Cape May Gets an Early Start to the 2015 Season

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CAPE MAY, NJ -  Easter weekend brought in one sure sign of the season – “OPEN” signs flying in the stiff sea breezes.

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Even the horses at the Cape May Carriage Company were stepping out for the first time.

For some reason, Easter weekend is that line in the sand when the new summer season unofficially begins in Cape May.  It doesn’t matter if Easter comes late, like last year, or early, like this year.

Nanette Berg faithfully opened her Avalon Coffee and Tea Shop on Gurney Street this Easter weekend, just like every year.  But does this year’s early start mean more business? Nanette’s not convinced. This Easter was a little too early for some of the nearby hotels to open their doors. So, although the shop is now open on weekends, the coffee shop owner doesn’t expect to see a major surge of business until the end of the month.

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Same for The Red Store in Cape May Point.  As of Easter weekend, they’re now open on Saturday and Sunday. But they don’t expect the unusually early opening to jump start a burst of early April tourist traffic.

They’re not the only ones.

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Brooke Dodds from Empanada Mama’s, one of those rare Cape May restaurants that’s open all winter, says it’s all about the weather.   If the spring weather’s good, the tourists will come.  The holidays have little to do with it.

Beth O’Hara Boyle from Uncle Bill’s in North Cape May agrees.  She says she saw a bit of an uptick this weekend over last year at the same time, but mostly she says it’s all weather related.

No one knows that better than the folks at the Cape May Carriage Company.

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Ashley, one of the drivers, has been leading the horse drawn carriage tours for seven years.  This weekend, she was bundled up as she steered her carriage right into the ocean winds. She says, no doubt about it, the early holiday start will make little difference to businesses if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

So who benefits from this early start to the season?

Savvy visitors who know Cape May’s seasonal pricing can get some of the best hotel rates of the year in April.

And, for a few weeks, local residents who’ve been waiting patiently for their favorite restaurants and shops to open, can meander in and leisurely enjoy a second cup of coffee or glass of wine before the rest of the world arrives.

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About Jane Kashlak

Jane Kashlak is a journalist, a gardener and a Cape Island resident. She's also Cape May Times' photographer. She founded Cape May Times after a long and lively career in TV news.