The original item was published from March 10, 2016 10:56 AM to March 17, 2016 10:06 AM
Each spring, thousands of visitors flock to Cape May County to watch the flowers blossom around historic structures and enjoy the sun-soaked beaches. The area is known for its breathtaking historic preservation, colorful homes, and historic bed and breakfasts.
“Cape May will instantly squash any negative stereotype you may have of the Jersey Shore,”
says a recent story in NY Daily News, talking about the main town of Cape May that anchors the county. “The charming city—considered the country’s oldest seaside resort—boasts great beaches, big, beautiful Victorian houses, deep history, and artsy and upscale shops.” During the spring, it also welcomes world-class birders and couples who want to get away for a weekend to the Jersey Cape. Here are some of the top things to do in the spring in Cape May County, New Jersey.
Once winter ends, millions of birds make their way back north, many of them stopping in Cape May County. During spring, birders make Cape May County one of their key stops to see songbirds, egrets, herons, gulls and warblers. Large birds of prey can also be sighted in the area like hawks, owls, bald eagles and more. April through May is considered to be peak season to see the large number of birds, and birders can find hiking trails with excellent bird-watching at parks including Belleplain State Forest in Woodbine and Cape May Point State Park. Many birders also visit the beach to catch glimpses of sandpipers and other water birds. Guided tours are offered in the area as well. The Cape May Bird Observatory School of Birding allows guests to join some of the best field birders in the world on their hikes.
When spring is in full bloom, the area comes alive with outdoor festivals and events. The Private Homes Tours of the historic Cape May district is one of the most popular events of the year where homeowners of nationally registered historic places open their doors to visitors. Guests can browse through the homes to get a sense of what life looked like during the 1800s. Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery Tour in Rio Grande is another fun spring festival for wine lovers to see local scenery and taste local wines. Mother’s Day Weekend is often bustling with tons of festivals like Fashion Show & Brunch at Aleathea’s Restaurant in Cape May that shows off lace silhouettes and outfits from local designers. Emlen Physick Estate hosts a Jazz Brunch on Mother’s Day for families to help themselves to the gourmet buffet while listening to live jazz musicians on saxophones, clarinets and flutes.
Local Produce and Farm Stands
Fresh blueberries, tomatoes, Jersey corn, cucumbers, peppers, okra and basil—you name it, Cape May County’s farmer markets have it all. Local farmers bring in their best batches during peak season for guests to purchase and sample. Many of the farmer markets include local artisan and gourmet food products like Duckies Farm Market’s salsa sauce, Shine on Me Farms’ jams and jelly, and Avalon Produce Market’s homemade pies. Other fun items to keep an eye out
for in farmer markets are jewelry, fresh coffee, kettle corn, local seafood, fresh farm eggs, and flowers. Several of the markets’ locations are in Cape May, Wildwood, Sea Isle City and Stone Harbor.
During spring in Cape May County, you can spend your time outdoors—even during breakfast, lunch or dinner. Many Cape May County restaurants have cozy outdoor patios and spectacular views. Seafood is important in the area, and fish, crab, lobster and shrimp are brought in daily and served fresh at restaurants. Many of the seafood joints in the area have oceanside patios. Diners can also find restaurants in historic buildings and areas in Cape May County.
Cape May County is a popular destination for weddings. Its towns are inherently romantic with streets lined with Victorian houses that overlook the Atlantic Ocean. Bed and breakfast inns are among the best venues because of their charm, historic decor, easy access to the ocean, and accommodations for friends and family. Non-traditional wedding spots vary from getting married barefoot on the beach, to the top of Cape May lighthouse, to yachts. The county has numerous wedding services to make the big day stand out—think horse-drawn carriages and white dove releases.