September 25, 2018 Shady Pines, NJ (Day 3) Cape May

We woke up to a warmer temp of 76 degrees and mugginess.  Now that Bob put on the new windshield wipers, there was no rain in the forecast.  We got ourselves ready to go and left at 10:30 for a drive to Cape May.  We took the Garden State Parkway the 47 miles to the southern most tip of New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean.  The Parkway had hardly any traffic as it took us through the salt marshes to Cape May.  Cape May is one of the oldest seashore resorts on the Atlantic Coast.
We drove down to Beach Avenue, parked the truck, and walked up the stairs to the beach.  The day had turned cloudy and windy.  There were very few people there, as it was not the best of beach days.
The wind, however, was creating some big waves.  
We hung out at the beach for awhile looking for what the locals call “Cape May diamonds”–tide-worn quartz pebbles.  We found a few in all different colors.
After brushing the sand off of our feet, we took a drive down Beach Avenue.  Along this coastal road, we found beautiful historic B and B’s, inns, and beach resorts.

The houses were beautiful !  Down the side streets we saw Victorian gingerbread homes in this well-preserved late 19th century theme.  One was more orate than the next!
Farther to the north on Beach Boulevard, we came upon an area of shops and restaurants where most of the people seemed to be congregating.  It was a busy place.

We left there and made our way out to Cape May Point State Park.
This is where the Cape May Lighthouse stands.  
The Cape May Lighthouse is 157 1/2 feet tall and was built in 1859.  It is the 3rd documented lighthouse to be built at Cape May Point.  The first one was built in 1823 and the second one in 1847.  The locations of the first two lighthouses are now underwater due to erosion.  The outside wall of the lighthouse is cone-shaped and the inside wall is a cylinder.  The walls were designed to withstand winds several times hurricane force.  The first order Fresnel lens that was used in the lighthouse is now sitting in the museum in Cape May and an electric light operates in the lighthouse.  It is visible 22 miles out to sea.  
Every lighthouse has its own daymark, or exterior paint scheme, so that ship captains can tell them apart.
I paid the $8 to climb the 199 stairs to the top of the lighthouse.  I was little unnerved by the wind up there, but the views were spectacular.  Walking around the balcony at the top,  I got a great view of the Jersey Cape, where Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet.

Bob stayed below and was waiting to take a picture of me when I got to the top.  That’s me on the balcony with my hands outstretched.
I asked a lady at the top with me to take my picture.  This was the first lighthouse I’ve been up in that had bars on the balcony like this.
This is a view of the staircase looking up.  It creates such a beautiful pattern.
On my way down, I stepped aside and waited on one of the landings for others who were coming up the stairs.  That’s when I noticed this poster of New Jersey Lighthouses.  Of the 19 lighthouses listed there, I’ve only seen two, so there’s lots more to see.  
After my climb in the lighthouse, we decided it was time for some lunch.  We had gotten a good recommendation from our boating friends, Pam and Donny.  They suggested the Lobster House so it was our mission to find it.  
It is located on the water at the harbor near a fleet of commercial fishing boats.  They have a fish market attached to the restaurant which we had to check out.
We got a table near the window with a great view of the water.

We ordered mussels in garlic and white wine sauce, clam chowder, and crab fingers.  
Bob didn’t like the crab fingers, so that left more for me.  We shared the chowder and the delicious homemade bread.  I ate too much bread with the chowder and didn’t have room for my share of the mussels, so there was more for Bob.  They were the largest mussels I’ve ever seen.  
Everything was delicious and we came away feeling stuffed.  Donny said we had to check out the 34 1/2 pound lobster in the case on the wall.  It was a monster!
We headed back to the campground after checking out the boats in the marinas nearby.
It turned out to be such a nice day when the sun came out and the temp rose to 80.  We wanted to get home to spend some outdoor time with Auggie.  With a few quick stops for beer and gas, we were back to the campground at 3:00.   [We still can’t get used to the idea that the gas attendants in New Jersey have to pump the gas.  We were told that it is because of insurance which also allows the gas prices to be lower.  We paid $2.72/gal. today.  That was the cheapest we’ve paid in a long time.]
The sun was out with a nice breeze which made for a pleasant afternoon.  We didn’t eat dinner because we were still full from lunch.  Auggie ate his dinner and we finished up with his walk just as it started to rain.  It didn’t rain long, but we spent the evening watching some TV.  We are moving on to a campground just north of Washington, DC for an overnight and then on to Williamsburg, VA for a few days.  We have enjoyed our time in New Jersey!

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