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 second edition of Complete Island Hopping, our map of suggestions for a great week of Cape May County fun.

Get pumped for Independence Day with an exhilarating session of an all-American water sport. Lakeview Docks of Wildwood Crest is the perfect one-stop spot for a range of water sports gear. Feeling the need for speed? Hop on one of Lakeview’s brand new wave runners with the help of the well-trained staff and slice through the waves while enjoying the beautiful bay view. Find four adventurous friends and rent Lakeview’s Sundance Skiff to be captain of your own boat for the day. Tan and relax aboard this sleek speed boat. If you’re looking to be more active out on the water, paddle out on one of Lakeview’s single or double kayaks. For a lazy day on the dock, fish or crab all day from Lakeview’s own pier for only $5 for adults and $3 for children. Forgot your gear? No worries. Lakeview’s rod rentals and bait sale have you covered.

Prefer a break from the sun with some indoor fun? Art enthusiasts and art amateurs alike can appreciate The Art of Graham Nash exhibition available for viewing at Ocean Galleries of Stone Harbor from June 28th through July 8th. Graham Nash himself will be at the gallery signing his purchased artwork on Sunday, July 1st, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Interact with the work of one of today’s premiere artistic talents.

Wildwood dwellers can enjoy the tried and true family recipes of Groff’s Restaurant for a delicious and reasonably priced dinner. Fresh meats and Jersey vegetables or freshly caught seafood are served as entrees in Groff’s unique, Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine style. For dessert, Groff’s famous homemade pie is a must-try. Apple crumb, Black Bottom, Lemon Meringue, Blueberry Glaze, and more, grab a slice or order them in bulk for a summer party. Head to Pacific Ave. and hitch a ride on Downtown Wildwood’s leading lady, Dolly the Trolley. This free trolley service runs north on Pacific and south on Atlantic from 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Climb aboard Dolly and head into North Wildwood to sample the ice cream delights of Jimbo’s Family Restaurant’s brand new ice cream parlor. For an adventure-filled end to the night, begin a beer-tasting quest at Goodnight Irene’s Brew Pub of Pacific Ave. in Wildwood. Irene’s is home to Wildwood’s largest craft beer selection. 50 ever-changing taps offer local specialties such as Flying Fish, Dogfish Head, Sly Fox, Sierra Nevada, and Cape May Brewing Company, while imported brews such as Guinness, Smithwick’s, and Hooegarden are also served up cold on tap. Take a seat at Irene’s brand new beer garden with its own bar, flatscreen TVs, and umbrella seating and get the best of both the indoor pub and outdoor patio worlds.

Get in swing the next morning at Sand Barrens Golf Club of Cape May Court House. With its sandy stretches set against green fairways, Sand Barrens is proclaimed to be the closest thing to a desert course in this part of the country. There are five sets of tee boxes in order to ensure that players of all skill levels can be comfortable on the course. The South Nine features the course’s most scenic views of the rolling fairways and sandy areas while the West Nine is considered the patrons’ favorite. After a morning on the 27-hole course, kick back in the elegant yet relaxed clubhouse. With high ceilings and large windows opening to beautiful vistas, from here enjoy beautiful views of the course’s greens and sandy banks. Need a golf gear upgrade? Be sure to visit Sand Barrens’ pro shop before concluding your visit.

For an afternoon shopping trip you won’t soon forget, stop by the extremely eclectic Swainton Station variety store of Cape May Court House. This 1960’s style variety store is impossible to miss, located in the pink house at mile 16 on Route 9. Swainton Station’s collection of inflatable water toys such as rafts and tubes include pool party essentials. Swainton Station also carries a hug range of gifts and clollectibles including religious crosses and crucifixes, gifts, books, Bible covers, etched crystals, Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Christmas lights, ornaments, garland, motion items, puzzles, battery operated toys, Melissa & Doug, John Deere, leather jackets & vests, Hess & other collectible trucks, porcelain dolls, chess sets, all occasion greeting cards, jewelry, knife sets, NASCAR, games, household items and crafts. Here, you’ll definitely find the unique gift you’re looking for plus a must-have that you weren’t even expecting!

Get to know the nation’s oldest seashore resort in surprising new ways with one of the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities’ Cape May tours. On the Beachcombing at the Cove organized tour, visitors are guided in their exploration of the Cape May beach and dunes by a professional naturalist from the Nature Center of Cape May. Find the Cape May booty on MAC’s Cape May Family Treasure Hunt educational scavenger hunt. Parents and kids wander the streets of Victorian Cape May in search of clues while uncovering the town’s architectural elements. Ride into exit zero’s past with the Historic District Trolley Tour on which a knowledgable guide presents both entertaining and educational stories about the history of Cape May and its development. What is a widow’s walk and why can they be found on a number of Victorian Cape May’s homes…?

After getting the lay of the exit zero land, why not hit the waterway? Utsch’s Marina, located at the east end of the Cape May Canal, provides dockage for visiting boats overnight or for the entire summer season. Factory-trained mechanics at this full-service facility can keep your vessel in top running order or help you find the perfect fit from their collection of brand new and used boats for interested shoppers. Not up for ownership commitment? Utsch’s Marina also offers charter and party boats for groups looking to enjoy a day of deep-sea fishing or parasailing without a boat of their own.

After a long Cape May County day, treat yourself at Alumni Grill of Wildwood’s Milkshake Happy Hour. Daily from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., buy one of Alumni Grill’s famous shakes or floats and get one free. Hank’s Vanilla Cream float or Vanilla Peanut Butter shake? Choose from the extensive menu of six floats and fourteen shakes. For the health-conscious dessert lovers, hit a YoGo Factory location on the Ocean City boardwalk, Wildwood boardwalk, in Somers Point, or in Rio Grande. Yogo Factory’s lowfat and premium frozen yogurts range from 1g-5g of dairy butter fat per serving. This small amount of butter fat allows Yogo Factory to present a decadent experience with a fraction of the calories of a premium ice cream product. And, YoGo’s frozen yogurt contains beneficial live and active yogurt cultures, which ice cream does not. A wise and tasty choice.

By Megan Kummer