Tripatini contributor Fyllis Hockman writes:

"My main bit of advice to visitors to Cape May, New Jersey: Look up! That’s where you´ll find most the delights of this town of around 2,800, a drive of some 2½ hours south from New York City and just under two hours from Philadelphia. The United States´ oldest seashore resort, has been catering to vacationers since pre-Revolutionary days, although there were probably a lot fewer T-shirt shops at the time. There's evidence that even earlier "tourists" in the form of the nearby Kechemeche tribe came there in summer to hunt and fish. Later, the shady tree-lined streets and colorful homes of Cape May became the playground of 19th- and early-20th-century presidents including Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Chester Arthur, and Benjamin Harrison, who sought refuge there from the humidity of Washington DC summers. Not bad references!

Although this delightful town grew beyond its colonial trappings, it instead became stuck in the late-19th-century Victorian era, when it was rebuilt after being destroyed by fire for the third time. And thankfully it stopped there, leaving Cape May with more than 600 houses and other structures (most of which have been refurbished), leading it to be designated a National Landmark City -  the only one in the United States to be wholly designated as a national historic district. Hard to compete with that.

Street after street -- house after house -- enchants, charms and captivates visitors intrigued by the intricate detail that distinguishes one from the other. Despite the similarity in architectural style, there is infinite variety in their beautiful presentations."

Read more in her post Sea, Sun, Fun - and Victoriana: Escape to Another Era in Cape May, New Jersey.


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