The Victorian jewel of southern New Jersey's coastal towns, Cape May is beloved for its antique architecture, beautiful beaches, and old-fashioned charm. This season, try a new outpost of an old-timey general store, sip craft beers at the annual Craft Beer and Crab Festival, and celebrate summer with a weekly clambake at America’s oldest seaside resort.
Where to Stay
This Cape May landmark hotel, which celebrated its bicentennial last summer, boasts recently refurbished guest rooms (soft blue walls, white linens, Americana-inspired furniture) that give the stately, colonnaded property a fresh, contemporary feel. It also offers a slew of family-friendly events for summer, like carnivals on its Grand Lawn every Monday evening and a clambake every Tuesday through the end of August. Rooms from $300; 200 Congress Pl.; 888-944-1816; caperesorts.com.
The Reeds at Shelter Haven
A short 20-minute drive from Cape May in Stone Harbor, this nearly 4-year-old hotel offers comfortable—though somewhat generic—accommodations (chevron pillows, white enameled side tables) and complimentary yoga classes on the roof. Rooms from $420; 9601 Third Ave.; 609-368-0100; reedsatshelterhaven.com.
Where to Eat
Shamone Bites + Wines
Opened last summer, Cape May’s busy Washington Street Mall now has a tapas bar. With only one seating, at 7 p.m., and a 15-course menu that changes daily, seats fill up quickly. For now, it’s still BYOB, so come prepared—perhaps with a bottle from the local Willow Creek Winery (willowcreekwinerycapemay.com). 421 Washington St.; 609-600-1846; kararestaurantgroup.com.
The Little Store
The owners of the Red Store, the old-timey general store with a James Beard nominee–run restaurant and supper club, located in more serene Cape May Point, quietly opened a small outpost of their acclaimed venture closer to town. Tartines, banh mi, empanadas, multi-ingredient juices, baked goods, and a small market—all well suited to a beach picnic—are on offer. 1208 Route 109; 609-305-4582; littlestorecapemay.com.
Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille
A relaxed family restaurant in the Montreal Beach Resort, the recently renovated Harry’s boasts exposed brick walls, exposed bulbs hanging by rope, additional lounge seating outside, and a rooftop bar. The restaurant continues its beachside delivery service and live music from Thursday to Sunday all summer long. 1025 Beach Ave.; 800-525-7011; montrealbeachresort.com.
What to Do
Craft Beer and Crab Festival
The sixth annual beer and crab festival takes places this year on August 5 at the Emlen Physick Estate. Sample crab boil, pulled pork, and craft beers from local breweries alongside live music and an old-fashioned circus. Proceeds from the event go to support the Mid Atlantic Center for Arts and the Humanities’ programs in local schools. 1048 Washington St.; 609-884-5405; capemaymac.org.
Yoga on the Beach and Aerobics in the Vineyard
Local studio Balance Cape May hosts group yoga every morning on the beach at 8 a.m., and can also arrange private sessions for those seeking more personalized attention. 600 Park Blvd.; 609-884-3001; balancecapemay.com.
Tours of Beach Plum Farm
The 62-acre farm two miles from town supplies many of Cape May’s top restaurants with herbs, eggs, vegetables, and fruit. Throughout the summer, visitors are welcome to tour the grounds and fill their own baskets with fresh strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon, and other seasonal produce. Forty-minute walking tours are also available Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m.; 140 Stevens St.; 609-884-6542; caperesorts.com.