Cape May, N.J.: Savoring America’s oldest seaside resort
Among East Coast shore destinations, Cape May has “a charm like no other,” said Eric Levin and Lynn Martenstein in the New Jersey Monthly. The nation’s oldest seaside resort, which was drawing bathers from Philadelphia as early as 1766, is famous for its Victorian architecture and a little less renowned for being one of the largest commercial fishing ports on the East Coast. The resulting abundance of fresh seafood is just one reason Cape May is great for dining. Below are three others.
Beach Plum Farm Kitchen Buy tickets in advance for the special prix-fixe meals at Beach Plum Farm, where “the setting is as much a draw as the food.” The farm supplies fruit and produce to three of Cape May’s best restaurants—Blue Pig, Ebbitt Room, and Rusty Nail—and welcomes guests for al fresco dinners three nights a week through summer. Fridays feature the local catch. 140 Stevens St., West Cape May (609) 972-8070
The Magnolia Room at the Chalfonte Hotel Lucille Thompson has now worked 83 summers at the Chalfonte, and the pretty 1876 inn still counts on the 90-year-old to bake her signature creamy/crusty dinner rolls each day. The Chalfonte has always been a reminder that Cape May sits south of the Mason-Dixon Line, and its menu still features the collards and fried chicken that Thompson’s mother once made. 301 Howard St., (609) 884-8409
The Washington Inn Built in 1846 and a hotel since 1940, the Washington Inn has been a top local dining destination for four decades. Chef Mimi Wood specializes in upscale American, and the inn’s “ace in the hole” is its wine list—“by far the most extensive in Cape May.” 801 Washington St., (609) 884-5697