Cape May in August

Last summer, my daughter and I started a tradition of taking a short (3-day) beach vacation together, just the two of us. Since she works all summer as a camp counselor and only gets one week of free time, I felt she deserved a special trip. Last summer, we explored Chincoteague. This summer, Cape May.

We stayed at the Captain Mey's Bed and Breakfast on Ocean Street. We were about 2 blocks from the beach. We parked the car in the VERY narrow space on the property's lot and didn't move it once until we left to return home. We walked EVERYWHERE!

Captain Mey's Bed and Breakfast feels like staying at your grandmother's house. That is, if she collects loads of antique stuff and doesn't come to the door to greet you. Self-service is the name of the game here. The hospitality you might expect in this type of setting is completely nonexistent. There is no "front desk" and no staff are visible for most of the day.

Our room was on the third floor, and the stairs offered an excellent workout several times per day. We had a large jacuzzi tub in the bathroom, as well as a walk-in shower. The window-unit air conditioner did not cool the bathroom, however, so it felt like a sauna in there. The bedroom, thank goodness, was much cooler.

Breakfast included fresh bagels, cream cheese, hard boiled eggs, bananas, cereal, coffee, tea, juices, and yogurts. Being from New York, I enjoy a good bagel, despite the carbs! And these were the real thing.
I made coffee each morning in the Keurig machine, as well as iced tea in the afternoon. In the evenings, we purchased take-out meals from Zoe's Beachfront Cafe and ate on the front porch. We watched the horse-drawn carriages go past, listening to the drivers recite stories about our B&B. The wrap-around porch was shady and cool, with a nice breeze. It was a great spot for people-watching.

Our room was $225 per night. I booked well in advance, back in January, as many places fill early at Cape May during the season. In comparison to the hotel where we stayed in Chincoteague, this price was quite a bit higher. But Cape May doesn't have the mosquitoes which made it impossible to walk anywhere except close to the ocean on the beach at Chincoteague.

What is there to do at Cape May? We enjoyed a day at the county zoo, which has free admission and free parking. We saw everything from lions, tigers, giraffes, and zebras to snakes, frogs, alligators, and newts. There was plenty of shade so even on a hot, sunny day, it was a pleasant place to be.

Of course, there is the beach. We spent an entire day walking the length of the beach from Cape May, around Cape May Point, to Sunset Beach. Along the way, we saw the lighthouse, the migratory bird sanctuary, the shipwreck, the World War II Lookout Tower, and the concrete bunker covered with graffiti. At Sunset Beach, we collected "Cape May diamonds" which are quartz pebbles polished by the waves.

If you're interested in shopping, Cape May definitely has something for you. There are the usual tee shirt shops, plus salt water taffy, fudge, and ice cream places. But there are also antiques, cookware, estate jewelry, clothing, and freshly made peanut butter stores! You could easily spend days wandering through the town, browsing in the windows. We barely skimmed the surface.

The drive from western Howard County to Cape May zoo took us only three hours, leaving at 6am on a Tuesday morning. Coming home in the middle of the day took four hours, but that included heavy downpours with very poor visibility on I-95. So not much longer than the drive to Ocean City. Very doable!

Most Cape May restaurants and shops are open through the second weekend of October. After that, many businesses shut their doors until the following year. So don't wait! Get there while the sun is still shining and the stores are still open.