Cocktails by the Sea, Special Events

Brews and Boos

If you’re wondering what to do this weekend with an October Nor’easter promising to dump a ton of rain on the coast, why not carve out some time to participate in one of the Halloween-themed events sponsored by one of our local breweries? After all, this Saturday (October 27) is National American Beer Day, so it’s a perfect time to belly up and support a local brewery. We’ll be providing more information on Cape May County’s local breweries on National American Beer Day, but before then we wanted to let you know about some of the brew-haha going on this weekend.

On October 26, the Cape May Brewing Company will be hosting its Halloween Bash from 5:00 – 9:00 pm at the brewery which is located at the Cape May Airport. The Bash will feature a costume contest, $4 pints and lots of frightening fun. A signature Halloween flight will be available featuring two of their Halloween One-Offs: “Mounds Bar Honey Porter” and “Lemonhead Always Ready”. In addition, the brewery will be releasing two special limited cans – “Maize Haze”, which is a corn-based brew incorporating locally-sourced blue corn from South Jersey and “Not from Concentrate”, a freshly-pressed apple cider beer.

On October 27, the Ludlam Island Brewery and the Slack Tide Brewery will join together in hosting their special Halloween Party featuring “boos and brews” as well as treats from Hank Sauce, a locally crafted hot sauce company and restaurant located in Townsends Inlet. A jitney service will run between the two breweries from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

At the 21st Annual Olde Tyme Harvest Festival in Cape May Courthouse on Saturday, the 7 Mile Brewing Company will be serving up its special brews from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm on Mechanic Street. The festival includes craft and food vendors, rides and entertainment. Note that they have a rain date of Sunday October 28, which is likely given the approaching storm – but this just gives you another day to celebrate locally brewed American-crafted beer.

Also on Saturday at the Cold Spring Brewery located at the Historic Cold Spring Village, the group Love Mellow will be performing from 5:00 – 8:00 pm.

Due to the impending Nor’Easter, it may be best to call the breweries before heading out to make sure these events are still taking place, or if the weather will cause a cancellation or postponement of the event.

We know that if you attend any of these events you’ll be there just for the “boos”, so please remember to secure your designated driver or download the Uber app so you can legally enjoy fantastic local brews while safely getting to and from these ghoulish events.

Drink up, witches!

Shop the Shore

Where to Shop at the Shore

The southern Jersey coast is a great place to shop for everything, from custom-made surf boards to locally handcrafted artisan goods. From Ocean City to Cape May, the shopping opportunities are plentiful and varied, each providing shoppers with a fun shopping destination with dining . Here is an overview of the shopping districts that are found in each of the towns. Happy spending!

Avalon serendipity
Avalon’s evolving shopping district offers an enjoyable downtown location to browse through unique shops or take a break from shopping to grab a bite to eat or have a drink. Located along Dune Drive between 20th and 33rd Streets, here you will find specialty boutique shops offering clothing, home décor and beach supplies as well as surf shops, art galleries and much more. Some of the seven-mile island’s best eateries are within these 13 blocks so make sure you plan a lunch or dinner either before or after your shopping excursion. And don’t forget to check out some of the side streets where additional shops and restaurants can be found.

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Cape May offers several unique shopping areas. The largest and most popular place to shop in Cape May is the Washington Street Mall located between Ocean and Perry Streets. Here, Washington Street is closed off to vehicular traffic, allowing visitors to stroll the three-block outdoor mall and find shops offering something for everyone. Nestled among the shops are restaurants, bars, ice cream parlors and two retro counter service eateries. Another popular Cape May shopping venue is right along Beach Avenue, where surf shops, beach supply stores, and other souvenir, gift and beachwear boutiques can be found. West End Garage is another favorite destination – this repurposed building is now home to over 55 artisan and craft vendors who well their unique, handcrafted and vintage wares in this creatively designed space. In addition to these one-stop shopping venues, don’t forget that there are many free-standing shops located throughout the Cape. Heading to the lighthouse or sunset beach? Check out Cape May Wicker and the Sunset Beach gifts, and then take a turn off the beaten path and head to Beach Plum Farm and the wineries, all of which offer unique items for sale as well as exquisite food and drink in a beautiful outdoor location.

IMG_8514Ocean City
Ocean City offers two main shopping areas – the Boardwalk and Asbury Avenue. The Boardwalk houses not only the typical Jersey Shore tee-shirt shops, but in recent years a few upscale clothing, jewelry and gift boutiques have been added as well. Boardwalk shopping can be accomplished between 6th and 14th Streets where, in addition to the upscale boutiques, you’ll find beach supply stores, surf shops and other stores in which to purchase beach necessities and souvenirs. A few blocks off the Boardwalk is Asbury Avenue, which offers a downtown shopping experience between 6th and 14th Streets. The old Stainton’s Department Store is now a gallery of independently owned shops offering a plethora of unique items, some of which are hand-crafted by local artisans. Other shops along Asbury Avenue include fashion boutiques, home décor and gift shops as well as other specialty stores. Both shopping venues have many restaurant options  for you to rest your weary feet and dine on anything from ice cream to gourmet meals, and everything in between – but no bars because OC is a dry town.

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While other shore towns have distinct shopping districts, Sea Isle City offers visitors the opportunity to browse through unique shops throughout this beautiful barrier island. Many are clustered around and near Excursion Park where JFK Boulevard meets with the Promenade, considered both the geographical and social center of  Sea Isle for the many events and activities that occur here all  year long. On the Promenade, visitors can shop for tee shirts, sweatshirts, books, gifts, beach and surf supplies at the Shoppes at Spinnaker located between 34th and 38th Streets – these are the high-rise condos you see on the left as you cross over the bridge. Going further south on the Promenade are a few shops along the way featuring beachwear and beach items. Back out on JFK Boulevard, visitors will find historic Dalrymple’s, a one-stop shopping destination for anything you may need during your vacation, including first aid products, games, greeting cards, gifts and more. Several upscale clothing boutiques can also be found here on JFK, and to the north on  Pleasure Avenue and in both directions on Landis Avenue. Landis is the main drag through town – follow it south and it will lead you past other shops to 65th Street, where you will find even more stores clustered around and near the Acme and Sands Department Store complex. Sands is another one-stop shop featuring everything from flip flops to fans. With so many shopping opportunities here, you never have to leave the island to find what you want or need.

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Stone Harbor is one of the quintessential shopping destinations for visitors to the southern Jersey coast. On any given day in high season, you will find scores of vacationers strolling along the 96th Street Shopping District, which is on the main drag into Stone Harbor from the mainland. It is also a favorite destination on rainy vacation days. Here you will find upscale clothing and jewelry boutiques, gift and gourmet shops, a fabulous hardware store that carries beach supplies, home décor and everything (including the kitchen sink), as well as the southern region’s only remaining movie cinema, the Harbor Theatre. Scattered among these unique shops are fabulous restaurants and bars, as well as the Reeds at Shelter Haven boutique hotel which features three restaurants, two of which are waterfront on the bay.

Strathmere
Currently there is are no shopping opportunities in Strathmere, which is mostly residential except for a few restaurants. But head 3 miles south on Ocean Drive and you’ll be in the heart of Sea Isle City, where shopping opportunities are plentiful.

Townsends Inlet IMG_9953
Recent mixed-use development in Townsends Inlet has led to the creation of new retail and dining opportunities in the south end of Sea Isle. This new complex consists of three buildings that house upscale condos and a couple restaurants. While currently there is only one boutique shop located in The Cove, we’re hoping more may join soon. For a more varied shopping experience, head a few blocks north into Sea Isle City or south over the bridge to Avalon (but make sure the Townsends Inlet bridge is open first – currently it is under construction until Spring 2019).

wildwoodsignsThe Wildwoods 
The Wildwoods are expansive, and so are their shopping opportunities. First stop is the famous Boardwalk, where tee shirt and gift shops, beach supply stories and other novelties can be found. Downtown Wildwood also has shops along the main drags including Rio Grande Avenue, Pacific Avenue and Atlantic Avenue. While Wildwood is an excellent destination for vacationers seeking free beaches, Boardwalk amusements and exciting nightlife, it is not specifically known for its shopping opportunities. That doesn’t mean you can’t find great shops here – you can – but not necessarily the type of shopping/dining experience you can find in other towns along the coast. If you are looking to do some serious or upscale shopping in a more defined shopping district, head north to Stone Harbor or south to Cape May.

Beach Eats, Cape May, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Stone Harbor, Strathmere, The Wildwoods, Townsends Inlet, Uncategorized

Come for the Food, “Fall” for the View

With temps still hovering in the high 70’s over the next couple days, it is hard to think about putting an end to your shore plans. The good news is, you don’t have to – lucky for us shore lovers, many restaurants, shops and businesses will remain open well into the holiday season.

We recently published a list of our “Top 10 things To Do at the Shore This Fall” and #8 on our list was “Go Out to Eat”. While some restaurants have already closed for the season, many others will remain open on weekends. Among these are dining establishments that will continue to offer al fresco dining (weather permitting), or at least stunning views to make you feel like you’re dining outdoors. Here is a list of our favorite restaurants in each town that are still open this fall.

Ocean City – Hula Restaurant

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Hula Restaurant, Ocean City

Say Aloha! to the vibrantly colorful and unassuming Hula Restaurant, tucked back off the main boardwalk between 9th and 10th Streets. The Hula is famous for its Hawaiian Chicken, sticky rice and other tropical-inspired delights. The food is fresh, healthy and delicious and will make you feel  like you’re surfside in Maui. Take home a bottle of their famous Hula Dressing, Hawaiian Style Barbeque or Teriyaki Sauces (or all three!) Gift cards are available for purchase in the restaurant and will make a great holiday gift for Hula Restaurant fans. Outdoor seating available as weather permits; now open weekends until Thanksgiving.   940 Boardwalk.

Strathmere – Deauville Inn

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The Deauville Inn, Strathmere

Overlooking the bay between Ocean City and Sea Isle in beautiful Strathmere is the Deauville Inn, which has been delighting diners for decades. Boasting of an expansive dining room, a sports bar, an outdoor patio and bar area and, in the summer season, the bayside barefoot Beach Bar, the Deauville offers robust entertainment throughout the summer season. Their extensive menu ranges from burgers to fresh seafood and appeals to every taste. Now open weekends through December. 201 Willard Road.

Sea Isle – Carmen’s Restaurant

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Carmen’s Restaurant, Sea Isle

Noted as Sea Isle’s first waterfront restaurant, Carmen’s has been serving up delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner since 1981. Their large menus offer something for everyone, not to mention the delectable bay breezes and authentic nautical ambience. This restaurant also offers endless waterfront entertainment – watch fishing vessels come back with their catch in the morning, wave to paddle boarders in the afternoon and enjoy a beautiful sunset in the evening. While the restaurant is open air, clear shades are used when necessary to keep out the weather and cool breezes while still allowing for the beautiful view. Now open through Saturday October 20th.   343 43rd Place.

Townsends Inlet – Sunset Pier

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Sunset from Sunset Pier, Townsends Inlet

Come here any evening and you’ll see how this waterfront restaurant got its name. But the Sunset Pier doesn’t just delight in the evening – during the day, visitors can enjoy an acai bowl or freshly made smoothie from the juice bar, visit the tackle shop and rent back bay boats for crabbing, fishing, or joy riding. A 20-foot pontoon boat is also available for party rentals. If you’re just coming to eat, you’re in for a real treat – their food is delicious, their menu appeals to all tastes and the sunsets are free of charge. Indoor and outdoor seating available (weather permitting). You’ll have to wait until next year to enjoy a sunset here, though…the restaurant is now only open for breakfast and lunch on weekends (Friday – Monday) through Thanksgiving.

Avalon – Sea Grill

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The Sea Grill, Avalon

One of three restaurants owned by the wildly popular Princeton Bar and Grille, the Sea Grill offers the finest in steak and seafood in a gorgeous romantic setting. The Sea Grill gives diners a unique experience as they walk up to a window to order or their main and side dishes, and then help themselves to a salad bar amply stocked with fresh ingredients. Although not a waterfront venue, the Sea Grill’s candle lit, cozy ambience is a perfect place for date night or to celebrate an anniversary or birthday. Looking for lunch, a casual atmosphere or some lively entertainment instead? Head next door to the Circle Tavern (or in the summer head around the corner to the Princeton Bar and Grill – sadly, it is closed for the season). The Sea Grill and Circle Tavern are open year-round; Sea Grill (225 21st Street) opens at 5:00 pm daily and the Circle Tavern (2008 Dune Drive) opens at 11:00 am daily.

Stone Harbor – Stone Harbor Bar and Grill 

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Stone Harbor Bar and Grill, Stone Harbor

The Stone Harbor Bar and Grill offers a fun and casual dining experience in the heart of the shopping district – a perfect place to take a break from shopping and have a drink or a bite to eat. Catch a game on one of 25 big screen TVs and enjoy a cool ocean breeze in summer when the large front windows are opened. Their menu offers top quality meats, freshly baked breads, locally-sourced seafood and refreshing signature cocktails. Now open Thursday through Sunday, 12:00 noon – 10:00 -m (8:00 pm on Sundays). 261 96th Street.

Wildwood – Two Mile Landing

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Two Mile Landing features the Crab House and Two Mile Restaurant and Bar, Wildwood Crest

On the way to Cape May from Wildwood, nestled back by the bay in Wildwood Crest and offering expansive waterfront dining and stunning sunset views is the Two-Mile Landing dining and entertainment complex featuring two restaurants – the Crab House and the Two Mile Restaurant and Bar. The Crab House has been specializing in All-You-Can-Eat Blue Claw Crabs since 2012 and offers a raw bar, “Crabatizers”, burgers, tacos and entrees that will appeal to both landlubbers and seafoodies alike. In 2013, Two-Mile Restaurant and Bar opened to offer upscale casual dining featuring 21 beers on tap, a wide selection of wines and delicious entrees. These waterfront establishments feature two decks with a stage and plenty of live entertainment throughout the summer. The Crab House remains open 7 days a week starting at 11:30 am, and Two-Mile Restaurant and Bar is now open Thursday – Sunday at 4:00 pm. Both restaurants will remain open through October 27 and will also be open on Thanksgiving. Gift cards are available.   1 Fish Dock Road.

Cape May – Lobster House 

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Lobster House / Schooner American, Cape May

Located on the Cape May Harbor and situated right next to the dock where freshly caught seafood is offloaded every day, the Lobster House offers a unique nautical dining experience. For decades, the Lobster House has provided elegant waterfront dining consisting of five dining rooms, casual dockside dining, a raw bar, a take-out window and a fish shop where fresh seafood can be purchased and enjoyed at home. It also includes the permanently moored Schooner American, a 130-foot long sailing vessel which provides the perfect setting for an outdoor drinking and dining experience and features a full bar, luncheon menu and specialty appetizers in the evening. The Lobster House, Take-Out Shop and Fish market are all open year-round; the Raw Bar and Schooner American are only open May – October. Hours are as follows:
Lobster House – 11:30 am – 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm – 10:00 pm. (Year-round)
Take-Out Shop 11:00 am – 7:00 pm during winter months (9:00 pm in summer) (Year-round).
Fish Market 8:00 am – 7:00 pm (9:00 pm in summer) (Year-round)
Raw Bar 11:30 am – 10:00 pm (May – October)
Schooner American 12:00 noon – 10:00 pm. (May – October)

Special Events

Top 10 Things To Do at the Shore This Fall

Today is the first full day of autumn, and the beginning of a spectacular season to be down the shore. As a matter of fact, some people say it’s their favorite beach season. The air is crisp, the sun’s still warm and the beaches (and parking!) are free. If you’re not quite ready to trade in your flip flops for snow boots, the shore is the place to be.

Now that crowds have cleared you can easily do the things you may not have been able to in high summer season. Here is our top 10 list of our favorite things to do at the shore in fall.

fallthingsbeachcomb1. Beachcomb. Fall is a great time to comb the beach for sea treasures. You are more likely to find unique seashells, sea glass and other items tossed out by the ocean, especially after a storm. So, grab a bucket, head to the beach and see what you can find.

fallthingsbeach2. Clean up the Beach. October 20 is Beach Sweep Day  along the Jersey coast. Beach sweep events enlist volunteers to comb the beach, dunes and water’s edge to pick up trash to keep it from entering the ocean. Your participation will help save our marine life from the devastating effects that trash has on their lives and improve the general well-being of our ocean. Please note that Sea Isle City’s event will be held on October 13, 2018 but the other shore towns on the south Jersey coast will be hosting their events on October 20. If you wish to do a cleanup on your own, there’s an app for that – the Ocean Conservancy developed the Clean Swell ® app to allow users to record trash clean-up efforts so that scientists can better identify trends and find solutions. For more information on what you can do to help, check out our post on “5 Ways to Protect Our Ocean”. Once you’ve done your part, you can…

BEACHWITHCHAIR3. Sit and relax! Cooler temps, soft sea breezes and (still) warm sunshine make the beach a perfect place to relax in the fall. As a bonus, all south Jersey beaches are now free, and with fewer crowds you can set up wherever you want without someone plopping right in front of you. Bring a book or just sit and watch the waves (don’t forget sunscreen!)

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4. Ride a Bike. Remember congested  summer traffic that turned a simple bike ride into a competitive sport? Biking is a lot easier and more enjoyable now, and with less foot traffic on boardwalks and promenades, some days you can ride for blocks and not see another soul.

5. Get Involved. Fall is when many charity organization host walks, runs, bike rides or other events to raise awareness and funds for special causes. The cool air and low humidity mean it’s a great time to exercise for a good cause. For more information about events, see our list of Upcoming Events for each town.

fallthingsmeter6. Park for free. Many towns disable their parking meters after Labor Day and parking lot attendants close up shop. This means you can park for free – and freely – thanks to lessened crowds. What better incentive to patronize local shops and restaurants? With more funds to spend during awesome fall sales, you can get more bang for your buck. Save your quarters and the stress for next summer!

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7. Start your Holiday Shopping (and support local business!) Our coastal towns are filled with specialty boutiques and unique stores that so why not take advantage of the fall end-of-summer sales and start your holiday shopping?

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8. Go out to Eat. Dine at your favorite seaside spots while they’re still open for the season. Seating is much easier now, and you’ll be supporting local family-owned establishments who rely on your patronage for their livelihood.  Bon appetit!

fallthingsrightonred9. Turn right on red. One of the perks of being at the shore in off-season is the ability to turn right on red. If you get impatient waiting at a red light when  no traffic is coming, you’ll be happy to learn that between October 1 – May 1 you can turn right on red to your heart’s content!

10. Go to a fall festival. fallthingsfestivalFrom seafood festivals to Oktoberfest and everything in between, each shore town has a plethora of events and activities planned this fall. Check out our list of Upcoming Events, and then grab the family and go!

From Ocean City to Cape May, special events will continue into the holiday season. Check back in November when we cover all the winter festivities going on down the shore.

 

Beach Humor, Uncategorized

All Hail the Ice Cream Cone!

If you scream for ice cream, you’ll be delighted to know that September 22 is National Ice Cream Cone Day.

Go ahead – have your treat and lick it too. I’m told that when a food item gets its own national day, its calories go directly into the person you feel needs them the most. As you enjoy your frozen handheld treat today, be sure to thank the inventor for this delicious creation. The only problem is – who will you thank?

The legend of the ice cream cone creator is rife with dispute and waffling accounts of who should be credited. The stories are as varied as the flavors of ice cream that fill these edible wafers. One fact not mired in controversy, however, is that people were first seen sporting the cone of fame at the 1904 World’s Fair, the result of an impromptu stop-gap measure to stave off angry ice cream-seekers who were turned away for lack of appropriate eating vessels. In those days, ice cream was served in glass bowls called “penny licks” which were returned to the vendor after customers were finished licking out the ice cream (I know, gross). When an ice cream vendor ran out of these bowls, would-be customers allegedly had epic meltdowns. That is, until Syrian immigrant Ernest Hamwi stepped in with a solution. He was stationed next to the penny lick-less vendor making waffle desserts called zalabia. Upon seeing the churning unrest, Hamwi rolled one of his wafer-like waffles into the shape of a cone – back then called a cornucopia – and gave it to the ice cream vendor. When the cone cooled, the vendor put some ice cream in it and history was made. Or so some say. Hamwi went on to create the Missouri Cone Company, which was sold to Nabisco in 1928. He has been credited by the International Association of Ice Cream Makers as being the official creator of the cone.

But not everyone agrees that his face belongs on a stamp.

Some ice cream historians (yes, these are real people) claim that certain French cookbooks in the 1800s included recipes and instructions on how to bake and roll a waffle-like treat and stuff it with a frozen pudding or cream. I tried to confirm this but it was all French to me.

If you ask the International Dairy Association, they will tell you that Italo Marchiony of New York City is the official creator. In 1896, this Italian ice cream vendor grew tired of people walking off with his glass licking bowls so he invented an edible ice cream cup-making machine for which he was granted a patent in 1903. Some experts believe an Englishman obtained a patent for his version of an cone machine the year before. Others claim the ice cream cone was invented in Turkey or Lebanon, but I’m pretty sure they’re confusing that with who invented lunchmeat. In fact, if you consult any treatise on the subject of cone invention, you will see that credit is given to a roster of international ice cream pioneers, the lineup of which reads like a sign-in sheet for the UN General Assembly.

The real reason experts have never been able to reach a consensus on this is that they only get so far in their discussions before their ice cream starts dripping profusely, forcing an abrupt cessation to the talks while everyone stops to lick ice cream off their arms. That’s when the ice cream headaches hit, freezing the part of the brain responsible for agreement and prohibiting the formation of coherent sentences – so even if they did all agree at some point, they’d never be able to verbalize it. And this is why we never get the scoop.

As the ice cream cone creator controversy drips on, one thing we can all agree on is that penny licks needed to go. In this day and age, nobody needs to be licking a bowl and returning it to the server unless they have four legs. The ice cream cone is a necessary staple of beach life, allowing us to take our handheld treat to the beach, the boardwalk or anywhere we want. Well, except high-end tee shirt shacks, where teenage store clerks are ready to pounce on anyone who even thinks of bringing food into the store. But other than that, have ice cream cone, will travel. Even the seagulls respect the cone – I’ve never seen one swoop down and take someone’s ice cream (fry lovers, you’re on your own on this one).*

As it turns out, we probably don’t really give a lick who invented this treat, as long as someone did. So while you’re enjoying your frozen treat-filled cornucopia today, be sure to thank ‘whoever’ created these delicious delights and have fun celebrating this important day!

* (While this statement was true at the time the original article was posted in 2017, this summer my nephew was dive-bombed by a flying beach rat who swooped its beak across the top of his cone. There was an actual beak track in his otherwise nicely formed ice cream scoop! Needless to say, he ditched it after that. I guess all creatures love the ice cream cone and who can blame them?)

Avalon, Cape May, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Special Events, Stone Harbor, The Wildwoods, Uncategorized

Fall…for Food and Fun!

As much as we may love summer, there’s no stopping the fact that on Saturday September 22, at precisely 9:54 p.m. Eastern Time, we will officially say goodbye to Summer 2018 and usher in Fantastic Fall. While it is always bittersweet to bid farewell to our carefree beach days and (oh!) those summer nights, fall itself can be pretty cool – in more ways than one. Especially now that shore officials, local businesses and event coordinators have planned a plethora of events to keep us coming back to the places we love the most. Foodies and wine lovers will particularly delight in knowing that, beginning this weekend and extending well into the fall, several coastal culinary events have been planned to tickle their taste buds. Here, we break down the events by category and follow up with a chronological listing of these gastric galas so that you won’t miss a chance to fall for food and fun down the shore.

Seafoodseafood
If you savor seafood, you’re in luck – several festivals featuring ocean delicacies are being held in the upcoming weeks. On Saturday, September 22, head to the Seafarer’s Celebration at Sunset Lake in Wildwood Crest. This bayfront street festival includes live music, craft vendors, food, family entertainment, and children’s activities, with a fireworks show at 9:00 pm at Centennial Park. On September 29, plan to come to the Sea Isle Harborfest at Marina Park to celebrate Sea Isle’s fishing and nautical history by featuring delicious seafood, live music, a clam eating contest, crafts and specialty vendors.

During the first weekend of October, seafood festivals will be held in Ocean City (October 6-8), Avalon (October 6-7) and Wildwood (October 7). If you’re not sure which one to attend, why not plan a cruise down the coast on Sunday October 7 and enjoy all three? Start in Ocean City at the Music Pier where the Indian Summer Weekend features seafood venders and boardwalk table sales. Then head to the Avalon Community Hall for the Avalon Chamber Seafood Festival, offering delectable treats from fresh seafood vendors, a chowder contest, live music, vendors and more. End your day at the Seafood and Music Festival hosted by the Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce on Atlantic Avenue between Wildwood and Schellenger Avenues. This festival features two stages of live music, crafters, food vendors, a pie eating contest as well as a “Kids Korner” with activities including pumpkin painting, face painting and bounce houses.

internationalInternational
Several upcoming heritage fests will provide you with an opportunity to sample fare from Ireland, Italy and Germany. Wildwood’s popular Irish Weekend begins September 21 and runs through the 23rd. The Celtic city-wide event includes entertainment, Irish dance lessons, a 5k run and 1-mile walk, golf tournament, pipe exhibition, food court stage, beer garden, food and craft vendors and so much more, with bus service available to the various events throughout the weekend. While you’re in the ‘Wood this weekend, head to Mariner’s Pier to take part in Oktoberfest, where you can sample Bavarian pretzels, bratwurst, German potato salad, schnitzel and other German treats, as well as a wide selection of beers and tasting flights at an outdoor biergarten, as you enjoy live entertainment by The Oompah-Delics. If you’re just getting adjusted to September and aren’t quite ready to usher in the new season just yet, Oktoberfest at Mariner’s Pier continues on the weekends of September 28-29 and October 6-7.

But Wildwood isn’t the only place to grab a pretzel and a beer and Prost! to good times. Cape May will host an Oktoberfest on September 29 where several streets will be transformed into a German promenade with authentic music and food. Enjoy a famous Bavarian tradition by visiting the beer gardens, food courts and artisan tables selling crafts, antiques and collectibles. And on October 20, Sea Isle City will host an Oktoberfest at Excursion Park, featuring live German music, vendors, free hayrides on the beach, magic acts, pumpkin painting, children’s entertainment and a pie baking contest.

If pasta is more your thing, then you’re in for a real treat. The Olde Time Italian Festival will be held on the weekend of September 28-29 at Fox Park on Ocean Avenue between Burk and Montgomery Avenues in Wildwood. This family festival includes a Procession of the Saints, delicious Italian food favorites, merchandise vendors, games, and continuous live entertainment. A grape stomping contest and spaghetti eating contest will take place as well. On October 6, Kix McNutley’s in Sea Isle will follow up with an Italian Festival of its own, offering a variety of great Italian food, an Italian market with craft and specialty vendors, a cannoli eating contest and live musical entertainment. Finally, Avalon gets in on the fun with the Avalon Lions Club Pasta Night at the Windrift Hotel.

For a different global experience, head to Around the World Social on September 28 at the Sand Bar in Sea Isle City. This event features soft music, butlered hors d’oeuvres, a wine sampling and cash bar.
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Food…with a side of FUN!                                                                                              For those not sold on seafood or international fare specifically, several seaside events pair food with just plain fun events – and in some cases, wine and spirits as well. Let’s start with this weekend and work our way into October.

Celebrate the first day of fall on September 22 at the 7th Annual Stone Harbor Savor September Food, Wine and Beer Festival which will be held at the 96th Street Shopping District. Enjoy the best of local wineries & breweries, food, artisans & live music. Festivities include a grape stomping competition, hay slide and more. Heading further south down the coast on the same day, you’ll find the Fall Food Truck & Music Festival at Fox Park across from the Wildwoods Convention Center. This festival features delicious and unique food trucks, music, vendors, and entertainment as well as a Kids Zone with fun and activities to keep the little ones busy. On Sunday, September 23, enjoy a Jazz Brunch at the Inn of Cape May. This Sunday morning brunch buffet features live jazz from The Great American Songbook by renowned jazz musicians.

Ocean City ushers in the first weekend of October with a fantastic Fall Block Party and Fireworks Spectacular on Asbury Avenue from 5th – 14th Streets. Here you will find crafters, food vendors, music and more. In the evening, fireworks will dazzle in the night sky over the boardwalk from 6th – 14th Streets. On October 6, legume lovers may want to head to the cape for the West Cape May Lima Bean Festival at Wilbraham Park to enjoy an array of recipes, crafts, and products featuring the lovely Lima.

On October 14, be a spicy bivalve and help out the Ocean City Firefighters Charitable Foundation by purchasing a ticket to Ocean City’s 3rd Annual Chili Chowderfest at the Music Pier, where you can partake in chili and chowder tastings while enjoying music from a DJ and watching your offspring enjoy the planned kids’ activities. For an “Evening to Die For”, come enjoy a Murder Mystery Dinner at the Inn of Cape May on October 20 and try to solve a murder mystery as you enjoy a four-course dinner.

November kicks off with the Cape May Restaurant Weekend (November 1-4; various times and locations), a four-day event that offers your choice of an appetizer, entree, and dessert for $35 per person at participating restaurants.

Wine and Chocolatewineandchocolate
Of course, no celebration of food is complete without a little wine and chocolate. This fall’s wine events include the Cape May Wine Trail on September 21 which begins at the Carriage House Cafe & Tearoom at the Emlen Physick Estate with lunch. Then hop aboard a Trolley and enjoy a brief tour and wine tasting at Willow Creek Winery, a tasting at Hawk Haven Winery, and wine tasting, cheese and crackers (complete with a souvenir glass) at Natali Vineyards. If the wine tours and tastings whet your appetite for more, join the Cape May Wine School class on October 7 at the Washington Inn to learn about wines. Of course, don’t forget to check out all the local wineries to see the events they have planned as well.

For a sweet ending to your tasty “tour de shore”, check out the Cape May Chocolate Lovers Feast on September 22 at The Blue Rose Inn where you will enjoy seven courses of delicious chocolate desserts and hear how each was created from the chef who prepared it. Can’t make it this weekend? No worries – the chocoholics among us will be happy to know that this event repeats October 27 and December 1, as well as other times during the year.

So, as you’re digesting the end of summer and considering what fall has in store for you, we hope we’ve given you enough to chew on. Bon Appetit!

Oh…but first…here’s a listing of all these wonderful events in chronological order so you won’t miss out on any of them.

September 2018
21 – Wildwood Irish Festival (runs 21st – 23rd)
21 – Cape May Wine Trail
21 – Morey’s Piers Oktoberfest (runs 21st – 23rd; 28-30th; October 5-7th)
22 – Wildwood Irish Festival
22 – Morey’s Piers Oktoberfest
22 – Wildwood Crest Seafarers’ Celebration
22 – The 7th Annual Stone Harbor Savor September Food, Wine and Beer Festival
22 – Cape May Chocolate Lovers Feast at The Blue Rose Inn (repeats October 27th and December 1st)
22 – Fall Food Truck & Music Festival
23 – Wildwood Irish Festival
23 – Jazz Brunch at the Inn of Cape May
23 – Morey’s Piers Oktoberfest
28 – Sea Isle City Around the World Social
29 – Sea Isle City Harborfest
28 – Morey’s Piers Oktoberfest
28 – Olde Time Italian Festival
29 – Morey’s Piers Oktoberfest
29 – Olde Time Italian Festival
29 – Cape May Oktoberfest
30 – Morey’s Piers Oktoberfest

October 2018
5 – Morey’s Piers Oktoberfest
6 – West Cape May Lima Bean Festival
6 – Sea Isle City Italian Festival
6 – Avalon Chamber Seafood Festival (runs 6th – 7th)
6 – Ocean City Fall Block Party and Fireworks Spectacular
6 – Ocean City Indian Summer Weekend (runs 6th – 8th)
6 – Morey’s Piers Oktoberfest
7 – Avalon Chamber Seafood Festival
7 – Ocean City Indian Summer Weekend
7 – Cape May Wine School
7 – Seafood and Music Festival
7 –  Morey’s Piers Oktoberfest
8 –  Ocean City Indian Summer Weekend
14 – Avalon Lions Club Pasta Night
14 – Ocean City 3rd Annual Chili Chowderfest
20 – Cape may Murder Mystery Dinners
20 – Sea Isle City Octoberfest
27 – Cape May Chocolate Lovers Feast at The Blue Rose Inn

November 2018
1-4 Cape May Restaurant Weekend

 

Uncategorized

Beware the Rip

ripcurrent1September is a beautiful time to go down the shore. Cool breezes, warm ocean temps and crystal blue skies lure many off-season visitors to the sand and surf, especially with the promise of a peaceful dip in the sea without having to dodge wayward boogie-boarders. But September is also the peak of hurricane season when hazardous surf conditions can arise, even on sunny blue sky days when danger does not seem apparent. Rip currents are especially threatening to beach-goers at any time of year, but are certainly more prevalent when storms bring strong winds and sea surge. Regardless of when you go in the surf, it is important to arm yourself with knowledge about these dangerous currents so you and your family can avoid being caught in one.

What is a rip current?
A rip current is a narrow, fast-moving channel of water that rushes out to sea from the shoreline, passing through the surf zone and beyond the wave break. When waves crash on the shore they bring with them an enormous amount of water that, under normal circumstances, flows back to sea. But sometimes wind, water or other conditions can cause an overflow of water to come to shore and impede the water’s ability to flow back to sea as it normally does. The water must return to the sea somehow, so pressure builds until the trapped water becomes strong enough to overcome the incoming waves. It will find the path of least resistance by creating a channel of fast-moving water between a lull in wave action or through an opening in a sandbar. This is a rip current, and it can take anything or anyone with it as it rushes back to sea.

What causes rip currents to form?
Rip currents can develop from various conditions such as strong winds and storms that bring in a surge of water to the shoreline. They also form as the result of an obstacle that disrupts the flow of water along the beach, such as jetties, groins or even sandbars.  They form at all times of the year but can be more prevalent during hurricane season and during tropical storms. Even when storms don’t make landfall around us, they can still create very dangerous surf conditions from hundreds of miles away. As a matter of fact, the Ocean City New Jersey Beach Patrol reported that they made 141 rip current rescues on one single day this summer as the result of Tropical Storm Chris which, at the time, was churning far off the Jersey Coast. It’s also important to know that rip currents can – and often do – form on beautiful days when water conditions appear to be perfect.

Why are rip currents dangerous?
Rip currents are cited as the leading danger for beachgoers. Approximately 100 people die in our country each year as the result of these currents. While rips will pull you out to sea, they will not pull you under. The danger of rip currents is their speed – typically they travel at 1-2 feet per second, but they can travel as fast as 8 feet per second. At those speeds even the strongest swimmers are not able to overcome them. The good news is that they do eventually end, often just beyond the wave break. At that point, the strong pull ceases and a person once caught in the current will be able to get out of it and swim back to shore, often with the assistance of the normal wave action. These currents can range in width from 10-200 feet, which means that most people who remain calm and know the rules of getting out of a rip current can “break the grip of the rip” by swimming to one side or another of the channeled current.

How do I recognize a rip current?
ripcurrent14Rip currents can often, but not always, be detected by the naked eye. A rip current may churn up the sand and cause the water to appear to be cloudy, murky or discolored, or white and sudsy. ripcurrent13

Additionally, a rip current can cause a break in the wave line. A general rule of thumb is that if there is a section of water that looks or behaves differently than the rest of the water, it is likely a rip current and should be avoided. But don’t rely solely on observation as they may not be apparent.

ripcurrent16How can I avoid a rip current?
“When in doubt, don’t go out,” the experts say. Simply put, stay out of the water if any of the signals or warnings are present.

Before you head to the beach, pay attention to weather and news reports, especially during hurricane season which generally runs from June 1 – November 1. Remember that even faraway offshore storms can produce dangerous rip tides along the shore.

When you arrive at the beach, it is a good idea to observe the water behavior from a distance, such as from an elevated beach path. You should also look to the life guard stand to see if they are using the flag system – a green flag means low hazard and calm conditions, a yellow flag signals medium hazard with moderate surf or currents and a red flag warns of a high hazard with high surf and strong conditions. If the flag system is not being used, the best thing you can do is ask a lifeguard what is the likelihood of rip currents. They are experts in this area and can tell you if rips tend to develop in that location due to jetties or sand bars, if wind or wave conditions are ripe for the development, or if any have been spotted that day.

While we are on the subject of lifeguards, the best way to avoid getting caught in a rip current (other than staying out of the water) is to swim only in guarded areas, when lifeguards are on duty. The U.S. Lifeguarding Association estimates that 80% of all lifeguard rescues are for rip currents, which means they are not only well-equipped to assist people caught in these currents, but they also spend most of their life-saving resources on them.  It is also important that you swim in front of the lifeguard, and watch your children when they are in the water.

How do I get out of a rip current?
The absolute first rule is to relax. “Keeping calm is what will save your life,” one expert put it. I know this is easier said than done, especially when you are being pulled out to sea. Yes, these currents are mighty and can travel at a high rate speed, but since you can’t outswim the current, you’ll have to outthink it using the information provided in this article.

The first thing is to realize that while a rip current can pull you quickly away from shore, it will not pull you under. People drown in rip currents not because of the current itself, but because they wear themselves out trying to swim against the current. The internet contains a plethora of videos showing lifeguards and other volunteers purposely putting themselves into rip currents so that they may demonstrate how to get out of one. And that means that rip currents on their own won’t kill you – otherwise, these experts would not willingly put themselves in one. However, panicking and trying to fight the current may result in physical exhaustion which is what defeats those who are caught in a current. You should summon someone, preferably a lifeguard, by waving your hands above your head – but again, trying to keep calm. Letting them know as soon as you realize you are in danger may make a difference.

Second, remember that rip currents are generally narrow, and the water just outside the current will behave with a predictable flow towards the shore. If you can either swim to the left or the right of the current, parallel to the shore, you may pretty quickly get out of its grip. Another option is to float on your back until you feel you are out of the current, again summoning someone on shore to let them know you need assistance. Floating your way out may be advised if you are not a strong swimmer or are already exhausted from being in the water to begin with – the point here is that you cannot afford to tire yourself out any more than you already may be. Once out, experts advise that you swim at an angle back to shore, allowing the wave action to guide you in. If you are not able to swim, continue to summon a lifeguard or someone on shore by waving your arms above your head so that they can come to your rescue. Again, this is why it is crucial to swim at a guarded beach at all times, directly in front of a lifeguard.

Finally, it is advised that if you observe someone who is caught in a rip current, you should summon help by alerting a lifeguard or calling 911 and do not try to go in to save them yourself. Many people die from trying to save someone else – who ultimately survives.

So heed the warnings and don’t go in if you believe from what you’ve learned here that rip currents could be possible. If you do go in and get caught in one, remain calm and rely on this information to think your way out. Doing so will save your life.

For more information on rip currents, consult the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, the U.S. Lifesaving Association or the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

 

 

 

Special Events, Stone Harbor, Uncategorized

Free Weekly Summer Events in Stone Harbor

Ever summer, Stone Harbor hosts free weekly events as listed below.

Monday
Stone Harbor Family Night (7:00 – 7:45 p.m., Stone Harbor Firehouse). Fun entertainment for families including magic shows, puppet theater, animal adventures, story time and more.

Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Tower Concert Series (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm, 95th Street Water Tower Plaza). Features live bands and a Beer and Wine Garden, sponsored by the Stone Harbor Chamber of Commerce. Snacks are provided by the Stone Harbor Museum.

Wednesday
Cornhole Nights (7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, Stone Harbor Elementary School Field). A fun family night of cornhole games, free for all ages and skill levels.

Thursday
Thursdays on the Lawn (7:30 pm – 9:00 pm, Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church). Bring your beach chair and enjoy a live band on the lawn. Refreshments and cookies provided.

Saturday
Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary Tours (10:00 am, Egret Espy Trail entrance at 114th Street and 2nd Avenue). Experienced docents lead guided tours and teach visitors about the natural history and wildlife of the Bird Sanctuary. Tours are one hour long.

Sunday
Stone Harbor Farmer’s Market (8:00 am – 12:30 pm, 95th Street Water Tower Plaza). Weekly farmer’s market features fresh produce, organic coffee and tea, crepes, gourmet foods, flowers and much more.

Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary Tours (10:00 am, Egret Espy Trail entrance at 114th Street and 2nd Avenue). Experienced docents lead guided tours and teach visitors about the natural history and wildlife of the Bird Sanctuary. Tours are one hour long.

To learn more Stone Harbor, please follow the links below:

Find out why Stone Harbor is “The Seashore At Its Best”
History of Stone Harbor
Stone Harbor Beach Information
Where to Stay in Stone Harbor
Where to Eat in Stone Harbor
Upcoming Events in Stone Harbor – Fall/Winter 2018

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Sea Isle City, Special Events, Uncategorized

Free Weekly Summer Events in Sea Isle City

Every summer, Sea Isle City hosts free weekly events as listed below.

Monday
Free Classic Movies Under the Stars (Dusk, Excursion Park, JFK Boulevard and Landis Avenue). Bring your beach chairs and blankets and go back in time with a classic movie by the sea. Visit visitsicnj.com for more information about the movie lineup.

Tuesday
Farmer’s Market (8:00 am – 1:00 pm, Excursion Park, JFK Boulevard and Landis Avenue). Features a variety of fresh produce, local artisan crafts and gourmet foods. Visit seaislechamber.com for more information.

Guided Beachcombing (10:00 am – 11:00 am, 29th Street Beach and Promenade). Learn all about our beaches and the creatures that dwell in and around them from beachcombing guides, and then explore the beach for your own treasures. $1 cost includes a free beachcombing bucket.

Free Family Dance Party (7:30 pm – 9:00 pm, Excursion Park, JFK Boulevard and Landis Avenue). A DJ spins popular tunes to allow families and friends to dance and have fun.

Wednesday
Acoustic Open Mic Night (Ages 14-20) (9:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Excursion Park, JFK Boulevard and Landis Avenue). This night not only offers entertainers an opportunity to perform for cheering fans, it also allows teens and young adults to gather for a night of fun including Xbox video game truck and cornhole tournaments.

Thursday
Guided Beachcombing (10:00 am – 11:00 am, 94th Street Beach). Learn all about our beaches and the creatures that dwell in and around them from beachcombing guides, and then explore the beach for your own treasures. $1 cost includes a free beachcombing bucket.

Free Music in the Park (7:30 pm – 9:00 pm, Excursion Park, JFK Boulevard and Landis Avenue). Live music featuring artists from pop, rock, R&B, country and dance genres.

Friday
Free Family Movies Under the Stars (Dusk, Excursion Park). Bring your beach chairs and blankets and enjoy a family-friendly movie by the sea.

Saturday
Free Concerts Under the Stars (7:30 pm – 9:00 pm, Excursion Park, JFK Boulevard and Landis Avenue). Travel through decades of popular music with tribute bands that are sure to get everyone singing and dancing.

For more information about Sea Isle City, please follow the links below:

“Smile! You’re in Sea Isle!” – All About Sea Isle City
History of Sea Isle City
Sea Isle City Beach Information
Where to Stay in Sea Isle City
Where to Eat in Sea Isle City
Upcoming Events in Sea Isle City – Fall/Winter 2018

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