July 24, 2016

Amy Reade’s Other New Jersey

I remember reading last year’s New Jersey post by the very talented Rabbi Ilene Schneider and thinking, “Yes! Finally, someone who remembers that New Jersey is more than just an extension of New York City!”
I live even farther south than Rabbi Schneider, and my neck of the woods is really more beach than woods. I live in Cape May County, the southernmost county in New Jersey, and this area of the state is known for its beaches and charming barrier islands.
Southern New Jersey relies heavily on the hospitality and tourism business, as many places are only fully open during the high season-Memorial Day to Labor Day. Shops, hotels, bed and breakfast inns, restaurants, many of Cape May County’s famous antique stores, even some churches, are not open during the winter months, and the population shrinks to a fraction of its summertime numbers.

And though the area is tourist-dependent, I must say my favorite time of year is in late September, when the tourists have gone home, the water is still warm, and the weather is beautiful. There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting on the sand and seeing the entire beach spread out in front of you, with no other human being to block the view or distract from the sound of the waves as they whoosh in and out at the shoreline. The photo of the beach was actually taken during the winter months, but you get the idea.

One of the nice things about the barrier islands, too, is the way they promote small businesses. On the island closest to my home, Ocean City, you won’t find any chain motels or hotels. The same is true, as far as I know, all the way down to Cape May. There is an abundance of locally-owned and operated places to stay, eat, shop, relax, and have fun. I especially love shopping in Cape May County during the holidays- this is a great place to find gifts for friends and family that you can’t get anywhere else. (The photo shows one of the hotels in Cape May, all decked out for Christmas)

The towns in Cape May County have something to offer everyone. Ocean City, “America’s Greatest Family Resort,” is a dry town, complete with a 2 ½ mile wooden boardwalk, rides, mini golf, funnel cakes, and a music pier that hosts everything from train shows to the “Mature Mr. Ocean City” pageant to magicians to the Ocean City Pops. Wildwood, down the road about a half hour, is more of a party town, with bars and a busy nighttime scene right on or near its bustling boardwalk.

Cape May, located where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, is a delightful town with beautifully-maintained Victorian homes, quaint streets, a rich history, a local theater, horse-and-buggy rides, a pedestrian mall with shopping and restaurants, and a huge stretch of sandy beach where you can relax after you’ve seen everything else.
Now that spring is in the air, gardens will start blooming and that world-famous Jersey Fresh produce will start to germinate and grow. We just came out of a winter that wasn’t too bad- we saw a bit of snow
but for the most part it was pretty tolerable. But spring is when everything starts
to wake up again and the whole area will be busy again before we know it.
I enjoyed writing this post because it gave me an excuse to take part of a day to wander around my county a bit and take some pictures for all of you. It also reminded me of how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place.

Amy M. Reade is a cook, chauffeur, household CEO, doctor, laundress, maid, psychiatrist, warden, seer, teacher, pet whisperer, and recovering attorney. In other words, a full-time wife, mother, and writer. She is the author of Secrets of Hallstead House and The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor and, most recently, House of Hanging Jade. She is currently working on the first book in a new series set in the United Kingdom (expected release date in early 2017). She loves cooking, reading, and traveling. 

I'll give away one ebook of House of the Hanging Jade. to one lucky person.  Just comment here and leave your contact information for the win!

Amy can be found online at the following places:
Tumblr: www.amymreade.tumblr.com
(info provided by author)


  1. Annette, thank you for hosting me here today! I hope your readers enjoy learning more about New Jersey!

  2. Amy,
    Last month, I visited Ocean City - Maryland. After reading your post, I wish I'd gone to New Jersey instead. Great post!

  3. Enjoyed seeing the sights in one of the most beautiful parts of New Jersey.

  4. New Jersey is definitely on my 'to visit' list and Cape May sounds lovely.

    Please do not add me to the drawing for books....my TBR pile is way too large now.

    Good luck and God's blessings.


  5. Great post, I felt the sun on the beach and the wood of the boardwalk! I actually lived a couple of hours from there, in Wayne, only for 5 months though. That's a story for another time!
    Have a great day!

  6. Pat, I've visited Ocean City, MD, in the past and enjoyed it. I have to say, though, that I'm partial to OC, NJ. It's much quieter and less commercial.

  7. Thanks, John! I tend to take it for granted sometimes, so it's nice to try to see it through fresh eyes every so often.

  8. Amy, I've been to New Jersey only once and was surprised that it's the "Garden State." I loved the shore. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I love southern Jersey. I met my husband in Margate. Growing up in Delaware, my family went to Wildwood and not the Delaware beaches. I still prefer the Jersey Shore to the Delaware beach. Love Cape May and Ocean City. Spent lots of time in Ocean City. Thanks for a great blog.

  10. Thank you for describing one of my favorite NJ areas. Although a true New Yorker, I lived in NJ (Exit 8 on TPKE - you'll get it) for 32 years. I loved day trips to Cape May and environs. Beautiful town, great shopping, still have baskets and a screen from the wicker store. Even crossed the long bridge to Delaware, driving south. Bird watching is amazing in Cape May. Antiquing in surrounding areas is the best. Kudos for your lovely blog and pics. May your books bring you fame and fortune.

  11. I enjoyed this blog today, Amy. And the pictures made it even more interesting. I've never visited your state and it is not on my TBV list. I wish you great success with your books and would love to read your prize as an introduction to your work. Linda Swift,

  12. Pam, I hope you get to visit Cape May sometime!

  13. Sharon, I've never been to Wayne. I don't know the state very well north of here, but when my daughter goes to school in the fall I'm sure I'll start acquainting myself with the northern part of the state. Thanks for visiting!

  14. Joyce, the produce in the summer is one of my favorite parts of summer. In fact, as I type this I'm eating a Jersey-fresh peach and it's delicious. Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Hi Cara, thanks for the comment! I also prefer the New Jersey beaches, though I have to say we don't spend much time at them. Strathmere Beach is my favorite.

  16. Hi Fran, glad you enjoyed the post! I was at a conference last year where the discussion turned to people from New Jersey and we all mentioned how we describe where we live by exit numbers! Glad you have such lovely memories, and thank you for the very kind words.

  17. Thank you, Linda. I'm glad you enjoyed the blog and the photos!

  18. I really enjoyed Pat's first book, The Easter Egg Murder. I have yet to read her second, but hope to before too long.

    Your synopsis of New Mexico history was an excellent and succinct nugget of knowledge. Maybe it will help some to discover The Land of Enchantment is more than what was once part of Mexico.


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