As summer slowly emerges from its nine months of hibernation, so do all of the visitors. It’s hard to recognize the change of sleepy Cape May in the winter to the endless hustle and bustle of this unique little summer town. The orange flashing traffic lights that lined Beach Drive in the winter turn to an alternating red, green, and yellow as the streets begin to fill with people and cars.
While some may think that not having a car at 18 years old would be such a hassle, I absolutely love it. I’m lucky enough to live on the island so I’m always just a matter of minutes away from the action. As traffic circles down alleyways and side streets in a ravenous hunt for parking spots, I simply park my bike at any pole or bike rack that I can tie my chain to. There’s no better way to get around. When cars are stopped at red lights on Beach Drive or jammed up as pedestrians cross the street, I get to keep on riding past them (after looking both ways, of course).
By day, a bike allows me to zip past insane amounts of traffic, but by late evening, it becomes a form of transportation that takes me to a peaceful state of mind. Whether I’m biking with friends or riding on my own, it gives me a moment to slow down and take everything in. In cars we tend to go so fast that we don’t often observe, we’re just looking out the window for a second and then getting distracted. So often I find myself running around from place to place on the beach, getting food, and going back and forth at work. When I get on my bike, all of that is left behind.
My favorite time to ride is in the golden light of the late afternoon or at night. It is in these moments that I feel invincible. Not because I’m a teenager and we all think that we’re invincible at this age, but because everything seems so much simpler from the perspective of a bike seat. Riding around on the streets of Cape May when the glistening light illuminates the tips of foaming waves or cattails dancing in the breeze makes me realize that it’s these little things in life that are the most important. Sitting on the beach with friends, watching the sunset, or even sharing a slice of pizza are the moments that truly bring happiness. Not iPhones, new clothes, or those $200 Ray Bans.
In our world of endlessly racing cars and technology, a bike allows me to take a step back from it all. Spinning down the quiet gem of Second Ave with my mind relaxed by the rhythmic clanking of my pedals, there seems to be no better way of seeing Cape May, and life, through a different perspective.
There have been a lot of changes in Cape May this year, especially with our restaurants. Here is the breakdown of who’s new, who’s moved, and who’s gone.
- The Bedford Inn is reopened after a fire
- The Fairthorne B&B is closed
- The Primrose B&B is closed and is now a whole-house rental
- M’Ocean is now Room 429 at M’Ocean
- Boiler Room at Congress Hall now offers draft beer and brick-over pizza, a blend of Neapolitan and New York style.
- Fins Bar and Grill is replacing the Pilot House at 142 Decatur Street, featuring fresh food from the land and sea, from the chef at Peter Shields Inn. The building is now bright blue.
- Depot Market under new ownership as of 4/16, John and Josephine Siuta (formerly of Martini Beach).
- Gecko’s moved to West Cape May and offers takeout and seating on the premises. Yozu sushi has taken its place at the Carpenters Square Mall.
- Exit Zero Cookhouse is opening up June 5th at 109 Sunset Boulevard, offering down-to-earth food with a twist.
- Jo Jo Pizzeria Cuisine opened at the end of last season at 101 Liberty Way
- The Little Store is taking over Tony’s Pizza at 1208 Route 109. Michel Gras’ fresh croissants and cinnamon buns will be sold alongside produce from Manteca’s organic Fincas del Mar farm.
- Louisa’s Cafe added another 12 seats to their existing 20.
- Lucky Bones Beach will be serving up surfer-chic burger takeout with natural Pennsylvania beef burgers (plus lamb and salmon), fries, and shakes sometime in June.
- Mayer’s Bar and Restaurant is closed. It was purchased by the Lobster House. No plans for the location have been released.
- Primo Hoagies is closed. O’Nice has taken its place.
- Bliss Organic Ice Cream is closed, rumored to be offered wholesale in the future. Peace Pies has taken its place, offering an ice cream sandwich with a layer of pie filling. (They’re good; trust us.)
- Quincy’s Original Lobster Rolls is opening on Beach Ave. This is their second location (Flagship store in Berwyn, PA)
- Cucina Rosa closed. That’s Amore has taken its place at 301 Washington Street.
- Captain’s Cove is closed. Tony’s Pizza has been reborn there at 1216 NJ 109.
- Art Block, a paint-your-own-pottery store, has opened at 108 Liberty Way.
- Cape May Organic Market has new owners, Julie Slack and Rob Castor. Look for a combo of local and Lancaster County sourced items.
- Cape May Boutique and Resort Wear is open at 412 Washington Street.
- D’May Home Gallery, an art gallery, is opening later this month at 401 Washington Street.
- Happy Baby has moved to West Perry Street and is under new ownership (Alison Patrick).
- Louisa’s Chocolate Bar moved into the space previously occupied by Happy Baby.
- Makers Making has replaced the Shoe Rack at 418 Washington Street. They sell hand-made items with a focus on design.
- Never Sink, a maritime store, opened at Lyle and Jackson.
- A golf cars rental store has opened at 600 Park Boulevard in West Cape May.
- Wood Nook has been replaced by Sei Bella at 507 Washington Street in Liberty Way.
- Sunshine News & Beach has closed
- Ella Rae Boutique has gone out of Washington Commons. Valentino’s & The Pirates Lair has taken its place.
- Fine Fellows Creamistry has opened at 313 Beach Avenue
- Mad About Cape May has replaced Shark Bait at the corner of Beach and Jackson
Do you know of another new business or business change? Tell us about it in the comments or tweet @lovecapemay and we’ll update the list!