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 third edition of Complete Island Hopping, our map of suggestions for a great week of Cape May County fun.
There’s no better way to kick off a Jersey Shore day than with an all-American diner breakfast. Fast like a diner, but custom made to order like a café, your Star Diner order will truly hit the pre-beach spot. Choose from classics such as waffles, stuffed frenchtoast, and blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes slathered in diner syrup or opt for eggs made to order served with options of home fries, tater tots, toast, and bagels. The Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Omelette combines three eggs with fresh Jersey shore seafood taste. Already grabbed a quick breakfast? Stop by Star Diner for a Solar Specialty Sandwich such as the Star Burger or after 3 p.m. for the Early Bird Specials.
The past few weeks in Cape May County have been scorching. As the sun heats up, make sure you take full advantage of the summer rays. For all your outdoor summer fun needs, check out Hoy’s 5&10 in Avalon and Stone Harbor. With the largest beach chair selection in south Jersey, Hoy’s is the perfect place to find that much needed chair upgrade plus other fun beach games such as wiffle ball and Prokadima. Ship a Hoy, shop a Hoy! Like Hoy’s on Facebook for coupons and promos. Aside from the white beaches, experience another Cape May County tradition at Laura’s Fudge Shops of Wildwood, Cape May, Ocean City, and North Wildwood. “The original fudge shop at the shore” celebrates its 85th year of family tradition this season and offers sixteen equally delicious fudge flavors. For another taste of a unique Jersey Shore sweet, be sure to cruise Pacific Ave. of Wildwood and stop by Hankins’ Fudge for their chocolate-covered salt water taffy. Voted the best by residents and tourists alike, this special taffy combines the best of both worlds with its savory dark chocolate coating and its salty taffy core. Flavors include raspberry, chocolate, lemon, peppermint, strawberry, vanilla, pistachio, orange, cherry, and lime. Now buy 1 get 1 free, these 7 oz. bags of these individually foil-wrapped taffies are too good to resist.
When the sand gets too hot, why not take a ride through your preferred shore town. Grab your cruiser and feel the breeze. Smitty’s Bike Rentals of Youngs & Ocean Aves. in Wildwood has a wide selection of cruisers and surreys to fit the taste of all family members. Work together on a tandem built for two or solo on one of Smitty’s brand new Army bikes or the bubble gum pink tall handlebar cruiser new this season. After a good long pedal, energize before dinner with a few quick appetizers. Dogtooth Bar & Grill provides the perfect pre-dinner spot with its American style menu in a casual but upscale atmosphere. Make sure to try their signature Dogtooth Bites: seared blackened Ahi tuna served with sweet chili, Wasabi, and soy dipping sauce. Dogtooth diner favorites also include the Volcano Shrimp and Teriyaki Skewers. Can’t stop with just starters? Make it a full meal with Dogtooth’s all-American burger choices.
For post-dinner drinks, stop by the Blue Water Grille of the Bolero Resort for unbeatable drink specials and entertainment. Margarita Mondays feature $4 margaritas and domestic bottles cost only $2 on 2 For Tuesday. Sample a variety of vino on Wine Down Wednesday with $3 glasses of house wine. From local legends to Atlantic City’s elite bands, the Blue Water Grille features a variety of quality entertainers. As far as nightlife, Westy’s Irish Pub of the North Wildwood entertainment district reigns supreme. The night heats up on Westy’s brand new ocean front deck and large stage featuring some of the top bands of the east coast. Local favorites such as The Nerds, The Amish Outlaws, The Heart Beats, and Shorty Long and the Jersey Horns, Bigg Romeo, and F.M. are just a few of the twenty-plus entertainers set to play on Westy’s all new oceanfront deck this summer season. Enjoy the music from the 75 foot bar in the center of the deck or front-row from the space in front of the stage. When the show ends at 10 p.m., head downstairs to the pub where bands continue to jam until 2 a.m. Stellar Mojo, Jumper, D.J. Matt Kelly, The Zone, The Approach, and Sindi Raymond Band are a few of the top names set to play in Westy’s original pub this summer. Alternatively, sample house DJ Jerry Smith’s mix of oldies and modern hits in the upstairs ocean view room. Smiling Jerry stays in the mix until 2 a.m.
After a late night on the town, make the next day a lazy day. Enjoy the Cape May County sights and sounds. Have a Frisbee catch on the sand. Try out a new mellow water sport. The Nature Center of Cape May features paddle boarding through its beautiful atmosphere. Change up your evening plans with a Cape May Stage performance of Yasmina Reza’s “God of Carnage” beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Fast, furious and very funny, this winner of the 2009 Tony Award for Best Play is a 90-minute thrill ride to the most dangerous place on Earth: parenthood. After their children are involved in a playground brawl, two sets of savvy parents meet to sip espresso and politely discuss the matter. When the veneer of refined sophistication quickly cracks and their evening spins into chaos, the gloves come off and arguments become tantrums in a hilariously uncivilized free-for-all. Wildwood dwellers can also enjoy the shows of unique performers at nightly boardwalk parades and concerts. For a detailed schedule of Wildwood’s special events, entertainment, and contests such as the July 7th Boogie Board Races, visit wildwoodsnj.com.
For a late night feast, dine at Spiaggia Seafood Trattoria, Stone Harbor’s newest restaurant. Spiaggia serves authentic Italian cuisine and fresh seafood daily. Go ahead, tempt your tastebuds. Every Monday night, there is total chaos at Piro’s Restaurant of North Wildwood…blame it all on the $10 a bottle wine list! Craving a taste of the eastern hemisphere? The Dragon House of Pacific Ave. in Wildwood remains famous throughout the Jersey Shore for serving the finest in Chinese cuisine. The Scallion Pancakes appetizer, also known as “Chinese Pizza”, has become a crowd favorite. Sample more traditional pizza pie at Back Bay Bistro of Villas in Lower Township. Choose from their extensive menu of House Specialty Pizzas including the Pizza Rustica and Kickin’ Chicken Pizza or take Back Bay’s 24’’ Mega Pie challenge!
To experience the “ultimate shore bar”, give Jack’s Place of Avalon a try. Jack’s boasts the county’s best-value nightly drink specials plus the most impressive entertainment lineup for miles. Jam with crowd favorite bands such as Laura Lea and Tripp Fabulous, Pop Scene, and Modern Bliss. Summer penny pinchers can save even bigger by bringing the party to their own home with the help of Gleeson’s Liquors. Check out Gleeson’s new selection of craft beers or their exclusive organic and gluten-free Ocean Vodka, made directly on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Owner Tom Gleeson Sr. contends that Ocean defeats more expensive Grey Goose and Belvedere vodkas in both quality and smoothness. Grab a tropical fruit juice and this tropical liquor and transport party guests to an ideal summer scene.
By Megan Kummer