Fall is one of our favorite times to be in Cape May. Fall IS fun in Cape May. Most of the crowds have gone and quite a bit is still going on. Unlike some other shore towns, Cape May does not roll up the sidewalks on Labor Day! As the weather starts to turn a little crisp, the beach days start to dwindle, but there is so much to do.
Cape May MAC Scarecrow Alley located at the Physick Estate (1048 Washington Street) is in it’s 13th year. It runs from October 1 to November 2nd. The grounds of the estate are transformed into a Halloween spectacle. Everyone is invited to tour and vote on their favorite or if you are up to it, participate and create a scarecrow of your own! There are some basic rules, no fee to enter and fun prizes to win.
Other spooky events from Cape May MAC include: The Gloomy Apparition 2, a theatrical tour of the Physick Estate; Ghost Walk with Craig McManus a ghost tour through the haunted streets of Cape May and Graveyards, Ghosts & Mansion combo tour, a trolley tour that starts at Dr. Emlen Physick’s grave site and ends at the estate-you will hear recording of electric voice phenomena or EVP. If that doesn’t send chills up your spine, I don’t know what will. You can get all the details here.
Beach Plum Farm located at 140 Stevens Street, West Cape May is always one of my favorite Fall spots in Cape May. There is so much to see and do from gardens, the market and touring the grounds to meet the chickens, ducks, pigs, and such. This is a great place to get wonderful family photos of the season!
Grown Up Fun
There are three local wineries in Cape May and all are worth visiting. From wine tastings to culinary experiences, they are a great way to spend an afternoon. Turdo Vineyards & Winery is the smallest, but don’t let that deter you. They have excellent wines at this family-owned winery. Sal and Sarah Turdo with their son, Luca take tremendous pride in the quality of their hand-crafted wines and welcoming visitors for a tasting or to enjoy some wine with a snack on the patio. Cape May Winery & Vineyard is less than two miles away and much larger with 26 acres of harvested land across 4 vineyards. They offer a lovely Tapas menu and have a comfy fire pit area just perfect for Fall. Willow Creek Winery & Farm is the only winery on Cape May island. In addition to a wonderful selection of wines, they offer both lunch and dinner service. Reservations are highly recommended and can easily be made online. Check out their Firepit Fridays here. For more detailed information on these wineries, please check out my A Three Winery Tour In Cape May blog post.
There are three Cape May breweries I recommend visiting. I have to start with Cape May Brewery, Brewtanical Garden, Tasting Room and Brewtique , a unique destination. The outdoor Beer Garden around back is just plain fun with plenty of picnic tables and is super dog friendly. The indoor Tasting Room typically has a line out the door before they open! Please note that due to NJ Law they do not sell food, however you can certainly bring your own snacks. Don’t forget to check out the Brewtique for anything from shirts and hats to coasters and glasses. Both my kids proudly sport their Cape May Brewery t-shirts! Gusto Brewery is a small but excellent brewery in Cape May. They are also known for their unique beer names (Are Birds Real?, Suddenly Beautiful, DDH Cashmere to name a few) and giving back to the community. There is a Tasting Room and an outdoor Beer Garden which is also doggie friendly. People rave about how friendly the staff is and how welcoming it feels (and how awesome the beer is of course). They also do not sell food so plan accordingly. Cold Spring Brewery located in Historic Cold Spring Village is New Jersey’s First Non-Profit Microbrewery. The feeling is warm and rustic from the 18th barn with a cozy fireplace to the outdoor patio and grassy area with picnic tables. The on-tap selection is small but quite tasty and they do serve a very small selection of bagged snacks. As with the others, it is very fido friendly.
This portion would not be complete without including Nauti Spirits! It is such a fun place in the Fall. Did you know they do a corn maze and sell pumpkins on the farm? I digress, they offer a great selection bottled spirits such as their own vodka, signal vodka, gin, rum, kestrel bourbon whiskey and plundered whiskey (I don’t even like whiskey and I want to try that.) Also available are pre-made cocktails to enjoy there with fun names like The Shark Tooth and Krabby Patty and to-go 16 ounce Kegtails with more fun names like Shunpike Punch and Beet Ya to the Punch. Their Facebook page is really the best place to keep on top of “all the things” going on there! As with the breweries, they do not server food, but outside food is welcome. Food Trucks can frequently be found on site as well. This another place to bring your pooch!
If you are interested in trying several of the alcohol focused venues in one day, you might want to check out Day Sipper Tours. You may have seen their wildly colorful van around town—I know I have. Each tour lasts between 4-6 hours depending on which destinations you choose. You may choose up to 3 and the fee is per person.
Fall is a spectacular time to bird watch and Cape May is one of the best locations in the entire world according to National Geographic. The Cape May Bird Observatory has an entire calendar of events with so much to do and learn. They even have a School of Birding. October 14 to 17th is their Cape May Fall Festival and pre-registration is required. Headquartered at The Grand Hotel, there are many venues and activities planned check out the full agenda here.
The Exit Zero Jazz Festival is September 29th to October 2nd this year. It debuted in 2012 and has been a one of Cape May’s iconic events ever since. This year it is only at two locations: Zero Ferry Park and Convention Hall beach stage. Purchase tickets in advance and know that hotels can be hard to find that weekend as well. The line-up is usually incredible and there is just so much wonderful music it is magical.
Fall is such a special time in Cape May. I sincerely hope I have inspired you with some of the activities and events I shared and you agree-Fall is fun in Cape May! Our family has always loved being on the island when it starts to get a bit cool, but you can still walk, bike and just chill (yes, pun intended). So many restaurants are still open, as are the shops around town. What is your favorite thing to do in the Fall in Cape May? Comment here or email me…