Changing Tides

How are you used to seeing Cape May? Most catch their first glimpse of the island as they kiss the Parkway goodbye and ascend to the top of the bridge. At a glance you’ll experience breathtaking views of the harbor and Schellenger’s Creek. Then there’s Washington Street Mall. Your eyes dart from one adorable store front to another until they land on a friendly face holding a white tray filled with little square cut fudge samples. A stroll around the historic district is full of gingerbread details, rocking chairs on front porches, and gas lamps flickering as dusk descends. Out on Sunset Beach, the colors come down from the flag pole as the sky fills with brilliant orange and red light. Guests who visit have such limited time to see all there is to see in Cape May, and experience all of those adventures found off the beaten path that only the locals know should be on your Cape May bucket list. This year, we’re making those experiences that lie along the road not traveled more accessible to our guests.

Everyone knows that there’s nothing like a day on the beach in Cape May, but did you know that this little hamlet is also one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world? Bird lovers’ flock to Cape May in the fall to catch a glimpse of the rare wildlife, and the island fills with Monarch Butterflies during their migration. In the summertime, the best way to get the story on Mother Nature’s fascinating habitat is by going on a private Kayak tour. Enjoy a breathtaking sunset, scored by the sound of gentle waves lapping along the Kayak. We’ll provide all of the lite bites and beverages necessary to keep your stamina up (even though this kayaking is as relaxed as it gets). You may also choose to do one of the morning or afternoon tours, but we recommend the sunset tours-there’s something special about the sunset in Cape May that you really must experience for yourself.

So if a paddle through the marshes isn’t your thing, you can still take in the brilliant orange, red, and pink sky from the open water. Join us as we come on board the Liberty, travel through the back bays of Cape May and out on the ocean, where you’ll get a glimpse of Congress Hall from the sea. The Liberty is a 1920s style yacht, the kind that Jay Gatsby may have ridden towards the elusive green light across the bay in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famed novel. While you may not be looking to throw a party for hundreds in a Mansion on West Egg, the Liberty Boat Does accommodate up to six guests.

If you’ve ever been on a Beach Plum Farm tour, you know that farming has a long and storied history in Cape May. If you’ve never been on a Beach Plum Farm tour, put it on the list as a must-do summer activity. We recommend taking a bike ride to Beach Plum and spending a few hours taking a walk around the 62 acres and enjoying breakfast or lunch at the Farm Stand. There’s farming in Cape May County, however, that does not come from the soil but rather from the water. That’s right: oyster farming. For years the waters off of Cape May were a hot bed of oysters, and many made their living off of catching these delicious bivalves and selling them to residents and customers in restaurants. Several decades ago, the oysters started to dissipate (it was the result of a parasite that is not harmful to humans, but detrimental to oysters). In the past ten years researchers have found a way to grow and harvest oysters in Cape May’s waters, and found that oysters actually help to promote sustainability in the waters off of Cape May- they act as little filters that keep it clean while building their own muscles (not to be confused with mussels). You can see how it all happens with on this oyster farm excursion. We’ll provide transportation to and from the farm, gloves, water, and snacks. You come prepared to get muddy in the oyster beds, and ready to savor the freshest harvest from the ocean.

This fall, when the weather cools, a hike through the unknown enchanted forest is every local’s favorite best kept secret. We’re happy to share the Davey’s Lake hike with our guests. A guide will take you on a walk through these back woods where you’ll learn all about Cape May original settlers- the Lenni-Lenape Indians. The walk will take you through the forest and along the beach, where you’ll encounter beautiful plants, mildly rigorous terrain (depending on the kind of hiking you’re used to) and amazing vistas you never knew were just a stone’s throw from historic houses and gourmet dining. We’ll bring refreshments as we take a break from walking over the tough sand dunes into the quiet forest. It’s been described as “Walden Pond with grit,” if that’s an indication of what the hike may entail. These tours will be offered in the fall and early spring, so be sure to check the website and call the concierge for more details.

How are you used to seeing Cape May? What are the experiences you may be missing that you don’t even know about? We wanted to curate an activities list for our guests where they may get to see and experience the beauty of this magical place more fully. Where they may come to understand that feeling locals get when they stand on the beach and watch the sunset. That really, not only is there no place like home. Whether you get to call this place yours for six days or three hundred and sixty five, there’s no place like Cape May.