Cape May is a resort beach town that sits at the southern most tip of New Jersey. It's known for it's brightly colored Victorian houses, dripping with gingerbreading, and classy but casual beach atmosphere. Like almost all Jersey beach towns, it's a mad house in the summer, attracting tourists from all over, particularly Philadelphia. Despite getting very crowded, it's less of a wild party town than neighboring Wildwood. Cape May has gorgeous beaches, fancy B&Bs, and a more conservative nature.
I grew up visiting Cape May with my mom in the off season, and know it as a quiet, pretty town, with some hidden gems. I recall there being cats everywhere, in every shop and on every stoop. My mom and I often dreamed of writing a children's book staring the feline population. We used to go there quite often, but I haven't been back in more than ten years. So I was pretty delighted when our friends gave my husband and I a gift certificate to one of the most prominent hotels in town. Congress Hall is steeped in history and is quite luxurious by NJ standards (and by our standards, too!).
I had always seen the hotel on previous visits, but never entered and certainly never stayed there. Congress Hall's expansive creamy yellow building with white columns, and tidily manicured grounds are iconic in Cape May.
The bathroom in our room was almost as big as the living room in our Brooklyn apartment. There is a nice bar, The Brown Room, and a decent restaurant, but sitting on the balcony or taking a long soak in the tub was more our speed this trip.
Although we explored the town some, we were more interested in the beach as the weather was practically perfect. We saw dolphins, horseshoe crabs, many birds, and many stones and shells.
We particularly like the southern most point of town where you can walk a rocky beach, picking up Cape May Diamonds and exploring the lighthouse grounds.
The brief trip yielded many great treasures. Cape May Diamonds, smashed pennies and a fossil are just a few things we took home with us.
We did manage a trip to the Cape May County Zoo and the ferry, but were not able to see some of the interesting nearby sights. We can save those for another trip.
There's something about shore towns that speaks to us. Something about the ocean, and the people who have chosen to make their lives near it, that's soothing and inspiring. Shore towns are relaxed, but hard working, calm but diligent, very much like the waves hitting the beach. I will always visit them.