Back At Ya’ New Jersey

Posted September 21, 2021 – Narrated by Carmen
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The LIB Eastern Seaboard Tour ended with our first-ever stop in Delaware and our second visit to New Jersey. In 2019, we only explored a few blocks of Jersey City, in our campground across the Hudson from Manhattan.

So, even though we felt Summer 2021 was our first real visit to New Jersey, this was technically our second. We were relieved to see for ourselves that South Jersey is nothing like Jersey City, where a turtle’s safe crossing on I-78 would require National Guard assistance.

We arrived in Delaware in late Spring with four weeks remaining before we had to turn west.

Thus began our long good-bye to the Atlantic ocean – the beaches, breweries, the fresh seafood. After three weeks of farewelling The Eastern Seaboard, it seemed like way too much work to hitch up. How could we leave all this?

By early-birding the most popular shorelines from Florida to New Jersey – entering each town in pre-season while the locals are rolling up sleeves, preparing for the floodgates to open – we dodged crowds, enjoyed low traffic conditions, and stayed healthy. We also experienced well-groomed beaches and spit-polished historic resort towns.

It’s like being the first in line for Disneyland. Shoulder season has always been our good-luck charm and it paid off beautifully this year. Even with the unusual cold, windy and rainy winter conditions in North Florida, we would repeat this strategy.

Inconsistent weather only presented mild challenges.

From Pensacola to Saint Augustine, Jekyll Island, Charleston, Okracoke, Assateague, Delaware and New Jersey – the weather was comparable: Sublime sunny beach days dovetailed with cold, blustery wet days. The old rule, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute and it will change,” applied throughout our northward migration up the coast.

Avoiding heavy crowds, traffic, and hurricane evacuations made sense because as retired people we don’t have to do that anymore. Sure, some of the tourist shops, ice-cream parlors and kiddie rides are not open until after Memorial Day, but the best restaurants with outdoor dining welcome guests year-round. So, waits and reservations were not necessary. Even in Cape May we were seated immediately at the best outdoor tables during peak dining hours.

Delaware Seashore State Park

We stayed two places in Delaware. Our first ten days were at Delaware Seashore State Park.

And, thanks to the excellent recommendation of some friendly campers we met at Assateague, Jim snagged a last minute site at beautiful Cape Henlopen State Park near Rehoboth Beach where we enjoyed a four-day stay.

We love State parks. They usually boast larger sites and feature developed bike trails into town, and many state parks support surprisingly good restaurants on the grounds.

Because state parks have an interest in local business, we can ride our Dolphin eBikes or take an evening stroll to outdoor eateries specializing in fresh local cuisine. Often, the benefits of camping in state parks is substantial. There’s no need to stock up on provisions, and we have more time to play. All good!

Delaware Seashore is only 35 miles from Assateague Island beside the spectacular Indian River Inlet Bridge in the lovely town of Bethany Beach. There we spent quiet days walking along the seashore …

watching fishermen …

and taking in the beautiful bridge view at night.

Many fine restaurants are nearby and we always found what we craved at Matt’s Fish Camp, about a mile from the park.

The giant onion rings at Matt’s served as a motivator to get moving. On Mother’s Day, I paddled the bay and observed seabirds as they tended to their nests.

Cape Henlopen State Park

Then, we moved about ten miles north to Cape Henlopen State Park in the LewesRehoboth Beach area.

Some highlights in Lewes and Rehoboth included bike trails, the cool board walk

the towers

historic sites …

outlet stores …

and the local beer, roasted coffee, and outstanding eats.

Thank you, Delaware!

New Jersey

We could have taken the two-hour Cape May-Lewes Ferry at a cost of $80. But after four weeks of The Beast just sitting around serving as our garage, we decided to take the 151 mile scenic drive to …

Cape May, New Jersey.

Cape May, America’s original seaside resort, has many first-class RV parks and campgrounds. With a goal to stay in every Airstream park in North America, we reserved ahead for the tranquil and botanically bodacious Jersey Shore Haven Land Yacht Harbor for a whopping seventeen-day stay.

The lay-back vibe caught us off-guard. We had planned to break into our summer reading list in South Jersey, but this …

this felt like Hawaii. Flowery shaded streets and warm sandy beaches

spectacular kayaking …

perfectly (windows open) cool nights; fragrant and dewy lilac mornings; balmy afternoons; and the occasional thunder shower with tree frog serenades.

These liquid sunshine conditions severely lowered our nap-resistance. Reading could wait. Yeah, we’ll read next summer. Promise … snore.

We’re not nappers. We might take five or six naps a year and wake up feeling groggy and remorseful and swear off napping forever.

But in Cape May our powers of resistance met their match.

Maybe the long sunlight hours caught up with us. It was probably just a bout of spring-fever – nature’s environmental plan to allow the animals to bear their young with less human interference. Or, could South Jersey be some kind of alien-induced siesta vortex.

Anyway, our serotonin levels succumbed.

Cape May, listed in the national registry of historic places, is the oldest beach resort in America. Since 1816, this town has served as a beacon of rest for hard-working patriots. That makes relaxing here a kind of public service, right?

So we considered it our duty to give in to the free open chair snooze …

and explored the health benefits of the afternoon stroll with a power nap chaser.

With longer daylight hours, we still had plenty of time to enjoy the bike trails …

and breweries …

and restaurants …

and to gorge our eyes on the shameless display of Cape May Victorians.

Cape May made a festive finish line for the LIB Atlantic Coast Tour Extravaganza.

We love all types of architecture, but we reserve a soft spot for Victorians, and Cape May knows how to strut those vintage beauties. We spent hours strolling block after block researching houses, history, peering through the gingerbread tunnels …

and watching the delicate work of house elevations along the ocean front to mitigate flooding from sea-level rise.

The spruced up porches, furnished to the last detail for optimal napping, all seemed to say, “Me. Pick me.”

“Pick a favorite,” I said to Jim.

“That’s a tough one,” he responded.

“Fair enough,” I yawned. “Let’s go home and sleep on it.”

“Deal.”

If you want to see our exact route, click here.

*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.