Island Hopping – Labor Day Weekend!

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?

Start your Labor Day weekend island hop in beautiful Cape May for breakfast with your favorite furry friend. Uncle Bill’s Cape May has recently become an ideal breakfast and lunch location for pet-lovers. Enjoy your meal on the pet-friendly outdoor patio, complete with pet bowls and a waterfront view. Choose from over 25 different kinds of pancakes, including fruit-filled, chocolate chip, potato pancakes, buckwheat, whole wheat and pumpkin pancakes. Waffle menu options also remain vast, from ice-cream topped to blueberry and pecan to peach.

From there, stroll the Washington Street Mall to score deals and steals on the summer’s closing sales. Though your beach days may be numbered, keep the Cape May memory alive with a souvenir tee from Great White Shark. They also have a number of humorous tees with messages such as “Your Boat is Ugly”, perfect for jokesters. Speaking of boats, no one houses, repairs, or tends to them quite like Utsch’s Marina. The marina is located at the east end of the Cape May Canal. There are factory trained mechanics that can keep your boat in top shape and help get it prepared for winter storage.

There’s no better way to wrap up the day than in “Cape May’s Living Room”, the Brown Room. Take a seat where history was made, as this stylish lounge now occupies the same spot as Congress Hall’s first legal post-Prohibition cocktail bar. Marvel at the 1930s-inspired design with its famous zebra skin carpet, large palms, magnificent artwork and iconic fireplace with its tropical birds and enjoy a cocktail from Congress Hall’s friendly bartenders.

The next morning, head to Wildwood for a taste of the Pennsylvania Dutch’s renowned pastries. All pastries are prepared and baked each morning at Shady Maple Farm and orange juice is fresh squeezed before customers’ eyes. Energize with an Amish Market coffee, with any size always only $.99 and available in various flavors. Customize your own fresh fruit smoothie at the Amish Market’s smoothie bar.

Beat the Labor Day weekend traffic crush in the Wildwoods by instead opting for a bike. Smitty’s Bikes of Youngs Avenue 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, where you can ride two hours for the price of one hour available any time after 11 a.m. daily on all bicycles. 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.

Stock up on shore sweets before it’s too late! Cruise over to Hankins’ Fudge of Pacific Avenue. All Hankins’ homemade fudge and salt water taffy is offered at buy 1 lb. and get 1 lb. free. Similarly, Hankins’ chocolates of all varieties are offered at buy one 7 oz. bag and get one free. But candy-lovers are most struck by the shop’s delicious specialty – its chocolate-covered taffy. This special taffy combines the best of both worlds with its savory dark chocolate coating and its salty taffy core.

Spend the afternoon where the locals head to “sizzle and chill” atop Ice House’s cool deck. Overlooking scenic and historic Otten’s Harbor, it features its very own Daily Deck Specials offering great deals on Ice House appetizer favorites.Plus, Ice House’s downstairs bar has debuted its very own brand new menu this summer season. Served exclusively at Ice House’s indoor granite bar, this menu features a Crab Cake, Shrimp Cocktail, and Tuna Sashimi starters.

Offshore, grab dinner at Rio Station Restaurant of Rio Grande and experience what have been hailed as Cape May County’s best crab cakes. The burgers, pure angus beef, and the chicken parm also land at the top of the list. Just up Route 47, Joe Canal’s has all you need in post-dinner cocktails. Check out their weekly specials and wines from around the world. Rather let someone else do your drink mixing for you? Hit Kelly’s Café of Atlantic Avenue in Wildwood where a good time is guaranteed. Kelly’s has been a Wildwood landmark for over 75 years and is open daily during the season from 11:30am. Live entertainment rocks the patio starting at 7:30 pm.

At last, say goodbye to summer sunsets from where the view is most breathtaking – Tuckahoe Inn. Visit the Boat Bar, relax with a refreshing cocktail around the Gazebo Bar, or dance the night away to live music on the deck Wednesday through Sunday from 6 pm or inside Monday through Wednesday from 5 pm.

This will be the summer of 2013’s final edition of “Blast”. And though we’re sad to see summer go, Do The Shore and our content lives on! Look for us every week in the Dining & Entertainment section of the Cape May County Herald. See you there…

By Megan Kummer