We all needed a break… except, perhaps, Enzo, who cocked his head skeptically every time I said, “We’re going to the beach. Isn’t that grand?” Dogs, like old folks (“Not I” said the Little Red Hen), appreciate the reliability of routine.
It was our first effort at making Enzo into a traveler. All our prior dogs had loved going places. Miss Puppy, ultra flexible and curious by nature, was a great long-haul travel companion. I naively thought—no, wrongly assumed— that Enzo would have the same enthusiasm for road trips. Not so much. Dogs, of course, are as different from one to the next as people are. My bad. He’s just not that into the ride part. Thankfully, though, he tolerated the trip.
Our destination was “exit zero” of the Garden State — Cape May, NJ. For many reasons, we had to give up New England again this year. We’d been to Cape May many times over the years, but always as a day trip from nearby Avalon. Time for a change.
Cape May has a very different vibe from most Jersey Shore towns. It is quintessentially Victorian, with street-after street of gorgeous homes, large and small, that have been lovingly and faithfully preserved. Many are B&Bs, inns, and seasonal rentals. The beach town has been a favorite of the rich and famous for at least a century. The late Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson, was a Baltimore-born socialite who made her debut to society in Cape May. Ironically, many properties bear the names of English royals—the Queen Victoria, the Prince Edward, The Duke of Windsor.
Opting to stay outside of town, we took a pet-friendly house at Cape May Point, near conservancy lands, Sunset Beach (where you can take in a spectacular sunset as well as the World War II lookout tower and bunker and the wreck of the World War I-era SS Atlantus, the Cape May Point State Park, and the many fine places to observe shore birds and marine life. I took few photos on this trip, mostly because I wanted to relax and wind down.
Enzo was introduced to the beach the day after we arrived. He didn’t seem frightened but did a cute little backward dance as the surf tickled his feet. On balance, he adjusted to the new environment quite well even though it must have puzzled him. Of course, most of the time there were four of us to fuss over him, and, as always, he met more than his share of admirers. That boy likes nothing better than hearing a total stranger say, “Oh, aren’t you cute!”
Not a typical beach vacation by any means, but still a very good week. We had great weather and got plenty of fresh ocean air. Our daughter, who is in the wine business, made sure that we were well stocked. We had lots of fish but also fried chicken at the historic Chalfonte. It’s the real thing, and legendary, just as Hubby promised, and as good as any I’ve ever had down south. Our friend Jen referred us to McGlade’s on the pier, for breakfast (a favorite vacation pleasure). Thanks to our son, we enjoyed the pasta with zucchini that Stanley Tucci swooned over. At night we binged Curb Your Enthusiasm. Laugh therapy works.
New Jersey is all about these simple pleasures. Although town was busy with tourists, it wasn’t packed with tourists. That’s the benefit of being at the beach after Labor Day. It may not be that warm, but it will be warm enough, with plenty of salt air to take in and plenty of peace to be found.
Yes, it was a good week. We got the break we needed, for which we’re all incredibly grateful. And given last week’s devastating hurricane and the loss and suffering it left behind, especially in Florida, even more so. If you are so inclined, there are many who need help.