One thing I've always been annoyed by is when people make a face when they hear I'm from New Jersey. I know they're trying to be funny, but it's not exactly a creative joke (which is also why I roll my eyes at most "that's what she said" attempts). The truth is, New Jersey is beautiful - especially where I grew up in Cape May County.
When I go home in the summer, my schedule is almost exactly the same each time and includes two bonfires, two beach days, two outdoor showers, and one trip to Custard Hut. But when I visited a few weekends ago, it was still a little too cold for the beach. Instead, my family took a short drive down to Cape May to explore.
I remember climbing the Cape May Lighthouse in the early '90s but my memory was a little flawed. I recall that it took a long time and was quite grueling but maybe that's because I didn't have these long legs back then. There are 199 steps, which is more than in my 5th floor walk-up, but less than in other climbs I've done recently: 259 in St. Paul's Cathedral in London, 366 in the bell tower in Bruges, and over 400 steps in both the bell tower and the Duomo in Florence. The lighthouse has some impressive views, especially if you luck out with a gorgeous day like we did.
After the lighthouse, we walked along some adorable nature trails into the wetlands and made friends with a swan and some other winged creatures. It reminded me a little of my bird-watching tour in Central Park last year but it was way less intense. Then we took some jumping photos because we are who we are.
From there, we spent some time on Sunset Beach to look for Cape May Diamonds, which is also something I remember from childhood. Cape May Diamonds are pebbles of quartz from the Delaware River that wash up on shore. When polished, they become shiny and clear, but you won't actually be able to start a jewelry scam with these puppies.
We finished up our trip with a late lunch at Lucky Bones Backwater Grill. I thought I was in the mood for seafood until I saw a Muffaletta sandwich on the menu. If you've talked to me in the last five months, you know that this was one of my favorite sandwiches in New Orleans so I could not say no. It was an amazing choice - as was the bacon-wrapped shrimp for an appetizer.
Cape May is a great escape and could be done in a day from New York City if you don't mind being in the car for a while, but you should really stay the whole weekend - especially if you're staying at the best bed & breakfast around - my parents' house.