My Cape May is a diverse landscape. All year I retain the blue and green of the wetlands in my mind. The lush green of grassy foliage and the blue-grey of the marsh are my favorite colors. A snowy egret placed just-so, completes the image.
My Cape May is also full of Victorian brightness: I love pretty yellow houses with black, green or white trim. Dotting the tree-lined historic streets are houses in lavender, purple, blues of every shade, and pale pinks. I prefer the simpler style of the classic Cape May house with weathered shingles and bright blue and white striped awnings fluttering in the sea breeze. The brownish-grey, royal blue and white stay as etched in the color scheme of my mind, as do the blue and green of the wetlands. Either style of house, the porches are grand and comfortable.
The rest of my beach town is retained in sound and texture. Sea Gulls both on the shore and blocks inland let me know in my dreams I am not in Philadelphia. The background roar of waves remains in my conscience and is unlike the blare of a railroad near one's home when it's owner says they no longer hear it.
Voices chime everywhere and bicycles whir up and down the flat terrain. Thunderstorms crack overnight making Harry bark and set my own heart and thoughts pounding during sleepless hours. I hear Russian words coming from the house next door, from the fudge and ice-cream shops on the Mall, and along Beach Avenue.
The feel of this Shore is endlessly sandy with sharp beach grasses that slightly scrape the sides of my legs as I go up and down the walkways to the beach laden with a chair, a straw basket holding towels, and rubber balls.
In addition to the grit of sand that follows me from the beach to the car to the house and finds it's way into my ears and scalp, is the feel of the air. It's at once heavy with moisture and light with breeze. It's south-of the Mason-Dixon Line air.
Cape May, like most Jersey Shores, smells and tastes salty and sweet. The first is simply in every breath taken and certainly in the mouthfuls of ocean that I receive when tumbled in the rough waves multiple times because I am afraid to dive headlong into them. Salt Water Taffy might have taken me there more pleasantly.
The sweet whiffs I inhale are from fudge, caramel corn, and candied nuts being made all over Town. Bakeries preparing morning pastries contribute their part. The heavy mix of fat and sugar from freshly frying donuts hits straight away upon entering the West Cape May Farmer's Market on Tuesday afternoons.
The tastes of my Cape May go beyond the salty and sweet. They are a mingling of Jersey tomatoes, corn and blueberries from area farms. They are a refreshing combination of sweet and tart from the red sangria of Sangria Sundays at Hawk Haven, and the slight bitterness of lightly charred bottom and top of the clay oven bread I stand in line for hoping I won't come back empty handed.
In case you come down to Mile 0, here is a list to get you started. Last year's list still holds--it's just a different Summer with new places to check out and ones we simply ran out of time for.
My Cape May 2012
8. The Cove
12. Seaside Cheese
15. West End Garage
19. The Blue Pig
21. Sunset Beach
22. Rowe House Tile23. Across The Way
24. West Cape May Farmer's Market
25. Hawk Haven Winery