Looking for a creative bachelorette party idea? We signed up for three activities in Cape May that are perfect for small-to-medium sized groups so we could tell you about them: making candles, decorating pottery, and relaxing on a ninety-minute harbor cruise. All three would also be great for smaller parties looking for something a little different!
Disclaimer: While our experiences were generously comped, our experiences and opinions are genuine. CapeMay.com does not accept money in exchange for editorial coverage.
The Candle Bar at Shore Soaps
Shore Soaps is located at 658 Washington Street, Cape May. In addition to locally made candles and soaps, the store offers a hands-on candle-making experience called The Candle Bar that is perfect for small bachelorette parties! We booked our experience for a Thursday morning. You will need to find parking as there’s no on-site lot, but the store is air-conditioned. Walking in you will be greeted by the friendly staff. In our case, it was the owner Corinne, and her pup, Cecelia.
The Candle Bar can accommodate up to four guests. We had three people in our group and plenty of space at the counter beside the register! Hooks mounted on the underside kept our bags off of the ground. In front of each of us was a metal tray containing a consent form, scale, scent checklist, a little cup, a wood stirring stick, and a temperature gauge. It might sound intimidating but don’t worry. You don’t need to know anything about candle making to take part.
Before we began, Corinne went over the steps we were going to take and the reasoning behind the making of the candle. Shore Soaps uses 100% cotton wicks and clean-burning soy wax. We learned that paraffin candle wax, used with cheaper candles, melts faster than soy candles. We had our choice of vessel and fragrance combination. There was a whole wall of jars to pick from! The vessel determines your price point and also the amount of wax and fragrance you’ll use. (They’ll do the math for you.)
Shore Soaps offers a selection of fragrance oils and essential oils to scent your candles. Our group used both kinds. You are able to smell any of of them in order to choose your custom scent. They have coffee grinds standing by in case you need to reset between fragrances. Our three candles were Cinnamon and Magnolia, Tea Tree Oil, and Lavender and Lemongrass.
Once we’d figured out our vessels and scents, we measured out the fragrance oil we’d need by using the scale. Corinne showed us how to position and center our wicks, and gave us a jar full of stickers and labels to decorate our vessels. Then it was time for the wax! She dispensed each of us a tall cup of liquid wax and instructed us to alternate stirring and using the temperature gauge to bring the wax’s temperature down to 180F. At that point, we added the fragrance oils and continued stirring until the temperature had dropped another thirty degrees. Then we poured the hot wax into the vessel and were done. We were now chandlers, Corinne said—the name for someone who makes candles.
The Candle Bar welcomes guests aged 13 and up. From start to finish, the experience will take 30-45 minutes (plus pick-up time) depending on how many people you have in your group. Your candle will need 2-3 hours to set before you can take it home. If you’re planning to pick up the same day, we recommend a walk around town or grabbing lunch in the meantime. If your group will be leaving town before the candles are ready for pick up, Shore Soaps can ship them.
The workshop takes place during store hours, so there could be customers browsing and checking out while your group works. You’ll receive 10% off your Shore Soaps purchases in-store that day. The Candle Bar also offers packages that you can call ahead and book, such as cupcakes, charcuterie, or macarons and wine. Corrine recommends giving them at least two weeks’ notice to ensure availability.
658 WASHINGTON STREET
CAPE MAY, NJ 08204
For more information
The Madd Potters’ Studio
If you want a genuinely hands-on experience and don’t mind getting yours dirty, head north to the Cape May Airport. The Madd Potters’ Studio is about ten minutes from Cape May, and owners Amanda Leipert and Julie Hickman are enthusiastic about welcoming bachelorette parties into their homey space to work with clay for a couple of hours.
We entered through the gift shop and were greeted by Julie, who took us back to the studio where a bachelorette party was seated around a large table decorating pre-made clay pieces. They were laughing and enjoying some wine with their two hours in the studio. The afternoon we visited, the weather was mild enough that the back doors were open to allow in the fresh air. Julie directed us to a pair of facing chairs, each with its own pottery wheel, and gave us each a chunk of gray clay.
We made little pots on the wheel. Julie showed us how to use the machine and how to work the clay. I have had surgery on both wrists and found it a little hard to maneuver my hands the way she instructed. I actually had help from Julie, as I kept making a mess! So if you ruin your first pot or can’t seem to move your hands the way the clay needs, there’s no need to worry. Help is offered along the way, and you will successfully make a pot that you’ll get to take home after a few weeks.
Once we were finished with the clay, our pots-to-be were placed on a shelf and Julie asked us to pick our glaze colors. They have several to choose from. The pots are professionally glazed and fired after you leave. The bachelorette party also picked out colors; however, a few women had finished decorating fast and started painting. We just filled out a form with our names and color choices. Finished pieces will be ready for pickup in about 4-6 weeks, or you can arrange to have them shipped.
Madd Potters’ Studio is food friendly and BYOB, and they also sell wine by the bottle on site. Please call ahead to reserve your spot. No experience with clay is necessary for either experience type, and they will help you at every step. A session with the pottery wheel takes roughly an hour to two hours to complete. Madd Potters will provide an apron and all of the tools you’ll need. We got clay on our clothes despite the aprons, though it washed out easily. Make sure to arrive a few minutes before your reservation so you can remove rings, bracelets, and any other hanging jewelry. You’ll also want to avoid loose sleeves and pull back long hair. Clay will dry out your skin, so you might want to bring lotion for afterwards.
Cape May Airport Complex
1250 Hornet Rd. Unit #2
Rio Grande, NJ 08242
For more information
Tiny Cruise Line
In early September, a group of ten of us took a cruise on the Tiny Tiki Too offered by the Tiny Cruise Line.
We got to South Jersey Marina twenty minutes before our departure time and walked across the street to Cape May Antique Center for a while. The marina is easy to find, but the signage is not clear. From Washington Street headed north, as soon as you make the right curve and cross over the small bridge leading toward the Lobster House, look for Fathoms on your right. Immediately after the building is the entry to South Jersey Marina’s parking lot. (If you miss the first entrance, there’s a second one a bit further down. You may need to reverse to get into an angled slot from that direction.)
South Jersey Marina offers free parking along both sides of the docks and the building. The Tiny Tiki Too is at the dock closest to the road and The Lobster House. There are two ramps you can take to get to the dock leading to the boat. They’re sturdy but do move slightly as you walk on them. As we were waiting to board, the first mate greeted us and asked if we needed ice for the provided coolers on board. In addition to coolers for you to use, they have trash buckets and a bathroom. Yes, a bathroom!
We cruised on a ninety-degree day but had a nice breeze on the water. The pontoon boat moved slowly and didn’t rock around. Two people on board were prone to motion sickness, but they were both fine, even when we encountered small wakes. The boat’s railings are comfortably tall, so you can lean against them without fear of falling overboard. The Tiny Tiki Too has a Bluetooth speaker you can connect to your phone to play your own music. We let the first mate DJ and her playlist was so engaging, a small dance party broke out! (Dancing is welcome, the first mate told us. Just not on the tables.)
The Tiny Tiki Too can hold up to fifteen people. It’s BYOB and food-friendly. We brought water, beer and soda, crackers, veggies, and dips. The boat has two high tables with cup holders, hooks to hang bags, and six stools each. There is some bench seating, and you’re able to stand and walk around the boat while it’s in motion. An awning provides some shade, but there’s not a lot of space underneath, so you will want to make sure to have sunscreen and a hat. I was in the sun the whole time. Besides the bathroom, there isn’t any type of enclosure.
On our ninety-minute cruise, Captain Doug Ortlip took us all over the Cape May Harbor and into the bay. We also went past fishing boats and along the marsh. You’ll want your phone for pictures! As we were heading back to the dock, we passed the Schooner American at the Lobster House and waved to the diners. Once we got back to the dock, the first mate made sure we had everything we’d brought as we unloaded the boat. Our whole group was full of laughs and you were able to see the joy on each face.
The Tiny Tiki Too sails multiple times throughout the day. Call in advance to schedule your cruise. For parties with fewer than fifteen people, you can still book a private cruise, but there may be an extra fee. Tickets are $30 per adult and $20 each for kids under twelve. You won’t get wet, so dress in light clothing to keep cool. We’d strongly recommend bringing water on a hot day. With music playing, it can be a little hard to hear, so keep that in mind if anyone in your party is hard of hearing. The stools are tall but have footrests for shorter passengers. Bachelorette parties might also be interested in their three-hour Bar Hop cruise.
South Jersey Marina
1231 New Jersey 109
Cape May, NJ 08204
For more information
From smelling the fragrances to touching the clay, and seeing the harbor and bay area, we enjoyed each activity! We’d recommend making plans well in advance to guarantee a spot. South Jersey Marina and Madd Potters’ Studio have on-site parking; for Shore Soaps, you’ll need to find street parking nearby and walk to the shop. All three businesses allow you to bring snacks and are BYOB. Each activity has a different feel that won’t be right for every group, but we hope this post has given you some new ideas. If you try one of these, we’d love to hear about your experience. Email us at email@example.com.