Skateboards, Full Moon Sights, and Morning Cocktails
Welcome back to Island Hopping! Just one edition of Do the Shore to go before we all take a well-deserved break.
This week, we’re starting our day at Ocean 7 in Cape May. Ocean 7 is the Inn of Cape May’s signature restaurant – it sits just a few feet from the Cape May promenade, and its outdoor seating gives you a great view of the city’s coastline. The Inn was established in 1894, so it’s just a little bit older than your editor.
Ocean 7’s breakfast menu is inexpensive for the area. Their house-made cinnamon bun is just $3.50, and their great cheddar chive biscuit is $3. Their ricotta pancakes are a delight.
Ocean 7 also serves a full drink menu, even for breakfast. Check out their “Porch Rocker Spritz,” full of aperol, prosecco, and “Misunderstood Ginger Whisky,” for a mid-morning boozy break. Just don’t drive drunk, yeah? Traffic is bad enough in Cape May!
Next, we’re headed to the Garrett Family Preserve to check out their “Braille Trail.” This ½ mile loop has a handicap rope that runs along the trail length and features many educational signs written in braille. The trail features an accompanying audio tour that guides visitors – blind or not – through the preserve’s ecological highlights and preservation history.
We know this is somewhat of an ironic recommendation given the delivery mechanism – our blind friends will probably have a hard time reading this article, printed on stock-standard newsprint. But we were touched by the Nature Conservancy’s efforts to accommodate visitors of all needs; there aren’t many braille-accessible places in Cape May. And for those of you not hard of sight, the Garrett Family Preserve is among the best nature spots in the area. The colorful trails are dotted with local fauna that attract uncommon butterflies and birds. No matter who you are, there’s something here to see.
Next, we’re headed over to the Cape May Point Lighthouse. But editor! That’s the most obvious place to visit of all! We hear you, but if you visit the lighthouse on August 30, you can participate in a rare “full moon climb” up the lighthouse. This special event takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. and gives you a moon-soaked glimpse of our peninsula. The full moon hike comes again on September 29 and October 28.
Also coming up on Labor Day Weekend is the Naval Air Station Wildwood Airfest, one of the only chances to see vintage aircraft in-flight, classic cars on display, historic re-enactors, live music, and a lot more. This is the year’s biggest event at the museum, and a great excuse to attend if you haven’t before.
We’re finishing our day over in Wildwood, where a famous eatery is waiting for us. The Dragon House on Pacific Avenue is the biggest Chinese restaurant in the county. It is also the oldest operating restaurant on the island. Their traditional Chinese-American menu has all the staples, but what sets Dragon House apart is its consistency. Delivery, takeout, dine-in; you can’t go wrong at the Dragon House.
Finally, let’s head over to Wild Ocean Surf Shop. Full disclosure: the owner is a lifelong family friend. But we wouldn’t plug the business if it were lame. Greg, owner of the shop, is a friendly face in the local skating scene. He stocks a genuinely impressive selection of skate decks, skateboard trucks, bearings, and other skating equipment. Your editor is wearing a Vans button-down shirt from Wild Ocean; they’re open year-round, and the staff is always excited to help you with any skateboard or surf-related questions.
Just last week, Greg helped me remove a stuck wheel and bearing from my poorly maintained skateboard. Cape May County is a great place to skateboard – Ocean City, North Wildwood, and Sea Isle City each have distinct skate parks that are usually teeming with local talent. And there’s nothing better than skateboarding along the Wildwood boardwalk before the 1 p.m. bike curfew.
And that’s it for Island Hopping! One week to go! Let us know if you know of a great place we should plug. Email the editor at email@example.com, or give him a call at 609-886-8600 ext. 156