Island Hopping

Cape May County is a treasure trove of thrills, games, specialty seafood, happy hour specials, traditional family-style restaurants, beach gear, breakfast favorites, and relaxing rituals. Yet with its six hundred and twenty square-mile span, this Jersey shore county can be quite daunting. With all this ground to cover, where should you even begin? “Blast” is here with our tenth edition of Complete Island Hopping, our map of suggestions for a great week of Cape May County fun.

Up and at ‘em! Turn breakfast into an adventure aboard Morey’s Piers 156-foot high Ferris wheel. Breakfast in the Sky is in its second season of delicious food and stunning views. Guests are whisked away on a dream-like journey, leisurely soaring high above Wildwood on Morey’s Piers Giant Wheel, while indulging in a unique culinary experience complete with fine china, white linen tablecloths, and wheel-side service. This unique breakfast experience was one of the last famous ideas of Morey’s Piers’ late founder, Will Morey, Sr. Years later, to sentimentally honor their father’s last whimsical wish, the second-generation Morey Brothers have set the dream in motion—literally!

After a morning meal in the sky, cruise the ground on a Smitty’s Parking & Bike Rentals cruiser. Smitty’s provides bike rentals for as low as $8 an hour for a single bike, making bicycling affordable for any budget. All bikes are rented on an hourly basis, so you won’t find yourself paying for an entire day if you only plan on riding for a short time. Here, no bike is over two years old. Smitty’s Bike Rental is conveniently located right off the boardwalk, near the Wildwoods Convention Center, making it an ideal location for joy-riding and sight-seeing. Plus, they offer free parking for as long as you ride so no need to worry about feeding the meter.

After a Smitty’s joyride, head to Lakeview Docks of Wildwood Crest for some fishing fun in the sun. Lakeview’s home dock serves as a favorite fishing and crabbing pier for Wildwood locals and visitors alike. The waters are calm, the view is great, and the catch is even better. Pack a lunch and hang on the pier all day for only $5 for adults and $3 for children. Bring your rod and pick up your own bait, or let Lakeview do all the heavy lifting for you. Rod rentals cost only $10 per rod and Lakeview offers an assortment of bait options. Decide on the catch you’re aiming for and then choose from sperring, squid, or clams as bait. Crabbers can snag a Lakeview rental trap for only $4.50. For a fun-filled day on the Lakeview pier, all you need to do is show up.

Need a break from the water? Hit Duffer’s of Pacific Avenue for a pre-dinner round of mini golf. Have a chat with the course’s talking storks or take a stroll past the many shops of the golf course’s very own “town”. The nautical theme of the course is perfect for those in the “gone to the beach” type of mood. Tee up at the foot of the shipwreck or check out the Duffer’s lighthouse.

For dinner, head south of the border with Bandanas of Wildwood Crest. Bandanas Mexican Grille, Ice Cream, and Burrito Bar takes a fresh approach to Mexican cuisine and sweet treats. All of their marinades, sauces, and salsas are prepared daily from scratch, using only the finest, seasonal ingredients available. Whether you’re craving traditional Mexican favorites, char-grilled specialties, or a juicy award-winning burger, Bandanas has what you’re looking for. Craft your very own made-to-order burrito at Bandanas Burrito Bar for just $7, and top off your meal with one of Bandanas’ fabulous ice cream desserts or cappuccinos. Try the fresh made Warm Brownie Sundae or Hot Apple Tortilla Bowl Swirl. Family friendly with a kid’s menu, patio and inside dining, as well as take-out, Bandanas has been a favorite Wildwood Crest destination for 27 years.

Rather travel the Meditteranean? Make Little Italy your dinner destination. experience the unique personality of the boot-shaped nation’s sights, sounds, smells, and tastes with Giovanni and Sandy Sanzone at Little Italy of Wildwood Crest. Little Italy’s interior is designed in the warm terracotta and tile characteristic of Italian streets and features it very own 3-dimensional piazzas. Home to several vendors and markets, Italians sip their morning cappuccino, purchase fish for dinner, and browse the baker’s selection of cannolis all within their favorite piazza. Each piazza bears the name of a Sanzone family member, reflecting just how much Giovanni wishes to share his family heritage with diners.

Post-dinner, let the games begin. The Bay View of Wildwood Crest not only offers the island’s most breathtaking sunset views, but is also home to impressive competition on Tuesday night “Video Name That Tune” beginning at 8:30 p.m. This new-age twist on classic “Name That Tune” incorporates the songs’ music videos into the game, requiring both audio and visual song expertise. On Thursdays, for the more traditional gamers, The Bay View hosts classic “Name That Tune” beginning at 9 p.m. The Bay View welcomes trivia lovers on Fridays at 9 p.m. for Quizzo with Nick and Sundays at 8:30 for Quizzo with Ava. Or warm up your singing pipes and start the weekend with confidence. Hit the stage at Rio Station of Rio Grande for Terry-Oke night. Beginning at 9 p.m., amateur karaoke stars take the Rio by storm in what promises to be a fun-filled Friday night.

If you prefer to let some one else do the performing, make the Merion Inn your destination for cocktails and cool jazz sounds. This Friday and Saturday, catch the talented Lisa Tee and Matt Hayden on solo piano and solo piano and vocals from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. Jon Pruitt entertains Merion Inn patrons on Sunday and Monday from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. On Tuesday from 5:30 to 8:30 enjoy the live solo piano sounds of Barry Miles. Later, the Jazz Trio ensemble performs from 8:30 p.m. to close.

The following morning grab gourmet breakfast to go with the help of Rick’s Breakfast House of Sea Isle City. Since 1997 Rick’s Breakfast House, the “best kept secret” of Sea Isle, has been serving outstanding breakfast fare to the folks of Cape May County. Wake up with the specialty broccoli and tomato or Tex-Mex omelettes . Don’t miss the chocolate chip or banana griddle cakes. All of your favorite breakfast food is served hot and fresh including eggs, waffles, and homemade chipped beef. Large or small, eat in or take out, Rick’s Breakfast House is ready for your party.

Spend the afternoon on a Delaware Bay adventure with the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. Rain or shine, a round-trip ferry ride is the perfect way to relax and get away for a few hours. Explore onboard gift shops, visit the floating arcade for kids, or spend time in comfy lounge areas with your favorite beverage and enjoy the view and the ride. Heading south, it’s the relaxing way to reach Delaware’s tax-free shopping and beach attractions. Going north, you can visit the scenic and historic destinations of Lower New Jersey. Join Pirate Pete on the Family Fun Cruise, Wednesdays, departing at 6 p.m. Listen to live music on Rock the Boat, Fridays through August 24 departing at 6 p.m.

Or spend the afternoon on the links with Sand Barrens Golf Club of Swainton. You will definitely want to take advantage of Sand Barrens’ InFOREmer system to help you find your way from tee to green. This Global Positioning Satellite system offers a video display showing the lay of the land at each hole, yardage, pin placement, par and handicap information. Post-match, grab a fresh, Philly’s best hoagie at Lee’s Hoagie House of Stone Harbor. After almost sixty years in business in the Philadelphia area, Lee’s Hoagie House has opened its 1st Jersey Shore location in Stone Harbor. Lee’s features award-winning hoagies and steaks, wraps, and salads. They offer daily lunch specials, beach delivery, or phone-in for quick pick up.

Celebrate happy hour with Beach Creek Oyster Bar & Grille at their waterfront deck bar. Make a choice from Beach Creek’s extensive martini menu, including 30+ signature items. Martini connoisseurs are encouraged to sample what bartender Jacques insists is Beach Creek’s most popular specialty martini – the Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Coconut rum, pineapple, vanilla vodka, and Licor 43 blend to taste miraculously similar to a slice of fresh pineapple upside down cake. Cool off further south in Wildwood Crest at Marie Nicole’s. As an eight year recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and also home to an extensive signature martini menu, Marie Nicole’s is perfect for a few quick cocktails or a full-course meal. Experience the sublime with a taste of the Marie Nicole Rita or Marie Nicole Martini, both mixed with the superior, Parisian-born St. Germain liqueur.

By Megan Kummer