Nestled between the Cape May Canal and the Historical City of Cape May is the historically significant ”Schellenger’s Landing.” Originally a shipbuilding center for not only commercial fishing boats, but also for tugs commissioned by the U.S. Government, locals and visitors alike today can still enjoy all kinds of activities in this unique area just before entering Cape May proper.
Ernest Utsch, Sr. was a successful candy maker from the “Brewerytown” section of Philadelphia and with the help his son, Ernest Utsch, Jr. and their respective families, they operated the store on 29th Street near Girard Avenue for years. But Ernest and his son loved visiting the Cape May area to pick strawberries and “fish for their dinner.”
The two “Ernie’s” ended up purchasing a party boat, the “Gertrude W” and then another, the “Tern”. Then, in 1951, Ernie, Jr. felt that the “it was time” to build a marina for the Utsch boats. So, in 1951, Utsch’s Marina was founded. Hard work ensued. Eighty slips were built. The candy store was sold and all efforts went into the establishment of the marina. In the mid-1950s, the state of New Jersey decided that the old flat bridge would no longer serve the traffic traveling to Cape May, so to accommodate the building of the current “Cape May County Veteran’s Bridge,” the marina was moved and cut down in size. Since then, Utsch’s has expanded several times an upgraded accommodations to become the unofficial authority of Cape May Harbor. Yet today still, Utsch’s caters to the “old ways and times.”
If you are new to boating and fishing, visit the marina. They have lots of activities to keep the entire family happy. Located on the premises is The Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center where you can learn about the local dolphins and whales in the area. Itsch’s is also home to East Coast Parasailing where you can see Cape May from another perspective – up high in the sky! For you serious fishermen, we have a dozen or more charter boats residing at the marina to help you catch “the BIG ONE”.
Never fished before but want to give it a try? Stop in the Utsch’s Bait & Tackle Shop. Captain Fred will set you up with a modestly priced rod ‘n reel combo. Pointers, tips and even the best area to catch will be given free of charge. Plus, if you get a photo of your “catch,” we will proudly hang it on the wall for all to see.
Utsch’s now features a 300+ slip marina and a Ship’s Store to accommodate any part needed to keep your boat in “Ship Shape!” If you visit them by way of the Atlantic or Delaware Bay via boat, Utsch’s has the “Southern Hospitality” charm on constant display. They want you to consider Utsch’s as “your home away from home”!
1121 New Jersey 109, Cape May
(609) 884-2051, www.capemayharbor.com