We had a 3-day weekend and I didn’t want to let it go without getting away from home. We spend so many weekends doing laundry and running mundane errands that I just wanted to get out. There are a number of cities within a few hours drive that I would like to explore. I considered Pittsburgh, as we have friends from that area and they talk about it a lot. But, John didn’t see the point. Whatever that means. Apparently he didn’t want to go there 🙂
So I decided on Philadelphia. The last time we were there was a month after 9/11 and everything was locked down with armed guards (as I remember it), so we didn’t even stop. I also wanted to explore New Jersey (why does everyone diss Jersey?), so the plan was to spend a day in Philly doing touristy things and then head over to Cape May, which I’d heard so much about. I also wanted to see fall color, assuming NJ was far enough north to be further along in the color than down here.
Our weekend didn’t go exactly as I’d envisioned it. First, we had a Friday evening commitment, so we couldn’t hit the road then. That would have been ideal. Then, I couldn’t get an affordable hotel room in Philly until Sunday night, so we were forced to do the trip in reverse order. I couldn’t find a Marriott hotel (or any other chain for that matter) in Cape May and friends said oh just get a B&B. We’d never stayed at one before and I didn’t know how to choose, so we drove up without a reservation for that night. While on the road, I got ahold of the Availability Hotline, which gave me three B&Bs that had reported cancellations. Only one of them actually had a room, so I grabbed it.
Saturday was a rainy, dreary day and we didn’t get into Cape May until after 1pm, closer to 2, I think. We couldn’t check in until 3, so we walked down the street to the pedestrian shopping mall, looking for a light lunch. Even though we split a chicken salad sandwich, it was huge and was more than we intended to eat.
Here’s what we didn’t know about Cape May until we got there. Probably 95% or more of the hotels are Victorian B&Bs, I think. The town has historic status, so everything is protected and it tops the quaintness charts (if there is such a thing). If you go, bring rolls and rolls of quarters because all street parking is metered and one quarter will only get you 15 minutes. No Sunday exclusions, although I think you don’t have to feed the meters over night. There are ATMs everywhere and it was explained to us that a lot of businesses are cash only. We didn’t run into that and of course, you can’t get quarters from an ATM. So beware. Another curiosity was so many restaurants that advertised BYOB. Our host explained that there are a limited number of alcohol licenses, so they let you bring in your own. It’s a walking and biking town, so bring your sturdy shoes and your own bikes, although rentals are available. We were a couple of blocks from the beach and since it’s off-season, the beaches were pretty deserted. I can imagine what the town must be like during the summer.
Andy and Toby were our hosts at Bayberry Inn. It is one of a few buildings that survived a devastating fire in 1878.
A delightful place, I highly recommend it. One block from the Washington Street mall and two blocks from the beach. Easy walking.
Sunday was much nicer:
I would have taken pictures of every single fabulous B&B and inn if I could have. Here are just a few:
As I’d hoped, the town was decorated for fall and Halloween. Made me want to come home and plant mums.
It just happened to be Lima Bean Festival weekend.
Cape May is a big bird-watching destination because of the Atlantic Flyway. This is by the lighthouse and the place was teeming with bird-watchers. I overheard some people say they’d walked a nature trail and saw bald eagles.
Because of our late lunch, we weren’t hungry for dinner, although we did walk around about 8 o’clock looking at all the posted menus. We came back to our room, intending to watch an episode of Game of Thrones on the iPad, since there are no televisions at Bayberry Inn. However, it wouldn’t download and it wouldn’t stream, so we went to bed early 🙂
We left town Sunday morning to do some more touring around the state. I’ll tell you about that in Part 2.
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