Monday, August 16, 2010

the charms of Cape May

At the risk of sounding snobbish, I wanted to make some remarks about my favorite shore point, Cape May, New Jersey.

It's one of the most remarkable beach resorts on the East Coast. If you've been there, you probably already know how special it is. If you've never been, you owe it to yourself to discover its many charms. There is no place like it on the Jersey Shore. It's a pleasant anomaly of a place, especially when you consider how celebrated the Snookies and The Situations of the Jersey Shore have become this summer.

I spent this past week vacationing at Cape May and enjoying its Victorian ambiance. My blog today contains five pictures I took of homes within a two or three block area of the center of town. The remarkable thing about these pictures is that you could take a camera just about anywhere in Cape May and find places as interesting and charming as these at every turn.
Cape May homes are exquisitely cared for. They represent a fantasy palette for homeowners to interpret or reinterpret the Sherman Williams color wheel. No color is too outlandish or too garish to be part of the grand scheme of this wonder world of color. It's not like "stepping back into time" it's more like stepping into a dreamworld of aesthetically pleasing paintings and street murals. Everywhere you look is a new detail: an avacodo colored railing that matches the window shutters or a peach-colored lamppost that compliments the wooden slats on a front porch.
Cape May calls to the quiet in you. It is a place of reflection and beauty. Not surprisingly, you saw as many gray-heads as towheaded youngsters, as many grandparents as children.
It is a place of stately bed-and-breakfasts; courtly hotels and fine restaurants.
For a diversion, and for the sake of comparison, I took a 20-minute drive up the coast to Wildwood, to check out the boardwalk and to see what the rest of the Jersey Shore has to offer. The comparison was amusing but a shock to the senses. Getting to the ocean in Wildwood required a half mile hike across burning hot sand. The attraction of Wildwood was not the beach at all, but the boardwalk. A bevvy of tawdry t-shirt and beach shops, pizza parlors and hoagie stands and thrill rides or faux horror shows lined either side of the boardwalk. It was a place crowded with teenagers and 20-something Snookie wanna-be's.
Wildwood is was a place of "fun" and "action," I'll give it that. It's a town of lowslung, paint-peeled, motels build of cinderblock. Two hours there felt as if I had landed in purgatory for the sin of being crass enough to visit it.
I know, I know. Different strokes for different folks. So be it.
Give me Cape May anytime.

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