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“Ghosts are all around us. Look for them, and you will find them.” When Indian author Ruskin Bond made this observation, he must have had Cape May in mind. It has been said that Cape May is the most haunted town in the country. And while Salem, Mass., may have the claim to being the witchiest resort in the United States, it’s a good bet that Cape May is the ghostliest resort in America.

The entire Victorian seaside resort is described as haunted, and possible explanations range from the convergence of the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean at this southernmost point in the state, to an abundance of quartz in the ground. Whatever the reason, there are many people who will swear to the haunted-ness of many of Cape May’s fine establishments. Among the haunted hotels are Congress Hall, Southern Mansion, the Hotel Macomber, Stockton Inn, Virginia Hotel, and Inn of Cape May. Additionally, restaurants such as the Peter Shields Inn, the Washington Inn, Elaine’s, and the Ugly Mug have reportedly had their share of ghosts, not to mention the Emlen Physick Estate, a former home that is now a museum.

Throughout October – which is considered by many to be the best month to visit Southern New Jersey because the weather lacks the humidity of summer but is still warm – there are events leading up to the spookiest of all holidays. The hub for many tours is the Emlen Physick Estate, operated by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts. In addition to having a spooky Dept. 56 Halloween display at the museum, there are themed tours nearly every day of the week, as well as plays and presentations. Scarecrow Alley at the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., is a highlight of the Estate’s Halloween decorations. There is no admission fee.

On Oct. 13, 21, 27, and 28 “Phantoms of the Physick Estate,” an original play by Jacklyn Fazio, takes the audience along from room to room on the first floor of the 1879 Physick House Museum as the story unfolds and strange happenings occur. The play is staged beginning at 8:30 p.m. The cost is $25 for adults and $20 for children ages 3 to 12.

The Graveyard, Ghosts, and Mansion Tour shares with guests the stories and experiences of ghost activity in the 1879 Physick House Museum from tour guides who know them personally. It starts with a trolley ride to the historic Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery to see the graves of Dr. Emlen Physick and his family. Here you’ll hear EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) recorded by tour guides and staff at the estate. The return trip to the Physick Estate includes information about unusual Victorian funeral customs. Then, inside the Physick House guests visit several rooms and hear several more EVPs while learning more about the activity observed there. The tours are held on Mondays, Oct. 3, 10, 17, and 24 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., and the cost is $40.

The Historic Haunts Combo Tour, held Tuesday evenings from 7:30 to 9:30, includes a trolley ride through the Historic District and stories of haunted Cape May. Step off the trolley at the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate with your guide and see Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, reputed to be haunted, as you learn about Victorian spiritualism. In the museum, guides will compare the methods of spirit contact used by the Victorians with those of today’s paranormal investigators. Select rooms on both floors are included in the tour. The cost is $25 per person.

Wednesdays throughout the month feature the Strange Victorian Obsessions House Tour at 6:45 and 8 p.m. Victorians were fascinated with mystery and illusion and this tour through first-floor rooms in the 1879 Physick House Museum shares that fascination. Learn about the famous Harry Houdini who captivated Victorian audiences with his intricate escapes, the Goddess of Mystery, Ionia, a Belgian beauty whom Victorians worshiped for her spectacles of magic, The Great Lafayette, who became known as the world’s greatest magician, and Pepper’s Ghost, an illusion still used today, with Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper and more. The cost is $20 for adults and $15 for children.

For more information or to purchase advance tickets for any of the Emlen Physick Estate or MAC tours, call 609-884-5404 or visit

Nearly every day is a Spirits & Oddities Trolley Tour focusing on Cape May ghost stories and unusual tales from Cape May history. The Ghosts of Cape May tour is a trolley tour involving tales of hauntings unearthed in Cape May by renowned psychic medium and author Craig McManus. Both tours ($20 for adults and $15 children 3-12) begin and end at the Ocean Street trolley stop in the resort Fridays through Mondays at various times.

Nearby, at Historic Cold Spring Village in Lower Township, Saturdays at 8 p.m. will feature Ghost Walks throughout the village. Spiritualist medium Bob Bitting leads participants on a 45-minute lantern-lit ghost walk around the village. He will relate tales of mysterious happenings reported by village staff and revealed by paranormal investigation teams. Bug spray is recommended. As space is limited, tickets must be purchased in advance. On Oct. 20 and 21, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., is the sixth annual Ghoul Spring Village, featuring crafts, games, and a haunted walk. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 children.

Although it is the premier haunted location in the Southern Shore Region, Cape May doesn’t have a monopoly on Halloween events. Most municipalities have Halloween parades or pumpkin festivals. Check local listings for those events.

In keeping with the creepy Halloween theme, the Cape May County Library, Cape May Court House, will present “Creatures of the Night; Bats of New Jersey” on Friday, Oct. 6.

On Friday, Oct. 13, the Levoy Theater in Millville will host a Friday the 13th Halloween Party. This, of course, is a costume party that begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. On Oct. 28 the Levoy will stage the Rocky Horror Picture Show at 9 p.m. Visit for more information.

Misty Meadows Sheep Farm in Woodbine will hold an Oktoberfest from 5 to 9 p.m. featuring hayrides, firepits, games and other activities.

The Ferry Park Fall Weekend will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 15 and 16 at the Cape May Lewes Ferry in Lower Township.

For a more lighthearted event, on Oct. 21 the Wildwoods Convention Center will host “Drinks and Drag Queen Halloween Show,” a full-scale variety drag show that is sure to be a wicked good time. Hosted by Astala Vista, attendees are encouraged to dress in costume. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door.

Sunday, Oct. 22, is a busy day in Cape May Court House. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. is the annual Olde Tyme Harvest Festival, which is always a great family experience, and not far away, at the Cape May County Zoo, is Creepy Jeepy, a decorating contest for Jeep owners and trunk & treat event.

The Cape May County Library will host a Lunch and Learn event on Thursday, Oct. 27, featuring a presentation by Historic Cold Spring Village to inform attendees about Cape May’s haunted history.

Saturday, Oct. 28 is” Boo at the Zoo” at Cape May County Zoo, featuring games, costumes, food, a pirate ship, and obstacle course. This event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Also on Oct. 28, the Lower Township Recreation Center will hold a spooky haunted trail event behind the recreation center from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

The Greater Wildwood Elks will hold a haunted house at their clubhouse on First Avenue in North Wildwood from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Whether you like being scared or simply enjoy the crispness in the air and the taste of pumpkin spice, if you are looking for a ghoulish October getaway, look no further than New Jersey’s Southern Shore.



Whether you’re among the 45 million Americans who are birders or simply have a passing interest in observing the graceful winged creatures, the Southern Shore Region of New Jersey – encompassing Cape May and Cumberland counties – is a hotbed of activity in the autumn months.

With myriad protected areas and a variety of habitats, the whole Delaware Bay coastal area is the perfect spot for birding throughout the year, but come fall, the Southern Shore Region is THE place to spot millions of migrating raptors, shorebirds, butterflies and dragonflies. The Delaware Bay, which Cumberland and Cape May counties abut, is smack in the middle of the migration path of many species of birds and Monarch butterflies fly over the region during their 3,000-mile trip to Mexico.

The Cape May Bird Observatory, which is operated by the NJ Audubon Society, started its Monarch Monitoring Project in 1990. The project focuses on the fall migration of the Monarch, which is the only species to make the two-way trip to Mexico and back. Each year, thousands and thousands of these soaring beauties funnel through Cumberland and Cape May counties, delighting casual observers and lepidopterists as they stopover in the region for rest and nourishment.

Likewise, the waterfowl and shorebirds traverse the region in search of warmer climes. Following a similar route through the Southern Shore funnel to the Delaware, the many bird species to pass over the area enchant those with a basic appreciation of birds to the most serious ornithologists.

In addition to the Delaware Bay, the Maurice River is an important part of the Atlantic Flyway for raptors, shorebirds, songbirds, and waterfowl. Flowing into the Delaware Bay, the Maurice River is home to more than 29 species of wintering waterfowl.

Places like Bridgeton City Park, Union Lake, East Point Lighthouse, West Side Park, Maurice River Nature Area, Willow Oak Nature Area and more than nine Fish and Wildlife Management Areas are all spots to enjoy birding during the autumn months.

Cape May County has several nature organizations that focus on birding and butterflies from September through December. The Nature Conservancy operates the South Cape May Meadows center, as well as the Garrett Family Preserve. The Cape May Bird Observatory operates the Northwood Center of Cape May Point, and the Nature Center of Cape May. Furthermore, the Cape May Bird Observatory, which conducts the Cape May Hawkwatch from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, also runs the Avalon Seawatch from Sept. 22 to Dec. 22. Interestingly, Avalon (“Cooler By a Mile”) extends one mile into the Atlantic than its neighbors to the north. Observers have logged more than 700,000 waterbirds in typical years, with that number soaring past one million in some years.

Wildlife Management areas in Cape May County include Beaver Swamp, Cape Island, Cape May Coastal Wetlands, Cox Hall Creek, Dennis Creek, Higbee Beach, Spicers Creek, and Lizard Tail Swamp Preserve.

Most parks and wildlife management areas are free and open to the public, but some of the local organizations host birding events or walks for a nominal fee. Higbee Beach Birding, a two-hour walk, is held Fridays. Above Par Birding, at Cox Hall Creek WMA in Villas, is held Sunday mornings from 7:30 to 9:30. A Meadows Afternoon is held Fridays from 3 to 5 p.m. at South Cape May Meadows, E-Z Birding is held at Cape May Point State Park from noon to 2 p.m. Thursdays, and Migration at the Point is held Wednesdays from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. in Cape May Point State Park.

On Sept. 16, the Wetlands Institute, Stone Harbor Boulevard, will host a Fall Migration Festival with nature activities, crafts, and guided tours. Although it is several months away, Cumberland County, which has the largest number of nesting bald eagles in the state, hosts a Winter Eagle Festival, usually in February.

New Jersey’s Southern Shore Region, with its lush coastal setting, is a safe haven for our winged friends, and a visual feast for those who appreciate them.



BIG NEWS for Pickleball fans and players!  Avalon, New Jersey will host the official tour stop for the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) in 2023. The inaugural APP New Jersey Classic is set for Avalon’s pickleball complex, September 6-10. It’s the fastest growing sport in the United States and the top ranked players in the world will make a stop in Avalon amid tour venues in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, and St. Louis.
The APP New Jersey Classic will call the Jersey Cape its home for four days in September and visitors are welcome to watch the top tour professionals in the world in the senior pro tournament or even get in on the game as a competitor in the amateur division. 
Not familiar with the sport? It’s been around since the 1960s and combines elements of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton. One theory about its funny name, it came from a pickle boat in crew rowing that is made up of rowers not chosen by other team; the other theory claims it was named after the dog of one of the guys who first started the game on the West Coast. Take your pick – or pickleball!
In New Jersey’s Southern Shore region, pickleball continues to gain popularity, paddle by paddle. The game is played on a 20 by 40-foot court, about the same size as a doubles badminton court. Less demanding than tennis, pickleball is a relatively low impact sport, which makes it appealing to baby boomers. By the way, when a team fails to score in a whole game, they’ve been pickled!
Competing or not, you can enjoy the excitement in Avalon!  The official Pro Tour Partner, USA Pickleball, will feature vendors and other attractions at the event.  Avalon’s Pickleball event will be live streamed and broadcast on TV to a worldwide audience so no one will miss the action.



Believe it or not, there’s more to New Jersey’s Southern Shore than beaches, bays, boardwalks, and dining. There are plenty of rainy day indoor activities for those rare occasions when outdoor activities are nearly impossible, but what about outdoor attractions for those who want to go beyond the salt life during the day? We’ve got the ticket!

Two of the newer unique attractions in the area are in the Jersey Cape. Opened in 2020, Revolution Rail, which leaves from the site of Cape May Seashore Lines on Lafayette Street in Cape May, is a guided railbiking tour that takes rail bikers four miles around the Garrett Family Reserve, which is part of the Cape May Nature Conservancy. During the two-hour tour, pedalers witness some spectacular landscapes and encounter songbirds, raptors, butterflies, and other wildlife over wooded areas and wildflower meadows.

Revolution Rail rides leave every two hours during the day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and during the height of the tourism season there are additional tours at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. At 8:30 p.m., there is a Full Moon Ride. Revolution Rail lights up the rail bikes and takes riders to a picnic area near the Cape May Canal, where participants are encouraged to bring snacks (and drinks), and swap stories about ghosts, pirates and the Jersey Devil. The cost to use Revolution Rail is $80 for a two-seat rail bike, and $140 for a quad (four-seater).

While Revolution Rail is certainly a lower-body workout, an activity that uses the entire body is Tree to Tree, on the campus of the Cape May County Zoo in Cape May Court House. As the name suggests, participants go from tree to tree via zipline, Tarzan swings, moving bridges, ladders, and monkey bars. Tree to Tree’s color-coded courses are geared for adventurers ages seven and older. The cost to participate in the adult course (ages 11 and older) is $50. The juniors course, ages 10 to 13, is $40, and the kids’ course (ages seven to 13) is $30. A zipline only adventure, for ages 11 and older, is one course that includes five ziplines (which can be done twice) for $35. Tree to Tree is also a great team-building activity that helps build communication, trust, and teamwork among participants. Reservations may be made online and it is open from April through November. Visit to book all events.

Since Tree to Tree is located in the Cape May County Park and Zoo, it would be a mistake not to visit the Cape May County Zoo. This local gem opened in 1978 and has grown immensely since its opening with one African lion, some spider monkeys, and some barnyard animals. Today, the Cape May County Zoo covers about 200 wooded acres and is home to more than 500 animals and more than 250 species. The walk through the zoo covers about two miles along mostly shaded walkways, and visitors will delight at seeing the large array of animals, including camels, giraffes, lions, bison, alpacas, bears, tamarin, cheetahs, otters, zebras, pandas, and more. There’s a building dedicated to reptiles, another to birds, and an African Savanna to delight visitors. There is no admission fee and the zoo is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. throughout the year.

About an hour north, at Bridgeton City Park (just off Route 55), is the Cohanzick Zoo. This free zoo, which opened in 1934 and bills itself as “New Jersey’s first zoo,” is a delightful way to spend an afternoon. Pack a lunch, enjoy a beautiful setting and then wander the zoo grounds that are home to more than 45 species of animals, including birds, fox, a Bengal tiger, cougar, pig, porcupine, marmoset, an Asian black bear, and min-donkey. This free attraction is open every day from 9 a.m until 5 p.m.

If you get the opportunity, take advantage of one of these attractions and explore more of New Jersey’s Southern Shore!



With luck, the skies during your vacation will always be blue, the sun will shine brightly each day, and the wind will always be light and at your back. Unfortunately, as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote and The Ink Spots sang, “Into every life a little rain must fall.” While New Jersey’s Southern Shore Region is geared for warm-weather, outdoor pursuits, a day away from the sun can be a welcome respite.

If you think the only thing to do in the region is to sit in your rental unit or motel room and watch television, you’d have to think again. While the beaches and other popular outdoor attractions usually never close, let’s face it: very few people enjoy outdoor activities in a downpour. Luckily, there are many activities in the area that can be enjoyed on a rainy day.

For those enjoying a Southern Shore getaway without children, the area’s wineries are always a great option. In Cape May County, there’s Cape May Winery, Willow Creek Winery, Jessie Creek Winery, Natalie Vineyards, Turdo Vineyard and Winery, and Hawk Haven Winery. Most wineries have snacks of charcuterie boards for purchase as well as flights and bottles of their products. In Cumberland County wineries include Terra Nonno, Vineyard One, and Cedar Rose Vineyards in Millville.

If you are vacationing with those under the legal drinking age, you might want to check local movie listings to see what’s playing. One of Cape May County’s newest attractions is Cape Square Entertainment Center, which boasts a multi-screen movie theater, a bowling alley, golf simulator, and arcade. and a variety of restaurants. Located in the Rio Grande section of Middle Township (just west of the Wildwoods and just north of Cape May), it’s a sure thing that you’ll find something for everyone at this attraction.

History buffs will appreciate the unique offerings of New Jersey’s Southern Shore Region. Obviously, the area’s historic lighthouses are huge attractions.

East Point Lighthouse, once known as the Maurice River Lighthouse, is situated on the Delaware Bay in Cumberland County, at the mouth of the Maurice River. Built in 1849, this active lighthouse was discontinued by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1941, but efforts by the local historical society paid off in 1980, when the state’s second oldest lighthouse was re-lit.

Cape May County boasts two historic and working lighthouses. Commonly called the Cape May Lighthouse, this light is technically in neighboring Cape May Point State Park. The climb up the light’s 199 steps up a spiral staircase is not for the faint of heart. Constructed in 1823 and opened in 1859, this light is maintained by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC), which endeavors to preserve, restore, and protect historic sites in Cape May. The second lighthouse on the Jersey Cape is Hereford Inlet Lighthouse in North Wildwood. This active light, opened in 1974, is also a museum that facilitates guided and self-guided tours. The beautifully manicured grounds at Hereford Lighthouse alone are worth the trip.

Many local resorts have downtown shopping districts, movie theaters, arcades, restaurants, and historical museums, where families can spend enjoyable time away from less-than-perfect weather. There are a few unique attractions that shouldn’t be missed, no matter the weather. Cape May’s Washington Street Mall is a no-brainer. Lined with dozens of charming shops and eateries in the heart of Cape May’s historic district, a person could spend several days of a vacation exploring the offerings in America’s Oldest Seashore Resort. Not far from Cape May City, about 3.5 miles north, is Historic Cold Spring Village. This living history museum gives visitors a glimpse into life during the early 1800s.

Heading north, on Route 9 in Clermont, is Woodland Village. This collection of more than 15 quaint shops provides visitors with everything from candy and other confections to gift stores, cheese shops, and tea purveyors.

In Cumberland County, in Millville, is Wheaton Village, an arts and cultural center that emphasizes the artistry of working with glass. Artists in the village demonstrate their craft, and the village contains shops, a nature trail, historical building, and an event center.

For those who prefer sports or other challenges, try an indoor golf simulator, such as Shore Sim Golf in Cape May Court House, the golf simulator at Cape Square Entertainment Center, and there is now a simulator at the Montego Bay Resort on the Boardwalk in North Wildwood.

Escape rooms, if you are up to the challenge, can be fun for a family or group of friends. Gaining popularity over the past decade, these puzzles wrapped in enigmas require quick thinking and teamwork to reach the escape goal. Escape rooms can be found in Rio Grande, Villas, Wildwood, Ocean City.

Whether rain falls, you need to get out of the sun to avoid further burns, or you’ve simply had your fill of the beach, you needn’t let non-beach activities dampen your vacation. New Jersey’s Southern Shore Region is replete with activities, events, and attractions that are perfect for a rainy day… or any other day.