Cape May Island
Cape May is a city at the southern tip of Cape May Peninsula in New Jersey where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. It was designated in 1976 as a National Historic Landmark due to its concentration of Victorian buildings, making Cape May the only city in the United States wholly designated as such. That designation is intended to ensure the architectural preservation of these buildings.
A phenomenon that happens here on the island is what locals refer to as the “Cape May bubble.” It is not uncommon to watch a thunderstorm roll across southern Pennsylvania, crumble as it reaches the Delaware Bay, and never reach our shoreline. The month of January burst that Cape May bubble, dumping more than one-foot of snow. Over the last several weeks, we’ve had some warmer day, melting any traces of white.
Tourism is the dominant industry here, and March is the month when the town begins to wipe off the sticky film of hibernation, and make preparations for its re-open. Cape May's economy runs on shops, restaurants, lodgings, and tourist attractions. A must-see on the Washington Street Mall, and one of my favorite places to visit, is the Cape Atlantic Book Company. On weekends, you will find my dear friend and fellow author, Mary Ann Castagnetta. She always knows just what to recommend, and I often leave with a bag of bookish goodies. Autographed copies of Mary Ann’s children’s book series are available for purchase: Elephant Soup, Rosie Ravioli: Cape May Adventure, Haunted Vacation, and Bubble Gum Dreams.
One of my favorite places to dine at the mall is Tisha’s. This photograph was taken in the center of town with friend, Tammy Pasterick, author of Beneath The Veil of Smoke & Ash, after a fabulous lunch. We shared arancini—risotto rice balls stuffed with mozzarella cheese breaded and fried over marinara sauce—and fresh salads with blackened salmon. We dined alfresco on Tisha’s back patio and then enjoyed a leisurely afternoon browsing the shops,
As a local and patron, I sure am looking forward to the spring. The traffic has already picked up and it is a marvel to see the stores and restaurants thriving again. In the weeks ahead, I will be able to ride my bicycle into town and join my yoga group above The Magic Brain Cafe on Perry Street. Lia Antonicello is the founder and owner of Cape May Yoga. In the summer months, we convene on the beach with our mats. It is an invigorating and peaceful way to begin the day.
The spring is the time of year I am able to see the town with wonder and fresh eyes; the way I once did when I was as an eager, awe-inspired visitor.
Suzanne Simonetti is an award-winning novelist who grew up in the New York suburbs just outside of the city. After earning a BS in marketing, she spent several years writing press releases, until she left her corporate job to focus on her passion for crafting fiction. She lives on Cape May Harbor with her husband. When not on her paddle board or yoga mat, she can be found at the beach trailing the shoreline for seashells, scribbling in her notebook, and channeling dolphins for meaningful conversation. The Sound of Wings is her first book.