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    Road Trip USA: The New Jersey Shore

    December 2018: Five days in Ocean City, Cape May, and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

    Ocean City:

    I have good friends who are semi-retired and live year round in Ocean City, New Jersey.  I spent a wonderful five days visiting them.

    I brought my bicycle with me so that I could ride the many miles of Ocean City boardwalk.

    Although Ocean City is a very old beach resort (for mostly rich folks from Philadelphia), many of the old beach houses were torn down and replaced with these fanciful 'kit' beach houses.  About 80% of these are vacant during the off-season.

    Ocean City has a nice beach.  There used to be a major pier, but it was washed away during Hurricane Sandy . . . which also inundated Ocean City streets.  The pier in the background is the private pier of the Ocean City Fishing Club.

    Ocean City has a few attractions, including a very fine boardwalk.  The town is 'dry' - alcohol is not sold in stores, so it has gained a reputation as a family beach.

    We had the beach to ourselves every day.

    I had the good luck to be here between storms . . . and wind.  Quite mild and calm days for December.  We took a nice bike ride to a nearby island and saw this inlet along the way.

    Much of the area to the west of Ocean City is designated as a wildlife reserve.

    Beach erosion is still an issue.  Successive hurricanes and 'noreasters' severely depleted the sands.  The local government dredged the seabed and sprayed sand back to make a new beach.  It will have to find it's new 'natural' levels.

    Wonderful patterns, shapes, and shadows in the beach dunes.

    Wind patterns in the sand.

    With my good buddy, Bud.

    Cape May

    My friends and I drove 20 minutes south to the lovely colonial seaside village of Cape May in the late afternoon to see the decorated old Victorian and Colonial houses.

    The sun had just gone down . . . and the houses were beginning to take on their night identity.

    There are so many cute houses in Cape May.  The Cape May Historic District has over 600 listed homes.  Fantastic!

    Cape May was first established as a village in 1632, on of the earliest settlements along the Atlantic coast.  Most of the homes in the Historic District are of the Late Victorian Era Style.

    The beautiful Victoria B&B . . . .

    The Queen Victoria B&B front door.

    Lovely turreted Victorian mansion.

    The pastel colors of the perfectly restored (maintained?) Victorians were so sweet.

    As the darkness continued to fall, the old houses began to light up in their Christmas charm.

    Although not as grand or ornate as some others in Cape May, I like this modest white house the most: it seems so inviting.

    Another one of my favorites . . .  that enclosed porch is just perfect!

    A typical Cape May street in the Historical District.

    Photographers love the 'magic hour' - the first and last hour of sunlight, but we also love the 'Blue Hour' - the time just before dark when the sky is a deep blue.

    The holiday decorations were very nicely done . . . and NONE of those horrible inflatables!

    Such a lovely little town . . . "The way it used it be" . . . at least for the few who could afford it, even back then.  My friends said this is "Philadelphia money."

    At times it seemed we were walking through a movie set . . . so perfect was the restoration . . . 

    These two were gems: big porches on both floors!

    Such a fantasy house!

    Cape May!  

    A beautiful gem in the blue hour.

    I could live here!

    The old houses come in many colors.

    Tourists come to Cape May all year. 

    There is an old timey park in Cape May with a lovely gazebo.

    Such a festive feeling.

    The buildings around the old town square.

    There is a nice walking street of old shops in Cape May proper.

    The shop windows were dressed for the season.

    So pretty.

    My friend, Bud, doing some last minute shopping.

    Christmas trees seemingly in every window!

    The interior of this hotel was nicely festooned with Christmas regalia.

    There was even a small Christmas Market in the garden of the old Heritage Hall Hotel.  Yes, we had glüwine.

    There were many cute little shops around the town center.

    As sweet as the commercial area of Cape May was, the star of the city is the vast numbers of Victorian houses lit in Christmas decorations.

    Gems in the night.

    Lit up like Christmas, as they say.

    A dream house . . . 

    Another favorite of mine . . . this pink grand dame in all its glory!

    Seen earlier in the daylight, now a gem box of amazing color and form.

    It was late (and  cold!) when we finally left Cape May.  I want to come back and stay in one of these old beauties.  I have added an additional entry at the end of this blog focusing on just the front porches of these old Victorians (Bottom).
    Atlantic City

    I drove north 30minutes from Ocean City one nice winter day.  I brought my bicycle with me and had a nice 10 mile ride along he famous Atlantic City boardwalk.

    Atlantic City has been the dream retirement spot for eastcoasters for generations. . .

    Hurricane Sandy and other major storms have played havoc with the Jersey Shore.  After dredged sand was blown in, an attempt to stabilize the new beach.

    The boardwalk and most of the buildings seemed to be in a good state of repair.

    The famous pier at Atlantic City was closed for the season.

    But, of curse, it is the Atlantic City boardwalk that attracts people, even on this cold and clear December day.  I really enjoyed my 10 mile bike ride along this wooden bike path.

    As I took a closer look at the large hotels, I was shocked to see so many of them boarded up . . . closed and abandoned.  The economic collapse of 2008 and the establishment of Native American casinos in Pennsylvania had a major negative eeconomic impact on Atlantic City.

    There were a few shops and a couple of cafes open to service the winter wanderers, like me.

    The weathered remains of a hotel beach party set-up . . . the last trace of the summer season.  I rode my bike back five miles, loaded it into my camper, and drove back to Ocean City . . . good exercise for the day.

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