Island Hopping – Independence Day!

Independence week’s island hop kicks off on the Wildwoods island at Cape May County’s premiere breakfast destination, Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. At its central, Pacific Ave. location, Uncle Bill’s serves up over 20 different kinds of pancakes, from fruit-filled to potato and buckwheat to pumpkin. A true pancake-lover’s paradise, Uncle Bill’s also offers made-to-order eggs and omelets, stuffed and classic French toast, and Hawaiian Ham Steak. Craving one of these breakfast delicacies at lunch hour? Not to worry, Uncle Bill’s serves breakfast all day, until their 2 p.m. closing. From there, head towards the harbor for an afternoon on the water.

Voted “Best of the Jersey Shore” by My Fox Philly’s Hot List in 2009-2011, Mocean Waverunners of West Rio Grande Ave. allows riders to take their time cruising or open the throttle on more than 3 miles of open and safe riding area. Mocean provides top-of-the-line equipment, as well as free professional instruction and a scenic boat ride to the riding area. No experience is needed because Mocean Waverunners’ staff is highly qualified, informative, and available to help everyone from the newest beginner to the waverunning veteran.

For those who can’t get enough fun on the water, head to Ocean Oasis Waterpark of Morey’s Piers for an afternoon of thrills. Take the plunge on the Cliff Dive slide and drop 5 stories in 3 seconds or take it slow as you drift down the relaxing course of the Lazy River. Go head to head in a race to the finish line with your family on the six-lane WipeOut or make the quick drop off of Shotgun Falls. New this summer season at Ocean Oasis, Soggy Dollar Beach Bar features stunning views of the Wildwood beach, over ten specialty cocktails, and impressive signature dishes such as the Key West Crab Cake Sandwich.

After getting your Soggy Dollar grub, hit the boardwalk for a unique dessert. The boardwalk is now home to a brand new Johnson’s Popcorn location. This always fresh and crunchy caramel popcorn has made a major name for itself as a staple on the Ocean City boardwalk and has now brought its irresistible flavor to the Wildwoods. The Chocolate Drizzle and Peanut Crunch are also excellent choices. You can’t go wrong with Johnson’s. Snack on your popcorn and enjoy the show as performers such as the Duffy String Band and the Irish Pipe Brigade take the boardwalk each evening.

Those who prefer to dine in downtown Wildwood are encouraged to stop by Dragon House Chinese Restaurant of Pacific Avenue for a taste of their famed Scallion Pancakes or one of their many crispy chicken dishes. The Grand Marnier Prawn is a long-time favorite featuring jumbo shrimp lightly cooked until crispy, topped with their superb Grand Marnier sauce and honey walnuts and accompanied by fresh vegetables. Just a few blocks away, take dessert to go at Hankins’ Fudge. The Hankins’ namesake and claim to fame – the homemade fudge – has been perfected throughout its history. Only the freshest all-natural ingredients are used in its production. Hankins’ homemade fudge flavors include chocolate, chocolate nut, vanilla, vanilla nut, rocky road, chocolate vanilla swirl, chocolate peanut butter, cookies and cream, and sugar-free chocolate.

Over the bridge in Cape May, diners can sample the best of both land and sea worlds at Oyster Bay Steak and Seafood House of Lafayette Street. Their signature Surf & Turf features filet mignon grilled to your preference and topped with Bearnaise and 5 oz. lobster tail served with drawn butter. Enjoy a cocktail at Oyster Bay’s brand new, intimate bar. Walk off your lavish Oyster Bay meal in Washington Street Mall, located in the heart of Cape May. Originally constructed as a pedestrian concourse in 1972, the Mall received a facelift in June of 2008. Accented by rustic fountains and renovated with a new brick walkway, the refreshed Washington Street Mall features the same great independent and multi-generational shops that have become its signature over the years. New to the Washington Street Mall this summer season, Galvanic has Cape May buzzing with excitement about the store’s grassroots menswear and accessories. Among the brands Galvanic will feature are Iron and Resin (renowned for their hand-sewn denim detailing) and Cali-based Ivy sunglasses.

Spend the next morning on the green at Avalon Golf Club of Cape May Court House. The course’s country-club conditions along with 8 natural lakes and abundant wildlife make for a scenic game. Avalon Golf features specialty holes, such as the 6th and 17th, whose difficulty and scenery make this course superior. From there, head to Stone Harbor for lunch on the deck at Water Star Grille at The Reeds. Dine on American cuisine highlighted by local produce and fresh catches, prepared on-site in The Reeds outdoor kitchen, while overlooking the beautiful bay.

As twilight sets in, find all you need for your very own evening cocktail party at Gleeson’s Discount Liquors of Ocean View. With a full wine section stacked with racks and racks of classics and the newest lines, Gleeson’s is a wine-lover’s paradise. But what is top-notch wine without a pairing of artisan cheese? Be sure to check out Gleeson’s display of DiBruno Bros. cheese spreads, aged artisan cheeses, spreads, Crostini crackers, and more. Established in 1939 by Italian immigrant brothers Danny and Jo, DiBruno Bros. cheeses are unique treasures of the rich culture of Philadelphia’s 9th Street Italian Market and a true treat for any wine and cheese tasting.

By Megan Kummer