- Cape May NJ Travel Guide and Vacation Planner Blog

Month: June 2010

St. Mary’s 100th Anniversary

St. Mary-by-the-Sea celebrated its 100th anniversary at Cape May Point the weekend of June 4-6.. The sisters arranged a special salute, “Lifting the Creative Spirit & Tapping the Artist Within,” to celebrate their century of owning and operating the historic Saint Mary-by-the-Sea Retreat House overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Cape May Point. Artists, poets, photographers, both amateurs and professionals were invited to participate in the weekend, take courses and arrange for a stay at St. Mary-by-the-Sea. Sisters will be dressed in 1906 period habits, and friends in Victorian dress and paraded on St. Mary’s porches.

Water temps rising!

Fishing is heating up here in Cape May and so are the offshore water temps! Water temperatures from the South Poorman’s to the Washington are up to approximately 80 degrees creating a good fishing environment. Big Eye tuna have made their presence known, as well as white marlin, some blue marlin and dolphin. We’ve had all of our charter boats fishing in the past week, offshore and inshore. Our party boats here on the dock have been on top of the flounder spots for the past few days, just yesterday (6-22) the Porgy IV came in with 31 keeper flounder. In offshore news, the Hooked Up II caught and released 2 white marlin, had a blue up and saw some dolphin. The Judge pulled in 2 nice tuna and Raging Bull had a few white marlin bites.

After 92 years, Star of the Sea School closes its doors

“Our Lady Star of the Sea School has educated Cape May’s children in the Catholic tradition for the last 92 years. On April 23, 2009 the teachers, parents, and children were given notice by the Camden Diocese that because of low enrollment and grim demographics for future enrollment, the 2009-2010 school year would be the last one at the Cape May site. With generations of family, friends, and neighbors attending this beloved school, the news hit our  community hard. There was much sadness, but the faculty agreed that we would do our best to stay positive and give our students an excellent education regardless of circumstances.  The professionalism and dedication of faculty and staff, and the cooperation and commitment of parents and students allowed this to happen.

“We now look forward with anticipation and excitement to our new school, Cape Trinity Catholic, in North Wildwood.  Born from the mergers of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Cape May, St. Ann’s, Wildwood, and St. Raymond’s, Villas, this new school will be the first of its kind in Cape May County to offer a team leadership approach with Sr. Sheila Murphy, Administrative Director, Mrs. Donna DiPasquale, Curriculum Director, and Mr. Michael Beck, Mission Effectiveness Director. The school will also offer students the unique opportunity to have Philadelphuia Colllege of Osteopathic Medicine as a partner in science education. Every faculty member on the new Cape Trinity Catholic team has participated in a one year period of in-service study on critical thinking. This 21st century skill will be a school wide focus. Innovation in education in the Catholic tradition will make Cape Trinity Catholic a school to watch as it opens its doors on September 8, 2010.”

– Donna DiPasquale, principal, Our Lady Star of the Sea Regional School

Flag Day

In 1885 a schoolteacher,  BJ Cigrand, of Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, first originated the idea of celebrating the flag on June 14 – the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes. He called the event, ‘Flag Birthday’.
On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.
On April 25, 1883, Colonel J Granville Leach, eldest son of Joseph Leach, publisher of the Cape May Ocean Wave, who, at the time was the historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution, suggested the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America  adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14, and that the day become officially known as “Flag Day” and that school children be given flags to celebrate the event.
Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. Then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia Dr. Edward Brooks directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square.  Each school child carried a small Flag, sang patriotic songs and attentively listed to addresses delivered.

Cape May County Art League Juried Show at the Gail Pierson Gallery

Cape May County Art League and the Gail Pierson Gallery  put on a “Really Big Show!” which opened May 29. This month-long exhibition of work from the Cape May County Art League spotlights regional artists – all members of the League.  All new juried work is on exhibit through the end of June. Founded in 1929, and 81 years young, the League celebrates a long and proud history in Cape May County. For more information about CMCAL, go to The Gail Pierson Gallery is open all year and welcomes new artists and art lovers from all over to Cape May. June Hours: Daily 10:00am – 5:00pm. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Drum, Drum, Drum!

Drum, Drum, Drum! The fish are here, where are the anglers?

The water temps are in the high 50’s, the weather has become much more like summer, air temps are in the 60’s at night and 80’s in the day. The striper bite has slackened in the last week or so. But the Drum bite is on and we’ve got the weights and pictures to boot. Tussy’s is the place that a majority of the boats are headed. The Drum bite has been hot during this full moon. Flounder fishing opened up Saturday (29th), I personally pulled in 2 first thing in the morning within 10 minutes of each other. This week here at South Jersey Marina all of our boats have gone out for the most part. We’ve had the Cape May Lady running daily (4hr trips) and all of our 6-packs are and have been ready to go.

Is everyone ready for the SHARK TOURNAMENT? The shark tourney here in Cape May is one of the biggest shark tournaments in the ENTIRE United States!! It’s coming and I’ll have the pictures and reports to go with it! Stay tuned ladies and gents, we’re in for a heck of a summer!

Who’s New, Who’s Moved, Who’s Gone 2010

Gallery D'May replaces Mermaids on the 300 block.

Well is it that time of year already? If it’s June, it must be time for’s annual look at Who’s New, Who’s Moved, Who’s Gone and who’s turned it over to someone new. We haven’t seen this much change in town in over three decades. Let’s begin with the Washington Street Mall where the majority of the turnover has taken place.

In the 300 block of the Washington Street Mall, Mermaids, 305 Washington Street, is out and Gallery D’May is in. The owners, John and Dawn DeMayo, who also own and operate the Victorian Walk Gallery on the second level of the City Centre Mall in the 400 block the Mall, have done a beautiful job of renovating the building both inside and out. Fine art and object d’art are offered.

Bath Time's new store on the Washington Street Mall

However, the most significant change in this block is the absence of Stumpo’s Italian Restaurant, 316 Washington Street. A fixture on the Mall, since about 1972, Stumpo’s closed their doors shortly before Christmas last year. The building has been sold and there is mix of the old and new in terms of stores. Dairy Queen remains in its old location. Andrews Limited moved across the street to ground floor where the Lynn Arden’s Children’s Shop was located at 325 Washington Street. Bath Time, previously located on Jackson Street, is now a welcomed addition to the Mall at 318 Washington Street.

Tisha's replaces Stumpo's on the Washington Street Mall

Lynn Arden’s Children’s Shop moved to the second floor of the 325 building. Meanwhile, back at 316 Washington Street, Tisha’s Restaurant is completely renovating that property which also encompassed the Stumpo Pizzeria on Carpenters Lane. Tisha’s moved from the Solarium on Beach Avenue, next to the still condemned and still not rebuilt Convention Hall. The Solarium was to have been moved east on Beach Avenue as part the Sewell Park renovation, but the move was put on hold once City Council realized there were no public bathrooms to accommodate that section of town. Tisha’s expects to be open for the July 4th weekend. And Best Darn Kettlecorn is on the side of the building, across from the Whale’s Tale on Sawyer’s Walk.

Vintage Old Time Photos is new in City Centre Mall

Wow! Let’s move over to the 400 block where things a little calmer. Due to the recent and untimely death of owner Steve Protasi, Donna’s Hallmark, 401 Washington Street, will be under new management. Allison and Vince Stewart, owners of the Zoo Company in City Centre Mall, have taken over the store. We R Kids in the City Center Mall’s second floor are gone and Vintage Old Time Photos are in. Henry’s is still at its 407 Washington Street Mall location, but you may not recognize it. Gone are the sweatshirts and a redo of the interior reflects the store’s re-commitment as a jewelery store, or as it’s logo says – “Cape May’s Landmark Jeweler.”

In the 300 block, Carli’s Furniture and Gift Store, 504 Washington Street, is out. Just For Laughs, brought to you by the folks who own Kaleidoscope, just next door, is in. Just for Laughs features humorous gift items with a woman’s point of view in mind. Back in Liberty Way, 507 Washington Street, the Cape May Sign Company is out and there is no replacement as yet.

Just for Laughs replaces Carli's on the 500 block

Carpenters Lane has a couple of changes. M. S. Brown’s Jeweler’s is out. Splash is in. Owned by Hilary and Chuck Pritchard of The Whale’s Tale, one of Cape May’s first new wave entrepreneurs back in the late’70s, the store features hand crafted jewelry, sea glass and fine gift items. At the west end of Carpenters Lane, Tuscany Café, the little cottage located between the Merry Widow Guest House and Gecko’s Restaurant, have moved to the West End Garage on Perry Street. An eatery is expected to open there within the month specializing in salads and “to go” items for those of you on the run.

The Whale's Tale's sister Splash on Carpenter's Lane

Across the Ocean Street at Washington Commons, the most obvious change is the one who see as soon as you cross the street. Shore Design is out after nearly a decade. Pete Smith’s Surf Shop got kicked out of the Solarium on the beachfront next to the might-as-well-be-boarded-up Convention Hall, along with Tisha’s and has moved in to the spot previously occupied by Shore Design. Riptide is out and that store vacant, but they moved two doors down to where Ocean Blue was. Ocean Blue is out and did not relocate. The stock was absorbed by its sister store Colors, which is on the Mall. Maggie’s Restaurant, next to Washington Commons Gallery, is out and currently vacant.

Primo’s Hoagies opened in the new store front on Lafayette Street across from the Acme and right next to Village Bikes.

Going out of town, Copper Fish is gone from its location at the base of Schellenger Bridge and relocated to 416 South Broadway, formerly Moonfish Grill, which is gone. That spot has had quite a turn since the old Daniel’s Restaurant days. We wish Chef Geoff Johnson luck in his new digs. Moving into the old Copper Fish spot is Latitudes, owned by Bryan Brodowski.

Pete Smith's Surf Shop moves to Washington Commons

Back in town, on Ocean Street, near Freda’s Café, the Ocean Street Gallery is gone. Bamboo Shack is in, moved from its previous location on Jackson Street.

Further down Washington Street, much to our dismay, Heather’s Hair Salon, 656 Washington Street, is out. Heather’s has moved to the Villas, 2204 Bayshore Road. And those of us who never leave the island are most distressed. Next to Heather’s a neighborhood specialty grocery store (Halleluiah!!) opened called Mega Mex, specializing in Mexican items as well as your run-of-the-mill box of Post Raisin Bran. A few doors down, Gail Pierson of the Gail Pierson Gallery, 658 Washington Street, is opening another gallery, Art District, right next door to herself, 600 Washington Street.

At Texas Avenue, where the only WaWa in town is located and across from the C-View Restaurant, Big Wave Burritos is in and we’re not quite sure what was there before.

The Depot Market changes hands

On the beachfront, we already talked about the Solarium being vacated but speaking of being vacated, the Beach Theatre is dark and will remain so. Franks Theaters who reclaimed management of the 1951 movie house last summer after the non-profit Beach Theatre Foundation tried a stab the previous summer at both saving the theater from the wrecking cram and running the operation as tenants of the Franks lost the lease in a dispute regarding the safety of the theatre. The Middle Eastern restaurant next to ZeeBob’s Clothing Store is gone and The Sea Shanty is preparing for a grand opening. Shades of Cape May, also in the movie theater shopping center, is out and moved up to the 400 block of the Washington Street Mall last summer.

Further up the avenue, Seaside Sweets, vacated last summer, is still vacant. All the little shops at the Akroteria, across from Steger’s Beach, look as though they are returning.

On the east end of town, at the Montreal Hotel, the former Cafe Promenade is now Harry’s Ocean Bar and Grill. Named after Montreal Hotel founder and octogenarian, Harry Hirsch.

On Elmira Street, The Depot Market saw a change in ownership this year. Longtime chefs (Mad Batter) Chris and Lisa Shriver took over the Depot earlier this year and are bringing their flare for wholesome, slow cooked food, not to mention breakfast, including a chorizo egg and cheese burrito, specialty baked goods, assorted breakfast sandwiches, and more.

The Ladies Room Consignment Boutique replaces Bamboo Shack

Over on Jackson Street, across from Swain’s and where the WaWa used to be (insert boo hoos here), as we said earlier, Bath Time is out and moved onto the Mall. Miss Demeanor – a women’s clothing boutique – is in. Bamboo Shack is also out, moved over to Ocean Street, The Ladies Room Consignment Boutique is in. The Guardian and Mariah’s Gift Shop are still there and waiting for you to take a nice walk over and pay them a call.

Over in West Cape May, on Perry and West Perry Street we have some changes. Simply Sushi, right next to Higher Grounds Coffee, is out. Key West Taco is in. We hear some good things about Key West Taco – great ambience, great food at a great price. The West End Garage on West Perry Street, directly across from Wilbraham Park, opened last summer. Craftsmen, artists and purveyors of stuff gather there in an upscale artsy milieu.

Over at Park Boulevard Shops, Lisa’s Bake Shop didn’t make it through the summer and has been taken over by Seaside Cheese Shop. Now you have twice the space to taste cheeses and order some salami and prosciutto to go with it.

Over on Sunset Drive heading toward the point in the little shopping area known as Chattel House Village,  Exit Zero’s retail outlet moved out of its Congress Hall location and into the former location of Birdhouse gift shop. Birdhouse moved into  Sea Level’s location, closest to Sunset. Sea Level is out –  in a sense. It was owned by the same people who operate Birdhouse. They simply absorbed the products into one location.

Further up on North Broadway, Bazaar Imports is out and Cape Winds Florist, formerly on Steven’s  Street, is in and quite an eye catching addition to the corner of Broadway and Stimpson Lane.

Well, that’s the scoop for the summer of 2010. Give the new kids on the block a try and keep patronizing the tried and true. If we’ve forgotten anyone, give us an email, adieu until next year.