of making cocktails by mixing several different liquors (as had been the norm), they turned instead to common household ingredients to add some balance to their drinks. Egg whites, herbs and honey were chief among them. When prohibition ended in 1933, this food-infused cocktail trend went with it. But as you will likely have noticed, it has returned in a big way in the last decade and we think it’s here to stay. Given that our Cape Resorts restaurants have access to all that fresh produce from Beach Plum Farm, it makes sense for our bars to take full advantage. This is why we offer a great selection of cocktails inspired by the prohibition era. For Leo Morjakovs, bartender at The Ebbitt Room, it makes life so much more fun. “Having the chance to make these drinks with herbs like mint and sage that came from the farm that day... it doesn’t get better than that. You can ALWAYS taste the difference.” We’ve shared a few of our favorite Ebbitt Room cocktails on these pages... cheers!
Pear Martini 2 oz pear vodka 1 oz elderflower liqueur 1 oz cranberry juice 1 oz pear purĂŠe Garnish with raspberry served up
Pineapple-Jalapeno Margarita 2 oz house-infused jalapeno tequila 0.5 oz lime juice 1 oz pineapple purĂŠe Garnish with salt and pineapple
Basil Lemon Drop 2 oz house-infused citron vodka 0.5 oz lemon verbena syrup 1 oz limoncello 1 oz lemon juice
served up or over ice
Sugar the rim and garnish with basil leaf and lemon verbena
served over ice
Mint Julep 3 oz bourbon 1.5 oz simple syrup Garnish with a sprig of mint
Sage Paloma 2 oz bourbon 0.25 oz lime juice 1.5 oz fresh grapefruit juice Agave Garnish with sage served up
The Blue Pig Tavern
Located in the heart of historic Congress Hall you’ll discover one of Cape May’s beloved dining experiences, The Blue Pig Tavern. No matter the weather or your mood, you’ll find a table that works for you here. When it’s sunny, the leafy patio is a delightful spot to start your day with a breakfast of Congress Hall’s Eggs Benedict or a refreshing smoothie. Later in the day, linger over lunch as you sip a cool drink and people-watch. In the evening, dine beneath charming strings of lights. Inside, each Blue Pig dining area provides a different feel. One has an airy garden vibe with a large skylight — it’s perfect for larger groups. The second room evokes a classic tavern, with vintage mirrors, large banquettes and a magnificent fireplace which comes alive on crisp days or chilly evenings in spring, fall or winter. Then there’s the enclosed porch, which is perfect for those who want to be indoors while being bathed in the light and the colors of the outdoors, thanks to a wall of windows. With the addition of our Winter Beer Garden, there’s another fun way to enjoy the charms of The Blue Pig Tavern. Gather with friends and family and enjoy drinks and bites around the firepit. Wherever you sit, you will feast on the restaurant’s classic American tavern fare, enjoying the simple pleasure of a meal prepared from scratch — the menu utilizes local seafood as well as fruits, vegetables, herbs, pork and eggs from our own Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May. During fall, winter and spring, the restaurant offers its famous Blue Plate Specials from Sunday to Thursday... you’ll find dishes that will warm your soul at prices that will make you happy. Come thirsty! The restaurant offers its own beer — Blue Pig Tavern Ale — and a full list of delicious beverages from the Congress Hall bar. And don’t miss the homemade desserts, especially our own little slice of Americana, Congress Hall’s Classic Apple Pie. 86
Is the best time to eat at The Blue Pig Tavern on a sunny lunchtime or late afternoon on the leafy patio, when you might be lucky enough to hear the sound of the surf? Or...
Is the best time to eat at The Blue Pig Tavern on a crisp offseason afternoon or evening, when the wood-burning fire is roaring and the cozy tavern comes to life?
A Taste Of The Tavern SAVOR AMERICAN CLASSICS AT THE BLUE PIG
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 steak and cake, Scottish salmon, roast chicken and old fashioned fish-n-chips. Prepare to be refreshed and revived!
ENJOY THE CHARMS OF THE BLUE PIG YEAR-ROUND
With a magnificent fireplace as its centerpiece, you wonâ€™t be surprised to learn that The Blue Pig Tavern is a big draw on cold evenings on the Cape. But donâ€™t miss the fire outside! Our Winter Beer Garden offers friends the opportunity to share stories and laughs by the firepit.
Cape Resorts Food Guide
THE Blue Pig Tavern The cozy tavern style is underlined by the 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
beach plum farm kitchen Breakfast and lunch dishes loaded with produce straight from the farm. And look out for regular pop-up 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, soups and salads — grab and go to the veranda rockers for an extra treat. Location: 200 Congress Place Meals Served: Breakfast, Lunch, Treats Reservations: No Phone: 609-884-6522
the Boiler Room Thin-crust, brick-oven pizza in eight tasty varieties and seasonal salads. Plus six draft beers. Don’t miss the live entertainment from Thursday-Sunday. Location: 200 Congress Place Meals Served: Dinner, Late-Night Snacks Reservations: No Phone: 609-884-8421
The Brown Room The twin pillars of Cape May’s Living Room are the spectacular fireplace and the wood-and-marble bar. 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
beach plum farm bakery & café West End Garage’s new eatery is serving 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
POOL service A kid-friendly lunch menu, served from 11am, which might be the only way you lure them out of the pool. Available at Congress Hall, Beach Shack and, new this year, Sandpiper! Meals Served: Lunch Reservations: No
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
veranda raw bar Congress Hall’s breezy veranda is the setting for our raw bar menu. Service is from 4pm to 10pm daily in season (from 6:30pm during weddings). Weekends only in May and June. Location: 200 Congress Place Meals Served: Dinner, Small Plates Reservations: No Phone: 609-884-8422
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 and Beach Shack. Location: On the beach at Perry, Jackson and Patterson. Meals Served: Lunch, Snacks Reservations: No
A Quick Guide To Breakfast 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: The new West End Café at West End Garage. La Colombe coffee 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).
WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Veranda Bar, Tommy’s Folly Café, Congo Pool Bar, Congress Hall in-room dining, Beach Plum Farm, West End 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. WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern.
Macadamia Nut Pancakes WHAT’S IN IT: Taste the islands when bite into these three fluffy pancakes with delicious toppings and finished off with your choice of coconut or classic maple syrup. WHERE TO GO: The Rusty Nail.
The Grain Bowl
Yogurt Parfait WHAT’S IN IT: Low-fat yogurt, fresh berries and crunchy granola. WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Tommy’s Folly Café, Congo Pool Bar, Congress Hall in-room dining, Rusty Nail.
Eggs Benedict Variations 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. WHERE TO GO: Eggs Blackstone is available at the Blue Pig Tavern and Congress Hall in-room dining. The Nail is available at the Rusty Nail.
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: Beach Plum Farm.
WHERE TO GO: Tommy’s Folly Café.
Beach Plum Farm Omelet WHAT’S IN IT: Our own free-range eggs, spinach, leeks, peppers, eggplant and feta. WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail.
Sunrise Sandwich WHAT’S IN IT: Eggs and sharp cheddar on a fresh croissant. The Rusty Nail has sandwiches on bagels, biscuits and everything in between, while Beach Plum Farm has a breakfast sandwich with farm-fresh eggs. WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail, Congress Hall and Beach Shack in-room dining, Beach Plum Farm.
Classic American Doughnuts WHAT’S IN IT: Homemade doughnuts available in your favorite classic flavors — plain, powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar. WHERE TO GO: West End Café.
A Quick Guide To Lunch Burgers WHAT’S IN IT: Stop by the Blue Pig Tavern for a delicious Veggie or Turkey Burger. 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. WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail, Pool and Beach services.
Frisbee Children’s Menu
Sandwiches & Wraps 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’s Blackened Mako Sandwich is served with tomatoavocado salsa on a toasted brioche bun.
Pulled Pork Sandwich WHAT’S IN IT: Slow-cooked Berkshire pork, housemade Carolina-style BBQ sauce, cabbage slaw on a toasted brioche bun. WHERE TO GO: Beach Plum Farm, Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail.
WHERE TO GO: Rusty Nail, Blue Pig Tavern, West End Café, Beach Plum Farm, Pool and Beach services.
Mac & Cheese
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: Build your own BLT with fresh ingredients from the farm. Choose the bread, flavor of mayo, plus add extras such as avocado, mozzarella cheese, goat cheese, grilled vegetables and cucumber.
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: Rusty Nail. The Blue Pig Tavern also has a great kids’ menu — served on grown-up plates.
WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail, Beach Plum Farm, Beach services.
Grilled Baja Fish Tacos
Fish & Chips
WHAT’S IN IT: Tacos packed to the gills with grilled mahi, corn, salsa, cheddar cheese, black beans and guacamole, served with coleslaw.
WHAT’S IN IT: Fresh fried haddock, beer-battered with a side of French fries — there’s no wonder it’s considered a signature dish.
WHERE TO GO: Rusty Nail.
WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail.
WHERE TO GO: Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail.
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: Fresh lettuce and delicious vegetables from Beach Plum Farm. Try the Barley and Quinoa at the Blue Pig or the Nail’s filling Cobb.
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 Hammer is a frozen concoction of Gosling’s Black Seal rum, Cruzan coconut rum, passion fruit puree, fresh lemon and pineapple juices served in a souvenir mug.
WHERE TO GET IT: Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail, Tommy’s Folly Café, Beach Plum Farm, Pool and Beach services.
WHERE TO GO: Rusty Nail.
WHERE TO GO: Rusty Nail.
A Hole Lot Of Taste!
it’s a friday morning in cape may. the sun has not yet risen over the horizon. A few fishermen gather on Beach Avenue, preparing to bait their hooks and cast a line just before the day breaks. On West Perry Street, the first customers at Beach Plum Farm Bakery and Café are still a few hours away, but a young baker has been in the kitchen for some time now. She mixes eggs, sugar, whole butter, buttermilk, apple cider and a few other ingredients, creating a nice, firm dough. She molds the dough into rings, placing them into a cake doughnut machine that drops the rings into hot shortening that fries them perfectly. As the doughnuts come out of the machine, she rolls some of them in sugar, while she glazes others by hand. The glaze was also made from scratch, just moments before the doughnuts were removed from the hot oil. Meanwhile, coffee is brewed and the doors open as joggers, fishermen and surfers arrive for their morning cup, along with the quintessentially American pastry whose history has the same genealogical roots as Cape May itself... or 102
should we say... Cape Mey? While there is evidence of doughnuts existing all the way back in prehistoric times, the arrival of the modern doughnut in the United States may be credited with a mid-nineteenth century Dutch sea captain. Two hundred years after Cornelius Mey made his tour around Cape Island, Captain Hanson Gregory set sail for New Amsterdam (or modern-day Manhattan). Gregory’s mother, Elizabeth, sent her son across the ocean with a bountiful supply of “olykoeks,” which literally translates as “oily cakes”. This Dutch delicacy was created with Hanson’s spice cargo of nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon rind, egg yolks and fried in hog’s fat. The pastry was said to ward off scurvy and colds, and would keep over the long journey. While there are several accounts of how this olykoek became a round pastry with a hole in the center, by far the best account involves a storm on the high seas. Captain Hanson, enjoying his olykoek, needed to navigate rough waters with both hands on the ship’s wheel. He skewered the pastry to one of the
Baker Cat Gleason rolls out the dough before usng ingredients that include Beach Plum Farm produce such as blackberries, carrots, mint, parsley, lavender, honey, eggs and bacon, plus dark chocolate. Flavors on previous page: Lavender Sugar, Lemon Verbena Sugar, Honeyed Bacon, Chocolate Black Walnut, Choco Mint, Blackberry Jam, Carrot, Cinnamon Sugar.
spokes and created a phenomenon that within a century would become an American staple. During World War I, doughnuts were served to American soldiers on the front lines, and in 1920, a refugee from czarist Russia named Adolf Levitt created the first doughnut machine, allowing for hundreds to be served along with coffee to hungry theatre-goers in New York, ensuring that the convenient cakes would become franchised. The 1934 World’s Fair in Chicago named the doughnut “the food hit of the Century of Progress,” and the Great Depression called on the doughnut to serve as equal parts sustenance and encouragement. In cities across America they were sold with a slip of paper that stated, “As you go through life, make this your goal: watch the doughnut, not the hole.” Doughnuts have caused controversy with regards to their spelling. While it is a long and contested story, the consensus is that only Americans use the “donut” spelling. But what’s IN a doughnut? Wouldn’t a cake 104
by any other name taste as sweet? Not if you are comparing them to the goodies at Beach Plum Farm Bakery and Café. “The café attempts to source all items it can from the farm, which includes vegetables such as leeks, carrots, kale and sweet potatoes,” says Catherine Gleason, baker and doughnut-maker extraordinaire. Other items that make the one-mile journey to the bakery include chamomile and blackberries (for the blackberry jam doughnut of course). There are six varieties of doughnuts on any given day — three staples (plain, powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar) along with three flavors that rotate on a weekly basis. Even if you don’t fancy yourself a doughnut person, the Café is whipping up savory items like mini-frittatas, savory scones and hand pies, using Beach Plum Farm eggs, meats and produce. Pair any of these fresh items with a frothy La Colombe draft latte and you’ll be prepared to take on whatever the day may bring... from hiking, fishing and navigating the high seas, to shopping, sunbathing and enjoying every bite out of life.
The Brown Room
Ease yourself into one of the comfy leather chairs in The Brown Room and, 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. Four sitting presidents drank at this place (a couple of them much more copiously than others — see our presidential cocktails on the next page). Then along came prohibition and, when it ended, Congress Hall became the first hotel in post-prohibition Cape May to open a cocktail bar. As a result, Congress Hall 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 and 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 fundamentalist preacher, the Reverend Carl McIntire, bought the hotel. On his first day, McIntire summoned a group of helpers 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, reopened the hotel and renamed this historic bar The Brown Room. So whether you’re sipping a scotch (as President Ulysses Grant very much liked to do) or savoring a hearty glass of cabernet, you’ll be enjoying it in fine company. 106
Drink Like A President Inspired by the four presidents who partook of the pleasures of Congress Hall’s bar, we created White Housethemed cocktails at The Brown Room.
Whiskey Smash James Buchanan, aka Old Buck, and his Democratic cronies sipped on this newly popularized cocktail at Congress Hall’s bar. Angel’s Envy bourbon, lemon juice, blackberry simple syrup, mint
Drunken Theatrics Inspired by Franklin Pierce, who was known to have a passion for a whiskey or two during his time in the White House. Old Scout bourbon, strawberry simple syrup, lemon juice, ginger beer, bitters
New Orleans Incident A tribute to Ulysses S. Grant, whose whiskey-drinking prowess was surpassed only by his skill in battle. Michter’s rye, Peychaud bitters, sugar, absinthe wash, lemon peel
Shrub Fashioned Admittedly, Benjamin Harrison wasn’t a big tippler, so this is a modern twist on a cocktail that was very popular during his time in office, the 1890s. Bulleit rye, amarena cherry, orange shrub, bitters, club soda
The Boiler Room
Situated in the lower level of Congress Hall, The Boiler Room has the flavor of a Manhattan nightclub. The bar and tables are stainless steel, the walls are the original ballast stone and exposed brick from the old hotel’s original boiler room, while the crimson shades add to the moody vibe. The installation of a brick oven added another reason for you to head downstairs to the Congress Hall basement. The thin-crust pizza here 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 and you can see why The Boiler Room is a favorite new destination. 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. But The Boiler Room doesn’t just look (and taste) good. It has the quality sounds to match. Throughout the season you’ll find more than enough reasons to dance the night away, with top-shelf entertainers providing live blues, swing and vintage rock. Not surprisingly, this has become one of the liveliest dance floors in America’s Original Seaside Resort. And for sports fans, twelve flat-screen TV monitors throughout the room make sure that no one misses any of the action.
Itâ€™s Fun Underground PIZZA AND PARTYING IN THE BOILER ROOM
With eight irresistible brick oven, thin-crust pizza flavors to choose from, along with farm-fresh salads and a selection of draft brews, youâ€™re all set. Add in quality live entertainment and a lively dance floor (and a dozen TVs for sports fans) and you have so many reasons to head for the basement!
Rebirth Of The Oyster once upon a time, the oyster capital of the world could be found 23 miles northwest of Cape May, as the crow flies. This was 100 years ago, when Port Norris — located where the Maurice River meets the Delaware Bay — was home base for a thriving maritime industry. Every day, wooden oyster schooners lined the wharf seven deep with a harvest that would fill nearly 130 freight cars. Refrigerated with ice, trains shipped these oysters — as many as 60 million per year in the 1920s — across the country. According to local lore, during the oyster heyday, more millionaires per square mile lived in Port Norris than anywhere else in the state. But disaster struck in the 1950s when MSX disease — a parasite lethal to oysters but not dangerous to humans — devastated the Delaware Bay population. With catches dropping 98 percent in two years, Port Norris and the surrounding towns suffered greatly. South Jersey’s oysters, once hawked on the streets of Philadelphia as commonly as hot dogs and pretzels are today, became largely the stuff of legend. Now, thanks to a collaboration between marine scientists and commercial fishermen, the bivalve is making a big comeback in Cape May’s waters. “There’s an availability of high-quality product, it’s locally and sustainably sourced, and there’s a story — a romance — to this industry,” says Lisa Calvo, aquaculture program coordinator with Rutgers University and New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium. “We’re seeing an oyster renaissance.” Guests of The Ebbitt Room, The Rusty Nail and The 114
Above: Cape May Salt Oyster Farm, on the mudflats of Green Creek, 10 miles from Cape May. This is where the famous salts come from. Right: Oystermen from the heyday of Cumberland County, when it was the oyster capital of the world.
Blue Pig Tavern are enjoying the bounty of this renaissance. The resurgence is due to the work of Rutgers University researchers who, over the course of several decades, developed disease-resistant oysters that don’t spawn, meaning the animals can focus more energy on generating plump, tasty meat, rather than on reproducing. And while this may sound like some kind of hairyscary genetic modification, it’s no different than growing seedless oranges. This research led to the beginning of a commercially viable aquaculture industry in New Jersey, in which oysters are farmed, rather than harvested, to avoid depleting a highly regulated wild stock. In 1997, Rutgers approached Danny Cohen, whose Atlantic Capes Fisheries is the leading harvester of scallops and other seafood, about partnering to launch a demonstration oyster farm — the first of its kind in the state — on the mudflats of Green Creek, less than 10 miles from Cape May. today, this project is known as cape may Salt Oyster Farm, the flagship operation of Cape May Salt Oyster Company. The threeacre farm receives larvae — aka baby oysters — from one of two remote hatcheries run by Rutgers in Cape May County. These babies are cared for in the farm’s nursery, where a paddle wheel delivers water and nutrients from the Delaware Bay 24 hours a day. When they reach about half an inch, the oysters are ready for “planting” on the bay’s rolling tidal flats — they’re put into mesh bags attached to steel racks that are submerged at high tide. As they grow to market size, a process that can take anywhere from a year to two, says farm manager Brian Harmon, they feed only on nutrients in the bay — no synthetic feed or antibiotics, ever. The salts have become a favorite menu item at Cape Resorts restaurants. At The Ebbitt Room, chef Jason Hanin serves them raw on the half-shell for purists, with a classic mignonette, fresh lemon wedge and cocktail sauce. Or, 116
as a great point-of-entry to oyster eating, have them chargrilled New Orleans style with herb garlic butter, parmesan cheese and za’atar spice breadcrumbs. “With a glass of sancerre or muscadet on the front porch after a day on the beach, these are awesome,” says the Virginia’s manager Jordan Rowan. “They’re sweet and briny, and there’s something rejuvenating about that salty taste.” the oysters have been so well-received that Cape May Salt Oyster Company last year launched a second Delaware Bay location, Elder Point Farm in Cumberland County, which is a deep-water operation that also supplies Cape Resorts restaurants. In 2017, between the two farms, the company produced approximately three and a half million oysters. The success has inspired others in the state — there are now more than 20 oyster farms in New Jersey, half of them in Cape May County. According to numbers submitted to a Rutgers survey, these farms were responsible for the sale of two million oysters in 2016, up 12 percent on the previous year. Oysters are arguably the planet’s greenest protein producers, plus the farms create habitat for creatures such as the seahorses and semi-tropical fish species that frequently make their way into Cape May Salt Farm. Because oysters are filter feeders, they purify up to 50 gallons each of water per day, improving water quality as they pump it through their bodies. And both wild beds and oyster farms provide coastal defense benefits by dampening 93 percent of wave action that might otherwise erode or batter a coast. To convey the importance of the humble oyster, the Cape May Salt Oyster Company conducts outreach, including tours of the farm operation. This summer, they’ll partner with Cape Resorts to create programming for guests who want the boutique, half-shell experience. “There’s a fascination surrounding oysters, and we’re happy to help foster that,” Harmon says. “People are surprised to learn how connected we all are to these little creatures.”
Aquaculture is becoming big business on the Cape. Below are some of the oysters you’ll see being farmed in Cape May, Ocean and Cumberland Counties. Happy slurping! OYSTER
South Bay Salts
South Bay Shellfish Company
Intertidal flats in Green Creek, Cape May County
These aren’t no banana (long and skinny) oysters. They have a deeper cup.
Betsy’s Cape Shore Salts
Betsy’s Cape Shore Salts
Intertidal flats in Green Creek, Cape May County
These pretty oysters are surprisingly uniform in shape, with thick shells
Rich and creamy, with a salt profile that doesn’t overpower
Dias Creek Oyster Company
South Highs Beach, just north of Green Creek, Cape May County
Symmetrical, with a bronze splash across the top shell
Earthy, in a truﬄy way
Naked Salt Oyster Company
Intertidal flats in Green Creek, Cape May County
Medium-to-high brine, without being too salty. Great for baking.
Sweet Amalia Oyster Farm
Pierce’s Point in Middle Township, Cape May County
Exceptionally clean white shells are dappled with amethyst hues and earth tones
Clean with a burst of brininess and a slightly sweet finish
Cape May Salts
Cape May Salt Oyster Company
Intertidal flats in Green Creek, Cape May County
Salty and succulent
Elder Point Oysters
Cape May Salt Oyster Company
Marshland at the mouth of the Maurice River, Cumberland County
These little guys are plump inside their honeycolored shells
Velvety smooth and a little sweet
Sole proprietor Mike Alexander
Northern end of Barnegat Bay, Ocean County
Expect ample meat inside rounded, white shells
Mild in salinity, full in flavor
Sloop Point Oyster Company
Northern end of Barnegat Bay, Ocean County
These mediumsized guys get an A+ on meat-toshell ratio
Shopping & Spa Pompom and cowrie shell earrings. Ombré kaftan, both by Oliphant.
Did you pack a little light for your vacation and 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. Our buyer, Rachel Elvgren, is ever-vigilant in her 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 preppy classics from Gretchen Scott, dayto-night dresses and tunics from Skemo. For the beach, we have coverups, beach totes, sun hats and fun skirts. Need to accessorize for the evening? We offer chic new jewelry from up-and-coming designer Mignonne Gavigan, plus three new sandal brands — Jack Rogers, Cocobelle and Ipanema. For men, we have classic lines such as Tailorbyrd, Johnnie-O and Tailor Vintage, plus swimwear from Hiho and flip-flops from Hari Mari. Welcome to the definitive by-the-sea shopping experience. Turn the page to see some ideas we’ve put together for evening wear.
Striped dress by Roberta Roller Rabbit. Tassel basket tote by JADEtribe. Platinum leather sandals by Jack Rogers. Fringe earrings by Caralarga.
Ruffle hem dress by Sail to Sable. Beaded envelope clutch by Tommy’s Folly. Opposite: Ombré kaftan by Oliphant.
The Shops At Tommy’s Folly The stores at Tommy’s Folly now offer more than ever! You’ll still find the great branded items and stylish boutique clothing you’re used to... but the layout now offers more fun, useful and inspiring shopping. Tommy’s Folly Coffee Shop is now Tommy’s Folly Café with tables where you can enjoy coffee and snacks — and browse the comprehensive selection of newspapers, magazines and everyday essentials. Next door, you’ll find an exciting combination of the old General Store and Home Store. Browse a kaleidoscopic range of Congress Hall-branded merchandise, from caps to belts to yoga pants and tees, including Blue Pig pajamas for women and kids made exclusively for Tommy’s Folly by Roberta Roller Rabbit, plus new Blue Pig boxers and lounge pants for men. If you love the china and linen found in this grand old hotel, you can buy them right here. And don’t miss the must-have collection of Congress Hall Christmas ornaments and collectible snow globes! Tommy’s Folly Boutique expanded and moved across the hall — here you will find an expanded selection of carefully curated resort wear and accessories. Next door to that is the new Tommy’s Folly Kids shop, where cute meets cool. You’ll find swimwear from Snapper Rock and Sunuva, swim goggles from Bling2O, and mermaid tails! Plus, we offer a huge selection of toys for all-day fun. 124
For Men Clockwise from top right: Johnnie-O garment dyed polo shirts, $75. Johnnie-O walking shorts, $85. Snapper Rock scalloped and pineapple swim trunks, $48. Johnnie-O short sleeve button-down, $105. Johnnie-O moisture wicking shorts, $89. Johnnie-O woven dress shirt, $110.
For Women Clockwise from top right: Nimo with Love longsleeve tunic, $128. Jack Rogers platinum leather sandals, $118. Nimo with Love striped beach bag, $142. Florabella beaded clutch, $99. 6 Shore Road bikini top, $96 and bottom, $92. Florabella woven abaca crossbody, $159. Poupette St. Barth short jumpsuit, $230. Blank NYC white denim cutoff shorts, $88.
Clockwise from top right: Florabella sun hat, $155. Cotton mini-dress, $168. Vilagallo embroidered tunic, $155. Blank NYC denim cutoffs, $78. Nimo with Love batik pouch, $42. 6 Shore Road ruffle bathing suit, $162. Nimo with Love striped dress, $250.
For Girls Clockwise from top right: Jack Rogers white leather sandals, $75. Congress Hall T-shirt, $22. Snapper Rock tassel trim cowgirl hat, $35. Meri Meri icon pouch, $16. Bambiola printed sundress, $52. Meri Meri rainbow suitcase, $28. Snapper Rock palm leaf bikini, $48. Meri Meri lion pouch, $16. Snapper Rock palm leaf tassel kaftan, $58. Meri Meri icon tote bag, $48.
Perfect Summer Outfits for Him 128
For Boys Clockwise from top: Snapper Rock bucket hat, $30. Congress Hall T-shirt, $22. Snapper Rock sailboat and scalloped swim trunks, $48. Johnnie-O striped swim trunks, $55. The Blue Pig T-shirt, $22. Johnnie-O UPF performance polo shirt, $48.
West End Garage, A Shopping Dream West End Garage, Cape May’s most exciting shopping experience, expanded last year. The former bakery next door was completely renovated and transformed into Beach Plum Farm Bakery & Café. We also added 12 new shops, including an Artist Annex, where over a dozen artisans showcase their work including painting, printmaking, glass, pottery, wood, graphics and more. This means that there are now more than 50 vendors offering a dizzying array of things beautiful, quirky and cool. There is extraordinary stuff at every turn. Local photographers and artists display their many wares here, plus there are antiques, home furnishings, books, jewelry, vintage clothing, gourmet food including olive oils, vinegars, sauces, jams, candy... the list goes on. The best thing? “The inventory changes regularly,” says General Manager Wendy Guiles. “Which is why it’s such fun to keep coming back.” 130
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 retail 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 innovative 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? New this year, we are offering an Outside Garden Couples Massage. This will be located 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 are 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 gentleman’s manicures and pedicures. What do you have to offer wedding parties? Customized facials, exfoliation and massage treatments and mani-pedi combinations will have your hands ready for the ring!. Do you cater to groups or other special events? Definitely! It’s the perfect place to relax and indulge with family, friends, colleagues or corporate guests. For more information on Sea Spa, call 609-884-6543 or visit seaspacapemay.com. 133
Beach Boot Camp You may have noticed that beach boot camps have become one of the faster-growing outdoor exercise classes... and itâ€™s no wonder. Working up a sweat on Cape Mayâ€™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 on the Congress Hall beach every day this summer. Classes run from 8:00am-9:00am. To book your class please visit the Concierge desk at Congress Hall or call 609-884-6542.
Fall, Winter & Spring In most east coast seaside resorts, visit outside of the summer season and you’ll likely be joining a select few who are only there for bracing walks on deserted beaches. Cape May is different. It might snooze occasionally, but it’s the resort town that rarely sleeps! Even in January and February, people are drawn here for events such as the Ice Ball (visit fundforcm.org for more details), a fundraising soirée hosted by Cape Resorts’ Curtis Bashaw; and the Exit Zero Burns Supper, a Scottish festival which now attracts 400 people. Then there are the lively fireplace-warmed lounges at Congress Hall, The Virginia and now 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 every Saturday. And now you can stay at the farm! This fall, weekend packages are being offered at the 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, as mentioned in Travel & Leisure magazine’s feature, “America’s Best Towns for the Holidays.” At Cape Resorts, spring is a pretty big deal, too — witness the myriad events we organize for Spring Break, plus there’s birding and outdoor fun to be had during Spring at the Farm. Turn the pages for more details of how you can enjoy Cape May year-round. 136
Fall At The Farm
A FUN FESTIVAL FOR EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY
On Saturdays this fall, Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May offers treats like a pig roast, beers from Cape May Brewing Company, homemade pies, sâ€™mores roasting and live music. For the kids â€” hay rides, pumpkin decorating, birdhouse painting and much more.
Charting The Reign Of The Monarchs In the late summer and early fall, a lightsome dance begins on this island as thousands of butterflies flutter past. That’s because this island is an important migratory stopover for these remarkable (and remarkably endangered) insects. Every year, these gossamer creatures, weighing less than a paper clip, manage one of the planet’s greatest phenomena. Beginning in Canada, the butterflies travel 3,000 miles to the forested mountains west of Mexico City. They’re born with an internal GPS system — in their poppy seedsized brains, a couple of molecules read the earth’s magnetic field like a compass. As they travel south, many of the butterflies are funneled onto the Cape May peninsula, the result of trying to remain over land as long as possible before having to face a tricky Delaware Bay crossing. So, do we know how many butterflies pass through here? “It’s all wild, educated guesses,” says Mark Garland, Director of the Monarch Monitoring Project in Cape May, a research and education arm of New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory. “On a very good day in Cape May, it’s safe to say there are tens of thousands, and definitely over 100,000, coming through in a good year.” In order to get an idea of how the population is trending, Cape May relies 141
on the Monitoring Project, which has been censusing the butterflies for 26 seasons — longer than anywhere else in the world — utilizing a sampling technique. From September 1 through October 15, a trained naturalist drives 20 miles-per-hour along a five-mile route that begins at the Higbee Beach Wildlife Management area, continues along New England Road, then Bayshore Road, down Sunset Boulevard and down Lighthouse Avenue. From here, the driver hugs the streets closest to the dunes throughout Cape May Point. Along the course, chosen for its variety of habitat, he or she counts the monarchs that enter the field of vision, directly in front of the windshield. From October 16 until October 31, when the days are shorter, the drive happens twice per day. The lowest count happened in 2004, when an average of less than nine butterflies per hour was registered. A banner year was 1999, when the average was closer to 329 monarchs per hour. So why should we care about these numbers? Monarchs, along with bees, birds and bugs, are pollinators, vital in the production of three-quarters of the world’s food crops. But a 2013 study out of Mexico showed monarch numbers may have dropped by as much as 90 percent in 20 years, primarily due to habitat destruction. But while this report indicated major losses, Cape May’s data showed an anomaly. “Over the same time period, we’ve seen only a slight decline in the long-term trend,” Garland says. “This means at a time when the monarchs aren’t doing so well as a whole, they’re holding their own in Cape May.” Here, an increasing number of residents are turning manicured backyards into areas of monarch-friendly habitat, complete with 142
“On a very good day in Cape May, it’s safe to say there are tens of thousands coming through.” Mark Garland, Director of the Monarch Monitoring Project in Cape May
milkweed and other native plants. At Cape Resorts, we are trying to play our part, growing butterfly bushes, or buddleia, at Congress Hall, Beach Shack and Beach Plum Farm in an effort to help sustain these eye-catching and determined little creatures.
For those looking to catch a glimpse of all the winged activity, the Cape May Bird Observatory offers monarch-tagging demonstrations. And if you’d like to further raise awareness for the cause by Instagramming the phenomenon, check out the yellowflowered seaside goldenrod plants in the dunes between Coral Avenue and St. Peter’s Beach in Cape May Point. According to David La Puma, Director of Cape May Bird Observatory, “This spot is gangbusters.” 143
The Happiness Hobby
Birdwatching is now the second-most popular outdoor hobby in America, second only to gardening. It’s easy to see why the pastime is gaining traction — research shows it can lower stress levels and increase happiness. Cape May is the perfect place to start communing with nature in this way — this spot is world-famous for its rich diversity of birds. New Jersey Audubon has identified 404 species here since 2001. How can one possibly begin to know them all (or even a fraction of them)? “Think about this the same way you think about getting to know people,” advises Richard Crossley, a Cape May-based birder who’s an international authority and author of the acclaimed Crossley ID Guides. “Just because you don’t know a person’s name doesn’t mean you don’t know them, right? People get so caught up in names, but try focusing instead on getting to know a bird’s personality.” As part of our new programming options, we are launching a Birding for Beginners activity for families and small groups, starting September. In the meantime, here’s a handy-dandy guide to some of the winged characters you’ll encounter on the Cape each season. From goofy to ruthless, Cape May is home to a wide cross-section of feathered friends and wild personalities. Happy searching!
Summer OYSTERCATCHER Pictured Below Where they hang: They breed on the beach, between Second Avenue and the Lighthouse. How they look: Like they’re wearing a tuxedo and smoking a carrot. What they do: The bird’s name comes from its ability to slip its bill into the tiny slit between the two shell halves of an oyster (aka dinner) and snip the muscle that controls opening and closing. If it doesn’t move quickly enough, an oyster can clamp down on this bill and drown the bird. INDIGO BUNTING Where they hang: In the weedy, overgrown woods near Higbee Beach. How they look: Like blueberries with beaks. What they do: Females build a cup-like nest out of roots, grasses, bark and deer hair, before wrapping the whole thing in spider web. And — just like Philadelphia visitors to Cape May have a different accent than New York visitors — indigo
buntings belong to “song neighborhoods.” When males fight over territory, they do it while singing with their feet interlocked. GREAT EGRET Pictured Opposite Where they hang: Saltgrass marshes, especially along Ocean Drive between Cape May and Wildwood Crest. How they look: Like runway models — elegant, leggy and tall, they weigh about two pounds. They have an S-curved neck and a thick, dagger-like bill. What they do: Sibling rivalry is common and one young bird may peck another to death over food. Once they’re grown, great egrets hunt for fish and small mammals in shallow waters by standing still, then thrusting their necks to catch prey.
Fall PEREGRINE FALCON Where they hang: Spend some time on the Hawk Watch Platform at Cape May Point State Park,
and you’re sure to spot them. It’s ranked among the best hawkwatching spots in the world. How they look: Like they mean business. One of the largest falcons in North America, they have a wingspan of nearly four feet and a small but severely hooked beak. What they do: Peregrines are the fastest animals on the planet, even faster than the cheetah. They can fly at speeds of 242 miles per hour when divebombing prey (aka other birds) which they strike with their feet to stun before biting through the neck. They even hunt one another. NORTHERN HARRIER Where they hang: Around the Hawk Watch Platform at Cape May Point State Park and in all the island’s marshiest areas. How they look: Like owls, at least in the face. This is a medium-sized hawk with long wings and a distinctive white rump. What they do: Young northern harriers practice hunting by “catching” inanimate objects like corn cobs. As adults, unlike other hawks, they rely on
their sense of hearing to locate prey. The males practice polygamy, while the females, if larger, are the more dominant birds. MERLIN Where they hang: In the South Cape May Meadows, and near the Hawk Watch Platform. How they look: Like the rugby players of the bird world — small but stocky, with square heads. What they do: Their specially designed bills allow them to quickly snip a cervical membrane. In other words, they can (and do!) decapitate other birds — even full-grown eagles — midair. They’ll go after most anything that moves… including automobiles.
Winter BUFFLEHEAD DUCK Where they hang: Cape May Harbor. They prefer sheltered coves, and are rarely found on land. How they look: Like mini buffaloes, due to their comically large heads. 147
What they do: They take flight by running on the surface of the water before lift-off (as cute as it sounds). Unlike most ducks, they’re monogamous. And because they spend 50 percent of their time foraging for mollusks and crabs underwater, you can’t assume there aren’t any around. SNOWY OWL Pictured on page 145 Where they hang: Look for them on the crests of Cape May dunes. How they look: Like something out of Harry Potter. Think ghostlike body and piercing yellow eyes. Because even their feet are feathered, they look like they’re wearing little bedroom slippers. What they do: They eat small creatures like lemmings (up to 1600 per year), ducks and seabirds, and they eat them whole. So you may want to keep your chihuahua away. And unlike other owl species, they hunt during the day. BALD EAGLE Pictured Above Where they hang: Due to conservation efforts, we went from one nesting pair in New Jersey in 148
the 1970s to more than 200, so the short answer is: they’re all over the place. But try searching the South Cape May Meadows and Higbee Beach. How they look: Like patriotism, in bird form. The bald eagle is one of the largest birds in North America, with a wingspan of nearly seven feet. What they do: They may symbolize the spirit of America, but their call is a weak, unimpressive cackle. That’s why, in commercials and in movies, the bald eagle’s sound is usually dubbed over with the mightier call of a red-tailed hawk. Because the bald eagle is also a bit of a pirate — it steals fish from other birds — Benjamin Franklin argued the wild turkey would have made a better national emblem. Gobble-gobble!
Spring PROTHONOTARY WARBLER Pictured Opposite Where they hang: They breed in the woodland paths at Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May. How they look: Like they’ve eaten one too many snails or spiders. Bright yellow with blue-grey
wings and beady black eyes, these songbirds, although small, can be plump. What they do: They set up camp in dead trees and sing — theirs is a sweet-sweet-sweet sound. Sometimes, another bird (we’re looking at you, cowbirds) will find the nest of a prothonotary warbler, damage or remove one of the eggs, and replace this with one of its own. The warbler then raises this baby as though it were her own — sometimes knowingly, sometimes not. NORTHERN GANNETT Where they hang: Behind fishing boats, hoping to pick fish out of the nets. Otherwise, look for them over the ocean. How they look: Like a boss. Nearly four feet in length, this is one of the largest seabirds of the North Atlantic. One of the most striking features is a ring of blue skin around the eyes. What they do: Sometimes, these birds are referred to as “northern gluttons” because they have such an insatiable appetite for shoaling fish such as cod and mackerel. When they dive for
food over the ocean, sometimes from a height of 130 feet, they move at more than 60 miles per hour and hit the water with such force they’re equipped with an unusually strong breastbone. Tiny airbags under the skin help them return to the surface. RED KNOT Where they hang: Along the Delaware Bay — mainly Kimbles, Cooks and Reeds beaches. How they look: Like tiny gang members. These chunky shorebirds with rust-colored bellies stand shoulder-to-shoulder in dense groups on the sand. What they do: The red knots complete one of the greatest migratory phenomena on the planet, traveling 9,000 miles every spring from Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America to the Arctic. Their last rest stop is along the Delaware Bay, where every May they glut on horseshoe crab eggs. If they can’t double their weight doing so, they won’t make the journey. Both sexes incubate the eggs, but only males parent the young.
The Magic of Winter Wonderland
Eating With The Clauses GREAT FOOD AND A PHOTO WITH THE MAN IN RED
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.
Getting Into The Spirit A MONTH-LONG FESTIVAL OF GLAD TIDINGS
Fun for the grownups includes Happy Hour at the Pool Bar, exploring the shopping village and seeing our hilarious festive play, Santaland. For the kids, thereâ€™s gingerbread decorating, storytime with Mrs. Claus, a train trip aboard Congress Hall Express, a ride on the classic carousel... and a lot more besides.
Spring Break 2019 Children love our Spring Break program, and no wonder — it’s packed with fun activities. During the Easter period (visit caperesorts.com/ springbreak for confirmed dates), Congress Hall comes alive as kids take part in myriad fun activities... Kids Can Cook Too! Under the tutelage of Congress Hall chefs, kids learn to make a full lunch! (Could be very useful at home...). They’ll toss black beans and chicken into a flour tortilla to bake up a delicious chimichanga. Then they’ll roll out the dough for the best pizza ever made, and mix up some yummy mac and cheese. For dessert? Delicious cookie dough truffles. Paint & Create at Congress Hall Calling all the little Rembrandts, Picassos, Monets and Manets for an afternoon of inspiring creativity. Kids ages six and up are invited for special painting classes, where they will get a canvas, paint and expert instruction — plus, they take home their painted canvas and beret! Never Grow Up Luncheon What’s the quickest way to get to Never Never Land? Through Congress Hall’s Grand Ballroom, of course! This spring break the Ballroom will transform into scenes from J.M. Barrie’s classic story, Peter Pan. Enjoy lunch while you think happy thoughts. Then, take flight with activities to follow. Bring your pixie dust and join us on an awfully big adventure! Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Don’t be late for this very important date! With a mini-etiquette class guided by Alice and the Mad Hatter, enjoy pastries, sandwiches, tea and a fun activity to take home. Congress Hall Scavenger Hunt Where are the mini detectives? Meet us in the lobby for a hunt around Congress Hall. Follow the clues leading to a special treat. Egg Hunt on the Grand Lawn The Grand Lawn is filled with laughter as children head off in search of Easter bounty. As always, the Easter Bunny and Blue will be there!
THIS IS WHERE KIDS COME TO BE INSPIRED
Spring Break at Congress Hall means screen break for your kids! Take them away from technology and remind them of the good things in life... cooking and art classes, a Peter Pan-inspired luncheon, the Mad Hatterâ€™s Tea Party, a scavenger hunt, an egg hunt on the lawn... and donâ€™t miss the Easter Bunny!
Special Events 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. As one couple said, “Our guests described this wedding as the BEST they have ever been to!” 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 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 might be the venue you’re looking for. Our iconic bar and restaurant is now 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! To incorporate a beautifully rustic element to your big day, Beach Plum Farm offers a unique, natural setting perfectly suited for a small, initimate affair. For more information, contact our wedding specialists at 609-884-6553.
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 may accommodate corporate groups and businesses of all sizes. When combined with the assets of its sister properties, more than 200 rooms are available, with multiple meeting spaces, restaurants, spa, and nightlife. Congress Hall’s grandeur, elegance and historic nature combine with the style and convenience of a luxury hotel. 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. Corporate group gatherings at Congress Hall provide distraction-free meetings in a beautiful location. Discover how productivity, team-building and relaxation can go hand in hand in Cape May. Take advantage of the full-service Sea Spa, enjoy cocktails in The Brown Room lounge and dining in The Blue 162
Pig Tavern and The Boiler Room. Ask about our group discount room rates, meeting rooms and full-service catering facilities. Enhance your group’s experience by adding a Congress Hall History Tour or a themed dining experience. 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. For a corporate retreat with a refreshing twist, the cottages and barns at Beach Plum Farm are available, with accommodations for 25 to 60 guests. Use the beautiful 62-acre farm for meetings or team-building events. Share a meal in the hoop house or in the barn. On sunny days enjoy a picnic underneath a shady tree, and take a break from facts and figures with a farm tour. Our team is happy to start up the tractor for hayrides and our tour guides will give an informative look at life on the farm. Contact our Meetings Specialist Jill Heim for more information on 609-846-4988 or by emailing email@example.com.
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 top-class 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. 164
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, roman-
tics 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 even 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 166
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 for a few hours on Saturdays. Much has changed since those early days: now the Second Runner Up for Brewery of the Year from BeerConnoisseur with the brew the magazine named Beer of the Year, 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 yearround 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 shop for cool swag plus 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 A gateway IPA, this beer 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. Tons of Centennial hops. King Porter Stomp With smooth chocolate and assertive malts, it’s satisfying and complex, just like your favorite jazz tune. Summer Catch Citrusy and refreshing, this light and crushable Belgian-style wheat ale is sure to be your go-to brew all summer long. 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 Brewing Co., 1288 Hornet Road, Cape May, capemaybrewery.com 167
Cape May Stage
“The 2018 season promises to be the most exciting one yet,” says Cape May Stage’s producing artistic director Roy Steinberg. This special season will feature favorite actors and directors from the theater company’s 30-year history as they leap into their next chapter. Cape May Stage is thrilled to partner once more with PNC Arts Alive for the 2018 Broadway Series — allowing them to bring exceptional talent to Cape May to light up your Monday nights throughout the summer! The theme for the 30th anniversary is “choices” and they hope you’ll choose to get your seats now so you can sit where you choose for what promises to be a spectacular season.
abound in this modern day classic that chronicles the personal and political conflicts of Henry II, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and their children as they all stake their claim for the throne.
Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End By Allison Engel and Margaret Engel May 23 through June 22 A loving tribute and lampoon of life in the suburbs filled with light-hearted humor and nuggets of wisdom that give insight into the life and family of the beloved 1960s columnist.
An Actor’s Carol By Charles Evered Having played Scrooge one too many times, a cranky actor finds himself visited by three spirits of his own. A cast of four play 17 characters in this hilarious new look at a holiday classic. It’s a show that reminds us that the most jaded among us can find magic in the holiday season — and in the theater as well.
Chapter Two By Neil Simon June 27 through August 3 Filled with the humor that made Neil Simon famous, this semi-autobiographical story of a recently widowed writer, his press agent brother, soap star love interest and her neurotic best friend explores what it means to take a second chance on romance. The Lion in Winter By James Goldman It’s Christmas 1183 and sibling rivalry, adultery and intrigue
The Shuck By Shawn Fisher Constance has spent her life on the deck of a workboat. When her troubled son is lost at sea, and her long-lost daughter suddenly decides to visit, she is forced to face the truth about her family and the secrets that broke it apart so many years ago. Presenting a world premier by a Cape May County native.
PNC ARTS Alive Presents the 2018 Broadway Series July 9: Will & Anthony Nunziata July 16: Jimmy Webb July 23: Andrew Keenan-Bolger August 13: Anita Gillette & Penny Fuller Main stage ticket prices: $40 adults, $35 seniors (62+), student and military rates available. Performance schedules and times vary. Visit capemaystage.org or call (609) 770-8311 for details.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 Cape May Stage, 405 Lafayette Street, Cape May, capemaystage.org 168
Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center
Established in 1987, the Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center invented the concept of whale and dolphin-watching at the Jersey Shore. They offer cruises on their 100-foot vessel several times a day. And 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 Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center’s Cape May Atlantic Bottle Dolphin Catalogue. New cruises this year include Offshore Marine Life & Pelagic Bird Trip, Cape May Teen Cruise & Groove Cruise. 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! And please note that the company is now based at Utsch’s Marina. There are group rates, private charters, fund-raising trips for non-profits and a discount coupon available online.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 CMWWRC, 1121 Route 109, Cape May, capemaywhalewatch.com 169
Cape May Winery & Vineyard
Cape May Winery opened in 1992, releasing its first bottle in 1996. In 2003, the Craig family, owners of The Washington Inn and Lucky Bones, purchased the winery, adding several buildings and many more acres of vines. Today, the winery bottles more than 40,000 gallons of over 20 varieties of wine, making it the fourth-largest producing winery in New Jersey. The tasting rooms provide an educational and fun experience. Picture yourself on the deck overlooking the vineyard or sitting on the patio sipping your favorite selection of an award-winning vintage. In the cooler months, relax by the tasting room fireplace with a glass of port or outside around the fire pit. Cape May Winery is open daily for wine tastings â€” please call or visit their website for hours: capemaywinery.com. The wine tour, explaining the process from vine to wine, is offered throughout the year and requires a reservation. The new Tap Room offers wine flights, carafes and growlers. Special tours can be arranged for larger groups.
For more information, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 Cape May Winery, 711 Townbank Road, North Cape May, capemaywinery.com 170
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 (yes, please 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. Fun times are ahead, me hearties!
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 Dark Star Pirate Cruise, 6200 Park Blvd, Wildwood Crest, darkstarpiratecruises.com
Starlight Fleet: Fishing, Dolphin, Whale-Watching
The Cicchitti family has 40 years experience providing top quality deep-sea fishing trips on the Starlight 101. The boat is spotlessly clean 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 Boulevard, Wildwood Crest, jjcboats.com 171
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: Jet skiing. And then there’s East Coast’s most recent innovation — the newest adventure activity in South Jersey and, really, North America: jet boating. It’s an approximately 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 you can 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. 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, Route 109 @ Utsch’s Marina, Cape May, eastcoastparasail.com 172
Exit Zero International Jazz Festival
Twice a year, Exit Zero Jazz Festival takes over the historic seaside town of Cape May, transforming it into a music village that welcomes blockbuster jazz, soul, R&B and blues, NEA Jazz Masters, Grammy-winning legends and crowd favorites. International touring artists such as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Gregory Porter, Jon Batiste, Dianne Reeves, Pat Metheny and Ron Carter, Lizz Wright and Fourplay lead an impressive list of artists who have performed at the festival. The 2018 Main Stage headliners include jazz and pop superstar Chris Botti, piano prodigy Joey Alexander and legendary soul man William Bell.
Exit Zero Jazz draws musical inspiration from musicians around the globe, including performers from Indonesia, Cuba, Japan, Europe and the Caribbean. Many of these bands are featured on Cape May Brewing Company Hops Pass club series, which allows festival-goers to stroll from club to club along the beachfront, soaking up the exhilarating sounds — proving that the magic of the festival is not who you know, but the discovery of bands and music you maybe didn’t know. The Exit Zero Jazz Festival is presented by Chris Clemans Sotheby’s International Realty, Motema Music and Exit Zero Publishing. For ticket and festival information please visit the fest at exitzerojazzfestival.com
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 Exit Zero International Jazz Festival, exit0jazzfest.com 173
Mid-Atlantic Center For The 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 a visit to the 2018 Cape May Designer Show House, featuring the work of talented
local and regional designers — open selected dates, April through October. 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
Nature Center Of Cape May
While sitting on the sand sipping your soda, ever wonder why those helmet-shaped horseshoe crabs are crawling out of the water? Do those gulls that just tried to eat your fries have any redeeming virtues? The staff at New Jersey Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May invite you to explore the natural world of the Jersey Cape and find out the answers to these questions. The Nature Center is an award-winning environmental
education facility located on the shores of the beautiful harbor. The Center’s focus on hands-on activities reflects a philosophy of learning by doing. Expert staff offer a wide variety of family-friendly nature programs, including harbor safaris, beachcombing, nighttime on the beach, salt marsh boat tours, kayak eco-tours, children’s summer science day camps, cycling tours, gardening programs and so much more.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, njaudubon.org/centers/nccm 174
Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Water Parks
Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Water Parks was voted the Best Seaside Park in the World by Amusement Today. Come discover all that Morey’s Piers has to offer with three HUGE amusement piers, two of the world’s LARGEST beachfront water parks and DELICIOUS food and beverage options for the whole family. Morey’s Piers offers rides ranging from mild to high-intensity, including six world-class roller coasters and extreme rides as well as the 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. But that’s not all! The new Wild Whizzer family ride on Mariner’s Pier will have kids getting in line again and again. The looping coaster features custom spinning hovercrafts and is fun for the whole family. Visit the newly re-imagined Pirates
of Wildwood family ride. The 3D cartoon adventure takes guests on a journey to discover the treasure of the boardwalk. Adventure Pier is packed with high thrill extreme rides, the world-famous Great White wooden 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. All summer The Isle of Wild brings young musicians to the main stage to unleash the power of live rock-n-roll. Come see why TripAdvisor voted Raging Waters and Ocean Oasis Water Parks at the top of the list for best water parks in the U.S. 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 six-lane WipeOut slide and thrill seekers can plunge five stories in three 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 food and beverage outlets to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Morey’s also serves up boardwalk favorites like cotton candy, funnel cakes and hot dogs. But a trip to the piers will also give guests a full culinary experience with their three signature restaurants and bars — Joe’s Fish Co., Jumbo’s Restaurant and Stubborn Brothers Beach Bar + Grille. Don’t forget to check out two new food joints on Mariner’s Pier. Wilhelm’s Beer Garden is a Bavarian wink back to Oktobefest. At Pig Dog Beach Bar, dogs are welcomed! Enjoy BBQ, live entertainment and refreshing beverages on the beach behind Raging Waters Water Park.
To book, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 Morey’s Piers, Spencer, Schellenger & 25th Avenue, Wildwood, moreyspiers.com 175
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 Guardlicensed 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 609-884-3800. 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 and 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 176
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 top-quality 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 dolphin-watching 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 177
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-related 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, stoneharborgolf.com 178
Willow Creek Farm & WineryWillow Cre
Seasoned wine drinkers and newbies alike will delight in the beauty of this vineyard, farm and winery. This is 50 acres of stunning, unadulterated nature — the roaming gamecocks as well as the lush gardens, designed by owner Barbara Wilde, are a reminder of that. It’s the Garden State at its best. Then, of course, there’s that other reason to go — the wine! In a 12,000-square-foot, post-beam winery built by Mennonites from Lancaster, PA, both groups and private parties of up to 400 guests can experience fun, educational wine and sangria tastings, vineyard tours, wines by the glass and bottle as well as a delicious small plates menu. Or opt for a farm-fresh wine cocktail like a Sauvignon Blanc apple mojito
or blackberry wine spritzer at the wine Seasoned wineoutside drinkers andbar. newbies alike will d From Pinot Noirbeauty to Cabernet and This is of thisSauvignon, vineyard, wine farmcocktails and winery. more than 35 different sangrias, there’s something for — everyone. stunning, unadulterated nature the roaming ga Throughout thewell year,asthe hosts various events thewinery lush gardens, designed byand owner Bar activities, from painting jazz nights to yoga are aclasses, reminder ofand that.piano It’s the Garden State at its in the vines, plus favorites like Fire Pit Friday, stand-up Then, of course, there’s that comedy other reason t nights and Pasta Sundays. forget to pick up farm eggs wine wine! InDon’t a 12,000-square-foot, post-beam and vegetables grown at the recently LeGates Farm.groups Mennonites fromacquired Lancaster, PA, both Call before you parties go sinceofreservations up fast year-round up to 400 fill guests can experience fun, for tastings and tables. call sangria always pushes to the top of wines wineA and tastings,you vineyard tours, waiting lists. Pleaseand check the as website a list of closed-tobottle well asfor a delicious small plates menu the-public events. a farm-fresh wine cocktail like a Sauvignon Blanc a
For more information, contact our Concierge on 609-884-6542 To book, contac Willow Creek, 168 Stevens Street, West Cape May, willowcreekwinerycapemay.com Willow Creek, 168 Stevens Street 179
A SHOPPING TOUR OF COOL CAPE MAY
CAPE MAY HONEY FARM A jar of Cape May Wildflower Honey is a great take-home gift for family and friends. It is collected right here on the island, made by their hardworking bees. The store also offers over 40 honey varieties, sourced from all over the country. Not sure what to get? There is a Tasting Bar! An expansive selection of candles, supplements and cosmetics will help you incorporate other hive products into your life. 135 Sunset Boulevard, 609-425-6434 CapeMayHoneyFarm.com
CAPE MAY OLIVE OIL CO. Cape May Olive Oil Company’s tasting room offers an exciting culinary experience in this historic city. When you visit here, 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 Lane, 609-898-4441 capemayoliveoilcompany.com
CAPE MAY PEANUT BUTTER CO. Cape May Peanut Butter Company is a fun place for the kid in all of us. Freshly ground nut butters, baked goods, candies, sandwiches... and even sushi made with peanut butter! And 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-see stop on your Cape May itinerary. 516 Carpenter’s Lane, 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 in Cool Cape May! 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 and Jag. The expert stylists on staff will interpret the latest trends to fit your look and lifestyle. Check out the outdoor shop featuring Columbia and Patagonia. 517 Washington Street, 609-600-2923 cottoncompanyforall.com
A SHOPPING TOUR OF COOL CAPE MAY
COTTON COMPANY SWIM SHOP Cotton Company is your go-to store for this season’s newest swimwear collections. The swim shop offers men’s and women’s suits, board shorts and coverups from all your favorite brands. Stop in today for personalized service and all the latest vacation styles from Vineyard Vines, Tommy Bahama, Southern Tide, Patagonia and Columbia. 517 Washington Street, 609-600-2923 cottoncompanyforall.com
EXIT ZERO FILLING STATION Cape May has never seen anything like it! A gas station with good, oldfashioned service, a convenience store selling healthy snacks and great coffee, an Exit Zero merchandise store AND a restaurant serving up the great Indian and Thai food that earned Exit Zero Cookhouse acclaim, plus a great range of burgers and quirky American dishes, too. All in one place! 110 Sunset Boulevard, 609-770-8479 ezstore.us
FLYING FISH STUDIO Want something high quality and unique that is made locally? Here they design and screen print every one of their cool, offbeat garments — you WON’T find them anywhere else! The Fish staff have created an entire line celebrating Cape May life and traditions... this along with their Beach Series is sure to provide something for everyone. There is a bit of heart and soul in everything they do, so go visit them to see what’s new! 130 Park Boulevard, 609-602-2760 theflyingfishstudio.com
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 32nd 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 Lane, 609-884-0014 goodscentscapemay.com Facebook and Instagram
HAPPY BABY Stylish, earth-friendly apparel can be found in modern and bold patterns and prints. And there is more than clothes on offer — decorate your little one’s space with Happy Baby’s 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
A SHOPPING TOUR OF COOL CAPE MAY
HENRY’S JEWELRY 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, ecofriendly bracelet. Each piece of Alex and Ani is handmade in the US using only recycled materials. For decades, visitors from throughout the US and around the world 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 JEWELRY Since 1972, Henry’s has continually forged its status as Cape May’s Landmark Jeweler by offering the most beautiful and unusual designs. From museum-quality gemstones and diamonds to inexpensive, fun accessories, each selection represents uncompromising quality and matchless value. That’s why Henry’s has been voted Cape May’s Best Jeweler and one of America’s Top 50 Designer Retailers. Stop in to see one of the most extensive collections of Tanzanite in the country, and new releases from Pandora. 407 Washington Street 609-884-0334, henryscm.com
LACE SILHOUETTES LINGERIE BRA BOUTIQUE BY THE SEA Welcome to the lingerie store for real women! Lace Silhouettes invites you to shop the best selection of bras and panties, including summer styles perfect for the beach! Brands include Wacoal, Natori, Cosabella, Hanky Panky and Chantelle. Book your appointment with a Bra Therapist today for personalized, knowledgeable service. See what difference a good fit can make! 429 Washington Street, 609-898-7448 lacesilhouetteslingerie.com
LACE SILHOUETTES LINGERIE The PJs and Jammies shop at Lace Silhouettes offers sleepwear for the family, including pajamas, nightshirts, gowns and robes in sizes XS to 3X. Whether you’re looking for a classic gown from Karen Neuberger or a pajama set from PJ Salvage, there’s something for everyone. Check out UGG loungewear for stylish comfort. Lace Silhouettes also exclusively sells the Wish Wrap, a plush onesize wrap that has become a fan favorite. 429 Washington Street 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 like a cathedral and a market combined. 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
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 handwhipped 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 Street and 728 Beach Avenue 609-884-2834 fudgekitchens.com
A SHOPPING TOUR OF COOL CAPE MAY
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. Basically self-taught, she paints realistic oils and watercolors available as matted or framed prints, notecards, placemats and coasters, as well as an annual 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
PETE SMITH’S SURF SHOP Pete Smith’s is the premier location to find the latest sandals, sunglasses, boards, and all of your beach needs! Choose from Billabong, RVCA, Reef, Johnnie-O, Southern Tide and OluKai and more. Find the entire line of Tommy Bahama for both men and women. Pete Smith’s has everything the entire family needs to leave stoked. 714 Beach Avenue 609-884-1010 petesmithsurfshop.com
QUEEN MAY Queen May is attached to Congress Hall on Perry Street, next to The Boiler Room. You are guaranteed to find something unique here. 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. 200 Congress Place 609-854-4936 queenmayjewelry.com
RED OAK From the people behind Good Scents, one of Cape May’s best-loved 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! Red Oak is a must-stop on your Cape May itinerary. 324 Washington Street 609-827-8320 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
A SHOPPING TOUR OF COOL CAPE MAY
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 when you see it. Also visit their sister store at West End Garage. 108 Jackson Street Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
SIGNATURES BY KAREN THOMPSON Signatures offers a carefully curated selection of designer and unique boutique brands, as well as casual clothing. A fabulous team of stylists assist guests in creating outfits for any occasion — whether you’re shopping for a work wardrobe, that stand-out dress for a special event, or treating yourself to a pick-me-up. 429 Washington Street 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. (It’s richer and sweeter). Overwhelmed by choice? The staff are eager to help you navigate the Spice Cellar shelves and provide tastings. 324 Carpenters Lane 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, 609-846-7100 whalestalecapemay.com
WHALE’S TALE A Cape May tradition since 1974! Locally owned and operating for over 40 years, Chuck and Hilary Pritchard continue to surprise customers with their eclectic variety of creative, carefully chosen gift items, jewelry, cards and naturethemed toys and books that you won’t find anywhere else in town. Plus Whale’s Tale is open all year! Follow them on Facebook and Instagram. 312 Washington Street, 609-884-4808 whalestalecapemay.com
WHITE In this historic storefront, engage your senses and transcend the clutter. White carries elegant home furnishings, unique gifts and sophisticated accessories. Antique and modern blend beautifully, and gorgeous glassware and jewelry entice the discerning shopper. There are candles, frames, mirrors, lighting, linens, garden and bath products to tempt you. 605 Hughes Street, 609-884-5061 whitevivianerowandesign.com
Fire In The Sky
We’d never wish away a summer’s day… but we DO look forward to that time when the sky becomes a brilliant mess of orange, pink and yellow. It’s a familiar sight on this island but one that never gets old. Yet, for as much time as we spend looking at sunsets, how much do we know about them? Here are some fun facts about that magical moment on the Cape… The closer the sun is to the horizon, the longer its light has to travel before reaching us… and the more molecules in the air it encounters along the way. These molecules work to scatter certain, shorter wavelengths (i.e., the blue ones). Instead, the ones that make it all the way to the human eye are red and orange and yellow. Hence, sunset! Because we’re located at the tip of a
peninsula, Cape May is one of the few places in the world where the sun both rises and sets over salt water. Cape May’s sunsets are so beautiful partly because the air is so clean here. Pollution in the atmosphere can mute vibrant colors — not a problem on the Cape. Major storms also help. Clouds on the back end of a departing weather system can serve as a projector screen, helping reflect those striking colors our way. In the fall, our sunsets are even more spectacular. That’s because the air tends to be drier, meaning there are fewer moisture particles to scatter those red and pink
wavelengths before they reach the eye. Fishermen really DO rely on the adage, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.” Meteorologists say a red sky in the evening indicates clear skies to the west moving this way. Every summer since 1975, there’s been a nightly flag-lowering ceremony at Cape May’s Sunset Beach, each ceremony honoring a departed US veteran. The event attracts up to 500 people per night.