Monday, April 23

Cape May: What to do Solo in the Off-Season

In continuation of my no-plans-just-go weekend, I ended up in Cape May. I was in Rehoboth Beach and Lewes Beach, Delaware and discovered that they had a ferry that could bring me across the bay to Cape May. Naturally, I decided I must venture to this cute little town full of Victorian homes and sandy shores.

The ferry process was super simple. I pre-booked my car passage on the website for the exact time I wanted. They suggest you get to the ferry lot about 30 minutes ahead of departure which was plenty of time to check-in, park my car in the onboarding lane, and walk around. Due to the fact that I was visiting during the off season, the restaurant On the Rocks was closed. However there are lots of places to sit and enjoy the warm sunshine! Or you could stop inside the welcome center for a snack and a stop into the restroom before you set sail.

I watched the ferry arrive and then the attendant came over the intercom and told all drivers to return to their vehicles for boarding. A little man came around and scanned my ticket and within a few minutes we were pulling onto the ferry! Not going to lie- I was a little excited because this was my first driving ferry experience :) 

If you want more information about the Lewes/Cape May ferry, click here. I definitely recommend taking the ferry to get over to Jersey if you're looking for a lovely trip and mini-day adventure. 

Since I was visiting during the off season, it definitely wasn't warm enough to dawn by bathing suit and get a tan, but that's okay! I found plenty to do for a day trip to this charming little gem. 

First: lunch at Beach Plum

I can't rave enough about this adorable establishment. It's a cafe, shop, farm fresh grocer and just all together an adorable place to spend hours daydreaming and soaking up the scenery. 

I got a bite to eat and enjoyed it on one of the numerous picnic tables sprinkled around the grounds. Then I spent some time walking around to the chicken coup, the green house, through the gardens, and sitting by the fire. I even grabbed my laptop and worked a bit in the warm and cozy greenhouse with a glass of home-brewed tea! 

After peeling myself away from this freaking cute place, I headed towards 'downtown' Cape May. If you're looking for an address in your GPS, look for anything along Beach Ave. 

I rolled the windows down, but on "The Lucky One" soundtrack and weaved my way down the boulevard until I hit a dead end. After taking in the sights I doubled back and pulled off here and there for pictures of the grand Victorian queens that stood proud and tall along the boardwalk. Being a historical hopeless romantic, I could just imagine back in her hayday when Cape May was dotted with high society ladies in day gowns and men in hats. Sigh.

After taking (way too many) pictures, I got a coffee at a little cafe along the drive. I'd suggest Madison Bakery or Coffee Tyme at the Beach. Then take your treat and head to the beach and feel the cool soft sand shift and change under your toes. 

This is my happy place. This is my calm place. The sound of the waves crashing to shore; seagulls sqwaking, the soft breeze rustling the hair around your face. Pure bliss.

I brought a towel and a book with my coffee and just sat. Just be. It was a bit nippy in mid-April so bring a jean jacket or extra blanket for your shoulders, but the sun shone bright and it ended up being a wonderful and peaceful afternoon.

After dusting the sand off my feet, I spent the last moments walking down the boardwalk which will bring you back towards the main downtown portion. Or you could head in the opposite direction and go towards the end of the strip where it's just you and the Victorian ladies looking on fondly.

A stop in Cape May would not be complete without a stop at the heiress herself: the Cape May lighthouse. Though by the time I dragged myself off the beach it was closed to walk to the top, it was still cool to see and there's a small park next to the beach. 

Thus, just like that, my little day adventure was complete in Cape May. I opted not to get dinner here and instead hit the road and started driving towards my next destination. Off to another city, another day and another adventure. However, please go to Cape May, even if just for a day! You won't be disappointed. Cape May: a coastal town kissed with historical elegance and grace.


One day in Delaware: Quick trip to Rehoboth Beach

We all have them: the crazy, busy, overwhelming, exhausting work week that makes you feel like you just completed a marathon by the time you get to Friday night. This week has been that for me. I’ve completed 10 major trade shows in 17 weeks. I had been planning and preparing for this big customer event at work that was enough to make me want to drink a bottle of wine by myself and cry in the corner of the room. Alas, it didn’t kill me! It actually went off almost perfect, and after countless hours and late nights and weekends it’s all over just like that. We finished in Washington, DC area on a Friday morning and I had three options:
  1. Drive home (about a 5-hour drive) and lay on my couch and not talk to anyone.
  2. Stay around Washington DC area and unwind
  3. Recharge the way I like to recharge: explore, discover, taste and feel a new city.

I went with choice three.

One of my bucket list goals is to visit all 50 states by the time I’m 30, so I have 4 years to hit the remaining 19 states I’ve yet to visit! I pulled up Google Maps and zoomed out and tried to figure out where I wanted to go. I instantly knew I wanted to be by water, which is where I get my ultimate recharge (why is the beach so calming and peaceful?!). I set my sites on two states I’ve yet to hit: Delaware and New Jersey!

In a completely unlike me fashion, I just got in the car and drove. No plans, no hotels booked, no itinerary or anything. I just drove from Tyson's Corner, Virginia to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and decided I’d figure it out once I got there.  I’m in the off season (April) so everything isn’t open, and the weather isn’t like play-in-the-water-tan-yourself-for-hours type of weather but it’s still peaceful and charming and a much needed escape after a crazy busy for months. I’m currently sitting on the ferry from Lewes Beach, Delaware to Cape May, New Jersey and thought I’d share a quick little one-day itinerary for anyone else who just needs a random low-key, low-budget getaway!

I left Tyson's Corner, Virginia around 1:30 p.m. and drove the three-hour country road trip to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I’m not kidding, straight up country roads complete with cows, chickens, horses and bison (yes bison).

I booked a room using points (another one of my favorite travel hacks) at Sands Hotel and Conference Center which was built in the early 1960s. The rooms for sure need an update but they were clean and most importantly, it was right on the boardwalk and I had booked an ocean room with a balcony. After dumping my stuff in the room, I took off on the boardwalk and walked up and down the entire boardwalk.

The boardwalk is full of typical boardwalk-y things like arcades, ice cream shops, henna tattoo shops and so on, although most of it was closed since it’s off season here. However there were still a few things open including the (apparently) famous Dolle’s Salt Water Taffy, Grotto’s Pizza, and Fisher’s Popcorn. So naturally I had to stop for some salt water taffy and popcorn.
If you continue on down the boardwalk there are tons of cute homes to gawk at. I was surprised how busy the boardwalk was even in the off season. Tons of people were out milling about, jogging, walking, riding bikes, sitting on the adorable white benches that dotted the boardwalk, eating salt water taffy and kids running and playing tag. Honestly, I felt like I had walked into the pages of a Nicolas Sparks set (which is ironic since all of his books take place in North Carolina and yet it felt more like Delaware).

After walking the boardwalk I took off my shoes and got to feel the sand between my toes and instantly felt at peace and calm. I don’t know how long I walked, but I walked clear to the end of the boardwalk and beyond. Dusk was setting in and it was magical.

Although I could’ve strolled along the foam-lapped shores for hours my fingers and toes were getting numb from the cool crisp air and I headed back to the hotel and boardwalk area to find a place for dinner. Reluctantly I washed the sand from my toes and wandered the boardwalk to scout out my spot for dinner.

On the main strip by the center gazebo was this chic-looking place called Blackwell Hitch so I decided to stop in and grab a bite. They even had GF items denoted on the menu itself. They are known for their truffle fry flight and I’d highly recommend! Rosemary olive oil fries, truffle fries, and Old Bay® fries accompanied with dipping sauce. I’m a fry-connoisseur so I was happy as a clam!

After dinner I intended to head back to the hotel but got side-tracked by a beach town favorite: frozen custard! I even splurged the extra .50 for sprinkles!
Saturday morning I woke up in time just to miss the sunrise (oops) but spent two glorious hours on the balcony reading a book for fun (when is the last time you did that?!). I couldn’t have asked for a better morning curled up in my pjs, a great book and the sound of the waves kissing the sandy shores!

Check-out was at 11:00 but you can keep your car in the lot until 2:00 p.m. so I checked-out and then spent a while walking around the streets of the residential areas looking at the cute houses and finding lots of great cafes, restaurants and bars to add to my list for next time I return for a much longer stay in this charming little coastal town.

I have decided to take the ferry from Lewes Beach (10 miles from Rehoboth Beach) to Cape May, New Jersey so I made an online reservation for the 12:15 p.m. ferry online which was super easy and quick. On my way to the ferry this morning I stopped by The Point Coffee House & Bakery to pick up a gluten free blueberry muffin and a soy-milk latte before hitting the water.

For more information about booking your ferry passage across the Delaware Bay, click here.

Now here I sit, setting sail for my next little adventure. I can’t wait to see what the shores of New Jersey have for me, because the sandy shores of Delaware have been a welcomed and refreshing breath of fresh air.