Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Victorian Cape May New Jersey


It was a beautiful November weekend. My cousins were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary and invited us along on a camping adventure. For the last four years we have been trying to plan to get down to Cape May and for one reason or another had not made it yet. We were staying at the Lake and Shore Outdoor World campground. Wanting to get an earlier start to the long weekend, we drove down to their house Wednesday night after work and parked in their driveway. It's great to have relatives and friends whose driveway can accomodate a 32 ft motorhome. People in NJ drive crazy, but people in Northern NJ drive even crazier. Before we had even gotten to the Raritan Bridge we saw two cars spun out. One in the Bloomfield area in the fast lane and one down in Edison off the shoulder. Other than that, the drive to Toms River was uneventful and DARK.

Thursday morning we continued to South Jersey to the campground. Lake and Shore is a beautiful campground which I'm certain we will be returning to again. The sights are large, there is a large lake that has a beach area and boating area. The water park was closed for the season, but from the looks of it seems very inviting.

The nights were cold and blustery. Thursday evening we put the awning back in because wind gusts were forecasted to be about 25-30 mph. It got extremely cold. We went thru about 1/3 of our propane even with the electric heater running. Thursday, after setting up our camp, we drove out to Margate to see Lucy the Margate Elephant. What a sight. That evening we enjoyed a seafood dinner in Ocean View, NJ.

Friday, we were going to go on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, but it was too windy and thought the ocean would be too choppy to enjoy the 80 minute ferry ride. We would forgo that trip till the following day. Still wanting to enjoy the day, we drove to Cape May to take in the scenery. The architecture is fascinating. All the bed and breakfasts so eloquently designed. Some with vibrant colors of pinks and purples, others more subdued in beige's and soft greens. We went shopping at a pedestrian mall lined with shops selling everything from knick knacks to fudge.

We saw lighthouses, boats, a six story elephant, quaint victorian houses. We did alot this weekend but felt relaxed and refreshed by Sunday morning when we would leave the shore and return to reality.

There is something to be said about stepping back in time to another era. A life on the sea, the sound of the waves hitting the beach, the smell of salt water. I can't wait to go back.

With winter soon approaching, it's time to put "Aggie", our trusted motorhome to sleep for awhile. We are not sure when we will be out again. If it is a mild winter, I'm sure we'll do some travelling, but if it's a wet and cold winter we'll be staying right here in Clifton. So until then,

Thanks for riding along with us on The Thomas' Trails.

Lighthouses & The Cape May Ferry

So on our trip to Cape May, Lenny promised to take me on a cruise. Ok, more like a ferry ride or as we put it...a three-hour tour. It was up and out early Saturday morning so we could catch the 11 am ferry to Lewes, DE. During the off-season, the ferry doesn't sail as often so we needed to get there for the second one. The day was cool, but the wind had died down. We found a seat in the sun for the 80 minute trip to Delaware. I have a new found love for the water. The gentle rocking of the ship, the quietness of being on the open sea was almost enough to put me to sleep. Upon our arrival in Lewes, we got off the ship to purchase our souvineers, after all Delaware has no sales tax and we had 20 minutes to kill before the return trip to NJ. Boy that 20 minutes went fast. And we were the last ones on the boat. The return trip was just as relaxing, sitting in the sun, rocking with the waves. Maybe I should buy a waterbed? Nah, maybe just one of these ships. After getting back into NJ we picked up a bite to eat at a local pizza place near Sunset beach before driving over to the Cape May Lighthouse.

The lighthouse that stands there today is not the original one. The first lighthouse was built in 1822 and lit in 1823. It was a 70 foot tall brick tower with a flashing light. It was too close to the waterline and by 1847 the tower was waterlogged and soon toppled into the ocean. A second tower was built further inland and was lit from 1847 to 1859 but that one also disappeared into the waves like the first tower. The site chosen for the third tower was even further inland and two keepers' houses were added. There are 199 steps to the top. NONE of which I climbed.

After spending some time there we ventured down to Sunset beach, the southern most point of NJ and saw the concrete ship Atlantus that ran aground there in 1926 and has slowly been disappearing ever since.

I really wanted to see the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse in North Wildwood, so up the coast we drove. Simply beautiful scenery as we drove. The lighthouse was closed, so we were only able to walk around the outside. Most NJ lighthouses are simple towers, but the Hereford property is of Victorian Stick style and the only one of its kind standing on the East Coast. More than 170 plant varieties and thousands of flowers thrive on a half-acre site that had previously been nothing more than sandy, empty lots. Hereford is a much easier climb of only 44 steps broken up by two floors of the home. Something I'm sure I can handle.

Thanks for travelling along with us on The Thomas' Trails. Till next time...


It started out a beautiful fall day. Our drive to South Jersey was uneventful. After checking in at the campground and getting set up, we decided too drive east to see Lucy the Margate Elephant. Lucy is the world's largest elephant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Margate, NJ. She was built in 1881 by a real estate speculator who owned many parcels of open land at the Jersey shore. He built Lucy to attract visitors and potential buyers as a novelty amusement. During her history, Lucy has survived floods, hurricanes and even a fire accidentally started by some inebriated party-goers when she briefly served as a tavern. She stands six stories high, has spiral staircases in her legs and a museum in her belly. What fun to climb those narrow winding stairs up to her howdah and see the 360 degree view. A week before we got there, Lucy's tail broke from being hit by a flying canopy during a wind storm. She is a National Historic Landmark in the US. If you are ever in Margate or passing through, stop by Lucy and say hi. The view is spectacular.

Thanks for riding along with us on The Thomas' Trails.