I had the pleasure to be in Cape May for a few days just recently, right before Halloween. As it is the habit of the town to get all done up for holidays, so it was for that special spooky October date! Public areas, such as the famous Washington Street Mall and the new Convention Hall area up on the promenade were festively decorated with cornstalks, pumpkins and other squash, and a fall rainbow of mums and similar flowering plants. Many home and shop owners had done the same, with some adding a skeleton or a witch hat here, a mummy there, all to help visitors get in the spooky mood.
We just received our latest issue of Town & Country magazine. T & C is a beautiful magazine that is mostly about very rich people doing very expensive things in very expensive places while wearing very expensive clothes and watches! We have had a subscription for about a year because it is fun to browse through and was a great deal to subscribe.
This latest issue included a special Travel magazine (pictured) that features the cover article “100 Hotels That Will Change Your Life”. The article is basically a list of 100 mostly very fancy or exotic resorts and hotels in all corners of the world compiled by a panel of 30 or so “experts” in exotic or specialty travel.
The Hurricane Reunion
It so happens that The Working Stiff is a graduate of Lower Cape May Regional High School, but let’s not bother with minor details such as what year in the distant past that graduation ceremony might have been!
Our ###-year reunion was just this past weekend, right in Cape May City, and was a casual affair. The main event was a catered dinner on Saturday night hosted at the Cape May VFW post on Congress Street, which is a popular spot for large and medium gatherings. A handful of classmates had clearly worked hard to organize all the excellent food, a raffle with all manner of goodies and gift certificates, and a few fun games. I understand that the raffle actually raised a cool $1000 for our class scholarship fund! I think most would agree with me that a good time was had by all and it was just good to catch up with old friends.
Let’s put our cards on the table here. Mr. and Mrs. Working Stiff are not “foodies” by any stretch. Anyone who knows us knows that. Our tastes are fairly simple and lean towards “pub food” or possibly “comfort food”. By no stretch of the imagination are we candidates for a “chef’s table” sort of restaurant or for ordering the “Chef’s Surprise”!
That being said, we do like to dine out and do so frequently. We do like a quality, well prepared meal, but just simple stuff for the most part. Also, in part because The Working Stiff himself worked for 21 consecutive seasons (dishwasher, pantry help, busboy, waiter, valet parker, cashier), at a seashore resort fine-dining establishment in Cape May, NJ, we are very respectful of all food-service and bar workers.
Block Island is a beautiful and magical place! It has been described as looking a lot like the countryside of Ireland or of Scotland, and has frequently been called “The Bermuda of The North.”
One great aspect to the island is that so much of the land is protected from development. The island has long been on the list of The Nature Conservancy’s “Last Great Places,” with about 40% of the island land protected. Several local landowners over the years have either donated land for conservation and/or have done land swaps of land parcels in order to allow larger contiguous areas to be protected.
I have never been to any island or town that markets and exploits the actual shape of the place more successfully than Block Island does. You see that shape everywhere and on just about anything you can imagine!
I have heard the shape of the island described numerous times as being something like a pork chop. Maybe a crooked pear would make sense also. It helps that the island is situated so perfectly, with Sandy Point at the northern tip pointing very close to due North towards the Rhode Island mainland 13 miles away.
When we arrived on the island on Sunday the 13th, we were thrilled to see that the historic old Empire Theater appeared to still be open for business! On other trips here in recent years we have learned that the owner typically shuts down fairly soon after Labor Day, so this development was a pleasant surprise. It was a bonus that there was a movie playing the next night that was something we actually wanted to see, so we made plans to attend the theater the following night.
I had not been to a movie there for easily 20 years or more, largely because the family has generally gathered on the island in September and we seem to always miss the last few days of the movie season.
We are here! We left home in the Philadelphia suburbs at 3:30 yesterday morning in order to make our morning ferry from Pt. Judith, RI over to Block Island. It may seem crazy to some to get up and drive that early, but as long as we can still stand doing it, the traffic is just so much better in the wee hours of a Sunday morning than you normally would have any right to expect.
Take it from The Working Stiff – if you need to drive up the New Jersey Turnpike and cross one of the Hudson River Bridges, You can’t do much better than 5:00 A.M on a Sunday!
If I’ve been to San Francisco a half-dozen times, it would have been twice on my own dime and the other times on company business. Though it is certainly a large city, it is still a “walking city” in that the downtown area is full of retail shopping, coffee shops, all manner of bars and restaurants, newsstands – everything that you would expect to be there to support and entertain a resident downtown population. (I’ve learned in my travels that not all cities are this way… hmmm, can we say… Houston? – more on that later!)
It is a somewhat common thing with rental houses for the owner to leave a blank book out on the coffee table where the various renters can record their thoughts for the benefit of subsequent visitors or just as comments to the owners. People typically write something like “Thanks for sharing your wonderful house, my family had a great time……” or “ we were so thrilled to stay here at xxxxxx house, the snorkeling was great just down the path ……” or “what a wonderful location for my family reunion, see you next year…”