Duck Pond Trail

During our last day in Cape May, I convinced Bhavna to wake up early and take a walk in Cape May Point State Park.

During our last day in Cape May, I convinced Bhavna to wake up early and take a walk in Cape May Point State Park. I wanted her to experience the peacefulness of walking among the tall brown grass and lush green trees while listening to the birds singing. I thought it would be a magical experience before heading off to the The Seed, a brewery in Atlantic City that we both had on our bucket list.

After enjoying a quick breakfast at George's Place Cape May, a cosy local restaurant in the downtown area, we made our way to Cape May Point State Park.

Cape May Duck Pond Trail
Sunday 16 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 at 1100 sec, ISO 160 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR at 55 mm at f/22
Cape May Duck Pond Trail
Sunday 16 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Sunday 16 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 at 1100 sec, ISO 160 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR at 55 mm at f/3.2

Due to time constraints, instead of the Blue Trail, I opted for a shorter hike, walking on the raised platform along the Yellow Trail. We took a left fork, and then another left to Cape May Pond to see the Cape May Lighthouse before returning to the Yellow Trail. We continued on the Yellow Trail until it met with the regular Yellow Trail, and then we doubled back, returning to the parking lot via the Red Trail. This short combination of the Yellow Trail and Red Trail is also called Duck Pond Trail. Duck Pond Trail is wheelchair accessible and offers views of Lighthouse Pond West and East.

Sunday 16 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 at 1340 sec, ISO 160 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR at 55 mm at f/5.6
Sunday 16 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 at 1/1000 sec, ISO 160 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR at 55 mm at f/5.6
Sunday 16 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 at 1/1250 sec, ISO 160 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR at 55 mm at f/5.6
Cape May Lighthouse
Sunday 16 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 at 1850 sec, ISO 160 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR at 31.1 mm at f/8.0

Exploring Cape May: A Day of Shopping, Sightseeing, and Good Food

Upon returning from a somewhat underwhelming bird photography excursion at Cape May State Park, I returned to the Airbnb to find Bhavna sitting outside on the small patio, taking in the stunning scenery of the Willow Creek Winery and soaking up the warm sunshine. We shared a lovely morning and chatted about how much we enjoyed our stay thus far. The beer we had at Gusto Brewery and the wine at Willow Creek Winery were delightful. I also confided in her about my disappointment with the birding trip, explaining how the heavy fog made it quite challenging to spot birds except for a few swans and that, sadly, I couldn’t take photographs of the types of birds, such as Warblers and shore birds, that I had hoped to see. We discussed scheduling another trip to Cape May in the near future. After breakfast, we went to downtown Cape May to spend the day exploring the charming town.

Saturday 15 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF27mmF2.8 R WR

Our first stop was Washington Commons, where we conveniently found parking. I pointed out to Bhavna that the nearby clean public restroom I discovered during the morning trip to the _Out There Coffee _ shop was one of the reasons I chose to park there. With the temperature rising, I felt uncomfortable in the long-sleeved shirt I had worn on my early morning birding walk. I decided to pop into Cape May Surf for a more suitable cotton short sleeve shirt. I bought one with a lovely palm tree motif that Bhavna thinks fits my casual style perfectly. Bhavna also purchased a pair of pants on sale at Bella, but unfortunately, she later regretted the purchase.

Saturday 15 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF27mmF2.8 R WR

Crossing Ocean Street, we entered the Washington Street shopping mall, which was bustling with various shops. Our first stop was Cotton Company, where I hoped to find more summer casual attire. The friend store attendant noticed my Patagonia spring coat which I had wrapped around my waist. He steered me toward the shelves where the store had its Patagonia clothing. I found nothing in the size and colour that suited me, so we left. We continued to explore the eclectic mix of stores on Washington Street shopping mall between Ocean Street and Perry Street, finding unique items and enjoying the vibrant atmosphere.

Saturday 15 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF27mmF2.8 R WR

We left the Washington Street shopping mall and leisurely walked along Ocean Street towards Beach Avenue. We enjoyed the architecture of the colourful Victorian homes that adorned the street. This added to the charm of the town.

As we continued our stroll, we eventually made our way to Beach Avenue, where we enjoyed a leisurely walk along the boardwalk. The picturesque views of the beach and the tranquil sounds of the ocean were truly magnificent, but I noticed that the air had become cooler, and there was a light haze. On our return, we decided to stop by the Cape May Popcorn Factory on Gurney Street. As a popcorn lover, I couldn’t resist indulging in one of my favourite treats and purchased a large bag of popcorn. I opted for the classic, regular popcorn you can typically find at the movie theatre. It is a simple yet satisfying treat.

Saturday 15 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF27mmF2.8 R WR

We stopped at the far end of Gurney Street to admire "The Abbey," a historic home built in late 1869 with a rich history as a bed and breakfast inn in Cape May. It’s interesting how homes like this one accurately represent the grandeur of the Victorian era. The intricate woodwork, gingerbread trim, and vibrant colour schemes typical of Victorian architecture are all fully displayed in this mansion. The pointed arch windows and steeply pitched roof of The Abbey’s grand facade make it stand out and command attention on the street. I later learned that the property underwent an extensive renovation to transform it into a vacation rental, offering guests a unique and memorable experience.

The Abbey - Vacation Rental · Saturday 15 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF27mmF2.8 R WR

We also made a quick stop at the Soldiers Monument. Also known as All Wars Monument and located in Rotary Park, this monument is dedicated to the memory of those who have served in the United States Armed Forces, particularly those who have given their lives in service and is a tribute to the brave residents of Cape May who served in World War I. The obelisk stands tall on a small traffic island, surrounded by lovely landscaping. Its square cube base, mounted on a larger stone slab, features bronze plaques on each side with dedications to the local veterans and an Honour Roll. Atop the orb sits a magnificent bronze eagle with its wings outstretched and looking to the side.

Saturday 15 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF27mmF2.8 R WR

Remembering our desire to try the local beer, we returned to Jackson Avenue and headed to the Mad Batter Restaurant and Bar. I had checked their menu on the Untappd iPhone app and was excited to see they offered beer from a brewery in Atlantic City called "The Seed". Unfortunately, they no longer served it. However, the bartender kindly informed us that The Cricket Club, their more upscale restaurant just around the corner, had it on tap. We were thrilled and made a reservation for dinner at The Cricket Club. While there, I enjoyed the "Wading Out" lager by Tonewood Brewing and the "Just 2 More Miles" lager by Ludlam Island Brewery. The atmosphere was lively and diverse, with a group of young men and women dressed in punk rock outfits who had been friends since high school and chose a new theme for dressing up each year. It was a great afternoon, and I’m grateful for the helpful advice we received.

Mad Batter Bar · Saturday 15 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF27mmF2.8 R WR

Returning to our Airbnb, we took a refreshing nap to recharge.

We were immediately met with a welcoming and cosy atmosphere at The Cricket Club. We enjoyed sampling the craft beers brewed by The Seed in Atlantic City. I enjoyed trying the Mooey On Purple, a very session-able bitter ale brewed in collaboration with Bonn Place Brewing Co. in Easton, Pennsylvania. I also indulged in the Stay Awhile, an English-inspired Dark Mild, and the Here, Now, an Old World-inspired English Best Bitter. We had the For Warmth, a small oatmeal stout conditioned on Indonesian vanilla to cap off our session. While we savoured the food and drinks, we excitedly planned for the next day, deciding to take a detour to Atlantic City to visit The Seed’s taproom.

After a day filled with shopping, sightseeing, and fantastic food, we returned to our cosy Airbnb, ready to retire for the night. Reflecting on the memories we had made, we were grateful for the opportunity to explore Cape May's charming streets, immerse ourselves in its rich history, and enjoy a delicious meal. We are stoked to come back to this cute little beach town!

Cosy Chambourcin Cottage at Willow Creek Vineyard

Bhavna and I had a lovely stay at Chambourcin Cottage. The cottage, which we found via Airbnb, is on private property near the entrance to the Willow Creek Vineyard. Chambourcin Cottage is on the second floor of the property and has two balconies with beautiful views of the vines and gardens of Willow Creek Winery. One balcony has a small coffee table and two chairs, perfect for a lazy breakfast. Complimentary parking is available next to the cottage, providing two convenient spaces for guests.

Walking into the cottage, I was pleasantly surprised by its country charm. It had all the necessary amenities, including two comfortable couches in the open living space, a beautifully tiled bathroom with a queen-sized bed, an inviting walk-in shower, and a modern galley kitchen with all the essentials. Despite its compact size, it met all our needs and even had a mini fridge to store any wines we might purchase at the winery.

View across form our cottage · Saturday 15 April 2023 · Apple iPhone 11 Pro · iPhone 11 Pro back camera 6mm f/2

Bhavna and I noted that this idyllic setting is ideal for couples or solo travellers seeking solace or, in our case, an escape from the mess at home.

One of the highlights of our stay was the 50-acre Willow Creek Vineyard, gardens and nearby pond. While only a tiny portion is pictured in the photograph, a sprawling winery is just a short walk.

I wanted to walk to the winery but thought better of it. Earlier that morning, while I packed my camera gear, one of the geese had decided I was unwelcome. It charged at me! I admit I was worried we'd have a fight. I jumped in the car and waited for the goose to leave. No harm and no fowl.

After we settled in, we drove to the winery and sampled some of the wines. During the weekend, from the serene haven of the back patio, we enjoyed the peaceful view of the gardens and the vineyards.

Overall, I found the cottage an excellent choice for our cosy getaway. It is a hidden gem.