First night in Cape May
October 12, 2013
The rain came in waves just after we left Jersey City – we crossing band after band on the way south, traffic so thick we seemed in a perpetual traffic jam like those near where we lived.
So travel was slow and uncomfortable until we reached Toms River after which the tension eased and we traveled a bit faster.
Yet, it took much longer than usual to get to Cape May, and even though we left early, we did not arrive until after dark, and to still more rain.
As with last year, we stayed at a cheaper hotel on Pittsburgh Avenue, as the rain came and went then came again.
We drove to the beach and took dinner at Carey’s, too late for the early bird special.
The food was serviceable, if not cheap: breaded fish with French fries and salad, better than bar food which the place also offered.
We then tried to take our usual stroll down the promenade – an arrival ritual that we did every year on the first night – but wind and thunder and cascading rain – and finally bolts of lightning arrived before we even got to the arcade, a half way point for our stroll. This forced us to take cover under the awning of the old beach-side theater, a building straight out of American Graffiti, which has awaited demolition for several years.
Across the street, a state senator rushed out to his SVU from a political function held at the ostentatious convention center – a new and improved performance facility locals had installed over the bones of a much simpler facility that had been condemned a few years earlier. Whether this event was to promote the election of Steve Lonegan to the U.S. Senate, I could not tell. The sign above the hall simply said, “Congratulations Jack.”
Two old ladies with wheeled charts rushed out of the gush of rain to join us. One cart fell over in the gush of wind spilling its contents of assorted stuff onto the slick sidewalk. I helped the later gather her possession and then they moved on.
We did not wait for the rain to stop. We hurried out of one protected piece of landscape to a covered sidewalk near the restaurant we had just dined at, and settled under the protection of this sidewalk enclosure as the rain became heavy again. There we noticed that one of the bars was offering rock music later and so we decided to indulge, killing time with a brief but moist walk to the outdoor mall a few blocks away, ducking in and out of doorways until the mall ended and we scrambled back to the promenade, strolling it in the drizzle until it was time for the bands to go on.
Maybe the morning would provide a brighter, dryer day, I thought as I slipped my rum and coat and listened to music so mellow it might well have put me asleep, but only made me zone out for a while – a good thing, I thought.