Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cape May & Wildwood, New Jersey

When I was a teen I used to hate to go to Cape May. So boring! All those old houses with funny colors of paint and all those curly-cue decorations! I wanted to go to Wildwood! Splashy boardwalk! Roller coasters! T-shirt shops! Lots of girls! But we would go as a family to visit friends in Cape May and only when my friends and I got our licenses to drive did we get to go to Wildwood whenever we wanted.

Oh, how a half a century can change one's perspective! Now I love those Victorian homes in Cape May! All those wonderful streets lined with classy shops and restaurants. The pedestrian malls in downtown. And Wildwood seems so tacky! Did I ever love it? Well I'm sure my grandchildren would rather come to Wildwood than to Cape May. Lucky for us that we stayed at the Seashore Campsite near Cape May but a short drive to Wildwood as well. We got to visit both.

We took a ferry from Lewes, Delaware to Cape May.
Cuts out about 60 miles and the fare ($80 for Diva and the two of us)
was not much more than the extra fuel and tolls.

Bella, a Golden-Doodle, sits at the bar while waiting for the ferry. She liked Bud Light.

Diva was 3rd in line to get on the ferry.Also the 3rd to get off.

Diva from above. The ferry could hold 100 cars.

A German Sheppard guards the entrance to the ferry.
I don't know if he was sniffing for drugs, weapons, dead bodies?
Lucky we didn't have any of those on Diva.

Debbie and I on the deck

Purple Martin houses at the Cape May Lighthouse park.

One of the grand hotels in Cape May.

This dog drew large crowds while parading up and down the main drag.

The Wildwood Boardwalk has not changed a bit since I was a teen

James Gandolfini had died about 24 hours before this t-shirt was for sale.
Amazing that they were able to get the rights to use his image that fast!
Well, we had a great time in Cape May. We were almost able to catch up with Anna Sullivan but she was getting to Cape May 4 days after we were leaving. The Seashore Campsites park was very nice and convenient.  A short 4 mile bike ride into Cape May. Cape May is up there with Hilton Head Island as one of the great American Beaches.

Ciao, Frank

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, SC and Hilton Head, SC are in many respects polar opposites. Both are South Carolina beach resorts. Both have world class followings. Each is frequently listed in travel magazine lists like "100 Best Family Beach Vacations" or "Best Golf Destinations". They are both beach towns in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach on the northern-most stretch of the SC coast and Hilton Head at the southern-most. Yet the feel of each is distinct and opposite.

To be fair, we have been long time Hilton Head people. Our first visit here was 30some years ago. We have owned several properties on the island. I have posted on this blog three time about HHI, here, here and here. My Flickr set on Hilton Head is here. We return here whenever we can, usually with friends or family.

We had been to Myrtle Beach once before, in 1982 and were not impressed. 100s of t-shirt shops, tattoo places, tacky signs, fast food hot dog stands, bikini contests and loud music on the beach. It was the place our teens and their children wanted to go for Spring Break or anytime they could get a free spot on the floor. The fact that it was 5+ hours from our home in Aiken, SC, while HHI was 3 hours away also kept us from returning.

Pirateland Campground, about 700 sites, is flanked by Ocean Lakes Campground, 900 sites,
and Lakewood Campground, 1100 sites. Almost 3000 sites on the ocean. KOA is nearby with 500 sites.

Our swans. Below is a video of Rosie's first encounter with a swan.

The Market Common. This is one of 4 developments we visited. Like a small town 3-4 streets wide by 6-9 streets long.
Lots of restaurants, shops, residential areas. Saturday Farmers market.

I placed this photo for my son-in-law who manages a restaurant which would do well here.

Broadway on the Beach is another gathering spot with restaurants, amusement, theaters, shops

The fattest catfish in the world. A small lake is i the center of Broadway.
Around the lake are dozens of feeding spots (25 cents a handful).  The fish get fed all day long.

Barefoot Landing, another gathering place.

This woman explained to us what to look for in shells

Very stoic. Rosie was calling him names but he would not bite.

This boogie-boarder didn't quite make it!

This girl is being buried by her dad.

I finished reading "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" while at the beach/
Highly recommended.

Rosie had never met any swans before. Nice beautiful, graceful, gentle birds, right? NOT. Swans can be very nasty. When Rosie started to run into the water to chase them away, one of them hissed at her and scared Rosie!

Final conclusion: Myrtle Beach is much better than it was on our last visit, 30 years ago. It is a great place for families with lots to do day and night. We still prefer Hilton Head Island. That's our opinion and we're sticking to it!

Ciao, Frank