Island Hopping: June 16 – 24

Creamy Mixed Drinks, Confederate Flags, Cox Hall Creek  

Welcome back to Do the Shore, and welcome back to Island Hopping! We’re so stoked about another 12 weeks of Do the Shore, but less stoked about the drought that has plagued us the past month. While I would hate for the rain to ruin a visitor’s beach day, my tomatoes will be thankful. We have been writing “Island Hopping” for nearly a decade now, so cheers to that. Let us take you through a day at the Jersey Shore.  

We’re starting our day over in Villas – the western streets that run parallel to the bay in both Villas and North Cape May are lovely places to take an early-morning bike ride. I recommend starting in the northern part of Villas along Millman Lane. If you bike south far enough, you’ll end up by the entrance to the Cox Hall Creek Wildlife Management Area, which has easy entrances on Delview Dr., Mistletoe Dr., Champlain Dr., and Hollywood Avenue.  

Cox Hall Creek in Villas

Cox Hall is a sprawling nature preserve in the heart of Lower Township. It has nearly three miles of paved trails around its perimeter and a small fishing and canoe-ready lake in the middle. It’s a beautiful slice of shaded South Jersey nature that is easily accessible by bike. But a word of warning: wear bug spray!  

While you’re biking along the bay to Cox Hall, stop by the nearby Gaiss Meat Market at 1215 Bayshore Road. This hole-in-the-wall local spot has served year-rounders and visitors for over 100 years. Their pork roll sandwich is seasoned perfectly – we recommend getting it on a bagel with an over-medium egg and some hot sauce. 

Gaiss Meat Market in Villas

If you’re still on your bike after all that pork, there is relatively easy bike access all the way south to Willow Creek Winery in West Cape May. Bikers get a full lane for most of the stretch from Cox Hall to the winery. Just be ready for the slope over the Cape May Canal Bridge.  

Willow Creek welcomes bikers, hikers, and car riders to their 50-acre property, which is always buzzing with local fauna and beautifully curated gardens. Their dole whip mixed drink, which combines seasonal wine varieties with a creamy non-dairy fruit treat, is featured in this edition’s “Bartender of the Week.” It’s one of the most popular drinks on the island, and Willow Creek’s marketing director told us that every post they make about it sparks a “huge, international” reaction.  

Atlantic Avenue in Villas

Over in the Wildwoods, The Barefoot Country Music Festival is sweeping Five Mile Island. If you see more Confederate flags than usual, don’t blame the locals. We don’t like to see them, either. Do these people know we’re in the heart of yankee land? You can still snag day tickets to the festival if you’re reading this before Monday, June 19.  

The bayside beach that runs along Villas

If you head over to Wildwood, remember that fireworks grace the boardwalk every Friday at 10 p.m. In your editor’s opinion, you can get a great view of the show from the benches in front of the Wildwoods Convention Center. The view is best right by Mariner’s Pier, but the view from the Convention Center is a lot less crowded on a busy Friday night.  

And that’s it for this week’s Island Hopping! If you check out any of the places here, we would love your feedback. Email the editor at, and keep reading Do the Shore all summer long. Welcome back!