Life in Cape May: Season Opener

Cape May, NJ – Forget the robins, the daffodils, even the first beach goers. For people who know Cape May, nothing says the season has started  as much as a brand new Mercedes on the Washington Street Mall.

Every year, Star of the Sea Church holds a six month long raffle for the car. An army of volunteers like Kay Austin and Rose Kashlak man the ticket booth in front of the church on the mall, selling chances from April through October.  Saturday was their opening day.  Grace Crowley, the raffle chair, says they wanted to take advantage of the surge in visitors on Easter weekend.

They weren’t the only ones. Everything in Cape May seems to kick into gear on Easter weekend.

Restaurants open for Easter Sunday brunch. Shops that stayed closed during the chilly winter start opening their doors.

Hotels like the Montreal Inn traditionally start their season on Easter weekend. Todd Land, a marketing consultant with the hotel, says the weekend sells out relatively early.

The MidAtlantic Center for the Arts reports that many of its tours were sold out this weekend. The Cape May Lewes Ferry doubled its boat schedule.

The weekend’s popularity could have a lot to do with the fact that schools in the Philadelphia and New York areas have their spring breaks either last week or this week.  Also, both Easter and Passover occurred on the same weekend this year. The sunny, mild weather didn’t hurt.

Many people were on the Mall Sunday, wearing their spring clothing for the annual Easter promenade.

While the town is slowly shaking off  its winter sleepiness, it’s not fully awake yet.

Memorial Day weekend is the traditional start of the summer season at the Jersey shore. Some local shopkeepers say Cape May’s peak season won’t start until all the kids are out of school in June.

Don’t tell that to these two children from Sweden, with sweaters on but barefoot, happily digging in the sand Friday.

It might feel a bit early, but if the Mercedes is on the Mall, you know the season’s underway.

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About Jane Kashlak

Jane Kashlak - a journalist, gardener and Cape Island resident - is writing a book.