“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” Oscar Wilde
It’s finally Fall in Cape May and the famous Oscar Wilde quote perfectly describes this October and the arrival of the chillier season.
In this first full month of Fall, the warmer temperatures have finally released their grip and sunsets are slowly creeping up earlier as the temperatures steadily drop lower.
It’s as if Mother Nature has been standing upright, alert, and awake all summer to keep the extra hours of daylight going and keep the cold at bay. Finally, in October she her relaxes her shoulders and releases a long held breath.. It’s time to settle into Autumn and embrace the fresh start of the new season.
The weather this Fall has been slightly different compared to past years. Typically, the early days in October will be a comfortable 70, but by the second week you need to reach for a long-sleeve and maybe your fall jacket.
This year, the humidity that is typical of late summer was following us into beginning of October. I found myself questioning what month it was and kept checking the weather, hoping for a forecast of cooler air.
Finally, the second weekend of October ushered in colder temperatures. Overnight, the warm air succumbed to the insistence of Autumn. It was time to layer up for a beach walk and bring some gloves along, just in case.
There are unique changes to the landscape that specifically happen during October in Cape May. Big puffy clouds that come with the colder air occupy the horizon and provide incredible contrast between the dark sky and bright sand. The dunes begin their change from green to gold and yellow wildflowers (more officially known as Seaside Goldenrods) bloom along the beach. Monarchs are a main guest on the island, and mums and pumpkins share space on porches with Halloween jack-o-lanterns and skeletons.
October is a preview for the Offseason. There are so many Fall festivals and happenings going on around town during this month, that the crowds and activity on the island can sometimes trick you into thinking it’s still the peak season. But during the week, the traffic lights on Beach Ave turn to blinking yellow and the town quiets down again.
I have always thought of October as the start of extra gold golden hours. September sunsets can still have a summer haze, but in October, with the sun setting further east and being situated lower in the sky, the colors become more intense. Once November arrives and the true Offseason sets in, this becomes even more prominent and sunset colors reach their full intensity.
Now that the colder weather is here to stay and October has provided some incredible views, I can’t wait for early sunset beach walks in November.
See you on the beach in November (with extra layers on)!