Cape May stands as the nation’s oldest seashore resort. Also known as the Queen of the Seaside Resorts, Cape May distinguishes itself in many ways. It features pristine beaches and all the amenities that make any seashore town lovely, but also a distinct Victorian heritage. In fact, in 1976 the entire city of Cape May was declared a National Historic Landmark. The Washington Street Mall, Cape May’s own thee-block shopping district, is yet another unique trait of the quaint seaside town.
Originally constructed as a pedestrian concourse in 1972, the Mall received a facelift in June of 2008. Accented by rustic fountains and renovated with a new brick walkway, the refreshed Washington Street Mall features the same great independent and multi-generational shops that have become its signature over the years. As a small town, Cape May supports and takes pride in these friendly, family-owned businesses and hopes that visitors to the Washington Street Mall enjoy its service and charm. Just a brief walk from Cape May’s center and Beach Avenue, the Washington Street Mall is easily accessible by foot, bike, or car and features its own parking lots and bike racks.
Start your stroll at the intersection of Ocean Street and Washington and browse the selection of unique holiday collectibles at Winterwood Gift & Christmas Shoppe. Winterwood is actually located in the anchor building of the Washington Street Mall, which was built in 1895 and previously served as city hall for the historic city. Be sure to experience both floors of this location of the area’s largest Christmas store.
Below Winterwood, shoppers can experience the sublime aroma of hand-made bath and body products at A Place on Earth. Those with a sweet tooth can head across the Mall’s walkway to the Original Fudge Kitchen for samples of their homemade fudge or a box of salt water taffy. Just a few steps across the way and new to the Washington Street Mall, Galvanic has Cape May buzzing with excitement about the store’s grassroots menswear and accessories. Among the brands Galvanic will feature are Iron and Resin (renowned for their hand-sewn denim detailing) and Native Shoes, famous for their colorful, waterproof, and light weight unisex shoe selections.
The Washington Street Mall is also home to a host of T-shirt shops, each featuring unique Cape May prints and designs. Great White Shark features an extensive collection of humorous novelty tees, with messages such as “Quit Starin’ at My Bass”. For beach reads, stop by Atlantic Books in the City Centre Mall within the Washington Street Mall. Or upgrade your wardrobe with the help of the Mall’s several apparel, shoe, and accessories boutiques such as Casale’s Shoes, Shoe Rack, Free Shop, Cotton Company, Making Waves, Summer Sun Surf and more. For summertime ice cream cravings, the Washington Street Mall offers a choice of both chain shops and Cape May originals. From Ben & Jerry’s to Uncle Charley’s, your dessert needs are covered. The Washington Street Mall’s art galleries, such as Gallery D’May and the Cape May Art Gallery, showcase the unique works of both local and non local artists.
The Washington Street Mall also covers a wide spectrum of cuisine and dining experiences, with over ten restaurants in its three block span. On summer nights, friends and family can enjoy concerts at Rotary Park just behind the Mall or sample the beautiful music while dining al fresco. A Cape May Institution since 1972, the Washington Street Mall invites Cape May patrons to “shop.dine.relax.”
By Meg Kummer