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

There’s nothing like an all-American diner breakfast on a sunny Jersey Shore morning. At Star Diner Café Restaurant, breakfast is a specialty. Eggs made to order are 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. Diner favorites such as chocolate chip or fruit-filled pancakes topped with maple syrup do not disappoint. At last, late risers can rest easy. Go ahead, sleep in! At Star Diner, any time is breakfast time. Breakfast is served through lunch and dinner hours. But if companions are not in morning dining mode, not to worry. The Solar Specialty Sandwiches and broiled seafood combination are great non-breakfast options.

After a complete Star Diner meal, hit the links at Avalon Golf Club of Swainton. This 18-hole championship course artistically blends various hole personalities to create an experience that dazzles the senses and ignites a true passion for the game of golf. Avalon Golf Club continues to be considered one of the ‘Best Courses to Play’ on the East Coast. Golf isn’t your sport? Forgot your clubs? Keep it simple with Smitty’s Bike Rental of Wildwood. Get moving through the island’s Doo Wop streets with one a Smitty’s brand-new cruiser or tandem bikes. The electric blue tandem bikes are a smooth ride and an even better deal. For only $15 for an hour of riding, this bicycle built for two is a great way to take a break from the beach with a pedaling buddy. For those who prefer to ride solo, check out the Army-themed Cruiser. With its army green frame and rims, black handlebars, and star decals, the Army Bike stands out in a crowd of typical pastel-colored cruisers.

Rehydrate after a long bike cruise or a hot beach day with a cold beer. Family owned and operated Gleeson’s Liquors of Ocean View offers personalized customer service at great prices. All brew-lovers, be sure to check out their newly expanded and impressively vast craft beer selection including Lindemans, Victory, Rogue, Magic Hat, and Samuel Smiths just to name a few. They also offer a large number of imports from around the world including Peroni, Sapporo, Boddington, and Smithwick.While world-wide representation in their cool refrigerators remains a priority, the Gleeson family also feels that it is important to support the unique breweries close to home. From Flying Fish from Cherry Hill, to Beach Haus from Point Pleasant, to Yards from the city of brotherly love, whatever your beer pleasure may be, you can certainly find it at Gleeson’s.

For dinner with a view, check out the brand-new Crab Deck at The Crab House at Two Mile Landing. Join the friendly Crab House staff on the Deck for daily drink specials or Happy Hour from 3-5 p.m. They are also proud to announce this summer’s all-you-can-eat Blue Claw Crab special. Enjoy the crab, cocktails, and live entertainment from this serene waterfront location. After an evening on the Crab Deck, head over the bridge and toward the bay front where North Cape May’s Harpoon Henry’s heats up as the sun sets. Each cocktail, appetizer, and dish transports patrons to the tropics of the Floridian Keys. Palm trees, live acoustic music, and refreshing fruity concoctions make for the perfect waterfront ambiance to say goodbye to the day and celebrate the warm summer nights. Say hello to nine-year Harpoon Henry’s bartender Richie and be sure to ask for the award-winning Richie Special. Enjoy a few drinks along with the live acoustic sounds of talented one-man band Beachcomber Bill. Catch him from 6-10 this Saturday and Sunday the 28th and 29th.

The following day, learn more about Cape May County paranormal activity on the Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour. Acclaimed ghost writer Craig McManus once visited the oldest U.S. seaside resort and detected a large number of spiritual presences in Victorian homes, hotels, and on popular streets and passageways. This 30-minute ride through the streets of Cape May includes a guide who relates McManus’ paranormal findings and details real-life sightings of these ghosts. Explore the Jersey Shore’s haunted history…

Be sure to make time to stop by Hankins’ Fudge for a taste of this home-made Wildwood legacy. Originally started in a Cottage behind George Hankins’ Wildwood Crest home, Hankins’ Fudge has since made a major name for itself in the candy-making business. Sample Hankins’ namesake fudge product and you will not be sorry. While some fudge tends to taste very sugary with a harder texture, Hankins’ fudge recipe achieves just the right level of firmness. It remains less sweet than competitors’ fudge yet even creamier. Made on the store’s premises daily, the fudge is slow cooked using copper kettles. One taste of this years-old recipe and memories of childhood Jersey Shore days on the boardwalk and in the salt air immediately return to loyal Hankins’ patrons.

After a candy sampling, cruise down Pacific Avenue and grab lunch at Wildwood’s number one restaurant fan – Alumni Grill. Alumni Grill was created in Wildwood, in the spirit of Wildwood, and for Wildwood lovers. The walls display athletic jerseys and memorabilia from local schools and teams. Each weekday features themed lunch specials whose items are altered each and every week. On a Meaty Monday, enjoy menu items centered around beef, sausage, or steak. Triple Play Tuesday, Wild Burger Wednesday, and Thrifty Thursdays also include tons of must-try options. On Fiesta Fridays, choose from an array of Tex Mex items including clam strip tacos and the “Fajaco”.

Squeeze in a post-lunch gaming session at Duffer’s, just a few blocks away on Pacific Avenue. Duffer’s arcade has games for family members of all ages including Frogger, Air Hockey, and Fruit Ninja. Make sure to save all game tickets. Duffer’s arcade includes a prize redemption center where gamers can choose between tons of prizes from candy such as Fun Dip to mini gumball dispensers. Claim your prizes and get ready for dinner. Grab a table at the Wharf, Wildwood’s favorite “Hideaway on the Waterway”. As an entrée, sample one of their finest seafood specialties including Shrimp Scampi, Grilled Swordfish, Seared Sea Scallops, and Asian Infused Ahi Tuna. Land-lovers may prefer the 8 oz. Steak Neptune filet or the Chicken Marsala, each served with two seasonal sides such as sweet plantains, garlic mashed potatoes, and Caribbean rice. Be sure to ask one of the friendly servers about the Wharf’s Sunset Dinners special. These dishes, only $17.95, include a full entrée with sides and dessert.

That concludes our total island hopping itinerary for this week, but this island hopper recommends that Cape May County lovers prepare themselves for the biggest summer concert event of the summer… Pop acts Hot Chelle Rae, Austin Mahone, The Ready Set, Forever the Sickest Kids, Internet sensation Rebecca Black and Outasight and Overtone are set to perform at the ‘Wild 100’ Centennial Concert on Sunday, August 19, in the Oceanfront Arena at the Wildwoods Convention Center. The Wild 100 Concert kicks off at 5 p.m. and will celebrate the city of Wildwood’s centennial anniversary. Tickets for the Wild 100 Concert are $35.00 and are on sale now. Be sure to snag yours ASAP! See you there!

By Megan Kummer