EXIT ZERO AUGUST 2011 « $4.95
the wine bar
Contemporary Dining Classic Cocktails early dining $24 three course menu
Vote New Jersey Monthly 2011 Best Wine Bar Enjoy Dinner and Small Plates at the Bar from $10 Over 15 Flights of Wine from our cellar $1 Oysters Nightly
801 Washington Street, Cape May (609) 884-5697 • www.washingtoninn.com
Washington Inn & the wine bar... two distinct experiences, one address • • • • • •
Serving Lunch, Dinner, & Late Night Delicious Sunday Breakfast/Brunch Extensive Gluten Free Menu Best Burgers Best Thin Crust Pizza Coldest Draught Beer in Town
LUCKY BONES BACKWATER GRILLE 1200 Route 109 south, Cape May (609) 884-BONE (2663) www.luckybonesgrille.com Where Friends Meet
64 FEATURES your ultimate summer guide 7 Forty fun events to complete your summer calendar
playing with fire 16 Diane Stopyra steps behind the line at the Frescos kitchen
the cape may food guide 27 Six pages of ridiculously comprehensive charts
beauties and the beach 36 Long before Baywatch, Cape May was full of bathing beauties
swell girls 52 Four female boarders prove surfing isn’t just a boy’s club
walking the cape 64 Walk the promenade with Exit Zero historian Ben Miller
dangerous booths for boys 75 This is not your grandmother’s antiquing
a lighter shade of grasso 82 Victor Grasso’s new exhibit: same talent, brighter palette
a resort for the birds 109 The only tenants in town more numerous than humans
the town that fell into the sea 116 A new book and exhibit revive the lost locale of South Cape May
create the perfect vacation! 124 It’s easy... just add a little exercise to your relaxation
101 REGULARS my perfect day catherine walton 98 todd wuerker 146 doreen talley 159 cape may cooks Tomatoes galore 45 arts coverage cape may stage 49 gail pierson gallery 101 east lynne theater 105 27 questions for... susan tischler 153
cover painting by victor grasso
puzzle time cape may crossword 160
about us editor & publisher Jack Wright firstname.lastname@example.org
advertising manager Jason Black email@example.com project manager Dan Mathers firstname.lastname@example.org staff writer Kate Chadwick email@example.com
Visiting CAPE MAY and leaving us off your itinerary would be like visiting PARIS... and skipping the EIFFEL TOWER!
assistant editor Jon Roth firstname.lastname@example.org creative consultant Victor Grasso historical editor Ben Miller email@example.com photographers Aleksey Moryakov, Sandy Maloney, Danielle O’Neal graphic artist Doree Bardes contributing writers Catherine Dugan, David Gray, Terry O’Brien, Diane Stopyra distribution team Stephanie Grubb, Amy Wingate labeler Mary Smith exit zero color magazine is published five times a year. Annual subscription is $25. To subscribe call (609) 770-8479 or visit www.exitzero.us Makes a wonderful gift! Published by Exit Zero Publishing, Inc. 109 Sunset Boulevard Suite D, Cape May, NJ 08204 Telephone: (609) 770-8479 Fax: (609) 770-8481 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.exitzero.us
The Lobster House Fisherman’s Wharf, Cape May (609) 884-8296 www.thelobsterhouse.com
president Jack Wright vice-president Jason Black tennis ball supervisor April Wright fluffy toy supervisor Friday Wright mouse supervisors EZ Wright, Pascal Wright
Unchanging. Quintessential. Classic.
The BEST Live Entertainment in Town!
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and My Space to see who is playing tonight!
426 WASHINGTON STREET MALL, CAPE MAY • « (609) 884-3459
ELCOME to the dog days of summer. Not sure why the period from early July to early August is called that, but it isn’t the most complimentary of phrases. It gives the impression that we are already feeling jaded by the heat and the crowds. Not at all! If we’re being literal (which we are), this is just the beginning of summer. Going by the calendar, we are only one month into it, with another full two months to go. Remember, the season ends the third week in September, not after Labor Day. The point is – don’t be jaded, dear reader, whether you vacation here, or are lucky enough to live here. Embrace the activity around you, the excitement in the air as families and couples and friends cut loose for a few days or a few weeks and enjoy everything that this magical little resort has to offer. All you have to do is flick through the pages of this magazine to see exactly what Cape May has to offer. Sure, there are world-class beaches, and a ridiculously beautiful stock of Victorian homes. And that’s a pretty great foundation on which to build a great summer resort town. But there is so much more to do. There is culture by the bucketload (see the stories on Cape May Stage and East Lynne theater companies and the previews of upcoming exhibitions at the SOMA and Gail Pierson galleries). There are enough activities to keep everyone in the family happy, from history buffs to non-stop outdoorsy types (see our extremely comprehensive guides at the back of the magazine). There is a quirky collection of stores if you want to do some shopping that’s a little more intriguing than a visit to the indoor mall, and, befitting a town with such a historical legacy, there is some great antiquing to be enjoyed (see Jon Roth’s story on page 75). Speaking of history, there’s a lot of it in this issue. The fascinating story of the lost town of South Cape May is told
by Herb Scher (page 116), who previews an exhibition that’s inspired by a book that was published on the old borough last year. And our historical expert Ben Miller conjures up a treat of a walk (page 64) that will take you from one end of the promenade to the other, all the while sharing stories from Cape May’s past that will intrigue you. Look out for a second historical tour by Ben in our exit zero
BEAUTIES AND THE BEACH Jon Roth’s story on page 36 tells the story of when and why the swimsuit suddenly became sexy.
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September issue. I also recommend Diane Stopyra’s story on local surfer girls (page 52) and Jon Roth’s account of the evolution of swimwear in “Beauties on the Beach” (page 36). It’s another saltwater-tinged issue full of history, fun, information and advice. Enjoy it, and enjoy your summer. Jack Wright Editor/Publisher
The last hurrah...
ELL, “the last hurrah” may be an overstatement, as there is plenty to do in this seaside resort well into the winter months. But when it comes to summer, August really is the last word. Cape May pulls out all the stops this time of year, with a host of events that will have you jetting all around the island. Enjoy good times and games at National Night Out, coo and cheer at the Baby Parade, or try your hand at some sandy spires during the Sand Sculpture Contest. Whatever your tastes, this calendar is sure to satisfy. July 24 SANDCASTLES FOR SARCOMA AWARENESS Join sandcastle architects from all over in this event, dedicated to raising awareness for sarcoma research. There will be awards in several categories. Runs from 9am-1pm at the Cove beach. Call 609-425-8504.
We All Scream For Ice Cream Or in this case, for water ice. Local Boy Scouts serve up hefty portions of a favorite South Jersey treat at National Night Out, which takes place this year on August 2. Aleksey Moryakov
July 23 and 24 PARANORMAL PURSUITS AT HISTORIC COLD SPRING VILLAGE Experience the spiritual side of the 19th century in a historic setting. Includes various mediums such as clairvoyancy, psychics, phrenology, magic and much more! Located just a short drive from town on 22 beautiful wooded acres. For more information, visit www.hcsv.org. July 30 DELAWARE BAY LIGHTHOUSE ADVENTURE Enjoy a cruise up the Delaware Bay aboard the Cape May Whale Watcher’s Spirit of Cape May for a full day of lighthouse viewing. The cruise includes a continental breakfast and complimentary luncheon buffet. A cash bar is available. Limited to 175 guests. Ship departs at 10am and admission is $99. Cosponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC) and the Cape May Whale Watcher. Call 609884-5404.
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July 30 FAMILY FUN DAY AT THE CAPE MAY LIGHTHOUSE The 1859 Cape May Lighthouse located in Cape May Point State Park becomes a beacon of fun. Enjoy kid-friendly activities, performers, entertainment and unique craft vendors at the base of the lighthouse. Event runs from 9am to 2pm. Admission is free. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC). Call 609-8845404 or 800-275-4278. July 30 and 31 RAILROAD DAYS AT HISTORIC COLD SPRING VILLAGE Demonstrations by garden railroad groups, working scale-model railroads, displays of railroad ephemera and train memorabilia available for purchase at Historic Cold Spring Village. Discover all things locomotive on 22 beautiful wooded acres, just a short drive from the heart of town. Visit www.hcsv.org for more information.
“BEST AMERICAN” and “TOP 25 RESTAURANTS IN THE STATE” New Jersey Monthly, 2008
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8 August 2011
Washington Street. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC). Call 609-884-5404. July 31 MURDER MYSTERY DINNER The Impromptu Players invade the beautiful Inn of Cape May at 7 Ocean Street, and present a new mystery, “One Tough Cookie.” Interact with the cast of suspects and do your best to solve the mind-boggling mystery as you enjoy a three-course dinner. Admission to this event is $45. Begins at 7pm. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC). Call 609-8845404 for more information.
July 31 CAPTAIN KIDD TREASURE HUNT The kids love this popular annual event. Follow the notorious (but loveable) Captain Kidd as he hunts for treasure he buried centuries ago on Cape May’s beach! Starts at 1pm, on the beach by the convention hall site. For more information, call the Department of Civic Affairs at 609884-9565.
Gold Diggers Parents and pirates in training gather on the promenade to search for Captain Kidd’s lost gold. Aleksey Moryakov
July 31 TEDDY BEAR TEA PARTY Teddy Bear Tea Parties at the Carriage House Tearoom & Café feature kidfriendly menus and teddy bear music. Miss Jeanne and a special guest from The Cape May Teddy Bear Co. will be presenting stories and activities for the attendees. Begins at 12pm. $18 for adults; $10 for children. Located at 1048
August 2 NATIONAL NIGHT OUT Terrific family entertainment is guaranteed at this annual event, which features music by DJ Tony along with lots of attractions for the kids. From 6-9pm outside Cape May Elementary School. August 3 to September 10 STEEL MAGNOLIAS There’s no such thing as a bad hair day at Truvy’s hair salon! Many things beside hair get done as Truvy and company come together to share their secrets,
OPEN FOR LUNCH & DINNER
If you love tea, or know someone who does, this is paradise.
Reservations Accepted • Cash Only Free Parking • Catering Available
TEA BY THE SEA 405 West Perry Street Cape May 609 . 898 . 4832 www.teaincapemay.com
northern italian & contemporary american cuisine
LUNCH and DINNER EVERY DAY Prix fixe menu - $22.95 3 courses ~ 5-6:30pm Sidewalk Café and Children’s Menu on the mall, cape may | 609-884-6661 | acamiacapemay.com
311 Mansion Street • 884-0200 9 August 2011
A Day to Last Forever
Photo: Perfect Day Photography
Imagine an elaborate celebration in the Penthouse Ballroom of the Grand Hotel
featuring panoramic views of the pristine beaches below. Our professional catering staff stands ready to ensure that your beach wedding dreams are realized in Grand Style
Oceanfront at 1045 Beach Ave • Cape May, NJ • 800.257.8550 • www.grandhotelcapemay.com exit zero
10 August 2011
fears, and love for one another while engaging the audience in hysterical and neighborly gossip. Admirers of the 1989 film version starring Julia Roberts, Sally Field, and Dolly Parton will delight in seeing these vivid characters come to life at Cape May Stage. $35 adults, $30 seniors, $15 students. Show starts at 8pm, Tuesday through Sunday. For reservations, call 609-884-1341. August 3 79TH QUEEN MAYSEA CORONATION Who will be crowned the new queen of Cape May? The show begins at 7pm at Cape May Elementary School. Call 609884-9565. August 4 to 6 US LIFEGUARD ASSOCIATION NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS Last year’s competition was held in California, but luckily this year’s championships are closer to home. Come see the top lifeguards in the country competing at what they do best (besides saving lives) – running, swimming and rowing. Call 609-884-9520. August 5 SAND SCULPTURE CONTEST It’s amazing what some people can do with a little (make that a LOT) of patience, a whole bunch of sand, water and humongous quantities of imagination. Come and be impressed. Starts at 9am at 2nd Avenue beach. August 5 79TH ANNUAL BABY PARADE Another glorious, carnivalesque annual spectacle in America’s Original Seaside Resort. Starts at 11am on Beach Avenue. August 6 CAPE MAY KIDS PLAYHOUSE Silliness ensues during Cape May Kids Playhouse at Cape May Stage’s Robert Shackleton Playhouse on Bank and Lafayette streets. There will be plenty of nostalgia for the grownups, plus silly music and fun for the kids! Event begins at 10am. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for children. Co-sponsored by Cape May Stage and the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC). Call 609-884-5404. August 6 and 7 DOWN ON THE FARM WEEKEND AT HISTORIC COLD SPRING VILLAGE Visit with your favorite barnyard animals, make take-home crafts, take a horse and carriage ride with Levi the
Sculptors At Work Three young architects set to work on what promises to be an ambitious sand creation at the Sand Sculpture Contest, held on August 5. Aleksey Moryakov
Horse and celebrate the wonders of the American farm! There will be displays of antique tractors and tools, plus a South Jersey Corn Roast. Visit www.hcsv. org for more information. August 7 NATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE DAY AT THE CAPE MAY LIGHTHOUSE Enjoy a pirate invasion and family activities at the base of the Cape May Lighthouse located on the ground of Cape May Point State Park. Event includes pirate hat making, games, music and craft vendors. Event runs from 9am to 2pm. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC). For more information, call 609-884-5404.
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August 7 SUMMER MURDER MYSTERY DINNER The Impromptu Players invade the dining room at the Inn of Cape May at 7 Ocean Street where they set the scene for a new mystery, “One Tough Cookie.” Admission costs $45 and the mystery begins at 7pm. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC). Call 609-884-5404. August 8 TOVAH FELDSHUH IN AGING IS OPTIONAL Tovah Feldshuh lends her inimitable spirit to Cape May Stage as she entertains audiences with her one-woman show, Aging is Optional. Tovah Feldshuh
Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC). Call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278. August 13 LIGHTHOUSE FULL MOON CLIMB The Friends of the Cape May Lighthouse invite you to the full moon climb. Walk the 199 stairs to the starry top from 8pm to 10pm. The lighthouse is located in Cape May Point State Park. Admission to the Visitors’ Center and the ground floor of the lighthouse is free. Non-members price is $7 for adults, $3 for children, but non-members who join the group will get free admission to this program as well as future “Friends” events. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). Call 609-884-5404.
has earned four Tony nominations for Best Actress. Don’t miss this exclusive, one-night-only event with one of Broadway’s leading ladies. Tickets are $75, show starts at 8pm. For details, call 609-884-1341. August 10 CAPE MAY KIDS PLAYHOUSE Silliness ensues during Cape May Kids Playhouse at Cape May Stage on Bank and Lafayette streets. Get in on the act with the show “Cape May Kids!” There will be plenty of nostalgia for the grownups, plus silly music and fun for the kids! Event begins at 10am. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for children. Co-sponsored by Cape May Stage and the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC). Call 609884-5404. August 11 KIWANIS AUCTION NIGHT Make bids on some fun items donated by local merchants, and help local schoolkids at the same time in this Cape May staple. From 7pm to 10pm in the Kiwanis Clubhouse on Beach Avenue. Call 609-884-8888. August 12 CAPE MAY WOMEN’S CLUB ANNUAL PEACH FESTIVAL Treat yourself to a heaping helping of all things peach, and then some. The Cape
May Women’s Club hosts this annual event in the Star of the Sea auditorium on Lafayette Street. Expect homemade pies, cakes and preserves as well as hot dogs, pulled pork, and tables stocked with books, antiques and jewelry. Proceeds benefit local scholarships. Runs from 9am-3pm. August 13 FAMILY FUN DAY AT THE CAPE MAY LIGHTHOUSE The 1859 Cape May Lighthouse located in Cape May Point State Park becomes a beacon of fun. Enjoy kid-friendly activities, performers and craft vendors at the base of the lighthouse. Event runs from 9am to 2pm. Admission is free. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC). Call 609884-5404.
Start Your Engines A proud owner poses by his mean driving machine at the Classic Car Show in Historic Cold Spring Village, slated for August 20 and 21. Aleksey Moryakov
August 13 FULL MOON GHOST HUNT WITH GHOST-ONE Ghost-One, a paranormal research team based in Pennsylvania, is hosting a ghost hunt at 7:30pm at the haunted Emlen Physick Estate. Enter the house with a member of Ghost-One. Try your hand at some of their investigating tools as you explore different rooms. Afterwards, return to the Carriage House Tearoom & Café for dessert and to discuss your findings. Tickets are $30 and limited to 50 people. Sponsored by the exit zero
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August 13 and 14 ANTIQUE SHOW AND SALE AT HISTORIC COLD SPRING VILLAGE Annual show featuring country and Victorian furniture, collectibles, primitives, toys, books and more. Held outdoors in tents on 22 beautiful wooded acres, dotted with 25 gorgeous old properties, just a short drive north of Cape May. Visit www.hcsv.org for more information. August 13 and 14 34RD PROMENADE CRAFT SHOW Stroll the beachfront promenade, soak up the sun, and browse artsy-craftsy goodies made by Jersey artisans. From 10 to 5pm. August 14 MAGIC BEYOND IMAGINATION! This memorable family show features amazing magic, plenty of audience participation, good clean humor, engaging storytelling, and a musical finale with extra-special special effects! Enjoy feats of illusion as Robert McEntee weaves a spellbinding story amid breathtaking musical routines. Prepare to be amazed at this premiere performance at Cape May Stage! Tickets are $10, show starts at 10am. For details, call 609-884-1341. August 14 TEDDY BEAR TEA PARTY Teddy Bear Tea Parties at the Carriage House Tearoom & Café feature kidfriendly menus and music. Miss Jeanne and a special guest from The Cape May Teddy Bear Co. will be presenting stories and activities for the attendees as well as providing a goody bag. Event begins at 12pm. Admission is $18 for
Taking To THe Water This week-long tournament attracts contestants and spectators alike as fisherman vye for the largest fish in the sea. Don’t miss it this year, August 21-26. Frank Scott
adults; $10 for children. Located on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate at 1048 Washington Street. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC). Call 609-884-5404. August 14 SUMMER MURDER MYSTERY DINNER The Impromptu Players invade the dining room at the Inn of Cape May on 7 Ocean Street where they set the scene for a new mystery, “One Tough Cookie.” Interact with the cast of likely suspects and try to solve the mystery as you enjoy a three-course dinner. Admission is $45 and the mystery begins at 7pm. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC). Call 609884-5404 or 800-275-4278. August 15 MIRACLES OF THE MIND! This adult-oriented mind-reading illusion show includes incredible “mentalism” effects, audience participation, clean comedy, visual demonstrations of human mind powers, an astounding memory feat, a brief hypnosis routine and a spellbinding allegorical story. Robert McEntee combines his professional engineering background with his
FISH & FANCY
SEAFOOD TAKE-OUT “The Local’s Favorite”
2406 Bayshore Road, Villas (next to Robinson & Son’s Produce)
(609) 886-8760 • www.fishandfancy.com
FRESH WEEKLY SPECIALS • FRESH HOMEMADE SALADS OUTDOOR PATIO SEATING • PARTY TRAYS Have it your way... fried, broiled, grilled, blackened or sautéed! exit zero
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many years of performance experience for this presentation. Tickets are $20, show starts at 8pm. Call 608-884-1341. August 15 to October 31 SONGBIRD MORNING FLIGHT PROJECT For four hours beginning at sunrise every day, migrant songbirds move past the northwest corner of Cape Island. Peak days tally tens of thousands of birds! Join other observers at the small observation tower just south of the jetty parking area at Higbee Beach. Turn right onto the unpaved road at the west end of New England Road to access the viewing tower. Contact the Cape May Bird Observatory at 609-884-2736. August 20 and 21 CLASSIC CAR SHOW AT HISTORIC COLD SPRING VILLAGE Antique cars and trucks are on display from 11-3pm throughout the Village, which is set on 22 beautiful wooded acres, just a short drive north of downtown Cape May. Saturday features the Jersey Cape Auto Club, while on Sunday it’s the turn of Jersey Cape Cruisers. Visit www.hcsv.org for more information. August 21 to 26 MID-ATLANTIC $500,000 FISHING TOURNAMENT This is a tournament that gets better
each year. Last year’s big fish was an 88lb white marlin. Weigh-ins for the event are at Canyon Club Resort Marina, just over the Cape May bridge, every day, Monday through Saturday, from 5pm to 9pm. Spectators can find the scales by walking past the administration building and making a right at the docks, then look for the crowds gathered around the Weigh Master’s tent. Contact South Jersey Marina at 609-884-2400.
In Memoriam Members of the Cape May Fire Department watch the proceedings during the Annual September 11 Ceremony at the Cove Beach. Aleksey Moryakov
August 27 and 28 SEAFARERS’ WEEKEND AT HISTORIC COLD SPRING VILLAGE An unmissable celebration of maritime culture and history, including pirate shows and demonstrations, decoy carving and more. There is a kiddie pirate costume parade and contest on both days, starting at 2pm. The Village is a short drive north of downtown Cape May. Visit www.hcsv.org. September 1-December 15 CAPE MAY AUTUMN HAWK WATCH Join the Cape May Bird Observatory’s interpretive naturalists for one of the greatest hawk migrations in North America. Flights totaling more than 1,000 hawks per day occur several times each autumn. Bring binoculars, sunglasses, and high expectations to the hawk watch platform at the Cape May Point State Park. Takes place daily from exit zero
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sunrise to 5pm. Contact the Cape May Bird Observatory at 609-884-2736. September 2 JUNIOR CLAMSHELL PITCHING TOURNAMENT Teach your kids to toss those clamshells as far as possible! It might pay off at this event. 11am to 3pm. Windsor Beach. September 3 WEST CAPE MAY TOMATO FESTIVAL Enjoy the environs of Wilbraham Park in West Cape May and celebrate one of Jersey’s finest exports. There will be plenty of food, art, gifts and entertainment to go around. Call 609-884-9325. September 3 and 4 HISTORY AND HOPS MUSIC FESTIVAL A celebration of great beer and great music at Historic Cold Spring Village, an open-air living history museum. Sample craft and specialty brews, enjoy the musical stylings of local folk and blues bands, and kick off your autumn in great company. Visit www.hcsv.org. September 11 SEPTEMBER 11TH CEREMONY A ceremony to commemorate the terrorist attacks on America. Held at the pavilion at the Cove beach at 6:30pm.
xperience the new Peter Shields Inn & Restaurant
Fine Dining Serving Lunch and Dinner Treat yourself to the very best in dining, accommodations and service. You’re sure to be delighted.
26 Food 27 Decor 25 Services
1301 Beach Avenue • 609.884.9090 • petershieldsinn.com PSI_Exit0_August2011_FinalColor.indd 1
5/30/11 7:26 AM
15 August 2011
playing with fire GOING BEHIND THE LINE AT FRESCOS, CAPE MAY’S TUSCAN TRATTORIA
Story by Diane Stopyra Photographs by Aleksey Moryakov
16 August 2011
17 August 2011
HAVE been in a variety of Cape May kitchens – The Blue Pig, the Rusty Nail, The Ebbitt Room, The Pilot House, Cabanas and Lucky Bones. They all – whether pumping out foie gras or French fries – have elements in common: fluorescent lighting, stainless steel and a lot of grease. Commercial kitchens are nothing like the dining rooms they cater to. They aren’t the prettiest places, the roomiest places, or even the best smelling places (that mouth-watering soufflé is overpowered by the raw monkfish a cook is slicing nearby). A career in any one of these kitchens, whether as executive chef or dishwasher, means long hours, suffocating heat, and a high threshold for chaos. I’ve written quite a bit about my experiences working in and around these kitchens, and my bottom line is always the same: It ain’t easy. So when I was told I’d be spending the night behind the Frescos line, I was worried. What, I wondered, would I be able to say about this kitchen that I haven’t already said about the others?
The A-Team Intern Chris Whissel, Jonathan Martin, Chef Joe Badger, Manager Frank Moore, Exit Zero writer Diane Stopyra and Will Bassett-Powell gather in the Frescos kitchen. Aleksey Moryakov
(I figured that I’d encounter more of that harsh fluorescent lighting, stainless steel, and grease – and I did.) And what, I wondered, would I be able to say about the folks who cook here that I haven’t already said about the folks who work in other Cape May kitchens? (The Frescos guys, I figured, also put up with twelve-hour days, 120 degree heat, and behind-the-line chaos – and they do.) But Frescos is different, and so are the cooks who steer this Zagat-rated ship. According to manager Frank Moore, any other restaurant serving an average of 190 diners a night, sometimes as many as 280, will likely have a prep team that’s twice the size of the team at Frescos. Here, only three guys prepare, cook, and plate the Nuevo Milano style dishes that The New York Times calls “a triumph.” Behind the Frescos line, in a space no bigger than seven feet by four feet, these guys handle the same flames and blades I’ve seen overwhelm kitchens with double the manpower. And they do it in a cottage. The Frescos building, a Victorian summer house that dates back to 1880, was never meant to be a restaurant at all. So, in
addition to normal kitchen stresses, like the stifling heat that forces these guys to take electrolyte pills and dump jugs of “brain water” over their heads midshift, these cooks are dealing with the frustrations of working with old equipment in an old house. The ceilings are unusually low, slanting to just seven feet at some places. None of the burners ignite, so each cook carries a lighter in his back pocket. They’ll go through five hundred of them in a summer. Every cooler has gone down in the middle of service and, last July 4th weekend, with a packed house and a 45-minute wait, the hood fan crashed. With nothing to suck the smoke out of the kitchen or pump fresh air in, nothing to bring the temperature below 130 degrees, Frank had no choice but to climb onto the roof and use a drill to run the fan manually. When cooking for the hungry Cape May masses, it seems, the show must go on. With such a tough job to do, it’s no wonder that line cooks have a reputation for being, well, tough. Cooks are universally known as hardened, nononsense types, and the Frescos guys
The trouble with eating Italian food
...is that five or six days later you’re hungry again. — George Miller
898-9800 | 301 Washington Street Mall & Perry Street www.cucinarosa.com
18 August 2011
e p a C
! n r e v a T t s ie
l d n e i r F & st
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C-View Inn Texas Avenue & Washington Street Cape May • (609) 884-4712
19 August 2011
certainly look the part. Joe Badger, the 39-year-old chef du cuisine, sports two silver earrings, a silver chain around his neck and a scruffy beard. “Shaving,” he told me, “is for people who have to.” He’s also got an Alice in Wonderland tattoo that spans his entire back. When he sweats, Alice and her Cheshire Cat can be seen through his chef’s coat, along with a demented looking Mad Hatter that “scares the little kiddies.” The chef’s right hand men, 31-yearold Jon Martin and 30-year-old Will Bassett-Powell, are equally inked and unkempt. Wrapped around Willy’s forearm is a kitchen whisk tattoo, a tribute to his die-hard love of all things cooking. This job, the boys agree, is the “anti-office job.” But, here again, the Frescos men prove different from other cooks. While these guys may look the badass part, they can be a bunch of kitchen softies. Badger told me that he couldn’t help but tear up after reading an especially touching letter from a customer who found comfort in his cooking after losing her husband to cancer. And when a little kid makes a special request for a
While these guys may look the badass part, they can be a bunch of kitchen softies. Badger told me that he couldn’t help but tear up after reading an especially touching letter from a customer who’s found comfort in his cooking after losing her husband to cancer. A Cape May tradition for over 30 years!
LITTLE ITALY II RISTORANTE
Home-cooked food that satisfies your family and your wallet! 19 Jackson Street, Cape May (609) 884-5970 www.madbatter.com
JAPANESE • SUSHI • CHINESE • THAI
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315 Ocean Street, Washington Commons Mall (inside Acme Market Mall) Cape May www.capeorient.com
Freshest Ingredients Fantastic Specials Friendly Atmosphere Reservations Recommended 600 Park Boulevard, West Cape May • (609) 884-7660 • www.backstreetcapemaynj.com
Inside, outside, all around the vines Touring, tasting, sampling all of our fine wines Enjoy the deck, the patio, and our great tasting room Come by to buy a bottle or two; we hope to see you soon!
Winery & Vineyard
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Tasting Room - Open Daily
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(609) 884-1169 • 711 Townbank Road, North Cape May • www.capemaywinery.com exit zero
certain kind of pasta, he does all he can “not to turn him down.” While front-of-the-house employees (servers, bussers, managers) tend to be wary of the gruff guys who usually work behind a line, there is none of that hostility in Frescos. “I’m not the yeller chef,” Badger told me. “Sometimes I think I am actually too reserved.” As if to reinforce this, a bouncy server named Rebecca who’d come into the kitchen looking for her customer’s Swordfish Piccata, told me that “these guys really care about us.” To show her appreciation, she even made the boys a stuffed animal they call “bunny nugget,” a mascot kept in the kitchen next to a Nerf ball and a collection of Pez dispensers. “Really,” Jon told me, “we’re just a bunch of kids.” And, just like a bunch of kids, the guys will pass the time by fantasizing while they prep food about having their own band one day. All of the member’s names, they explained, will be food-themed, like (Broccoli) Rob or Al (Dente). Even the band’s name itself, Tubes and Tentacles, is calamari inspired. This is the crazy kind of thing you
start to discuss, Frank explained, when you spend all day in a small space with the same guys. No topic, from politics to comic books, is off-limits. Even during my short time as an insider, the conversation moved from Johnny Cash (“Wouldn’t it be cool to cook for him?”) to Pauly Shore (“We would refuse to serve him!”) to weird superstitions (“It’s bad luck to stir risotto in more than one direction,”). Get to know each other’s likes and dislikes and wild superstitions well enough, Badger explained, and one’s coworkers become more than just
Get to know each other’s likes and dislikes well enough, Badger explained, and one’s coworkers become more than just coworkers. “We are a family,” he said.
coworkers. “We are a family,” he said. Then, while preparing some steak to feed his “dishwasher bros,” he smiled his own Cheshire Cat grin and added, “A dysfunctional family. Like Donny and Marie on acid.” Just like a real family, Badger, Willy, Jon and Frank even live together in an employee house provided for them by the restaurant’s “really awesome” owners, Steve and Janet Miller. On breaks, the staff will run home to tend the vegetable garden where they grow herbs for Frescos. And, after work, they’ll head home for a couple of beers or a game of Trivial Pursuit, which Badger always wins. “I retain all sorts of dumb knowledge,” he told me. “Did you know it takes three days to digest a piece of pork?” Also just like a family, these guys refuse to leave one another hanging. With such a skeleton crew, calling out sick is not an option. “You can’t bail on your buddies,” John told me. This is the reason that Badger returned to work after getting hit by a car on his bicycle. He cooked while sitting on a stool, waiting for both hip and ankle surgery. It’s
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also the reason Willy flew to Phoenix, buried his grandfather, and was “suited and booted” again for work in less than 48 hours. It’s the reason there is an overturned milk crate in the corner of the kitchen dubbed “the crate of many sicknesses.” When staying home in bed just isn’t an option, taking a breather on a crate is the next best thing. And the Frescos team has needed this crate on plenty of occasions. “By the end of the season,” the boys told me, “we all look like lepers.” Willy thinks that steam burns are the worst. Jon thinks that hot oil in the eye is just a part of the job. “Rinse it out and keep going,” he said. All of them have sliced off the tips of their fingers, which is not, apparently, all that big of a deal because “they grow back.” Other injuries are a big deal, like the time Badger got stabbed in the arm by a knife, resulting in 50 stitches and nerve damage. Stitches and nerve damage. Not exactly what I wanted to hear before stepping up to the stove for my turn behind the line. The first dish I made, with Badger watching over my shoulder, was the
Seafood Fra Diavolo, which means “brother devil.” It’s a simple seafood and linguini dish with a spicy tomato sauce, but, for someone with as little cooking experience as me, it can be a brother devil to make. With all the guys, even the 17-year-old intern named Chris, keeping a close eye, I put olive oil, garlic and onions into a sautée pan. Badger
All In The Wrist Chef Joe Badger looks on as our intrepid reporter attempts a dish from the Frescos menu. Aleksey Moryakov
adjusted the position of the pan over the flame, and fire shot no less than four feet into the air. I jumped. “No worries,” Willy said, “it’s only the blue part of the flame you really need to worry about.” “Sure,” I nodded, ignoring everything I remembered hearing in second grade fire safety. While I added the scallops, clams, mussels and shrimp that Badger instructed me to, I tried not to be distracted by the other cooks doing their thing around me. “It’s a delicate dance,” Badger had said. With scorching hot pans being tossed out of the way, and the cooks constantly reaching overhead, knives in hand, for garlic bread from the broiler, everyone needs to be graceful and constantly aware. Luckily for me, this was a slow night for the Frescos kitchen, orders trickling in at a slow enough pace that the boys didn’t have too much trouble navigating around me. “You’ve got a grass fired?” Willy asked Badger. “Grass” is kitchen-speak for asparagus. “Fired” is kitchen-speak for ready to cook. Learning the language of the kitchen, I’d soon see, is
Waterfront Bar, Restaurant and Marina, and an Outside Bar that’s Classic Key West!
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Serving Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
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CHECK US OUT ON FACEBOOK OR CALL 609-884-8030 FOR OUR DAILY SPECIALS! Featuring The Depot’s popular homemade soups, salad selections, house roasted meats and local seafood specials
Serving Dinner Nightly from 5PM Bill Caterini live Friday & Saturday
416 S. Broadway, West Cape May Call for Reservations 609-898-1555 On site parking
409 Elmira Street, Cape May (Next to the Train Station) • 609-884-8030
Seafood, Steaks & Cocktails Serving Lunch & Dinner Daily!
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nearly as difficult as the cooking itself. Especially at Frescos. In this kitchen, no dish is called what it’s actually called. Veal Saltimbocca is the “salty dog.” The Pescatore is the “whore.” The shrimp and fettuccini is the “fet-fet.” The salmon is the “smack down.” With up to 50 dinner orders hanging in the window, or the place where dishes wait to be picked up, a cook has to be able to decode something like: “Fire three whores all-day.” Even the appliances in this kitchen have nicknames. Commissioner Gordon is the timer. The folders that hold recipes are the “batman folders,” and the fryer is known as Claudia. Hovering over my Fra Diavolo, I knew I was in the way, and not moving nearly fast enough. Jon, who’s usually in charge of this station, will have six full burners to contend with on a given night, as well as the electric water boiler (electric because 70 out of 100 dinners might come from the pasta station alone), and what’s known as a salamander full of garlic bread hanging overhead. This can be particularly tricky because if there’s too much butter in the salamander, it might just “blow
“I wrapped the towel Badger handed me around the handle of my pan and jerked it forward. Barely anything moved. It was the most pathetic linguini toss, I’m sure, that Cape May has ever seen.”
up.” I had just one measly pasta dish to contend with, and I was sweating it out. I added the pasta, the scallops, the clams, the mussels, the shrimp, chili flakes for heat, a shot of white wine, basil, parsley, and marinara to my Fra Diavolo – no problems. But then, it was time to toss the linguini by grabbing the pan by the handle, jerking it forward, and sending the ingredients into the air before catching it all, once again, in the pan. “It’s all in the wrist,” Badger told me. “And what if I send clams and pasta all over the stove?” I asked. “Oh, whatever,” Badger told me. “We’ll clean it up.” I reached for the handle of the pan. “Whoa,” Badger stopped me, “never grab anything in this kitchen without a towel.” How Badger was finding the time to pay attention to my missteps while reducing a port wine sauce, answering questions from a server about the ingredients of a vanilla caramel glaze, plating a veal shank, firing entrees, garnishing dishes, and checking on the calamari supply, I don’t know. But I found it com-
forting. Although nearly scorching the palm of my hand didn’t make me any less nervous about flipping the pasta, I wrapped the towel Badger handed me around the handle of my pan and jerked it forward. Barely anything moved. It was the most pathetic linguini toss, I’m sure, that Cape May has ever seen. “Try again,” Badger said. So I did. And, predictably, I sent clams and pasta all over the stove. And then Badger ate the Diavolo himself, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t fit for an actual guest. I spent the rest of the night working on one dish at a time, and I hurt more than I helped. If cooking is a “delicate dance,” I was seizing on the dance floor. It’s true what they say – if you can’t handle the heat, you shouldn’t be in the kitchen, and I definitely can’t handle the heat. It doesn’t look like I’ll be joining the Frescos team any time soon, and I’m pretty sure that this team of three has got it covered, anyway. But, just in case there’s ever an opening, I wouldn’t mind joining the band, Tubes and Tentacles. I am, after all, already a groupie.
A classic copper bar, a great martini list, and modern American cuisine. What more could you want?
615 LAFAYETTE STREET CAPE MAY (609) 884-2111
STEAKS & SEAFOOD
26 August 2011
The Ultimate Cape May Food & Drink Chart What you need to know about the food and the vibe A CA MIA 524 Washington Street Mall (609) 884-6661 www.acamia.com
A lovely little spot on Cape May’s quaint Washington Street Mall. Fine food of the northern Italian variety, excellent service and world-class people-watching!
ALEATHEA’S 7 Ocean Street, (609) 884-5555, Ext. 226 www.innofcapemay.com
Offers superb food in a graceful setting at the glorious old Inn of Cape May, plus a cozy-but-elegant bar with access to the oceanfront patio. Check out the antiquefilled lobby first.
AVALON COFFEE 7 Gurney Street (609) 898-8088 www.avaloncoffeecompany.com
Superior coffee that’s always fresh, and healthy food that’s perfect for breakfast and lunch. First-class wraps, sandwiches and bagels, along with a good range of juices and cold drinks. They have a North Cape May store too!
AXELSSON’S BLUE CLAW 991 Ocean Drive, (609) 884-5878 www.blueclawrestaurant.com
Enjoy fine dining near the harbor – just go over the quaint old drawbridge. There is an elegant dining room, a cozy fireplace, and the classic Clipper Ship Pub.
BACKSTREET 600 Park Boulevard (609) 884-7660 www.backstreetcapemaynj.com
Downhome cooking, a laidback vibe and superior desserts in this gem of a place, a few minutes from Cape May. They have plenty of free parking and delicious nightly specials.
BELLA VIDA CAFÉ 406 N. Broadway, (609) 884-6322 www.bellavidacafe.com
“The local café with a wholesome aroma” is what they call it... and that’s how we describe it. You can tell that everything is home cooked here. Always fresh, always delicious.
BEN AND JERRY’S 414 Washington Street Mall Cape May (609) 884-3040 www.benjerry.com
There’s ice cream, and then there’s Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Centrally-located on the mall, it’s a great spot to take a break from shopping. So get a double-dip of your favorite and people-watch for a spell.
BIG WAVE BURRITOS 1400 Texas Avenue, Cape May (609) 898-To Go
An awesome burrito eatery with a beachy, oh-so-casual vibe and excellent food - great smoothies, too!
THE BLACK DUCK 1 Sunset Boulevard, (609) 898-0100 www.blackduckonsunset.com
A chic interior and stylish Modern American cuisine from acclaimed chef (and owner) Chris Hubert, but the ambience is anything but pretentious. There’s a nice laidback vibe.
BLUE MOON ICE CREAM 102 Sunset Boulevard West Cape May (609) 898-1413
You can’t have a proper shore town without plenty of ice cream, and Blue Moon is the latest addition to the Cape May ice cream scene. Blue Moon also has milkshakes, water ice, fruit shakes, pretzels and more!
BLUE MOON PIZZA Perry Street & Beach Avenue Cape May (609) 884-3033
If your stomach is grumbling as you lie on the beach, if you need a late-night snack after a fun night at the bars... it’s all here!
Price range of entrées
Bar or BYOB?
Should I book?
Food for kids?
$10-$30 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
B, L, D
$15-$45 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$3-$8 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$24-$30 Cards: V, MC, D
$13-$29 Cards: V, MC, AE
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$5-$25 Cards: V, MC, D
$3-$7 Cards: V, MC, D
$15-$28 Cards: V, MC
$3-$7 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$7-$13 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
H u b
27 August 2011
ITALIAN • GREEK • MEDITERRANEAN STEAKS • RIBS • FALAFEL PASTA • SEAFOOD QUESADILLAS • SALADS APPETIZERS • DESSERTS
Visit us on Facebook: JoJo capemay mediterranean 102 SUNSET BOULEVARD, WEST CAPE MAY
609-884-0182 • 609-898-1313
free parking and did we mention exceptional food served in a picture-perfect setting?
• hearty cafe faré • elegant tea luncheon or afternoon tea OPEN DAILY AT 11:30 AM • RESERVATIONS SUGGESTED
Call 609-884-5111 for information & reservations 1048 WASHINGTON ST., CAPE MAY
Available for intimate private gatherings
Operated by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC)
and a deal, too 10% OFF exit zero
28 August 2011
IF YOU MENTION THIS AD
The Ultimate Cape May Food & Drink Chart What you need to know about the food and the vibe
Price range of entrées
Bar or BYOB?
Should I book?
Food for kids?
B, L, D
$12-$36 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
THE BLUE PIG TAVERN 251 Beach Avenue, (609) 884-8422 www.congresshall.com
Congress Hall’s restaurant is better than ever, as evidenced by its usually-filled dining rooms. The Pig serves classic tavern food with quite a a twist or two along the way.
THE BOILER ROOM 251 Beach Avenue, (609) 884-8422 www.congresshall.com
Congress Hall’s chic basement nightclub – all bare metal and brickwork – has an assortment of great music on the weekends and a cool vibe. Say hello to Shane the bartender!
Cards: V, MC, AE, D
THE BROWN ROOM 251 Beach Avenue, (609) 884-8422 www.congresshall.com
Congress Hall’s lovely lounge is called Cape May’s Living Room for a reason. The decor is elegant but casual, the drinks are great, the staff are cool, and every inch of the place just says classy, without ever being stuffy.
Bar Menu & Cocktails
Cards: V, MC, AE, D
CABANAS 429 Beach Avenue, (609) 884-4800 www.cabanasonthebeach.com
It’s always warm and friendly in this lively beachfront bar that features some of the best live bands around. A great spot to enjoy Happy Hour, with the sun pouring in the open doors.
B, L, D
$8-$25 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
CAPE MAY WINERY 711 Townbank Road, (609) 884-1169 capemaywinery.com
This beautiful winery is open daily. Make a reservation to take an informative tour the winery... call for more information and their current tour hours.
$5-$27 V, MC, AE, D
CAPE ORIENT 315 Ocean Street, (609) 898-0088 www.capeorient.com
It’s not often that one restaurant can do excellent Chinese, Thai AND sushi, but trust us, Cape Orient does. The service, led by owner Glendy, is superb, too.
$12-$19 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
THE CARRIAGE HOUSE 1048 Washington Street At the Emlen Physick Estate (609) 884-5111
The Carriage House offers everything from hearty wraps, salads, quiche and paninis to classic teas. Best of all maybe is the location – the gorgeous Emlen Physick Estate.
$12-$19 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
COPPER FISH 416 Broadway West Cape May (609) 898-1555
Chef Geoff Johnson’s popular Copper Fish is under new management, at a beautiful new site – Broadway and Sunset. As usual, Geoff’s concoctions are fun and creative.
$24-$32 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
CUCINA ROSA 301 Washington Street Mall (609) 898-9800 www.cucinarosa.com
Nicely located at the beginning of the mall, on the Congress Hall side, this Italian restaurant is a must-visit. Simply superb food in classy-but-casual surroundings.
$12-$29 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
C-VIEW INN Texas Avenue & Washington Ave. Cape May (609) 884-4712
A locals’ favorite, the oldest and friendliest tavern in town with great wings, excellent pub fare and cold beer. And these days they accept credit cards, too!
$4-$18 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
DEPOT MARKET CAFÉ 409 Elmira Street Cape May (609) 884-8030
New owners Chris and Lisa Shriver are keeping the old favorites at this much-loved café AND adding new specials. Cape May’s movers and shakers often eat lunch here.
B, L, D
$6-$14 Cash Only
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29 August 2011
LUNCH • DINNER EAT IN or TAKE OUT
Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Tacos • Burritos • Smoothies & Much More...
OPEN EVERY DAY 11am-9pm
FREE WI-FI Located across from the C-View in Cape May
30 August 2011
The Ultimate Cape May Food & Drink Chart What you need to know about the food and the vibe
THE EBBITT ROOM 25 Jackson Street, (609) 884-5700 www.virginiahotel.com
With the remarkable cooking of chef Lucas Manteca, there’s even more reason than usual to visit. Sublime concoctions, a romantic setting, great wine list, and a beautiful porch!
ELLA’S 326 Carpenter’s Lane, Cape May (609) 884-3350
To-go food without the guilt. Smoothies, parfaits, the freshest fruit and green salads, and outstanding sandwiches.
ELLIE’S BAKERY 301 North Broadway, West Cape May (609) 884-4007
A from-scratch, small-batch bakery that uses only real, fresh ingredients in all their decadent baked goods.
FISH AND FANCY 2406 Bayshore Road, Villas (609) 886-8760 www.fishandfancy.com
Superb seafood however you like it – fried, broiled, grilled, blackened or sautéed. That’s choice for you. Also great salads. Eat in (there’s an outdoor patio) or take away.
410 BANK STREET 410 Bank Street (609) 884-2127 www.410bankstreet.com
After 25 years, it’s still one of Cape May’s finest restaurants. Serving food that’s as brilliant and creative as ever – Chef Sing’s menu is a culinary work of art. A must-visit.
FRESCOS 412 Bank Street (609) 884-0366 www.frescoscapemay.com
From the same owners of 410 Bank Street, this restaurant wins awards for its Italian food every year for a reason. This is authentic cuisine served in a beautiful location.
GECKO’S Carpenter’s Square Mall Cape May (609) 898-7750
On a balmy summer night there’s nothing quite like Gecko’s in Cape May. Serving superb southwestern food, including great vegeterian fodder, on a tropical-vibed patio.
GODMOTHER’S Broadway & Sunset (609) 884-4543 www.godmothersrestaurant.com
Excellent downhome Italian food, just like your mama, or your grandma, or your aunt would make. Reasonably priced and great for a family dinner.
HARBOR VIEW 954 Ocean Drive (609) 884-5444 www.harborviewcapemay.com
Eat inside with a great harbor view, or even better outside, right AT the harbor! There’s a Key West vibe, good food and regular entertainment. Spend the day – or night.
HARPOON HENRY’S Beach Drive and Browning (609) 886-5529 www.harpoonhenrys.net
It’s become famous for its sunsets. There is no better place to sip on a cold beer or a funky iced cocktail, listening to fun live music, and watching a beautiful day slip away.
HARRY’S Madison & Beach Avenue (609) 884-6113 www.harryscapemay.com
The Hirsch family relaunched their restaurant at the Montreal Inn. It successfully mixes a friendly, family feel with a stylish oceanfront vibe. And there is an indoor AND outdoor bar.
u Onsite parking
Price range of entrées
Bar or BYOB?
Should I book?
Food for kids?
$26-$33 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$1-$30 Cards: V, MC
$5-$19 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$25-$37 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$18-$29 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$8-$24 Cards: V, MC
$12-$28 Cards: V, MC
B, L, D
$6-$30 Cards: V, MC
$10-$21 Cards: V, MC, D
B, L, D
$8-$24 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
31 August 2011
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Paradise found... Good Food Friendly Atmosphere Waterfront Dining Awesome Sunsets! Serving Lunch & Dinner Daily Live Music Nightly Free Parking
91 Beach Drive, North Cape May
(609) 886-5529 www.harpoonhenrys.net exit zero
32 August 2011
The Ultimate Cape May Food & Drink Chart What you need to know about the food and the vibe HAWK HAVEN VINEYARD 600 S. Railroad Avenue Rio Grande (609) 846-7347 www.hawkhavenvineyard.com
Paradise for wine lovers, a short drive north of town. Daily wine bar from 11am-7pm, plus Sangria Sunday from 12-7pm, with live music, Island Grill lunch and early dinner menu.
HEMINGWAY’S 1045 Beach Avenue (609) 884-5611 www.hemingwayscapemay.com
A relaxed yet elegant island ambiance, featuring hand-cut USDA Prime Steaks, classic seafood creations and an outstanding wine selection. At the beachfront Grand Hotel.
HOTDOG TOMMY’S Jackson Street @ Beach (609) 884-8388 www.hotdogtommys.com
If there are better dogs at the Shore, we’ve yet to hear. Tommy and Mary Snyder are hot dog jedi warriors. Their menu is creative and as healthy as hot dogs get!
ISLAND GRILL 311 Mansion Street Cape May (609) 884-0200
The interior design and menu concoctions are similar – Caribbean-influenced and very, very colorful. The sauces and combinations are creative and delectable.
ITALIANO’S 600 Park Boulevard, West Cape May (609) 898-2200
Sometimes, only pizza will do. And Italiano are masters. They also have hoagies, salads and wraps, and offer FREE delivery.
JO JO 102 Sunset Boulevard West Cape May (609) 884-0182
Jo-Jo is a welcome addition to the Cape May culinary scene, featuring all your favorite Mediterranean foods with a focus on “fresh.” Salads, gyros, dinners, and more – eating in, take out, or call for fast free delivery.
KRAZY SNACK HUT 12345 Sixty Seven Street West Cape May (609) 609-6099
Are you NOT feeling hungry but want something to eat? Then this is the place! We serve upscale, top of the line snacks like deep fried octopus tentacle suction cups and sea gull jerky. Try our jellyfish and peanut butter pie!
LA VERANDAH 107-113 Grant Street Cape May (609) 884-5868 www.hotelalcott.com
The ambience at this restaurant in the Hotel Alcott may be High Victorian, but the fare is delicious, contemporary American. A superb, three-star restaurant with an attentive staff.
THE LOBSTER HOUSE Fisherman’s Wharf, (609) 884-8296 www.thelobsterhouse.com
Take-out, fish market, restaurant, raw bar, breakfast diner... The Lobster House has it all. Drinks on the Schooner American before dinner is a lovely experience.
LUCKY BONES 1200 Route 109, (609) 884-BONE (2663) www.luckybonesgrill.com
This harborfront restaurant is a huge hit for a reason. There is excellent food (including wonderful thin-crust pizza), a great bar vibe, and superb service. Gets it right every time.
MAD BATTER 19 Jackson Street (609) 884-5970 www.madbatter.com
The original fine dining restaurant in Cape May and still one of the best. The food is always creative and the breakfasts and brunches are very hard to beat – hence the lines.
u Onsite parking
Price range of entrées
Bar or BYOB?
Should I book?
Food for kids?
B, L, D
$15-$38 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$1.40-$4 Cash Only
$13-$26 Cash Only
$5-$12 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
BYOF (Bring your own fork)
Kids with teeth, YES
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$5-$25 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$6-$22 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
For tables of eight or more
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$19-$30 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
33 August 2011
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609-884-4800 At the corner of Beach Ave. & Decatur Street www.CabanasOnTheBeach.com www.facebook.com/CabanasOnTheBeach
34 August 2011
The Ultimate Cape May Food & Drink Chart What you need to know about the food and the vibe MAGNOLIA ROOM 301 Howard Street, Cape May (609) 884-8409 www.chalfonte.com
This is as old school as it gets. The Chalfonte Hotel’s restaurant has had the same chefs for more than 60 years. These ladies know how to cook great Southern-influenced food!
MARIE NICOLE’S 9510 Pacific, Wildwood Crest (609) 522-5425 www.marienicoles.com
This classy-but-casual restaurant serves modern American cuisine with a European ambiance in a relaxed atmosphere, just a short drive from Cape May, in Wildwood Crest.
MARQ’S PUB & RESTUARANT 501 Beach Avenue, Cape May (609) 884-3500 www.marquiscapemay.com
The new spot on the first floor of the Marquis de Lafayette hotel. A good old-fashioned pub atmosphere.
MARTINI BEACH 429 Beach Avenue Cape May (609) 884-1925
A lively nightspot with a friendly vibe, great Mediterranean dishes, and a panoramic oceanfront view. It’s also the place that brough tapas to Cape May – go ahead and share!
MERION INN 106 Decatur Street, (609) 884-8363 www.merion inn.com
The dim, amber lighting, dark wooden bar, period fittings and classy staff give this place a special ambience. Great food, great cocktails, and great piano from George Mesterhazy.
OCEAN VIEW Beach & Grant Avenues (609) 884-3772 www.oceanviewrestaurant.com
A large and very reliable menu at this oceanfront staple. Classic diner food, and very reasonably priced. A locals’ favorite, and you know that is always a good sign.
OLD GRANGE 723 Seashore Road, Cape May (609) 884-0114
Renowned Philadelphia chef Tony Clark has taken over the kitchen, making this an exciting addition to the restaurant scene.
OYSTER BAY 615 Lafayette Street (609) 884-2111 www.oysterbayrestaurantnj.com
Lovely, airy dining rooms, a beautiful coppertop bar and classic, generous dishes are what you’ll find here. This is the kind of place where people keep returning.
PETER SHIELDS 1301 Beach Avenue, (609) 884-9090 www.petershieldsinn.com
The Georgian revival mansion, on Cape May’s beachfront, is magnificent and the creative modern American menu matches it all the way. This is one classy eating experience.
THE PILOT HOUSE 142 Decatur Street (609) 884-3449 www.pilothousecapemay.com
A classic pub and restaurant offering great burgers, excellent comfort good and an authentic ambience. The burgers are big favorites among locals.
RIO STATION 3505 Route 9 South Rio Grande (609) 889-2000
While all around it has changed, the Rio Station is still serving excellent food with old-style, friendly service. Their chicken wings are particularly good.
u Onsite parking
Price range of entrées
Bar or BYOB?
Should I book?
Food for kids?
$10-$34 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$19-$44 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$4-$22 Cards: V, MC, AE
$15-$30 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$18/Mrkt Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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$9-$30 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
Please call for details.
$12-$29 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$22-$39 Cards: V, MC, D
$5-$25 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$13-$29 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
35 August 2011
beauties and DON’T LET THE STOCKINGS AND BLOOMERS FOOL YOU. IN THE EARLY YEARS OF SEA BATHING, YOU DIDN’T NEED A BIKINI TO ATTRACT ATTENTION Story by Jon Roth
36 August 2011
37 August 2011
MAGINE for a moment that you’re a man strolling the Cape May promenade around 1850, and you come upon the steamy spectacle of Victorian female bathers. Yes, they are wrapped in yards of woolen fabric. Yes, their precious ankles are covered with stockings. The outfits may have been modest, but with suits and stockings clinging wetly to their bodies these ladies provided a rare view of the female form. It was a spectacle you could only find at seaside resorts like our own. More than a century before the Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition (which was created by a Cape May lover who vacations at the Chalfonte every year with her husband, but that’s another story), women at the shore were a source of erotic charge. Images of bathing women appeared in photographs and postcards; they were reproduced in figurines and featured in popular songs of the era. They were bathing beauties. At first, men and women bathed in the ocean purely for health reasons – the salt water was considered to have restorative qualities. The key word is
Showing Some Leg These bathers, photographed in 1922, sport singlets popularized by Annette Kellerman. By this point, stockings were no longer necessary on the beach.
“bathing,” not “swimming,” and so in the early 19th century beachgoers would rent bathing machines, which local preservationist Tom Carroll describes as “like an outhouse on the back of a carriage. They would back into the ocean so the person could open their doors and have privacy from the beach while they bathed.” By the time Cape May hit its stride in the 1850s, bathing machines fell out of vogue and group bathing became the norm – provided the bathers were segregated by sex. If you see red flags on the beach today, it means you should watch out for a nasty undertow. In 1850, a red flag meant “No girls allowed.” Gentlemen were permitted to bathe in the early hours of the morning under the red flag. Then the flag was replaced with a white one, and the men ceded the sandy coast to the fairer sex. To modern eyes those first female bathers didn’t look so fair in their suits. The first ladies’ bathing attire was a simple, shapeless frock, providing maximum coverage and a minimum of practicality. The Victorian obsession with modesty didn’t dissolve in the water,
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and some women actually sewed lead weights into the lining of their gowns to prevent them from billowing in the water and exposing their legs. When those smocks fell out of fashion they were simply replaced with additional layers of clothing. By 1855 a ladies’ swimsuit consisted of bloomers, drawers, a tunic and black stockings, usually made of flannel or heavy wool. It’s hard to imagine women thus clad would even stay afloat, and it was even more miraculous considering that at the time, the only lifeguards on the beach were canine. The city kept several Newfoundland dogs on the beach to rescue hapless bathers. It wasn’t until about 1870 that co-ed bathing was permitted on the beach of Cape May. Our city followed the lead of another fashionable ocean resort, Newport, Rhode Island. The women of Newport complained that they felt unsafe entering the surf without the protection of a strong, able-bodied man. At the risk of insulting Newfoundlands, we’d guess sea bathing became considerably more exciting once men joined women in the water (and maybe even a
The Ultimate Cape May Food & Drink Chart What you need to know about the food and the vibe RUSTY NAIL Beach Avenue between Jackson and Perry (609) 884-0017
The local legend is back and it’s better than ever. The relaunched Nail, now part of the Congress Hall group, is beachfront dining at its best. Eat with your toes in the sand!
THE SEA SHANTY 711 Beach Avenue, Cape May (609) 898-6015 www.seashantycapemay.com
Fresh seafood for eat-in or take out. Open every day from 11:30 am-10 pm. Check out their daily specials!
SEASIDE CHEESE COMPANY 600 Park Boulevard (609) 884-8700 www.seasidecheesecapemay.com
A huge plus for the area when it opened, and this place, a short walk from downtown Cape May, continues to delight with gourmet treats. Private tasting room is available to reserve.
TISHA’S FINE DINING 322 Washington Street Mall Cape May (609) 884-9119
In case you’re wondering why they’re not at Convention Hall – they moved to the mall, where they are still serving up irresistible concoctions, PLUS breakfast and lunch!
TOMMY’S FOLLY COFFEE 251 Beach Avenue (609) 884-6522 www.congresshall.com
Situated in the lobby of Congress Hall, this shop has great coffee and some lovely to-go breakfast goodies, as well as healthy and tasty lunch wraps, plus soups, shakes and more.
THE UGLY MUG 426 Washington Street Mall Cape May (609) 884-3459
A Cape May legend, and even better now that they’ve put those wonderful booths in there. Such a treat. It has a classic pub vibe, and always a warm, friendly atmosphere.
UNCLE BILL’S PANCAKES Beach Avenue & Perry Street Cape May (609) 884-7199
Reliably excellent food – there is a reason why people wait a while to eat here... excellent breakfasts and brunches at this circular restaurant that overlooks the Atlantic.
UNION PARK Beach Avenue & Howard (609) 884-8811 www.unionparkdiningroom.com
Elegant dining in a classic old hotel, and the food is magnificent and inventive. Voted one of the best restaurants in the state by New Jersey Monthly magazine.
VINCENZO’S LITTLE ITALY II 3704 Bayshore Road North Cape May (609) 889-6610
If you want to bring the family for a fine and fun Italian meal, look no further than here! The kids will love it. Excellent pasta dishes, and they’re also proud of their prime rib.
WASHINGTON INN 801 Washington Avenue (609) 84-569 www.washingtoninn.com
Superb gourmet food, and a great little cocktail bar to get your night off on the right foot. Amazing wine list and an all-new wine bar has opened, with small plates available.
ZOE’S 715 Beach Avenue, Cape May (609) 884-1233
Zoe’s has large portions at affordable prices. Plus one of the best vegetarian selections in town. And they have a great patio if the weather is nice... bring Fido!
u Onsite parking
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Food for kids?
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bit safer, too). An 1867 article from The Weekly Patriot and Union describes, in glowing terms, how these changes affected Cape May. The sudden opportunity for couples to bathe together added a titillating aspect to what was previously just a healthful exercise. “The ladies, the dear creatures, how they enjoy an ocean bath. They envelope their precious little bodies into a bloomer dress of many bright colors, trustingly lean on the arm of their “dear Charles,” “dear Henry,” or “dear Augustus,” and submissively kiss the cool cheek of old Neptune, with a slight scream, so that their dears can press them more closely to the bosom of old ocean…” Young women of fine figure were soon attended to by flocks of admirers. At this time men and women alike entered bath houses to change into their bathing suits. These bath houses created the perfect opportunity for men and women to meet. In South Jersey: A History, the author relates: “The bath houses [were] the daily meeting place for all socially inclined. At eleven o’clock on any summer morning the porch was
“They envelope their precious little bodies into a bloomer dress... and meekly kiss the cool cheek of old Neptune, with a slight scream, so that their dears can press them more closely to the bosom of old ocean…”
filled with daintily dressed women and men in flannels. In those days girls were mermaids and went into the sea with flowing locks…. The popularity of the girls was measured by the number of men who asked to dry her hair.” All it took was a wet bloomer dress, dripping hair and the presence of male onlookers: the bathing beauty was born. While the ladies’ costumes were conservative by today’s standards, the men of the late 19th century had never seen so much of the female form in public. Soon images of the bathing beauty appeared on postcards and promotional material up and down the coast. Sometimes drawn, sometimes photographed, the pictures range from an individual woman taking a dip to views of male admirers gazing eagerly at girls disporting in the waves. In 1880, the first “Bathing Beauty Pageant” took place just across the bay in Rehoboth Beach, DE (Thomas Edison was a judge), and soon similar pageants arose around the country. Around the same time, American tobacco companies began including cards in cigarette packs, “the most popular of which
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depicted buxom women in revealing (just-below-the-knee) bathing attire.” The male fixation on bathing women didn’t stop with cards. At the start of the 20th century there arose a brisk trade in bathing girl figurines. These collectibles were often sold as souvenirs of a seaside vacation. Tom Carroll has a large collection of the figures in his Hughes Street home, and they range in tone from modest to bawdy. “They’re either in bathing suits or they let it all hang out – go nude,” says Tom. “It certainly shows that there was an element of the risqué here.” One prime example, the figure of a woman, legs spread, with a rooster perched between them, creates a visual double entendre. Bathing beauties were immortalized in song as well. In Harry Norris’ “Seaside Girls” of 1899, women’s costumes are a point of particular interest: Down at Margate looking very charming you are sure to meet Those girls, dear girls, those lovely seaside girls, With sticks they steer and promenade the pier to give the boys a treat, In pique silks and lace, they tip you quite a
Girls, Girls, Girls Opposite page: Two postcards from the early 1900s demonstrate the avid attention bathing beauties elicited from men. Far left: Cape May County was not above enticing tourists with sex appeal. Left: Bathing beauty figurines were produced in various states of undress. Resort guide image courtesy of Harry Bellangy. Figurines provided by Tom Carroll.
CLIPPER SHIP PUB
SERVING DINNER FROM 5PM EARLY DINNER SPECIALS 5-6pm â€˘ $21.95 1/2 PRICE RAW BAR ITEMS 5-6pm in the Pub Only Sports TV in The Clipper Ship Pub Affordable Pub Menu George Karavan at the Baby Grand on Saturday Nights
Reservations: 609-884-5878 991 Ocean Drive, Cape May www.blueclawrestaurant.com
41 August 2011
Open Daily for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
playful wink. It always is the case you seldom stop to think, You fall in love of course upon the spot, But not with one girl, always with the lot.
Serving fine food since 1988 322 WASHINGTON STREET MALL CAPE MAY (609) 884-9119
Lyrics like this emphasize the carnival mood of young people on vacation – the novelty of a resort town afforded vacationers an excuse for liberality. As Carroll remarks, “There was a lot of drinking, dining, dancing and gambling here. People left the formality of their home towns, and got here to have a good time.” The arrival of the 20th century heralded a revolution in bathing costumes, as more daring women discarded cumbersome layers for a sleeker cut. While most women continued to wear stockings, the hemlines of bathing suits rose, sometimes leaving a peak of
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exposed thigh between stockings and the skirt. English writer Sir Alfred Maurice Low paid close attention to ladies’ bathing customs on his trip to Atlantic City in 1907. His narrative lingers on the details of dress so persistently we can only assume he was completely entranced. “The American woman, especially if she be young and pretty and proud of her figure… clothes herself in the most attractive way, and her bathing costume… is a blouse and skirt and bloomers, black or red or green or blue… Attired in one of these bewitching costumes, with her hair coiled up on top of her head, with her pink and white feet winking in and out of the sand, she is quite unabashed in the company of her male escort.” Low goes on to the describe the practice of “a quintet of actresses” who would approach the water
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Different Strokes Above: In this 1915 photo of an Atlantic City beach the bathers seem more conservative. Right: In contrast, this Belgian postcard from a few years later features a skintight suit and lacing to the hip.
Don’t miss out on a seriously good read... Get the remaining 3 big color issues of EXIT ZERO this year for only $15! Call (609) 770-8479 to subscribe exit zero
43 August 2011
jackson street at beach avenue (609) 884-8388
Trendsetter Australian Annette Kellerman was arrested for wearing a tightfitting singlet, like the one shown, in 1907. By the following year, her line of suits was all the rage.
dressed in the customary bathing skirts, then group together, remove their skirts in a flash and dive in the waves unencumbered. While a female maid stood by with their dresses in hand, the actresses swam for half an hour before returning and redressing. This daily ritual became “one of the expected and waited-for features of the kaleidoscopic bathing hour.” While these bathing antics were taken in stride, any woman who dared leave the beach and stroll the promenade in these “most abbreviated of costumes at once classe[d] herself among the forbidden,” – a polite word for prostitute. As bathing suits became briefer, women did occasionally risk arrest for fashion. In 1907, the same year as Low’s firsthand account, Australian professional swimmer Annette Kellerman brought her high-diving “water ballerina” act to America. Kellerman’s preferred costume was a tight-fitting singlet that exposed her arms and upper chest, sometimes with stockings, sometimes without. That year she wore one of her suits to Revere Beach
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in Massachusetts and was arrested for public indecency. Once news of her arrest spread, the resulting publicity made Kellerman’s attire more popular than ever. Not long after, she released her own line of swimwear, modeled after the infamous one-piece suit. She famously complained, “I can’t swim wearing more stuff than you hang on a clothesline.” By the 1920s Kellerman’s ethos had taken root in America. Hemlines rose and necklines fell at the beach as well as in the ballroom and American women cultivated an athletic, androgynous look. The appeal of girls on the beach has never really faded – one can easily trace a line from the earliest bathing beauties to the synchonized swimmers in Busby Berkeley films to Pamela Anderson’s five years on Baywatch. The ever-changing (and usually shrinking) nature of bathing suits attracts onlookers to the beach who may interested in more than simply sun and surf. The source of attraction, unlike the swimsuits themselves, hasn’t changed at all after 150 years.
Aleathea’s Restaurant AT 7 OCEAN
Casually Elegant Victorian Dining Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily Full course first seating daily 5 to 6 Enjoy cocktails on our oceanfront porch or porch bar HAPPY HOUR Monday to Friday from 3 to 6 SUNDAY FUNDAY Sundays from 2 to 6 Live Entertainment Food & Drink Specials Pet Friendly Menu Available on Porch 7 Ocean Street at the Inn of Cape May 609-884-5555 innofcapemay.com
CARPENTER’S SQUARE MALL CAPE MAY • (609) 898-7750
44 August 2011
Cape May Cooks
By Knickerbocker and the Southern Belle
NE of the true joys of Jersey are those red, ripe summer tomatoes. Your local cooks are here to suggest just a few of our favorite ways they can be enjoyed. If you’re one of those people who has said, “I could make a whole meal of tomatoes,” we’re going to call your bluff! Start with our appetizers and work your way to the tomato sandwich main course. It may be overkill, but sometime next January when you’re slicing one of those tasteless red orbs that try to pass for the real thing, you’ll wish you had over-indulged in August.
“If you’re one of those people who has said, ‘I could make a whole meal of tomatoes,’ we’re going to call your bluff!”
Place the bread slices on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven until light brown. Rub the bread slices with a cut garlic clove, and brush lightly with olive oil; add a little salt to taste. Top with freshly chopped tomatoes; mix in a little sliced arugula or basil if you want. Italians aren’t the only people who know how to handle tomatoes! Add a little Southwestern touch with pico de gallo. Think about it – it’s one of the few ‘snack foods’ that’s really good for you –ignoring, for the moment, the chips you’ll perch it on.
Simple Bruschetta 5 minutes
Pico de Gallo 20 minutes makes 3 cups
Italian bread, cut diagonally – we like it about ½ inch thick tomatoes garlic cloves salt olive oil
6 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped ¼ c chopped fresh cilantro ½ c chopped sweet onion 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and exit zero
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minced 1 garlic clove, minced 2 tbsp fresh lime juice ½ tsp salt Mix it all up and serve, if you can’t wait. Or cover and chill, omitting salt until serving time. Now that you’ve enjoyed an appetizer or two, sit down to the quintessential summer soup, gazpacho. We’ve never met one we didn’t like, but this one is especially good and has the added seashore charm of fresh crabmeat. Have fun picking the prettiest colored peppers and tomatoes from local farm markets. Gazpacho with Crabmeat 30 minutes, two hours to chill serves 8 1 large garlic clove, peeled 2 medium peppers, seeded 2 medium cucumbers, peeled 8 medium ripe tomatoes, cored a few shakes of hot sauce, to taste, or ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Uncle Bill’s & FAMILY RESTAURANT Enjoy breakfast or lunch on our new outside patio!
BEACH AVENUE & PERRY STREET, CAPE MAY (609) 884-7199 “At the Beach” 715 Beach Avenue, Cape May (609) 884-1233 www.zoescapemay.com OPEN EVERYDAY
Full Breakfast Menu Served All Day HÄAGEN-DAZS ICE CREAM
Full Breakfast Menu - Homemade Muffins, Pancakes & Omelettes Lunch - Our Own Roasted Turkey & Roast Beef Cape May’s Largest Cheese Steaks & Hoagies Vegetarians, Enjoy Our Homemade Veggie Burgers Entire Menu Available for Take-Out Patio Dining/Pet Friendly... BYOD
1 quart tomato juice juice of 1 lemon 8 oz fresh crabmeat chives, chopped for garnish In a food processor, chop the garlic fine. Add the vegetables, cut into chunks and pulse into a coarse dice. Put the mixture into a large bowl, add the hot sauce or cayenne, tomato juice and lemon juice and stir thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours. To serve, ladle into bowls and top with a spoonful of crab meat and chopped chives. Still hungry for more of the juicy good stuff? Tomato sandwiches – in two versions! The first recipe is adapted from Deborah Madison’s ‘Big Tomato Sandwich,’ in Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating From America’s Farmers’ Markets (Broadway Books, 2008). This sandwich is reminiscent of the peasant tomato and bread salad called panzanella that was a staple for southern Italian immigrants to South Jersey. Ripe tomatoes from local stands will drench the bread with juice. Purists may want only tomatoes in their sandwiches. If you’re not a purist, you can add goat cheese, mozzarella, or tuna and capers. For convenience, use bottled Italian dressing instead of the vinaigrette.
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Down Jersey Tomato Sandwich 15 minutes Crusty Italian bread cut into sandwich-size portions 1 or more large, ripe and juicy tomatoes, sliced thick Bermuda onion, sliced thin pitted olives, nicoise, gaeta or oil-cured (optional) salt and freshly ground pepper Basil Vinaigrette, below Cut the bread so there is a top crust and a deeper bottom section and pull out some of the soft inside. Spread some vinaigrette in the bottom and layer the sliced tomatoes with the onion, to taste, the olives, if using, salt, freshly ground pepper and more vinaigrette. Replace the top of the sandwich and press down before serving. Basil Vinaigrette 3 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped 1 tbsp fresh parsley or oregano, chopped 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed 2 tbsp red wine vinegar 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil Combine first four ingredients, then slowly whisk in the oil. Too much work for a sandwich? Then ‘go Southern’ with a ’Mater Sandwich! All it takes is two slices of white bread slathered thick with mayonnaise and several slices of ‘mater. You’re done!
FROM OUR ARCHIVES A BUDDING CHEF ON THE WAY UP, 2003
LOCAL chef Paul Karapanagiotis was just a kid working at George’s Place when this picture appeared in Exit Zero back in 2003. He is now the chef and owner, with brother John, at The YB Eat Place just a few doors down from George’s, on Beach Avenue.
Inspired Mediterranean Cuisine Fabulous Cocktails Reservations: 609.884.1925
429 Beach Ave. Cape May, NJ exit zero
47 August 2011
ARTS KAREN ZIEMBA BRINGS THE SPARK TO “STEEL MAGNOLIAS”
From the ballet to the beauty salon
AREN Ziemba, the Tony award-winning Broadway veteran who impressed fans with her solo show Broadway and Beyond in 2010, brings her talents back to Cape May Stage this summer. She will play Truvy, the beauty salon owner, in Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias from August 3 through September 10. Ziemba and her husband, actor Bill Tatum, spend time each summer in Wildwood. The creamy-skinned beauty loves the beach and loves “being out in the sun, but I’m not someone who sits around. I love to be active, to go bike
Story by Catherine Dugan Photograph by Vinh Luong
CHeckmate Karen Ziemba, who will perform in Steel Magnolias in August and early September, likes to keep active – whether on the beach or at the chessboard.
riding. I grew up on Lake Michigan, so I learned to swim when I was three.” Her husband’s grandfather won the Wildwood house in a poker game. Ziemba is not much of a gambler herself, but admits an actor’s life is all about taking chances. “You never know when a show is going to be successful,” she says, but, “they’ve all had something great that I’ve taken away, that fulfilled me in some way – usually the people.” You’re “working together eight shows a week,” and you learn “it’s not just about you. It’s about the people you’re responsible for, including those who work backstage. You have a whole ensemble, a team feeling,” so even when the show doesn’t last, “you’ve created a family.” Ziemba’s own family nurtured her
dreams. Encouraged to dance by her mother, she relished telling stories on stage. With three brothers, it was always about “who can run fastest, jump highest, can you catch a pop fly? But they were very supportive” - even dressing up to join her household performances – “and they all loved music, too.” Ziemba majored in dance at the University of Akron, where the Ohio Ballet, a small, regional company, was in residence. “In the ‘70s, every decent-sized industrial town had a ballet company,” she remembers, noting that most of those companies no longer exist due to a lack of arts funding. “My first professional job was at the Ohio Ballet. Then I caught the musical theater bug and thought I could tell stories in a much
more diverse way.” Telling stories through music runs in Ziemba’s family. Her grandmother, mezzo-soprano Winifred Heidt, was a star of the New York City Opera, where Ziemba performed her favorite role, that of Lizzie in 110 in the Shade. Calling the show “a fantastic story, all about wanting to be accepted and loved,” Ziemba says, the character of Lizzie “got under my skin.” The “score was sweeping and beautiful and fun,” and “doing it at the New York City Opera where my grandmother played brought everything full circle.” Karen Ziemba earned her Equity card in a regional production of My Fair Lady, and toured with the national company of A Chorus Line before joining the Broadway cast. She starred as Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street with Jerry Ohrbach, and earned a Tony for her role as The Wife in Contact. A physical performer, Ziemba commands the stage. She is also gifted at the small gesture – a crook of her finger and the entire audience leans forward. Her lovely face conveys layers of emotion or broad comedy with equal ease, and her voice is richly
expressive. Ziemba deflects any personal praise and steers it to the material, like an ambassador for the art form she loves. She speaks of great shows that didn’t make it to Broadway, like Kicks, with songs by Alan Menken and Tom Eyen; and those that didn’t enjoy a long run, like Steel Pier, the Atlantic City-based musical, written by David Thompson and the songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb. Ziemba played Rita Racine in the show and reports, with a touch of melancholy, that she went to the site of the old Steel Pier in Atlantic City “to see what it looked like at the latter part of the 20th century, to hear the seagulls.” In addition to her work at Cape May Stage, the hard-working Ziemba has other summer projects lined up. “I’m going to be doing a workshop of a play by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty” at Lincoln Center. The Little Dancer, based on the Degas sculpture, will be set at the Paris opera at the turn of the 20th century. She looks forward to working with the songwriting team, whose tunes she often performs, and to working with
“The repartee is so funny and so moving. I remember seeing it on Christopher Street in the West Village and thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh it would be so wonderful to do this play one day.’”
the young dancers. “Seeing all these little bunheads running around will remind me of my early days as a ballerina,” she says. Ziemba plans to spend her days at the beach this summer while working on Steel Magnolias, which she has admired since it played off-Broadway. “The repartee is so funny and so moving. I remember seeing it on Christopher Street in the West Village and thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh it would be so wonderful to do this play one day.’” Having performed at Cape May Stage in the past, Ziemba thinks the one-set show is a perfect fit for the Robert Shackleton Playhouse: “The audience is so close; you’re so in sync.” Her character, Truvy, has some of the great lines in a play full of great lines, including “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” The role, played by Dolly Parton in the film, was originated by Margo Martindale. And though she disproves Truvy’s philosophy that “there is no such thing as natural beauty,” Karen Ziemba is sure to add her own style to the role. You can bet on it.
The Old Grange Restaurant Award winning Tony Clark comes home to the Old Grange!
Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Old Grange by Tony Clark at Histor ic Cold Spr ing Village 735 Seashor e Road, Cape May, NJ 0820 4 R eser vations: 609-88 4-0 114 email@example.com
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DROPPING-IN ON THE WOMEN WHO CHARGE CAPE MAY
Story by Diane Stopyra Photo by Aleksey Moryakov exit zero
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IRLS surf. This is nothing new. Girls have always surfed. Eyewitness accounts from European sailors who landed in Hawaii in the late 1700s suggest that as many women were practicing he’e nalu, or wave sliding, as men. In 1915, Isabel Letham became the first person to surf an Australian swell. In 2009, Maya Bageria slid down a 45-foot wall of liquid in the rocky, sharky waters of South Africa. In ocean lineups today, there are almost as many bikinis dropping in on heavy waves as there are Birdwells. Even Kathy Kohner, the woman who inspired Gidget, the iconic surfer girl movie of the ’60s, believes that the sport is now inundated with “a million little Gidgets.” But in Cape May, surfer girls are few and far between. They’re easy to miss. They steal away at sunrise, submerging themselves in the liquid energy of the ocean before quietly going about their days. And they slip away in the winter, jetting off to the warm water and exotic breaks of beaches far from home. If you want to find them, you, too, have to move with the tides. I arrived at Queen Street beach on a gnarly Tuesday afternoon in early May.
SURFER GIRLS Previous page: Theresa Logan, Beth Drabkoski, Angela Monaghan and Susie Owens
It had finally stopped raining, but the air was damp, and the sky was a depressing shade of gray – not dark and ominous, but pale and drab. The water, too, was gray – sea and sky blurring together at a dingy white horizon. This was not a beach day. This was a day, I imagined, for what Beth Drabkoski calls “checkers” – the posers who put surf boards on top of their cars and drive from Poverty to the Cove, checking the waves at different surf spots, but never parting with the comfort of their heated seats long enough to actually get wet. As I walked toward the water, I saw a purple flip-flops, the only splash of color against this gloomy backdrop. They’d been tossed into the dunes, as though someone had been in a hurry to ditch them. I wondered if they belonged to Beth, the 28-year-old surfer girl I’d come to see. I took a seat next to a rumpled towel near the jetty, the wind gusting straight through my sweatshirt. Beth, a Cape May local, was already in the water. In her wetsuit, she looked like a black buoy with arms, bobbing up and down with each big ripple. She was paddling, struggling to keep her position next to the rock pile and just beyond three large drainage pipes, but the current was quickly sweeping her
south. Even the waves, waist-high and sloppy, weren’t breaking straight into the beach, but on a southern facing angle. The other four surfers in the water, all men, had stopped fighting against the rip; they were simply letting it carry them a block or so before getting out of the water altogether and walking back toward the jetty. About fifteen feet from Beth, like another black buoy dipping behind each cresting wave, a dolphin’s fin cut through the choppy surface. The only other people on the beach this day, an elderly couple who’d been taking pictures of the jetty, now paused to point and watch for the fin. They didn’t seem to see Beth. And they didn’t notice when she took off on her next wave, snapping back and forth across the face of it, pumping up toward the lip and gliding down again, staying just ahead of the white water gurgling at her tail. Beth had told me that girls in the water who paddle out with smiles on their faces help change the mood of the testosterone-heavy lineup by softening it a bit. But I couldn’t see any difference between the way she navigated this liquid face and the way the boys were riding. She carved southward, heading down the unbroken line for several yards, until the wave’s sweet spot collapsed. Then she
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54 August 2011
The Southern Mansion
CABANAS Diane joins the kitchen crew on Beach Avenue – from left, Jose Lopez, Danny Amado and Lou McAtee. And, right, she gets her Brillo pad on.
720 Washington Street, Cape May • (609) 884-7171
Take a personalized tour through the largest and most elaborate mansion in Cape May, featuring stunning rooms, amazing restorations and an indepth history.
TOURS ARE DAILY AT 12 AND 1 PM Tickets available at the door
Perfect for weddings and corporate retreats, The Southern Mansion is the only AAA 4 star award accommodation in Cape May!
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55 August 2011
dismounted, turned, and paddled against the current, back toward the jetty, and the next set of waves pulsing inward. Thirty minutes and five waves later, Beth got out of the water, her long blonde hair plastered to her neoprene suit. “I needed that,” she said, collapsing onto the sand beside me without reaching for her towel. She rested her board across her lap and buried her painted toes in the sand. One of the other surfers had just ridden a wave into shore and, from the tideline, he looked at Beth. He placed one hand by his ear, mimicking a phone, and mouthed the words “call me.” Beth laughed and squeezed some of the water from her hair. “I met him at the bar the other night,” she said. “He asks me out, I say no, and then I run into him in the water. How awkward.” Beth is popular with a lot of guys in the water. They call her “bottom turn,” not only because she can pull off a badass bottom turn at the base of a wave, but because they like the way her butt looks while she’s doing it. Tan, toned, and dripping wet, Beth could pass for a girl who’s just wrapped up shooting the next Roxy ad. “See?” she said, looking around for the purple flip-flops she’d ditched ear-
One of the other surfers had just ridden a wave into shore and, from the tideline, he looked at Beth. He placed one hand by his ear, mimicking a phone, and mouthed the words “call me.” Beth laughed and squeezed some of the water from her hair.
lier, “I told you it’s easy to get a date in the water.” Beth had told me this a few days before, when we’d met to discuss surfing over a drink (water only, because Beth had just come from the gym) at Hemingway’s. “It’s absolutely a sexy sport,” she had said, fiddling with the shell necklace around her collar. “You’re using all of your muscles, gracefully riding a wave, halfnaked, soaking wet, and you feel good.” But this California girl image isn’t what drives Beth to the beach, and it’s not attention from surfer dudes that she’s looking for in the water. For a woman trying to charge one of Cape May’s breaks, attention from surfer guys, who might hog waves or resent a female presence, is often something to be overcome rather than sought out. Beth told me about a time when she took off on a wave, upsetting a male surfer who’d been paddling close by. “I had full control of my board,” she said. “I wasn’t going to hit him. I bottom turned around him, totally safe. I knew what I was doing. But he was cursing and waving his fist and causing a huge scene, maybe because I’m female. I finally just got out of the water.” According to Beth, this kind of pressure is common for girls, who might be outnumbered eight-to-one on a given day
in the water. “You have to gain respect,” she said. “Cape May breaks heavy, hollow, and fast, and that’s what a lot of people will drive to find on the east coast. When the swell comes up, that tension gets strong. You’ve got to make eye contact with the guys as if to say: ‘That’s what’s up, I’m paddling out right next to you, and I’m going to get the same waves you’re riding.’” One might think that with so much pressure to perform, surfing in Cape May would be stressful. But for Beth, being in the water is a calming experience, the only thing that levels her – even when it almost kills her. The most recent close call happened at Oahu’s world-class Velzy Land, or V-Land, last spring. Beth wiped out on a twelve-foot wave, and couldn’t resurface because her ankle leash had wrapped around a reef bed. For what felt like a long time, she was pulled in too many directions to disconnect it. Still, neardeath experiences notwithstanding, Beth insists that the ocean is “my church.” Riding waves, she said, “is the only spiritual connection I have.” It is also, she told me, a connection to loved ones who have passed away. “I’m twenty-eight,” Beth said, “and I’ve already lost both of my parents. Each of them
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surfed, and my dad made boards. Every time I’m out there, I’m harnessing a gift I learned from them. It’s a chance to let go, to reflect, and every time I drop in on that wave, everything just releases.” This outlet is so important for Beth, that most major life decisions center around it, including decisions about travel (she’s surfed in Hawaii, California, Costa Rica, Mexico, and up and down the east coast), and decisions about employment. A sales consultant for a solar energy company during the day, Beth bartends for Cabanas at night. The food and beverage industry is a popular choice for surfers, she explained, because it’s easy to take off if the swell pops up. “I have total freakout panic attacks,” she told me “if I know there are waves and I can’t get out that day. Anxiety through the roof. It’s like a disease.” This disease explains why Beth is in the water “as soon as the sun comes up,” and why she often suffers from “surf drip,” a condition in which water comes spontaneously pouring out of the nose. Once, it happened behind the bar, right over a guest’s dirty vodka martini. Luckily, the customer laughed when Beth made a joke about the drink needing to be “extra dirty.” For other surfer girls, a job isn’t just
RIDING THE WAVE Susie Owens in Puerto Rico
what allows for more time in the water; it’s what drives them to it. At least this is the case for Theresa Logan, an RN and certified personal trainer in her late forties. Theresa started surfing 10 years ago as a way to de-stress after long hours working in an understaffed Alzheimer’s unit. Since then, she’s acquired a quiver of boards which line the wall of her garage. Before inviting me inside to look at surf photos over glasses of filtered well water, Theresa showed me her collection of seven boards. Some are painted with flowers, some with stripes, and some with flames. Two are vintage. All of them are coated with thick globs of sandy, hardened wax. One is best for overhead surf. One does well in two-foot mush. One is an epoxy hybrid. One, a longboard by California shaper Gordon Smith, is Theresa’s favorite. “I beat the hell out of it,” she told me. “It’s my baby.” Of course, now that she’s taken a step back from nursing in order to devote more time to integrated health coaching at North Beach Gym, paddling out on one of these babies has become more a way to satisfy her inner thrill-seeker than a way to cope with stress. Apparently, Theresa’s other adventures – mountain biking, becoming a soloed student pilot, volun-
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teering at a cataract correction camp in India – aren’t cutting it. “It’s a rush. I enjoy holding on for dear life. You have to be a little fearless in order to really live.” One day, while surfing in choppy waters, she noticed a ladder truck and a rescue van pull onto the beach, and a firefighter with binoculars standing at the water’s edge. When she got out of the water to see what all the fuss was about, the rescue worker said, “We’re here for you, but it doesn’t look like you need us.” Someone on the beach had called the West Cape May fire brigade because they’d spotted Theresa in the water and assumed she must be struggling. Theresa smiled straight through our conversation. She smiled about the brown shark she’d mistaken for a log in a cresting wave; she smiled about the jellyfish tentacles that once wrapped around her wrist and ankle, leaving a burn mark for a week; she even smiled when talking about the boys who don’t “play nice” in the water. I began to wonder what then, if not lack of faith from fellow beach-goers or less than happy encounters with Cape May’s ocean life, discourages Theresa. I could tell how passionate she is; her house is decorated with all things beach
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– Hawaiian shirt coasters, a palm tree shower curtain, surfer-embroidered throw pillows, a postcard in the bathroom which pictures a Ken doll standing on his head behind Beach Barbie, asking how long until she’s going to be impressed by what he’s doing. This is a woman who surrounds herself by what she loves. But, I figured, the life of a surfer girl in Cape May can’t be all endless summer all the time… can it? “Cigarette butts discourage me,” she told me. “Dirty diapers and plastic bags. It’s appalling.” Even on Cape May beaches, ranked ninth most beautiful in the world this year by TripAdvisor, there’s trash. For the surfer girls of Cape May, this is especially troubling. “We are stewards of the ocean,” Theresa said, explaining that it’s up to surfers to advocate for respect of the beach. “We’re a tribe.” I liked this idea: a tribe of Cape May’s surfer girls shredding by day, saving the planet by night. Salty superheroes in rash guards instead of capes, sunburn their only kryptonite. But at this point, I’d only met two of these surfer girls, which hardly constitutes a tribe. I left Theresa’s house intent on tracking down the rest of these bikini-clad stewards. And I found quite a few of them. At
“Cigarette butts discourage me. Dirty diapers and plastic bags. It’s appalling. We are stewards of the ocean,” Theresa said, explaining that it’s up to surfers to advocate for respect of the beach. “We’re a tribe.”
Lucky Bones restaurant, I met a bartender named Rietta who told me about her latest wetsuit purchase. And I met Lisa, a surf instructor at the Summer Sun Surf Shop who, before teaching art to Lower Township students, was editor of East Coast Surfer Magazine. I met Sue Lotozo, who owns the Flying Fish Studio on Park Boulevard and doesn’t open until ten, which leaves time for plenty of early morning sessions with her daughter Bela. And I met Susie Owens, or “Dink” as she’s called in the water. Dink told me that she married her high school sweetheart, the boy who taught her to surf, and that she loves being only 4-11 because “most waves are overhead when you’re this small.” And then I met Angela Monaghan, 24, the most Gidget-like of the Cape May surfers. She’s super stoked, cute as a button, and always lugging around a board that looks like it weighs twice as much as she does. Like Gidget, Angela got her start surfing because the boys of the beach, her fellow junior lifeguards, took her under their collectively stoked wing when she was 10. Now, a full-fledged lifeguard, she’s known as Mondo to all the guys who have the pleasure of paddling out beside her. When I first saw Angela, she’d just come from her job gardening for the Chal-
fonte hotel. She was wearing a mustard seed around her neck, her wild black curls bouncing around her tiny shoulders as she explained the importance of putting “good things” into the ground. “Some day,” she told me, “I’d like to practice sustainable agriculture in a Spanish-speaking country.” Then, smiling, she added, “Of course, it will help if they have good waves, too.” We spent the next hour talking about everything from dating (“I once went out with a guy who didn’t even swim. I mean, that wasn’t going anywhere.”); to what constitutes proper surfing attire (“You can’t wear a string bikini; that’s just silly.”); and the best food to eat when you’re feeling totally water-logged (“Um, anything Mexican.”). Later, when I called Angela to tell her that I’d love to watch her surf, she said, “I hope you have a board, too!” At lifeguard HQ around dusk that evening, I paddled out with Angela. It was another chilly and dreary day, and the sky looked as though it might open up at any moment. A thick layer of mist hung over the water. The phrase that Beth had used to describe the waves of Cape May, “heavy, hollow, and fast,” echoed in my head. “It’s sloppy out here,” Angela said as we worked our way past the breakers, the
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white water churching around our ankles, then our shins, then our thighs. “But there’s definitely some size!” Her yellow board, adorned with a painted blue flower on the nose, looked even brighter against the dark water than it had on the beach. She slid onto it, and began moving fluidly over each cresting wave. I followed. As soon as we reached the lineup, the three men already there waved and hooted. “Mondo!” the blonde one yelled. “Thanks for the bat call.” The boys had been in Ocean City, and Angela had texted them an update: waves in Cape May. “Welcome to the washing machine,” one of the others said. “I could get this same feeling,” the last one said, “standing in my toilet and flushing twenty times.” I laughed, and the guys looked at me as if to say, “Who’s the new girl?” Angela told them I was researching an article on the surfer girls of Cape May. Then she let out an encouraging hoot for the guy paddling into a left breaking wave off the jetty. “Ah,” the blonde one said. “To bro out or to bra out, that is the question.” I looked at Angela, hoping that she might be able to decode this surf speak for me, but she’d already turned toward shore, paddling into her own wave.
“It’s exhilarating,” Angela had told me, “when you’re flying down the line, doing all kinds of cool stuff. But it’s humbling, too. There’s vulnerability there. I don’t want to say you feel one with the ocean, because that sounds silly, but there’s totally a connection there.”
I turned to the blonde guy. “What do you think of girls in the water?” I asked, feeling very much like a floating buoy as everyone moved into position for the next set around me. As if to answer my question, the blonde let out a hoot for Angela. From the back of the wave, we watched her effortlessly carving down the line, flashes of her gold board appearing every time she turned upward, the wave tumbling over itself behind her. “It’s exhilarating,” Angela had told me, “when you’re flying down the line, doing all kinds of cool stuff. But it’s humbling, too. There’s vulnerability there. I don’t want to say you feel one with the ocean, because that sounds silly, but there’s totally a connection there.” It started to rain as Angela made her way back out, big ploppy droplets making indents on the surface of the water, but no one seemed to notice. Angela was wearing a big, toothy grin as she paddled. “Girls in the water are great,” the blonde guy said, “if they can hang.” And Mondo could hang. I remembered Angela telling me that there’s something wonderful about being a girl who “can hang” in the water. Earn the respect of the boys, and they’ll block for you. They do it for Angela. On crowded
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days, the boys will pretend to paddle into a wave, before backing off and giving it to her. This makes it difficult for anyone else to “snake” the swell. To the boys of Cape May, Angela is just one of the guys. One of them. A charger. “Sometimes,” Angela told me, “they kind of forget that I’m a girl. But then we’ll go out, and I’ll have to get dressed up. That’s when they remember I’m a girl. It’s easy to miss this girl, if you’re not paying attention. She’s not who you see on TV. She might be a little sunburnt, a little sandy, her eyelashes always crusted white with salt, but she’s not who you see in the Hollywood blockbuster. She’s not some scantily-dressed nubile with dread-locked hair. She’s doesn’t speak of epic crests or gnarly cutbacks. She’s not blasting The Beach Boys from her woodie or waxing up on the promenade. She is, instead, the one you see in the bar, the restaurant, the store, and yes, on the beach. She’s the one saying a silent prayer for offshore wind. The one patiently waiting for an incoming tide. The one smiling for no reason at all, or at least no reason that you can tell. No reason other than that today – before school or after work or maybe when the wind finally switches... today could be the ride of her life.
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walking exit zero
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the cape ENJOY AN INSPIRING WALK AND GET A HISTORY LESSON AT THE SAME TIME Story by Ben Miller This 1940s beachfront scene was captured for posterity by a photographer positioned in the original Convention Hall. Cape May County Historical Museum exit zero
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ONGTIME fans of Cape May might remember that a hallmark of the Cape’s 1970s Victorian Renaissance was a walking tour, organized to showcase the city’s many architectural charms. Volunteers led groups through the city streets, pointing out dormer windows here and gingerbread there, for blocks on end. The expeditions were hugely popular and paved the way for today’s assortment of tours, most of which are now done in the comfort of air conditioned trolleys. As one of my favorite MAC tour guides, the late Marie Ann Schrobsdorff, used to say, “It’s a different world today, you know?” In honor of Marie Ann and her fellow guides who have walked the beat over the years, I’m taking things back to the beginning. This is a historical feature that’s meant to be read on the go. It’s the first of two custom Exit Zero walking tours that I’ve created, and
a local treasure A 1960s walking tour is shown here at the Victorian Mansion, now known as the Mainstay Inn. Greater Cape May Historical Society Opposite: The entire beach around Convention Hall was underwater at high tide, prior to beach replenishment. Notice the water still puddled under the Ocean Deck restaurant (now Beach House). Ben Miller
this one is confined to the promenade. If you’re physically unable to walk or simply prefer not to, feel free to take the trek from a comfortable chair, closing your eyes at each stop and picturing the scene with your mind’s eye. Old Trolley Terminus START on the promenade, across from Beach Theatre. For years, this was the starting point for trolleys pulled by tractors and mules, the predecessors of today’s motorized carriages. Patrons would buy their ticket at a small booth and then step down off the side of the promenade onto the trolley. If you look west along the beach, you’ll notice the dunes that you’ve probably walked past a hundred times without a second thought. They were built and seeded with sea grass in the 1990s, following a major beach replenishment project undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers. Prior to that, the area of the dunes were home to a seemingly
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endless line of blue tents and beach boxes. Dunes and vegetation were added to help protect the city from flooding and have served the ancillary purpose of making things easier for beach tag inspectors. Prior to the dunes’ installation, it was a common occurrence to see people jumping from the promenade onto the beach (between a three to five-foot drop) to avoid paying for a tag. When the inspectors made their rounds on the beach to check tags, scores of sunbathers would get the urge to take a dip in the ocean. It was quite a sight, like a flock of migratory birds heading south for the winter. If you look behind the Beach House restaurant, formerly Henry’s on the Beach and the Ocean Deck before that, you’ll see a sand-covered rock groin. Before the replenishment program, those rocks were exposed all the way to the seawall. High tide brought waves up to the promenade on beaches east of
convention hall and the support structure for the hall was under water. Engineers have partially blamed erosion caused by that water for the condemnation of the old hall in 2008. Speaking of convention hall, let’s take a second to talk about the original building. It was massive, spanning from the former Rickers store, now Cape May city offices, over to where The Original Fudge Kitchen is today. It was twostories tall and twice as long as it was wide. It was built in 1917, opened a year later and was demolished following the 1962 Ash Wednesday Nor’Easter. It featured stores, a restaurant, movie theatre and a large hall in the back. Its most memorable feature was the Mission Revival façade, with a large open portico at the foot of Stockton Place, and three rounded baroque gables. Turn around and look across Beach Avenue. Imagine all those buildings gone, from Gurney to Howard, all the way back to Columbia Avenue. Picture
The Stockton Hotel had a lasting impact on the city that few people know about… the name. It was in 1869, that owner John Bullitt successfully petitioned the city of Cape Island to change its name to Cape May, at the behest of the railroad.
one huge empty lot. That was the scene in 1911, after the two-block wide, fourstory behemoth Stockton Hotel was demolished. Unlike many of its contemporaries, the Stockton didn’t succumb to fire, it was simply deemed too old and impractical. The Stockton Hotel opened in 1869, built by the West Jersey Railroad. Much like multi-property owners do today, the railroad created a separate legal entity for the hotel called the Stockton Hotel & Improvement Company. At the helm was a former Camden and Amboy Railroad executive named Albert Markley, who was joined by local developer John C. Bullitt. Construction costs topped $400,000 which was a sizable price in the mid1800s, and the Stockton was built with luxuries like gas lights in every room, steam heat and an 18,000 gallon emergency water tank (in case of fire). Bullitt had a lasting impact on the city that few people know about… in 1869 he
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successfully petitioned the city of Cape Island to change its name to Cape May, at the behest of the railroad. Old Weightman Cottages Property HEAD west about one block and stop at the intersection of Ocean and Beach. Looking toward the town, you’ll see the Inn of Cape May on one side of Ocean Street and the Marquis de Lafayette on the other. The Inn of Cape May used to be called the Colonial Hotel, a name it held from the time William Church built it in 1894. The neighborhood look much different then. The land under the hotel had lain empty since the great fire of 1878 burned the two private cottages and a row of bath houses. Across Ocean Street stood the two Weightman Cottages, now known as Angel of the Sea and next to them (on Ocean) the Morning Star and Evening Star. On Beach, the Hotel Lafayette was neighbor to the Weightman Cottages.
The Hotel Lafayette was much larger than today’s Marquis, with 125 guest rooms, a large ballroom and expansive lobby. Stephen Decatur Button designed the hotel in 1884 and the Philadelphia Inquirer called it “magnificent” in January of 1890. Throughout its life, the Hotel Lafayette hosted thousands of vacationers and even a few celebrities. The 1890 Inquirer article, however, noted that a bizarre clientele had recently taken over the hotel: “Quite a number of victims of la grippe are now recuperating at this excellent hostelry, and many others are arriving.” Many readers will know the story of the Weighman cottages, Morning Star and Evening Star were moved across town in the 1960s by Reverend Carl McIntire, a legendary firebrand preacher who was a passionate Cape May preservationist. He also offered to move the Hotel Lafayette to a property along New Jersey Avenue in East Cape May, but the city refused to give permission out of fear the hotel was too heavy and would collapse Beach Avenue. It was a valid concern, considering that during the relocation of the Morn-
a rare glimpse This family beach picture shows a rarely-seen side of Convention Hall, with the open colonnade where the two front wings meets the back hall. Diane Hutchinson
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ing Star inn, that’s exactly what happened. Just east of Madison Avenue, as the Morning Star building made its way down Beach, the street gave way under the weight. It was later determined that sand under the pavement had eroded, possibly from an antique outfall pipe that had rusted through in spots. Luckily, the building then known as the Star Villa was supported by a grid of iron carriage beams. Without those beams, the oversized four-story building would have buckled under the pressure and collapsed into a huge, historic mess of timbers. Instead, the beams held the pressure evenly and after about two days the moving crew was able to jack the building back up and resume the trip to its new home alongside the Peter Shields Inn. Prior to the Hotel Lafayette, Weightman Cottages or the Morning Star and Evening Star, the oceanfront property between Ocean and Decatur was the site of the original Columbia House hotel. Delaware Captain George Hildreth constructed the Columbia house in 1846 and though it’s hard to believe it now, the entire plot of land in front of
victorian vacations Above: This Victorian era photo shows a horse-drawn carriage in front of the Stockton Bathhouses, with what is now Stockton Manor and neighboring houses in the background. Donna Baker Right: The Hotel Lafayette, Weightman Cottages and Star Villa (Morning Star) are shown in this Victorian picture of the beachfront. Donna Baker
you was marshy swampland. Hildreth had sand and dirt brought to the property from other parts of Cape Island to fill in the swamp and make the land suitable for building. His hotel was built four stories tall and ran the entire block parallel to the beach, approximately where the library is today. The land between the hotel and the beach
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was a large lawn with bathhouses where today’s Marquis de Lafayette now sits. Denizot Hotel WALK one more block west along the promenade, until you’re standing in front of Cabanas and Martini Beach. Built in 1881 by Victor Denizot, the building was originally a hotel known
as the Ocean View. The first floor was a restaurant from the very beginning and the second, third and fourth floor housed boarding rooms. Prior to the 1878 fire, the entire oceanfront block from Jackson to Decatur, was filled with bathhouses. Denizot’s hotel was built over the charred remains of Denizot’s Bathing Palace. In you turn around and face the beach, you’ll notice an entrance ramp at the foot of Decatur Street and dunes in front of the Marquis de Lafayette. In the 1860s and 1870, those dunes were the site of Denizot’s Pier, a steamship pier with stores and amusements at the beach end. The steamship pier was replaced with a colossal new pier, dubbed the Iron Pier in 1884. It may be hard to imagine, looking at the peaceful beach scene in front of you, but the Iron Pier sat here, 30 feet wide and 1000 feet long. Picture two of Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, end to end, directly in front of you. Shops and amusements lined both sides of the pier and at the ocean end, an 8,000 square foot dancing hall was built. The dancing area was later renovated to allow for movies, opera, concerts and live theatre. The pier was nearly destroyed in 1907, when flames engulfed a shop near the entrance and spread rapidly to the rest of the pier. The steel structure remained intact and the pier was rebuilt for the next season. Two years later, however, the majority of the pier was lost when a large ship rammed into it. Well over half of the Iron Pier was lost and the remaining section was retrofitted into Hunt’s Amusement Pier. That too was lost to the 140 mph winds and tidal surges of the Great Atlantic Hurricane in 1944. Former Atlantic House Site CONTINUE your walk two blocks to the corner of Beach Avenue and Perry Street and face George’s Place restaurant. Forget about the Washington Street Mall, this is the true heart of Cape May. On the property behind George’s, where the Sea Villa stands today, is where it all began. This is the site of Ellis’s Hughes’s Atlantic House hotel. Hughes built the Atlantic House in 1791 and promoted it with Cape May’s first tourism advertisement, in the Philadelphia Aurora newspaper in 1801. The Atlantic House was what you might
a shaky foundation The wobbles you may notice on the red Steger’s building is not a photo anomaly. The old store was built inside the shells of old bathhouses boarded together. When it was demolished in the 1990s, the place came down like a house of cards. Ben Miller Opposite above: Cape May at the turn of the century, with the Iron Pier in the background. Don Pocher Opposite below: Old Congress Hall at the height of its popularity, before the 1878 fire. Don Pocher
expect a colonial hotel to be – simple furnishings with rows of beds in one large room. Along with lodging, Hughes provided meals to his patrons, featuring local produce, meats and seafood. The hotel was purchased by two brothers, Joseph and Benjamin McMakin in 1839, who built the New Atlantic, next door on the site of today’s Seven Sisters cottages. Both the original Atlantic and the New Atlantic buildings were lost in an 1869 fire, but the brothers’ predecessor, John McMakin, rebuilt the New Atlantic. It survived eight years until the 1878 fire destroyed it. Across Perry Street sits the venerable Congress Hall. Much has been written about the building, a former summer White House for President Harrison and the ancestor of Cape May’s second hotel built by Ephraim Mills on the site. Calling the Mills tavern a hotel is a bit of a stretch, but he did house sojourners who came to Cape May from Philadelphia. Jonas Miller purchased the site in 1812 and built a new hotel that rivaled the Atlantic House in popularity, so much so that Ellis Hughes’s son, Thomas Hughes, purchased it four years later.
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Ever the one to dream big, the future Congressman from New Jersey demolished Miller’s hotel and built a much larger one in its place. He named it the Big House, though local folks called it Tommy’s Folly because they felt it was much too large to ever be successful. When the Big House filled to capacity that first year, the locals changed their tunes and following Hughes’s election to congress in 1829, the hotel was renamed Congress Hall. Hughes’s Congress Hall was renovated and enlarged over the years until it was lost in the 1878 fire. Edward Collins Knight founded the Congress Hall Hotel Company and rebuilt the hotel on a much smaller scale in 1879. Originally pea green in color with iron cresting following the length of the building’s roof, the hotel was repainted its signature yellow within a few years and looked very similar to what you see today. Summer Station Site WALK west along the promenade three more blocks, until you’re standing in front of the Ocean View diner. This was the site of Cape May’s famous Summer Station, built by the Pennsylvania Rail-
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the lost city South Cape May’s demise is shown in this 1944 picture of pilings and foundations. This area is now underwater. Cape May Point State Park
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road in 1876. Following the construction of the station, the railroad began an express route from Philadelphia to Cape May every day during the summer seasons. The station made the Cape much more accessible for daytrippers, or shoebies as they were known by locals. The West Jersey Railroad later built the Sea Breeze excursion house on the site of today’s Beach Shack hotel to cater to day-trippers, with facilities for them to shower, store their belongings and get meals. The Sea Breeze was demolished in the early 1900s and the site was used by the local high school for athletic events until the early 1940s. Summer Station lasted until the early 1950s, when it was replaced by the diner. Start of South Cape May FOR our last stop on today’s tour, continue down the promenade until you reach the Sunset Pavilion at the entrance to the Cove. Look across the Cove Beach towards the lighthouse and imagine a town sitting there. That was once the Borough of South Cape May. The beach was much farther out than what you see today, even with the millions of tons of sand
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that have been brought in during modern beach replenishment campaigns. The patio addition of the Cove restaurant across the street from you is sitting on what was Third Avenue and the streets continued westward. South Cape May was first settled around 1840 and later incorporated as a borough in 1894. A succession of storms hit the borough hard in the 1920s and the death toll came for South Cape May in the 1944 hurricane, when wave after wave pounded the life out of it. The borough was officially stricken from the books the following year, though a few of the homes have been saved and moved north along Sunset Boulevard. The Cove Beach has taken its place, though it too had been lost over the years, prior to beach replenishment. By the 1980s, there was little beach left and if you took a walk at low tide along the sand to Cape May Point, you’d be forced to find another way back if the tides changed. Editor’s Note: For more on South Cape May, see page 116. This concludes the first Exit Zero walking tour of Cape May and if you enjoyed it, keep a lookout for the next color edition.
LANDMARKS BY THE SHORE This late 1800s picture shows the Windsor Hotel, Pennsylvania Railroad’s Summer Station, the West Jersey Railroad’s Sea Breeze Excursion House and, in the background, the Light of Asia in what was then South Cape May. Don Pocher
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FROM OUR ARCHIVES STAFF OF THE FLYING FISH STUDIO, 2003
This picture of Lilly Gannone, Manny DeOliveira, Sue Lotozo and Eliza Lotozo, the ownership and staff of The Flying Fish Studio, was published in an issue of Exit Zero back in September of 2003. The caption included a reference to the new Exit Zero T-shirts “which will be for sale soon.”
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Dangerous booths for boys
HINK of antiquing and your mind might turn to china dolls, antique doorknobs, mink stoles. The hobby has a feminine rep, conjuring up pictures of husbands begrudgingly following their wives to find the perfect vase for an end table, or a set of silver for dinner parties (not that a healthy interest in vases or silverware should threaten anyone’s masculinity). A visit to Antiques Emporia, a sprawling vendors’ co-op at 405 West Perry Street, turns this notion on its head. You’ll find model ships, war
Story by Jon Roth Photos by Aleksey Moryakov
Phanatic Mike Sardone stands before his wall of autographed Phillies merchandise. He also runs a brisk trade in Mets, Yankees and Flyers memorabilia. Aleksey Moryakov
memorabilia, rare coins, antique fishing reels, pipes, guns and baseball cards. (They also stock china dolls and mink stoles, it should be added.) At some point, most boys kept a collection of some kind – whether they were sports cards, comic books, Farrah Fawcett posters or stamps. The booths at Antiques Emporia provide an opportunity to revisit that youthful excitement, except now shoppers have a bit more in their wallets than a weekly allowance. Mike Sardone is a computer programmer from West Orange, New Jersey. When he’s not at work or at home with his wife and two daughters, he runs Cape May Sports Memorabilia, which spans three booths at Antiques
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Emporia. The walls are lined with commemorative plaques and autographed photos of sought-after athletes from the Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Flyers and more. His racks are stocked with team year books and player biographies covering everything from baseball greats to tennis stars. But his most prized items, vintage baseball cards, are arranged like trophies inside a glass display case. “These are real vintage – tobacco cards from 1909 to 1911. These came out of cigarette cartons,” says Sardone. “They’re some of my best finds. Collectors don’t mind buying these cards, even if they’re in poor condition, just to try to complete the set. This is also the set that the Honus Wagner’s
in. That’s the most expensive baseball card around.” Expensive indeed. The last major sale of the Wagner card netted the seller $2.8 million. “I have items from a dollar to just under $500,” said Sardone. “I don’t really cater too much to the high end. I would say I sell quite a few items in the 10 to 20 dollar range in the summer, and every month there’s someone buying an autographed item from 80 to 300 dollars.”
So is running an antiques booth lucrative? “This has always been kind of therapeutic for me. If my work day has been stressful and I have an hour or two to work on my hobby, it unwinds me nicely. I’ve probably gotten more out of it from that than I have financially.” Sardone has been unwinding with his cards since he began a childhood collection in the late ’60s. He still has an affinity for cards from that era, and since he grew up in Staten Island he’s amassed a large collection of Yankees cards and memorabilia. His favorite player? Mickey Mantle. “I’ve had probably 50 of his cards over time, and I only recently started selling some. Those are the hardest cards for me to part with. I have a 1965 that I won’t sell – it’s very high quality.” A card in similar condition recently sold for $1,395, but it would take a lot more than that to tempt Sardone. When you pick up an item at his booth, you’ll see two prices – the list price, and his price (which is always lower). “I work really hard to set the prices so that customers aren’t disappointed. I buy large collections, so I’m
All In The Family Patrick attributes his love of antiques to the years he spent growing up in his grandmother’s house. “Everything in it was old,” he says. Aleksey Moryakov
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able to pass the value on to them. “I’m proud of what I’ve created here,” says Sardone. “If you’re a sports collector, there’s a lot of variety. You can’t go to many baseball card stores because there aren’t many around anymore. Parents can come in with a young kid and there’s a few things they can buy that won’t kill their pocketbook.” Steve Patrick’s booth is also heavily influenced by his youth. “I was raised in my grandmom’s house, which was basically a log cabin, so everything in it was old,” he says. “I just grew up around that kind of stuff and have always liked antiques and old furniture.” This history is evident in Patrick’s booth, where model ships and duck decoys share space with antique fishing reels, postal scales, colored glass bottles, even a Pinocchio-style marionette in pristine condition, and his coin display would likely thrill even the most serious numismatist. It is a bit like stumbling into your grandmother’s attic, minus the cobwebs and creaky floorboards. “I look for pieces at flea markets and yard sales,” he says. “I’m in the plumbing business, so a lot of times I’ll be
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talking to a customer and they’ll want to sell me something. Sometimes I’ll even trade them for work.” When Patrick travels farther afield, he likes to hunt in Lancaster County, where the antiques stores offer older items that are rare in Cape May. A field trip isn’t always necessary, though: “Sometimes it’s just a matter of talking to someone. They might have a whole garage full of stuff they’re looking to sell. That’s where your typewriter came from. I bought it from a local woman who had a whole car load of her mother’s stuff.” [Editor’s Note: Our writer, an avid Antiques Emporia shopper, picked up a beaut of a Remette typewriter at Patrick’s stall.] Patrick’s wife, Pam, owns Antiques Emporia, and while we imagine she’s a more approving partner than most, we couldn’t help but ask how she responded to a house full of antiques in various states of (dis)repair. “I don’t have clutter,” says Patrick. “It’s only her clutter around the house. I have two sheds where I keep mine.” His favorite items include antique trains, his coin collection and military items (if you’re in the market for a lethal
serious Firepower The guns in Hoyt’s collection run from $200 to $5000. He’s researched each firearm carefully, noting distinctive markings, makes and models to flesh out the history behind every piece. Aleksey Moryakov
Bowie knife, you know where to look). He’s particularly fond of the carvings he has on display, including a duck decoy by local artist Charlie Hand. When asked what items he would never sell, two things came to mind: his grandfather’s pocket watch and his grandmother’s vase. “I would give those to my grandchildren,” he says. Each booth at Antiques Emporia has a distinct style, but you’ll spot Ed Hoyt’s
corner from across the room. Maybe it’s the suit of Roman armor standing guard by the entrance, or the mounted elk’s head keeping an eye out for shoplifters – most likely, it’s the sheer quantity of arms and armor that has men flocking to the space. The booth measures only about 10 by 15 feet, which can make for a serious traffic jam as guys crane their necks to spot Civil War guns and Japanese throwing stars. When asked
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how he keeps his merchandise under control at home, Hoyt says, “My house looks pretty much just like this. Except it’s not as roomy.” Ed Hoyt just turned 62 and he grew up in Stamford, Connecticut before moving to Atlantic City, where he has lived for the past 45 years (collecting all the while). Now retired, he worked as an engineer and groundsperson for several casinos, ran an Army & Navy store and worked as a hospital boiler operator. In 1970 he was drafted as a noncombat engineer during the Vietnam War, and this experience may have prompted his second hobby: he’s a military historian. “I research the American wars, from the Revolution and the French-Indian Wars all the way up to Vietnam. I started collecting stuff from the Civil War, and now I buy any antique guns from then.” If you happen to catch Hoyt while you’re browsing his booth, you’ll likely benefit from an impromptu history lesson. As we stood by the gun case, he gave me a rapid rundown of the makes, models and uses of the weapons on display: “That’s a Remington 1816 converted for a New Jersey militia unit. The one under
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it was used in Arlington Cemetery during the Civil War – they fired salutes with that.” His fingers fly over the case as he indicates gun after gun, which look almost identical to a novice. “This was originally a New Jersey militia gun, made at Trenton Engine and Locomotive Works. Up the top there you have a gun with a 1700 action that the Arabs were using in the 1900s – they converted these to what they call camel guns. It goes on and on and on.” The guns in Hoyt’s case, depending on age and condition, range from $200 up to $5000. Hoyt visits yard sales as well as auctions in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York. In his travels he’s come to know Ton Jones and Allen Haff, stars of Auction Hunters, a reality TV show based in Atlanta, and the team behind Pawn Stars in Las Vegas. Perhaps because of the sheer scope of his travels, Hoyt has discovered pieces you never would have guessed existed. He’s got gas masks sized for babies and German Shepherds, and his most prized possession – a genuine vampire-hunting kit. “There obviously aren’t any vam-
“I know the exact history of the man who owned this rifle. I traced him back to County Clare in Ireland, and then he travelled to New York Harbor in 1862.”
pires, but around 1897 Bram Stoker wrote his book, Dracula, and people were very nervous,” Hoyt explains. “So when they went from England to the Continent they would have these kits. “It would be a pistol with silver bullets, stake, crucifix, all kinds of accoutrements, a Bible and so on. Some people did it as a joke, others because they actually believed in the stuff. It was a very serious matter. I got this from a private estate, authenticated it and kept it in my collection.” At the end of our interview Hoyt pulled out a Civil War rifle and told me a story. “I know the exact history of the man who owned this rifle. I traced him back to County Clare in Ireland, and then he travelled to New York Harbor in 1862. When Irish immigrants got into the harbor, two things would happen. They would get off the boat, poor as dirt, and a one-armed Union Army officer would walk up to an Irish kid and say, ‘How would you like a brand new blue suit, and a rifle? And, you can kill Englishmen.’” “The officer would say to him, ‘I’m
going to give you a 58 caliber rifle and seven silver dollars every month.’ This kid never saw a silver dollar in his life. He came out of the potato famine. So they give him the uniform, then somebody from Tamany Hall would register him as a Republican voter. So he’d become a Republican at 9 in the morning, at 10 in the morning he became a Union soldier and go off to the war. This rifle that belonged to one of those guys. He wound up as a police officer with the New York Metropolitan Police in 1867 and spent most of his life there until he died in 1929.” “His family provided me with a rifle, a Union photograph, his police revolver and a copy of his death certificate. With that and the internet I found out the man’s entire life.” The next time you step inside an antiques shop, take the time to appreciate the gilded mirrors and silver teapots. They are, after all, beautiful. But if you’re in the market for something a bit grittier, take a closer look and you’ll be surprised what you discover. Each card, coin and gun has a story, and all you have to do is scratch below the surface.
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FROM OUR ARCHIVES THE FIRST (ONLY) EZ GUY & GIRL CONTEST, 2003
The entrants (and winners) of the first ever Exit Zero Guy and Girl contest graced the cover of our August 15 issue back in 2003. Pictured are Lindsay Givens, Ashley Davis, Christina Herman, Jessica Spangler, Sean Conners, DJ Draus, Jason Kramer and Scott Fineman.
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a lighter shade of grasso VICTOR GRASSO IS BACK WITH A NEW ART SHOW. EXPECT MASTERFUL OILS, AND A SURPRISINGLY CHEERFUL OUTLOOK Interview by Jack Wright
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T’S August in Cape May, which means another blistering show by Victor Grasso at SOMA NewArt Gallery. If you don’t know Victor’s work, you either walk around town with blinders on or this is your first time here. For the last five years he has been painting remarkable covers for Exit Zero’s special glossy color issues, as well as creating a spectacular portfolio of work that sometimes defies belief – the photo-realism, the mastery of his brush strokes. In short, and we will never tire of saying this here at Exit Zero, the boy’s a genius. We recently sat down with Victor at his studio in North Cape May – a hop, skip and a jump from the bay – to discuss his new show, which opens with an artist reception on Saturday, August 6 and runs through September 5. What is the show called? “New Paintings and Drawings by Victor Grasso.” That seems a little straightforward for you, given the titles of previous shows, like “Up from the Wreckage”, “Goat Head Gumbo” and “For the Love of the Deep.” What’s the deal? This show has a much lighter side to it than previ-
Americana Opposite: Exit Zero covers from May and July – “Black Bolt” and “The Picaroon,” update Rockwell’s iconic style with a Cape May sensibility. Previous page: “Hurricane” juxtaposes gnarled wood and curling smoke with a shot of garnet red
ous shows. And I just wanted the work to speak for itself. Tell us more about it. The focus of the show is my Exit Zero covers this year. There will be 15, maybe 16 works overall, and 10 of those are Exit Zero covers, five of them oil paintings and five pencil and charcoal drawings. People who’ve seen the previous two covers have referenced Norman Rockwell, the great illustrator known for his Saturday Evening Post covers. Good! Because that was the inspiration. I’ve been thinking a lot about his work over the past couple years, especially since it’s been five years since I started doing these covers for Exit Zero. Rockwell is America’s greatest illustrator, and I can’t help but be inspired by his work. Before Rockwell there was J.C. Linedecker, before him there was Howard Pile. I’m influenced and inspired by all these guys. Last September, I saw George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg’s private collection of Rockwell paintings and drawings at the Smithsonian Museum of Art. I had always loved Rockwell, but had never seen one in person. This was the largest single collection ever. I was blown away by the
technical proficiency, the boldness of his brush strokes laden with volumes of paint piled on top of each other, a sheer visceral technique. It mesmerized me. It was like Rembrandt meets Vermeer. I studied his painting for hours in there and felt 100% inspired and challenged. I knew I could paint with the technical proficiency I needed, but the challenge was to make my own story through painting. Well, with the witch’s brew of EZ covers and a new show on deck at SOMA in less than one year’s time, I thought – well, here you are totally inspired, living in a town rich with local characters and history and quirk that you can use to tell any story you want. So, I finally let a little bit of my lighter side in and went to work. And the result is pure Cape May. Let’s face it, this is a very Rockwellian kind of place. It’s the fairy tale of the classic American small town. I also wanted to incorporate some of my favorite local characters into my paintings. Plus, they’re cheaper than real models... The previous Exit Zero cover was a self-portrait of you as a pirate, and your wife Alicia is on this cover. So I guess you really are saving money by not using
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models. Yeah, you could say that. There are two more Exit Zero covers due out in September and in October. Will they also be in the show? Yes. For September, I’m doing a painting of a great local character called Parker Smith, an actor who thinks he’s a lawyer. He has a great face and a great personality and hopefully he won’t be giving up his day job [as a lawyer] so that he might actually buy the original at the show. What is Parker doing in the painting? He will be playing the role of a birder... Cape May’s favorite pastime. And what about the October cover? I’m thinking that will be a witch. That doesn’t sound very lighthearted. Are you going over to the dark side again? Witches aren’t dark! And anyway, it will be around Halloween. I don’t know... there’s plenty of time to change my mind. Or maybe not. Okay, more questions, come on... I have a painting to finish! Last year’s show was your most successful yet. Are you hoping to top that? Yes, I’m hoping to top that. I feel good about this one. Since that show, your life has changed
Jersey Rustic “Nell” at right highlights Grasso’s skill rendering rough wooden textures. “Hiding from Peter,” the watercolor at far right, presents a brilliant yet earthy palette.
considerably. You and your wife Alicia had a baby girl, Gray, born on 1/1/11. How has that changed the life of the artist? Well, I’m in the studio at 4am every day now, instead of 8am. And I’m still working late most nights. So, yeah, that’s a big change right there. The fact that your work is suddenly much more light-hearted, a bit softer... do you attribute this to the fact that you’re a father now? Softer? Nothing I do is soft. But yeah, it’s bound to have had some kind of influence on me, though that kind of thing is usually subconscious. I’m probably working harder than I ever had. Just ask Alicia. You are paying tribute to Cape May in this show, but do you ever get frustrated that your work is not getting in front of a wider, bigger audience? Meaning – wouldn’t you love your work to be shown in New York? Who wouldn’t? But Rockwell never worked in New York. Neither did Andrew Wyeth – all his paintings were of rural Pennsylvania or Maine. I love the attention I get in Cape May, but at the same time, as an artist you alre always putting yourself out there, always putting your work up for criticism. That’s scary.
And that doesn’t matter if your work is being shown in Cape May or in New York. Anyway, with these new paintings I think it can go in a direction that may garner attention in the art world. That’s the plan. You love Cape May, but what would your ideal lifestyle be? Summers in Cape May, New Orleans in the fall, New York in the winter, and in the spring... Paris. And I’ve been to all these places by the way, so I’m not just talking smack. But I might have to do a few more paintings of Parker Smith to make all that happen. You are showing five Exit Zero covers as oil paintings, and also as these amazingly detailed pencil and charcoal drawings. Is it normal for an artist to present his work like that? It’s definitely done by some artists. It’s a way of getting to know your subject. I see the drawing as courting – you’re dating. By the time you’re doing the oil painting, you’re fully committed. Also, it really helps when you come to do the painting because, by then, the image has really been burned into your head. How long does it take to do the drawings? Sometimes it can take as long as the painting. Usually, it takes at least a week. You have a lot of freedom as a full-
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Taking It Slow Victor Grasso at work on the cover of this magazine. To the right is the pencil and charcoal drawing of the cover. This, he says, is like courting, getting to know your subject, whereas the oil painting is making a full commitment.
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time artist. You don’t have a boss to report to. But you’re also at the whim of the public who might or might not buy your work. How does that all balance out? I haven’t had a boss since I was 20, and I’m 33 now. I couldn’t have it any other way, though I do love collaborating with other people, especially Exit Zero, and I’m not just saying that. I just wish you guys paid better. But yeah, the freedom is a great thing, but like most artists you’re always wondering where the next paycheck is coming from, though you can’t worry about it. That definitely wouldn’t help the creative process. Don’t you have more interesting questions to ask me than that? Not that you’re totally a free man. You have Gray to look after during the day when Alicia is working. Yeah, but I’m hoping she will eventually join me in the studio, splashing paint on to canvas, just as long as it’s not one of my paint-
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ings. This morning I saw a pastel that Picasso did of his daughter, who was about three at the time. That really inspires me. I can’t wait to start drawing and painting Gray. Forget art for a minute. Describe your perfect Cape May night. Let’s see... it would definitely start with a nice big Manhattan and some hors d’oeuvres at The Ebbitt Room, and then dinner at... The Ebbitt Room. No, wait, that’s too much. Dinner at Gecko’s with a bucket of beer, cold wine and good friends, then I’d stroll through the SOMA gallery, then over to The Brown Room where I’d drive Steve the bartender nuts while I figured out what I wanted to drink, and would then decide on a beer. Then back to our house in North Cape May, light a fire in the firepit I recently built and sit back with a glass of Kraken rum, diet Coke and lime. There’s a lot of drinking in that perfect evening, isn’t there?
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From shutters to window shades, Hunter Douglas to Signature Series, Budget Blinds has a style for every point of view and every price range. Free inhome consultations, expert fit measuring and installation are just a couple of the reasons why they’re consistently ranked #1 by Entrepreneur magazine in the window treatment category. .
Every possible gardening need can be met here, and Piper and Maggie, the sweet Golden Retriever sisters, can also be met here! Cape Island specializes in seashore garden designs, bird and butterfly gardens, and the prices beat the big box stores every time. ing balls!
This eclectic gallery is located right in the heart of downtown Cape May, just off the mall on Washington Street. Stop by to browse the various works by talented artists from the region, from around the US, and from abroad. There’s always something exciting happening at Gailr Pierson Gallery.
Beautiful fine art, beautifully displayed. Consult with a friendly and knowledgeable consultant, or just browse among the amazing works by artist both local and international. Check out these stunning copper etchings by Ken Rausch, for instance, sold separately or as a group. $895 each.
Montreal Liquor Store
BUDGET BLINDS (609) 513-8595 www.budgetblinds.com
720 Broadway, West Cape May (609) 884-4210
1025 Beach Drive, Cape May (609) 884-6114
33 Perry Street, Cape May (609) 898-1113
315 Ocean Street, #20, Cape May (609) 884-0022, gofishretail.com The motto here is shop local, buy global, and with beautiful merchandise like this, it’s easy to do. Most of the items in this eclectic shop have been hand made by artisans in developing third-world countries. Unique and whimsical home furnishings, jewelry, clothing and accessories with a higher purpose. Go fish!
Conveniently located on Beach Drive, this full-service liquor store is your best bet for an excellent selection of local wines, and their helpful staff will help you pick just the right one for you. And due to their beachside locale, they also stock sunscreen, lip balm, bottled waters, and other beach essentials, too!
Right-this-minute clothes for the discerning fashionista in an historic and picturesque setting. Clothes, accessories, even jewelry and shoes can be found here, and it’s party frock central, as evidenced by this frothy confection by Minuet. Knock their socks off at your next fete for a mere $10
Local artist Scott Manns creates exquisite pieces from local sea glass, including funky jewelry and coasters, wine bottle cheese trays and picture frames. These bowls are a particular favorite of ours, and look beautiful standing alone or loaded up with your beach treasures. $90
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405 West Perry Street, Antiques Emporia, West Cape May (609) 898-3332
from the shops of cape may
SOMA New Art Gallery
Sunglass Menagerie 107 Liberty Way, Cape May (609) 884-8844 thesunglassmenagerie.com
251 Beach Avenue, Congress Hall (609) 898-1117 victoriousantiques.com
609 Jefferson Street, Cape May (609) 884-0488
SOMA, Cape May’s first fine arts gallery, is dedicated to showcasing exciting regional talent, as well as emerging and mid-career artists from across the mid-Atlantic states, with a particular focus on promoting the work of artists with connections to Cape May and the Jersey coast. Great art in a very cool setting. .
Elude the paparazzi in style with a visit to the pros at Sunglass Menagerie. Put their thirty-plus years of experience at the shore to work for you. Their staff is trained to fit you for the right shades for your face and budget. So protect your eyes, and look like a million bucks while doing it.
You’ll spot Victorious by the stunning crystal ship hanging from the ceiling, but the rest of their wares are equally easy on the eyes. A wide variety of antique touches for the home, spectacular accessories, and estate jewelry. Seal the deal of your proposal with one of their exceptional vintage diamond rings.
The cheery yellow building is the harbinger of happy home furnishings you’ll find within at Wanderlust. Glassware, beach art, custom slipcovered swivel rockers, and these fabulous Dash & Albert rugs. Colorful, long-wearing, machine washable, and available in a variety of sizes. $30-514.
31 Perry Street, Cape May (609) 898-7488 somagallery.net
WEddings by the Sea
West End Garage
139 North Broadway, West Cape May (609) 884-7900 weddings-bythesea.com
484 West Perry Street, West Cape May (609) 770-8261 thewestendgarage.com
4312 Washington Street, Cape May (609) 884-4808 whalestalecapemay.com
Zoo Company Toy Store
Wedding central in Cape May, Weddings By The Sea has every conceivable musthave for the bride and groom. These beautiful starfish bedecked tiaras are a typical find, as owner Catherine Walton goes out of her way to make sure the Cape May bride has the seashore theme she desires. From $3-50.
Cape May’s most unique retail venue, housed in old garage in West Cape May, and what a shopping mecca for both visitors and locals it is. Artists, crafters, and local merchants, together to provide a one-of-a-kind shopping experience – if you can’t find something to love here, you’re not paying attention.
What’s better than an eclectic emporium of beach-y jewelry, gifts, toys and books? How about one that’s been in business for over 35 years and is open year-round? Check out this fabulous collection of sea glass jewelry – wear it and keep a bit of Cape May with you always.
A happy little spot for kids of any age, this shop is crammed floor to ceiling with the largest selection of Hello Kitty and Webkinz in the area, and that’s just for starters. Stuffed animals, 50 styles of SILLYBANDZ, and check out these new favorites, the Uglydolls plush toy line. So ugly they’re cute!
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421 Washington Street, #6, Cape May (609) 884-8181
FROM OUR ARCHIVES CAPE MAY BEACH PATROL, 2003
This photo was shot on the eve of the USLA Championships back in 2003. Cape May Beach patrol Captain Buzz Mogck and Lieutenant Terry Randolph posed for a photo behind the wheel and were joined by lifeguards John Nicklaus, Sean O’Leary, Pat Cline, Ryan Halbruner, Britney Kinka, Megan O’Leary, Diane Neary and Brandon Pomerantz.
my perfect day CATHERINE WALTON, OWNER OF WEDDINGS BY THE SEA
“I do” to a perfect Cape May day
Y PERFECT day would be on a Sunday, since it’s my only day off in the summer. First thing is to greet and feed our four Burmese cats – Yahtzee, Romeo, Penelope and Ramsey Lewis. I’d read the Ethicist column in The New York Times magazine on the sun porch while listening to the waves, then my husband Randy and I are off to Backstreet for one of Teresa’s spinach and tomato omelets. Often we’ll go back for dinner Sunday night, especially if we have company. Next, I’d cut roses in the garden, then a bike ride from Philadelphia Avenue beach to Poverty, checking out all the out-of-state license plates parked along Beach Avenue. Then, time for a walk with mom – she’s a
Catherine too! – along the promenade to the Washington Street Mall, checking out all our favorite shops along the way, like Whale’s Tale, Winterwood, Mary Ann’s, Henry’s, Italian Garden, Love the Cook. We love jewelry – old, new, in-between. As mom says, “What’s not to like?” I love walking through the B&B district and chatting with the resident cats hanging around outside after dinner, washing their faces and people-watching. I don’t know their names, but we talk anyway. At the end of the day, I sit in the backyard with Randy, smelling the salt air and roses, while enjoying a Mike’s Hard Lime. Or I climb into the hammock in the gazebo and swing back and forth while I reflect on the perfect day I’ve just had. Then I’d watch a little TV, probably with two or three cats. exit zero
THE WEDDING PLANNER “Fortunately, making perfect wedding days for my customers is easy to do in Cape May – I get them when they’re happy,” says Catherine Walton of Weddings by the Sea. Aleksey Moryakov
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My other perfect days involve making weddings memorable in Cape May, something I get to do 40 to 50 times every year. Fortunately, making perfect wedding days for my customers is easy to do in Cape May. The beach, the sun, carriages, trolleys, flowers, sunset photos at the Cove, lots of hugging, kissing, dancing and laughing – all components of a happy couple’s perfect day. That’s why I started my wedding business here – I get them when they’re happy! Besides, we have such wonderful shop owners and crafts people here in Cape May, and I always try to involve them in my weddings. I’m an accomplished crafter myself, and when I retire, I hope to have more time to focus on arts and crafts. Maybe I’ll join West End Garage and have more time to play in Cape May.
AND loTS oF
FUN MonDAY Mystery Madness
A special so mad, we can’t even tell you yet. Check MoreysPiers.com, Facebook and Twitter on each Saturday at midnight for the next Monday Mystery Madness special of the week to be revealed. Mondays from 12:30pm until 6pm. Adventure Pier opens at 4pm. July 4 is not included.
TuesDAY Special - $22 Our best deal on All-You-Can-Ride wristbands! Loop, spin and swing until you can’t take it anymore on ALL three piers. Tuesdays from 12:30pm until 6pm. Waterpark admission is not included in this package. Adventure Pier opens at 4pm.
XTREME Ride WednesDAY - $32 Receive an All-You-Can-Ride wristband PLUS two Xtreme rides of your choice. Valid until 6pm. Go Wild on all six coasters and AtmosFEAR! Wednesdays from 12:30pm until 6pm. Waterpark admission is not included in this package. Adventure Pier opens at 4pm, but Xtreme rides and the Great White open at 12:30pm. Xtreme rides include: SkyCoaster(s) on Surfside and Adventure Pier; SpringShot on Adventure Pier; and SkyScraper on the Boardwalk at Poplar Avenue.
Double-the-Fun ThursDAY Double your pleasure as the MOR-EZ ticket card goes twice as far on our amusement rides. Ride for only half the tickets until 6pm. Also, look for great Double-the-Fun offers at many of our games and food outlets. Thursdays from 12:30pm until 6pm. Xtreme rides not included. Adventure Pier opens at 4pm.
FriDAY Splashtacular - $35 Get wet at our beachfront waterparks, Raging Waters or Ocean Oasis Waterpark and Beach Club and go wild on ALL three Piers. Available beginning July 15. Fridays from 9:30am until 6pm. Adventure Pier opens at 4pm.
Fired Up FriDAY NIGHTS - $20 Light up your night by riding the rides underneath Coca-Cola’s weekly fantastic fireworks display! Fridays from10:30pm until midnight. Fireworks begin on July 1st.
Morning Special - $24
Swim and slide from park opening until 12:30pm.
After 3pm Special - $25 Sold after 3pm. Valid until park closes.
After 5pm Special - $18 Sold after 5pm. Valid until park closes. Not available on Saturdays. All specials are subject to operating hours.
WWW.MoREYSPIERS.coM 609.522.3900 • WIlDWooD, NJ
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CELEBRATE CAPE MAY HERMIT CRAB Headquarters! Unique eye candy for you and your home.
FREE CRAB with any cage purchase!
Our Boutique is home to the eco-friendly Jelly Fish & Wave Lamps! Made from fossilized cocoa leaves, these beautiful lamps can be ordered in solid colors as well.
Brand New Cape May Merchandise Arriving Daily
We carry a variety of home décor and personal accessories Check out our custom nautical chart jewelry of Cape May and West Cape May... or create your own custom location! Visit us at seastarboutique.com Newly designed website coming soon!
OCEAN AVE. & WASHINGTON ST. behind the Horse & Carriage!
(609) 884-9032 • www.celebratecapemay.com
484 Perry Street
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ARTS THE GAIL PIERSON GALLERY OFFERS A PACKED CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Tankersley back for show and tell
HE Gail Pierson Gallery welcomes back Nancy Tankersley for a monthlong show in August. Tankersley wowed Cape May art lovers in the fall of 2010 with her extensive exhibit, titled “People at Work.” Frequently traveling and always painting, she returns to Cape May with a combination of nature and plein air paintings. Tankersley’s style makes these a very different take on the traditional. She has mastered a blend in her paintings – they are part action shot, have an impressionistic quality, but she strives and is known for her economy of brush strokes and her
at work, at play Above: “Boardwalk Cyclist”, oil on canvas by Nancy Tankersley; and, right, “Five Minutes ’til Opening”. The paintings are part of the artist’s much anticipated return to the Gail Pierson Gallery in Cape May for the month of August.
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The color of decay Here is how artist Nancy Tankersley describes her oil sketch “Last Night”, pictured left. “This little painting was done during the Sedona Plein Air Festival 2010. It had been a partly cloudy day and painting had been difficult with the constantly changing light. As I stood in the parking lot of the Sedona Art Center, reorganizing the trunk of my car, I glanced up and saw the most amazing light of the day. The sun was setting fast and I knew I had only about 15 minutes to capture the scene. Blocking in the shadow patterns quickly and thinly, I was able to spend most of the time painting the beautiful colors of the sun on the rocks. This is the fun and challenge of plein air painting: responding to a fast-changing lighting situation and pulling out all the tools of my plein pair painting experience. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I was happy with this little sketch.” The work is part of her August exhibit at the Gail Pierson Gallery in Cape May.
use of light and color. The new exhibit will run from August 1 through August 31 at the gallery, at at 658 Washington Street. In the fall, the Gail Pierson Gallery will be sponsoring workshops by Tankersley, with a date and time to be announced at the August reception. Through lecture and painting exercises, Tankersley will help students to choose photos that will make great paintings. She will demonstrate her methods of working with photos to produce a paint-
MASTER AT WORK Left: “Baby Toes”, oil on canvas, by Nancy Tankersley; and, right, “Special Request”, oil on canvas from the 2010 exhibit “People at Work”.
ing that looks as though it were painted from life. Tankersley holds regular workshops at her Easton Studio & School, in Easton MD. This will be her first workshop in Cape May. Elsewhere, the Gail Pierson Gallery has gone off campus in an attempt to display even more art. You can now find original works from the gallery at TreeHouse Antiques Center, at 742 Seashore Road, a few minutes north of downtown. This collaboration aims to prove that arts and antiques do go
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together. Both the gallery and TreeHouse Antiques Center are open year-round, and will be providing exhibits and events throughout the year. The off-campus site opened over Memorial Day with the watercolor penand-ink work of Peter Ehlinger, and the August exhibition will feature the work of Philadelphia artist Dressler Smith. Meanwhile, if you are reading this magazine before the end of July, you still have a chance to see the wonderful Judith Anderson exhibit, “Old Trains”, which
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103 August 2011
Carpenter & Jackson St Cape May 609-884-0014
A stunning new coffee table book about the remarkable story of The Chalfonte Hotel Exit Zero Publishing is proud to announce the publication of a wonderful new Cape May book. THE CHALFONTE is a 256-page, fullcolor hardcover book packed with beautiful photographs and great stories. Book signing parties featuring author Karen Fox and artists whose paintings are included in the book are being held all summer at The Chalfonte... go along to experience this Cape May institution, and enjoy a book that’s sure to be a local best-seller! SUNDAY JULY 24 Book signing with author Karen Fox 4 pm to 6pm at The Chalfonte Hotel’s King Edward Bar SUNDAY AUGUST 7 Art reception featuring the art work of Marie Natale and book signing with author Karen Fox 2 to 4 pm at The Chalfonte Hotel’s Magnolia Room (wine, cheese, appetizers)
Or buy it online at chalfonte.com exit zero
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ARTS EAST LYNNE FEATURES THE WORK OF AN AMERICAN GENIUS
The world according to Dorothy
OROTHY Rothschild was born in 1893 in Long Branch, NJ, never finished high school, and saw her first poem published in Vanity Fair at the age of 22. Although her first marriage lasted eleven years, her ex-husband’s last name of Parker stayed with her the rest of her life. East Lynne Theater Company is proud to present a world premiere based on the works of this famous Algonquin Round Table personality. Titled The World of Dorothy Parker, it is adapted and directed by Gayle Stahlhuth, and runs Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:30pm from July 27 to September 3 at The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes Street, where the company is in residence Dorothy Parker was a sharp wit, whether the medium was short stories,
ONE WITTY WOMAN Stories by the great Dorothy Parker, one of the most acclaimed playwrights and wits of the 20th century, are brought to life at East Lynne Theatre Company through September 3 in The World of Dorothy Parker.
poetry, screenplays, plays, or play or book reviews. In one of her classic Broadway reviews – about Katharine Hepburn – Parker wrote, “She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.” The first edition of The Portable Dorothy Parker appeared in 1944, and was selected by Alexander Woollcott as the fourth in a series of volumes intended for soldiers overseas. It has never been out of print. In The World of Dorothy Parker the following stories are brought to life: “A Telephone Call” (1930), “Here We Are” (1931), “The Lovely Leave” (1943), and other tales and poems by the woman who quipped about “women who wear glasses.” “A Telephone Call” involves a woman who waits anxiously for a man to call. She counts to five hundred by fives, she seeks god’s help, she paces across the
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room, wishing the man were dead, only to change her mind. “After all,” she says, “it’s silly to go wishing people were dead just because they don’t call you up the minute they said they would. Maybe the clock’s fast.” In “Here We Are,” newlyweds are on a train headed for New York City for their honeymoon. Awkwardness prevails, and the young man only makes it worse when he says to his new bride, “Listen. I want to tell you something. When I was standing up there in that old church waiting for you to come up, and I saw those two bridesmaids, I thought to myself, I thought, ‘Well, I never knew Louise could look like that!’ Why, she’d have knocked anybody’s eye out.” It’s World War II in “The Lovely Leave,” and a couple believes they have twenty-four hours together, only to find
out that he’s being shipped out in an hour. She made such great plans for those twenty-four hours – how to reduce them to one! “You see,” she says to him, “you have a whole new life – I have half an old one. Your life is so far away from mine. I don’t see how they’re ever going to come back together.” But for one hour their lives do come back together. All four actors are ELTC favorites: Suzanne Dawson, Tiffany-Leigh Moskow, Drew Seltzer, John Cameron Weber. Suzanne performed in last season’s time-travel adventure Berkeley Square. She has performed Off-Broadway in CBS Live, The Last Musical Comedy, The Great American Backstage Musical, and the revival of New Faces of ’52. Tiffany-Leigh Moskow has been in three ELTC productions, including a part as the charming missionary in last year’s The Dictator. She performed at the Fringe Festival in Scotland and has appeared several times at Syracuse Stage, Hollywood Playhouse, and The Caldwell Theatre Company where she recently portrayed twins in Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll And Hyde Play. Drew Seltzer made his ELTC debut
a favorite returns Suzanne Dawson, last seen in Berkeley Square in 2010, returns to Cape May in The World of Dorothy Parker.
last season in Berkeley Square. He has performed in several Off-Broadway shows including Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding; regionally at Princeton Rep in As You Like It, and was in the George Clooney film Men Who Stare at Goats. John Cameron Weber played Dr. Remington in ELTC’s recent He and She. He played Michael Husted in CBS’s As the World Turns, has worked at Cortland Rep in New York, Arrow Rock in Missouri, and performed in several American
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musical productions that toured Europe. Parker left her estate and all rights to her work to Dr. Martin Luther King. Upon his death, as per her wishes, the rights became the property of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). ELTC thanks the NAACP for authorizing this use of Parker’s work. The company wishes to also thank season sponsors Curran Investment Management, La Mer Beachfront Inn, and Aleathea’s Restaurant, and others who have helped to finance ELTC’s 2011 Mainstage Production Season. Tickets for The World of Dorothy Parker are $30 for general admission, $25 for seniors and those with disabilities and their support companions, $15 for students, and anyone age twelve and under is free. For information and reservations, call (609) 884-5898 or visit eastlynnetheater.org. ELTC is partnering with the following restaurants for dinner and theater ticket savings: Aleathea’s, 410 Bank Street, Fresco’s, The Merion Inn, and The Washington Inn. Call the restaurants for reservations and mention the ELTCDinner-And-A-Show Package.
Cape Winds Florist & Gift Shop 860 Broadway (Broadway & Stimpson Lane) West Cape May NJ 08204 609-884-1865 • 609-884-2602 Fax email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.capemayflowers.com
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Dragonfly Interiors …as featured in Design NJ
Providing custom interior design to suit each home’s style New Spaces & Renovations • Traditional • Transitional • Contemporary 670 Washington Street, Cape May, New Jersey • 609-846-3326 • www.DragonflyInteriorsLLC.com exit zero
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Gallery D’May Fine Art
305 Washington Street Mall, Cape May • (609) 884-4465 www.Galler yDMay.com
Open Daily exit zero
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copyright All rights reserved 2011
A dream resort for the birds, too
F YOU were visiting New York City, you’d take in a Broadway show wouldn’t you? If this was a family vacation to Arizona, it would be unthinkable to miss the Grand Canyon. So why would you visit Cape May and not spend some time out in nature enjoying the birds in North America’s most famous bird-watching destination? Cape May, New Jersey! That’s right. Cape May is ranked among North America’s top ten birding destinations and top fifty bird-watching locations in the world. A total of 416 species of birds have been recorded here since records have been kept. In Cape May, this means a very long time. All the way back to the early 1800s when Scotsman Alexander Wilson (known as the Father of American
Birds Of A Feather A flock of shorebirds nearly obscure the field of view out on the marshes. Cape May Bird Observatory
Ornithology) and artist/painter John James Audubon studied here. Today, thousands of visitors from all over the world come to South Jersey and Cape May specifically to watch birds. Many thousands more become introduced to America’s second largest and fastest growing outdoor activity simply by visiting – like you! In fact, if you are in Cape May right now, you are no more than the length of a football field from some birding hot spots. At certain times and places, you can view thousands of birds of varying species. When humans relate to the natural world, they are captivated by the image of great massed movements of animals. We’ve all seen Animal Planet, Nova, and the Discovery Channel with the migration of wildebeest on the Serengeti plains; caribou migrating on the
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north slope of Alaska, and Monarch butterflies heading south into the mountains of Mexico. While Cape May doesn’t offer wildebeest or caribou, it does enjoy other spectacular migrations. For instance, more than 700 Monarch butterflies a minute have been recorded heading down the dunes at Cape May Point on a spectacular day this past September. Cape May also supports one of the greatest hawk migrations on the planet, with an average 50,000 hawks per year counted at the Cape May Hawk Watch, conducted by the Cape May Bird Observatory. The count, conducted from September 1 through November 30, habitually records twice the number of birds seen at celebrated Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania. In spring, the beaches of the Delaware Bayshore are jammed with north-
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bound shorebirds. Fresh up from South America where they spend the northern winter, over 100 million shorebirds arrive in Cape May to feast on the bounty of horseshoe crab eggs that wash up on the beaches of Delaware Bay – the tiny, energy-packed loaves that feed the multitudes. The birds double their weight and in less than two weeks, depart to head on a direct flight north, non-stop, to their arctic breeding grounds. It’s an extraordinary spectacle and spectacles are what Cape May is famous for. In spring (April and May) and fall (August though November) millions of migrating songbirds descend upon the Cape May peninsula to rest and feed. The peninsula serves as a funnel, catching and directing birds into proper habitats along its length. During these “migratory fallouts” birds can be so concentrated that they are, literally, underfoot. Alright already about spring and fall! Anybody who knows anything about birding knows that prime season for migration is spring and fall, but
Taking A Dip A Great Egret advances along the shoreline in the early morning. Cape May Bird Observatory
you’re reading a magazine in the middle of summer – what about summer? You mean like right now? While you are here, possibly on vacation? Well, as you read these words, southbound migrating birds are passing over your head. They’ll be feeding at your feet, providing you are the kind of per-
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son who goes to the beach in July and August. Fall migration has already started for them. Their summer vacation is over, done with, gone. They are heading south before the summer wanes and winter sets in. And many leave now. While the earth’s restaurants don’t require reservations and they’ve got their pick. There’s food all over the place and it’s off season at New Jersey’s coastal resorts. Well, it’s off season in the marshes. Until the big rush starts at the end of July. By July, the marshes and beaches of Cape May will be teeming with southbound shorebirds. Some will be heading all the way to the tip of South America (where summer is just getting started). Shorebirds. One of the best real estate experts on the planet. See, shorebirds invest a lot of energy flying to the ends of the earth. They travel thousands of miles to take advantage of housing (nesting grounds) in the north (called the tundra), then they pull up stakes and head to the temperate south before things freeze up. Sort of like the way humans flock to the sunny south in the winter to escape the savage north and
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VICTORIAN WALK GALLERY
Mark Keathley (ride the escalator to the second floor)
421 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ 08204 • 609.898.4200
www.VictorianWalkGallery.com exit zero
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© All rights reserved 2011
H AT S • TO P S BAG S • A RT B OT TO M S BOOKS MORE
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then migrate back again to avoid the blistering heat and hurricanes. These savvy, energetic experts are flying over your heads right now. Getting away while the getting is good. Wondering why all these humans are lolling around while the days grow shorter and shorter. The plain truth is, there is never a bad time to visit Cape May and never a time when birds cannot be seen. No matter how you measure it, this is the place to see and enjoy birds. And the easiest way to do that is to join one of the Cape May Bird Observatory’s excellent leaders for a relaxed and informative bird walk. You can visit the website at www.birdcapemay. org or stop by the Northwood Center in Cape May or the Center for Research and Education on Route 47 just north of Goshen and pick up a schedule of walks for the month.
A Wing and a Prayer A Sulfur butterfly adds a splash of brilliant yellow to this flower patch. Cape May Bird Observatory
The Cape May Bird Observatory offers an array of field trips, programs, workshops, and daily walks that require no preregistration. Just come. Trust the experts. You’ll be amazed to discover how many species of birds (and butterflies, too) there are in this special place. Enjoy your stay. Enjoy Cape May. Cape May Bird Observatory’s staff can help you with any thing and everything you need to go out exploring – and with anything else you might not know you want yet. Find out why the Cape May Bird Observatory is THE place to come for all your nature needs. The CMBO has two locations: The Northwood Center at 701 East Lake Drive overlooking Lake Lily in Cape May Point (609-884-2736) and Center for Research and Education at 600 Route 47 North (609-861-0700). While there, check out the view of Lake Lily in Cape May Point, or the
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backyard gardens and surrounding area of Sluice Creek in Goshen, take a look at the sighting sheets to check what’s being seen, scan the bookshelves, or just browse around. Both centers are open year round from 9:30am to 4:30pm. The Northwood Center is closed on Tuesdays during summer and our Goshen center is closed every Sunday and Monday. Don’t forget the souvenirs and remember the gift of nature – one size does fit all. New Jersey’s own Pete Dunne is the Director of the Cape May Bird Observatory and Chief Communications Officer for New Jersey Audubon. Pete uses his talents and energy to make the natural world real for others. Author of several books on and about nature (available at the CMBO) he weaves information, insight and even fantasy into a net that captures minds and hearts. He has written for virtually every birding publication and for The New York Times.
the town that fell into the sea A NEW BOOK AND EXHIBITION BRING SOUTH CAPE MAY BACK TO LIFE
Story by Herb Scher
The Bailie home in South Cape May. Courtesy of Tom Dvorschak exit zero
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ALKING a trail in the Nature Conservancy’s South Cape May Meadows, Joe Burcher grumbles about rules that prevent visitors from using the property’s beach for recreational purposes. Joe’s pique is conveyed with a lighthearted touch, but it’s easy to see how this 87-year-old’s memories could lead him to this point of view. Joe spent his boyhood having free reign of the beach when the territory was the site of the town of South Cape May, where he spent summers with his family. “As young children we didn’t really seem to live in our South Cape May house much at all,” Joe remembers. “We spent much of our time on the beach, playing in the pale, tan-colored sand, around the few grassy dunes and in the water.” However, those idyllic days wouldn’t last. A series of devastating storms destroyed most of the town’s buildings and by the early 1950s everything
A SITTING TARGET The South Cape May beachfront during a storm around the turn of the century. Courtesy of H. Gerald MacDonald Opposite top: This South Cape May home was destroyed in the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944. Opposite below: The Light of Asia was a real estate marketing gimmick. Cape May County Historical and Genealogical Society
was gone. When Joe stands on the dirt trail that was once Twelfth Avenue, he is looking back to a road that was lined with graceful summer homes built a hundred years ago. More importantly he is also looking back to sunny memories of his life in South Cape May, before it was swallowed by the sea. As one of the last remaining residents of the town, Joe’s recollections provide a rare view of its history. They have been preserved in a recently published book Remembering South Cape May: The Jersey Shore Town That Vanished into the Sea and in an exhibition that’s being presented by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) at the Carriage House Gallery at the Emlen Physick Estate through November 6. The exhibition documents the area’s history starting from the 17th century and is filled with rarely seen maps, historic photographs, drawings and artifacts. A specially created video overlays historic maps and aerial photos with current sat-
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ellite photography to depict a bird’s eye flight through a cross-section of South Cape May’s history. Support for the exhibition was provided by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Humanities. “The book and the exhibit spotlight a fascinating chapter in our area’s history,” said Michael Zuckerman, executive director of MAC. “Between Joe’s memories and all of the images preserved in the book and being reproduced in the exhibit it is an absolutely unique opportunity for the general public to learn about this long lost community. It is particularly relevant to today’s concerns given the central role that beach erosion and storms played in the demise of this community. For all of us living on the edge of the continent these issues are of pressing concern as much today as they were a half century ago.” The two projects evolved from conversations over years between Joe and Bob Kenselaar, his son-in-law, who
curated the MAC exhibition and is coauthor of their book. “The area is now a beautiful nature preserve, and you walk out there on the beach, and it’s amazing to stand there in the sand and think ‘Wow – there used to be a town there, and it went back to the 1880s,’” Bob said. “What was life like here? What did they do, and why are all those houses gone?” Eventually Joe and Bob headed to what had been Ninth Avenue where Joe recounted his stories, this time for the benefit of Bob’s tape recorder. The first building constructed in what later became South Cape May was unusual. A 50-foot structure in the shape of an elephant was completed in 1885 as a marketing boost for real estate development. By 1888 a line of houses designed by noted architect Stephen Decatur Button arose along the beach, offered for sale by the Mount Vernon Land Company. Four of the distinctive Button homes still exist. As regular storms affected the properties on the shore, some owners exit zero
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moved their houses inland. Today visitors to Cape May can see homes such as the one originally owned by Samuel Bailie Sr., a Philadelphia wholesale sugar merchant. Now located at 12 South Broadway, its distinctive corner tower is the most visible emblem of Button’s style. The home today is still owned by descendants of its original family. Another noted architect, Enos R. Williams, designed several other South Cape May homes, including one owned by John P. Miller, a Philadelphia clothing retailer. The striking home, completed on 1893, is now visible at 37 First Avenue. In total some 17 homes from South Cape May live on in new locations in Cape May. South Cape May was incorporated as a separate borough in 1894. Although hundreds of plots of land in the borough were sold, it was always a small summer community, numbering 40 to 50 homes in the late 1920s. “One of my first recollections of South Cape May is of visiting my grandparents there at their little cottage when I was about three years old, about 1926,” Joe Burcher said. I remember standing in front of the little place and saluting
south cape may vacation John Samuel Burcher and Clara Strepple Burcher at their South Cape May Cottage with grandchildren Teresa, Joe (the author) and Francis, around 1926. Joe Burcher
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the flag every morning.” A few years later Joe’s great-aunt Jennie bought a much larger house less than a block from the beach on Ninth Avenue. However, it was a challenge for her to maintain financially, and eventually Joe’s father took over the mortgage. The home was the residence of Joe’s family during most of their years in South Cape May. As one of 12 siblings, Joe never lacked for companions in his games and explorations on the beach. “The game we most liked playing was something we called cannonball. At low tide we went out into the bogs – it was all very marshy there – and made big mud balls, rolling them in the sand and setting them out in the sun to dry. We’d choose up sides and then build sand forts, charge at the other side and hit one another with these things.” Many of Joe’s memories were formed during the Great Depression, and although his father had a secure position at a steel engineering company, Joe’s mother still pushed her kids to bring home extra money or scavenged resources. “One of the assignments my mother gave us was beachcombing – walking the beach from South Cape May
PAST AND PRESENT The Miller family, from Philadelphia, at their summer cottage on Ninth Avenue around 1893 (and, right, where the building is now located, at 37 First Avenue). Courtesy of Miriam Pedrick
to the Admiral Hotel, about two and a half miles away at the city’s eastern end.” “‘Out the door!’ my mother would command. We’d pick up anything that looked usable – but mostly we were looking for towels. There was nearly always an infant in the house and my mother needed diapers. We’d bring home towels and she would make diapers out of them.” exit zero
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Joe also held various jobs through the years, selling papers, setting pins in a bowling alley, and working as a caddy. Storms were a problem from the very beginning of the town’s establishment. “The first storm I recall experiencing was when I was less than ten years old,” said Joe. “I remember water coming down the streets, and we children thought it
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was glorious. I have a more vivid recollection of the Nor’easter on September 18, 1936, when I was 13. That was the first major inundation I saw, where the water covered Mount Vernon Avenue and came up to my grandfather’s doorstep.” In a storm that hit in September 1944, most of the beachfront cottages were destroyed and nearly every home was damaged. South Cape May and the meadows were flooded all the way up to Sunset Boulevard. Seven months after the hurricane the borough of South Cape May was dissolved, 50 years after its incorporation, and the land became part of Lower Township. In 1950 an even harsher storm demolished the remaining buildings, including the small cottage that had belonged to Joe’s grandfather which his parents had inherited. After the floodwaters of the 1950 storm abated, a portion of the devastated area reverted to its natural state of meadows, low grasses exit zero
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and shrubs, mud flats and wetland. In 1981 The Nature Conservancy acquired 212 acres of the former South Cape May area as a refuge for migratory birds. Today the refuge is open to the public and features 1.3 miles of trails and a viewing platform for observing such species as Piping Plovers, Black Skimmers and Least Terns. Just across the street on Sunset Boulevard, Joe Burcher maintains a small cottage where he and Vida, his wife of 62 years, spend their summers. From there he can look out his window and see the territory that he roamed as a boy. While the physical evidence of the town that Joe knew is gone, thanks to work by he and Bob, the lost city has been rescued, pulled from the depths of history for the benefit of future generations that might never have otherwise realized that, along with the terns and plovers, a beloved little town once thrived on the marshy shore.
FROM OUR ARCHIVES THE FIRST EVER COLOR COVER, 2006
IT HAS since become custmary for us to feature cover artist Victor Grasso with his work, or at the very least to show the work in progress. That trend was kicked off with this photo that appeared in our first ever color issue, back on May 26, 2006.
PORTRAITS AND EVENTS
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the perfect cape
ADD A LITTLE FUN EXERCISE TO YOUR CAPE ISLAND GETAWAY AND WATCH HOW YOUR VACATION GOES TO THE NEXT LEVEL Story by Diane Stopyra
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AYBE the idea of exercising on vacation is the last thing on your mind. But consider this... endorphins produced during strenuous exercise reduce anxiety and increase feelings of well-being. Because a well-deserved vacation on a beautiful Cape May beach can create similar feelings of euphoria, we at Exit Zero started wondering just how much happiness we’d be in for if we combined a little summer training with a little summer playing. With the help of George Rohana, personal trainer, boot-camp instructor and owner of Cape Fitness gym, we’ve put together a list of ways to stay fit in Cool Cape May this summer. Turns out, happy hour isn’t just for the bar. So grab your best workout threads and get going; your endorphins are waiting…
1. Run, and we don’t mean after the ice cream truck For a runner, the beaches of Cool Cape May aren’t just a place to bronze; they’re a place to sweat. According to Runner’s World magazine, jogging on sand strengthens ankles, feet, and all belowthe-knee muscles more than running on concrete or asphalt. It also burns 1.6 times more calories per mile. However, the slope of a natural surface can put a runner off-center, straining the Achilles tendons and calves. In order to avoid injury, it’s best to run at low tide, on the soft but tightly packed sand near the water’s edge. But if the tide isn’t in your favor by the time you’re through lacing up your sneakers, try running the length of the Cape May promenade, which stretches the 1.4 miles from 3rd Avenue to Madison Avenue. Just remember to hop onto the street for the short stretch in front of Convention Hall, which is still under construction. And if neither of these options speaks to the inner runner in you, try planning your own route. A website called MapMyRun.com allows you to plug into a map of Cape May various starting and ending points of your choosing, before calculating the mileage. But wherever you decide to pound the pavement, remember to heed the advice of the American Podiatric Medi-
cal Association and replace your running shoes every five hundred miles, at least. Casale’s Shoes on the Washington Street Mall sells a variety, including the new Vibram FiveFingers, or “barefoot” running shoes, that are supposed to allow for a greater connection with the earth. exit zero
limber up The sun and sea spray do wonders for your health, but a little exercise goes a lot further. Aleksey Moryakov
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If you feel confident enough after your summer of training to tackle a competitive race, sign up for the 28th annual Beachfront Run taking place on September 28. There is a two-mile and a five-mile course option. To register, log onto capemayrecreation.org, or call 884-9565 for more info.
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2. Volleyball: The sport that makes diving into the sand okay for adults You don’t have to be Gabrielle Reece to get a good workout playing volleyball; the average player will jump an average of 300 times over the course of a match. On July 16, the city of Cape May, along with Cabanas Beach Bar and Grill, will host a Beach Bash Volleyball tournament on Steger Beach, and anyone looking to play is able to do so; there are no try-outs. Teams (which will be men only, women only, and co-ed, depending on interest), will consist of two-players each. In order to accommodate all skill levels, the tournament will host a B division for beginners, an A division for experienced players, and a pro division. Log onto greatamericanvolleyball.com or capemayrecreation.org for more info. Because, what could be more fun than running and diving in the sun with the ocean just 50 feet away?
3. Bike, because it’s good for the heart AND the wallet
IF you don’t want to ruN Walking is an acceptable substitute Rachel Hulin
In 1935, a 25-year-old man named Fred Birchmore wore out seven sets of tires by pedaling his bike 25,000 miles through Europe, Asia and the United States. But you won’t need to go nearly as far in order to work off those C-View wings. According to George Rohana, riding around Cape May at a leisurely pace, while scoping out the beautiful gardens and Victorian
architecture, will burn approximately 300 calories per hour. In fact, when he’s not in the gym, biking is Rohana’s favorite way to stay fit. The sport is non-impact, meaning there’s “no banging on the joints.” And, as an added bonus, there’s no banging on the bank account, either. According to Terry Shields, owner of
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Shields Bike Rental on Gurney Street, many people avoid paying high gas prices by relying entirely on a bike or a surrey (which seats up to six) for the entirety of a vacation. If you’d like to get peddling, call Shields at 609-884-BIKE. Shields opens his doors at seven in the morning in case you want to be riding along the promenade early – a good idea, since bikes are only allowed here between sunrise and 10am. But if you’re looking for a place to ride after ten, he suggests biking from Broadway to West Perry to Sunset Boulevard, which will take you around scenic Lake Lily and out to the Cape May Lighthouse, a three-and-a-half mile trip. Otherwise, you might try biking New Jersey Avenue (which has a designated bike lane) out to the Nature Center of Cape May. And while you’re there, ask about the Nature Center’s bike tour, Cycling the Southern Cape. According to Kim Hannum, senior naturalist, the leisurely 12-mile ride will begin every Wednesday at 9:30 (arrive by 9:20), between June 29 and August 24. The tour, led by Nature Center naturalists, will lead you through the most beautiful natural areas of Cape Island. Children under three ride free! Pre-registration is recommended. Call the Nature Center at 609-898-8848. Other places to rent a bike in town include Cape Island Bike and Beach Rentals (609-8848011) located at the Hotel Macomber, on Sunset Boulevard and at Congress Hall; and The Vil-
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GET ON YOUR BIKE There is simply no better way to explore Cape May. First of all, you don’t get stuck in the traffic; secondly, it’s great exercise; and thirdly, it’s such good fun to ride around this beautiful island, exploring nooks and crannies. Rachel Hulin
lage Bicycle Shop (609-884-8500) on Lafayette Street. The latter also does bike repairs. All three shops charge just five dollars per hour for a standard rental with daily and weekly rates available as well. For more information on where to ride in Cape May, stop by the Chamber of Commerce for a copy of HomeStead Real Estate’s guide to biking on the island.
4. Play, if you can handle it The Weight Watcher’s organization refers to the ocean as a liquid treadmill, and rightfully so. For a 150-pound person, snorkeling burns 340 calories an hour, while playing in the waves can burn up to 410. But for those who’d rather not brave the surf, playing on the shore can be just as much of a workout. Building a sandcastle burns up to 315 calories an hour, and playing Frisbee works off 200. But if you’re planning to forego the gym for a round of paddle ball or a game of bocce, remember that it’s sustaining the activity that’s going to make it count. According to Rohana, a burst of horseshoe-playing or hole-digging before plopping back onto your towel isn’t going to cut it. In order to achieve the physiological benefits of an elevated heart rate, we need to sustain a beach activity for at least twenty to thirty minutes. Perhaps the most unlikely exercise-related of beach activities is kite-flying. Phil Broder, editor of Kiting magazine, knows that this sport isn’t always a day on the beach. For a decent workout, he recommends purchasing a dualline sport kite from the Cape May Beach and Kite shop. Such a kite requires constant arm movements and a great deal of walking (especially in the beginning, when you should expect to crash quite a bit!). And while we’re on the topic of play, don’t forget about the Junior Clamshell Pitching tournament taking place on September 2 on Windsor Beach. The contest is open to all kids aged 18 and under.
5. Rollerblade, because there’s a little ’80s in all of us The first pair of roller skates was worn by a Belgian named Merlin in 1760. The wheels were made of metal and he wore them while playing a violin to impress his friends at a party. Skating’s heyday has since come and gone but, according to Rohana, the sport is making a comeback. Rollerblading, which fell out of fashion in the early ’90s, now has over 74,000 fans on the social networking site, Facebook.
“What’s neat about it,” Rohana says, “is that it’s one of the few activities that works the hard-to-train areas of the legs, the inner and outer portions.” And according to Dr Carl Foster, coordinator of sports science and medicine for the US Speed Skating Team, inline skating is as beneficial an exercise as both running and cycling. The Cape May County Park, located a mile north of Cape May Court House and open daily from nine until dusk, is encircled by a paved track ideal for rollerblading. But wherever you blade, remember this – New Jersey state law requires that, while on wheels, you roll with traffic, not against! exit zero
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6. Walk – whether it’s a moonwalk, a speedwalk, or a walk of shame According to Rohana, it’s best to take each workout “one step at a time;” after a while, all these steps add up. In a lifetime, the average person walks approximately 65,000 miles: enough to circle the globe three times. Fortunately for Cape May-goers, all this walking can be enjoyable and, sometimes, even educational. Throughout the summer, the Cape May Bird Observatory hosts guided walks, all of them approximately a mile and a half long, which provide the opportunity to learn from trained naturalists about the birds, insects, plants and butterflies of Cape May. In order to find the
walk that suits you best, Director Pete Dunne recommends checking out the Observatory’s event calendar at www.birdcapemay.org. But if it’s bigger animals that will get you moving, why not check out the lions, tigers, and bears of the Cape May County Zoo. Michael Laffey, park director, estimates that walking through the entire zoo, including a boardwalk through the facility’s 57-acre African Savanna, is a two-mile endeavor. The park area, with approximately two miles of trails, both wooded and paved, is also conducive to walking. According to Laffey, there are four organized races held in this park throughout the year, all of them with a walking option. Next up is the Animal House 5k, held every August to raise money for the Middle Township High School Cross County team. For more info, contact race coordinator Chuck Gehman at firstname.lastname@example.org. And to really amp up your walking routine, try climbing the 199 steps to the top of the lighthouse in Cape May Point. According to a study conducted by the University of Birmingham, climbing stairs for just seven minutes every day could reduce the risk of developing heart disease by 60 percent
7. Surf’s up! In 1872, while on assignment in Hawaii for a Sacramento newspaper, Mark Twain attempted to surf. A “particularly prodigious billow”
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knocked him out, leading the writer to conclude that “none but natives ever master the art of surf-bathing thoroughly.” In 1907, Jack London had a bit more success, actually riding one of the “great smoking combers” of Waikiki before wiping out. Twain and London obviously never took a lesson from the Summer Sun Surf Shop, located
on the Washington Street Mall. According to Danny DeCamillo, Summer Sun owner, a lesson will help a grommet (that’s surf slang for beginner) figure out the basics, like which waves to paddle into and how to pop-up on a board, as well as the etiquette of an ocean lineup. To schedule a lesson with Summer Sun, contact 609-884-3422
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But if you’d like to give surfing a go on your own, Danny warns, “Be wary of beach-break conditions.” If the lip of a wave is turning up sand, this is a spot for an experienced surfer only. Also, make sure you head to a designated surfing beach (Poverty or the Cove) only. Otherwise, you’ll have to paddle out before the lifeguards come on duty (at 10am), or after they call it a day (at 5:30pm). Surfers have a reputation for being the laidback, dred-locked stoners of the beach, but according to Rohana this is a sport that requires cardiovascular endurance and strength. So if you’d like to tone up while you tan, go ahead and get gnarly. For more information, stop by Summer Sun or one of Cape Island’s other surf shops. These include The Southend Surf Shop on Beach Avenue (which offers lessons as well), and Pete Smith’s Surf Shop in the Washington Commons. Contact them at 609-898-0988, and 609-884-1010, respectively.
8. And when you’re sick of using your arms to paddle, rent a kayak According to Rohana, kayaking is an excellent upper-body workout and one that, pleasantly, can happen “off the beaten-path.” To explore Cape May Harbor and surrounding salt marshes, while conditioning your arms and abdominals, stop by Delaware Avenue for a quick look in Aqua Trails. Here, you can sign up for a two-and-a-half hour eco tour, a full-moon tour or, if you want to infuse some romance into your workout, a sunset tour in a kayak built for
SPLASHING GOOD FUN Aqua Trails offer guided or solo kayak tours of the wetlands and the ocean and recently added paddleboarding. Aleksey Moryakov
two. Feel free to bring your own boat or rent one from the shop; no experience is necessary. And as far as ocean kayaking goes, remember to launch before the lifeguards arrive at 10am. Otherwise launch your boat only from Mount Vernon, at the southernmost end of the beach. Call Aqua Trails at 609-884-5600 for more details.
9. For wearing out the little rascals According to Ed Zebrowski, a Cape May lifeguard of 13 years, the CMBP Junior Lifeguard Program is one important way to instill an appreciation for fitness into any kid, aged nine to fifteen. After he or she signs up at lifeguard headquarters, each Junior Guard, or JG, will receive a uniform and a whole lot of knowledge about ocean skills and safety, as well as lifeguard competition techniques. For two hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the JGs meet with veteran guards, most of whom are former JGs or in the education field. This year is especially exciting for the program, as the Regional Junior Lifeguarding Championships will be hosted by Cape May between August 3 and 6. Approximately seven hundred JGs from around the country will compete in paddle, swim, run, and rescue events. For more information, contact the Cape May Beach Patrol at 609-884-9520 For children between the ages of four and eighteen, Cape May’s summer swim clinic is also an option. Through the clinic, kids are able exit zero
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to take lessons or compete. Practices are held at the United States Coast Guard base, Cape May City Elementary School, and Special Services in the Crest Haven Complex. Also sponsored by the city is Camp Cape May, which allows for plenty of basketball, Wiffle Ball, and soccer playing, as well as swimming. For more information on either of these programs, contact Cape May recreation at 609-884-9565. If your kids are in the pre-school set, look out for the United Way’s Born Learning Trail coming this summer to the Cape May County Park. The trail, an asphalt pathway surrounding the park’s playground area, captures ten games on engaging signs that will have children and parents interacting with one another. While the games are meant to promote physical activity for the entire family, they’re a great way to boost literacy skills as well. Finally, for the tennis player of the family, check out the One Love clinic hosted at the William J. Moore Tennis Center throughout the summer. Tennis pro Matt Gilbert, named by the Atlantic City Press as coach of the year in 2010, will work with pee-wees (ages four to six), and juniors (ages seven to sixteen) on agility, coordination, and actual game play.
10. Play a little tennis, just for the love of it Pete Sampras, or Pistol Pete as he’s known in the tennis world, earned an outrageous $41,994,440 as a professional tennis player between the years of 1988 and 2001. To start playing like a 41 million dollar pro, consider taking a lesson (either private or group) from
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the William J. Moore Tennis Center located on Washington Street in Cape May. The facility houses 14 clay and two hard-surface courts, all of them open to the public. But before you start to volley, remember to dress appropriately. According to Rohana, it’s best to wear breathable clothing while playing tennis and, as with any outdoor sport, to drink plenty of water – before, during, and after. For information on everything from becoming a club member to this summer’s tournament schedule, call 609-884-8986.
just a few minutes away in North Cape May, where owner Mark Chamberlain has cultivated what’s known as the “Friendly, Feel-good Gym”. Call 609-886-4842 for more information.
12. Om shanti shanti
11. Pump some iron In the summer, lots of folks will be asking “Which way to the beach?” If you spend a few sessions at Cape Fitness on Park Boulevard, you’ll be proud to show off your biceps as you point toward Beach Avenue. To help you shapeup or slim down for the season, Cape Fitness offers a variety of classes, including boot camp, spin, body blast, fitness fusion, and combo classes. All of these are free to members or firsttimers looking to test the waters. And if you’re worried about keeping up, don’t be. According to Rohana, Cape Fitness takes pride in tailoring its classes to the individuals taking them, and not the other way around. For more information, call 609-898-1515. But be warned! “Just because we’re air conditioned,” Rohana said, “doesn’t mean you’re not going to sweat.” Alternatively, check out North Beach Gym,
salute the sun Sharon Fruchtman offers classes at Congress Hall and on the beach. Aleksey Moryakov
With so much to do in Cape May, the days can get a bit hectic. According to Karen Manette Bosna, who’s been teaching yoga in Cape May for 15 years, yoga is one way to slow down, plant two feet on the earth, and breathe. Karen, who considers herself a “gypsy yogini,” teaches yoga dance, gentle yoga for seniors, and a combo class called spin yoga at various venues, including Lower Township Recreation department. But, Karen says, she waits all year to get back outside. In the summer, she teaches all-levels yoga on the beach at the Cape May Point State Park, and at the David Douglas Memorial Park in North Cape May. Check out yogacapemay.com for the schedule Balance Pilates and Yoga in West Cape May offers yoga on the beach as well, in addition to Pilates, pre-natal yoga and Thai yoga massage. Balance, the island’s only mind/body studio, also offers private group and individual sessions. For more information on nourishing your inner yogi at Balance, call 609-884-3001. Finally, Sharon Fruchtman offers Ashtanga yoga classes on the lawn at Congress Hall, and on the beach as well, depending on the interest of the group. Classes are open to the public and
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YOGA ON THE BEACH Tuesdays, 7pm. ONLY $5! David Douglas Memorial Park (Canal Park/Sandman Blvd) N. Cape May (in front of the Gazebo!) For Additional information: Contact: Lower Township Rec Dept. 609.886.7880 Ext. 0 or yogacapemay.com firstname.lastname@example.org Karen @ 609.827.8886
geared to all skill levels, and mats are provided by the hotel at no additional charge. For more information, call Sharon at 609-408-0009. Wherever you find your Zen this summer, don’t be surprised if you spot a dolphin or two during downward-facing dog.
13. Boogie down to slim down Most of the time, our workout threads include old T-shirts and a pair of sweats. But according to Larina Kase, president of Performance and Success Coaching LLC in Philadelphia, dressing in a more flattering outfit really motivates people to get moving. To really glam up while you exercise, try a ballroom dancing or tango Argentine class in the Congress Hall ballroom. In both private and group lessons, instructor Tom Cupp will accommodate dancers of all skill levels. For something less formal, keep your eyes peeled for Zumba classes, which combine international music and Latin dance moves, also happening on the Congress Hall lawn. For more information on dancing at Congress Hall, call 609-884-8421. If you still haven’t had your fill, head to your favorite beach-front bar. You deserve to reward yourself with a cold beer. Just remember to keep on dancing while you indulge. “Depending how spastic you dance,” Rohana says, “you’ll burn around 400 calories an hour.” Now that’s a reason to boogie.
take your partner Ballroom champion Tom Cupp offers lessons in Congress Hall ballroom. Aleksey Moryakov
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An Early American Open-Air Living History Museum
Stroll the shaded lane of the Village and visit 26 restored, historic buildings on a 22-acre site. Here you will find a variety of interpreters in period clothing who demonstrate the trades, crafts and lifestyles of a rural 1800s community, including blacksmithing, basketweaving, farming, spinning, woodworking, open-hearth cooking, and more! Special events are held every weekend from late May through mid-September. Open Tuesday through Sunday from June 21 June 22 -- September September2,5, 10am-4:30pm. Special Weekday family activities! Welcome Center, Old Grange Restaurant, Country Store, Ice Cream Parlor, Bakery Historic Cold Spring Village received funding through a grant from the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism.
720 Route 9 â€˘ Cape May, NJ 08204 www.hcsv.org â€˘ 609-898-2300 exit zero
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Activities for all the family
APE May has a great variety of activities that you can enjoy with the entire family. Here is a comprehensive list of ideas to get
1. Morey’s Piers The Wildwood Boardwalk is now home to the biggest attraction the Jersey Shore has seen in years. The Ghost Ship, unveiled last Memorial Day, is a one-ofa-kind haunted attraction featuring animatronics, a scary soundtrack and live actors. Wind your way through the mazelike course of a wrecked ship that appears it has crashed right into Morey’s Piers. 2. Cape May-Lewes Ferry Take a trip over to Lewes, Delaware, a small, quaint seaside town, then make sure you check out bustling Rehoboth Beach, the Fenwick Island Lighthouse or Cape Henlopen State Park. You can also take advantage of the tax-free shopping at the outlets. Or just enjoy the quiet and vastness of the bay on the deck of the ferry as you watch for dolphins and
All Aboard The Ghost Ship casts an ominous shadow across Morey’s Piers. Explore the haunted vessel with the family, but keep a head count – who knows what may happen inside.
whales. For more information or to book a reservation, call 800-64-FERRY or visit capemaylewesferry.com. 3. Historic Cold Spring Village Ever wonder what it was like to live in Cape May 200 years ago? The answer can be found at this open-air living history museum, a seven-minute drive from town. Through interactive and hands-on activities, visitors can make a connection with the past by experiencing it. The many authentically restored homes amid idyllic shaded areas make it hard not to feel like Abe Lincoln’s in office… and it’s even easier when the Civil War reenactment rolls into town. Cold Spring is a can’t-miss for history buffs. Give them a call at 609-898-2300 or visit their website at www.hcsv.org. 4. Whale and Dolphin Watching Dolphins are fairly common in the waters off Cape May, but it’s still a joy to see them. Cape May Whale & Dolphin Watch and Research Center offers you the best chance to see them up close. And, you might even see a whale. Tours take off at Wilson Avenue. You can see it on your
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left as you cross the small bridge before the Lobster House on your way out of town. For directions or more information, call 609-898-0055 or visit them on the web at www.capemaywhalewatch.com. 5. Cape May Family Treasure Hunt Discover the fun of exploring Cape May and uncovering its architectural elements from a kid’s perspective. Packet includes a clue sheet and map that will take you on a self-guided discovery tour. Packets for the entire family are available for $5. For more information, call 609-884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org. 6. Antiquing For a different kind of treasure hunt, check out the variety of antique shops that are in Cape May – just don’t get disheartened when you see your favorite childhood toy selling for $100. Antiques Emporia, 405 West Perry Street (898-3332), Bridgetowne Antiques, Broadway and Mechanic (884-8107), Out of The Past Antiques, 394 Myrtle Avenue, corner of Perry (884-3357), Cape May Antique Center, 1228 Route 109 (898-4449). 7. Cape May Lighthouse, Oil House and
Museum Shop The structure, built in 1859, has 199 steps leading to the watch gallery with a panoramic view of the Jersey Cape, Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Admission to the Visitors’ Orientation Center and the ground floor of the Lighthouse is free. Tower admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children. Open 9am to 8pm. For more information, call 609-884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org. 8. Bay Springs Alpaca Farm This one’s hard to believe, but Cape May has an alpaca farm. Near the end of beautiful New England Road, Warren and Barbara Nuessle live what they call the “alpaca lifestyle” – quiet and simple. Visit them between 10am and 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays and see how alpaca fiber is spun into yarn, or shop at their store which carries many alpaca-related items (forget wool; go with an alpaca sweater this winter!) And don’t forget to greet the grazing alpacas – they make it all possible. Call 609-884-0563 or visit www.bayspringsalpacas.comfor more information. 9. Beachcombing at the Cove A naturalist from the Nature Center of Cape May helps you explore the ocean, beach and dunes of the Cove on Fridays at 8:30am. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and can be purchased in advance at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth, or on the day of the tour at the Second Street Pavilion on the promenade in Cape May. 10. World War II Lookout Tower Museum and Memorial Fire Control Tower No. 23 on Sunset Boulevard
is New Jersey’s last freestanding World War II tower, part of the immense Harbor Defense of the Delaware system known as Fort Miles. After the award-winning restoration, visitors can now climb to the 6th floor spotting gallery while reliving homeland defense efforts during World War II. The ground floor of the tower is fully accessible. Entrance fee is $5 for adults and $3 for children. For more information, call 609-884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org. 11. Cherry House Tour This Federal-style house was built in 1849 by Lemuel Leaming and named for the Cherry family of Philadelphia. It has been lovingly restored and furnished with antiques. Each room is a treasure chest of cherished family mementos, and handpainted murals throughout are a reflection of the owners’ lives as well as the home’s seashore heritage. Tours offered on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 2pm. Tickets are available at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth for $10. For more information, call 609-884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org. 12. Seventh Annual Cape May Designer Show House Osprey Landing at Cape May Marina is home to glorious sunsets, unspoiled wetlands and now Cape May’s Designer Show House. This $2.2 million luxury townhome showcases the talents and products of some of the area’s best-known designers and vendors. It is open for tours as from June 17 through October 30. Self-guided tours are offered daily from 1pm to 4pm and
guided evening tours are offered at 7pm every Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday. Each visitor will receive a full-color program book with information about the designers, products and vendors. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children. Osprey Landing is conveniently located at 109 Rosemans Lane at the end of the Garden State Parkway. For more information, call 609-884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org. 13. Salt Marsh Eco-Tour and Birding by Boat Join the crew aboard the Osprey, a 36-passenger environmentally friendly pontoon boat. Since 1993 Captain David has been sharing the wonders of our coast. Enjoy a fully narrated tour as you get up-close views of ospreys, migrant shorebirds, clapper rails, herons, gulls and terns. Also cruise through tidal wetland preserves, learning about one of the most productive habitats on the planet. Trips sail daily from the Miss Chris Marina at 890 2nd Avenue in Cape May from April to November. Call 609-898-3500 or visit www.ospreycruise.com for more information or to book your trip. 14. Aviation Museum The Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum, a few minutes north of town, has a wonderful collection of planes and helicopters all set in a building which, at its peak during WWII, accommodated 222 planes and 17,000 takeoffs and landings per month. Young or old, the awe of flight will catch you like a net. The museum is open daily from 9am-5pm. Across the road
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is another must-see, the Vietnam Memorial Museum, which features a special garden commemorating the 21 fallen soldiers from Cape May County. Call 609-886-8787 or visit www.usnasw.org. 15. Emlen Physick Estate Tour With its new theme for 2011, “Victorian Health and Fitness,” a tour of the Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, is sure to be an entertaining and educational experience that will deligh the adults and childrean alike. Tours cost $10 for adults and $5 for children. For more information, call 609-884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org. 16. Road Trip It seems silly to suggest leaving Cape May, but when the road calls, it’s hard not to answer. Grab some gas and try out Route 147 (Ocean Drive). It runs through Wildwood Crest, Stone Harbor and the Doo Wop-fashioned hotels of Wildwood are a block away. Or why not explore Cumberland County, home to bald eagles and Port Norris, the one-time oyster capital of the world? Make sure you don’t miss the A.J. Meerwald, the lovely and historic Delaware Bay oyster schooner. 17. Cape May County Zoo How much would you expect to pay to see 200 species and a total of 550 animals from around the world? Unless you guessed $0 than you’re way off, because the Cape May County Zoo offers free admission to their park and zoo. The zoo features a reptile room, world of birds and an African savanna on its 80 acres of property. Surrounding the zoo is a gorgeous park that’s perfect for picnics, as well as a jungle gym for children. Open daily from 10am-4:45pm, the zoo is just off Exit 11 on the Parkway. And, while the zoo is free, donations at the entrance are appreciated. You can visit the county website at www.capemaycountygov.net or call 609-465-5271 for more information. 18. Harbor Safari A marine biologist leads you through an informational tour of Cape May’s beach and marsh habitats and the ecosystems you’ll find there. Tours are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30am. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children. For more information, call 609-8845404 or visit www.capemaymac.org. 19. Miniature Golf Cape May Miniature Golf on Jackson Street features sculpted greens, august
lush landscapes and real sand traps. A tropically-themed ice-cream oasis named Cocomoe’s is connected next to the course. There is also beachfront mini-golf available at Ocean Putt, on the corner of Beach and Jackson, or a bit farther inland on Bayshore Road in North Cape May. There is also a mini golf course at the shops at Sunset Beach – each hole has ocean views! 20. Historic District Walking Tour Designed for those who like history up-close and in detail, this tour features knowledgeable guides who will lead a stroll down the streets of Cape May’s Historic District. Tours are offered Wednesdays at 4:30pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. For more information, call 609-884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org. 21. Buy Fresh Produce New Jersey is the Garden State for a good reason. There’s some great farmland in the area, and markets like Duckie’s and No Frills on Broadway carry some of the sweetest and freshest produce around. There is also one on Sunset Boulevard on your way out to Cape May Point. 22. Keeper’s on Duty This informational session is the perfect prelude to a climb of the Cape May Lighthouse. Learn the historic beacon’s story, as told by one of the current keepers at the Education Center in Cape May Point State Park. All Keeper’s on Duty sessions are free and open to the public, and will be offered Sundays at 11am. For more information, call 609-884-5404 or visit MAC online at www.capemaymac.org. 23. Parasail You don’t need to be a daredevil to let your body rise 500 feet above the ocean. Parasailing has become a popular pastime that lets you soar in the air and see Cape May from a view many people never have. Plus, all of the boat captains are coast guard certified so the trips are extremely safe. There are two options to choose from: East Coast Parasail in Cape May at Utsch’s Marina (609-8988359) and Atlantic Parasail at the Two Mile Landing restaurant and marina on Ocean Drive highway (609-522-1869). 24. Lighthouse Storytime Bring your young children to the Education Center in Cape May Point State Park (adjacent to the Cape May Lighthouse) to listen to nautical tales and lighthouse adventure stories. Storytime is at 12pm every Sunday and admission
From Serengeti To Seashore Left: The Cape May County Zoo offers 200 species, and admission is free! Below: What better way to channel the Victorian mindset than a carriage ride? Right: For an unbeatable aerial view of Cape May, don’t miss a chance to go parasailing.
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is free. For more information, call 609-884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org. 25. Sunset Beach Follow Sunset Boulevard until it ends, then watch the sun sink beyond the jutting concrete ship. “God Bless America” is played while different veteran’s casket flags are lowered each day from May until September. After the ceremony, grab some food at the Grill, or enjoy the incredible deals in the gift shop. There’s also a long beach strewn with Cape May “diamonds.” You can now even play mini-golf at Sunset Beach! 26. Self-Guided Audio Tour of Cape May Discover the Historic District of Victorian Cape May at your own pace with Acoustiguide Inform hand-held units. The $10 tour package comes complete with a map and index for 96 historic buildings on 69 sites. To start off on your own tour, stop by the Hill House, located at 1048 Washington Street (The Emlen Physick Estate), from 9am-2:30pm. For more information, call 609884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org. 27. Murder at the Physick Estate In a new production “Bearcat Bootleggers,” it’s 1925 and The Blind Pig is the most notorious speakeasy in Cape May. It’s against the law of course but everybody’s doing it so how bad can it be? In fact, the consequences of a visit to this illicit establishment could be a lot worse than a hangover. Afterwards, meet your evening’s performers over coffee and dessert. Performances take place at the Physick Estate at 8:30pm on Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays.
$25 adults, $20 children. For more information, call 609-884-5404 or visit the MAC organization online at www.capemaymac.org. 28. Arcade A trip to the beachfront is not the same without a trip to the arcade. Treat your kids to all the flashing lights, beeps, bells, buzzers and videogames or relive great childhood memories. Cape May Arcade has two locations, one on Beach Avenue at Convention Hall and the other at Beach Avenue and Jackson Street. 29. Higbee Beach It used to be a bit of a scandalous place (nude bathers – gasp!). Not anymore, though (well, not usually). Head down New England Road until it ends, walk the path – aka Mosquito Alley – towards the beach and enjoy a splendid shore. 30. Lunch with the Pirates Lads, lasses, buccaneers and landlubbers are invited to the Carriage House Tearoom & Café for a pirate-themed lunch experience. You’ll exclaim, “Shiver me timbers!” as pirates invade the Tearoom and takeover the show. $18 for adults, $10 for children. Price includes lunch. Offered Fridays at 11:30am. For more information, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit www.capemaymac.org 31. Carriage Ride Forget about the car, bike or your own two feet; let the clip-clop of a horse’s trot guide you through the town in style. Taking a carriage is a truly unique, historic and romantic way to see the town. Besides, it beats parking. Cape May
Carriage Company is based at Ocean and Washington Street. Call 609-884-4466 to set up a ride. 32. Fisherman’s Wharf Tour Take a guided tour of Fisherman’s Wharf at the Lobster House Restaurant, learn how your seafood gets from the sea to your table and discover how Cape May has becomea major fishing port. Tours are offered Tuesday and Thursday at 11am. Admission is $10 adults and $7 children. For more information, call 609-884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org. 33. Physick Estate Children’s Tour This tour is set to let children find out what life was like more than 125 years ago at the Emlen Physick Estate that was built in 1879. Tours will run Monday and Wednesday at 10:30am, and tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Call 609884-5404 . 34. Sunset Beach Tribute Trolley Tour This tour visits New Jersey’s last freestanding World War II Lookout tower, Fire Control Tower No. 23 on Sunset Boulevard, where you can climb to the 6th floor spotting gallery, with a visit to Sunset Beach for its famous flag-lowering ceremony at sunset. Offered at 7pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays through August 25. $15 adults, $10 children (ages 3-12). Call 609-884-5404 . 35. Combination Trolley/Physick Estate Tour Try out this guided tour of Cape May’s Historic District, followed by a guided tour of Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, the Emlen Physick Estate. Tickets are $18 for adults and $9 for children. Call 609-884-5404 or visit www.capemay-
If you are enjoying Terry O’Brien’s Vampire City story, then pick up a signed copy of Murderoke & other Spooky Cape May Tales Pick up your copy at these fine stores: Exit Zero Store | Atlantic Books | Morey’s Piers | Congress Hall exit zero
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We have SO many ways you can get your feet wet.
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MAC TROLLEY TOURS
during your journey. Once you reach your destination you’ll feel the presence of the spirits. Do you have what it takes to climb 199 spirited stairs to the top?
Guided trolley tours offer an excellent way to see Cape May. All tickets can be purchased at the Information Booth at the end of the Washington Street Mall. For times and prices call 609-884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org.
Historic District Trolley Tours Get acquainted with Cape May on a trolley tour as knowledgeable guides present entertaining and educational stories about the nation’s oldest seashore resort. Mansions by the Sea Trolley Tour This tour features a century of beachfront development, from Victorian cottages of the 1870s through the most up-to-date of today’s housing. It includes some of the most magnificent structures ever erected in Cape May.
Best of the West Trolley Tour A narrated trolley tour through West Cape May highlighting its history, farms, shops, vintage cottages and African American heritage. Cape May in Blue & Gray New for 2011! Travel back to 1863, when the allegiances of Cape May’s residents were divided between Union and Confederate causes, to witness first-hand the war’s affect on a local family. Cape May Unzipped Trolley Ride The story of America’s first seaside resort may seem to be a tale of stately hotels, visiting dignitaries and noble rebirth from the ashes of fires and neglect. But underneath Cape May’s thin veneer of Victorian gentility, behind the gingerbread and lace curtains, there beats a less civilized heart. Children’s Trolley Ride Board MAC’s jolly red trolley for a guided tour of Cape May’s Historic District, geared specially children. Combination Trolley/Physick Estate Tours Enjoy a guided trolley tour of Cape May’ Historic District, followed by a guided tour of Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, with the new house tour theme for 2011, “Victorian Health and Fitness.” Deadliest Cape Trolley Ride New for 2011! Treacherous shoals, tidal rip currents, Nor’easters, heavy ship traffic, rogue waves… you’ll encounter them all in the waters
that surround Cape May. And that’s why these waters are rightly called The Graveyard of the Atlantic. On this trolley ride, you’ll have your own encounter with the dangers that lurk offshore. You’ll glimpse the hazardous world of the professional mariner and hear the frightening, heart-wrenching stories of the ones who set sail and never came back. Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour Board a MAC trolley tour for a 45-minute evening ride through the haunted streets of Cape May. The paranormal findings of ghost writer Craig McManus come alive as your guide translates McManus’ spooky stories. Ride past the flickering gaslamps on the haunted properties of Cape May and experience the spine-tingling tales exposed by McManus and told by an Actor Offstage. Ghosts of the Lighthouse Trolley Tour Take an evening tour down the ghostly path that leads to the Cape May Lighthouse. You’ll hear and experience Craig McManus’ paranormal findings related by an Actor Offstage
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Rum Runners & Bootleggers Trolley Ride New for 2011! Prohibition turned ordinary citizens into criminals and ordinary criminals into kings. While Nucky Johnson built his Boardwalk Empire and Al Capone ruled Chicago, Cape May happily supplied the illegal hooch that made the roaring ’20s roar. Your “host” on this trolley ride into the bygone days of basement stills, moonshine and racketeers will be a genuine gun-toting gangster or a real bob-haired flapper. They’ll tell you firsthand what it was like in not so genteel Cape May when the Volstead Act was the law of the land. Tales of Terror Trolley Ride Remember the really scary stories you heard as a kid… the ones that kept you awake at night? They’ll seem like harmless fairy tales compared to the macabre yarns spun by your spectral host on this trolley ride through the darkest corners of the imagination. You’ll close your eyes and cringe at stories of imaginary playmates from beyond the grave.
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Moonlight Trolley Ride Take this romantic trolley ride through the moonlit streets of Cape May as a guide tells tales of Victorian romance. Tours begin and tickets are available at Washington Street Mall Information Booth.
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my perfect day TODD WUERKER, OWNER HAWK HAVEN VINEYARD
Keepin’ it cool in Cape May
WORK every day in the spring, summer and fall, but every once in a while my wife and business partner, Kenna, lets me take a morning or afternoon off. I’m definitely a coffee person, so I start out my perfect day with a Snickerdoodle coffee to go from Coffee Tyme on Beach Avenue, followed by a relaxing stroll down the beach to get my thoughts together for the day ahead. If I have time, I stop in for breakfast at George’s Place, or maybe at Bella Vida for their Southern Belle special: country fried steak with cream chipped beef, eggs over easy and a cup of cinnamonhazelnut coffee.
Next, it’s off to the Cape May Ferry for a walk-on, round-trip cruise. I always get a seat on the top deck for some morning sun, dolphin-watching and maybe a Bloody Mary, if I have the afternoon off. Then, over to Seaside Cheese in West Cape May to pick up a Paris Panini and some cheese, and then off to visit the local wineries for some wine tasting and a relaxing lunch in the vineyard. Or, if it’s not too windy, lunch on the Schooner at the Lobster House, which is literally a bacon cheeseburger in paradise! I love watching the sport fishing boats pass by with their catch from one of the many fishing tournaments held by South Jersey Marina. exit zero
Paradise found “If it’s not too windy, I’ll have lunch on the Schooner at the Lobster House, which is literally a bacon cheeseburger in paradise!” says Todd Wuerker, owner of Hawk Haven Vineyard.
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I always make time for a quick game of volleyball on the beach. Then, of course, it’s time for happy hour! I hit Harry’s at the Montreal Inn for the great view and the killer micro-brew beer selection, then it’s off to The Fin Bar, followed by Cabanas, and finally The Beach Shack to sit around that great fire pit. I usually grab a bottle of our wine and head to a BYOB for dinner. My favorites are The Old Grange by Tony Clark, Union Park and The Black Duck on Sunset. And I like to end the evening with a martini at The Ebbitt Room or The Brown Room – a perfect nightcap after a perfect day.
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Huge Stars In The Second Stage Series!
Tovah Feldshuh will parade her considerable talents at Cape May Stage on August 8
McGovern and Liz Callaway were recently here presenting shows that are scheduled to play in New York – but Cape May audiences see it first AND get a chance to meet the artists. Later in the season, we’ll be visited by Roberta Sloan in her one-woman show about Deborah Franklin. As part of Cape May Forum’s week-long event, Cape May Stage has coproduced Kate Hathaway and Friends in Blue Plate Special, which will celebrate food in song and stories. Nancy Hasty will be doing her solo show called Florida Girls in October and our major fall event will be Ron Raines and Don Pippin in Legends of Broadway. Ron Raines is best known as Alan Spaulding on Guiding Light, but has a voice that has sent him to the greatest opera houses in Europe. Don Pippin is the Tony Award-winning music director of every Broadway show you can name. Cape May Stage has something for everyone! A call to 609-884-1341 or a visit to capemaystage.com transforms an ordinary evening into a night that will resonate for years to come.
is unforgettable and you’ll get a chance to meet her at The Washington Inn after-party where you’ll get a complimentary signature drink. Cape May Stage is thrilled to bring the highest level of artists to our town. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at 609-884-1341 or online at capemaystage.com! The following Sunday, August 14, New York magician Robert McEntee will present a 45-minute magic show for children at 10am. Start the day with real magic and have a magical afternoon at the beach. The next night, August 15, is Mr McEntee’s astounding mentalist show for adults, Miracles of the Mind. We don’t know how he does it, but audiences everywhere have been impressed with his mind-reading abilities. Cape May Stage has a history of presenting shows that go on to New York and national tours. Last season, the Christmas show was The Little Prince and this fall it will be at the New Victory Theatre in Times Square, right next to Spiderman – Turn Off The Dark. Cape May audiences saw it in our jewel box of a theatre with only seven rows of comfortable seats. Maureen
Robert McEntee bring his magic and mindreading events to Cape May audiences
HE Cape May Stage is the place to be in August. While Steel Magnolias performs Tuesday through Sunday evenings with a stellar cast of award-winning Broadway, television and film actresses, the Second Stage brings family entertainment ranging from plays to magic shows. Broadway headliner Tovah Feldshuh will be here on August 8 in her new show, tentatively called Aging Is Optional. Cape May Kids performs on Saturday, August 6 at 10am. See the acting interns of Cape May Stage in a nostalgic look at Cape May in the 1950s before heading off to the beach. Marlena Lustig adapted a novella called Down The Shore about a family vacationing at Cape May. The new technology at that time was the transistor radio and the kids are on a mission to win enough tickets playing skeeball to get that radio so they can hear rock and roll on the beach “with no wires!” It is a treat for adults, while children love the antics of these wonderful young actors. The Summer Shakesperience Camp will be in session from August 8 through 21, culminating in a performance on Sunday, August 21 at The Emlen Physick Estate. Under the direction of Don Toal, campers 8 through 17 perform outdoors in a Shakespearean play. Cape May Stage offers this performance free. Just bring a blanket or a lawn chair and enjoy the show. The high point of the season is bound to be Tovah Feldshuh on Monday, August 8 in her newest solo show. Ms Feldshuh has the distinction of being in the longest-running one-woman show in Broadway history, Golda’s Balcony, for which she was nominated for the Tony Award. Multiple Tony and Emmy Award nominations followed. This is one of the great theatrical artists of our time. Tovah Feldshuh has a stage presence that
HERE’S WHAT’S COMING UP IN THE SECOND STAGE SERIES Tovah Feldshuh in “Aging Is Optional” Monday, August 8 at 8pm Tickets $75
“Magic Beyond Imagination!” with Robert McEntee Sunday, August 14 at 10am Tickets $10, children $7
«Call (609) 884-1341
“Miracles of the Mind!” with Robert McEntee Monday, August 15 at 8pm Tickets $20
This column is made possible through the generosity of Second Stage Series sponsors CHRIS and DAVE CLEMANS as part of their support of the arts in Cape May
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FROM OUR ARCHIVES UNDERWATER WITH YOUNG SWIM STARS, 2004
Former Exit Zero photographer Erin Kirk got wet at swim practice with Dan Whalen, Tom Herchenrider, Jesse Shea, Colbey Claxton, Kyle Shomin, Erica Addonizio and Emily Genatowksi, the Cape May district swim team of 2004.
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27 Questions for... Susan Tischler
F YOU don’t know Sue Tischler personally, you might recognize her nonetheless. She’s all over the place – in one of the retail stores she and her ex-husband Barry own on the Washington Street Mall, strolling around town chatting with people or taking pictures for Cape May Magazine, which she edits, acting in an East Lynne Theatre production, sitting in attendance at a city council meeting, or kicking butt on Trivia Night at the Mad Batter. We corralled her for a very entertaining lunch recently to find out winds Sue up and makes her go. So with the recent opening of Glitter Girl, you’re up to how many businesses on the Washington Street Mall now? Four. We’ve got Kaleidoscope, last year opened Just For Laughs right next door, then we have the Shirt Shop on Liberty Way, next to the Lemon Tree, and now Glitter Girl, also on Liberty Way. I know you’re a Pittsburgh native – how did you end up in Cape May? I was working as a features
Interview by Kate Chadwick Photo by Aleksey Moryakov
writer when we were living up in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, but we also used to travel around the Mid-Atlantic states, selling statuary, and Rio Grande was one of the stops. Someone told us – this was in 1978 – that we would really like Cape May, and of course we did. The next year when we came down again, there was a gas crisis going on, but it was different than the gas crisis going on today. This was rationing, and I said to [then husband and current business partner] Barry – I think there may be people going out of business because of this. We might even be able to get a store. And we did – that’s when we got the Shirt Shop. So did you give up writing for a time, or did you continue to write? I did give it up for a while, once we opened the Cape May store. I didn’t get back to it until 2002, when Bernie Haas needed a writer for capemay.com. I started freelancing for him, a few articles a month for a couple of years, which was fine because then I could still focus on the store. It was nice to get back into writing again – I didn’t realize how much I had missed it. Then Bernie started the print version, Cape May Magazine, in 2006, and I’ve been with him fullexit zero
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time since then. Barry has really been running the businesses since then as far as day-to-day operations, but I still do the buying and overseeing things. I’m trying to keep my hand in it a bit more with the two newer stores, particularly in this economic climate, because the devil really is in the details – you’ve got to get the right look. Setting the stage is so important in retail. You’ve got to get them in the door, right? Well, yes, you definitely have to get them in the door. It’s keeping them in there that matters, though! Speaking of Barry, how does it feel to have an ex-husband who is quickly becoming a local legend in his own right with his singing gigs? Ha! I could talk for hours about that – always trying to upstage me! How do you juggle all of this – several retail businesses and a full-time job elsewhere. Sounds daunting in theory, let alone in practice? I switch gears very quickly. Actually, sometimes I don’t even get a chance to switch them – everything just gets done in very high gear. Got it. So then when you DO get a little downtime, you sit down and you write a one-woman play. I mean, who does that? Where does that
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starring role Susan Tischler wrote and performed in Helpful Hints for East Lynne Theater Company.
come from? Well, I feel that life is very short, and that I could die tomorrow. So, I live my life! Cramming as much in as humanly possible, huh? Well, yes – exactly! So – is there no off-switch? There has to be an off-switch… Well, I don’t know. I’m a workaholic – I freely admit it. Hello, everyone. My name is Susan, and I’m a workaholic. [Laughs) Right, right! Wait – cooking! I do like to relax by cooking – I really enjoy it. Do you have any specialties? Yes – in the fall and winter I like old-fashioned dishes that cook for hours and fill the house with good smells, like Amish country barbeque, coq au vin, maybe a nice pot of vegetable soup. In spring and summer I like marinated dishes to grill – lemon sautéed scallops over angel hair, herbed salmon,
Asian chicken. And my specialty cakes are carrot, coconut, and chocolate. So, slaving over a hot stove is your idea of taking it easy? Well not just that; I do like to go out for drinks, and I’m also on the trivia circuit around town with my team, the Mall Rats. Okay, so it sounds like you do know how to have fun then, right? Well, sure I do, but on the other hand, I’m in bed by 8:00pm, like a child. When I do get up in the morning, though, it’s on – I just barrel straight through the day without stopping. I try not to be as compulsive about other things in my life as I am about work – eating, drinking, smoking. I don’t go out to eat much, I’d rather cook at home. I don’t drink excessively or take drugs or anything like that. Working is my vice, and as vices go, there are worse ones to have. exit zero
Had you arrived in Cape May now as opposed to arriving when you did, would you have stayed? Oh, yes – we definitely would have stayed. The things that appealed to us about Cape May are still here – will always be here. But as far as opening a business, not to sound like an old lady, but I don’t know how young people are able to do it today, in this economic climate. It was easier then, and there was a margin for failure. What do you mean by that? Well, you could try and still fail – well, maybe not completely fail, but waffle. But then you’d be able to recoup your losses – the potential to make up for it the following season was always there. You’ve got to be lean and mean these days – there is no margin for error in this economic environment. Especially in a town with rents like they are here – there is nothing cheap here. How do you think that’s affected the vibe of the town, if at all? The sad thing about it is that artists and crafts people that used to be drawn to Cape May can’t afford to just move here and rent a storefront anymore. So I miss that kind of a climate. On the other hand, you’ve got a place like West End Garage, which has co-opted all these great talents, and I’d like to see more of that in the town, even on the mall. What do you blame that on? Is it a political thing, a real estate thing, strictly an economic thing? It’s a real estate thing, I think. The B&B industry here is a perfect example. The influx of people who came in and bought these fixer-uppers and created an industry, a business for themselves, were able to offer the service, the experience, at a low cost to the consumer. People coming into town today are paying a much higher price for a B&B, and in order to recoup the costs, have to pass the higher premium on to the guest. Then you have to consider that people expect more these days, I think, than just a room in an old inn, don’t you agree? Absolutely! People aren’t content to share a bathroom, for instance, or forego air-conditioning, or live without internet service. None of those things were an issue when I arrived in Cape May – it was a pretty simple town then. So do you think it’s lost some of its charm? No, not at all. Cape May has not lost its small-town flavor. I shouldn’t even say flavor, because that suggests that it may not be a reality, when in fact it is a reality. I mean, let’s face it – everybody knows your business. As my friend Harriet [Sosson, the local artist/innkeeper] said, I believe in
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“I was getting ready to suggest that we just put up a revival tent up – why the hell not? Fold it up when it’s not in use, problem solved. It would be better than the giant hole it looked like we’d have to live with forever. I’m just glad it’s getting in gear over there.” an interview with Exit Zero, actually: “The nice thing about Cape May is that everybody knows you; the bad thing about Cape May is that everybody knows you.” Is there a lesson in there, maybe? Absolutely – it’s a real lesson. It teaches you how to live with people you might avoid elsewhere. I mean, people in the suburbs don’t really get to know each other. And at the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to – the architecture and the location and the history here are amazing, but at the end of the day, we’re a town. Two words - convention center. About a week ago I was getting ready to suggest that we just put up a revival tent up – why the hell not? It’s a green option, we fold it up when it’s not in use, problem solved. It would be better than the giant hole it looked like we’d have to live with forever. I’m just glad it’s finally getting in gear over there. So let’s get back to your “spare time,” during which you like to relax by writing and performing plays. What do you have going on? I did go on the road for a couple of trips with East Lynne Theater doing Helpful Hints. We’ll be doing it again at the end of September at Aleathea’s. And then I’d like to do another one I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years. It’s like a more irreverent Prairie Home Companion, a radio show, but it would be called Seashore Sidekicks, little vignettes featuring women, with music in between. So I’m working on that now. Weren’t you working on something about a coal-miner, sort of based on your life? Yes, it was going to be A Coal Miner and His Daughter, and I do still have that in the pipeline, but I’ve been reworking it. It was originally conceived as a one-woman production, but I’m beginning to
think it won’t work that way. I think the father has to be represented onstage – it won’t work with him offstage. I’ve finished a draft on it, but I’m kind of working on both of them at the same time. Gee, is that all? Well, no – I’m working on a book, too, which I’m finding a bit more challenging, because I’m really not used to doing a long-term narrative. Is this a novel, or a memoir? It’s a memoir, actually. But those are the three things I’d like to get done in the next year. So is that what you do? You set a goal, give yourself a time-frame, and have at it? Well, I do that in my head, anyway. And then when I don’t meet the goal in the established time frame, I start over. Which is why I just dispense with that goal-setting/time frame stuff altogether. Do you beat yourself up when that happens? Even though I’m a lapsed Catholic, the guilt remains, so I proceed with the selfflagellation. But you’ve got to have something that keeps you in line. What do you like so much about writing? I have an entrepreneurial spirit, and I love the idea of creating something and putting it out there. I like to see that what I do has an impact – the magazine has an impact, and it’s like “I did that – I came up with that story, I picked those writers.” The great thing about working with Bernie is that we have the same sensibility of how we perceive Cape May. He gives me a great deal of autonomy, and he also reins me in when necessary. It’s a nice symbiosis. Of course, when you’re putting things out there, you also suffer the burden of it failing. For me, failure is not an option. And even if you do fail, you succeed. Sometimes the best thing in the world is to fail, because you take that lesson, and you move on. exit zero
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my perfect day DOREEN TALLEY, CAPE MAY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Cool days, cool Cape May nights
IVING off the island, my morning starts with a drive into Cape May, and my first stop is Higher Grounds. Depending upon my mood, either a chai latte or a coffee starts my day, which I’ll sip while sitting quietly looking out over the ocean, breathing in the salt air and enjoying the coolness of the morning. I stroll around town in and out of the shops I call my hidden treasures, which aren’t hidden at all, but which cover every nook and cranny of Cape Island – stores like Out of the Past Antiques make me feel like I’m inside my grandparents’ house back in Bucks County, PA. When I need a gift I can always find one either at The Bird House of Cape May or Madame’s Port. When shopping for myself, I make a beeline to Good Scents, Whale’s Tale or my
new favorite, the West End Garage. After such an exhausting shopping spree, it’s time for a mid-morning massage, manicure, and pedicure at Accent on Beauty, otherwise known as a couple hours of bliss. I followed that up with some more relaxing at Sunset Beach. I stop in at the rock shop to see what new gems or crystals have arrived, and always end up leaving with at least one or two new stones. I then pick my patch of sand and watch dolphins in the waves, surf fishers casting their lines and, of course, the ferry making its way over to Lewes, Delaware and back. Then it’s off to town to meet for a late lunch at Cabanas. We sit by the window as we eat, watching the world go by, and then trek across the street for a couple of mean games of skee ball. If I happen to be winexit zero
playing to win “Many vacationing kids benefit from my competitive nature, since it usually ends as a series of the best of five and I always give my skee ball tickets away,” says Doreen Talley. Aleksey Moryakov
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ning, it is the best of three games. If I’m losing, it becomes the best of five. Many vacationing kids benefit from my competitive nature, since it usually ends as a series of the best of five and I always give my skee ball tickets away. Back into the light of day, we stroll along the promenade, discussing skee ball strategy and how I plan to win my next round. I head home for a late afternoon nap, and then it’s back to Cape May for the evening, starting with finding a parking spot along Beach Avenue! First stop is Martini Beach for a pitcher of sangria, while waiting for our non-reservation reservation at George’s. After a delightful dinner, I end my perfect day the way it started, by once again looking out over the ocean, gazing at the moon and stars above, and enjoying the coolness of the Cape May night.
The Cape May Crossword SO YOU love crosswords and you love Cape May? Great. Sit down, get a cup (or glass) of your favorite beverage, relax and enjoy this puzzle. The answers to this crossword are all related to the theme of fishing. The solution can be found on our website, www.exitzero. us. Puzzle compiled by Dan Mathers. ACROSS 3. Sport fishermen will be happy to know that this fish, one you’d typically have to head to Venezuela to catch, have been biting big time off the coast of Cape May. 6. We say “hello.” They say “bonjour.”We say “goodbye.” They say “au revoir.” We say “fish” they say “_______.” 7. This is a popular game fish with a name that could be used to describe a bad day. 9. T his fish, which looks more like a reptile, can live in freshwater, brackish water or saltwater and migrates to the middle of the Atlantic to spawn. 10. This popular pet can outlive your cats and dogs – the oldest recorded one lived to be 43 years old. 11 . You can have a flock of seagulls, a herd of cow, a pack of wolves, a pride of lions and a ______ of fish. 12. This small fish, commonly used as bait, has a name that sounds quite similar to the past tense of one of the five senses. 15. Fish are an excellent source for these unsaturated, essential fatty acids, that will boost your immune system and may even have possible anti-cancer effects.
16. Standing on the edge of the ocean with your rod and reel and casting out into the waves of the Atlantic is known as this type of fishing. 17. This type of lure draws its name from having an uncanny resemblance to this common kind of cutlery. 19. This is the proper name for the fish drawn with two arcs and used as a symbol for Christianty. In Greek the word means fish. 20. We commonly use the word vegetarian to describe someone who doesn’t eat meat. This word is used to describe someone who builds their entire diet around fish. 21. This type of fishing involves swimming in the river, sticking your legs into holes on the bank of the river, and hoping a catfish will latch on. DOWN 1. This is the name commonly used to refer to the type of bass that is commonly caught off the coasts of Cape May. 2 . Fish can swallow air or burp it out of this organ to adjust their buoyancy.
Sometimes it’s not about the catch... see 16 Across
4. As clearly indicated by her attire, the waittress on the cover of this issue works at this exit zero
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famous Cape May restaurant. 5. This word is used to describe the small houses set up on the lakes of New Englad and used by people who go ice fishing. 7. We usually imagine some remote tribe of indigenous people when we use this word, but because fish eat other fish, they are this. 8. You can take a tour of this place on the harbor and find out how your seafood gets from the boat to your plate. 10. Fish need oxygen and this organ is essential in allowing them to live underwater. 12 . Several species of this bony fish are harvested for their roe, which is then made into caviar. 13. Let’s hope a giant version of this type of shark doesn’t terrorize the coast of Cape May or our fishermen are going to need a bigger boat. 14 . Despite its name, this fish is a docile filter feeder and is the larger living species of fish. 17 . This species of fish is a close relative of the ray. It has rough, sandpaper-like skin and can be caught off the coast of Cape May. 18. Fish lack this sense.
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exit zero iii
"A sprightly sheet full of sprays of the old ocean."