In just one week from today, shore towns from Ocean City to Cape May will host events to “unlock the ocean” and officially invite visitors to stay and play by the sea.
But if you don’t want to wait until Memorial Day to go down the shore, this weekend is a great opportunity to jump-start the season with a series of events sure to satisfy every type of traveler. It may be a little soggy, but there is still a lot of fun to be had.
The shopaholics among us, myself included, will be thrilled to know that most of the towns’ shops are open for business – at least on Saturdays and Sundays for now – all featuring their new summer lines. Now is a great time to find unique beach fashions not found in stores on the mainland, purchase home décor items made by local artisans, or score yourself a coveted Tommy Bahama beach chair before the best designs are sold out. While popular shopping venues in Ocean City, Sea Isle, Avalon and Stone Harbor will be open this weekend, the Cape May Sidewalk Sale at the Washington Street Mall promises special savings in a friendly open-air environment. The Washington Street Mall is a three-block section of Cape May that features clothing boutiques, gift shops and specialty stores nestled among a wide variety of restaurants, cafes and pubs. The Sidewalk Sale will run from Thursday May 17 – Sunday May 20, 2018.
If you never received your invitation to Meghan and Harry’s wedding (perhaps it was lost in the mail?) you are invited to be a guest at the Royal Wedding Party at Elaine’s of Cape May on Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Wear a fancy hat – prizes will be given – and enjoy a full English tea as you bear witness to the royal wedding via recording. Proceeds from a silent auction will benefit Branches Outreach Center.
Do you love beachcombing for treasures along the water’s edge? Then you may want to take part in the Cloud Nine Treasure Hunt in Ocean City on May 19-20, 2018 from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. Over the course of two days, two adult hunts and one child’s hunt will be held. The kids’ hunt will be held on Saturday at 11:00 am and is open to children age 13 and younger with adults on hand to assist them in finding treasures, including foreign coins that they can keep, as they search through their own designated section of the beach. The event will include lunch, soda and water, and contests with prizes. Proceeds benefit the East Coast Research and Discovery Association (ECRDA), the Northeast’s largest treasure-hunting club.
If finding nature’s treasures along the sea is more your thing, come join the Turtle Party Fundraiser which will be held at the Lobster Loft at 42nd Place and the Bay in Sea Isle City on May 20, 2018 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. This event includes dinner and desserts, domestic draft beer, house wines and soft drinks and features live music, dancing and door prizes donated by local businesses and other supporters. This event is an annual fundraiser for the Sea Isle City Beachcombing Guides, a volunteer-run program held every Tuesday and Thursday morning throughout the summer to educate participants about the local eco-system. Participants gather on the beach to learn from a Guide about nature’s many creatures that dwell in and around the southern Jersey coastal waters, and are given a bucket to then search for their own treasures.
Nature lovers can also venture down the coast to celebrate an important rite of passage of spring along the Jersey shores – the annual spawning of horseshoe crabs and corresponding shorebird migration. The 6th Annual Spring Shorebird and Horseshoe Crab Festival will take place on the grounds of the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor on May 19 – 20, 2018 from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. The weekend promises an array of interactive activities for all ages including guided shorebird viewings, horseshoe crab workshops, horseshoe crab spawning survey demonstrations and rescue walks, aquarium teaching tank and aquaculture tours, naturalist-led Salt Marsh Trail walks and other hands-on education and conservation-based activities.
If you enjoy murder mysteries, there are two exciting events this weekend in which to partake. The Wildwoods Murder Mystery Weekend “Death at the USO Dance” will be held May 18-19, 2018. Enjoy a weekend filled with fun & mystery as you take a stroll back in time and help to solve a murder. Your ticket for the weekend includes a Murder Mystery Show, a boardwalk scavenger hunt, a night under the stars watching a 1940’s era movie, a Sock Hop and Dessert Party as well as a complete breakfast and a three-course dinner at your choice of selected restaurants. Tickets are available online or at the Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce, 3306 Pacific Avenue in Wildwood.
More virtual death and intrigue can be found further south as the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) hosts a Murder Mystery Dinner, “An Evening to Die For” on May 19, 2018 at the Inn at Cape May, 7 Ocean Street, Cape May. Enjoy a four-course meal as you help the cast solve the mystery of “whodunnit”.
Lighthouse aficionados can hop aboard the Cape May Whale Watcher to enjoy the Grand Lighthouse Tour, where they will cruise along the coast for the opportunity to see and photograph seven historic lighthouses. Each five-hour cruise includes narration on the history of each lighthouse, as well as a continental breakfast buffet and Captain’s Lunch buffet.
If you are looking to enjoy Theatre, Music, Comedy, Art, Beer – or a combination of the above – check out the Cape May Fringe Festival going on May 18-20, 2018 at the Aerodrome, 251 Ranger Road, Rio Grande 08242. Live music and libations will be flowing all weekend long in this event that has been referred to as “Woodstock, without the Wood”.
And if you want to just come to the shore to relax, this will be the last weekend that most of the beaches will be free before Beach Tag Season begins. So grab your chair, get on the Skookull, and come soak in some warm sun and cool beach breezes before the humidity and green flies of summer set in.
“Sea” you soon!