Island Hopping: Cape May

Cape May County is a treasure trove of thrills, games, specialty seafood, happy hour specials, traditional family-style restaurants, beach gear, breakfast spots, sweet treats and relaxing rituals. Yet with its 620-square-mile span, this Jersey Shore county can be quite daunting. With all this ground to cover, where should you even begin? We’re here with our fourth edition of Island Hopping for the season, offering some of our favorite places to “do the shore.” This week we’re hopping to the island of Cape May, a historic seaside gem known for its charming Victorian architecture.

Bacon Bloody Mary, anyone? Wake up with Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille on Beach Avenue, featuring panoramic views of Cape May’s beautiful sand and surf. Start your day with a traditional breakfast favorite such as Harry’s Signature Hotcakes or eggs any style, or opt for something a little more unique like the Pulled Pork Benedict or a Waffle-Wich. And we can’t forget about Harry’s extensive collection of breakfast cocktails! Pair your delectable cuisine with a Bloody Mary, a famous Orange Crush or a flavored Mimosa.

After breakfast, discover the waters of Cape May at Utsch’s Marina. Experience the island of Cape May from above with parasailing, or jet ski around the Cape May Harbor and areas close by. Charter boats offer various types of fishing trips to all, as well as the option to fish on your own. If fishing isn’t your thing but you still want to hit the water boat-style, party boats are available for some fun in the sun!

For lunch, head to Cabanas Beach Bar and Grill on Beach Avenue for cold drinks, tasty Caribbean food and a twist on your favorite bar bites! Margarita Shrimp, Cajun Calamari, Caribbean Jerk Wings and Cabo Quesadillas are sure to satisfy your hunger after a morning on the water. Enjoy the “chill and relaxing” vibe, oceanfront dining and live entertainment at this fantastic beach bar!

Another great lunch option is H&H Seafood on Ocean Drive. Whether you’re looking for Blue Claw crabs, lobster, Cape May scallops, shrimp, clams, oysters or other local fish, you’ll find it all in this fresh seafood market. The dockside dining menu changes daily depending on the catch, so stop by to check out the catch of the day!

Who doesn’t love a little midday shopping? After everyone’s stomachs are satisfied, work off some of those calories as you stroll along the Washington Street Mall. Be sure to stop by the Great White Shark and pick up all of your souvenir T-shirts, caps, car decals, beach jewelry and more!

Then, visit Cape Atlantic Book Company and pick up your summer beach read. With a wide selection of books for all ages from fiction to nonfiction, mystery to romance, this bookstore allows you and your family to find the perfect book to get lost in on a summer day. You’ll find floor-to-ceiling collections of both current best sellers and old classics, plus a large children’s department for little bookworms.

Next shopping stop: Queen May Estate Jewelry. With one location on Lafayette Street and one inside Congress Hall, you’ll find a variety of fine estate jewelry, antique jewelry, rings and luxury goods. Stop by to find the perfect piece you’ve been searching for, and add your own story to a vintage treasure. In addition to selling jewelry, Queen May buys and appraises estate jewelry, gold, sterling silver, U.S. coins, diamonds and fine timepieces.

Your dinner options are endless in Cape May! Consider dining at the Lobster House, home to a restaurant, the Raw Bar, the Schooner American, the Take Out Shop and the Fish Market. Eat in for a great family meal with drinks and a beautiful harbor view, or take out to enjoy your meal in the comfort of your own home. Whatever Lobster House experience you pick, you’ll be sure to get flavorful and fresh locally caught seafood paired with delectable sides.

If classic homemade Italian food is what you prefer, enjoy a delicious sit-down dinner at Sapore Italiano in West Cape May. Set in one of the oldest homes in the seaside resort town, this restaurant offers all of your Italian favorites including antipasti options, carne, pollo, pesce and “real” pasta. Popular dishes include the Risotto Scampi and Salmon alla Bruschetta. Whatever you choose, your authentic Italian meal will be made with only fresh and local ingredients. With a menu like that, there is no reason to leave this fine dining establishment hungry!

After dinner, end your day of Island Hopping with East Lynne Theater Company’s production of “On the Sunny Side of the Street.” A cast of four brings the lyrics of the incredible Dorothy Fields to life in this world premiere revue. During her almost 50-year career, Dorothy Fields wrote lyrics for more than 400 songs, and worked on 15 Broadway musicals and almost 30 Hollywood films. Shows run Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. through July 21 (except no show on Wednesday, July 4, and a show on Sunday, July 8) at the First Presbyterian Church.