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Monday, January 22, 2018

Cape May Top 10

Congress Hall in Cape May,
captured by one of my favorite illustrators [next to my cousin Lin]--
Martha Kelly.
I first visited Cape May with my college boyfriend, Jeff. His hometown is maybe 35 miles north of there. I don't remember too much about that day, but I do remember we went to The Ugly Mug on the Washington Street Mall [an open-air walk lined with shops and restaurants] with his lovely Aunt Lucy. I think it was wintertime.

I went back with Dan years later on a summer day. I always tease him that he said Alice, why didn't you tell me it was like this? as we drove into the seaside town of wedding cake-trim houses in saltwater taffy hues. He had asked me beforehand what made Cape May so special, why we should plan to go there, and I guess I couldn't put it exactly into words. We ended up staying a couple of nights, checking into the Victorian Inn of Cape May. Unfortunately, I got food poisoning [whitefish left out at room temp on the buffet, I think] and missed several days of work after that.

We went back near Christmas two different years, took Baby Figgy with us and have escaped for a couple of child-free overnights more recently.

Me and Dan Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018. My hair looks flat and I blame that darn
CPAP machine that must go everywhere I do. The straps flatten hair.
There's still a lot to love:
  1. All the pretty houses. B&Bs and inns in candy colors [pink, yellow] with intricate, lacy white gingerbread trim. Tall windows that open out to the porch, carefully painted shutters. Turrets and back stairs and iron fences. 
  2. The taffy itself. I do remember Jeff introducing me to the name Fralinger's, the famous salt water taffy brand. The store is still on the mall; the taffy is still good. TBH, I did not love the chocolate mint Sea Foam Fudge yesterday. Punchy enjoyed her souvenir, a chocolate-covered paddle pop--classic candy on a stick.
  3. Charming jewelry. I almost don't want to make this public, because I want to go back one day to Mary Ann's, which I just discovered yesterday. You can put down a 10 percent deposit and make payments on layaway. They ship anywhere. I saw sweet antique gold charms for my charm bracelet: a little phone [not cell, but rotary dial], a dainty ice skate, a pair of baby shoes with gems and even a Bible with pages that turn. Reasonably priced for treasures like that.
  4. Congress Hall. I adore this old seaside hotel dating to the 1800s. Lovingly restored. Even though we didn't stay there this time, we sat in the lobby on the overstuffed couches and stared at the crackling fires. Soothing escape. I also could happily get lost in Tommy's Folly, the small boutique there. Beautiful clothing, and I believe I've also bought some gorgeous postcards there with illustrations by Martha Kelly. Almost too pretty to mail out.
  5. The history. On the mall, there's a memorial to fishermen lost at sea and a plaque honoring a Civil War hero, as well as a Catholic Church. 
  6. The beach. The ocean. Of course. A walk by the waves, to reconnect with Dan as our shoes left footprints in the sand.
  7. Beach Plum Farm. Supplies a lot of the food for the wonderful Blue Pig Tavern at Congress Hall; too bad, Blue Pig was closed for renovation this visit. I love the name Beach Plum Farm and want to see it but it too was closed. Next time.
  8. The pink house. Right near Congress Hall; so pretty, like a bridesmaid at a seaside wedding.
  9. The Ebbitt Room in the Virginia Hotel. Pricey but nice. Hard to get a table.
  10. Off-season rates. No multi-night minimum stays and prices at a big dip compared to the hot season, between July 1 and Labor Day.
Good night. Now that I had another taste of Cape May, I am eager to go back.

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