At Homestead Real Estate, we’ve always encouraged our guests to “live like local’s” when they visit Cape May. The reason for this is simple. Just as the local residents of any large city, Cape May locals each have their own favorite places to shop, dine, relax, and enjoy the company of friends. It’s the reason why Cape May was recently named one of the “25 small towns in New Jersey where everyone knows your name.” Yes, Cape May’s summer population hovers around a not so small 40,000 people (relatively speaking); but year round residents comprise just about 4000 of them. It’s only natural that this small slice of the population pie may have some insights that you, our rental guests, will enjoy!
If you’ve visited Cape May in the past then there’s a good chance you may have become acquainted with our various local occupants. Many of them work here in season and even year round. Some have quietly resided in town their entire lives, others are families that have witnessed their children grow up in our community, and then there are those long time vacationers whose dreams of retiring to our tranquil shores have now become a reality. Such a versatile demographic lends itself to the true beauty of our town. Lifelong residents and local families are often aware of our fascinating history and are apt to entertain with stories of a bygone era. They’re knowledgeable as to the unique origins of local businesses and the changes in landscape that occur with the seasons. Typically, they’re also more than happy to discuss their favorite venues and attractions here in town. To the contrary, those residents that have more recently retired to town often bring a distinct perspective to the community. What they may lack in knowledge of local history is often compensated for in many years worth of Cape May vacation memories that they love to share with present day visitors and vacationers.
Whether you’ve visited Cape May for a week, a weekend, or even just a day, we want to encourage you to enjoy like a local the next time you’re here. And with repeat visits….everyone may begin to know YOUR name as well! The benefits to such a tight knit community are many. First, there is an unparalleled trust and camaraderie not typically experienced in our modern age. Of course nearly every business on the island is a small outfit. But did you know that some even operate via the honor system? Enfin Farms on Sunset Blvd. is well known for their long lines every weekend (in season). And trust us; there are lines for a reason! But in addition to the fantastic home baked bread, the small farm also sells fresh tomatoes, arugula, and various seasonal veggies 24/7 via their roadside stand.
On the subject of farm stands, we must also make mention of Beach Plum Farm. Set on Steven’s Street in West Cape May, the farm services a number of Cape May’s finest restaurants with over 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Fresh flowers and herbs are grown as well, and the onsite farm stand is currently open Saturday’s and Sunday’s from 9 am until 4 pm. So if you’re in the mood to give your rental property kitchen a little workout, this is the place to start your food shopping. You may be curious as to how an island beach community can support such a lush farming environment. Well, it’s because Cape May has not always been an island! That’s right; a little known local tidbit is that the Cape May canal was built at the time of World War II. Prior to that, we were part of the mainland. Just something to remember the next time you are walking around enjoying the abundant natural vegetation of our “Island”.
As the unofficial start of the summer season is only 6 weeks in the future, we are moving swiftly into the heart of our “pre season”. While typically not quite warm enough for lazy beach days, the pre-season is an ideal time to experience many of Cape May’s additional activities. We always like to make mention of some of our favorites like the fantastic shopping and dining, the sunsets, and gorgeous walks along the beach or promenade. But if you’re in town within the next week or so, there are a bevy of fantastic special events. This Friday, April 22nd is the Lighthouse Full Moon Climb sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts. Go ahead and splurge on dessert at dinner. Afterward, work off those calories by climbing the 199 steps of the Cape May Lighthouse by the light of the full moon. The view from the top is guaranteed to take your breath away!
April 22nd through 24th marks the Exit Zero Jazz Festival. You’re definitely going to want to make a weekend out of this! Notable headliners include Pat Metheny, Ron Carter, and Lisa Fisher Grand Baton, just to name a few. A favorite among the locals, the Jazz Fest is an ideal event to make acquaintance with many a Cape May native. Just another way you can truly feel like a local, even for a weekend.
One aspect of Cape May that is oft overlooked (as in any resort community) is the amount of work the locals complete in order to ensure that our enclave is continually safe, pristine, and unique. Many business and homeowner’s have labored very hard to make Cape May the picturesque town that you currently visit. While help is not required, it’s always appreciated and can even be fun! One such way to give back to the Cape May community is to participate in the Clean Ocean Action 31st Annual Beach Sweeps. This event takes place rain or shine. All are encouraged to take part, but we remind you that volunteers must be 18 years of age OR accompanied by an adult. Coinciding with the Beach Sweep is the Nature Center of Cape May’s Earth Day and Marine Debris Cleanup on Saturday, April 30th from 9:00 am to noon. If gardening is more to your liking, this is the event for you. You’ll be able to assist the nature center staff and volunteers in prepping the Center’s gardens for spring. It’s a great community service project and a fun time as well!
Whether you’re a true Cape May local, a part time resident, or a first time visitor, we hope you’ll allow yourself to experience all that our town has to offer. Come see for yourself why the Cape May community is something truly special, and let everyone know YOUR name. You’ll be glad you did.
For more information about Homestead staff and some of OUR favorite local places, check out our bios via the following links: