We've returned home safely from our travels along the Jersey Shore. Not much is cooking in my kitchen yet, I need to make a meal plan and re-stock our fridge and pantry this weekend. While I gear up for a week of some fall cooking favorites, I thought I'd share some pictures from our last days in Jersey.
On Tuesday we departed our Atlantic City Boardwalk hotel room and headed South on the Garden State Parkway for the lovely seashore town of Cape May. With her variety of beaches, whale and dolphin watching tours, Victorian architecture, Bed and Breakfasts, cute shops and eateries, and East Coast Charm, I believe that Cape May truly is the "Queen of Seaside Resorts". Even on a dreary, rainy, Tuesday during the off-season, I found Cape May to be enchanting.
Of course, first on my agenda for the day was lunch. On the way into Cape May we stopped at Fisherman's Wharf on Cape May Harbor; home to The Lobster House and Fish Market. Here you can actually watch the seafood being unloaded from the boats and hauled into the establishment to be turned into steaming plates of your favorite seafood dinner. Talk about fresh! They also have outdoor seating, a walk up raw bar, AND you can eat on a schooner right in the harbor! Not that we did any of these things since the weather was not in our favor, but if I ever get back...
We opted for lunch 1) because we were hungry and 2) because the lunch portions are very hearty and much less expensive than dinner.
A friendly waitress took our order then brought us this delicious loaf of warm bread (excellent flavor, crusty on the outside, super soft on the inside) and a tub of butter.
Because we were "starving", we ordered an appetizer. We went with the calamari. It was pretty good. As we were eating our appetizer we looked around the large, crowded restaurant and noticed that just about everyone had a crock of soup in front of them. Their chowder must be a favorite. Next time, we'll skip the appetizer and order soup. I bet that bread would be amazing for sopping some chowder out of the bowl.
I had every intention of ordering lobster at The Lobster House, but then I spotted a combination platter that would allow me to try the flounder, shrimp, scallops, a crab casserole, and a clam dish. I could try more of their dishes for less than the price of one lobster! Oh yeah! I couldn't resist. All in all, the food was delicious. The shrimp and the scallops were a tad overcooked...but that's better than undercooked, so I'm not complaining. My husband ordered a seafood pasta dish and received a generous portion. Meals come with either a salad or two sides. We both ordered a salad but, even with the lighter choice of sides, neither of us could finish our lunch. We were stuffed!
Satisfied with lunch and the reasonable check settled, we headed out to the pier to check out the fishing boats.
Right at the end of this pier is where The Lobster House unloads the fresh seafood for their restaurant and...
the fish market.
Bellies full, we pushed on to the charming seaside town of Cape May. We parked next to the Washington Street Mall (free parking during the off season!) and window shopped at a number of lovely boutiques and specialty shops. The area was decorated beautifully for the fall season. Lovely atmosphere and fun shops! After we'd seen what the stores had to offer, we walked the streets, admiring all of the colorful Victorian houses, and then made our way to the beach for an afternoon stroll.
Eventually we hopped back in the car to explore the rest of the area. We visited the lighthouse.
And a nearby WWII bunker on the beach.
Then we made our way down to the Southernmost tip of New Jersey, Sunset Beach, where we saw the wreckage of the SS Atlantus, a concrete ship that has been stuck off the coast of Sunset Beach since 1926.
We walked the pebble-laden strip of the beach, doing what many other visitors were doing...
looking for Cape May diamonds. Can YOU spot one?
They look like this:
They're not really diamonds at all, just quartz pebbles that can be polished and cut to look like diamonds. They come all the way from the upper reaches of the Delaware River and the tides eventually deliver them, in abundance, on this beach. It's a journey that takes thousands of years to complete. Not only can you find these quartz pebbles on the beach, but the occasional shark tooth fossil or Indian arrowhead also wash ashore. You can check out Sunset Beach and a review of the other beaches at Cape May HERE.
Ideally, we would have watched the sunset from Sunset Beach. According to all of the literature and the locals, this beach offers an unobstructed view of sunsets over the Delaware Bay. Supposedly, atmospheric conditions caused by the inter-action of sea breezes across the bay waters create spectacular colors as the sun sinks below the horizon. Unfortunately, on this blustery day, this one bit of sunshine breaking through the clouds was all we were gonna get.
And so...we headed back to Atlantic City, tempting us with the comfort of our warm, dry room, WiFi and cable television.
Finally, on the morning of our last full day on the Jersey Shore, the sun decided to shine again. I grabbed my camera and spent a few hours walking the pretty beach and collecting an impressive selection of shells and sea glass that the 3 days of storms had dredged up from the depths of the ocean.
Here are some pics that I snapped of the beach at Atlantic City:
Did I mention that there are a LOT of birds in Atlantic City?
And shells...I hauled home a ton of shells for our kiddos.
I just love the way that the sunlight was dancing off the water and shells in this photo...
On our final night in Atlantic City, we hit the boardwalk for some pizza and then the casinos for a couple of hours of gambling. (Excellent restraint on the part of my husband after a week in a gambling town.) When we broke even (or maybe just a little less than even) we cashed out and sought out The Irish Pub again for a bedtime snack.
This is the same pub from my first post about Atlantic City. A super cozy, friendly, oasis just off of the boardwalk, and conveniently right next to our hotel.
Built in 1900 and lovingly restored by the owners of the pub, this place is dangerously inviting. If you look closely, you can still read the old newspaper articles on the papers that were used to cover the ceilings.
This is the place where I met "The Leprechaun".
And our bedtime snack? We split this order of St. James Potatoes, which is really just steak fries smothered in a savory homemade carmelized onion gravy and melted farm fresh white cheddar. All for 4 bucks. Some of the best bar food...EVER!
The next morning we packed our bags, hopped in the mini van, drove across the seemingly endless Pennsylvania Turnpike, and we were hugging our sweet daughters before their bedtime.
It's good to get away, but it's always good to come home.
Thanks for reading about our Jersey Shore Adventure!