By Barbara Ann Zippi-Och
Taking the Garden State Parkway or Cape May-Lewes Ferry during the fall and winter months is turning into a year-round activity thanks to a growth in the hospitality industry.
Recent renovations to the Cape May Terminal include a restaurant with massive windows where you can watch or wait for these majestic ferries. From a daytime view of Lewes to magnificent sunsets, this location also has a playground overlooking the jetties to enjoy the sea air.
With a well-stocked ocean and bay for the best seafood around, many locations like the world-famous Lobster House in Cape May are starting to stay open all year long or close later in the season. This family-owned business has a variety of dining options or simply take a dock-side walk among their deep-sea fishing fleet that provides seafood to the East Coast region.
Following in the footsteps of the Brandywine Wine Trail, the Cape May Wine Trail, relatively new on the scene, has grown to almost 20 locations.
Have you ever heard the expression, “I wish I could bottle the smell of the seashore air”? A new generation of farmers is connecting the fertile soils producing award-winning Jersey corn, blueberries and tomatoes into grapes growing in the surroundings of that exhilarating air.
Cape May offers The Cape May Winery and Willow Creek Farm & Winery. Cape May Court House offers Natali Vineyards and Jessie Creek Winery. Lower Cape May Township offers Turbo Vineyards & Winery. Rio Grande offers G & W Winery and Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery.
If your taste buds favor beer, the craft beer craze and its economic growth potential has added another year-round option in Cape May County. These breweries, many already getting four- and five-star reviews, include Cold Spring Brewery, Cape May Brewing Co. Tasting Room and Brewtique, Slack Tide Brewing Co.; Bucket Brigade Brewery and Coho Brewing Co., Gusto Brewing Co., Lazy Eye Distillery and MudHen Brewing Co.
After a day of libations, dock-side dining options in the shoulder season include Wildwood’s The Wharf, The Boat House, Beach Creek Oyster Bar and Grill, Lighthouse Point Restaurant, Hooked Up Seafood, Ice House Restaurant, Urie’s Waterfront Restaurant. In North Wildwood there’s South Dock Cafe and Marina. In Cape May, there’s The Crab House & Two Mile Landing Restaurants, Harbor View Restaurant, Sea Salt Restaurant and Lucky Bones Back Water Grille. In North Cape May, check out Harpoons on the Bay.
These small business owners welcome visitors, many year-round. For specifics check their web sites and when you go, tell them you heard about it from this newspaper. And remember after the shoulder season, Christmas in Cape May is magical. IAH