I have always loved going to the beach when I visit Cape May – who doesn’t? My family has always been peculiar when it comes to our beach habits. My dad does not like the ocean or the sand, hence a few years of us all wearing the most blister-inducing sand shoes ever (they let in more sand than they promised to keep out).
And despite the sand, my family enjoys coming to Cape May and has been for over twenty one years. The way we do our beach visits is unusual from most other families. In fact, the first two days of vacation, we did not get down to the beach.
Usually the first two days of our Cape May vacation were spent buying groceries and getting settled in to our rental. I was always so anxious to get down to the beach right away, but I wasn’t old enough to go down alone and my parents were never in as big of a rush as I was.
My mom and dad usually wanted to wait out the large crowds on the beach, and opted to go down after the temperature had cooled off. This waiting meant heading down to the beach any time after 4 p.m.
Walking down to the beach lugging chairs, towels, books, shovels and buckets in the late afternoon never failed to have people give us glances. They had been on the beach since the morning, having spent their morning and afternoon in the ocean. They must have wondered why we were heading down to the beach when it was time to clean up and get ready for dinner. Little did they know, early evening is the nicest part of the day to be on the beach.
Picking which beach to go to was always dependent on our location. I grew up going to Trenton Avenue beach while staying at the Morning Star Villa. We rented condos there for three years from 1997-1999. Then once we started renting on Sewell Avenue around 2000, we exclusively went to Jefferson Street beach and we have been going there the last fifteen years.
My preference now is to mostly walk the four blocks from my house to Jefferson, but I often beach hop and go to Poverty beach. I like to drive to others for a different experience and change of scenery. We always walk to the beach, never drive – so I like the freedom I have now of keeping a beach chair in my car. I never know when I will take a spur of the moment trip down to the water.
Just the other day, I happened to drive down to Trenton Avenue beach, just to see what was new there (not remembering it is where I got my start to visiting the Cape May beaches). Trenton Avenue has a handicap access ramp up to the entrance and boards going down most of the way towards the ocean. Right at the entrance, there is a showering area to rinse off sand and a bathroom. There are also picnic tables near the entrance. And of course, the sand and water is pretty much the same as everywhere else.
Jefferson Street beach almost seems like a whole other beach from Trenton Avenue. When I leave my house, I strap on my backpack chair and round the corner. Four blocks down to Jefferson Street beach and up onto the boardwalk is already a difference from the entrance to Trenton. Jefferson Street beach has the Steger beach boxes, where people store their beach chairs and toys.
Lately it is around 5:30 p.m. when I make the trek down the sand to the water, and sit to the left of the lifeguard chair. I open my backpack chair, pull out my book and sit down.
I never get tired of the view from my favorite beach, Jefferson Street beach.
Connect with Rachel on Twitter @capemayrachel.