I’ve written here how New York and Boston relate to their waterfronts…for these and other coastal cities like Charleston, Norfolk, and Portsmouth, water borne trade was their historical focus, their reason for being there. For other communities, the waterfront was more of an appendage…a utilitarian backyard. I have passed-through Cape May, NJ on three occasions, but this is the first time we got off the boat to explore past the immediate vicinity of the busy but decidedly uninteresting harbor.
I LIKE Cape May. Its tree-shaded streets lined with cheerfully painted, beautifully maintained cottages and Victorian style summer homes invite you to get out and walk…to a broad beach fronting on the Atlantic. The beach is this city’s focus and reason for being. It seems a cheerful place full of people taking a break and having some fun. What’s not to like? I stopped for a haircut and was treated to the local gossip…nothing harmful: a big, three day sport-fishing tournament in Town (White Marlin, Blue Marlin and Tuna), hyper-competitive boats and out-sized prize money. Talk of the weather and how it was driving the fish further off-shore. Most of this was Greek to me. But these were matters of great import in this community.
Colleen and I chanced across some fellow cruisers we had met at River Dunes one evening while they were northbound on their annual migration from Florida back north. Our boats are both of a similar style and we spent this evening dining, touring each other’s boats, telling tales and sharing travel tips like old friends. We sincerely hope to see them again!
We’d had a fun day. A surprisingly entertaining stopover on our trip south. But I don’t think we’d have had the true ‘Cape May Experience’ without the spectacle of a packed excursion boat (the kind that do whale watches) just off our pier with all aboard singing and signing to the Village People’s “YMCA”…intended, I think, for the jam-packed, iconic ‘Lobster House’ restaurant on the facing pier. They were having fun, too.