EXIT ZERO AUGUST 2012 « $4.95
the wine bar
Exceptional Cuisine in a Relaxed Atmosphere Highest Zagat Rating in Southern New Jersey Voted One of the Top 100 Restaurants in the Country by Open Table Early Dinner $24 Three Course Menu
Vote New Jersey Monthly 2011 Best Wine Bar Enjoy Dinner and Small Plates at the Bar from $10 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” Breakfast everyday Memorial day till Labor day • 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
contents august 2012 FEATURES
going out this summer 9 The events and happenings you need to know about
the tipping point 14 The ultimate etiquette guide to Cape Island
the great food & drink guide 25-33 Wondering where to eat in Cape May? Look here first.
horse play 40 A local history of our four-legged friends
stepping up 52 An amazing new show hits Cape May Stage
an unconventional life 60 An oral history of that big building on the beachfront
grassoâ€™s great new show 76 Artist Victor Grasso is set to blow SOMA away
the perfect time to watch 99 Pete Dunne on the wonders of bird-watching
a wild time 108 The A-Z of Cape May County Park and Zoo
the ghosts of the macomber 116 Whatâ€™s the story behind The Growler and The Trunk Lady?
27 questions for... jack wright 137 Everything you needed to know about Exit Zero!
cover painting by victor grasso 52
REGULARS a chat with julie menz 35 my perfect day honna riccio 86 tony herr 133 steve white 143 arts coverage cape may stage 52 soma newart gallery 76 gail pierson gallery 89 east lynne theater 93 puzzle time cape may crossword 144
about us editor & publisher Jack Wright email@example.com
advertising manager Jason Black firstname.lastname@example.org staff writers Kate Chadwick email@example.com Diane Stopyra firstname.lastname@example.org creative consultant Victor Grasso
Visiting CAPE MAY and leaving us off your itinerary would be like visiting PARIS... and skipping the EIFFEL TOWER!
historical editor Ben Miller email@example.com photographers Aleksey Moryakov, Sandy Maloney, Gabi Urda graphic artist Doree Bardes contributing writers Catherine Dugan, David Gray, Terry O’Brien 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 president Jack Wright vice-president Jason Black
The Lobster House Fisherman’s Wharf, Cape May (609) 884-8296 www.thelobsterhouse.com
tennis ball supervisor April Wright fluffy toy supervisor Friday Wright mouse supervisor Pascal Wright canine supervisor Begley Wright chief whiner Rudy Stopyra
Unchanging. Quintessential. Classic.
The BEST Live Entertainment in Town!
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and My Space to see who is playing live tonight!
426 WASHINGTON STREET MALL, CAPE MAY • « (609) 884-3459
“BEST AMERICAN” and “TOP 25 RESTAURANTS IN THE STATE” New Jersey Monthly, 2008
Open Seven Days Serving Dinner
oceanfront porch dining available
Beach Avenue & Howard Street at the
H o t e l M a c o mb e r
609 884 8811 www.unionparkdiningroom.com
4 August 2012
READY TO RESURFACE Wildwood Crest-based photographer Frank Weiss took this stunning shot of Victor Grasso for our story on page 76. Victor’s new show at SOMA, which opens August 6, includes the cover of this issue, a portrait of Exit Zero’s Jack Wright.
E HAVE featured a good number of locals on the covers of our special color issues over the past couple years. There was Alicia Grasso, who happens to be the beautiful wife of our cover artist Victor Grasso. Actually, Alicia has appeared on three covers. Then there was businesswoman Julie Menz (who is featured on page 35 of this issue), lawyer and actor Parker Smith, businessman Duck Menz, beach tag collector and retired vet Rich Nowakowski, student Bela Lotozo. Victor has appeared on one of his covers, too. Still, I felt leery of appearing on the cover of my own magazine, since it’s kinda, you know, an egotastic thing to do. But that was what Victor Grasso wanted, and we usually try and give him what he wants because, in return, he gives us incredible images to grace the covers of our magazines. Victor’s hyper-real paintings, in case you hadn’t noticed, contain details that blow your mind. Look again at the cover — the Exit Zero coffee cup, the pencil sharpener, the typewriter (I don’t actually use one for work, but I do have a nice collection). I’ve said it before and I will say it again, and again... the boy’s a genius. Since my big, fat face is on the cover, we also decided to do an interview with me about the origins of Exit Zero (page 137). I am often asked how the magazine came to be, and how I came by the funny accent. So regard this as an FAQ on Exit Zero Publishing. Next time you see me at the Brown Room, you won’t have to bug me with your silly questions, right? The cover painting will be a small part of what promises to be a spectacular show of Victor Grasso’s work at SOMA NewArt Gallery. The opening reception will be on Saturday, August 4, from 6-9pm, and the work will be on display through September 3. You can enjoy a sneak preview of the show on page 76, along with a display of the talent of local photographer, Frank Weiss, who was recommended to us by Victor. Frank’s portraits of Victor are stunning. Enjoy the issue. Hope to see you at Victor’s show. Jack Wright Editor/Publisher exit zero
5 August 2012
6 August 2012
7 August 2012
Everything about this restaurant was superb!
Not only do you have a fabulous view of the beautiful Cape May beach, but the food and service was top notch.
We will definitely be back! –Open Table
26 Food 27 Decor 26 Service
1301 Beach Avenue • 609.884.9090 • petershieldsinn.com
3/23/12 7:29 AM
8 August 2012
$30 per person and limited to 50 people. Sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). Call 609-884-5404 or visit capemaymac. org.
August 1 80TH QUEEN MAYSEA CORONATION Bet you didn’t know Cape May is a monarchy. Support her highness has she takes the throne at 7pm at Cape May Elementary. Call (609)884-9565. August 1 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. The event is being held from 9am to 2pm. There is free admission to activities on the grounds. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information, call 609-884-5404 or 800-2754278 or visit www.capemaymac.org. August 2 FULL MOON GHOST HUNT WITH GHOST-ONE Ghost-One, a paranormal research team based in Pennsylvania, has done extensive investigations and is hosting
August 3 80TH ANNUAL BABY PARADE If you’re a sucker for cute things — or if you still use a sucker — you should probably turn up for the baby parade, starting at 11am on Beach Avenue. There is live music, and the adorableness factor of the participants, on a scale of 1 to 10, is about a 12.3.
babies at the beach The 80th Annual Cape May Baby Parade will be held on Beach Avenue on Saturday morning, August 3. Aleksey Moryakov
a full moon ghost hunt at 7:30pm at Cape May’s original haunted house, the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street. Enter the haunted Physick Estate with a member of Ghost-One. Try your hand at some of their investigating tools and do EVP readings as you explore different rooms inside the mansion. Afterwards, return to the Carriage House for dessert and to discuss your findings. Tickets are
9 August 2012
August 3 SAND SCULPTURE CONTEST Dig this! These aren’t your run-of-themill drip castles. Watch ametuer sand sculptors create masterpieces, and then vote on your favorites. Starts at 9am on 2nd Avenue Beach. August 3 LUNCH WITH THE PIRATES Ahoy mateys! Lads, lasses, buccaneers and landlubbers are invited to the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, for a pirate-themed lunch experience. You’ll exclaim, “Shiver me timbers!”
as pirates invade the patio tent and take over the show. $18 for adults, $10 for children (ages 3-12). Price includes lunch. Starts at 11:30am. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information, call 609-884-5404 or 800-2754278 or visit www.capemaymac.org. August 5 TEDDY BEAR TEA PARTY BYOB: Bring your own bear (or dolly). Teddy Bear Tea Parties at the Emlen Physick Estate feature kid-friendly 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 Teddy Bear Tea attendees as well as providing a goody bag. Starts at noon, $18 for adults; $10 for children (ages 3-12). 1048 Washington Street. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information or to make reservations, call 609884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac. org August 7 NATIONAL NIGHT OUT Fun for the whole family is guaranteed
FAMILY FUN NIGHT Opposite page: Wmie and Paxton Scott at the annual National Night Out, which will be held at the Cape May Elementary playing fields on Tuesday, August 7. Aleksey Moryakov
at this event, meant to raise community spirit and awareness about local police programs. Starts at 6pm, on the Cape May Elementary fields. Call (609) 8849565. August 7 NATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE DAY AT THE CAPE MAY LIGHTHOUSE Enjoy a pirate invasion and family activities at the base of the lighthouse including pirate-hat making, games, music and craft vendors. From 9am to 2pm. Free admission to activities on the grounds. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information, call 609-884-5404 or 800275-4278 or visit www.capemaymac. org. August 8-11 US LIFEGUARD ASSOCIATION NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS Watch as 1,000 current, former and junior lifeguards compete through speed, agility and strategy using techniques common to lifesaving. Approximately 1,500 hotel rooms will be booked for the event, which is saying something! Call 609-884-9520.
Down-home cooking... with a terrific view!
August 10 CAPE MAY WOMEN’S CLUB PEACH FESTIVAL Enjoy cobblers, cakes, pies and ice cream made with the sweet fruit, or peruse the crafts, books, plants, toys and jewelry for sale… we think that’s just peachy! Check it out between 9am and 2pm at Star of the Sea School. Call (609) 884-9565 for more information. August 10 LUNCH WITH THE PIRATES Ahoy mateys! Lads, lasses, buccaneers and landlubbers are invited to the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, for a pirate-themed lunch experience. You’ll exclaim, “Shiver me timbers!” as pirates invade the patio tent and take over the show. $18 for adults, $10 for children (ages 3-12). Price includes lunch. Starts at 11:30am. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit www.capemaymac.org. August 11-12 35TH PROMENADE CRAFT SHOW Take in that beautiful boardwalk view
on Broadway Chef Geoff Johnson has appearded on Rocco’s Dinner Party on...
and also on My Big Redneck Vacation on Country Music Television (CMT)
ADULT CONTEMPORARY CUISINE Dinner from 5PM
Open 10-10 everyday
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Beach Avenue & Grant Street, Cape May • 884-3772 exit zero
416 S. Broadway, West Cape May, 609-898-1555
10 August 2012
while you browse artsy goodies made by local artisans. From 10-5pm.
lore and legend, including information on fishing, spawning grounds and more. Includes complimentary continental breakfast in the morning and a lavish buffet lunch. A cash bar is available. From 10am to 5pm, tickets $99. Sponsored by Cape May Whale Watcher and the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). Call 609-884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org.
August 17 LUNCH WITH THE PIRATES Ahoy mateys! Lads, lasses, buccaneers and landlubbers are invited to the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, for a pirate-themed lunch experience. You’ll exclaim, “Shiver me timbers!” as pirates invade the patio tent and take over the show. $18 for adults, $10 for children (ages 3-12). Price includes lunch. Starts at 11:30am. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information, call 609-884-5404 or 800-2754278 or visit www.capemaymac.org.
August 19-24 MID-ATLANTIC $500,000 FISHING TOURNAMENT Twenty-one years ago, this event was called the “mother of all Marlin tournaments,” and that still holds true. Call (609) 884-2400.
August 18 DELAWARE BAY LIGHTHOUSE ADVENTURE Come aboard the newly redesigned Cape May Whale Watcher or the new Spirit of Cape May to view and photograph historic lighthouses of the late 19th and early part of the 20th centuries. Most of these lighthouses stand on pedestals out of sight of land and are still operational. Each cruise also includes narration on Delaware Bay
August 19 TEDDY BEAR TEA PARTY BYOB: Bring your own bear (or dolly). Teddy Bear Tea Parties at the Emlen Physick Estate feature kid-friendly 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 Teddy Bear Tea attendees as well as providing a goody bag. Starts at noon,
11 August 2012
$18 for adults; $10 for children (ages 3-12). Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information or to make reservations, call 609-884-5404 or 800275-4278 or visit the organization online at www.capemaymac.org.
In a Victorian town... a stylish, modern twist. Latin nights on Fridays. We’ll surprise you Saturday night. Chill at our poolside Tiki bar. Let us stage your wedding or event in style. Redefining the luxury Cape May experience...
August 24 LUNCH WITH THE PIRATES Ahoy mateys! Lads, lasses, buccaneers and landlubbers are invited to the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, for a piratethemed lunch experience. You’ll exclaim, “Shiver me timbers!” as pirates invade the patio tent and take over the show. $18 for adults, $10 for children (ages 3-12). Price includes lunch. Starts at 11:30am. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information, call 609-884-5404 or 800-2754278 or visit the organization online at www.capemaymac.org. August 31 JUNIOR CLAMSHELL PITCHING TOURNAMENT And you thought clams were only for eating! Check out Windsor Beach for this tournament, which brings out the kid in us all. And remember, this is not BYOC… the clams are provided for you!
OCEAN CLUB HOTEL
1035 Beach Avenue, Cape May NJ 08204 capemayoceanclubhotel.com 609.884.7000
August 31 FULL MOON GHOST HUNT WITH GHOST-ONE Ghost-One, a paranormal research team based in Pennsylvania, has done extensive investigations and is hosting a full moon ghost hunt on Friday, August 31 at 7:30 pm at Cape May’s original haunted house, the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street. Enter the haunted Physick Estate with a member of GhostOne. Try your hand at some of their investigating tools and do EVP readings as you explore different rooms inside the mansion. Afterwards, return to the Carriage House for dessert and to discuss your findings. Tickets are $30 per person and the event is limited to 50 people. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). Call 609-884-5404 or 800-2754278 or visit the organization
12 August 2012
online at www.capemaymac.org. August 31 LUNCH WITH THE PIRATES Ahoy mateys! Lads, lasses, buccaneers and landlubbers are invited to the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, for a piratethemed lunch experience. You’ll exclaim, “Shiver me timbers!” as pirates invade the patio tent and take over the show. $18 for adults, $10 for children (ages 3-12). Price includes lunch. Starts at 11:30am. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information, call (609) 884-5404 or 800-2754278 or visit www.capemaymac. org. September 1 WEST CAPE MAY TOMATO FESTIVAL You say tomato, we say… go to the tomato festival! Tomatoes are one of Jersey’s finest exports, after all. Plus, it’s held in Wilbraham Park, which is just a lovely place to be. September 1-2 20TH SUMMER SEND-OFF CRAFT SHOW It’s already September, which means Autumn isn’t far off, which is nothing short of depressing for beach lovers across the city. But here’s something to raise your spirits. Soak up the sun (because summer’s not over yet!) along the boardwalk from 10 to 5pm, and browse goodies made by some seriously talented craftsmen. September 8 PET PARADE If this doesn’t make your day, you are a zombie and that’s all there is to it. Watch as furry creatures — one cuter than the next — make their way through town, or enter a pooch of your own. Registration begins at 10am at Kiwanis Park. September 8-9 MALL ART SHOW Whether you’re one of those cultured people who enjoys fabulous art, or you’re of those folks who pretends to be, you’ll want to make an appearance at the Washington Street Mall between 10 and 5pm. Call (609) 884-8628.
Voted “Best Crab Cakes” by SJ Magazine
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FISH & FANCY
SEAFOOD TAKE-OUT “The Local’s Favorite”
(609) 886-8760 • www.fishandfancy.com
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13 August 2012
CONFUSED OR FRUSTRATED OVER HOW MUCH TO TIP THE BARTENDER, THE BELLHOP OR THE VALET? WE CONSULTED THE EXPERTS, AND THE SOURCES, TO BRING YOU THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS ON THE CAPE. Story by DIANE STOPYRA Photography by ASHLEY MIDDLETON
OU come to Cape May to relax, so it’s easy to forget that while you’re here, you’ll be navigating an etiquette minefield. The sweat beading on the back of your neck? That’s because you’re keeping a busy bellhop waiting while you fumble through your wallet, realizing you haven’t got the slightest idea how much to cough up. Those eyes you’re getting from the bartender? It may be that she wants your number. Or it may be that your boob of a friend left a three percent tip when he closed your tab. It’s a tradition that’s been around since the 17th century, yet we haven’t exactly got tipping pinned down. Even Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook and one of America’s youngest billionaires, has come under fire for his ittybitty gratuities. (Although, in all fairness, he was traveling overseas at the time, where tipping is a different beast.) But what’s the excuse of Sean Penn, Britney Spears, and Billy Joel, who’ve also been called below average tippers? Here on American soil, says Daniel Post Senning, a great-great grandson of Emily Post and co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition, tipping is “a part of the social contract, indicative of generosity of spirit and good manners.” And, at least until we establish minimum wage laws that
protect service industry workers, it’s also a “firm expectation.” It is widely believed that TIP is an acronym for “To Ensure Prompt Service,” but that’s an urban myth (never mind the fact that the initial letters don’t make sense). The word began as a verb long before acronyms became popular. The practice of tipping began in Europe, when customers would toss coins, or “drink money,” at servers as a way to quell their envy and invite them to share in the fun. American visitors brought
at your service Above: Desiree Hartman is a hostess at The Lobster House. Below: Pete Del Santo is a valet at the Virginia Hotel, and that’s the photographer’s car he’s perched on — not a customer’s!
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the tradition back with them just after the Civil War in order to show off their travel savviness, but the custom wasn’t exactly warmly received. A movement against tipping began in the 1890s, and an organization called the Anti-Tipping Society of America, which pledged not to tip anyone for a year, grew to be 100,000 strong. The New York Times denounced tipping as “a hangover of Old World flunkeyism,” while the Itching Palm — a popular manifesto of the time — called it “the price that one American is willing to pay to induce another American to acknowledge inferiority.” But the idea that tipping was a vile first step toward an aristocratic society didn’t take hold. Six states did succeed in passing anti-tipping legislation, some that labeled soliciting or receiving a tip a misdemeanor, but the laws were seldom enforced. The anti-tippers realized they were fighting a losing battle, and eventually even Samuel Gompers, a leader in the movement, admitted he couldn’t help but “follow the usual custom.” Today, Americans shell out $66 billion in tips each year to the nearly five million Americans whose livelihoods depend on them — and to some whose livelihoods don’t. Who, when, and how much are questions not always easily answered. To take some of the guesswork out of your vacation, we’ve put together a guide to tipping on Cape Island. Because, as the saying goes, tipping
17 August 2012
baggage handler John Salzman is a bellhop at the Ocean Club Hotel — Tony Buckley was unavailable to be photographed
is not just a city in China.
609-884-4800 At the corner of Beach Ave. & Decatur Street www.CabanasOnTheBeach.com www.facebook.com/CabanasOnTheBeach
The Server We caught up with Theresa Senico, Ebbitt Room server of 17 years, who’s been doing this job long enough to have seen it all. “I’ve gotten the ‘Jesus Loves You’ pamphlets in lieu of cash,” she told us. “And some guests have left something meaningful in place of a tip, like a coin they tell me has sentimental value.” Others have stiffed her altogether. “Back in the fall, I forgot one dinner for one party, and we did everything we could to make up for it. We apologized profusely, had the meal made as quickly as possible, and took $100 off of the check, but they told me I’d ruined the occasion, which was a birthday celebration, and they left me no money.” An experience like this, Theresa says, is like a bad relation-
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ship. “Eventually, you get over it, but it can shake your foundation for a few days, and make you question yourself.” The important thing to remember, she says, is that your server is only human. “If he or she is goofing off, that’s one thing. If she’s genuinely trying and having an off day, that’s another. Most people still get a paycheck when they have an off day, and it’s important that a server does, too. For many in the restaurant industry, tips are how they feed themselves and clothe their families.” And, in most restaurants, where the server is responsible for tipping out the bartender, busser, food runner, and sometimes the hostess, it’s important to remember that stiffing one, often means stiffing all. While Theresa appreciates overly generous gratuities
19 August 2012
(like the $500 she once received on a $2,000 dinner) she says this isn’t necessary either. “We just want to be treated fairly,” she says, “not excessive in either direction.” Expert Verdict: Fifteen years ago, Daniel Post-Senning explained, this meant leaving 10 to 20 percent. “But I advise 15 to 20 now,” he says. “We don’t guarantee a living wage for servers.” Meaning? Your waitress might be earning $2.15 an hour and a paycheck that’s been entirely voided by taxes. For this reason, no matter how terrible your service, it’s important never to go below 10%. “If there’s ever an experience where your service is atrocious, handle it by talking to management. Sometimes, the fault is with the kitchen or perhaps someone was seating patrons where they shouldn’t have been.” And yes, if you order the $500 bottle of wine, you should tip on that, too. “The line of thinking is that if you can afford to buy it, you can afford to tip on it.” As for tax? “You’re not expected to tip on that,” Senning says. “But having said that, I rarely take the time to deduct the cost of it.” Finally, don’t be afraid to voice your
“I was trying to pull a minivan through a really tight area coming out of Beach Avenue. I was trying not to squish some flower beds, so I got too close to another truck and put a big scratch along the passenger side door. They still tipped me $3.”
opinion, if your stingy future in-laws are the ones signing the bill. “You don’t want to embarrass them, so if you can, discreetly add some more of your own money until there’s a tip on the table that upholds the social contract. Or else, don’t be afraid to open a discussion about it. Conversations about money should be honest and candid.” The Valet Pete Dal Santo is good at his job — parking cars. You have to be in order to work at the Virginia Hotel on Jackson Street, where valet service is complementary, and far more popular than the other option — finding and paying for a metered spot. But this doesn’t mean he hasn’t had a few bad days. “It was my second day of work when I was trying to pull a minivan through a really tight area coming out of a Beach Avenue parking lot. I was trying not to squish some flower beds, so I got too close to another truck and put a big scratch along the passenger side door. I managed to not get fired, and the owners of the minivan were really nice about it; they still tipped me $3.” Which, Pete says, isn’t too far
CLIPPER SHIP PUB
SERVING DINNER FROM 5PM EARLY DINNER SPECIALS 5-6pm 1/2 PRICE RAW BAR ITEMS 5-6pm in the Pub Only Affordable Pub Menu
Reservations: 609-884-5878 991 Ocean Drive, Cape May www.blueclawrestaurant.com
20 August 2012
from average — he gets anywhere from $1 to $10 per car on a given night, the most common tip being $5. He doesn’t expect more if the weather is atrocious, although his record night came during a thunderstorm when he spent the entire evening soaking wet. “The hotel kept sending me to the laundry area to dry my clothes, so I wouldn’t ruin car interiors, so the extra money was definitely appreciated.” And Pete doesn’t expect extra cash if your car is gross inside — unless it has “that I-just worked-out-and-leftmy-shoes-baking-in-the-sun-in-myvehicle kind of smell.” Expert Verdict: “I would definitely give a valet at least a couple of dollars,” says etiquette expert Keri White of TheSocialGrace.com. “It’s appropriate to give it at the end of the night, when your car is being picked up. And, no, I would not feel obligated to leave more if it were raining. Although, this is generous, and it’s always better to err on the side of generosity.” The Busboy No, it’s not technically your job to tip your bus person… the money to supple-
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Serving Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Our On The Go Menu From 7:30am till 2:30pm General Store and Small Bites 7:30am To 8:30pm
7 Ocean Street at the Inn of Cape May 609.884.5555 | www.innofcapemay.com
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21 August 2012
ment the (voided) paycheck of, say, Logan Fellows — a busser at Lucky Bones — comes from three percent of each server’s gross sales. But sometimes, Logan says, he’s doing more than his job calls for, so a little extra cash is always appreciated. “If the waitress is busy, I pick up the slack,” he said. Meaning? You won’t be waiting for ketchup or an extra napkin, even when your server is slammed. Some people also tip the busser if their little rugrats happen to make macaroni and cheese sculptures all over the restaurant, Logan says. “Everyone’s kids make a mess, that’s to be expected. But sometimes, it’s just ridiculous.” But whatever you do, don’t give the guy a stone. A rock for a tip? “It happens,” Logan says. Expert Weigh-In: “I’ve actually never seen anyone tip a bus person,” says White. “But I don’t think it’s a bad idea, if he’s gone above and beyond, to slip him ten dollars.” The Bartender Katie Repici has been slinging drinks for nearly five years, most recently at the Rusty Nail. She can tell you stories about the time she waited on a pirate
center of attention Logan Fellows is a busboy at Lucky Bones restaurant
(“He said ‘Arghhh’ and everything; it was very entertaining”), the adventures she’s had flagging drunk people (“Sometimes, they’re triple my size, and they act like they’re going to jump over the bar and hit me”), or the time a group of men walked out on their $70 tab (“When I
went outside to bring them their food, I realized they had bailed, and the policy at that restaurant was that it would come out of my pocket”). So with all of the hassle that comes with dealing with a tipsy public, what should you be leaving your barkeep? “Typically a dollar per
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22 August 2012
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3704 BAYSHORE ROAD
Green Street Market Natural Health & Gourmet
Open Daily for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (609) 884-9119 322 Washington Street Mall, Cape May www.tishasfinedining.com
Local & Organic Produce & Cheeses Local Organic Grass Fed Meats Free Range Organic Poultry Gluten Free, Vegan, Raw Vitamins and Supplements
OPEN 7 DAYS 3167 RT. 9 SOUTH RIO GRANDE NJ 08242 (NEXT TO AVALON COFFEE) 609-463-0606 www.greenstreetmarket.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org
23 August 2012
drink,” Katie says. “That’s protocol.” But the most important thing? “Have your cash in hand (if you’re not opening a tab), know what you want, and remember that verbal tips don’t count.” Expert Weigh-In: “A dollar a drink is fine in most situations,” says Senning, “but if you’re ordering, say, the fanciest new cocktail with Angosturo bitters that were shipped in from Jamaica, then you should consider leaving more.” And if you’re only drinking water? “Pay attention to the situation. A tip is not expected, but if it’s a busy bar where the bartender’s time is very valuable, this is a good opportunity to show your thanks.” But don’t be compelled to over-thank, Senning says, if you’ve enjoyed a few drinks on the house. Always tip on what the bill would have been, prior to any discounts, but don’t feel obligated to leave more than that. (“That’s not what a bartender is looking for when he comps a beer,” Katie explains. “He’s trying to save you money.”)
“People want to be front row, but it’s first-come, first-served. They try bribing us with money, and we do everything we can. But if there are no spots, it can put us in an awkward position. People get pretty upset.”
on the beach in front of Congress Hall. Like most restaurant servers, he makes less than minimum wage, a salary that’s supplemented with tips. “For a party of two,” he says, “five dollars is typical. For larger parties, it usually ranges from $10 to $20, though I’ve gotten everything from nothing to $100.” But there are situations where a gratuity just isn’t worth it. “People want to be front row,” he says, “but it’s first-come, first-served. They try bribing us with money, and we do everything we can. But if there are no spots, it can put us in an awkward position. People get pretty upset.” Expert Weigh-In: Etiquette specialist and teacher Rebecca Black says that two dollars per action for a beach server is the norm, including the beach servers who are bringing you your sandwich or drink. “Pool attendants are the tricky ones,” she says. “It is best to request information about pool and recreational activities and fees when booking the room.” The Bellhop Tony Buckley, who’s worked at The Ocean Club Hotel since last summer, knows that transporting bags is tougher
The Beach Servers Dusty Morris is in charge of providing guests with umbrellas and chairs
Oyster Bay STEAKS
than it looks. “There’s an art to stacking them so that they don’t fall off of the cart,” he says, “which is itself a difficult thing to navigate, especially when moving on to ramps or elevators.” And people can be a bit touchy when their luggage takes a spill. “I was once tasked with caring for Louis Vuitton bags that cost somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000.” And for all of his troubles? “Someone once tried to give me homemade cider in lieu of a tip when he heard I was from Ireland, but I wasn’t allowed to take it, because of the alcohol.” For those who leave cash, “a bad tip is nothing, a good tip is $4-6, and a good tip is over $10. The best I’ve ever gotten is $30.” Expert Weigh-In: “Two dollars for the first bag, and $1 per additional bag is standard,” says Senning. The Housekeeper Edith Ramos, head housekeeper at the Montreal Inn for the last two years, loves her job. Perhaps it’s because she hasn’t had to clean up vomit from sofa cushions, as she’s had to do at other establishments during her 18-year career. “In that kind of situation,” she
The most unique cafe in Cape May!
A classic copper bar, a great martini list, and modern American cuisine.
ng Servi ic n Orga ade em Hom fast & k Brea Daily! h Lunc Vegan & Vegetarian Friendly
What more could you want?
Organic Fruit Smoothies Iced Coffee & Teas
FIND US ON
FREE WiF i Hot (with Spot purc hase
Pet Friend ly Outdoor Seating
ALL food is vegetarian, vegan, organic, local, made to order and DELICIOUS!
Coffee House & Organic Market
479 West Perry Street West Cape May 884-1131
(609) 884-2111 615 LAFAYETTE STREET, CAPE MAY exit zero
24 August 2012
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
$15-$45 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
ALEATHEA’S 7 Ocean Street, Cape May (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-butelegant bar with access to the oceanfront patio. Check out the antique-filled lobby first.
AVALON COFFEE 7 Gurney St, Cape May, 898-8088 & 3823 Bayshore Rd, N. Cape May (609) 846-0040
Superior coffee that’s always fresh, and healthy food that’s perfect for breakfast and lunch. Firstclass wraps, sandwiches and bagels, along with a good range of smoothies and cold drinks.
$3-$8 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
AXELSSON’S BLUE CLAW 991 Ocean Drive, Cape May (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.
$24-$30 Cards: V, MC, D
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.
$13-$29 Cards: V, MC, AE
BELLA VIDA CAFÉ 406 N. Broadway, West Cape May (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.
B, L, D
$5-$25 Cards: V, MC, D
BEN AND JERRY’S 414 Washington St. 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 and peoplewatch for a spell.
$3-$7 Cards: V, MC, D
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.
$15-$28 Cards: V, MC
THE BLUE PIG TAVERN 251 Beach Avenue, Cape May (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.
B, L, D
$12-$36 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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
BONNIE’S TOPPINGS 315 Ocean Street Cape May www.bonniestoppings.com
The ultimate DIY experience - grab a frozen yogurt and have at the endless array of toppings. For a tasty treat that’s distinctly yours, get to Bonnie’s Toppings.
$2-$6 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
THE BROWN ROOM 251 Beach Avenue, Cape May (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 is cool, and the place just says “classy.”
Bar Menu & Cocktails
Cards: V, MC, AE, D
CABANAS 429 Beach Avenue, Cape May (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 BAKERS 482 W. Perry Street, Cape May (609) 884-7454 www.capemaybakers.com
At the same location since 1979, Cape May Bakers has fine pastries, gourmet desserts and cakes for all occasions. Great daily specials!
CAPE MAY OLIVE OIL COMPANY 324 Carpenter’s Lane Cape May 800-584-1887
This new spot features 20 different varieties of olive oils and balsamic vinegars, pastas, spreads, jams, mustards, infused salts and sugars, and much more.
Olive Oils and More
Please call for info
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25 August 2012
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Great food, great drinks and great music...
Paradise found... Good Food Friendly Atmosphere Waterfront Dining Awesome Sunsets! Serving Lunch & Dinner Daily Live Music Nightly Free Parking
...are always guaranteed.
106 Decatur Street @ Columbia Avenue Cape May
91 Beach Drive, North Cape May
(609) 886-5529 www.harpoonhenrys.net
(609) 884-8363 www.merioninn.com
26 August 2012
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?
Health Food Store
Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$5-$27 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$12-$19 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$12-$19 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
CAPE MAY ORGANIC MARKET 120 Park Boulevard West Cape May (609) 884-3200
New to the Cape May scene this year, Cape May Organic is already a favorite, with a great selection of organic necessities, and an emphasis on “fresh” and “local.”
CAPE MAY WINERY 711 Townbank Road, Cape May (609) 884-1169 www.capemaywinery.com
This beautiful winery is open daily. Make a reservation to take an informative tour ofthe winery – just call for more information and their current tour hours.
CAPE ORIENT 315 Ocean Street, Cape May (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.
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.
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
CORINTHIAN YACHT CLUB 1819 Delaware Avenue (609) 884-8000 www.cyccm.com
For a truly unforgettable wedding experience — or any big event, for that matter, check out the Corinthian Yacht Club. Harbor view plus excellent cuisine equals obvious choice.
Special Event Venue
Please call for more info
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-butcasual surroundings.
$12-$29 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
C-VIEW INN Texas & Washington Avenues 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
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!
$26-$33 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
ELLIE’S BAKERY 301 North Broadway, West Cape May (609) 884-4007
A from-scratch, small-batch bakery that uses only real and fresh ingredients in all their decadent baked goods, Ellie’s is a sweet tooth’s best friend.
$1-$30 Cards: V, MC
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.
$5-$19 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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.
$25-$37 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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.
$18-$29 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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LITTLE ITALY II RISTORANTE
Home-cooked food that satisfies your family and your wallet! Monday Prime Rib Night Tuesday Pizza Night
Large 2 Topping Pizza $10.99 + tax
Wednesday Fish & Chips Night All-You-Can-Eat $9.95 + tax
Thursday Pasta Night All-You-Can-Eat $9.95 + tax
Early Bird Special... Complimentary Glass of Wine with each Early Bird Dinner. Available Sunday thru Friday from 3:30-5:30
3704 Bayshore Road, North Cape May (Cape Plaza Shopping Center) • (609) 889-6610 RAISING THE BAR Kate Repici dispenses ice-cold beer, and other treats, behind the bar of the Rusty Nail
A Local Café with ... a Wholesome Aroma BREAKFAST 7 ‘TIL 2:30 LUNCH 11:30-2:30PM SAT & SUN 7-3 DINNER FROM 5PM Fresh Fruit Smoothies & Juices Vegetarian & Gluten-Free Friendly • Family Affordable Take-Out • Outdoor Seating & Doggie-Friendly Dining Fair Trade Organic Costa Rican Coffee Fresh Pressed Carrot Juice Hottest Hotcakes Homemade Soups Signature Sandwiches Veggie Delights
Breakfast Burritos Multigrain Waffles Sweet Potato Pancakes Sensational Salads Bella ½-pound Burgers Dynamic Dinners
406 N. Broadway, West Cape May 609.884.6332 • www.bellavidacafe.com
said, “I think it’s a good idea to leave a little bit more than you would normally.” She says $2-3 per day, or $10 for a week is typical, although the chambermaids on her staff have received up to $25. “Leave the tip in the envelope that is provided if it’s not checkout day,” she says, “otherwise the girls aren’t allowed to take it, even if it’s deliberately left on the pillow for them.” Expert Weigh-In: “At some bed and breakfasts, it will be the owner who is cleaning your room,” says Senning. “It used to be the case that owners weren’t tipped, but this isn’t always true anymore. Asking management is always a great course of action.” If they give you the green light, $2 to $5 per day is recommended. The Hostess It happens every year: your heart is set on a certain restaurant, your stomach is growling, but the
28 August 2012
line to get in is out the door. This is often the case at the Lobster House, where the wait can be pushing two hours on the average summer evening, according to hostess Desiree Hartman. “I’d say about 10 parties a night offer money to get in sooner,” she says. “People have thrown down a hundred-dollar bill before, which definitely puts on the pressure. Honestly, money is of course always appreciated, but I’d rather deal with a pleasant guest who doesn’t tip than a rude, impatient customer who hands over a great deal of money and doesn’t understand that I will get him a table as soon as I possibly can.” Expert Weigh-In: “Tipping is best done discreetly,” says Senning. “If you’re going to tip a hostess, making a show of it is tacky and potentially puts her in an awkward position with other guests.” (“The handshake is a popular way to do it,” explains Desiree, “although
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?
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.
$8-$24 Cards: V, MC
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.
$12-$28 Cards: V, MC
GREEN STREET MARKET 3167 Route 9 South, Rio Grande (609) 463-0606 www.greenstreetmarket.com
A family-owned and operated organic market, committed to providing healthy and fair trade cerftified foods and products. Check out their rewards program.
Health Food Store
Varies Cards: V, MC, D
HARBOR VIEW 954 Ocean Drive (609) 884-5444 www.harborviewcapemay.com
A locals’ favorite for a reason. There’s a Key West vibe, good food, regular entertainment, and the views are spectacular. Spend the day – or night.
B, L, D
$6-$30 Cards: V, MC
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.
$10-$21 Cards: V, MC, D
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.
B, L, D
$8-$24 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
HAWK HAVEN VINEYARD 600 S. Railroad Avenue Rio Grande (609) 846-7347 www.hawkhavenvineyard.com
A hip vibe, relaxed, beautiful setting and superb wines make this winery a must-visit. Open daily from 11am to 7pm. Enjoy wines by the glass and gourmet snacks!
$5-$34 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
HEMINGWAY’S 1045 Beach Avenue (609) 884-5611 www.hemingwayscapemay.com
A relaxed yet elegant island ambience, featuring hand-cut USDA Prime Steaks, classic seafood creations and an outstanding wine selection. At the beachfront Grand Hotel.
B, L, D
$15-$38 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
HIGHER GROUNDS 479 W. Perry St., West Cape May (609) 884-1131 highergroundscapemay.com
The only fair trade coffee house in town, Higher Grounds is also the only organic and vegan cafe in Cape May. It’s a wifi hotspot, and also offers great garden seating.
B, L, D
$5-$15 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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!
$1.40-$4 Cash Only
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.
$13-$26 Cash Only
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.
$5-$12 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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.
$19-$32 Cards: V, MC, AE
THE LOBSTER HOUSE Fisherman’s Wharf, (609) 884-8296 www.thelobsterhouse.com
Take-out, fish market, restaurant, raw bar, breakfast, dinner... The Lobster House has it all. Drinks on the Schooner American before dinner is a lovely experience.
B, L, D
$5-$48.50 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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others will slip it on the desk nonchalantly.”) And if you really want to show your thanks, tip on the way out. The Take-Out Crew “I’m not a server,” says Connor Hynds, who takes care of take-out orders at the Mad Batter. “so I don’t expect 20%. The one time I did get that, I was very surprised.” But Connor does wrap up the food, and bring the bread and utensils. “I only receive tips about 50% of the time, though,” he says. Expert Weigh-In: Ten percent for takeout is standard, says Senning. “And yet, we tend to give more for take-out at a fine dining restaurant than we do for the fries scooped by the girl working the drive-through window at McDonald’s, and it’s not necessarily true that the first scenario requires more work.” This, Senning says, points to a prejudice in our thinking. For this reason, he has started tipping the McDonald’s worker, who is rarely expecting it. “Be prepared for a strange look.” And no matter who you’re tipping, he says, “it’s best to approach it with a spirit of generosity and an open heart.”
“I’m not a server,” says Connor Hyndes, who takes care of take-out at the Mad Battter, “so I don’t expect 20%. The one time I did get that, I was very surprised... I only receive tips about 50% of the time.”
Freshest Ingredients Fantastic Specials Friendly Atmosphere Reservations Recommended 600 Park Boulevard, West Cape May • (609) 884-7660 • www.backstreetcapemaynj.com
30 August 2012
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?
$6-$22 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
For tables of eight or more
B, L, D
$19-$30 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$19-$44 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
$15-$30 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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.
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.
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, Cape May (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 a great vibe.
$18/Mrkt Cards: V, MC, AE, D
MONTREAL LIQUOR STORE Beach and Madison Avenues (609) 884-6114 www.montrealinn.com
Browse their incredible selection of wines from Cape May County and around the world. Liquors, spirits, beers, snacks and beach needs, too. Your cure for Empty Glass Syndrome.
Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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.
B, L, D
$9-$30 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
OYSTER BAY 615 Lafayette Street (609) 884-2111 www.oysterbayrestaurantnj.com
Lovely, airy dining rooms, a beautiful copper-top bar and classic, generous dishes are what you’ll find here. This is the kind of place where people keep returning.
$12-$29 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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.
$22-$39 Cards: V, MC, D
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.
$5-$25 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
THE RED STORE 500 CapeAvenue, Cape May Point (609) 884-5757
Awesome food in a secluded, serene setting. Join them for a scrumptious breakfast, grab a coffee and muffin, or relax on the porch with a delicious lunch.
$5-$15 Cash Only
PRIMO HOAGIES 605 Lafayette Street, Cape May (609) 884-1177 www.primohoagies.com
No need to drive all the way to Philly for an authentic hoagie experience with Primo conveniently located right on Lafayette. It’s not just a hoagie, it’s a Primo.
$6-$20 Cards: V, MC, AE
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.
$13-$29 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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!
B, L, D
$10-$19 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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Fabulous Food, Great Reviews, Exotic Settings
410 BANK STREET and
“O n e
410 BANK STREET
A m e r i c a ’ s T o p R e s tau ra n t s ” — ZAGAT 2012 R e s e rvat i o n s 609.884.2127 w w w .410 b a n k s t r e e t . c o m
V ot e d B e s t I ta l i a n R e s tau ra n t i n S o u t h J e r s e y 412 B a n k S t r e e t , C a p e M ay R e s e rvat i o n s 609.884.0366 w w w .F r e s c o s c a p e m ay . c o m
S e rv i n g D i n n e r N i g h t ly Free Parking exit zero
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
$8-$20 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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SEASALT RESTAURANT 1035 Beach Avenue, Cape May (609) 884-7000 capemayoceanclubhotel.com
Whether you want to salsa on Latin night or chill poolside at the Tiki Bar, have a fabulous meal or book a spectacular event, it’s SeaSalt Restaurant at the Ocean Club.
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.
B, L, D
$4-$12 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
SUNSET LIQUORS 106 Sunset Boulevard West Cape May (609) 435-5052
A new liquor store in town - definitely a welcome addition. Beer, wine, spirits, snacks, ice and free parking, and open daily. What’s not to love about that?
Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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!
B, L, D
$18-$35 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
TOMMY’S FOLLY COFFEE 251 Beach Avenue, Cape May (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.
$2-$5 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
TURDO VINEYARDS & WINERY 3911 Bayshore Road, N. Cape May (609) 884-5591 www.turdovineyards.com
Turdo is a family-run, award-winning vineyard and winery, which is also the only one in New Jersey that is run on 100% solar energy. See what all the buzz is about.
$15-$31 Cards: V, MC, AE
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.
$12-$25 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
UKAI ASIAN RESTAURANT 1500 Route 47 South, Rio Grande (609) 770-7773 www.sushiukai.com
Enjoy delicious, fresh and nutritious authentic Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian and Thai cuisine all homemade! Great sushi too!
$2.25$36.95 Cards: V, MC, AE
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.
$4-$9 Cash Only
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.
$18-$35 Cards: V, MC, AE
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’ve recent expanded their pizzeria!
$8-$20 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
WASHINGTON INN 801 Washington Street (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.
$18-$34 Cards: V, MC, AE, D
WILLOW CREEK WINERY 168 Stevens St., West Cape May (609) 770-8782 willowcreekwinerycapemay.com
Willow Creek is the newest and largest winery in Cape May. Check out the stunning villa, set on the idyllic 50-acre vineyard. This isn’t a tour - it’s an event.
$6 and up Cards: V, MC, AE, D
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!
$4-$12 Cash Only
u Onsite parking
Handicap accessible exit zero
33 August 2012
U Dog-friendly patio
A Cape May tradition for over 30 years!
Breakfast • Lunch • Dinner • Cocktails
19 Jackson Street, Cape May (609) 884-5970 www.madbatter.com
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
34 August 2012
QUICK CHAT JULIE MENZ, OF VICTORIOUS PINK & CAPE MAY ORGANIC MARKET
Bringing up baby... and businesses
ULIE Menz gives new meaning to the alreadyredundant term “working mom.” Friendly, enthusiastic, and almost absurdly energetic, the 29-year-old coowner of Victorious Pink works hard to keep Cape May’s fashion mavens, well, in the pink. She and her husband, Tai Menz, who is the chef at Aleathea’s at the Inn of Cape May, recently opened Cape May Organic Market. How does one keep all of these balls in the air while remaining so indefatigable? Oh, and do it while raising 18-month-old daughter, Piper? We caught up with Julie behind the counter and up to her pretty eyeballs in boxes of new merchandise in the Pink House on Perry Street. Interview by KATE CHADWICK Photo by ALEKSEY MORYAKOV
IT’S ALL ABOUT TEAMWORK “We figure
we’re young, we have the energy, we’re excited. We may be very different, but we make a really good team,” says Julie Menz of she and her husband Tai, who recently opened Cape May Organic Market.
Let’s talk about Cape May Organic Market for a few minutes. Was this you or Tai? Well, the market really started out as Tai’s thing — he’s all about the organic and unprocessed foods. So has he converted you to an organic way of life? Kind of — I mean, I always ate well, but he opened up a whole new world to me in that regard. He’s got such a myriad of knowledge, and there is SO much to learn about the organic lifestyle. I’ve always eaten well and worked out, but he’s into the teas, and the herbs and remedies and all of that stuff. I definitely started eating differently once I met him. Not to mention that it’s also fun and it’s different and it’s interesting to read about. Does being a parent to a baby make that even more important? Absolutely! Everything becomes more important when you have a baby. You just real-
35 August 2012
ize that everything you eat — not just what you eat, everything you put in your body, on your body, around your body, what you clean with — everything is related. It opens your eyes a little more. The market has been really wellreceived in the community. Yes, it really has, I can’t even tell you — it’s so positive. It just fills me with joy. Everyone who comes into that store is just so happy that we are there. They give us feedback, and we definitely want feedback. We want to know to know what our customers want, and what they don’t want. They might come up to the counter with a product and say, “You know, this contains such-and-such,” and we may not have been aware. We are learning from our customers as much as they are learning from us. Was this a totally foreign undertaking for you both? Yes! I was raised in
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“With visitors, it’s funny to watch. You’ll see them going by on their bikes, on their way to CVS, maybe, and they’ll do a double-take when they spot us.” retail, and I am in my element here at Pink, surrounded by clothing and jewelry. The grocery business is a different animal. The expenses are different — everything is different. I know that Victorious Pink has its regulars, and it’s also a big draw for tourists because of the Pink House and its other location in Congress Hall’s retail wing. Do you think you have a good mix of locals and visitors visiting the Organic Market? We’ve got a really great mix of people coming into the Market. Locals read about us in Exit Zero, or hear about us through word-of-mouth from other locals. And with visitors, it’s funny to watch them. You’ll see them going by on their bikes, on their way to CVS, maybe, and they’ll do a double-take when they spot us. Then it’s almost like they’re hypnotized, and they can’t help but come in to check it out. And all of our customers, whether they’re local or not, just love it that we carry local products from local farms — especially the local meats. I overheard someone talking about that just this morning. He said that he was over there recently and was surprised not only at the selection of the meats, but that the prices were so reasonable, too. Yes, that’s really important to Tai. I mean, if someone came in and was upset about the prices, it would literally hurt his feelings. He’s very sensitive! He orders from local farms, right up the road — you just place your order for free-range chickens, even a whole cow, or half a cow. You can totally taste the difference in organic meats — no chemicals, happy cows. So you’ve got a meat selection on one hand, and I would imagine that the market also gets a lot of vegetarian customers. Can you please all of the people all of the time? We try! And you’re going to have people who are die-hard meat-eaters that don’t want to hear any different, and there are your staunch vegan or vegetarian folks. But there is a middle — there’s a nice middle! I just try to stay out of the vegetarian versus meat-eater arguments — it’s one of those hot-button issues, like religion or politics. So what made you open the market? Clearly you’re busy here at Pink Vicotorious, being a chef is major hard work for Tai, you’ve got a baby – what was the impetus here? Did you just figure you didn’t have enough to do? [Laughs] I know, right? The poor dogs are suffering the most — they don’t know what the heck is going on. We just came to the conclusion that, living in a place like Cape May, owning your own business is just the way to go. And back in the fall, Tai said, “This is it. This is what Cape May doesn’t have. This is what we have to do.” Restaurant hours are killer, and they’re long, and he really misses the baby when he’s away from her all that time. So the long-term goal is for me to do my thing here and for him to do his thing at the market, and it will all be good. After that it was just a matter of finding the right location, and this one kind of fell in our laps. It was like it was meant to be. You have three locations for your business (the two in Cape May, and another in Stone Harbor), now the market. How do you manage all this? My mom is a life-saver. She helps out with the baby, and, besides Tai, she’s the only person that I can leave Piper with, without having a total anxiety attack. I can also do a lot of work, a lot of the buying, from home, and Tai has got his routine down now with the market. He’s got his farms that he visits up along Route 47 and picks up the merchandise we need for the day. He and I are very different — I’m outgoing, and he’s more the strong, silent type, but I have to say that I’ve never seen him so comfortable with the public than he is with the market. I think it’s because he’s so passionate and knowledgeable about it. We figure we’re young, we have the energy, we’re excited. We may be very different, but we make a really good team.
36 August 2012
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37 August 2012
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38 August 2012
Order our MYSTERY FLAVOR OF THE WEEK and guess what it is...if you’re right, it’s free! Come Get Your Bliss! Open 1-9 Wednesday - Monday 600 Park Blvd in West Cape May
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39 August 2012
FROM RACE TRACKS TO RIDING LESSONS, A CAPE ISLAND HISTORY OF OUR FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS Story by KATE CHADWICK exit zero
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“Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.” – Winston Churchill
BEASTS AND MACHINES Previous page: Recently introduced automobiles mix with a more primitive form of transport in early 1900s Beach Avenue, in front of the Colonial Hotel, now the Inn of Cape May Cape May County Museum
RY to picture this: West Cape May was once home to a racetrack, between what is now Fourth Avenue, Columbia, Sunset Boulevard, and Stevens Street. In 1866, local entrepreneur Joseph Heis decided that a good way to revive the area’s battered economy after the Civil War would be horse-racing. The 150-acre Diamond Park opened for business on July 1, 1867, complete with mile-oval racetrack and clubhouse. Horses were driven in chariot-style carriages, and betting stakes were high, with purses ranging from $500 up to $2,000. However, the project never quite took off, and the stands, which were at capacity of 3,000 people on opening day, eventually dwindled to an average of 300. The property went into foreclosure, and in 1869, Philadelphian Charles Rubicam purchased Diamond Park at a sheriff’s sale. Unfortunately for him, he was one of the occupants of the new Atlantic Hotel on the night of August 31, 1869, which was one of the sites of the second-worst fire in Cape May’s history. He had brought $9,000 in unregistered government bonds to pay for the park, with plans to expand it. Accounts vary as to whether he had placed the money under his pillow or in a trunk in his hotel room, but in any event, he fled the fire without it. The Diamond Park project and track were subsequently abandoned. It’s interesting to imagine the impact it would have had on
Opposite page: These horse stables once stood between West Perry Street and Myrtle Avenue, about four lots east of Park Boulevard. The building was later converted into an auto garage, before being demolished and replaced with homes. Cape May County Museum
the development of West Cape May had the racetrack taken hold. And it’s not out of the question that it could have happened — the idyllic town of Goshen, New York is home to the oldest continually operating horse-racing track in the US, having opened for business in 1838. George Rea grew up on the former site of the Diamond Park track, and says that he used to find horseshoes around the property. “They weren’t the stamped-out horseshoes they use today – they were the forged, old-fashioned kind,” George tells us. “I still have a couple of them hanging up in my house — they’re supposed to bring you luck, and I have to say, I’ve been pretty lucky so far.” George also mentioned that there used to be a stable along Park Boulevard in West Cape May, and that the owner used to rent horses out for folks to ride on the beach “back in my grandfather’s time.” Considering that nearby Wildwood has recently re-introduced recreational horseback riding on the beaches there, does George think it will ever happened again in Cape May? “I don’t know,” he says. “It’s a nice idea, but horses leave kind of… um, a trail behind, don’t they?” The potential love affair between Cape May and racehorses may have been doomed, but Cape May still feels the love for the horse – two thriving stables and a carriage company on an island a few square miles in size illustrate that.
“Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.” – Unknown GINNA Riker owns and directs the lesson program at Sea Horse Farm on Cape Island. It’s a tidy, efficient-looking place, and
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42 August 2012
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tween girls on horseback clopped past us as we came up the winding drive to the stables. At one end are the lesson horses and the ones who are boarded there by owners who don’t have the space. On the other, professional Quarter Horse trainer Gary Weeks keeps his stable. And out in back, a donkey named Sam grazes placidly. Sea Horse offers riding lessons for adults and children, with a roster of 15 lesson horses, as well as boarding, professional horse training, horse shows, and a summer camp for kids over the age of five. Which, coincidentally, is about the age she was when she knew that the horse life was for her, Ginna says. “I started riding as a kid over at Hidden Valley,” says Ginna, “like a lot of kids around here at the time.” I expressed surprise at the number of children at Sea Horse — there were six taking lessons on our visiting day — because riding is not an inexpensive hobby: the feed, the veterinary bills, the tack, the riding apparel. The costs can be off-putting. “No, it’s not cheap, but I try to work things out with the families,” says Ginna. “The kids can come and work here in the stable in exchange for lessons. Every child who loves horses should have the opportunity to ride. But it is hard. And you don’t get into this business for the money. You get into it for the love of the horses. I just hope that it never gets to the point where people can’t keep horses anymore — I’d hate to think of a time where we could only see horses in a zoo.” When asked what she would be doing if she wasn’t in the horse business, Ginna said “I don’t know. I can’t even imagine any other life. Horses are in my blood.” Sea Horse Farm is located at 27 Taylor Lane, Cape May, (609) 898-9030, seahorsefarmcapemay.com
digging in AT THE BEACH Construction workers dig sand from in front of the Stockton Hotel, most likely to use as landfill in the swampy areas of the city that were being developed Cape May County Museum
“How to ride a horse: step one — mount the horse; step two, stay mounted.” – Unknown CONTROLLING a large, powerful beast primarily by the pressure of your legs, the assertive usage of reigns and your attitude is no small task, despite how easy they make it look in cowboy movies. When Angi Dickinson at Hidden Valley told me about a group of ladies who ride there every Thursday, often socializing afterwards with wine and cheese in that pastoral setting, I thought it sounded genteel. Guess again. It’s not that I’d never been on a horse before — I had. But that doesn’t mean that after a couple of lessons with Clayton, a loping gentle giant the
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BEACH AVENUE & PERRY STREET, CAPE MAY (609) 884-7199 45 August 2012
color of a copper penny with a white blaze down his handsome face, I wasn’t, well, walking like I’d just gotten off a horse for a couple of days afterwards. Clayton was as patient with me as Angi was (translation: VERY), but horses are good that way — they read their riders intuitively and respond accordingly. Hidden Valley is run by Angi and her mother, Nancy Hall, horsewomen with a combined 70 years of experience (or thereabouts — Angi hedged just a little when we started talking about the number of years, and age in general). “I was born into this,” Angi says. “I got on my first pony at age two, and my mom’s been riding since she was seven or eight.” Hidden Valley (and most of the land up to the West Cape May bridge, at one time), was formerly known as Taylor Farm and has been in Angi’s family for generations. The property where Hidden Valley is now located was gifted to her grandmother at her wedding. “My grandmother had the first horse show here in 1948,” Angi tells us. The property was ultimately sold to the state under a land management agreement, which holds that they property cannot be developed and will continue to be run as a horse farm. Today, Hidden Valley offers riding lessons, boarding, and a summer riding camp, and has also become a refuge for horses with nowhere else to go. “We have six rescue thoroughbreds that were brought here after retiring from racetracks,” says Angi. They have a total of 30 horses in their beautifully-kept stable on 100-plus acres. And their twice-a-year fundraising festivals, to help offset the costs of the horses and the upkeep of the stables, have become can’t-miss events, with live music, vendors, food, and of course, pony rides.
Taking the leap Talia Piacentine and Nancy Hall work in a horsejumping session at Hidden Valley Riding Center on Bayshore Road Aleksey Moryakov
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46 August 2012
Hidden Valley offers riding lessons, boarding, and a summer riding camp, and has also become a refuge for horses with nowhere else to go. “We have six rescue thoroughbreds that were brought here after retiring from racetracks,” says Angi.
Hidden Valley Riding Center is located at 4072 Bayshore Road, Cape May, (609), 884-8205
“The wagon rests in the summer, the sleigh in the winter, the horse, never.” – Yiddish proverb THE sight of horse-drawn carriages through Cape May’s leafy streets may be a common one, and the experience of being stuck behind a carriage if you’re trying to get somewhere quickly an exasperating one. But that doesn’t make climbing into one any less magical. I was married in Cape May, about a year prior to moving here. It was in December, one of my favorite times of year in this town, and while every wedding day (hopefully) has its highlights, clamoring into a horse-drawn carriage in a wedding dress was definitely a singular experience. Beverley Carr established Cape May Carriage Company in 1983, and it soon became part of the town’s landscape: the carriages parked on Ocean Street, decorated for the season, the half-hour tours through town becoming a must-do activity, and the sight of a newly married couple or some wide-eyed children being drawn through town in a carriage. Earlier this year, Beverley retired and passed the reins — along with the 20 horses, their tack and their 16 carriages — to Mario LattucaBonamico and Chantel Semanchik. We met them all over at the Carriage Company stable on Stevens Street. Beverley told us that while she knew that it was time to retire, she didn’t want to sell her business to just anyone. “It’s not like selling a store — these animals are like family,” she said. Mario, a native New Yorker who comes from a family of big-city carriage drivers, was still trying to acclimate himself to small
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47 August 2012
town living when we met. “In New York, we kept the horses in a high rise,” he told me, “They come in on special ramps and the stalls were built right in on the different floors, with climate control and everything. “He’s still adjusting to life here in Cape May,” says Chantel about Mario, “But he’s getting used to it.” I asked Mario about the investment of time required in a job such as theirs. “It’s not really a job, so much as a lifestyle, I would imagine,” I said. “It’s not even that — it’s not even a lifestyle,” he replied. “It’s your life.” Cape May Carriage Company is located at 100 Stevens Street, Cape May, (609) 884-4466, capemaycarriage.com
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” — Winston Churchill JANET Klencz fell in love in Cape May. So what? Happens all the time. But this love story is a little different, because Janet fell in love with a Mustang — the horse, not the car. “I started asking my parents for a horse when I was eight,” Janet says, who was born and raised in North Cape May and has always lived in or around Cape May. “I had to have a horse. There would be so many new adventures available to me if I had a horse. I could keep him in my daddy’s garage, and he could graze in the back yard. The neighbors wouldn’t mind — after all, everybody loves a horse. I could ride him and brush him, and feed him all by myself. I needed a horse, and in my child’s heart, I was certain, that somewhere out there was a horse who also needed me.” Janet’s horse campaign continued on birthdays and Christmas throughout her childhood to no avail, so when she reached adulthood, she started taking riding lessons at Hidden
“We rode almost every day, and we rode all over, because you really could back then. Not into town, but all over West Cape May, on Higbee Beach and through the Point, and all along the canal. It was so magical.”
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Valley. Was it difficult getting such a late start? “Yes and no. As a child I think you don’t think about doing things — you just do them, and as an adult, you may think too much. But I took to riding because I had always had such a love for horses.” And then, it happened. Janet, now 60, was 27 when a friend told her about a horse for sale, and it was love at first sight. Sirocco, whose name means “Mediterranean wind,” was a honey-colored mustang, and he and Janet were together for 18 years. “I boarded him at a private home on New England Road — it was him and one other horse on nine acres. Back then, West Cape May was horse country.” Janet worked at the time doing the paperwork for her then-husband, a commercial fisherman, and she rode Sirocco at every opportunity. “We rode almost every day, and we rode all over, because you really could back then. Not into town, but all over West Cape May, on Higbee Beach and through the Point, and all along the canal. It was so magical. It’s all houses now, where we used to ride. The house where Sirocco was boarded is still there, but they don’t board horses anymore.” Now that Sirocco is long gone, does she still ride? “No, but I have been thinking about it,” she says. “You never really lose your love for horses. It’s great exercise, too — who needs a gym when you can ride a horse? And your troubles just fall away.” I ask if she ever had another horse after Sirocco. “No, but he was special. And he was a good horse, too, except sometimes in the spring, when he could be a little hard to catch. If he was enjoying his nine acres of green grass, sometimes he just didn’t want someone coming at him with a saddle. It was hard to blame him! I feel truly blessed that I owned that horse,” Janet says. “But I feel even more so that I owned him in Cape May.”
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48 August 2012
TAKING OVER THE REINS Chantel Semanchik and Mario LattucaBonamico, with their dog, Weener, bought the Cape May Carriage Company from Beverley Carr earlier this year. Their horse and carriages are familiar sights around the streets of Cool Cape May. Aleksey Moryakov
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49 August 2012
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Taste one of our exclusive Cape May home made flavors like Vanilla Caramel, Peanut Butter Softee or Greek Strawberry Cheesecake. Or Try our new Belgian Waffle Sundae! Greek Strawberry Cheesecake
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51 August 2012
stepping up AN AWARD-WINNING PLAY, FRESH FROM LONDON’S WEST END AND BROADWAY, IS HEADING FOR CAPE MAY STAGE, WITH AN ACCLAIMED DIRECTOR AT THE HELM. HERE’S WHY YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS “THE 39 STEPS”... Story by CATHERINE DUGAN Photograph by FRANK WEISS
52 August 2012
STRAIGHT FROM MANHATTAN Penny Bergman, photographed at her New York City apartment (thatâ€™s her Emmy on the table), will be guest director of The 39 Steps at Cape May Stage exit zero
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APE May Stage takes comedy to a new level with The 39 Steps, opening at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse on August 8. Based on Alfred Hitchock’s 1935 movie, the show is full of misplaced loyalty, mistaken identity, and misled policemen, along with punny allusions to Hitchcock’s other films. Four actors portray all of the roles, leading to multiple costume changes and lots of laughs. The action moves quickly, and the audience is treated to moments of slapstick, intrigue and romance at a fast pace. Guest director Penny Bergman takes the reins of this production, at the invitation of Cape May Stage’s artistic director Roy Steinberg. “Roy and I go back a long time,” says Bergman, who is eager to return to Cape May after visiting last year to see Steinberg star in Red. Bergman has won two Emmy Awards — for Live From Lincoln Center and for ABC’s All My Children, and has been nominated nine times for the Directors Guild of America award. She was with All My Children for 25 years, “through its heyday,” and is not afraid of
Bergman has cautioned her actors to keep in shape — the play is very physical, so they’re going to need to exercise and “eat a lot of protein” or “carboload,” she says, laughing. Deblinger and Piretti, she notes, will be tackling about 120 roles.
the hard work necessary to stage a play like The 39 Steps — she’s accustomed to the 12-15 hour days soap operas require. A graduate of the University of Hawaii’s MFA program, Bergman was drawn from Brooklyn by a curriculum which brought in Japan’s National Living Treasures to teach, an experience she calls “life altering.” She also studied Kabuki
theater with Nakamura Matagoro of the National Theater of Japan. Although she is a beach lover — look for her cooling off in the waves — Bergman was “so totally into” theater that she didn’t skip class for the sand in Hawaii. She does, however, remember students who used “surf’s up” as an excuse to play hooky. Bergman is “thrilled” to have the chance to take on The 39 Steps, and will use elements of Japanese theater and another love, improv, to bring it to life. “We’ve got a blank stage, let’s make some magic,” she enthuses. The intimate setting of the Robert Shackleton Playhouse invites some efficient Japanese-style stage management, and Bergman speaks of the Japanese tradition of kyogen, comic theater with plots involving servants outwitting their masters, and rakugo — “sit-down comedy.” Rakugo involves a single performer on a cushion, acting out stories with many characters, using a fan as a knife, or a pen, or whatever prop the story calls for. The hundred-plus roles of The 39 Steps will require the same sort of theater magic, and Bergman, who has played many roles in her career — writer, producer, director, stage manager and
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TAKING THE THEATRE BY STORM The 39 Steps was a huge hit in London’s West End (pictured left) and on Broadway last year — it won two Tony Awards and is billed as “4 actors, 130 characters in 100 hilarious minutes.” Alastair Muir
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actress — is eager for the challenge. Bergman and Steinberg have recruited four talented actors for the show, and all of the physicality the production requires. Mark Campbell is set to play the hero, Richard Hannay. Campbell impressed Bergman as the sort of “Cary Grant type” who could live up to Hitchcock’s original leading man, Robert Donat — the “MAN who put the MAN in roMANce.” Nicole Lowrance, known to fans of Cape May Stage for her portrayal of Annelle in 2011’s Steel Magnolias, returns to Cape May to take on three female roles. Ron Piretti, an expert in stage combat and physical comedy, and David Deblinger, an award-winning stage and television actor, tackle the remaining villains, heros and passersby. Bergman has cautioned her actors to keep in shape — the play is very physical, so they’re going to need to exercise and “eat a lot of protein” or “carbo-load,” she says, laughing. Deblinger and Piretti, she notes, will be tackling about 120 roles, with lots of quick costume changes. Mark Campbell is no stranger to cumbersome costumes, having played the monster in Disney’s Beauty and
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With three roles to play, Lowrance expects to work hard and laugh a lot. She will still make time to “just go out and explore Cape May.” Actors can “perform anywhere,” but Cape May is special. “You go over a bridge and it’s a whole different world.”
the Beast, but, because he is only playing one character, he doesn’t have the quick costume changes the other actors face. Maintaining his cool amidst chaos should come easily to Campbell, who recently worked with Sacha Baron Cohen and has done Broadway, national tours and regional theater, in dramatic shows like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and musical pieces like the Fantasticks and Guys and Dolls. He’s tapping into the network of Canadian friends he formed while tour-
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ing with Mamma Mia to manage the accent of “a Canadian who has lived in London for nine years.” He has no trouble meeting Bergman’s prescription for exercise — he’s “a bit of a gym rat”— or healthful eating — Campbell plans to sample all of Cape May’s restaurants and tends to eat as if he has a “hollow leg.” Campbell is very excited to be coming to Cape May. He’s rarely been to the “beachy beautiful areas of New Jersey,” and he has “always wanted to do” The
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39 Steps. The handsome actor modestly says he is “glad the play is a period piece” calling for “rugged-looking” actors and notes that his pale skin will limit his beach time, at least until the sun goes down. “Judging by the quality of the talent it attracts,” Campbell expects Cape May Stage to be “one of those wonderful theaters for actors.” Nicole Lowrance can’t wait to return to Cape May. “I feel like I’ve been let in on a secret,” she says. It doesn’t feel like work
to go “somewhere gorgeous and work with talented people”. She says she can’t wait to get back to the beach, the farmer’s market and everything the town has to offer. Lowrance describes the “immediate bonding” forged by intense rehearsals, and the chance to “recharge her creative battery” with the “stellar cast” Cape May Stage has put together. Lowrance, a Julliard graduate who has performed Shakespeare, W.S. Gilbert, and Horton Foote, welcomes the
FOUR ACTORS, 139 CHARACTERS The stars of Cape May Stage’s thrilling new show, The 39 Steps, are aware they will have to be in prime shape to cope with the rigors of the performance. From left: David Deblinger, Ron Piretti, Nicole Lowrance, and Mark Campbell. The show opens at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse on August 8 and runs through September 7.
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chance to tackle The 39 Steps, because the play is like a “love letter to theater.” It’s a very physical piece, a “mind project” that “proves that everything doesn’t have to be a big spectacle. You don’t always have to show the train, you can act the train.” With three roles to play, Lowrance expects to work hard and laugh a lot, saying, “It’s going to be exhausting to have this much fun.” She will still make time to “just go out and explore Cape May.” Actors can “perform anywhere,” but Cape May is special. “You go over a bridge and it’s a whole different world.” Ron Piretti also looks forward to coming to Cape May Stage. “It’s going to be fun,” he says, although he expects to be challenged. He’s taking Bergman’s advice to keep in shape, with tai chi and at the gym, noting that experience in sketch comedy has prepared him for the quick changes and physicality multiple roles demand. After all, the “actor’s body is his instrument.” Piretti is enjoying working on his accents to prepare for the many roles he’ll play in the show. Because he enjoys cooking for himself, Piretti looks forward to the fresh seafood and locally grown produce avail-
able in Cape May. Like many kids, Piretti got into acting because he “wanted to be on television” but when he was on stage at the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, “they put a sword and shield in my hand and I never put it down.” Piretti is a wellknown fight director and teacher, who loves the varied life the stage has given him. It was “never my path” to stick to acting, he says, though he is a veteran of Broadway, film, and television. Piretti formed Fights R Us with friends and “performed in parks,” and “passed the hat” before joining the Society of American Fight Directors so he could teach stage combat. For safety’s sake, stage combat “is all about eye contact and control” and it gave him additional insight into the power of theater. “Theater is therapeutic,” he says, and he has seen its power. When a friend asked him to do a workshop for students on the autism spectrum, Piretti saw a father brought to tears because his child was making eye contact. Piretti has also been part of successful workshops for people with spinal cord injuries with Shake a Leg, and is preparing the next generation of performers with the Per-
A native of Little Neck, Queens, who went to Jones Beach as a kid, Deblinger looks forward to the “resort atmosphere” of Cape May, and, since his mother and sister live in New Jersey, is also looking forward to having his family see the show.
forming Arts Project. In theater, he says, people work really closely together, and he has made some “wonderful friends.” David Deblinger also believes in the therapeutic value of theater. “Theater can change the world,” he says, and the award-winning actor, director and filmmaker is not just talking the talk. He is currently launching a new company, Ensemble Force, with his wife, Tomoko Miyagi Deblinger. Ensemble Force will use theater techniques to help groups of non-artists work together effectively. Deblinger believes that an atmosphere of trust — the kind of environment provided at Cape May Stage — leaves actors free to take risks. He considers himself “fortunate to be among the founders” of Labyrinth Theater, a company which has grown from a group of 13 actors “taking risks together” to a company of 140 theater professionals with an “amazing vibe of collectivity and support” that lets “actors get ballsy.” Since its beginnings in 1992, the company has encouraged Oscar, Pulitzer and Emmy winners — like Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Patrick Shanley — and created supportive relationships. “I met my wife”
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at Labyrinth, Deblinger says. Deblinger stands ready to take on the multiple roles of The 39 Steps. He learned the value of ensemble early, at the High School of Performing Arts — the Fame school — and, when we spoke, he was playing the lead in The History of Invulnerability in Washington, DC. The play, the story of one of the creators of Superman, has Deblinger playing one role while the actors around him play several, giving him insight into what Campbell will face in Cape May. Deblinger was working on his accents for The 39 Steps — he’ll play a few English characters, but most are Scottish — and he also has to master “changes in the physical quality of the voice.” A native of Little Neck, Queens, who went to Jones Beach as a kid, Deblinger looks forward to the “resort atmosphere” of Cape May, and, since his mother and sister live in New Jersey, is also looking forward to having his family see the show. Mindful of Bergman’s advice to stay in shape, Deblinger was also headed to the gym. The show runs from August 8 to September 7, Tuesdays to Sundays at 8 pm. Visit capemaystage.com for more details.
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an unconventional life
FROM ROCKING CONCERTS TO DEVASTATING STORMS... CONVENTION HALL HAS WITNESSED SOME OF CAPE MAY’S BIGGEST MOMENTS. AND MANY OF YOURS, TOO... Story by DIANE STOPYRA
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APE May’s Convention Hall hosted its long awaited opening gala concert on Memorial Day weekend. The event, featuring Peter Nero and the Philadelphia Pops, marked the end of four years of friction — impassioned debates and, in some cases, petulant bickering — over what the building should look like. “Several groups had their own agendas,” says local historian Bob Elwell. A two-story, 30,240 square foot facility was initially proposed because, according to some, the bigger the better, at least when it comes to the key component of Cape May’s tourism infrastructure. But others raised concern that Cape May doesn’t have the parking to accompany a building this size — a building, they said, which would dwarf nearby structures. And then there was the issue of style. Some wanted a Victorian design in order to “comply with
A RUINED OLD GEM Above, and previous page, Cape May’s Convention Hall after the devastating nor’easter in March, 1962. The building was demolished and rebuilt, on a much smaller scale, two years later. Melanie Wright Tripp and Harry Bellangy Opposite page: Convention Hall as it stands today, in all of its controversial glory. Aleksey Moryakov
the flavor of the town,” while others thought that “faking” Victorian would only compromise this flavor. Bids were rejected several times, prompting Philly. com to report that Cape May’s convention hall — or contention hall, as it came to be known — had experienced “more planning and tweaking than teenagers in prom season.” Add to this the input from the Department of Environmental Protection — which determined that the building should not encroach upon “virgin sand,” as plans originally dictated — and completion stalled for two years. “You won’t even believe how much fire the original designs came under,” said architect Martin Kimmel of Philadelphia-based Kimmel-Bogrette Architecture firm. The reason for all of the discord? People are passionate about Convention Hall, partly because it’s storied history goes far beyond the last four years. In fact, the hall that opened this summer is the third to grace the beachfront since
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1917, the year that Mayor WC Stevens first recognized the importance of such a facility. “Cape May was really coming into its heyday in the early 1900s,” Elwell says. “The railroads were running efficiently and transporting people looking for a seaside escape to Cape Island. Plus, motorized cars were really coming into their own. For the first time, Cape May was no longer just a destination for the well-to-do; it was accessible for the common man.” The first convention hall, a “stately, grand structure,” was built for $100,000 by local contractor Sherman Sharp, along with an adjacent fishing pier, and it is still remembered as the much-needed hub of this now bustling city. Bob Elwell: “It was an elaborate twostory structure complete with ballroom, balcony, meeting rooms, and an ocean view. Then there were the storefronts. There was Hunt’s movie theater, Albed’s Fine Linens and Oriental Rugs, a Fun Land arcade, and Bud McAdam’s Lun-
cheonette, popular for its soda fountain. But I spent a lot of time in Ricker’s Store as a young boy. He had skeeball there — important, remember, because this was before the heyday of television.” Jackie Atkins: “I remember shopping at Ricker’s for a Cape May diamond in the sixties. This was a very cool experience as a little girl. I found one that was oval, so tiny, and a little pinkish. I had that thing up until just five or six years ago.” Bob Elwell: “I grew up poor, so I had a lot of jobs as a kid. One of the first was in Convention Hall at eight or nine. A couple of my best friends were a set of twins whose father played in Bill Bovay’s orchestra. For a quarter a week, we’d open the curtain for the musicians and bring their sheet music to them before a show. We’d also sell newspapers right outside the hall. The Star and Wave would come out on Thursdays for two-and-a-half cents, so we’d sell it for a nickel.”
“It was an elaborate two-story structure. Then there were the storefronts. There was Hunt’s movie theater, Albed’s Fine Linens and Oriental Rugs, a Fun Land arcade, and Bud McAdam’s, popular for its soda fountain.
April Wilburn: “On the way to Convention Hall, when I was three years old or so, my grandfather and I would stop across from the Hotel Macomber where there was a playground with an old swing set and teeter-totter and a big round thing you could stand on that my grandfather would swing me on. Then, on the beach in front of Convention Hall, we’d fill an old mason jar with salt water. Back then, we thought that if you boiled seawater and took a teaspoon of it everyday, it would help with arthritis. From there, we’d take our jar of water to the solarium attached to Convention Hall, where we’d rock and rock and rock in the rocking chairs. I would see my parents leaning up against the railing kissing, and I laughed because they were kissing. I lived for that.” Bob Elwell: “I couldn’t throw a basketball to save my life, but I did manage our basketball team in high school. There was a really nice court inside the building where we played our games.
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The best game? Any one that we won, I suppose. We used to have a lot of fun; the faculty would play the students and get all dressed up in crazy costumes. And it was the coolest spot in town, literally. There was no air conditioning, so they’d open the huge doors on either side of the building and let the breeze from over the ocean blow through. “Other times, I’d fish off the pier that extended over the water outside the hall. I didn’t catch much, but I did enjoy it; lots of kids did. And when we’d pick up dates, we’d always walk around Convention Hall, say hi to mom and dad before disappearing. But we were always pretty well behaved. Jim Ewing was the officer who policed Convention Hall. He wouldn’t let you run, and there was no cursing, and if you ever brought a skateboard or any such contraption, you were out. He ran this place with an iron fist, and all the kids knew it. They respected him.” April Wilburn: “I remember going
to the Queen Maysea competition at Convention Hall, and I remember thinking: when I’m just a bit bigger, this is what I’m going to do. The girls would be on the stage, and the one who got crowned received flowers, but the thing that awed me the most was her beautiful cape. I can’t believe how excited I would get. But here’s the thing. These were kids like me, so this was doable.” Marilyn Gravenstine Lafferty: “My parents were very religious. My father was the minister at the Cape May Methodist Church, and I wasn’t allowed to be a dancer. But for whatever reason, I was allowed to do the Mexican hat dance and the bunny hop during the kids dances at Convention Hall; this was different in their minds from tap or jazz or ballet. And how I loved it; I think this is the reason I love dancing so much to this day. But jeans? Absolutely not. Going to Convention Hall was a formal event. You got dressed up.” April Wilburn: “I absolutely remember Convention Hall’s popcorn machine. The minute you hit the boardwalk, that smell filled the air.” Marilyn Gravenstine Lafferty: “Oh, everyone remembers the popcorn machine. The caramel flavor was to die for. To this day, eating popcorn is one of my favorite things to do.” Bob Elwell: “My parents, brother, sister and I would go together. Monday through Saturday, there were kiddie dances for a half hour, followed by adult dancing. Later in the evening, there might be different events… like amateur contests and statue dances. In one of those, you had to stop moving when the music stopped, or else you got scooped off the dance floor. Last one standing won a prize. Of course, there was a dress code for these events. The men had to wear a jacket on the dance floor, and some of the women really got dolled up.” April Wilburn: “When we went dancing at Convention Hall, my grandfather wore a suit and exit zero
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“Of course, there was a dress code for these events. The men had to wear a jacket on the dance floor, and some of the women really got dolled up.” my great grandmother wore white gloves. She put them on me, too, and I wasn’t allowed to get them dirty.” Jackie Atkins: “My father always took my mother dancing here, and I had an uncle who was in medical school who always took gals out there. During the height of the depression, the dancing was still free.” The original Convention Hall withstood several storms — nor’easters and hurricanes that ripped away at the fishing pier, especially. “Each one seemed to cost the pier some length,” Elwell says. “Eventually, it was only thirty feet or so.” In September of 1944, winds of 63 miles an hour — leftover from the Great Atlantic Hurricane — finally took it out altogether, and caused great damage to Convention Hall. But it was the Nor’easter of 1962 that would destroy the building, once and for all. Lasting for three days, it dealt the town a greater blow — one costing nearly $3 million — than any other storm in its history. April Wilburn: “My dad was in the National Guard, and I remember him rowing down Beach Drive helping to save people. My siblings and I lied in the hallway of our Stimpson Lane house, and our mom would only leave to bring us food from the kitchen. The wind was so strong, pounding, and I was scared while waiting for my father to arrive. Afterward, the wood from the boardwalk was all over the street, and Convention Hall was devastated.” Marilyn Gravenstine Lafferty: “I was very sad to see the hall destroyed, but at the same time, it was neat, too. I was evacuated from the island by boat that day, which was pretty cool for a thirteen-year-old.” Cheri Zebrowski: “Look-
ing at the destruction right after the storm, I remember crying my eyes out, and asking “Where are we going to dance?” I was seven, Convention Hall is the place where I’d had my dance recitals, and when you’re seven, what you care about after a devastating storm are your recitals. My mother told me it would all be okay, that they would fix it, but it was traumatic to see that beautiful building, so enormous, torn to pieces. I couldn’t comprehend the huge hole that made it so you could see straight through to the ocean on the other side. To this day, I can still see the curtains for the stage blowing in the wind.” The town clamored for a new Convention Hall. “They were screaming for it,” Elwell says. In 1964, under Frank Gauvry’s mayorship, a temporary structure was erected — with prestressed concrete, prefabricated sections, and the city’s own workforce — at a cost of $250,000. There were no storefronts this time. “It was one big box,” Elwell says. But a beloved box… Rick Ferrante: “I moved to Cape May right after the storm, and I used to take a guitar in the lobby of Convention Hall, where the acoustics were incredible. Hundreds of people would gather, including Laurie Beechman, who would later be nominated for a Tony award — she had the lead in Cats on Broadway and was in the movie Hairspray. We would all sing the same songs, often Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Then, in the early seventies I started the Cape May Diamonds. We’d play on the steps of Convention Hall, starting at 1 or 2 in the afternoon until about dinnertime. People would come off of the beaches and the boardwalk just to listen. Some climbed onto the roof of the solarium. Even surfers in the water paddled out just in front of the hall so they could listen from the water. We played the Beatles, the Doobie Brothers, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, maybe a little Jimi Hendrix now and then. These were fond memories and, as Steven Tyler said, there’s a lot of the seventies I don’t remember.”
Cheri Zerbrowski: “In the 60s, I went to teen dances at Convention Hall. For many, this was the first place you were allowed to go unsupervised with your girlfriends. Of course, our parents put the fear of God in us if we ventured out of the building. In the 70s, I worked at Convention Hall as the secretary to the Department of Recreation for Cape May. During bad storms, I remember thinking: Oh, God, I’m going in the ocean. It could be a scary place to be in the dead of winter, with the waves crashing under the pilings.” Gina Lanza: “I got married in Convention Hall in 1989. It was an Italian wedding, so the guest list started with 100 people, and then it grew to 200, and quickly 300, so this place made sense for a venue. I called [former Director of Recreation] Terry Brown, and he agreed to let me do it. The community here is so great that way; locals come together. Kate, the local florist, even ran over in the morning to decorate for us. Because I love monarch butterflies — I live and breathe them — I wanted to have my wedding during the height of their migration in September. We let monarchs go instead of rice, I had a butterfly on my dress, and we released them into the air. Of course, I was thinking about monarchs and not hurricanes, so I didn’t account for Hurricane Andrew happening on the same day. We rode a horse and buggy through the rain from Star of the Sea church to Convention Hall, and I got soaked. We even had to put the kids’ shoes in an oven to dry them, but I loved every minute of it.” John Wood: “I’ve hosted a Birds of Prey exhibit — eagles, hawks, falcons — during the Covention Center’s annual bird show. One year, one of my birds chased a pigeon and disappeared. Because he had a radio transmitter on his leg for purposes of tracking, we were able find him about an hour later… eating the pigeon in a shoe store on the Washington Street Mall. But I always loved doing exit zero
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shows at Convention Hall because we had a nice big stage to work with and then, afterward, we could take people onto the sand and let the birds fly. This place is like Woodstock for birding hippies.” Carol Johnson: “I’m the director of the Cape Harmonaires, an a capella harmony group, who’ve performed maybe thirty or forty shows at Convention Hall. During the middle of one Fourth of July show, the entire audience got up and left. They wanted to see the fireworks happening over the beach, and we were forewarned there would be fireworks, but we didn’t think it would happen in the middle of a performance!” Michael Zuckerman: “As Director for the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, I’ve been involved with a number of programs at Convention Hall — antique shows, craft shows, vintage dance workshops. One of my fondest memories would have to be all of the dancers in Victorian costume doing their thing. Then, starting in the midnineties, we moved most of our larger concerts for the Cape May music festival to Convention Hall, everything from
ripped to pieces This photograph graphically shows the damage wreaked by the 1962 nor’easter, one of the most devastating storms to ever hit the Jersey Shore.
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orchestra concerts to jazz to pop. The night that Mary Wilson of the Supremes performed, we packed the hall with almost 800 people. So many of our local supporters would shake their heads, amazed that such high-quality music was available right here in town; they were used to having to go to Philly and New York for this kind of programming. But one of my favorite memories is of the Cape May Kids’ Playhouse, done in partnership with Cape May City. For seven weeks throughout the summer, jugglers, singers, musicians, magicians, and storytellers performed. It wasn’t to make money — we rarely ever broke even — but it was worth it. I’ll never forget watching one Irish musician in particular bring his culture alive for the kids. That was a special memory.” For others, the most special memories were created during roller-skating sessions… Jon Roth: “The Convention Center was a haven for rollerskating dervishes, but those of us with less coordination often fell prey to hapless free-wheelers. At the tender age of seven, I personally hit the boards with a smack, only to have
“The Convention Center was a haven for rollerskating dervishes, but those of us with less coordination often fell prey to hapless freewheelers.”
my right little finger carelessly crushed by some careening youngster. To this day, my little finger twitches when I cross the path of a roller skater. Luckily, that is almost never.” Chris Carbone: “It’s possible that I’m the one who rolled over this person’s hand. I remember my chin barely coming up to the railing, and doing everything in my power to keep from falling with every stroke. I took no lessons; I was free-wheeling along to the Aladdin soundtrack, which sometimes meant crashing fifteen times in a straight line.” Amy Hufana: “I took my son there for skating lessons where he was in preschool. They put locks on the wheels for the little kids so that they couldn’t roll right away. They’d learn to walk in them first, instead. My son may kill me for telling you about this.” Chris Carbone: “I was at a point in my life where a couple’s skate was one of the most nerve-wracking things in the world. I couldn’t even think about talking to a girl. Ironically, Convention Hall is also a place I found love. “There was a girl I was very close with in high school. After college, we
bumped into one another in CVS, and we set up a date. The problem is that I had only 120 bucks to my name… that’s it. We decided to head to the jazz festival in Cape May, but when we popped into Martini Beach for a cocktail, the bouncer told us we needed to purchase our jazz fest tickets at Convention Hall, so we walked there in the pouring rain. I walked up to the little counter that I’d walked up to all my life in order to rent skates, and the woman there told me that tickets would be fifty dollars a piece. I said, ‘Fifteen?’ But no, it was fifty and, suddenly, all the anxiety of being a little boy during couple’s skates at convention hall came rushing back. I didn’t want to look like a cheapskate in front of the girl I’d had a crush on my entire quasi-adult life. Luckily, she said not to worry about it, that we were soaked and not all that into jazz anyway. Instead, we went out for threedollar beers, and caught up on the last five years. It was the beginning of a great relationship.” Gina Lanza: “For adults, there waere ballroom dancing lessons. For the kids, there were dancing and roll-
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erskating lessons. This is the way a lot of the younger parents met. While the kids skated or did the bunnyhop under the mirrorball, we’d get to know one another on the sidelines. It was a real hub of life, that place.” At least, this was the case until 2008, when the building was deemed “structurally unsound” and closed to the public. What was meant to be a “temporary” hall had lasted 46 years. Bob Elwell: “I think we were all surprised when it closed because the place was made of such thick concrete. It was more like a bunker than a building.” Amy Hufana: “I volunteered at the jazz festival each year, and when the hall closed, my job was to stand on the steps of Convention Hall and tell people the festival tickets were now for sale elsewhere. I remember encountering people who didn’t know the building had closed. They were confused and upset.” Chris Carbone: “I suppose it wasn’t fair for me to be upset when Convention Hall closed, but I couldn’t help it. Something that had been such a major part of my youth, it seemed, would no longer
OPENING CEREMONY The new Cape May Convention Hall was officially opened by Peter Nero and the Philly Pops on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. Although the concert was dogged by controversy, the all-important acoustics were deemed a success. Aleksey Moryakov
be accessible to children or people of today.” But — after the establishment of a Convention Hall Committee meant to review plans, two voter referendums to determine cost, and four years of planning and amending — the $10 million dollar hall is indeed open and accessible. Located less than 100 feet from the water, able to accommodate 900 people, and hailed by those who’ve attended this summer’s performances as “acoustically phenom-
Kidnapping, murder, seduction. Not your average summer vacation.
COUNTERPLAY Deceit and obsession have met their match.
enal,” Convention Hall is, according to a press release from the City of Cape May, “Southern New Jersey’s premier gathering place for the performing arts, concerts, corporate meetings, exhibits and trade shows, seminars, reunions, speaking engagements, banquets and social events.” Chris Carbone: “It’s nice to know that the site of so many important social gatherings is back for future generations to enjoy. This, after all, is the cultural epicenter of Cape May.”
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After finding a mysterious letter at her family’s beach house in Cape May, New Jersey, young teacher Jenna Reed seeks the truth about her mother’s involvement in a plot to hide a small child and five gold animal figurines, believed to be the lost treasure of Blackbeard. She soon becomes an unwilling participant in a deadly cat-and-mouse game between a ruthless modern-day pirate and a driven FBI agent who wants to settle a thirty-year old score.
Mother Grimm’s Bears
(609) 886-1200 www.mothergrimmsbears.com 70 August 2012
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Fne antiques and estate jewelry... Specializing in high end engagement rings and designer jewelry . Handbags and other accessories too!
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GRASSO’S GREATEST HIT
THE NEW SOMA SHOW BY VICTOR GRASSO WILL LEAVE YOU SHAKEN... AND STIRRED
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Photography by FRANK WEISS exit zero
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TWISTED GLORY Above: “I Used to be a Planet” (48” x 72” oil on linen) depicts one of Victor Grasso’s favorite haunting grounds, Higbee Beach. Right: Photographer Frank Weiss’s portrait of Grasso by the pool, finally shorn of the wild beard that inspired the self-portraits in his new show.
ictor Grasso’s fifth show has hit town, and you’re in for a treat... this is the best work yet from one of New Jersey’s most brilliant talents. “Somewhere, Beyond The Sea” is the new exhibition of paintings by Grasso which made its debut at SOMA NewArt Gallery on Saturday, August 4, with an Opening Reception from 6-9pm. The exhibition draws inspiration from the ocean, a continuing obsession of Grasso, who loves to surf almost as much as he loves to paint (and cook). The Antiquity series consists of two pieces — “The Angler” and “I Used To Be A Planet”. Grasso says, “I wanted these paintings to feel like relics that washed ashore, found treasures full of texture and depth”. The monochromatic Mod Paintings series includes four paintings featuring self-portraits
of Grasso as a group of hardy, old-time mariners — “The Hunt”, “The Presentation of Leviathan”, “The Victory”, and “The Seduction of the Nuns”. The pieces represent a thrilling tale of an elusive sea beast that’s finally caught by the sailors, put up for bid, and sold. “This project is an autobiographical fantasy that allows me to play director, actor, and writer,” says Grasso. “Every painting in this project is rendered in black and white to conjure up a vision of 1950s cinema, particularly the films of Ed Wood, where there needed to be striking visuals with a quirky attitude and a dark underlying humor.” The show will also feature a secret stash of four more self-portraits that will explore the combination of varied materials essential to Cape May and Grasso himself. “This is all a risk, but without risks we would find nothing new,” he says. There will also be a special bonus at the show — the artists’ Exit Zero covers from this year will also be exhibited, along with the stunning work “Drink Me”, the star of the show at an exhibit at the Noyes Museum earlier this year, in which 19 artists from all over the country were asked to contribute a piece of art inspired by the classic tale Alice in Wonderland. “Somewhere, Beyond the Sea” will run from August 4 through September 3 at SOMA NewArt Gallery, 31 Perry Street, Cape May, (609) 898-7488somagallery.net.
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“This project is an autobiographical fantasy that allows me to play director, actor, and writer,” says Victor Grasso. “Every painting in this project is rendered in black and white to conjure up a vision of 1950s cinema, particularly the films of Ed Wood, where there needed to be striking visuals with a quirky attitude and a dark underlying humor.”
portraits of the artist as a hardy mariner Grasso’s show includes a series of self-portraits inspired by the 1950s movies of Ed Wood and Jules Verne’s classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Above: “The Presentation of Leviathan” (40” x 60” oil on linen). Left: “The Hunt” (26” x 26” oil on canvas). Opposite page: “The Victory” (26” x 40” oil on canvas). exit zero
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special bonus feature “Drink Me” (48” x 72” oil on linen), a stunning portrait of local student Bela Lotozo as Alice in Wonderland, was the biggest attraction at a special exhibit at the Noyes Museum earlier this year, at which 19 artists from all over the country contributed art inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic tale. It will also be featured as a bonus piece at Grasso’s new show at SOMA, from August 4 through September 3.
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from the shops of cape may
523 Lafayette Street, Cape May 609-898-0202 www.artisansalcove.com Artisan’s Alcove has been in business for nearly 20 years, and they have a remarkable selection of Edwardian, Victorian, Art Deco and modern jewelry. They are also the only official Ball Watch dealer in all of South Jersey. This is not your grandfather’s jewelry store. Then again, it could very well have been. Looking for the wow factor? Look here.
Carriage House Gallery Shop
1048 Washington Street, Cape May 609-884-5054 www.capemaymac.org Located on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, the Carriage House Gallery Shop is a warm, inviting spot that features teas and accessories, jewelry, books and more. Choice is good, but they have gift certificates, too, just in case you simply can’t decide.
Cape May Lighthouse museum Shop
Studio Hours By Appointment 609-889-0324 And now for something completely different. Local artist and sign-maker Brian DeMusz has been creating signs and art around Cape May since 1982, and is all about the quirky and the off-the-beaten path. He does murals, gilding, and wood carving, and has collection of oil paintings he does in the off-season “when a vision hits him.”
COOL CAPE MAY
415 Washington Street, Cape May 609-884-3148 www.casalesshoes.com Established in 1959, these folks have been providing three generations of Cape May folks with comfortable, quality footwear, offering a superior selection for men, women and children. Whether it’s must-have Patagonia flip-flops in the summer, or snuggly Uggs in the winter, Casale’s is the place.
215 Lighthouse Avenue, Cape May Point 609-884-5404 www.capemaymac.org Here’s a great shop for artwork and gifts of a nautical nature – lighthouse, nature, and even pirate-inspired items can be found in the charming Oil House at the Cape May Lighthouse. Great and unique gifts for giving – or better yet —for keeping just for yourself.
109 Sunset Boulevard, Cape May, 609-770-8479 www.exitzero.us Do you know what you need? We do. You need a comprehensive guide to your favorite resort town, a beautiful book complete with lovely photos and useful write-ups on where to eat, shop and how to amuse yourself in America’s first resort. Come to the Exit Zero Store and Gallery and get it. And you’re quite welcome.
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CAPE MAY WICKER
203 Sunset Boulevard, Cape May 609-884-1849 There’s a reason why this place is on everyone’s must-visit list. Cool, fun accessories for the home, not to mention a kick-butt selection of candles. Lamps, furniture, garden decorations and flags, and seasonal decorations. St. Patrick’s Day to Halloween to Christmas, they’ve got you covered at Cape May Wicker.
Exit Zero Store and Gallery
109 Sunset Boulevard, Cape May, 609-770-8479 www.exitzero.us Since this is OUR store, we’re obviously a bit biased, but coming here HAS to be part of your Cape May vacation. We recently doubled the size of the store by knocking down a wall (we asked permission). Come and enjoy a fabulous selection of merchandise, and the best range of Cape May artwork in the world!
my perfect day HONNA RICCIO, OF WEST CAPE MAY’S BEACH PLUM FARM
Farming, fishing... and friends
HE perfect Cape May day has been done time and time again with friends who never seem to stop talking about their dreamy days spent off exit zero. Each visit reminds me of how lucky we are to be part of this community. The day starts with Tommy’s Folly La Colombe coffee on the Congress Hall rockers. The view from under the columns of the lawn, beach, and the ocean beyond is spectacular. The building’s history and architecture comfort and energize the soul. From there, I love a bike ride from town down Seagrove to Cape May Point. Weaving around the little streets to the nature trails, Lake Lily, the lighthouse, and sunken ship reminds me of a silent
foreign film — so peaceful and interesting, and you always notice something new. On the way back from the Point, we stop on Stevens Street at one of my favorite spots on the island — Beach Plum Farm. Lately, I’ve been lucky enough to spend more than one perfect day here, watching the flowers bloom and the fruit ripen as I work on the farm and at the Beach Plum Farm Stand. We would ride past the hydrangeas and herb garden to pick up a sandwich and some veggies at the stand for a picnic in the back fields. You could lay there for hours watching the birds and listening to the breeze through the leaves. Most days are so magical I wouldn’t be surprised to see a unicorn riding off into the wetlands. We have such rich wildlife on the island and exit zero
Dreamscapes “Weaving around the little streets to the nature trails, Lake Lily, the lighthouse, and sunken ship reminds me of a silent foreign film — so peaceful and interesting, and you always notice something new,” says Honna Riccio, pictured at Beach Plum Farm. Aleksey Moryakov
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this is the perfect environment to watch it in, alongside the livestock! All this bike-riding has our appetites still going, so it’s back into town for appetizers on the docks at the Lobster House. Cape May has such roots in the fishing industry and this is the place to really feel it. Watching the sunset behind the massive boats with sailboats in the distance is enough to make you shed a tear. After some shrimp and beer, we’re back on our bikes to squeeze into a table at one of the most lovely restaurants in town, Louisa’s. Following a feast of gazpacho, ginger noodles, crab cakes, vanilla bread pudding, and black bottom pie (you always share at Lousia’s) it is difficult to do anything but roll into bed.
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UPCOMING SHOWS August 11-12 Promenade Art & Craft Show August 18 Wilbraham Park Art Show, W. Cape May September 1-2 Summer Send Off Promenade show September 13-16 Washington Street Gallery Sidewalk Signing September 22-23 Art League Show On The Mall
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ARTS THE GAIL PIERSON GALLERY
You could just take home a postcard....
Less is more
But really, isn’t your mom, your sister, your boss, or the lady next door who walked your dog or fed your cat worth more than that?
JUST IN....at the Carriage House Gallery Shop
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The Carriage House Gallery Shop SMALL WONDER The painting, “Cape May Stage”, a 5” x 8” pastel by Carol King Hood, is part of the show, “Less is More”, at Cape May’s Gail Pierson Gallery
HE “efficient, sparing or concise use of something…” That’s economy, just by definition. The artist painting in a small format recognizes that economy and art are not necessarily strange bedfellows — so does the collector. A new show at the Gail Pierson Gallery will explore and celebrate just what it means for an artist to be “concise.” The new show, titled Less is More will run August 1-31, with an Artists’ Reception on Saturday, August 11. The show will feature work in small format by a diverse group of artists. Not one of the more than a dozen artists participating in the show paint only in small format, in fact most of them paint or photograph in quite large format. But they do choose to work exit zero
at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. POLISH POTTERY • Made in America DEVI JEWELRY Fountains • Nightlights • Books • Toys & Games Tea Sets for the Young & Young-at-Heart Teas & Scone Mixes • Gifts for Men & Women
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Your purchases benefit on-going restoration and preservation efforts of the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC)
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in small format for a reason. Artist Chuck Law, a participant in the new show, put it this way: “I started doing daily small paintings as a discipline to improve my oil painting techniques. For me, that was the impetus of the transformation from heavily glazed oil painting to a fresh a la prima style with an emphasis on economy of brushstrokes. Quick small paintings allow me to effectively capture the fleeting light of dusk and dawn — a favorite subject — when working en plein air. And of course many collectors are very happy to have a chance to buy my work at an affordable price. Since the economy turned I sell more small paintings than ever before.” A painting that is brief in form, but comprehensive in scope — that is a challenge that the artist enjoys and the collector appreciates. On the plus side of the small format is affordability. From a purely economic point of view, an artist’s work in small format can be acquired by a collector for fewer dollars than a large format piece. The small format will be a fine example of the artist’s work, even though it required
WHEN SIZE DOESN’T MATTER “Empty Nest” is an 8” x 10” oil by Chuck Law. It’s part of the “Less is More” show, which will be at the Gail Pierson Gallery for the month of August.
less time and materials to produce. Sound too clinical for a conversation about art? Not at all. In the case of the small format you get spontaneity, focus, conciseness, and more. Just how “big” can “small” be? Generally, small format is considered anything 144 inches square and smaller. Small format lends itself to the plein air, that is on site and outdoor, painting that so many artists love to do. The small format encourages the consideration of the entire scene while painting a snapshot on a small canvas
or panel, with the spontaneity of a “single sitting” per painting. Joe Rademan, also participating in the August show is a painter at home with the capture of the south Jersey light, the detail of grasses on the dunes and in the marshes, and the movement of the ocean. The softness and delicacy of his pieces move his audience. He says, “Small format paintings provide the opportunity for collectors to acquire high-quality, original works by accomplished artists at a price that will fit their budget. Often, these small paintings are used as a study for larger pieces. For the gallery, the smaller size allows for the display of a larger range of subjects, media and styles.” From August 1-31, Less is More will include over a dozen artists, including Carol King Hood, Chuck Law, Matt Lively, Joe Rademan, Dressler Smith, Nancy Tankersley, Toni Lee Vosika, and even some Baltimore artists from the 1960s. Gail Pierson Gallery is located at 658 Washington Street. For more information, call (609) 884-2585, or visit gailpiersongallery.com.
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Tel: 607.351.5365 / www.BigButtonUpholstery.com exit zero
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THE WEDDING SHOPPE Beachy Invitations, Favors, Tiaras, Veils, Jewelry, Sand Sets, Accessories
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Engagement Rings • Estate Jewelry • Lladro • Antiques Hummels • Antique Dolls • Jewelry Repair
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WE BUY DIAMONDS, GOLD & SILVER 511 Washington Street Mall, Cape May (next to Fudge Kitchen) • (609) 898-8786
Other Location: 15 N. Black Horse Pike, Runnemede • (856) 939-0230
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This Multi-level logic game will have your brain turning summersaults in no time! A variety of turnstiles and challenges provides endless fun as you push your way through the goal!
BIRD HOUSE of Cape May
109 Sunset Boulevard West Cape May (609) 898-8871 birdhouseofcapemay.com exit zero
OPEN EVERY DAY!
of Cape May
Wildly Imaginative Toys 510 Washington St. Mall, Cape May • (609) 884-0442
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WINDOW FASHIONS NJ State Lic. 13VH03026600
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Sitters at the Shore Atlantic City to Cape May, NJ Your Premium Child Care Sitting Service Professional & Screened Sitters Since 1998
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for the young and the young at heart!
405 West Perry Street Cape May 609 . 898 . 4832 www.teaincapemay.com
405 West Perry Street, Cape May • (609) 898-3332 exit zero
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ARTS BIG NAME STARS GRACE THE EAST LYNNE THEATER COMPANY STAGE
Mystery, farce, and juggling
N AUGUST and September, the award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company offers three mysteries in one evening, a farce about advertising with a cast of 10, two silent films with live organ accompaniment, a musical evening a la The Grand Ol’ Opry, and a free juggling class. Running from July 25 through September 1, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:30pm is the world premiere, The Poe Mysteries, adapted by James Rana, based on “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Murder of Marie Roget,”
A DARK TALE An illustration from “The Purloined Letter”, one of the Edgar Allen Poe short stories that inspired the play The Poe Mysteries, which is running at East Lynne through September 1.
and “The Purloined Letter.” In the play, an American journalist is so eager to interview C. August Dupin that he appears on the doorstep of the famous Parisian’s home, unannounced. Born into wealth and privilege, Dupin is now a recluse, avoiding the bill collectors. Once the journalist engages Dupin in conversation, the stories of the great detective come to life, with four actors taking on fifty roles in these famous tales created by Edgar Allan Poe. The word “detective” was not even used before Poe coined it, and these stories about violent crime and theft are considered the first “detective” stories
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ever written. Director Gayle Stahlhuth has assembled a talented cast. Fred Velde plays the brilliant Dupin. His ELTC credits include last season’s Dulcy, and he regularly portrays Dr. Watson in ELTC’s acclaimed radio-style Holmes productions. Fred has performed in over fifty shows in NYC, including The Price of Genius on Broadway, and the revival of Mae West’s Sex Off-Broadway. The journalist, Henry Williams, is played by award-winning musician Thomas Raniszewski. Recently in Philadelphia, he portrayed many roles in the two-hander, The Twentieth Century Way.
ELTC shows include Berkeley Square and The Dictator. Portraying the police chief, among other roles, is Mark Edward Lang. His work with ELTC includes The New York Idea, as an actor, and Anna Christie, as a director. His NYC and regional credits include Off-Broadway’s Welcome Home Marian Anderson. Shelley McPherson counts Agnes among her “Poe” portrayals. Her credits include ELTC’s Why Marry?, and many episodes of Guiding Light. The mysteriously killed Marie Roget is one of many characters played by Grace Wright. She was in ELTC’s production of He and She, which received a glowing review in The Wall Street Journal. Playwright James Rana takes on several roles including a spurned lover and evil government official. For ELTC, he was the featured performer at the November fundraiser and was in Sherlock Holmes Adventure of the Norwood Builder. He works regularly at NYC’s Ensemble Studio Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem, and Pan Asian Rep, and has also appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company in England. The after-show opening night party is on Wednesday, July 25 at The Washington Inn, 801 Washington Street. On Friday, August 3, is an after-show Q&A with the cast, director, and
playwright, and on Friday, August 24 is a special American Sign Language performance. (From October 24-28, ELTC’s production moves to the 600-seat Ocean Professional Theatre Company in Barnegat.) A “farcical fact” in three acts, It Pays to Advertise, runs from September 19 through October 13, with an 8pm curtain. It is the usual Wednesday through Saturday schedule, except there is no show on Wednesday, October 3, and an added show on Sunday, October 7 at 7:30. Written by Roi Cooper Megrue and Walter C. Hackett, Advertise was a Broadway hit that was twice made into a movie: a silent in 1919, and again in 1931 with Carole Lombard. The premise — that anything can be sold — is at its core, but the show also examines the very nature and romance of advertising. In the cast are three who have been in several ELTC productions — Tom Byrn, John Cameron Weber, and Gayle Stahlhuth, who also directs. Tom plays Ambrose Peale, the fast-talking marketing person who convinces Rodney Martin that “advertising is everything.” He has worked with many theatres in Pennsylvania, most recently in A Wrinkle in Time at The People’s Light and Theatre Company in Malvern. He is also the coeditor of Letters to the Editor: 200 Years in the Life of an American Town, pub-
w a v e
Scott Thomas for Henry’s nry’ss Custom Originalss
lished by Simon & Schuster. John portrays Cyrus Martin, founder of a large soap manufacturing company who wants his son, Rodney to strike out on his own. He played Michael Husted in CBS’s As the World Turns, and has worked in regional theaters including Cortland Rep in New York. Rodney is played by Matt Baxter Luceno who has worked on CBS’s The Guiding Light. Mary Grayson, Martin senior’s secretary and the young woman with whom Rodney falls in love, is Kate Shine. She has performed in NYC and regionally, and her film/tv credits include a recent role in 30 Rock. Several of the juicy character roles are played by four other actors including Glen Corlin, and Brian Graziani. Glen has performed in Hawaii and Germany in productions like Oklahoma! Brian recently portrayed the White Rabbit in a national tour of Alice in Wonderland. Playwrights Roi Cooper Megrue (18831927) and Walter C. Hackett (1876-1944) were well-known theater personalities. Megrue, born in New York City, was an assistant to Elisabeth Marbury, a theatrical and literary agent. Under Cover (1914) was his first Broadway success, and Seven Chances (1916) was made into two films: in 1925 directed by and starring Buster Keaton, and in 1999, under the title The
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Bachelor, starring Chris O’Donnell and Renee Zellweger. ELTC is showing the Keaton film on September 8. Megrue directed and co-produced Jesse Lynch Williams’ Why Marry? in 1917; the first play to win the Pulitzer Prize. ELTC produced Why Marry? in 2006, bringing it back in 2007 due to its popularity. ELTC’s production was the first time this comedy had been produced in eighty years. Walter C. Hackett was born in California. His play Regeneration was made into a film in 1915, and in 2000, the film was selected for preservation by The Library of Congress. Hackett married Marion Lorne, and they moved to London where they built The Whitehall Theatre. From its opening in 1930, most of the plays were written by Hackett, starring his wife. In 2004, the theater was redesigned and is now Trafalgar Studios. After Hackett died, Lorne resumed her Broadway career and made her film debut in Strangers on a Train. Portraying Aunt Clara on Bewitched earned her an Emmy in 1968. On Wednesday, September 19 is an aftershow opening night party at Aleathea’s Restaurant at The Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean Street, where patrons have the opportunity to mingle with actors and fellow theater lovers while indulging in complimentary hors d’oeuvres.
There is an after-show Q&A with the cast and director on Friday, September 28, and on Friday, October 12, is an American Sign Language performance. Ticket prices for The Poe Mysteries and It Pays to Advertise are $30 for general admission; $25 for senior citizens; and $15 for full-time students. To encourage whole families to attend, anyone age 12 and under is free. ELTC partners with the following restaurants for further savings: Aleathea’s, The Washington Inn, 410 Bank Street, and Frescos. If staying at The Henry Sawyer Inn or The Victorian Lace Inn, ELTC tickets may be purchased for $20. Performances are at The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes Street. On Friday, August 3 from 1pm — 2:30pm playwright/performer James Ranaran, who also worked for The Big Apple Circus, is offering a free juggling class for anyone age 8 and up. Reservations are recommended. Cape May Opry: Nashville Comes to Jersey is on Sunday, August 12 at 8:30pm: Singer/guitarist Barry Tischler is joined by singer/comedienne Sue Tischler. Tickets are $20. With the success of last season’s silent classic, Phantom of the Opera, with The Cape May Film Festival, is proud to bring more silent goodies to Cape May. On Sunday, August 5 at 8:30pm is The Mark of Zorro starring Douglas Fairbanks
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as the masked hero. Seven Chances with Buster Keaton is at 8:00pm on Saturday, September 8. Accompanist Wayne Zimmerman is president of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS). Performing throughout the county, he regularly accompanies silent films at the Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Jersey City and The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. Tickets are $15. Tales of the Victorians continues at different venues every Thursday at 4pm, where tantalizing tales, read by ELTC performers, are served up along with tea-time treats. Price is still $10, and anyone age 12 and under is free. ELTC has events running through midDecember as well. To make reservations and for information about the season, educational outreach, and touring shows, call 609-884-5898 or go to eastlynnetheater.org. The production season would not be possible without season sponsors Curran Investment Management and Aleathea’s Restaurant; Show Sponsors La Mer Beachfront Inn, The Henry Sawyer Inn, and Exit Zero; The NJ Dept. of State, Division of Travel and Tourism; NJ State Council on the Arts/ Dept. of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; and the generosity of many patrons.
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600 Park Boulevard, Cape May 609-884-6181 www.katesflowershop.com This is a quintessential small-town shop, complete with a great staff, fresh products, outstanding service, and little things like same-day delivery service at no extra charge. At Kate’s, they not only know their customers’ names, they know what they like. It’s really no wonder they’ve been beautifying Cape May since 1982.
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405 West Perry Street, West Cape May, 609-898-4TEA www.teaincapemay.com Sometimes, only a spot of tea will do. And we really hope that you’re feeling decisive, because you’ve got over 250 choices at Tea By The Sea. And let us be civilized or die — full fine china tea sets, including children’s, are available here, too. So go ahead and give your next tea party a little panache.
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Established in 1980, Patricia Jackson Jewelers has some of the most unique handcrafted designs you will come across — including the Exit Zero charm. Their sea life creations are exquisite, and they will also custom-create wedding bands specific to your heart’s desire.
31 Perry Street, Carpenters Square Mall Cape May 609-898-7488 www.somagallery.net SOMA Gallery has forged a reputation for exhibiting exciting new and midcareer Mid-Atlantic region talent since its establishment in 2006. And SOMA’s artists’ receptions have become can’tmiss occasions. Keep tabs on upcoming events, exhibits and receptions on their website, or on Facebook.
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414 Bank Street, Cape May 609-884-0323 www.patjacksonjewelers.com
251 Beach Avenue, Cape May 609-884-8421 www.congresshall.com Congress Hall is not your average hotel, so why would Tommy’s Folly be your average hotel shop? Yes, they have an essentials you may have forgotten to pack, but this place is also destination shopping. And the food! Grab a fabulous coffee, or a breakfast, lunch, or superfresh snack item on the fly.
106 Sunset Boulevard, West Cape May 609-435-5052 At last – a liquor store in West Cape May! And it’s a beautiful one at that. Sunset Liquors provides all of your beverageenjoying necessities – beer, wine, spirits, ice, even snacks. What more do you need, we ask you? Check out their picka-six wall, where you can create your own dream six pack. And by the way — look up. The light fixtures
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This happy little spot is definitely not your big box toy store. Toy Shop of Cape May is just full of fun, imaginative and creative toys for your favorite little ones. And they’ve also got a great selection of collectibles, like Hot Wheels and John Deere toy products, for your favorite not-so-little ones, too.
Let’s just cut to the chase here and say that if you can’t find what you’re looking for here, you may not be able to find what you’re looking for, ever. This is the kind of place you can wander around in all day, whether buying or browsing. We always take our Christmas list here, and spend a day just crossing things off of it.
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Now is the perfect time to watch
F YOU had to pick the perfect month for bird watching in Cape May, you’d be tempted to say August. It’s just when the summer crowds are thinning and before the hordes of bird watchers arrive. It’s when summer birds are lingering, southbound shorebirds are at their peak, and when the vanguard of those colorful neotropicals, the warblers and tanagers, arrive. Bird populations are at their peak, augmented by this year’s crop of young. Species diversity is high and possibility shines on the horizon. Literally. Late August is the month for finding southern vagrants — breeding birds from more southern regions that take the gumbo express (ie hitch a ride north on the flow of southerly air). These southern visitors include Magnificent Frigatebirds, White Ibis,
Story by PETE DUNNE
A REGULAR VISITOR These Yellow Warblers herald from northern parts, even the Canadian Arctic. The morning after the passage of a cold front, thousands of birds may descend upon Cape May. Robert Lego
Anhinga. Given a boost by a passing tropical depression and who knows what may turn up off the Cape. Last year a passing tropical storm ferried several White-tailed Tropicbirds our way. But you don’t need to wait for a hurricane to enjoy spectacular bird watching in late summer. Every passing cold front deposits hundreds of thousands of migrating birds on Cape May’s door. All you need to do to enjoy them is know where to go (and with whom). We’ve already established the “when” part. South Cape May The Nature Conservancy property on Sunset Boulevard, known as the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (or to local birders as “the Meadows”) is a fabulous place to see herons and egrets. The shallow ponds are a magnet for these stately birds who stalk across ponds in search of small fish. Drought sometimes super-concentrates birds and prey. Several hundred
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Snowy and Great Egret may be concentrated at one time. Among the ranks of snow-white birds you’ll find bronze colored Ibis, Tri-colored Herons, even the odd night-heron or two. Scattered among the wading birds will be shorebirds. “Wait a minute,” you’re thinking, “aren’t herons and egrets shorebirds?” No. Not technically. Shorebirds refers to a group of largely arctic nesting birds. Plovers and Sandpipers. These birds are, in August, heading south. Their migratory path carries them over coastal New Jersey and the marshes become staging areas for tens of thousands of these long distance migration champions. Migrants. In August. Heading which way? South, of course. For arctic nesters, the short breeding season is over. In August, in the High Arctic, snow is already flying. In fact, the first southbound shorebirds reach Cape May in late June (before most humans have even begun
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their Cape May vacations). By August, the ranks of southbound shorebirds are filled with birds of the year — young birds making the journey to the southern U.S., the Gulf of Mexico, and South America for the first time. South Cape May is one of the region’s premier shorebird hotspots — a place to find birds with such intriguing names as dowitcher, phalarope, and willet. Funny names but fascinating birds. Birds whose wings vault hemispheres and whose powers of flight have earned them the nickname, “The Wind Birds.” Fallout Here’s the formula. You take a night sky full of birds that like to keep their feet wet and who forage in upland vegetation. You stick a peninsula with a variety of habitat in the middle of a lot of water. Then you turn on the lights. Translation — the sun comes up. All those migrating birds are going to look down, seeing only one place to go in an otherwise wet stretch of planet that meets their needs. This is Cape May and there, in a nutshell, is the secret to Cape May’s fame. It’s a migrant trap. The only show in town for many migrant species. But isn’t August too early for songbirds to be migrating? Not at all. For some species, August is late. The first wave of Tree Swallows has already passed by August. Bank Swallows are gone. Migrating Purple Martine are just peaking. In the marshes of the Maurice River, about an hour north of Cape May, over 50,000 Purple Martin gather each evening to roost in the reed grass beside the river. Just before sunset the birds gather into dark tornadoes that writhe across the sky before funneling into the grass. It’s a humbling spectable. The migration of one very common species of warbler peaks in the first week of August. One morning, residents wake to find the bushes in their yards vibrating with small yellow birds. These Yellow Warblers herald from northern parts, even the Canadian Arctic. The morning after the passage of a cold front, thousands of birds may descend upon Cape May. Mixed in their ranks are other early migrants including Louisiana Waterthrush, Northern Parula, Blue-winged and Worm-eating Warbler. It’s just the
VISION IN WHITE Drought sometimes superconcentrates birds and prey. Several hundred Snowy Egrets may be concentrated at one time in Cape May. Scott Whittle
beginning of an autumn wave of birds that will peak at the end of the month, surge through September, and continue into November. Worm-eating Warbler, by the way, was once considered a rare migrant through Cape May. No. It was just an early migrant. Times were that experienced birders never came to Cape May in August. Only now do we know that the bounty of birds in August is as rich
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as any other time of year. Now you are in insider with an insider’s insight. You like birds? August is your time to bird Cape May. Bob-o-link Anyone? Even if you are not a birder you cannot help but be impressed by Cape May and its wealth of birds. There is a species called the Bob-o-link. It’s a very colorful type of blackbird that breeds in North
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America’s grasslands and winters in Argentina. Colorful in spring, at least. In fall the male birds turn mustard colored (like the females and young). But most people never see the birds, spring or fall. When not migrating, the birds like to hide themselves in grassy fields. It’s in migration, in flight, when most people are made aware of bobolinks. They don’t necessarily see the waves of birds speeding across the sky. But they hear them. The birds call as they fly. They say “Blink...Blink...” It’s the phonetic rendering of the bird’s name. The call sounds like ceramic wind chimes overhead. Even a handful of birds are noisy enough to bring attentive heads up. And during a big flight... Many years ago, over the Labor Day weekend, a massive Bobolink migration passed over Cape May. The air was filled with call notes. People, seeing me with binoculars, stopped me in the street, wanting to know the source of the din. You can hear other migrating birds, too. You can hear them at night. High overhead. Making tiny, piping, lisping calls. Sometimes too, you can see the small darting forms illuminated by the lights of Cape May. Identifying these darting forms is quite a challenge. In fact, it is bird watching’s frontier and Cape May is the front line; home to more skilled bird watchers than any other comparably sized location in, per-
haps, the world. But you don’t need to stand in the front ranks of birding skill just to see and enjoy the spectacle of migrating birds. Skilled birders enjoy nothing more than showing less experienced birders Cape May’s natural treasure. The Cape May Bird Observatory has daily walks, led by local experts, that introduce thousands of human visitors to the hundreds of thousands of avian visitors. You are invited to stop by the Cape May Bird Observatory to pick up a free birding map, free checklist to the birds of Cape May, and a schedule of events. You’ll be amazed at the array of program opportunities. But you’ll be astonished at the beauty and abundance of Cape May’s birds. And I guarantee this won’t be your last visit! The Cape May Bird Observatory (609-884-2736) is located at 701 East Lake Drive, overlooking Lake Lily in Cape May Point. Summer hours are 9:30am to 4:30pm every day except Tuesday. Or visit us online at BirdCapeMay.org. New Jersey’s own Pete Dunne is the Director of the Cape May Bird Observatory and Chief Communications Officer for New Jersey Audubon. Author of several books on and about nature (available at 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.
Awesome map feature guides you right to your destination! Hey Business Owners... If you’d like your business on the app, contact Jason at (609) 770-8479 or firstname.lastname@example.org beautiful CREATUREs The number of Great Egret seen in Cape May depends very much on the weather conditions — drought can strand them here. Opposite page: The Prothonotary Warbler. Scott Whittle
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a wild time
THE ANIMALS AT CAPE MAY COUNTY PARK AND ZOO, RANKED THIRD IN THE NATION, MAY BE IN CAPTIVITY, BUT IT DOESN’T FEEL THAT WAY. HERE IS THE A TO Z ON THIS MUST-VISIT GEM. Story by KATE CHADWICK
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HE Cape May County Park and Zoo is 200 acres of “what do you want to do?” Fishing? Disc Golf? Feeling the need to get some exercise? How about a go-round at the park’s Fitness Station? Feeling a bit lazier — go with an old-fashioned picnic? Whether you want to tire a gaggle of kids out on a Saturday afternoon with a trip to the 85-acre zoo, or hold hands with your sweetheart under a shady tree while you gaze at the swans drifting around the gazebo, if you can’t find something to amuse you here, you’re not trying. Google can tell you that the Cape May County Zoo has 550 animals representing 250 species, but Exit Zero presents a few tips, fast facts, random numbers, and just general information on one of the true must-visit destinations in the area. RK In The Park is the zoo’s gift shop. Not only can you pick up standard gift shop fare like key chains and t-shirts (we especially like the “Go Wild” tees), jewelry and books, but you can find cold drinks (and a sippy cup for the little one), candy, and animal figures. Did you forget to bring a jacket? Pick one up here, or hey — even a safari hat. They also have wheelchair and stroller rental and an ATM, and there’s an even an obliging black bear (he’s not real, of course) available outside for a photo op. UTTERFLY Junction Train Station is a train ride for the little ones, located just outside the zoo entrance. It’s a little mini nature tour that the kids will love, and if that train looks familiar, that’s because it’s the same one that Congress Hall borrows in December for its Winter Wonderland. HRISTMAS is the only day of the year that the zoo is not open for business. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t celebrate Christmas there. Santa’s Family Workshop, usually the second Saturday in December, is a wildly popular annual event at the zoo, drawing hundreds of kids (and their
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so much to do, so little time There is a great deal of ground to cover at the Cape May County Park and Zoo, including the wooden Pathway to Diversity, pictured above, which allows you to cover four continents in less than half a mile. At the end, you might just find yourself eye-level with a giraffe. Alkeksey Moryakov
grown-ups) to the workshop to make a craft project, listen to some live music (Geno White was there last year!), and maybe have their photo taken with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The Easter Bunny also makes an appearance at the zoo each spring, and the Boo At The Zoo event around Halloween is a must-do for local children. Typically held the fourth Saturday in October, this free family-friendly event features a costume contest, live entertainment, kid-centric activities such as dance contests, hayrides with Cape Island Theatre participants, and of course, candy. ONATIONS are one of the primary things that keep this exceptional zoo going. Admission to the zoo is free, but donations are accepted at the front gate. You can even mail a check to the zoo, at 4 Moore Road, DN 801,Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. The zoo also has an Enrichment Program, which is meant to stimulate the mental and physical activity of captive animals. The Enrichment Program encourages and accepts donations of the following items for the animals: perfume or cologne of any kinds, rawhides, wood blocks, non-plush dog toys, cat nip, hand soap, paper towels, small CD players, and more. You can even donate by going to amazon.com and typing in Cape May County Zoo. DUCATIONAL programs at the zoo include guided tours, on-site learning programs, and their unique Zoo-2-You program, where they will bring the zoo to you if you can’t get to it — they even have electronic field trips. The programs can be adapted to suit all ages, the costs are nominal, and they will even develop a program for you if you don’t find one
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to suit your needs. Contact Barb Agens in the Education Department for more information. REE! Did we mention that admission to this spectacular zoo and park facility is free? As opposed to say…the Philadelphia zoo, for instance, where admission is $18 for adults, and $15 for children. Although it is free, donations are appreciated and encouraged. You can drop one in the bucket of the attendant at the gate, or in the mailbox-type receptacles at the entrance and exit. Every little bit helps, and donations are also appreciated towards the zoo’s enrichment program. See more on that below. REETERS await you at the front gate, handing out maps, answering any questions, and issuing reminders about zoo rules. And there are essentially only two of those rules: no food inside the zoo, and no smoking — as greeter John Alvarez can be overheard telling patrons, they’re trying to get the camels to quit. (Get it?). Oh, and unless they’re service animals, no pets in the zoo, either ANG around for a while. You could easily make an entire day of a trip to the park and zoo.
“There are essentially only two rules: no food inside the zoo, and no smoking — as greeter John Alvarez can be overheard telling patrons, they’re trying to get the camels to quit.”
NFORMATIONAL signs are everywhere. Don’t quite know what the heck that animal is you’re looking at? There will be a large, easy-to-read and informative account of who and what the heck it is within arm’s reach of just about every critter the zoo has on hand. ACKSON, as in Michael — Here’s a cool, quirky tidbit: thirteen of the flamingos at the Cape May County Zoo came from late singer Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. OOKABURRA is one of the many birds you’ll find in the awesome World of Birds Aviary exhibit, plus we just like to say “kookaburra.” An enclosed, free-flight aviary, it’s airy and brightly sky-lit, and filled with fascinating birds. OST and found at the zoo is an interesting place. According to our sources, items there run from the more mundane — clothing, hats, children’s sunglasses — to the less-than-ordinary. We asked gate greeter John Alvarez what the most unusual thing anyone ever reclaimed from him at the lost and found was, and he reported that an elderly woman produced a receipt for her lost copy of Fifty Shades Of Grey.
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ICHAEL Laffey is the Parks Director at the Cape May County Park and Zoo, and he’s been running the show there for nine years, overseeing a full-time staff of forty-two employees, along with Zoo Director, veterinarian Dr. Hubert Paluch. We asked Michael if his is a seven day a week job. “My staff won’t let me work more than five days,” he said with a smile. “They kick me out if I hang around too much. So it’s five days — sometimes it’s just five long days.” EEDS anticipation, although not an advertised feature of the zoo, seems to be a strong suit. Just when you’re thinking “Gee, I’d love to sit for a minute,” bam – there’s a thoughtfully placed bench under a shady tree. STRICHES somehow manage to be goofy and majestic at the same time, don’t they? And they can’t fly, but they are capable of short bursts of speed — up to 43 miles an hour, in fact. So while the ostriches at the Cape May County Zoo won’t fly out of camera range, they may just bolt, so time your shot carefully. You can find them hanging out at the African Savanna exhibit.
Showing their stripes No cement here; these zebras have free-range over the zoo’s African Savanna exhibit. The 57-acre area is also the stomping ground for giraffes, antelopes, and ostriches. Aleksey Moryakov
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AQUA YOGA MONDAYS & WEDNESDAYS 5:30 p.m. ONLY $5.00 Cape May City Elementary School Pool Lower Township Recreation Department AQUA YOGA Tuesdays, 6 p.m. ONLY $5! Lwr. Township Pool at Windslow Ave. & Rosehill Parkway, N. Cape May & YOGA ON THE BEACH Tuesdays, 7;15 p.m. ONLY $5! David Douglas Memorial Park (Canal Park/Sandman Blvd) N. Cape May (in front of the Gazebo!) For Additional information contact: Lower Twp Rec Dept. 609.886.7880 Ext. 0 yogacapemay.com or email: email@example.com Karen @ 609.827.8886
ATHWAY to Diversity is an exhibit that lets you cover four continents in less than half a mile on a raised wooden pathway, similar to a boardwalk. The feeling is very “among the trees,” as you keep your eyes peeled for Snow Leopards, Red Pandas, zebras, and those awesome, majestic giraffes. UITE the party — the one you can have, that is, at the park. Rent one of their park shelters for your next birthday or family reunion. There is plenty of free parking, so everyone will show. OCKY is the zoo’s only Siberian tiger, and he is a rock star, one of the most popular animals with zoo visitors and staff. He is over 500 pounds, nine feet long and four feet tall, and wow — is he an impressive sight as he ambles around his enclosure. Zoo director Hubert Paluch, who hand-raised Rocky, calls the cat a “people person,” and says he seems to enjoy showing off more in the when the zoo has more visitors. Every rock star needs his fans. AFARI Café is the zoo and park’s seasonal café, situated just outside the zoo entrance (remember — no food inside). You can grab anything from a
“Rocky is the zoo’s only Siberian tiger, and he is a rock star, one of the most popular animals with both zoo visitors and staff. He is over 500 pounds, nine feet long and four feet tall, and wow — he is an impressive sight as he ambles around his enclosure. ”
soft pretzel or a water ice to a BBQ pork sandwich. There is plenty of picnic seating under the shelter adjacent to the café. You can even select from a “healthy choices” menu. RIPADVISOR recently announced that the Cape May County Zoo is the number three zoo in the country by its popularity index. “This is huge for us — huge,” says Parks Director Michael Laffey. “We were all really excited by the announcement.” The CMC Zoo came in third after the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, and the St. Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri. NTIL dusk. That’s how long you can stay at the park each day, so play until your heart’s content. OLUNTEERING is a great way to contribute to the zoo’s continuing success. Special events, education, zookeeping and parks and grounds are some of the areas that need help. Visit the zoo’s website to download a volunteer application. EATHER is about the only restriction on the zoo and park’s 364 days per year open-door policy. Sometimes a cool overcast type of day can be better
than a blazing sun type of day, but obviously, dress accordingly. You’ve got a lot of ground to cover here, so comfortable shoes, shades, maybe a hat and a windbreaker if the weather looks iffy. And a camera — don’t forget a camera. MARKS the spot. Pick up a map when you drive in at the park’s entrance (right after you make your donation!) from one of the friendly greeters. AK. Okay, so there are no yaks at the Cape May County Zoo. But they do have American Bison there, and they look kind of similar. OO Camp is a fun, educational and inexpensive annual summer day camp program offered for kids from pre-K through eighth grade. Featuring crafts, games and the occasional live animal or two, the camps have morning or afternoon sessions. The Cape May County Zoo is located at 707 Route 9 in Cape May Court House, at Exit 11 of the Garden State Parkway. The park hours are 9am to dusk; the zoo hours are 10am4:45pm in the summer, 10am-3:45 in the winter. The park is open 364 days per year, closed Christmas. www.capemaycountygov.net.
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Cape May Light, which clings to the southernmost tip of New Jersey, is farfamed for its stately height and majestic simplicity of line. To me, it is an emblem of faith and hope, reminding us that we endure lifeâ€™s storms only through the grace of God.
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the ghosts of the macomber
FROM THE “TRUNK LADY” TO “THE GROWLER” (AND THE WOMAN WHO CALLS HERSELF “PINKY”). WHAT’S GOING ON AT THIS REVERED BEACHFRONT HOTEL? GHOST HUNTER CRAIG McMANUS INVESTIGATES...
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NE of the most famous ghostly haunts in town is the Hotel Macomber on the corner of Beach Avenue and Howard Street. Sarah Skipwith Cannell Davis was the first to build on the vast Stockton Hotel property around 1918, after the massive 1869 structure was torn down in 1910. I am sure the Stockton, which stretched from Beach back to Columbia, and took up most of the space between Gurney and Howard, was, in its own day, haunted. I have, on more than one occasion, picked up residual energies in the area. Silverware clinking, dishes clanking and people walking up a great staircase are a few of the imprints I have sensed from the old Stockton. The ghosts, however, left the hotel and moved elsewhere. When a building is demolished, ghosts, like people, move out, and find new quarters. When Davis constructed her new small hotel on the corner of the large Stockton lot, a few of the old hotel’s resident ghosts probably decided to check in. An S.S. Davis is listed as
IN A PREVIOUS LIFE Before it was named for the New York businessman who took it over, the Hotel Macomber was the New Stockton Villa, on Beach Avenue and Howard.
living at Howard and Beach in the 1918 telephone directory of Cape May, with a phone number of 3-28. I had heard that the hotel was completed by 1921, but I now think some form of dwelling was on the site in 1918. Davis also appears in the 1932 city directory as Mrs Sussex Davis and is still listed as residing at Howard and Beach. I have also found records of guests staying at the New Stockton Villa in the summer of 1918, so the building may have actually been constructed a few years earlier. Some feel 1914 is a more accurate date. The New Stockton Villa, as Davis named the place, was eventually sold to New Yorker Henry W. Macomber and renamed for him. Macomber was already managing properties just east of The New Stockton Villa. Long-time resident Bob Fite told me Ed Smith was the builder of the Macomber, the same man who built Bob’s home on Howard. As the hotel passed through the tumultuous years of the 20th century, new owners came and went — as did the ghosts. Some left, most did not. When one has such an active group in so small a space, the best way for a psychic
medium to communicate with them is through a trance channeling, the same method that I used to reach the ghosts of the Sea Holly Inn. Many people ask me the difference between a psychic and a psychic medium. There are many psychics out there, but only a small percentage are mediums. A medium is just that, someone in the middle — in this case, in the middle of a communication between the living and the dead. A medium is very much like a telephone operator who keeps the connection live, until both parties have communicated what needs to be said. The medium also helps the person for whom they are reading to interpret the messages coming through from the Other Side. This is why mediums are also known as channels. It is true that we all have the ability to open up to psychic energy and tap into a form of spirit communication. There are those who are great artistic painters, those who finger paint, those who master the piano to the concert level, and those who get as far as “Chop Sticks”. People often comment on the quality of my channeling. From the positive
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feedback I have received over the last 20 years, I know that the information that comes through for me will be quite accurate, though no psychic or medium is 100% accurate. Until the day when college degrees are given out for psychics and mediums, feedback and accuracy is all we have to gauge our performances. One of my first channeling experiences at the Hotel Macomber was years ago, in the late winter when the hotel was quiet. There is nothing worse for a ghost investigation than having a bunch of living people running around, making noise, and slamming doors. We ate dinner at the (still) fabulous Union Park
KNOCK, KNOCK... WHO’S THERE? During one winter, a few years ago, the Hotel Macomber’s night manager was disturbed by the front doorbell ringing at 2am. This went on for several hours, but there was no one to be seen outside.
restaurant in the hotel, and retired afterward to the Macomber’s lobby for a glass of wine — and some spirits. Before the channeling session, we encountered Lenka Adamcova, the Macomber’s night manager. It seemed that the ghosts regularly made themselves known to Lenka. She told us about a time when she was the only person in the hotel, and the front doorbell rang at 2am. When Lenka looked into the surveillance camera on the porch, no one was there. This went on for a few hours. Union Park restaurant’s former manager, Maja Brandenburg, told us that several years ago on New Year’s Eve
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it was not only the living customers who were having a good time. As all of the guests dined in the restaurant, Maya and another patron could hear what sounded like furniture being moved upstairs, yet no one — living — was on the upper floors. This kind of sound is a common occurrence in hauntings. It seemed everyone had a ghostly tale to tell that evening... and we would have one of our own to add. Channeling can be done via three methods: awake state, light trance and trance channeling. When I read or channel for a client over the phone or in person, I work in an awake state, meaning
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that I am fully aware of what I am doing. If I am working on a more serious problem for someone, I may relax and go into a light trance. The third type of channeling is much more intense and requires someone to be with me to work with the entities that communicate with me. In trance channeling, I allow these discarnate entities, usually spirit guides from the Other Side, to use my vocal chords to speak. I am still in control of my body, but they will “drop in,” communicate, and then leave — hopefully. In the old days of spiritualism, these entities were called drop-in communicators. Now do not be alarmed. Everything I do has a prayer of protection as part of the preparation. The spirits do not possess me. I have higher guides who monitor just who comes through and instructs them to leave when I get tired. Spirit guides are like guardian angels who watch over us during our lifetimes. I keep mine on call 24/7! That evening at the Macomber, I asked the spirit guides to allow the ghosts to come through and converse with us, and they did. The first personality to come through called herself
CHANGE THE CHANNEL Ghost Writer Craig McManus has three different phases when he is conducting a session — fully awake, light trance, and fullblown channeling.
“Pinky” — she was reluctant to give us any more details. One thing about channeling that always amazes me is when someone records my work, and I get to hear myself later on. (This is not done often, as I would rather pass on the information to whoever is listening and forget it.) After listening to an audio recording of the evening, the thing that really got me was Pinky’s voice. It was
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so distinctive and unlike my own, or anything I think I can generate, that you would swear, listening to the tape, that I was having a conversation with a total stranger in the room! My partner Willy, who was with me that night, asked Pinky about the woman in Room 10. This woman, according to the Macomber’s current owner Crystal Hardin, was a frequent guest of the hotel
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in the 1940s and 1950s. She came each year with her husband and children. After her husband died, the woman’s children convinced her to continue her annual trek to Cape May. She returned each summer with all of her trunks and always stayed in room 10 — hence her nickname, “The Trunk Lady”. Room 10 is on the second floor of the hotel in the rear of the building facing Howard Street. It has seen its share of phenomena over the years. Dresser doors open and close at night, the bathroom door will slam shut and the doorknobs will turn. Crystal recalled a woman staying in room 10 who complained that the housekeepers kept doing their laundry every night at 12:10am. The washing machine would begin on spin cycle each night and awaken her — only there was no laundry in the machine and no housekeeper in the hotel at that hour. In March of 2007, I was able to hook up with Jerry Reeves, whose family had owned the Macomber for 10 years from 1967 to 1977. “My parents bought the hotel in 1967 from Mr and Mrs Robert Fuller,” Jerry told me. “I was 12 years old, and my first job was bellhop and
BEHIND THE DOOR What was the story behind “The Trunk Lady” who always chose to stay in room 10 at the Hotel Macomber?
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doorman. The Fullers had owned it since the late 1940s. When we bought it in 1967, it was a fully functioning hotel and dining room. The customers rented rooms for one price, which included a full breakfast, and dinner. We sold it to a man named Peterson, a realtor from Washington. They rented out the dining room operation for two years as a separate operation, but the tenant died in 1979 and they did not find a replacement tenant. They stopped running the property as a hotel their second year, and started renting rooms for the season to local summer workers. They sold most of the furnishings and the property deteriorated badly. The Cordes group bought it in the late 1980s and started some renovations. They sold it after two or three years to a group including a fellow named Donaldson. His brother had worked as a waiter at the business when we owned it. The Donaldson group did some more repair work but only kept it for two or three years. In the early 1990s, they sold it to the Hardin family... they reopened the dining room for the first time since 1979.” I took the opportunity to ask Jerry
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A more stressed entity came through, moaning about being trapped. I think this was “The Growler”, a ghost known to make growling noises to shop owners on the lower level of the Macomber. about the “Trunk Lady” who stayed in room 10. It always baffled me why no one knew her name. Even in the channeling, I could not make direct contact with her, although she may not have been on the premises at the time. Ghosts will come and go. They can be transient beings, not locked into a certain room or building. Jerry had the information I was looking for! “A nice old girl named Miss Wright stayed in room 10 each season for many years. She seemed to have no family and would stay until we closed for the season. She traveled extensively the rest of the year and often took cruises or trips to Europe. She was an incessant talker and we would try to avoid contact with her if possible. She died in the late 1970s, but I never saw her ghost... Miss Wright bathed in perfume and we had to air out her room after she left... Her name was Irene. She lived in Germantown, PA.” Irene Wright’s long stays at the Macomber ended during the Reeves family’s time. I asked Jerry if he knew whether Irene had ever married, and told him about her nickname, the “trunk lady”. “I do not believe Miss Wright ever married. We are certain she had no children,” said Jerry. “She, like many of our guests, had been staying at the hotel for many seasons. When our dining room was closed for the season, she would eat at the Washington Inn every night. She never drove and never owned a car, so the steamer trunk was a common piece of equipment for many of the old generation of the hotel trade. When we bought the hotel in 1967, many girls wore white gloves to dinner and no gentleman was admitted to the dining room without a jacket. The waiters wore starched white dinner jackets.” There you have it. Trunk, yes, married with kids, no. Another ghost mystery in Cape May solved. exit zero
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I will tell you, I spent one of the most peaceful nights in Cape May in room 10 — it has a good feeling about it. I did not experience anything paranormal staying in the room. Across the hall, in room 15, it was a different story. A few summers later, we were staying in 15, a spacious room with two beds and a rear location. After taking a morning shower, I came out of the bathroom and caught a quick glimpse of two men in different military uniforms. They quickly vanished. Later I would learn that during World War II, the US Army and US Navy had taken over the Macomber to house the troops that operated the gun turrets at Cape May Point. Are these residual energies — not ghosts — but imprints from a former time? Possibly. You will also notice that, if you look up from the location of room 10 on Howard Street, the power lines come in right below that part of the building. Could the excess electromagnetic fields be helping to create a haunting? Do the ghosts of Irene Wright and the two servicemen feed off the excess electromagnetic fields? Some paranormal researchers think high EMF fields do indeed feed a haunting. During my original channeling, a more stressed entity came through, moaning about being trapped. I think this was “The Growler”, a ghost known to make growling noises to shop owners on the lower level of the Macomber. He is quite tall with long straggly hair on the sides and balding on top. He is usually seen wearing a long trench coat. In death, as in life, human beings seem to live in emotional dramas of one sort or another. These dramas can often create a haunting because after people die they may have such a strong need to clean up unfinished emotional business that they become mired
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and stuck in their own internal quests. Some ghosts do not even know they are dead, so the dramas continue forever. The early history of the Macomber is lined with strong emotional stories. The earliest history of the hotel is not completely clear. Sarah Davis’ mother, Susan Ridgway Cannell, was a real estate broker in Cape May. It is highly likely that she bought parcels of the former Stockton Hotel property and set her widowed daughter up with one of them. Crystal Hardin has told me she had heard Sarah Davis had committed suicide and her children took over the hotel. I was never able to substantiate this —until now. I located a niece of Sarah Davis. She was the daughter of Sarah’s brother, Skipwith Cannell, a noted American poet. The niece told me that her aunt “Sadie” did in fact commit suicide in 1934. Sarah Davis had already lost her husband Sussex prior to opening the hotel. A few years later, in 1924, she lost her 13-year-old daughter, Sarah Cannell Davis to spinal meningitis. In 1930, her mother Susan also died. Finally, on September 17, 1934, in her summer
In her summer home on Stockton Avenue, a depressed Sarah Davis shot herself, taking her life in the same house in which he had lost her young daughter 10 years earlier.
home on Stockton Avenue, a depressed Sarah Davis shot herself, taking her life in the same house in which she had lost her young daughter 10 years earlier. Perhaps her ghost had returned to the New Stockton Villa for a long-term stay. Maybe they haunt together. An interesting aside to this story is that the house where young Sarah Davis died is the same house I was asked to investigate many years ago. At the time, the owners reported balls rolling across the floor and toys being moved. When I had completed the investigation, I told the former owner of the house that a child was responsible for the haunting. Sarah Davis’ niece told me one of her step-sisters remembered opening a door in the house and finding a room filled with toys and a huge dollhouse. Aunt Sadie told her never to enter that room again. It was young Sarah’s bedroom before she died at 13. Her mother kept it sealed as a shrine. I guess she is still playing with those toys. Davis’s surviving children, Edward Davis and Susan Daniels, ran the hotel for a few more years. They eventually leased the property, with the option to
buy, to Henry Macomber. Macomber had already been managing the properties further east along Beach Avenue. According to Crystal Hardin, Macomber met Harriet Murdock Storer, the wife of an old friend from seminary school in Binghamton, New York, at his friend’s funeral. The story goes that even though Macomber had a wife and family, he moved Mrs Storer into the Macomber, and they ran it for many years, while maintaining a long-term relationship. I have “seen” the ghost of Sarah Davis several times on the stairway of the Macomber. She always seemed to be watching over the place. The night of the channeling, she came through, as did Harriet Storer. I could not tell whether Mrs Storer was a ghost or a spirit returning from the Other Side to help with my research, which she did. Harriet Storer told me there were SEVEN ghosts inhabiting the Macomber. From what I have channeled, I could identify them as Sarah Davis, two servicemen named John and George, Arthur from the early days of Cape May, Pinky, Miss Wright in room 10, possibly a waitress or even Harriet herself — and The Growler
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“A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.” ~Washington Irving
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downstairs. The Growler may have been a guest, not of the hotel, but of the drunk tank the military had set up under the front porch of the Macomber during World War II. He must be having one heck of a hangover. When I was researching the story of the Merry Widow for The Ghosts of Cape May Book 2, I interviewed Kevin Cordes, the man who had done much of the renovation there. While we were on the topic of ghosts, Kevin told me that his family purchased the Hotel Macomber back in the late 1980s and had done extensive renovation to the property. Kevin encountered the ghost of a woman in period clothing roaming the downstairs section of the building. I was glad to have finally placed the source of this old encounter that has been told on tours for years. This was the only report of that ghost anyone can remember. The former pastry chef of the restaurant also reportedly felt pushed by an icy hand into the walk-in freezer. The restaurant and kitchen staff had originally told me that they experienced nothing at all. My only experience in the dining room was several years ago, when a group of us
The Growler may have been a guest, not of the hotel, but of the drunk tank the military had set up under the front porch of the Macomber during World War II.
was sitting enjoying our meals, when the chandelier above us started flashing and pulsing for a good 10 minutes — no other lights in the room were affected. After I spoke with Kevin, I wondered whether that woman was Sarah Davis. She would have been in 1930s dress, not Victorian period clothing, as some say. I feel that hauntings run in cycles. It’s almost impossible to gather enough information about a building on one visit. I try to go back to the places I write about multiple times, and then update my works. In the spring of 2006, I decided to spend the night, once again, in room 10. The hotel had been recently renovated and the infamous slamming bathroom door (and bathroom for that matter) was in a different place. Room 10 is spacious, has a great breeze coming off the ocean, and once the miniature golf course closes for the night and the lights are turned out, is very peaceful. We had been out for drinks at my all-time favorite nightspot in Cape May, the Virginia Hotel, and we arrived back to our room about midnight. The hotel was quiet with the exception of the night manager at the front desk.
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As I drifted off to sleep and sounds of the street diminished to a whisper and mixed with the soothing repetitive crash of the ocean surf, I felt at peace. No wonder the trunk lady loved this room so. Then, about 15 minutes after we had turned the lights out, I had just fallen asleep when a thundering knock sounded on our room door. After composing myself and getting my adrenalin at bay, I called out to see who was bothering us so late. There was no reply. Maybe just another guest going to his or her room, I thought, as I returned to catch up on my peaceful slumber. KNOCK went the door again! This time sounding even more impatient. I jumped out of bed and flung open the door revealing — an empty hallway. Not a living creature was stirring. After the fourth knock, I thought it best that I clear my vintage port-clouded mind, left over from a night’s partying at the Virginia, and focus on my work for a few minutes. It’s so hard to enjoy good spirits with dead spirits barging in all the time! I thought a cassette tape recorder was in order to attempt to capture some electronic voice phenomena (EVPs). Back
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then, I only carried a camera and tape recorder to document the experiences. I placed a 60-minute tape in the machine and hid it in the hallway behind a vase, opposite my door. The next morning, when I retrieved it, I found various odd noises on the tape. Doors could be heard opening and closing, and the sound of a woman breathing heavily popped in at one point. When I inquired about other guests on my floor, the front desk person told me we were the only ones there that evening. Who was knocking at our door all night? Miss Wright? Had I locked her out? Or was it Dead Housekeeping? Electrical malfunctions are also a common haunting phenomenon at the Hotel Macomber. The lights have flickered and dimmed when I have done trance channeling on more than one occasion. The most humorous instance however, did not involve ghosts (I think). I had just taken the luggage out of the car at the beginning of one of my Macomber stays. Willy and I were walking along the side of the building to check in when there was a crackling explosion and a loud BANG. The lights in the entire building went dark. Above us, across the
CHILLINGLY GOOD READS Craig McManus’ four Ghost of Cape May books are available at the Exit Zero Store and Gallery and other good local stores. Or visit craigmcmanus. com
for staying earthbound. Does Sarah feel attached to the hotel she built? Is Pinky her young daughter Sarah, using a nickname? If they died up the street, why do they haunt the Macomber? They must truly love the place. Not all ghosts are negative. Some stay behind out of love — for a person — or a place. The Macomber is loved by many. The Hotel Macomber has been a favorite venue in town when it comes to ghost investigations. It is featured on our Ghosts of Cape May trolley tours that I created with the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts. You can buy your tickets at the booth on Ocean Street at the end of the Washington Street Mall. You can also buy my four Ghosts of Cape May books at the Exit Zero Store and Gallery. If you want to read more about what I do as a medium, check out my website at craigmcmanus.com As for the Macomber itself, it continues to be one of my favorite places to stay in Cape May. The prices are reasonable, and so are the ghosts. Just be careful though. Should you check into room 10, your bed may be taken! At the least, don’t forget to say... “Goodnight, Irene.”
street, a kite had wrapped itself repeatedly around the wires, pulling them together and causing a major short. The Macomber was without power for hours. On seeing me walking in the door soon after the explosion, the front desk clerk exclaimed, “I knew it.” When I first started coming to Cape May, I stayed at the Macomber quite often. I sensed residual energies throughout different parts of the building on several occasions. The hauntings here don’t seem to follow a particular pattern — although the ghost of Irene Wright seems to surface each June and November in room 10. This building has seen a lot of history and a lot of action. (A fire claimed the top floor in 1938 that was later rebuilt.) I have not heard any recent reports from the shops downstairs about the ghost called the Growler. When a building has stood for this long, a lot of people have come and gone. For the Macomber, much mystery still surrounds the ghosts here. Now that I know what really happened to the original owner Sarah Davis, I have started to see the hotel in a new light. Every ghost has a reason
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my perfect day TONY HERR, CO-OWNER OF CAPE ATLANTIC BOOKS
Reading, animal-watching and ice
HERE have been so many perfect days in Cape May made up of various elements that it’s difficult to describe “The Perfect Day” as a single one. It could be my perfect day of eating, or being alone, or being with friends and family, or just waking up. Ideally – all of the above. It begins looking out over our deck as the sun rises over the ocean — to say I am fortunate in my view is an understatement. Having spent 25 years as a waiter, bartender, chef and restaurant owner, food is a MAJOR part of my day, and someone else cooking and serving it makes it perfect. Breakfast would be the Banana French Toast or Nutella Waffle at George’s, the Oatmeal Blueberry Pancakes with a side of Bacon at Mad Batter, or Congress Hall’s Signature Eggs Benedict with Crab at the Blue Pig. Or on a perfect day — all of the above.
My day continues on the beach with a book. My perfect time is the last two weeks of September and usually all of October, but any day is great. I’m not a sun worshipper, as 15 minutes in the sun and I could be mistaken for a Lobster House main course, so I thank the Stegers for their tents — ideally a tent at water’s edge, but I am content to walk to the surf. The afternoon would find me at the Cape May County Zoo. As a Lancaster, PA transplant, I am blown away every time I visit this zoo. I am admittedly more of an animal than a people person, and feel a sense of awe when I experience the animals. My perfect day would enable me to interact and hug each one, especially the bears, lion and tiger, but I get an inexpressible joy out of feeding the goats and this makes each visit perfect enough. Speaking of feeding, it’s time for dinner. Not that I need an excuse, but if it’s late August or early September (peach exit zero
HITTING THE WATER “As a Lancaster, Pennsylvania transplant, I am blown away every time I visit this (Cape May County) zoo. I am admittedly more of an animal than a people person, and feel a sense of awe when I experience the animals,” says Anthony Herr. Aleksey Moryakov
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cream pie time), or I need a veal or prime rib fix, then it’s Menz’s. But in Cape May, there are more extraordinary choices than there are nights to dine. My perfect day would continue with my partner, our family and friends at Tisha’s, the Pier House, or Copper Fish. After dinner, a walk up and down the Washington Street Mall is mandated, as much to walk off calories as to purchase chocolate covered taffy and fudge. I have yet to experience the horse-drawn carriage tours, so now is the perfect time. One would think my day over and that I’m full. One would be wrong. This is my perfect day and I am an ice cream addict. Before heading home I stop in at the Dry Dock for a Banana Split with Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate and Strawberry Ice Creams, Hot Fudge, Pineapple and Strawberry Toppings, Whipped Cream, Chopped Nuts and Maraschino Cherries. Anyone joining me?
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The Summer Season Scintillates
HE Cape May Stage summer season is in full swing. The 39 Steps is playing to packed houses, and our Second Stage Series continues to delight. Two performances are on tap in our Broadway Series that are sure to speak to both the metaphorical and physical traveler in us all. We’re thrilled to welcome Andrea Marcovicci, the “Queen of Cabaret,” to the Robert Shackleton Playhouse on August 13. In No Strings, Marcovicci takes us on a trip around the world. “Torch singer, spellbinder, heart-breaker” (People), Marcovicci has been hailed as “most Sinatra-like” of the new generation of cabaret performers by Life magazine. The actress-singer began on the television series Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, debuted on Broadway in Ambassador, and last appeared in Frank D. Gilroy’s Any Given Day. Her off-Broadway appearances include The Wedding of Iphigenia, Variety Obit, The Seagull, and as Ophelia to Sam Waterston’s Hamlet in Joseph Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park. Film credits include Woody Allen’s The Front, The Hand with Michael Caine, The Canterville Ghost with John Gielgud, and Jack the Bear with Danny DeVito. Television appearances include Arli$$, Taxi, Hill Street Blues and Trapper John, M.D, and many made-for-television films. She also appears in the upcoming Driving by Braille. The Wall Street Journal reports No Strings “teleports you around the world through the magic of song.” It’s a funny, heartfelt, and candid tale of Andrea’s travels from city to city and what that bittersweet time meant as a singer, actress, wife and mother. No Strings flows from the romance of Andrea’s favorite places to unexpected bumps in the road resulting in some wacky stories — fun, sweet, and romantic. Highlights include: “Sunday in New York,” “Two For the Road,” “How are Things in Glocca Morra?,” “Under Paris Skies,” and her celebrated rendition
Andrea Marcovicci, the “Queen of Cabaret,” appears in No Strings August 13 of “These Foolish Things.” On August 27, we welcome back two of our favorites — Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker in Mike’s Shorts. Known for their portrayals of Ann Kelsey and Stuart Markowitz on NBC’s long-running series L.A. Law, this couple has entertained audiences for over three decades. In addition to appearing in television movies and feature films, Eikenberry has earned four Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations and a Golden Globe Award. Tucker has received three Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations, appeared in numerous films, and as a regular on Tracey Ullman’s acclaimed HBO series, Tracey Takes On. Tucker, a writer as well as an actor, splits his time between New York and Umbria, Italy, and has written several books involving food and drink. Titles include I Never Forget a Meal, Living in a Foreign Language, Family Meals, and his most recent novel, After Annie. The duo will read stories and perform in a world premiere one-act play. Tucker’s tales weave life lessons with gastronomic delights, taking audiences through New York and Italy with stops for refreshments along the way. Like a good meal, it will have something for everyone!
HERE’S WHAT’S COMING TO CAPE MAY STAGE Andrea Marcovicci in “No Strings” Monday, August 13, 8pm Tickets $50
Jill Eikenberry & Michael Tucker in “Mike’s Shorts” Monday, August 27, 8pm Tickets $50
Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker return in Mike’s Shorts on August 27
«Call (609) 884-1341
“The 39 Steps”— Hitchcock meets Monty Python! August 8 - September 7 Tickets $15-$35
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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THE EXIT ZERO team Kate Chadwick, Aleksey Moryakov, Jason Black, Diane Stopyra and Jack Wright in the company’s expanded store
27 Questions for Exit Zero’s Jack Wright How’d you end up here? I was working as the executive editor of Men’s Journal magazine in New York and felt a little burned-out and bored of the corporate life. I came down here for a break, but ended up running the pool bar at Congress Hall, which was owned by my pal, Curtis Bashaw. After the summer, I stayed here to write a history of the hotel, Tommy’s Folly. And then one day, in the Brown Room, Curtis and I came up with the idea of publishing a weekly magazine inspired by the old Pennywise. Was the process of starting your own publishing company more joy than struggle? Um, there was an awful lot of struggle, and little moments of joy, but they were great moments. The worst moment came after only five people turned up for our launch party (probably down to the fact that invites were only sent out a day before), and I was walking home, because my old car had died for good, and I just lost it and started crying. I felt like such a loser, having to
Interview by DIANE STOPYRA Photograph by ALEKSEY MORYAKOV
walk home along Broadway and realizing I had no money in the world, and I didn’t think this magazine was going to happen. But we got the first issue out and it took off from there. How long did you and Curtis work together? He was a big inspiration. He was the one who said we should name it Exit Zero, but he was a silent partner, and after a year, I bought him out. People still think he’s an owner of Exit Zero, but we went our separate ways in 2004. We’re still great friends, though. What quality makes you most suited for a career in publishing? And the quality that makes you least-suited? I don’t get phased by even the craziest of deadlines. And I don’t get phased by even the craziest of deadlines (which means I don’t plan as well as I should. You do a LOT… books, magazines, consulting work in New York. How do you manage to keep your cool? When you love what you do, the pressure feels like adrenaline, not an icy grip in your chest. What’s the energy of the EZ office like? We work really, really hard, but we laugh a lot. We’re exit zero
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not the most PC office — a lot of inappropriate things are said, which is a little unfortunate given that our retail store is downstairs, and there is nothing but a balcony separating us. But, it’s really good energy. It has to be to get us through the amount of work that we produce. Was starting your own publishing company something you had always wanted to do? When I worked at my last job in New York, I sat down one day and made a list of the things I wanted in life: 1. Own a house by the sea; 2. Have my own publishing company; 3. Have two dogs; 4. A great woman, and probably kids. How’s that going? The first three happened pretty quickly. Number 4 has been a little harder. Do you ever tire of people asking you where you come from, once they hear the accent? I actually don’t, unless they ask, “Which part of Ireland are you from,” which I get a lot. Do you honestly like haggis? Tell the truth. Of course! And I don’t understand why so many people turn their noses up at our annual Burns Supper. It’s so good. What’s the goal for EZ global headquarters?
Are you content with the way things are? I am, by nature, not a contented person, although I wish I were. The goal is to make our store as beautiful and popular as we possibly can and to increase the amount of books we publish. What does the Exit Zero team do to unwind? Hmmm. Well, two of us drink more than we probably should, and two of us choose not to drink at all, and I’m not at liberty to say what those two do to unwind. Is there a publication of which you are most proud? We’ve done a lot of beautiful, full-color books and magazines, which I love putting together, but I have to say, nothing makes me prouder than being around town on a Thursday or Friday and seeing people everywhere reading Exit Zero. It makes all the late nights worthwhile. What would make Cape May a better place to be? An overall design aesthetic overseen by people who know what they’re doing. The city council has no contact right now with the talent pool in our city. You see vinyl railings popping up, mismatched benches on the boardwalk, tacky little banners flying from lamp posts. Where do these things come from? There is no over-arching vision. The city is not using the great resources available to them, and these are people who would work for free to help this town (myself included). It’s very frustrating.
You’ve come under fire for stirring the pot… what’s been the most incendiary column you’ve produced so far? And do you regret anything you’ve written? The column in 2008 that led to the firing of City Manager Lou Corea, and a couple about Mayor Ed Mahaney which show, I think, that he is not fit to be serving the town in that position. No, I don’t have any regrets. Do you see yourself doing this/being in Cape May forever? I had never stayed in one place or one job for more than four years until I came to Cape May. I’ve been here 10 years now, and I don’t have a hankering to be anywhere else. Is there any job you’d give this up for? I’ve turned down nice jobs editing at national newspapers and magazines in London and New York, one quite recently. I can’t honestly think of one job that would lure me away. Do you ever worry about the viability of Exit Zero, considering the ever-changing publishing world? No. We launched at a time when the market really started to go into decline, but what we offer is something pretty special. What’s the biggest risk EZ has ever taken? Oh, we’ve taken a few. Most recently, doubling the size (and rent) of our store and office. What was the initial impulse/inspiration to come up with retail merchandise? I got some Tshirts made for the staff by our friends at Flying
Fish Studio, and one day a lady walked into our office (my house at the time) and bought three, and I thought ‘Hmmm...’ Did you ever envision the store in its current state? Absolutely not. Is there any other publication that you are aware of that has spawned such a retail empire? It’s a funny thing. The New York Times has an online store, so does The New Yorker. None of them have a retail store, and neither have anywhere near the range of merchandise we have. I hate the word unique, but I think we might be. What other merchandise would you carry if you had the space/money/time? It’s a long list. If you’d never left the UK, do you think you’d be doing anything like you’re doing now? It’s likely that I would have at least tried to start my own publishing company, yes. The idea of you running for mayor has been suggested more than once. Would you ever seriously consider it? I don’t even have time to grocery shop. So, it’s highly unlikely that I would be able to squeeze in a run for mayor. Is there anywhere else in the US that you’d consider moving to, should you ever be run out of Cape May on a rail? Somewhere north of San Francisco, most likely. What’s your OTHER dream job? I’d have given anything to be a professional soccer player.
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my perfect day STEVE WHITE, OWNER OF SEASIDE CHEESE
Love is... a Key Lime Pie Martini
HE perfect day for me for me would be to sleep in a little, maybe even all the way until 6am, since I usually get up every day at 5. First things first, I would take a good walk on the promenade to get myself going, then head over to George’s Place for some eggs and scrapple. (And it doesn’t matter how the eggs are cooked — George’s always does it right). Next up, it would be some browsing around the Washington Street Mall. All the shops are great on the mall, but Love The Cook is hands-down my favorite one; it’s where I go when I want to buy stuff just for me, not for the store. I could spend all day in there, but I am a big fan of barbecuing, I’ve got a great grill, and Love The Cook always have great stuff
for barbecuing there — marinades, sauces, utensils for grilling, and there is usually something new all the time. After I buy my latest barbecue find, I’ll head home, but I’ll be back in Cape May later to take my wife Barb out to dinner. For now, it’s time to lounge by the pool at home and maybe have a little lunch, so time to fire up the grill. If I’m having a burger, I’ll top it with Point Reyes Blue Cheese — it’s my favorite cheese on a burger. If I’m skipping the burger, I’ll just slice down some Halloumi cheese, which is from Cyrpus. It’s a grilling cheese — you just put it right on the grill, and I love it on top of fresh sliced tomato. Perfect. After that I’d probably have an after-lunch dip, then spend a little time in my garage, where I keep my model train collection — that’s my hobby. exit zero
A SPECIAL PLACE “We’d head over to the Pilot House, which is a really special place for me. I worked there all through high school, and the chef, Mark Stillwagon, is kind of my mentor, so I always say hi and try to visit with him,” says Steve White. Aleksey Moryakov
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Before we know, it’s time for Barb and I to head to Backstreet — that’s our favorite. If Theresa has it on special that night, you can be sure I’ll get the Cowboy Pork Chop. Add in Peach Cobbler for dessert, and I’m a happy guy. Then we’d head over to the Pilot House, which is a really special place for me. I worked there all through high school, and the chef, Mark Stillwagon, is kind of my mentor, so I always say hi and try to visit with him. My after-dinner drink would be one of their Pound Cake Martinis — I LOVE that drink. Or, if we happen to be nearer to Lucky Bones, I’d get a Key Lime Pie Martini, with the Graham Cracker crust around the rim of the glass. Barb makes fun of me for drinking “girl drinks,” but that’s okay. It wouldn’t be a perfect day for me without her.
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 content in this magazine. The solution can be found on our website, exitzero.us. Compiled by Kate Chadwick. ACROSS 3. Honna Riccio’s perfect day includes time spent at here, at her place of employment. 4. T he standard tip for one of these folks is $2 for carrying your first bag, and $1 for each additional bag. 8. S teve White’s perfect day would wind down with a Pound Cake Martini from this restaurant, where he worked in high school. 9. T he title of Victor Grasso’s epic Alice In Wonderland-inspired painting. 10. West Cape May resident George Rea used to find these on the property where he grew up, site of the failed Diamond Park racetrack. 13. T ony Herr’s perfect day would end with lots of ice cream from this place. 15. J anet Klecz’s horse, Sirocco, was one of this breed, also the name of a classic American car. 16. Artisans Alcove is the only dealer of this product in South Jersey. 17. Julie and Tai Menz recently opened Cape May Organic Market, despite having their hands full with Tai cooking at Aleathea’s and
Julie running this family business. 19 . This Cape May County Zoo resident is among the most popular with both staff and visitors. And he knows it. 20. The title of Ben Miller’s new book, which will be available soon at the Exit Zero Store. 21. The fund-raising festivals at this local stable have become must-do events each spring and fall. 22. Kate Repici talks about tips from the tipsy (or not), and she should know, as she tends bar at this popular spot. 23. These flightless birds lay the world’s largest eggs, and you can see them at the African Savanna exhibit at the Cape May County Zoo. DOWN 1 . This local artist has been creating signs and producing art in Cape May since 1982. 2. T he brightly-colored strip of stores on Sunset Boulevard where you can find the Exit Zero Store and Gallery.
It didn’t bring luck to Diamond Park...10 across
4 . When the previous convention hall was closed for being structurally unsound, local exit zero
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Bob Elwell says folks were surprised, since it was “more like a ...... than a building. 5. M ore than one person in our Convention Hall story recalls the smell of this wafting the in the air around the hall in years past. 6. T he current production at Cape May Stage is The 39 Steps, which is based on the movie directed by this cinematic icon. 7. O ver at East Lynne Theater Company, the world premiere of this production will run through September 1. 11. T he Cape May County Zoo is largely dependent upon these for its upkeep, so drop yours in the bucket next time you visit. 12. Former EZ writer Jon Roth has memories of this activity at Convention Hall — not all of them fond. 14. Henry’s Jewelers is the exclusive Cape May headquarters for this popular line of brightly colored baubles. 15. C raig McManus does not consider himself a psychic, but rather a psychic one of these. 18. This gallery is currently exhibiting the artwork of EZ cover artist Victor Grasso.
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