Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Where the Parkway Ends

You've probably heard the joke about New Jersey (well, you've probably heard lots of jokes about New Jersey) -- that our sense of geography is based entirely around highway exits.  People actually do ask, "What exit are you?" usually referring to the Garden State Parkway.  Well, before meeting my boyfriend, my idea of "the shore" was exit 100, maybe 98 if I was feeling really adventurous.  Yesterday, I made it all the way down past exit 0 to the very end of the Parkway: downtown Cape May.  If you North Jerseyans can believe it, the Parkway has traffic lights for its last 20 exits and you can turn right on red onto the Parkway down there.  How quaint.

But before we went to Cape May proper, we visited the Cape May County Zoo, which is impressive considering that it isn't a big city zoo and it doesn't charge an entrance fee.  My boyfriend turns into a 5 year old around animals.  Bears are "big brown puppies" while otters are "river puppies" and he wants to jump into the cages to play with all of them.  My favorite was the lion because he was sleeping on his back with his limbs splayed out like my cat does at home (see picture at the bottom of this page).  Unfortunately, he was too far away to take a picture with my phone.  I did get some other nice shots:

a rather bold goat

Cape May is a cute town with brightly colored late Victorian style buildings and lots of little independently owned shops.  It's a town full of crap no one needs, but it's nice to see so many small businesses rather than a bunch of chain stores (even though there's a Dairy Queen in the picture below).  I had been here once before, so we didn't need to spend too much time perusing because I knew exactly what I wanted.  There's this great store called "Bath Time" that sells soaps, candles, lotions and other things that bore my boyfriend.  I only use soy candles because they produce less smoke and "Bath Time" has the best selection I've ever seen.  There's also a cool shop called "Love the Cook" that has a lot of cool kitchen tools (mostly "unitaskers" that Alton Brown would frown upon) and a ton of different flavored coffees and loose teas roasted/flavored locally.  I picked a dulce de leche flavored coffee and called it a day.

pedestrian mall

aqua building
By that point, we had been walking for four hours straight, so the rest of the day was spent on the couch, reading lazily or watching old TV shows.  We did make a little excursion to the beach at night (which I'm pretty sure we're not allowed to do, but I'm glad we did it anyway).  I think living in a suburb of New York City has made me forget what real darkness looks like.  There were no street lamps or lights on in the buildings around the beach, so I could only see the white froth of the waves, a lot of stars in the sky, and the lights of Atlantic City in the horizon.  It's enough to make me want to start saying "hoagie" and become a Flyers fan.  OK no, not really.  But it is really nice down here.

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