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Goodbye summer

September 23, 2012

What better way to say farewell to the summer season than with a quick beach getaway?

I’m not a huge fan of the crowded, noisy sands of the nearby Jersey Shore, but as the school year crept closer I longed for the sound of thunderous waves and the smell of salt air.

My husband scored a friend’s vacation home for four days post-Labor Day, located equidistance from the beach and the lake in Wildwood Crest. We arrived late Friday just in time to enjoy dinner, without a wait, at Little Italy, and a stunning lakeside sunset.

Saturday morning we were early to Utsch’s Marina for our two-and-a-half- hour whale and dolphin watch. So glad I wore layers, as the temperature was brisk. We spotted dozens of dolphins off Cape May Point and I felt like Captain Ahab as we ventured to deeper waters in search of whales. No luck. The knowledgeable crew of naturalists schooled us on the history of the area, the water and the life expectancy of whales and dolphins in the wild though. Supposedly, for the latter, it’s up to 70 years, as opposed to 10 in captivity.

Excited to see the dolphins, we decided to visit the animals at the acclaimed Cape May County Zoo too. An area must-see, this free, 85-acre facility features an adorable red panda, snow leopards and several zebras among its more than 500 animals.  We could have spent all day here. In fact, we were among the last to leave. Come early as it closes at 4:45 p.m. most days.  (The adjacent park, however, is open until dusk.)


Quaint Victorian houses, B&B’s and shops are part of Cape May’s charm, as are its eateries. For Sunday breakfast, friends and family suggested The Mad Batter located on Jackson Street in the heart of town. The staff was very friendly and my “Thick Sliced Orange and Almond French Toast” was light and tasty. I would highly recommend it. As we were leaving around 11 a.m. a line was forming down the street.

We finally hit the beach that afternoon in Wildwood Crest. My daughter gleefully created sand castles, collected shells and rocks, ran in and out of the waves, and repeatedly buried my feet in the sand. The temperature was nearly 80 degrees and there was a slight breeze. Surfers and a few seasoned swimmers were in the ocean and there were other people on the beach, but it felt like we had this stretch of sand all to ourselves.

On the way home we stopped at Cape May’s Sunset Beach to search for its famed diamonds. We dined at The Grille and viewed the area’s famous concrete ship. It was too early to capture a breathtaking sunset, but the sparkling spot, covered with pure quartz crystals in various sizes and colors, was still beautiful. The local gems filled our pockets and I can’t wait to see them after a spin in my daughter’s rock tumbler.

This morning there was still sand in my shoes as I crunched the fallen leaves on my steps. Today is the first day of autumn, and although it’s sad to say goodbye, I know summer will be back. And thankfully the beach is only about two hours away.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jodi permalink
    September 24, 2012 8:18 am

    Perfect goodbye to summer!

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