Island Hopping – June 20th through 26th!

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 first 2014 edition of Complete Island Hopping, our map of suggestions for a great week of Cape May County fun.

There’s no better way to start a shore day then with a hearty breakfast deal. Coastal Blue Oceanside Bar & Grill at the Icona Resort is welcoming the summer season with the “Hello, June!” special, perfect for an affordable pre-beach family meal. Buy one breakfast entrée, get one free. Better yet, Coastal Blue’s entrees start at just $6. From Diamond Beach, head up Atlantic Avenue and hit the boards for a day of waterpark fun at Morey’s Raging Waters. Located directly behind Mariner’s Pier, Raging Waters features a total of eleven thrilling rides and attractions and two unique kiddie play areas. Embark upon the Sky Pond Journey, experience the sharp twists and turns of Serpentine Slides, and refuel with some grilled grub from Wrecker’s Beach Grill. Fill up on cheesesteaks, burgers, wraps, fries, & hot dogs on the Wrecker’s patio overlooking the Atlantic.

Rather grab lunch downtown? Hit the brand new Poppi’s Brick Oven Pizza & Kitchen of New Jersey Avenue brought to you by the creators of locals’ favorite Dogtooth Bar & Grill. Poppi’s $6.95 daily lunch specials include your choice of their signature sandwiches and a house salad or side order of their already famous truffle fries. Fried in a rich truffle oil for added flavor and finished with fresh parmesan, these truffle fries have quickly become the talk of the town. Snag afternoon dessert just a few blocks away on Pacific Avenue at none other than Hankins’ Fudge. Hankins’ namesake and claim to fame – the homemade fudge – has been perfected throughout its history. Real liqueur chocolates make up the classic milk chocolate fudge and the other several chocolate-based flavors. It remains less sweet than competitors’ fudge yet even creamier. 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. Buy one pound to enjoy now, and get one free to enjoy later.

When the late afternoon rolls around, get “happy” at Beach Creek Oyster Bar & Grill for awesome cocktails with an even better view. Their daily Happy Hour begins at 3 and concludes at 5, featuring special discounts on draft beer and house wine. Most famous for their artisanal and dessert martinis, Beach Creek’s bartenders are definitely masters of mixology. Just a hop, skip, and a jump across Rio Grande Avenue, the recently opened Tavern on The Bay is also an essential Happy Hour stop. Sample one of TOB’s many signatures at daily Happy Hour Sunday through Wednesday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Opt for the Watermelon Fire Margarita if you dare. This margarita is mixed with those who appreciate a distinct “kick” in mind and can be modified with extra habanero sauce for the boldest of patrons. Snack on ½ price appetizers and enjoy $1.50 domestic drafts and drink deals.

Those who’d prefer to hit up Happy Hour in North Wildwood’s entertainment district should make Westy’s Irish Pub their prime destination. Westy’s Happy Hour kicks off at 3 p.m. and all summer brews and Coors Lights ring in at only $2.50. When dinner time rolls around, head back downtown for an authentic taste of Italy on Gioia’s charming Garden Room Patio. The LaMonaca family originally hails from Sicily and, much to the delight of diners, has brought generations-old Sicilian recipes right here to the Wildwoods. Be sure to ask your server about Gioia’s selection of Daily Martini Specials. Elsewhere, on the Wildwoods Yacht Basin, Boathouse Restaurant invites diners to celebrate their 25th anniversary year with them. Grab dinner for two for just $25 with Boathouse’s Sunset Dinner Special nightly from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The Boathouse even features a $8 Children’s Menu for the kids of the family.

Wake up bright and early this week and get your golf on. Now celebrating its 14th year, Heritage Links invites you to “play nine before beach time!” Seasonal visitors can save with the course’s ten round passes, while yearly memberships start at just $500. Best of all, Heritage Links is conveniently located just minutes away from Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Avalon, and Stone Harbor beaches! Those who’d prefer a daylong experience of a nationally ranked 18-hole course should hit Sand Barrens of Swainton. Using nature as a back drop, this picturesque par 72 layout plays over 6,900 yards from the back tees, and demonstrates the diversity and beauty of the natural terrain. Combining majestic tree lined fairways, vast natural area, dramatic scrub bunkers and massive undulating greens, this course requires strategy from tee to green.

Take a break from the sun with some Scrabble fun this coming Monday, June 23, at the Avalon Free Public Library. From 5:45 to 7:45 p.m., join fellow wordsmiths with a serious Scrabble passion and even beginners looking to brush up on word play skills.

Over in Cape May, entertainment abounds with the Washington Street Mall concert series now in full swing. Enjoy the live sounds of local talented musicians Saturday nights beginning at 8 p.m. Prefer a night at the theatre? East Lynne Theater Company invites you to join them for a live performance of their latest production, “The First Fifty Years”. This comedy/drama charts the ups and downs of a married couple in seven scenes from 1872, seven years after the end of the Civil War, to their golden anniversary at the beginning of the Roaring ‘20s, in 1922. Check it out Wednesdays through Saturday at 8:30 p.m.