September in Cape May

Cape May, NJ -  Every year, right around Labor Day, you can feel the change in the air and the town.

Summer’s intensity gives way to autumn’s sigh of relief. Vacationers with school aged children vanish from the beaches almost overnight. Time to get back to the classrooms.

In their place are wide open swaths of sand with migrating shorebirds here and there.  And a new crop of vacationers.

Some have tiny tots in tow. You’ll see them playing at the water’s edge. Others are empty nesters  who have the luxury of traveling whenever they choose. They choose September.

The ocean is still warm, but the crowds are gone. The days are sunny but not as humid.  The restaurants and shops are still open, yet you can get a parking space.  There’s a slower, less frenetic pace.  September in Cape May is hard to trump.

In September, you don’t come for activities or tours, you come for the place itself – for the wide blue sky stretched against the ribbon of deep blue ocean.  For the changing flora and the migrating wildlife. The entire Cape Island becomes a fall biking and birding mecca.

You can spot birders with their binoculars and scopes everywhere, and with good reason.  Local dune forests are alive with migrants this time of year. That includes Monarch butterflies.  The early bird butterflies are starting their southward migration now.

By early October, most of the Monarchs will be moving on.

As will the September wave of tourists.

But, just like the Monarchs who return year after year, anyone who visits Cape May in September always comes back.

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About Jane Kashlak

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