- Cape May NJ Travel Guide and Vacation Planner Blog

Month: January 2013

Cape May hotel subject of Hotel Impossible

Picture from

Picture from

The Travel Channel was in town last Fall to film an episode of Hotel Impossible. Host Anthony Melchiorri, with his 20 years of hospitality experience, is known as the “hotel fixer.” He visited the Periwinkle Inn on Beach Avenue to share his advice for hotel management. The hotel is undergoing renovations for this season.

The show aired January 28, 2013.

Mission Inn and Albert Stevens Inn Ranked Top B&Bs in the Country

the-mission-innTrip Adviser has released their Travelers’ Choice 2013 Top 25 B&Bs and Inns in the U.S. and our very own Albert Stevens Inn on Myrtle Avenue in West Cape May and The Mission Inn on New Jersey Avenue in Cape May ranked number five and number 25, respectively. One of the reasons cited for the Albert Stevens Inn sterling rating –  “The Innkeeper provided great information, resources, food and lodging.” And The Mission Inn was said to provide,  “Unbelievable Attention to Detail!” Congratulations to the innkeepers.

MAC Volunteer of the Month

MAC-smallerTaylor Zeides, 14, of Ocean City, N.J., is the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) Volunteer of the Month for January. MAC Chief Outreach Officer Mary Stewart nominated Zeides for her assistance this past fall. She is the youngest daughter of Melissa Zeides, MAC’s Chief Operating Officer, and she volunteers for MAC events on a regular basis, but several of her recent efforts deserve special highlight. She helped MAC staff secure the Emlen Physick Estate the weekend prior to Hurricane Sandy’s arrival on Monday, Oct. 29, and then brought a corps of hard-working friends who helped clean up downed branches and leaves after the hurricane on Wednesday, Oct. 31. It was due to teamwork and assistance from volunteers like Zeides that MAC was able to quickly resume its regular schedule of tours and events on Friday, Nov. 2. She also helped provide refreshments for the MAC Annual Meeting on Nov. 11, by bringing cookies and desserts, organizing and arranging plates of cheese and crackers, and preparing punch. “Taylor is always cheerful and helpful and ready to pitch in wherever she is needed,” said Stewart. “She is a delight to have around, as well.” MAC benefits from the expertise of members of the community in a variety of ways. The Volunteer of the Month award is given to a person who demonstrates a high degree of dedication, commitment and constancy to MAC’s volunteer program. For information on the variety of volunteer opportunities available, please contact Barbara Hubmaster at 609-884-5404, ext. 109, or email

Photo courtesy MAC

What you thought about 2012

Throughout the year on Facebook, we ask what you think about what’s going on in Cape May. Here are highlights from the past year and what you had to say about them.


Congress Hall repaints its lobby green – March 21, 2012

“Bring me a cocktail!”
Robert C. Ransom

“Interesting, Might take some getting used to, but it’s nice. Just don’t mess with the Brown Room!”
Sean Ramsden

“Not liking it, Sorry. Looks like the color of a golfing club.”
Carolyn Leshock


The Carpenter’s Lane project is almost complete – April 19, 2012

“Looks beautiful!!! Nice compliment [sic] to the beauty of Cape May.”
Patricia Vlachos-Lowman

“Beautiful!!!! Like the rest of Cape May!”
Rose Hass Scimone

“There used to be more trees, I think.”
Francesca Cacioppo Geores


A scrolling marquee goes up at Convention Hall – April 26, 2012

“I’m happy to see a beautiful new building but think the marquee ruins the look! Couldn’t the architect come up with something more creative and suitable for Cape May?”
Patricia Sain

“For a town that promotes its historic heritage, it is VERY TACKY!”
Chuck Hinchcliffe

“At least it is built and into the finishing stages. The scrolling marquee doesn’t look garish. Cape May is still the quaint Victorian place it has been. It is about balance. Change is difficult to accept. High time to work on acceptance and continue to support all that is Cape May.”
Connie Laubach


Cape May received one of only 35 Eastern white pine grown from seeds that traveled aboard a space shuttle flight in April 1997. – May 1, 2012

“I’ve seen enough 1950’s B movies to know how this is going to turn out. The space radiation is clearly going to turn it into a killer ravenous carnivorous plant. It should be excellent for drawing in tourists, assuming it doesn’t eat most of them.”
Keith Castner

(Jessica awards this “Best comment of the year!”)


Convention Hall Opens – May 23, 2012

“Wow! Swanky! Can’t wait to see it this summer!”
Mandy Zimmerman 

“Beautifully modern, but I’d like to see Victorian period architecture design.”
Kimberly Jean Remington 

“Nice..but it’s just not the same.”
Monica Kamm Pope


Vandals decapitate a fountain on the mall – June 22, 2012

“It’s sad that there are people like this in the world with nothing better to do.”
Theresa Rossi Vollman 

“Hope they make them pay for repairs!!”
Barb Kessel 

“That’s terrible…I hope they pay!”
Julia Domanski Weber 


The Red Monkey replaces The Lemon Tree – June 28, 2012

“I so hope their french fries are as good as The Lemon Tree.”
Lillian Monahan Olejnik 

“Sad that the Lemon Tree is gone, but happy that there is something new to check out!”
Julie Shubin 


Record-breaking attendance at Movies on the Beach – August 14, 2012

“Can’t wait for jaws!!! Starting our vaca early just for it!”
Jessica Kemling 

“outside movies under the stars!”
Sheila A Lewis 


Wawa is still sitting empty (since 2008) – September 5, 2012

“Miss it a lot, was a very convenient from where we stayed!”
Dave N Linda Cernugel 

“It is an eye sore.”
Betty Matthews 

“Haven’t been there for awhile. Did not know that it was closed. Use to like to go there every morning by bike from the B&B. Use to pickup newspapers and also snacks to keep in the B&B in between meals. I liked it very much and will miss it.”
Ed Slomka 


Actor Adam Arkin visits Cape May – October 22, 2012

“He was next to me when I was checking out. Too cool!”
David Smuts 


Hurricane Sandy hits Cape May – October 28, 2012

“Glad that overall, your damage was not too bad. Looks like everyone was prepared.”
Sue Stough VanWyk

“We so love our Cape May and are thankful she made it through….keep us posted if help is needed in clean-up.”
Dawn Palacios 

“We’ve been worried sick about town.”
Lauren Krawiec 


The Cove Restaurant is still standing, despite news reports! – October 30, 2012

“Little Cove restaurant! Still standing!! Yay!!”
Elayne Weiner

“Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Lost a ceiling fan on the porch.”
Edward Johnston 

“Looking forward to having breakfast their [sic] in July.”
Rich Esposito


What do you have to say about 2012? Tell us below!

One Woman’s Legacy



Carolynn Pitts

When Carolyn Pitts died in May 2008, few people in Cape May recognized her name. But, as a young college student and for years after, Carolyn made many trips to Cape May, spending hours documenting the architecture and fighting to preserve what she viewed as a unique town. Her one-woman-led fight for preservation put Cape May on the road to becoming the town we know today and provided a foundation for Carolyn’s lifelong commitment to preservation. Cape May was but the first in a long string of nominations Carolyn made for the National Historic Landmarks program. By the time she retired (at the age of 82) with 32 years of experience as an architectural historian with the National Park Service, she had been responsible for conducting the studies for more than a quarter of the 2200 designated National Landmark sites. Pragmatic, always, in her view of preservation, she was fond of saying that “properties tell us where we’ve been and what we are and we ought to take care of them.”

Summer after summer, often with friends or students whom she recruited for help, Miss Pitts (as she was known in Cape May) walked block after block of Cape May photographing, drawing and writing down building descriptions to create records of the unique architecture. One of her friends who helped record the buildings remembers being followed and questioned by police about who they were, what they were doing, and whether it was permissible to stand on a curb to write descriptions of a house. But this was the 1950s and not everyone knew about or favored preservation. In fact, only a handful of Cape May citizens saw any value in the old, out-of-date buildings. Back then, with a population almost double what it is today, Cape May had varied year-round businesses and industries, among them, car dealerships, appliance outlets, gas stations and service-oriented business. The money earned by townspeople from summer visitors during the short July and August season was neither a principal source of income nor the city’s primary industry.


The Colonial House, circa 1800.

Unlike many of the townspeople, Carolyn was intrigued by the vast number of buildings of various architectural periods and styles, among them Colonial, Victorian and Edwardian, all contained within a relatively confined area. In her walks around town, she met Cape May residents who also appreciated the town’s history and architecture. Sam Kahn, the then owner of the Ugly Mug at Washington and Decatur streets, was a supporter. Evening gatherings were held at the Ugly Mug where townspeople and these young preservationists shared information about the town’s buildings and history while speculating about how these resources could benefit the town.

While Carolyn was focused on architecture, Dr. Irving Tenenbaum, a physician and lifelong resident, was promoting the economic benefits of preservation. In 1961, city council established the Cape Island Historical Celebration Committee to prepare for both the New Jersey Tercentenary (1964) and the Cape May Bicentennial (1966) and appointed Dr. Tenenbaum as chair. The Cape May Star and Wave regularly reported about the committee’s activities including an early project with the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) and Cape May’s selection as a site because of its “wealth of architecture which denotes many types of early 18th and 19th century styles.” In early 1962, Cape May established the forerunner to the Historic Preservation Committee (HPC). Headed by Dr. Tenenbaum, the Architectural Advisory Committee was charged with advising and making recommendations to the Planning Board about historically important structures. At the committee’s organizational meeting, Carolyn and two associates, artist Charlotte Gold and photographer Samuel Gray, educated the committee about the unique collection of intact 18th and 19th century styles represented in Cape May.

The Celebration Committee’s first formal activity was establishing an historic district – probably Cape May’s first. The district included 35 notable buildings ranging from the Blue Pig, (circa 1750) residence on North Street, not the restaurant in Congress Hall, and the Schellenger House (circa 1820) to the more notable Victorian style buildings such as the Victorian Mansion (1856; now called the Mainstay Inn) and the since-demolished Lafayette and Windsor Hotels. The district and the buildings were described in the Cape Island Historical Review, a booklet published by the Star and Wave during the summer of 1962, and each was physically identified by a plaque presented by the Chamber of Commerce. Later in that year, the portion of the historic district from Perry to Windsor streets and North Street to the beach was further defined by the installation of 30 gas lights. After a trial period with a few lamps, considerable discussion with the electric company, and negotiations with various state agencies, as Tenenbaum described in Cape May Magazine’s summer 2007 issue “it eventually came to a vote and we won by a small margin.”

The real catalyst for preservation was neither increased citizen awareness nor a town-adopted preservation agenda, but rather the infamous 1962 March storm where high winds, tides, and rains pounded the beachfront and much of the town in an event almost as catastrophic as the 1878 fire. In one short day, the town suffered more than $3 million in property damage. The storm hit everyone – businesses, year-round and summer residents. Before the storm, Cape May had survived half of the 20th century through “benign neglect” with little new development but with loyal summer residents who returned year after year, many to the cottages built by their ancestors. By the early 1960s, a once fashionable Cape May was not only dated and old-fashioned but severely damaged by the storm. Carolyn, Dr. Tenenbaum, and others saw opportunity in the storm’s devastation.


The Queen Victoria

The story about how preservation emerged from the storm depends on who is doing the telling. Cape May’s rebirth from an out-of-the-way summer resort to a year-round tourist destination has been widely reported in the media and by people who were involved. Suffice it to say that there were two camps – preservationists and those who were more interested in tearing down the old to be replaced by the new. Generally labeled as the “ratable,” this group’s primary interest was to increase the City’s tax revenues by building new motels and buildings that appealed to the post-war generation and would allow Cape May to compete with other resort communities such as Wildwood. Carolyn was a prime force behind the preservation group, which believed Cape May’s economic salvation lay in preserving the architecture that made the town stand out from other South Jersey shore communities.

A second major event was the town’s success in obtaining federal urban renewal funds, an effort that had actually begun prior to the storm and which culminated in a multi-year project to redo the town. In 1966, Cape May’s successful use of federal renewal funds for preservation was illustrated in Woman’s Day where it was reported that funds were obtained and used for preservation-based renewal on recommendation from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Cape May was touted for recognizing that “at a time when most seaside resort towns feverishly tear down all evidences of history …..Cape May is spending $3,200,000 to maintain its lavender and old lace atmosphere.” However, the picture may not have been quite that glowing. Reports from the Star and Wave and other local papers described ambiguous support for preservation. Only after several major structures were demolished in 1963 did Cape May adopt a master plan to guide urban renewal. The plan mandated a complete assessment of the town’s historic resources with the understanding that a basic step to economic recovery would be use of existing buildings. In other words, buildings could not be torn down if rated as worthy of preservation.


The George W. Boyd House, circa 1911, at 1501 Beach Avenue. Colonial Revival.

The urban renewal project, begun in 1963, was directed toward a 77-acre portion of the town center labeled as the “Victorian Village,” an area that roughly extended from the business district on Washington Street to the beachfront. Carolyn was hired to complete the first activity, a resources survey. Finished in 1964, the survey included maps and descriptions of all properties within the boundaries of the Victorian Village as well as some buildings that were outside the boundaries but judged as important to preserve. Carolyn was always dismayed that the 77-acre district could not be drawn in such a way as to encompass all the significant structures. The Physick house, too far from the town center, was outside the district, but the eastern project boundary was pushed to Franklin Street to include the Chalfonte Hotel. This 77-acre urban renewal area became Cape May’s first local historic district, identified for many years as the primary historic district – not because it was more important, but because it was the first district. In 1968, Carolyn completed a second study which identified all the historically significant properties outside the urban renewal district boundaries.


Captain Mey’s B&B on Ocean Street. Captain Mey’s Inn was built in 1890 by Dr. Walter H. Phillips, who was a homeopathic physician and a true native of Cape May.

Urban renewal was a major activity in Cape May from its 1963 beginnings through the early 1970s. By 1968, the project was in full swing. A Washington Street project office was established. Consultants were hired to help in planning and to assist residents in preserving their houses. A Historic District Commission was established. David Teel was hired as city manager because of his previous experience with urban renewal and preservation in Michigan. Energy was high with positive expectations for renewal benefits. “Our philosophy,” Dr. Tenenbaum later recollected, “was that if we could offer the public something more to see than just the beach in two months during the summertime, perhaps we could extend the tourist season from early April until late October.” Today’s tourist industry had its initial roots in these ideas, hopes and possibilities, so tentatively expressed 40 years ago.

While some saw that history and buildings were what the public would come to see, not everyone was in agreement. In a booklet distributed to residents in the mid-sixties, the project was described as seeking “to eliminate slums and blight and their causes both through clearance and conservation and through historic preservation and new construction” – not exactly a whole-hearted preservation agenda. By 1967, 68 buildings had been demolished and more were relocated to make way for new construction. Several avoided the wrecker’s ball, most notably the Pink House which is generally known to have been purchased by Tom Hand and moved across the street to land adjacent to the Star and Wave offices. Whole blocks of buildings were torn down for newly constructed motels, parking lots, apartment buildings, or shopping centers, often showcased because they were built in a so-called Victorian style. Some neighborhoods, described as slums, were virtually eliminated and replaced by parking lots or public housing. The battle lines were drawn between the “ratable” and preservation factions when a city council and mayor with little support for historic preservation were elected in 1965.


The Gallagher House, circa 1882. The gingerbread is typical of the Second Empire architectural style.

In a May 1966 Star and Wave editorial about the upcoming summer season, recent new construction projects – the Golden Eagle and Stockholm motels, Village Green, the new shopping center along the canal, and new stores adjacent to convention hall were highlighted accomplishments. Progress was represented as a process of demolition and new construction. Mounting concern grew about what would remain of the real Victorian buildings. When possible demolition of the historically significant Emlen Physick house outraged both full-time and summer residents, preservation interests were thrown to the forefront. The Victorian Village represented less than a tenth of city acreage. There were no protections for structures outside the Victorian Village and protections within the Village were greatly reduced when city council disbanded the Historic District Commission at the end of 1970. Based on a desire to obtain some protection for buildings throughout the city, a subcommittee of the Cottagers, led by Edwin C. Bramble, together with Carolyn nominated the entire City of Cape May (and a portion of West Cape May) as a district for listing on the National Register. Residents and city officials learned of Cape May’s December 29th, 1970 designation as a National Register historic district by reading a late-January story in the Philadelphia Bulletin.


Carved wood spandrel arches are featured on the Pink House, circa 1880.

While some citizens happily received this news, then-mayor Frank Gauvry, and members of city council were anything but positive in their response. A strong rumor at the time was that information was leaked to the Philadelphia paper since city leaders were not going to announce the designation. The announcement delay was explained in a January Star and Wave story as being confusion among the state’s federal representatives. “U.S. Senator Clifford Case had decided to let Rep. Charles Sandman make the announcement” but Sandman’s office denied having received the announcement (although others had received copies of the National Park Service letter to Sandman). Sandman later attempted to use his Washington influence to have the designation reduced in size and scope and also tried to have the designation rescinded entirely because the town government had not been consulted. In March 1971, Sandman’s Legislative Assistant, Fred Caldron, sent the National Park Service (NPS) a copy of draft legislation that Sandman was considering introducing in the House of Representatives if NPS did not make administrative changes Sandman had suggested earlier. Primary among these changes was a requirement for approval by city government or private citizens before National Register designations were granted. Owner or city approval prior to nomination was not adopted at that time, but was incorporated into the nomination process more than 10 years after the Cape May incident.

At the heart of Mayor Gauvry’s outrage about the National Register controversy was the Gauvry-supported Victorian Towers project which involved demolishing an entire block of stores so that the Catholic Diocese of Camden could build a six-story apartment complex to provide housing for elderly residents. A month after the designation was announced, Gauvry went so far as to say that “designation of an entire community as a historic site would destroy a balanced community.” He found no fault with the facts contained in the Register application but when interviewed for a 1986 Wall Street Journal story, Gauvry did find fault that the application was filed by “carpetbaggers who cared little for the town’s real problems” and who acted “legally but surreptitiously.” By May 1971, the Star and Wave quoted Gauvry as saying that the city was considering suing Bramble and Pitts because “it was those two individuals who drew up the petition for applying for Historic Site designation.” But the weekly reports on the controversy somewhat waned by the end of the summer when a significantly scaled down and revised version of the original Victorian Towers plan was approved. Mayor Gauvry and council did not just verbally talk about the designation negatively, but also took local action against preservationists. In the month after the announcement of the Register designation, city council reneged on arrangements to allow preservation supporters to purchase the Physick estate. How the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) members successfully pulled the house out of the fire is a story all by itself.


The Chalfonte Hotel was built in phases beginning in 1875.

The Cape May saga quickly became national news. Most major east coast papers from Boston to Washington published at least one story on the “pro-preservation” versus “progressive development” polarization of the town. Finally, the battle climaxed with the election of a pro-preservation mayor, Bruce Minnix, who ousted Gauvry in 1972. “The delicate balance between opposing forces in Cape May,” Carolyn wrote in a 1983 history of early preservation efforts “encouraged preparations to document what might be destroyed.” Documentation was accomplished by Historic American Building Survey (HABS) teams that spent four summers (1972, 1973, 1974; 1977) in Cape May drawing, photographing and recording the notable buildings. The Windsor Hotel, slated for demolition by the City in 1972, barely had drawings completed by an ad-hoc team of University of Pennsylvania students before burning to the ground. The historical background research from the summer teams was later used by team-member George Thomas to publish the now classic and widely recognized 1976 book, Cape May: Queen of the Seaside Resorts. Drawings and photographs from the architectural work were used as the basis of the Cape May Handbook, a 1977 publication distributed free of charge to residents who attended city-hosted preservation workshops. Carolyn was greatly amazed by the Handbook’s continuing popularity and the high prices commanded in recent years when a copy ever so infrequently would appear on Ebay.

Minnix’s last action as mayor was to accept the 1976 National Landmark designation on behalf of Cape May. Preparing and submitting this nomination was Carolyn’s final official act on behalf of Cape May. She had already moved to Washington, D. C. to join the NPS as an architectural historian and was already onto saving other notable buildings in other cities and towns across America. During the 30 years that she worked for NPS, she was profiled in more than 15 national magazine articles as well as in numerous articles in major newspapers such as New York Times and Wall Street Journal. She was responsible for “landmarking” many well-known American icons such as the Empire State Building and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. Over her lifetime, Carolyn received many awards for her national contributions to historic preservation but what she enjoyed most was the fight to “pull things out of the fire of the developers,” or help make things “go right” that were going wrong – skills she had more than honed in her decade of fighting for Cape May.


The Congress Hall of today is the third building of the same name. The first was built in 1816.

There was nothing that Carolyn loved more about preservation than stories about preservation. A great storyteller herself, she educated and mentored at least two generations of professional and lay preservationists by sharing her knowledge on any number of topics including history, architecture, and the “inside scoop.” This story about what MAC’s executive director, Michael Zuckerman, described as Cape May’s “spectacular rebirth as a Victorian theme destination” did not occur because of the efforts of one person. Carolyn would have been the first to deny any singular importance in Cape May’s preservation. She praised the work of the many ordinary people who with their own time and money transformed the town into what it is today – house by house by house. She would have shared her laurels with early pro-preservationists like Dr. Tenenbaum, Ann LeDuc, or Bruce and Corrine Minnix. And, she may have acknowledged her early role as a catalyst in mobilizing Cape May residents to take a stand, run for office, or form organizations such as the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (of which she and others in the preservation “camp” were founding members). But she never would have said that Cape May turned out the way it did because of her efforts alone. Even today, credit for Cape May’s ongoing preservation is rightfully shared among many people and groups, who but for Carolyn’s tireless efforts 40 years ago, would never have had opportunities to either dabble in or economically benefit from preservation. Every one of us who is even just a little bit “preservationist” or who claims to “love Cape May” have Carolyn to thank for laying the foundation for ongoing efforts to preserve, revitalize, and enjoy Cape May. historic-endmark


Cape May Survey Team 1977. (Left to right) Rear: Hugh McCauley, Trina Vaux, Dan Goodenow, Susan Stein. Front: Michael Fish, Carolynn Pitts, Tom Ewing, Perry Benson, Bernie Cleff.

The Ebb and Flow of Restaurants


The New Year is a time of reflection and anticipation. 2012 was a tough year down at the Jersey Shore with a double whammy of a stagnant economy and a devastating storm. This is nothing new for the shore. It is always tough seeing favorite haunts disappear due to the whims of fate. Growing up on the shore, I have fond memories of eateries that have disappeared from the landscape. I never appreciated the diversity of Jersey Shore cuisine until I moved away. From greasy burger and dog joints to seafood shacks and fine dining, the shore-food scene has always been diverse and eclectic.

My first summer in Colorado was tough. My Pork Roll/Good Hot Dog deficiency suffering was made worse by the news that Max’s on the Jetty had burned down, along with the entire Long Branch amusement pier. The thought of a world without those crisp-skinned Shickhaus franks cooked on a grease-laden flattop left me in despair. Max’s soon rose from the ashes as has Long Branch. Resiliency has always been the strength of the shore and its residents.

Over the years, hurricanes and Nor’easters have battered and bruised the coastline. Sandy has taken some iconic eateries. White House Subs in Atlantic City was closed and has yet to reopen. True, they still have their location in the Taj, but the Arctic Avenue shop is a time capsule of the ups and downs of Atlantic City. The pictures of celebrities which decked the walls, allow you to eat great subs with ghosts. I hope Sinatra’s towel survived and hope this summer to be chowing down on a White House special on bread that can only be found on the east coast.


From Sandy Hook to Cape May, many restaurateurs spent the days after the storm cleaning debris and assessing their desire to start over. I am happy to report two of my favorite Cape May County restaurants will be back in the spring. Claude’s in North Wildwood is an oasis of French cuisine amid the noisy bars in Angelsea. Besides great food, Sophie’s bar serves a Pear Martini, a palate preparing aperitif that sets the stage for what your taste buds are going to enjoy with Claude’s cuisine and Mary’s desserts. Steve Serano and crew will be back at Café Loren in Avalon preparing his modern American fare. His deft touch with seafood and lamb has local foodies glad he has decided to relite the stoves.

I am looking forward to seeing The Jersey Shore reclaim what Sandy stole from us. Food memories are strong and powerful. They help us survive through the winter and bolster the spirits of those who have moved away, but never really left the shore. The Jersey Shore’s poet Bruce Springsteen wrote in his ode to Atlantic City: “Everything dies. Baby, that’s a fact. But maybe everything that dies, some day comes back.” Write in and tell us what restaurants you miss and which you hope will be back as the shore reclaims her place along the coast this summer. While you are awaiting your chance to savor Hot Dog Tommy’s dogs, fried Oreos or other favorite Jersey fare, satiate your palate with these classic shore recipes – Clams Casino and Crab Imperial. Until next month, Bon Appétits. historic-endmark

Clams Casino

(Makes 2 dozen)

This is my variation of a dish that appears on more menus than ketchup stains

  • 2 dozen top necks, steamed to the clams just open
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 8 strips bacon, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp tabasco
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • Olive oil drizzle
  1. Steam clams
  2. Lightly remove meat, chop and reserve
  3. In sauté pan, render bacon until brown
  4. Add butter and sauté peppers, onions celery garlic 2-3 minutes until softened
  5. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and Tabasco
  6. Add clams and cook 3 more minutes.
  7. Generously fill clam shells with mixture.
  8. Top with bread crumbs, parmesan and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.
  9. Clams can be refrigerated or frozen at this point for later use.
  10. To serve, preheat oven to 425 degrees
  11. Cook clams 10 minutes or until topping is brown and bubbling

Crab Imperial

  • 1 lb Jumbo lump Crabmeat
  • ½ cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 3 scallions, chopped

For the topping

  • 2 tsp chopped parsley
  • 4 Tbsp melted butter
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  1. In bowls, gently mix crab, scallions, mayonnaise and seasonings. Be careful not to break up the lumps.
  2. Divide mixture evenly into 4 6-oz. ramekins.
  3. In separate bowl, mix parsley, cheese, butter and bread crumbs
  4. Divide mixture evenly over crab
  5. Mix and bake at 400 degrees for 15-30 minutes

The Language of our Dogs – Communication and Signs!

boo-e1330809691443This month’s GOOD READ – A Dog Named Boo by Lisa J. Edwards. This true, inspiring story tells us about the “little dog that could!” How one dog and one woman rescued each other and how they, along the way, transformed the lives of others. This book is “hope, resilience and the transformative power of unconditional love,”, and we all know, that’s what dogs are – UCL! One of my favorite lines in the story is; “The two of them sat together, weeping for the current tragedy and the tragedies of the past, while Annie (the dog) did her best to keep them both grounded in what is good and joyful in the human-animal bond.”

While we all understand the UCL that our dogs give to us and to others, and while research has proven that animals have documented positive effects on us and others as far as physical, mental, and emotional health, do we know how to read the signs of communication that our dogs give us? Rather than anthropomorphizing our dog’s actions and verbalizations, we can learn to read them and to understand what they tell us with their “verbal” and “non-verbal” communication with a little studying, thought, and observation.

For example, when you begin to think about some vacation time and your dog tilts his/her head to the side, wags its tail, begins to move its front paws, as if to begin running, then for sure your dog is telling you he/she wants to come to Cape May!!

Seriously, our dogs do communicate with us, we just have to learn to “get the message.” We need to remember that we cannot interpret a dog’s communication they way we would interpret a human’s communication. Our dogs even communicate how they feel and their health.

One of the messages that we very often misinterpret is when a puppy piddles by your feet when you get home after being out and about for awhile. This IS NOT a housetraining mishap but rather greeting which is a sign of submission, a recognition that you are the boss, the one in charge. If you yell or in any way try to punish your puppy for this, you only reinforce his/her need to let you know, again, that he/she recognizes you as the one in charge. If your puppy shows signs of submission, simply take the puppy outside and when he/she “finishes” peeing or goes anew, praise loudly, give a treat, give a pat on the head, and in every way reinforce “going” in the right place. The positive attention is much more effective in training than any amount of yelling or punishment.

Guinness and Bailey from BIllmae Cottage

Much of our inter-communication is verbal. We do employ “body language” but for most of us, we rely on verbal communication. Dogs do not. They DO however, read our body language and our tone of voice. You can say nasty things in a sweet voice and your dog will think you are being nice, or you can say nice things in a nasty voice and your dog will think he is in trouble, but won’t know why.

Another important communication from your dog is its health! Learn through observation what is normal for your dog, then you will be more likely to notice if there are signs of change. A dull coat could mean less than great nutrition in your dog’s diet. Shaking of the head to excess could indicate an ear infection or ear mites. My dog Guinness tends to be susceptible to ear infections so I check his ears frequently so I can give him medication BEFORE it becomes a bad problem. An increase in barking or growling in an older dog may indicate difficulty with sight or hearing.


So, the point is LISTEN to what your dog is telling you, just don’t expect the communication to be in words, and you communicate with your dog in ways he/she will understand as well. It will make you happy, healthy, and comfortable. And, get into sharing all the love your dog has to give you.

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for some treats your dog will love – to celebrate a HAPPY NEW YEAR in GREAT COMMUNICATION!

Veggie Treats

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix 1 cup of wheat germ
  3. 2 four oz. jars of chicken & veggie baby food
  4. ½ cup powdered milk
  5. Line a flat pan with parchment
  6. Roll into balls and flatten with a fork.
  7. Bake 15 minutes until brown
  8. Cool and store in fridge or freeze.