Thursday, July 09, 2015

Cape May Lighthouse and Cape May, Day 6

We decided to turn today into a day trip to see the Cape May Lighthouse and also Cape May itself. I think that was a wise move, as I had just a bit too much sun yesterday during our walking tour of Stone Harbor, particularly the part where we sat on the beach to watch the volleyball. I actually think I wound up with a bit of heat exhaustion after that, and this is WITH rehydrating with three large bottles of Propel during the course of the afternoon. If I hadn't drunk all that water, I might have needed some first aid when all was said and done.

But I digress. We started off by driving to the Lighthouse, which was easier today than on Tuesday night for multiple reasons. One, it was light out so the signs were easier to see. Two, we had some experience already in finding it because we'd just been there on Tuesday evening. And Three, we actually used the GPS this time instead of relying on a printed sheet of directions. Long story less long, we got there with no problem.

There is no elevator. And, as I discovered via the magic of Google, the Lighthouse has 199 steps inside. So we embarked on climbing. There are 6 landings on the circular staircase, which is good, because it allows for the person climbing to pause and catch their breath. I did need that brief break, because it's July and it was FREAKING HOT in there. Note to self: next time, do this in the early morning before the sun has a chance to beat down on the building for very long. Lessson learned, lol. But  on the way up, we did see some cool things. 

Porthole window. 

View from porthole window.

Finally, we arrived on the level of the observation deck. There were more steps that led up into the part of the lighthouse that is in operation, but those stairs were off-limits to the public. 

However, as  you can see, we were VERY close to the workings of the lighthouse. Here is the actual light itself, which rotates around 24/7. Judging from the pair of beams I saw emanating from the lighthouse on Tuesday night, there must be two lanterns spaced 180° apart from one another. 

The first thing you will see, as you are about to step out the door and onto the observation deck, is this:

I suppose there were people who were trying to shout down from the deck to companions who were waiting on the ground because of difficulty climbing stairs, fear of heights, claustrophobia (that tower is NARROW inside!), or other reasons. If that's the case, I can see how that would get really old, REALLY fast for everyone else within earshot.

I must say, the climb was TOTALLY worth the effort. The vista was breathtaking, and the brisk sea breeze felt phenomenally good, all the more so because it was all kinds of hot inside the tower.

This is what the view looked like when I aimed the camera straight down:

Once I got to the ground, I took this image from the base of the lighthouse and posted to Facebook that I'd both climbed AND walked down the entire staircase inside the lighthouse:

From here, we visited the information center and the museum that are also on the Lighthouse grounds. They gave us driving directions to Cape May proper (which is about 1.25 miles away. We had a little sliipup when we arrived. Even though both Mark and I spotted the sign on the parking lot describing that there is a fee for parking from 10 AM to 10 PM, while we were driving into the lot, by the time we chose a parking spot that little detail had slipped both of our minds. So we sort of forgot to freaking pay for parking. Walking up and down 398 steps in a sweltering hot tower will fry your brain like that, lol. So we toddled off to see the sights, and since we were both hungry, we stopped in what proved to be a REALLY nice restaurant. Pricey, yes, but worth every cent. I can't say enough good things about them It's called That's Amore, and if you are ever in Cape May, go there for Italian cuisine. 

I knew I was going to love these people when I saw they serve fresh-baked bread, not with butter, but with "Sunday Gravy". I'm in the "it's GRAVY, not SAUCE" camp. And Italian-American tradition involves making it on Sundays for the huge, Sunday afternoon family dinner. 

And yes, their gravy was VERY good! As was everything else.

Only after we finished eating did Mark ask me, "Do you remember if we had to pay for parking in that lot?" Ummmm, now that you mention it... oh crud. So he headed back to the car, and I wandered into one of the stores. Sure enough, he discovered that within fifteen minutes of our arrival, we'd gotten a parking ticket. Shoot. Well, THAT'S an error we won't be making twice. Live and learn.

But while I was in the store, I got a great picture of an "iWatch". Or should I say, "Eye Watch".

And now, for the South Philly contingent... doesn't Our Lady Star of the Sea look a whole lot like Epiphany in Philly?

We went home not long after visiting the church and a few more stores. And that was a good thing, because within an hour of our getting back to the house, the SKIES opened up with tons of lightning and thunder. I thought there was going to be an ark floating down the street any minute. But it didn't come as a total surprise to me that we got a storm, because I'd been getting alerts on my phone all day about Philadelphia's bad weather. I figured that if they were getting it in the afternoon, it might hit the NJ shore later on. Even though we lucked out yesterday (and Philly's bad weather hit Atlantic City and other points well north of here), tonight we got Philly's rainstorm. Oddly, yesterday we got loads of threatening-looking clouds, only to see them go away and have the sun come back out. Today, the skies looked just fine right up until the storm was about to hit. Then, KABLOOEY. 

The good news is, the forecast calls for the humidity to break. We have had lovely, sunny weather all week, in the 80s, which is ideal. But HOLY COW it's been humid. At least for our last full day here, it might not be muggy. That'll be nice.

I'm hoping I'll get some skating in tomorrow. I've been itching to try out those new skates.

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