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

Why not spend an early Cape May County morning “gone fishin’”? Make the Marina at Avalon Anchorage your first stop. The Marina features its very own restaurant with awesome breakfast options including farm fresh eggs and omelettes, “Fresh Fruit of the Day” Pancakes, and sandwiches such as the scrambled eggs and fresh veggies Fritta. The Marina also sells all the essential supplies for a Jersey Shore fishing trip. Bait, tackle, gas, and boat slips are now available for purchase at the Marina, making both pier and deep-sea fishing an option for Avalon Anchorage patrons.

For boaters farther south on the shore, make Utsch’s Marina your haven. Located at the east end of the Cape May Canal, this full-service facility provides dockage overnight or for full the season. Beyond its excellent service in classic marina duties, Utsch’s features boat sales, charter and party boats, a tackle shop, and even a bath house. Haven’t made the investment in a boat of your own? Charter one of Utsch’s premium fishing or speed boats for a day of fun on the water and let them do the work. They drive, you ride.

Do mid-day dessert the healthy way with YoGo Factory of Rio Grande, Wildwood, and Ocean City. Their frozen yogurt is carefully crafted to contain high levels of beneficial live and active yogurt cultures. These cultures are probiotic and considered beneficial to the intestinal tract of the human body in order to insure proper balance needed for digestion and good health. Choose from rich flavors including Root Beer Float, Chocolate Mint, Cookies and Cream, Rocky Road, White Chocolate Mousse, and Cupcake and enjoy the decadent taste of premium ice cream at a fraction of the calories.

For pre-dinner cocktails and apps, head to Blue Water Grille of Wildwood’s Bolero Resort. Get “happy” beginning at 3 p.m. daily. Blue Water’s Happy Hour runs until 6 p.m. and offers unbeatable food and drink specials. For a pre-dinner snack, check out the “Lite Bites” menu featuring appetizer favorites such as the signature Blue Water Wings, Coconut Shrimp Basket, Fried Mushrooms, Jalapeno Poppers, and Nachos Grande. Their renowned chocolate martinis and blueberrytinis are always a crowd favorite. From there, head up Atlantic Avenue to Wildwood Crest and find yourself dining in an authentic Italian piazza at Little Italy. Create your own pasta dish or dine on wood fired premium steak in this all-new marketplace atmosphere. As you walk over Little Italy’s marble tiled floor, you pass the pescheria (fish market), the vegetable stand, and even get to look into the windows of Giovanni’s bistro, where the mural of contented diners suggests a relaxed atmosphere for family dining.

After your generous Italian feast, hitch a free ride through Downtown Wildwood on the always smiling Dolly the Trolley, sponsored by Wildwood’s Business Improvement District. Dolly roams the streets Thursdays through Sundays all summer long. This free trolley service runs from 5 p.m.-11 p.m. on Atlantic and Pacific Aves. Stops are located at various spots along the route which extends from 26th to Cresse Aves. Clearly marked “Dolly”, she runs North on Pacific and South on Atlantic. Hop aboard this jolly trolley and head toward North Wildwood’s Entertainment District – THE place to be on a Cape May County summer night.

Get started on Art’s Big Deck at Westy’s Irish Pub of Walnut Avenue. Finally, this masterpiece nightspot is complete! Be there for the Deck’s debut nights. Already renowned for its big name entertainment, Westy’s will feature top bands of the East Coast on the deck’s sprawling new stage. Take in the evening oceanfront views, enjoy the music from the huge bar at the deck’s center, or hit the dance floor at the foot of the stage.

Across the street, Flip Flopz Bar & Grill heats up around 11 p.m. as crowds of locals and visitors of all ages spill onto the dance floor for the upbeat mix of DJ Tony Stef. After 25 years of bringing the party to Cape May County’s top hotspots, DJ Tony Stef has perfected his Flip Flopz playlist. His blend of house, “Top 40”, and dance hits is maximized by the simultaneous display of their music videos on a screen next to his booth. Ultimately, DJ Tony decides on his next track based on the reaction of his listeners. Anything from Pitbull to Eva Simons to Avicii is fair game and perfect for the energetic Flip Flopz crowd. Meet this epic local DJ for yourself Fridays through Tuesdays until 3 a.m. at the always bumping Flip Flopz indoor bar.

After a hot night out, cool down on the water with the help of Lakeview Docks and their knowledgable staff. Cruise on one of Lakeview’s brand new Waverunners or hop aboard a rental fishing boat and enjoy the serenity of Lakeview’s quiet bay location. Get a bit more physical on a one or two seat kayak. Paddle out and enjoy the view of the bay dunes and historic Ferry Dock station, the current location of Lakeview’s pier. Land-loving athletes can choose to hit the green at Swainton’s Sand Barrens Golf Club. 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. Take advantage of Sand Barrens’ state-of-the-art PARVIEW system to guide your drive from the tee to the green. This Global Positioning Satellite system offers a video display showing the lay of the land at each hole, yardage, pin placement, par and handicap information.

Spend the afternoon strolling and shopping in the nation’s oldest seaside resort, Victorian Cape May. Be sure to hit the Washington Street Mall for tons of unique boutiques offering a variety of products. For the perfect backyard barbecue lighting accessories make a stop at Winterwood Gift & Christmas Shoppe. String up a set of their pizza pie or beer mug themed lights near an outside patio or pool and instantly liven up the nighttime party atmosphere. After a stroll through Washington Street Mall’s several blocks, make sure to stop at People People of Broadway Avenue before concluding the shopping quest. Make a statement more casually with a selection from People People’s rack of premium cotton tees by Michael Stars and Splendid. From solids to stripes, this collection of breathable cotton tees offers comfort in every color.

Treat yourself after a tiring Cape May adventure and island hop your way to Wildwood’s Beach Creek Oyster Bar & Grille. Even more famous than its intercoastal waterway views, Beach Creek’s extensive martini menu boasts some of the island’s most innovative cocktails. Say hello to skilled outdoor bartender Jacques and be amazed as he mixes, shakes, or blends one of his specialties. Try the crowd favorite Pineapple Upside Down Cake or cool off with the Shore Breeze specialty martini.

Just a short distance up New Jersey Avenue, make Ice House Bar & Restaurant your dinner destination. Choose your preferred dining experience and take a seat in the modern indoor downstairs dining area or take the elevator to the spacious waterfront roof deck. A few of The Ice House Dining Room’s unique starter options include Tuna Sashimi, “Ice House Made” Cajun Shrimp Spring Rolls, and Scallops Ceviche. Upstairs, the Deck menu offers favorite bar appetizer choices including Crabby Fries, Onion Straws, and Quesadillas. The Deck’s Taco Salad is a leafy twist on the classic Mexican dish – featuring mixed greens, cheese, onions, tomatoes, beef or chicken in taco sauce topped with salsa and sour cream and served in Ice House’s Taco Bowl.

Those in North Wildwood may alternatively choose to say “ciao” to Chef Antonio at local favorite Nino’s Family Restaurant. Here, homemade red and white sauces marry the cuisine of Northern and Southern Italy while a variety of fresh fish is prepared daily. Nino’s believes that quality fresh products are to be prepared in a simple and unique way, then served with pride and great family service, resulting in ultimate customer satisfaction. Test Nino’s authentic cuisine and premiere customer service for yourself…

By Megan Kummer