Have you thought, “What Cape May needs is more places to have beer!” You’re in luck. Three upcoming MAC events are calling out to you. First is Brews at the Lighthouse, on July 19 from 4 to 8 P.M.. Located on the grounds of the Cape May lighthouse, the party will include music by Nate and Marnie, Barbecue by Matt’s barbecue, and Mr. Softee ice cream – and of, course beer by Cape May Brewing Company.
On August 15 from 4 to 8 P.M., MAC will present Brews at Harbor Cove at Harbor Cove park off Texas Avenue. The music will be by Lynne Smith, food by Hank Sauce, Matt’s Barbecue and Mr. Softee.
The annual big bash is August 3rdon the grounds of the Physick Estate on Washington Street. The Craft Beer, Music, and Crab Festival will frolic to its 8thyear, with steamed crabs, crab cakes, pulled pork, shrimp and hot dogs. Local breweries, distilleries and wineries will provide beverages. There will be music and kids activities. This is a fun day and the high point of many visitors’ stays in Cape May. Make it your new tradition.
I don’t claim to know much (or anything) about beer, but my niece and her fiance, Emma and Max, do, and they introduced me to Cape May Brewing Company. Suddenly, Cape May County is full ofbreweries. Some are reasonably big – like Cape May Brewing Company. Some are tiny, like 7 Mile Brewery. What many have in common it that they are run by enthusiastic young people and have a great atmosphere to hang out in – even if you are not a beer person.
Cape May Brewing Company is located in the airport about three miles north of Cape May. It has a great feeling and really nice employees. I’ve tasted many of their flavors of beer and am told that they are very good. There is also a taco place next door which is run by the owners of The Red Store (a high-end restaurant in Cape May Point) and you can get Mexican treats to go and bring them into the brewery. There’s a large outdoor patio where you can eat, drink, and hang out. Another nearby attraction in the airport is Naval Air Station Wildwood, a WWII aviation museum hosed in a wonderful old hangar. Both the building and the museum are wonderful.
Cold Spring Brewery is located in a rebuilt c.1900 barn on the grounds of Historic Cold Spring Village, about three miles north of Cape May. Here, the attraction is the craft beer, of course, but also the many local bands, the building, and the rest of Cold Spring Village. They also provide for your dog, so you can bring Fido or Rover along.
Gusto Brewing‘s motto is “Keep it small, keep it weird.” It’s located on Bayshore Road in North Cape May. It was founded by two guys (and a gal) from local families who are full of enthusiasm and optimism. The interior is bright and inviting and its tiny size makes you feel at home and part of the family. They also get high marks for their beer.
Bucket Brigade is a little brewery on Main Street (route 9) in Cape May Court House, about eight miles North of Cape May. It was opened by two Philadelphia firemen, and features lots of firehouse theme stuff. It is right in the middle of town, near the courthouse, the hospital, and shopping centers. People talk about how nice the staff is, how fun the interior, and how pleasant the atmosphere.
Make your reservations at Leith Hall bed and breakfast today and tour these and many other breweries soon.
A weird and wonderful phenomenon has spread across Cape May County over the last few years. It began with wineries, which are part of New Jersey’s efforts to encourage agriculture in The Garden State. Cape May Winery started the movement. It’s owned by the Craig family which also owns the wonderful Washington Inn, Lucky Bones, and Love the Cook; so they know about food and drink. Located on Townbank Road in North Cape May, they have a charming building and a great tour.
Willow Creek Winery in West Cape May is also nearby. It is the prettiest winery around. It features flowerbeds, beautiful grounds, and a very impressive building. You can also eat and drink outside and they frequently host craft shows and other events. While you are there, you can also visit Beach Plum Farm – an organic farm, next door.
Cape may has become the place for the thirsty vacationer to drink.
Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery on Seashore road is one of my favorites. Among other things, they grow Tempranillo grapes, which is what Rioja is made of in Spain. Tempranillo is dry red wine but isn’t very tannic, so your mouth won’t pucker and shrivel when the wine is young. Hawk Haven is also very informal and fun, with entertainment and food on the crushpad every weekend.
My favorite wine comes from Turdo Vinyards, which is just on the North side of the Cape May Canal. It is a small, house-size, winery and makes wine from Nebbiolo (think Barolo) grapes, from Nero d’Avola (the grape of Sicily), as well as others. Their wine is very good and brings back memories of trips to Italy.
Natali Vineyard and Jessie Creek; are both on Route 47 in Cape May Court House. I’ve been told by my guests that Cape May is called the Napa of New Jersey – and these two wineries offer wines for every taste. Whether you want sweet or dry, easy or tough, light or heavy, you can find a wine to love.
This year’s Cape May Music Festival kicks off on Sunday May 26 with the Atlantic Brass Band in the Victorian bandstand in Rotary Park playing Americana to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend.
Then, the festival continues two days later, on the 28th, with an innovative concert called Chamber Jazz, by the New York Chamber Ensemble. It will include works by Duke Ellington, Astor Piazzolla, Roy Orbison, as well as Mozart and Rossini. Suzie and I will be there and are eagerly anticipating a great evening.
Out third concert will be the most easy to listen to classical music – the most accessible – Viennese. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will be at the Church of the Advent on My 30th at 8 P.M., playing Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, and others.
I made this teatime treat this past weekend and four different guests asked for the recipe. I’m happy to share it.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
350 agrees F.
line a 9×13 baking pan with cooking parchment
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at aa time. Mix all of the dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture in parts, alternating with the sour cream and vanilla. Turn about half of the batter into the baking pan.
I make these blueberry muffins for my guests whenever I make scrambled eggs with cream cheese and dill. When I can get them, I use wild blueberries from Wyman’s. Otherwise, I use fresh or frozen cultivated blueberries.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbs. Baking powder
½ tsp. Salt
½ cup sugar
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp. Lemon extract
1 cup blueberries
Beat the egg, then beat in the milk, butter, lemon extract. Mix the flour and baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix the dry into the wet ingredients util incorporated but not more. Mix in the blueberries. Portion into paper lined and cooking-sprayed muffin cups. Bake at 375 F. for 10 minutes on top shelf, then 10 minutes on bottom shelf. They should spring back when fully baked. If they don’t spring back, leave them in the turned-off oven for 3 to 5 minutes to firm up.
This general recipe also works for any other kind of muffins. Leave out the lemon extract and blueberries and replace with vanilla paste and chocolate chips for chocolate chip muffins. Or replace with orange extract and dried cranberries, or replace the sugar with light brown sugar, the lemon with vanilla, and the fruit with rum soaked raisins for rum-raisin muffins. Or substitute coconut extract and shredded sweetened coconut. Vanilla, a finely chopped apple and cinnamon will make apple muffins.
Cape May has been named the best Beach on the Jersey Shore. An article by Joe Atmonavage quotes on NJ.com “As the farthest point south on the Shore, Cape May is the crown jewel of the region with gorgeous beaches and a quaint town center filled with gingerbread Victorians and colorful red and breakfasts.” the Travel Chanel post read. “Bring your binoculars to the beach to spy the playful dolphins jumping in the wake.”
Bonnie stayed with us last weekend and had these lemon squares for teatime. I always serve something chocolate and something non-chocolate at teatime. Otherwise the guests rebel.
These are very easy to make. You could also use two or three packages of cream cheese, which will make lemon flavored cheesecake. You can sprinkle the squares with powdered sugar to serve, or you could decorate them with candied violets or rose petals.
preheat oven to 350 F.
1 ½ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups flour
Mix the crust ingredients together and turn into an 8”x8” or 9’x9′ metal baking pan, lined with cooking parchment. Press the crumbs into an even crust on the bottom of the pan. A small measuring cup works well for this.
1 8 oz. Package of cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup flour
2/3 cup Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice.
Grated zest of ½ lemon
Beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer, scraping the sides regularly, until the cream cheese is soft and smooth. Beat in eggs, ,one at a time, beating well after each addition, to avoid lumps. Then beat in all of the other ingredients and pour the mixture on top of the crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until just colored around the edges. Do not brown.
Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate ’till cold. Loosen the cooking parchment. Turn the cake onto a cutting board, peel off the cooking parchment, then turn again onto a serving plate,
Cut into squares with a small knife dipped into water between cuts.
It’s not to late to reserve for Saturday, August 5, for the Craft Beer and Crab Fest. Go to the beautiful grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate for an all-day festival featuring local craft beers to wash down favorite summer foods … steamed crabs, pulled pork, crab cakes, shrimp and hot dogs. There will be music all day, Jugglers, acrobats, and low-wire walkers from the Little Circus, and a crafts and collectibles show.
The music will begin at 11 A.M. And will feature The Honeyhawks, James Callio, Jake Tavill, Sean Preston, and the Quixote Project. Some of our local food purveyors will be Gaiss’ Market offering Bacon on a Stick, Crespella offering crepes, Eat Well with lobster rolls and grilled cheese, Executive Catering selling fish tacos, and Wahlburger offering hamburgers.
P.S. Suzie and I recently visited the Cape May Brewing Company with our niece and her fiance. It was a wonderful place to be and I even liked the beer, (and I don’t even like beer). I’d recommend the festival at the PhysickEstate for Saturday, and the Brewing Company for Sunday, after the beach. The owners of the Red Store in Cape May Point have opened a taco place next to the brewing company, so you can have some food to go with the beer.
Cape May is the place to come for the most old fashioned Independence Day you can imagine. First, the Independence Day celebrations begin on Saturday, July 1st with the Independence Day parade down Beach Avenue starting at 1 P.M. You can walk just a few yards from the Leith Hall porch to have a curbside view. Later, you can visit one of the many spectacular restaurants for dinner, take a trolley tour, climb the lighthouse, shop at West End Garage or the West Cape May Artist’s Coop.
On July Third, Lower Township has their fireworks show and fair on the bay-front. The fair starts at 5 P.M. (between Lincoln and Emerson Streets, near the Ferry Terminal) , and the fireworks start at 9 P.M.. We drive up to North Cape May or the Villas with our sand chairs and find a good spot to park.
Finally, on July Fourth, starting at 9.P.M., walk the half-block down to the beach for the annual fireworks co-sponsored by Congress Hall and the City of Cape May. If you like, you can walk right for a couple of blocks to hear the band on the Congress Hall lawn.