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

Start your day in Cape May with Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, celebrating its 50th anniversary year. With both North Cape May, downtown Cape May, Avalon, Ocean City, Stone Harbor, Strathmere, and Wildwood locations, Uncle Bill’s continues to offer service with a smile and affordable breakfast delicacies rivaled by none. New this summer season, Uncle Bill’s North Cape May features an exclusively gluten-free menu offering diner favorites such as Blueberry and Chocolate Chip Pancakes. Other gluten-free favorites include the Peanut Butter, Peach, and Strawberry Pancakes or the Gluten-Free French Toast. The always attentive staff focuses on fast, quality service while catering to each customer’s needs. This family-run business specializes in creating a memorable family dining experience. Uncle Bill’s caters to large dining parties and ensures that they are seated quickly and well attended to. So gather your largest crew and have an Uncle Bill’s morning.

From there, head to the North Cape May dock station of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry for a Delaware day trip. Rain or shine, a round-trip ferry ride is the perfect way to relax and get away for a few hours. Explore onboard gift shops, visit the floating arcade for kids, or spend time in comfy lounge areas with your favorite beverage and enjoy the view and the ride. It’s the relaxing way to reach Delaware’s premium outlets, tax-free shopping and beach attractions. Drive on or walk on—their convenient shuttle buses will get you around once you hit the shore.

After spending the day on the bay, spend the evening in downtown Cape May. Do dinner and a show with East Lynne Theater Company, now featuring “The Poe Mysteries”. July 25th through September 1st, Wednesdays through Sundays at 8:30 p.m., explore the first modern detective stories ever written. A recluse living in Paris, avoiding people and bill collectors, C. Auguste Dupin is surprised when an American journalist comes to interview him. As the great detective recalls his cases, the characters of these tales spring to life on stage. Head to Marq’s Pub for a pre or post-show drink in a casual atmosphere. Located in the Marquis de Lafayette Hotel, right in the heart of Cape May on the oceanfront, Marq’s Pub & Restaurant is a family-friendly restaurant with a warm and cozy charm.

Make the next day a wild Wildwoods day at Morey’s Piers. Never considered boardwalk cuisine a complete breakfast? Think again. Turn breakfast into an adventure aboard Morey’s Piers 156-foot high Ferris wheel. Breakfast in the Sky is in its second season of delicious food and stunning views. Guests are whisked away on a dream-like journey, leisurely soaring high above Wildwood on Morey’s Piers Giant Wheel, while indulging in a unique culinary experience complete with fine china, white linen tablecloths, and wheel-side service. This unique breakfast experience was one of the last famous ideas of Morey’s Piers’ late founder, Will Morey, Sr. Years later, to sentimentally honor their father’s last whimsical wish, the second-generation Morey Brothers, have set the dream in motion—literally!

After a jaunt on the Morey’s Piers thrilling amusement rides, hop aboard Dolly the Trolley. This free trolley service sponsored by the Wildwood Business Improvement District 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. Or try Smitty’s Bike Rental for a more active form of transportation. Smitty’s provides bike rentals for as low as $8 an hour for a single bike. For additional savings, they also offer a two-for-one special through which you can ride two hours for the price of one hour any time after 11 a.m. daily. All bikes are rented on an hourly basis, so you won’t find yourself paying for an entire day if you only plan on riding for a short time.

Need a cruiser for an extended period of time? Look no further than Zippy’s of Wildwood’s Pacific Avenue. With their Buy-Back Program, you can purchase a Zippy’s new or pre-owned bike and they will buy it back. Vacationers, forget about lugging all those bikes with you on your trip to the shore.

During your Wildwoods visit, be sure to make a quick stop at M.S. Brown Jewelers of Pacific Avenue. As a premium retailer of brand new Citizens, Seiko, and Pulsar watches, M.S. Brown offers a vast selection for guys and dads looking to upgrade their wrist wear. Ladies can choose from an impressive collection of Chamilia charms and custom destination jewelry.

For dinner, hit famed Wildwood dining institution Piro’s of New York Avenue. Piro’s Restaurant, located on 19th street in North Wildwood, is known for more than just great Italian dishes! Customer favorites include their homemade cannoli, outrageous crab cake, Chef Rob’s Crab & Spinach Chowder, Chef Jon’s Homemade Fresh Mozzarella, and soft shells that come direct from Maryland. Don’t forget to stop by for the famous $10 a bottle wine list every Monday night!

From there, head to North Wildwood for a choice of the best nightlife hangouts. Goodnight Irene’s Brew Pub is truly a beer-lover’s paradise with fifty ever-changing taps and Wildwood’s only beer garden. New for the summer of 2012 is a brand new patio bar featuring 12 new taps, spacious dining area, and 4 new flat screen TVs to catch all your favorite sports events. Here, every night is a Goodnight…Also be sure to check out Casey’s on Third Irish Pub featuring the island’s favorite live entertainers on their impressive stage and serving up Irish specialties Guinness and Magners Cider.

Tee up at the foot of a huge sand castle or a few feet from the tentacles of a giant purple octopus the next afternoon at Duffer’s miniature golf course. The nautical theme of the course is perfect for the “gone to the beach” mood of Wildwood patrons. Finish up the game at the shipwreck of the final hole where golfers putt to win a chance at a free game for their next visit to Duffer’s.

Dine in style at the beautiful Marie Nicole’s of Diamond Beach. Diners can take a seat in the casually sophisticated dining room, complete with stylish furnishings and decor or relish the salty summer breeze on the terrace. An eight year recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, Marie Nicole’s offers an extensive and varied wine list to satisfy the palate of even the most discriminating wine connoisseur.

Alternatively, Dogtooth Bar & Grill is the perfect dining destination in which to “chill”. Whether you’re coming off the beach for a quick cocktail or sitting down for a delicious lunch, dinner, or late-night snack, Dogtooth Bar & Grill is sure to please. Dogtooth’s menu features steaks, seafood, and pasta dishes as well as wraps, burgers, and other bar favorites, each with their own creative Dogtooth flare.

Residents of 7 Mile Island should most definitely add Bobby Dee’s Rock’n Chair to their dining itinerary. Enjoy the sights and sounds of summer while dining on one of Rock’n Chair’s new specialty brick oven pizzas. Baked to perfection in the beautifully tiled indoor brick oven, the Four Cheese Sweet Onion, Philly Cheesesteak, and Old Bay Crab pizzas are uniquely delicious and exclusive to Bobby Dee’s.

By Megan Kummer