Fudge, Free Disc Golf, and Great Hikes
Welcome back to Island Hopping! The past few weeks have been plagued with random thunderstorms and brief street floods. But if you can take a little rain, let us take you through a day in Cape May County as we bring you to some of our favorite businesses, free events, and nature trails.
One of our favorite ways to start the day is by visiting one of the weekly farmer’s markets that take place on our islands. Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Stone Harbor, Wildwood, and West Cape May all have markets at different times of the week. None of them overlap, and all have a slightly different character that makes each market worth a visit.
I enjoyed a huge plate of vegetarian disco fries I bought at last week’s market in West Cape May, and I’m saving up for a neon Wildwoods sign from the genuine neon vendor that visits the Wildwood market. Check out our guide to all the farmers’ markets in the county later in this issue of Do the Shore. We’ve found that the Stone Harbor and West Cape May markets have the best selection of produce, while Ocean City has the biggest variety overall.
Last Spring, we wrote about the Lizard Tail Swamp Trails in Court House. This 2-mile loop is in the heart of rural Middle Township and has a small parking lot that is seldom full (on 460 Court House – South Dennis Rd.) This trail system brings you through a rare lowland swamp, a special ecosystem found in low-elevation forests where rainwater tends to collect on the forest floor.
We last went during the cool month of April. Things are hotter, buggier, and more grown-out this time of year. But please, don’t let that hold you back from a visit. This trail should be easy for people of all activity levels, and you will see massive trees and foliage that you won’t find anywhere else in the state. Just don’t forget the bug spray!
If you worked up an appetite on your hike, head to any of the six Fudge Kitchen locations strewn across the county. Fudge is a fierce industry here – there are more than 15 fudge shops on our peninsula. But Fudge Kitchen has been here the longest. We interviewed two of the Fudge Kitchen’s “senior fudge makers” this week for a feature story that you can read later in this issue.
Many people have made careers at The Fudge Kitchen, and the fudge-making process has remained unchanged since Bo and Barney Bogle founded the Fudge Kitchen over 50 years ago. My two favorite flavors are cookies and cream and peppermint, a Christmas special.
We’ll roleplay as your parents and tell you to save room for dinner, because you’ll want to have an appetize when you visit Menz Restaurant in Rio Grande, right next to the Ockie Wisting Recreation Complex (aka, the best park in Middle Township). The park, lovingly referred to as “the Ock,” has a free disc golf course, a lake with a boat launch and elevated walkway, and a massive soccer field. Thank you, Middle Township taxpayers!
As for the restaurant next door, Menz has been here for decades – the inside is labyrinthian and full of eclectic decorations like two-headed deer. The atmosphere is great, and their American menu (lots of great burgers, sandwiches, and fried appetizers) isn’t challenging, but it’s comfort food done right.
And that’s all for this week’s Island Hopping! Let us know if you have any suggestions for next week, or if you visited anywhere we recommended.