At the end of June 2020, I found myself digging deep to find some relaxation in my hometown - despite the Coronavirus Pandemic. I had not traveled in almost a year, and like many of us, the itch for adventure was getting impossible to ignore. My routine was becoming too mundane and I could only hike the same trails for so long. That being said, my mom is a healthcare worker and has been tirelessly helping her patients during COVID-19. I had been careful to not travel anywhere outside of the state but I was running out of places within a 30-minute radius.
That’s when the idea to visit Cape May, New Jersey came to my mind. My boyfriend and I celebrate our anniversary at the end of August each year, so Cape May sounded like the perfect weekend getaway. 2020 was a difficult year for all of us, and if I could find some way to make it special while still being careful, I was determined to do so.
I knew that I could find an Airbnb host that could comply with our COVID safety requests. I spoke with an amazing host named Ruslan and expressed all of my travel concerns. He was very quick to respond to my needs and assured me that his home would be safe for my boyfriend and I to enjoy. At less than two hours away, sitting at the southern tip of New Jersey, I was ready to experience Cape May - with some fun in the sun.
The historic city of Cape May is known as the “original seaside resort” of New Jersey and has been critically acclaimed by travel companies for decades. Aside from the Victorian-era homes, the Cape May lighthouse adds another element of history, as it was built in 1859. The lighthouse is a major New Jersey landmark and presents a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean at the top.
Being the history lover that I am, I knew this was one of the spots that I wanted to check out in this renowned city. I was not disappointed by the views that the lighthouse provided. I had been to Cape May as a baby and I remembered the lighthouse briefly, but it felt like a completely different experience when the brisk sea-breeze hit our faces on that hot August day. The walk to the top wasn’t too strenuous, which we were thankful for. Although, I recommend you bring bottled water if you plan on trekking up the steps at the end of August - as we did.
After our morning trip to the lighthouse, we enjoyed brunch at the Mad Batter Cafe. The bistro, located on Jackson Street, was a quaint American eatery for Cape May locals. It had boasting reviews on Yelp, so we decided to check it out - and we were not disappointed. I enjoyed a vegan breakfast sandwich, with meatless bacon and non-dairy cream cheese. It was delicious - especially with a fresh fruit salad on the side. The sandwich was the perfect treat to give me some fuel before walking around the downtown area.
After enjoying our lunch, my boyfriend and I spent some time at the shops on historic Washington Street. The Washington Street Mall was filled with all types of eateries, from Irish Gastropubs to delicious bakeries, providing meals and snacks for all kinds of visitors. They are also famous for their shopping, with hundreds of novelty stores. Boasting book shops, mini art galleries, and home-goods, the shopping experience was vastly different than your local mall. I loved walking down the colorful strip of stores while window shopping as I passed by different knick-knacks.
When our feet grew tired of walking along the streets, we drove to the Cape May Brewery for a mid-day ale. While there are a lot of breweries in Pennsylvania and different parts of New Jersey that are close to my home, none of them match the selection at Cape May. With an outdoor drinking section and a beer sampling tour, the brewery was a well-oiled machine for giving patrons an amazing brew-sipping experience. I enjoyed a cranberry beer that they transformed into a slushy - the perfect beverage for a warm summer afternoon. They played classic soft rock tunes and provided wonderful service the entire time. With their inviting ambiance and extensive beer menu, I could see myself visiting this brewery again someday.
While this was just a snippet of our trip to Cape May, I fully enjoyed our time at this southern peninsula. I don’t often travel too far south for an escape to the ocean as I live close to many of the mid-state beaches, like Long Beach Island and Belmar. However, it was worth it to travel down to Cape May and experience the sun, the sand, and the city. The next day we enjoyed the clean beaches and took a ride to an outdoor Italian eatery for a romantic dinner. I could not have asked for a better bite-sized vacation and anniversary celebration.
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