Island Hopping: September

Header image is of a past Seafarer’s Celebration in Wildwood Crest.

Welcome back to Island Hopping, where we take you through a day in Cape May County! It’s hard to believe that Labor Day, the official “end” of the summer tourism season, is just a few days away. But don’t be fooled: the fall season brings some of the best events of the year. In this final Island Hopping of 2022, we’ll break some of the best fall festivals down to help you have a great Cape May Fall.  

We recommend starting your day with a trip down to North Wildwood, home of the newly-opened Marvis Pancake House. The pancake house was once the famous Star Diner, but after a buyout, there’s a new breakfast spot in town. Marvis Pancake House is an off-shoot of the Marvis Diner in Wildwood, a place where your editor has fond memories of after-church breakfasts with their great grandmother.  

The Marvis Pancake House in North Wildwood.

The pancake house is new for the 2022 season and has a great all-around breakfast menu in addition to a solid selection of pancakes. You can order M&M pancakes, Reese’s pancakes, Oreo pancakes, and other sweet-as-heck dishes in addition to more out-there options like the “savory pancakes” that have bacon mixed into the batter. They’re open for breakfast and lunch, so check it out before the season ends!  

The first of the fall festivals begin this week! West Cape May hosts its Tomato Festival on Saturday, September 3rd from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Backyard Park on Broadway Street. The festival has a lot of fresh tomatoes for sale (duh!) in addition to local delicacies like fresh-cooked tomato pies.  

Over in Wildwood, the End of Summer Block Party is roaring. The Wildwoods has a number of great fall events, including the Fireman’s Convention (the number of huge fire trucks on display make your editor’s head spin), the famous Seafarer’s Celebration in Wildwood Crest, and the impressive Fall Classic Car Show.  For a full list of free fall events around the county, check out our Fall Festival Guide later on in this issue.  

The first of these Wildwood fall events is the block party. The annual event is designed to say “goodbye” to Summer; fall brings with it a new mood in the town. Thoughts of beach days and sunscreen fade into flannel evenings and falling leaves. It’s great! 

The newly-born baby bison at the Cape May County Zoo.

After you’ve gone to Marvis Diner for a hardy breakfast, we recommend going to the Cape May County Zoo, where a new baby bison was just born. The Zoo is open year-round, but a lot of locals tend to wait until tourism starts to fade and the heat begins to relent. Both things are happening now, so check out our county’s lovely, free, accredited Zoo in Cape May Court House. Can you spot the new baby bison? The Zoo closes at 4:30 p.m. most days, and we recommend setting aside about two hours for your trip.  

Many people think that the Zoo is something you do with kids. That’s certainly true, but don’t be shy if you aren’t with a young family! Nature, and the beautiful animals found within, should spark joy in anybody.  

As the day winds down, we recommend Yesterday’s Creekside Tavern just before the mighty entrance to Ocean City. Yesterday’s got a huge facelift this year courtesy of its new owners; the menu, and drink selection, has never been better thanks to a recent overhaul. The Tavern is literally parked on the wetlands, so it’s a great place to feel the cool air, watch a sunset, and have a drink.  

Yesterday’s Creekside Tavern, right on the wetlands before Ocean City.

This is our last edition of Island Hopping until next year, but we have some recommendations to make before we go! The Audubon Fall Festival, celebrating its 75th year, brings a celebration of all things bird to the Cape May Convention Center. “Nature Nick” will be at the convention center with free bird demonstrations on the 14th, 15th, and 16th of October.  

The Monarch Festival (Sept 25) similarly celebrates the migration of the beautiful monarch butterfly, which flocks to the county in the fall. In early October, the Pumpkin Festival at Cold Spring Village brings fall festivities, pumpkin decorating contests, and fall joviality to the open-air historical town.  

And that’s it for Island Hopping! Do the Shore magazine may be over for the season, but Do the Shore continues as a section in the Cape May County Herald year-round. We also update our website constantly with new events and features. Check us out online at, on Instagram, and on Facebook.