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Cape May A Finalist For "NJ Destination Of The Year 2022"

Cape May A Finalist For "NJ Destination Of The Year 2022"


October 19th 2021

Jersey's Best Magazine will be announcing their New Jersey Destination Of The Year 2022, but we know at least one finalist: Cape May!  Here's what they had to say about the nation's oldest seaside resort:

There’s something about rolling to a stop at Exit 0 that’s unlike arriving anywhere else. Stepping out into the salt air, you peer out over the endless ocean and do a 180 to take in the grand and graceful architectural charm of another time. Its appeal is unconfined by the holidays that bookend our Jersey summers; and this Jersey’s Best 2022 Destination of the Year Finalist is hoping to roll to a stop across the finish line, ahead of its worthy competition.

A most mannerly and dignified member of the Jersey Shore family, Cape May has more of a spirit than a vibe. It is calm, elegant, casually confident in its grandeur — like the cousin who slips into the room unannounced but draws all eyes and attention nonetheless.

Cape May is distinguished, and these are just some of her distinguishing features.

Cape May’s two miles of wide and wonderful beach greet your feet with silky sand, tempting you to spend the day sunning, swimming and savoring the ocean view. Water sports, like surfing, standup paddleboarding, kayaking and more, will keep you afloat; but you can take to the skies with a parasail adventure, too.

Stretching almost as long as the beach is the promenade, a paved pathway just perfect for a morning jog, evening stroll or for ambling along any time of day. In fact, walking is one of the best ways to get around Cape May. The town is small enough to navigate on foot, but there are two rival options for taking in all the quaint sights and delights: bikes and trolleys.

There are plenty of bike rental shops for single or tandem adult and child riders, as well as the four-seater surreys to make pedaling a fun and fanciful friends-and-family affair. A biker’s bonus? Cape May’s flat terrain.

Trolley tours blend whimsy and history, offering guided jaunts that show off the town’s main attraction: nearly 600 preserved Victorian buildings, each one with a fascinating (and sometimes haunting) past. The entire town of Cape May is a National Historic District, and there’s a distinct sense of going back in time everywhere you look. Trolley Tours take place year-round — and the ghost tours aren’t just for Halloween. Dreaming of a Dickensian Christmas? Mrs. Claus herself can make it one jolly trolley through town, and there’s nothing like a nighttime tour to see all the holiday lights adorning every avenue.

Cape May’s Victorian architecture lines streets everywhere, a life-sized gallery of peaked turrets, gingerbread trim, welcoming porches and rainbows of color; the city is second only to San Francisco for its wealth of Victorian homes. Visitors can step inside to tour the historic Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, for an intimate glimpse of the furnishings, fashions and lifestyle of the 18th century.

Immersed in Victorian charm, Cape May’s bed-and-breakfast inns offer private accommodations and gracious hospitality. A stay at one of the more than 20 B&Bs is a popular and romantic preference for many who enjoy an innkeeper’s personal touch, afternoon tea or cocktails on the porch and a freshly prepared, gourmet breakfast to start each day.

Lest you think it’s all “pinkies up” Victoriana in Cape May, there are more than 40 hotels from which to choose — from luxurious to casual and family friendly — many along the beachfront with ocean views, pools, lively bars, entertainment and great restaurants.

Now that we’ve mentioned restaurants, take note that the dining scene in Cape May is divine, ranging, of course, from casual eats to gourmet feats. And if you like seafood, it can’t get any fresher than here, the largest commercial fishing port in New Jersey and one of the largest on the entire East Coast.

Cape May has a long and enduring history as our nation’s oldest seaside resort. It’s been built and rebuilt and restored a few times over since the 1700s, surviving devastating fires and a destructive nor’easter. And now it’s survived a pandemic.

“When we hear that Cape May is being recognized as a ‘best of,’ it instills pride in us because we all work so hard; and we do it for a reason,” said Director of Tourism Diane Weiland. “We love Cape May and we want everyone to love it, too. It’s great to be recognized, especially now, at this time when everything old is new again since the pandemic.”

Still, there is always something new and noteworthy to add to Cape May’s appeal — past, present and future.

In 2020, rail biking with Revolution Rail Co. opened, providing a unique excursion that allows riders to pedal along the railroad tracks and enjoy the beauty of the Garret Family Preserve, with viewing opportunities of the annual migrations of birds and butterflies along the way.

With most appropriate timing, the Harriet Tubman Museum opened on Juneteenth 2021. Telling the story of one of Cape May’s most courageous residents, the museum is a tribute to Tubman and abolitionist activism; the Underground Railroad; and the pivotal role Cape May played in leading fugitive slaves to freedom.

The Franklin Street School, one of the last segregated schools in New Jersey to close in 1948, will soon be refurbished and repurposed as a library, gathering place and home base for the Center for Community Arts.

Even if there are just a few things “new” in Cape May, there’s no denying all of its wonders that never get old. The stately presence of Congress Hall, once known as “The Summer White House” never loses its centuries-old allure. The search for “diamonds” on Sunset Beach, where the sun makes its spectacular departure and the evening flag ceremony honors fallen heroes, will always beckon new friends. And the majestic Cape May Lighthouse, with breathless views awaiting all who climb its 199 steps to the top, will unceasingly shine its light to guide the ships at sea.

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