An enthusiast’s view of America’s Original Seaside Resort… by Meghan Kunz
I feel that I spend nearly the entire year waiting for the holiday season. And for me, “holiday season” starts October 1, after the children are tucked safely back at school and the Halloween preparations are in full swing. If you know anything about me, you know I prefer the winter to the summer, and that I love Cape May when the days are short just as much as those endless summer nights. Certainly there are times when the nostalgia of years past brings melancholy notes that wear thin the holiday spirit. But I savor it all: the wistful memories mixed with the feverish anticipation, bustling preparations, frustrating event coordination, decorations dripping from every stationary object in my home. I simply love it.
As much as I’m reluctant to let this time pass, I’m always looking ahead to the next celebration. As I prepare my Thanksgiving fare, tearing bread for stuffing and slicing apples for pie, I am daydreaming about Christmas cookies, strolling through Rockefeller Center, and wrapping gifts for loved ones. Weeks ago, after arriving home from Halloween weekend in Cape May, Andy and I agreed that this year, Christmas would be better spent at home. We decided to resume our tradition of spending New Year’s Eve in Cape May. Living in North Jersey, there is a constant undercurrent of pressure to go to New York City for New Year’s Eve. The coaxing always remains the same: it’s the experience that makes standing in the cold for seven hours worth it; you’re only twenty minutes away from the city; it’s not that cold.
Then there are the parties. There’s always someone who decides to host a party that’s just far enough from home to become a controversial distance: do you have the cocktails or abstain? Aside from feigning a pervasive illness, it’s difficult avoiding a friend hosting a New Year’s bash.
So I dialed up our favorite New Year’s spot, reserved a room (where two years ago we met our very own feline friend, who we affectionately called Creamsicle and fed him an absolute feast while we were there). We made our reservations for the Merion Inn, our cozy, festive spot for ringing in the new year. No matter what seat you choose, there is a “mock” countdown complete with hats, noisemakers, and clocks strategically staged at the incorrect time. We will then exit the restaurant, the cold wall of air hitting our faces, and hit the streets looking for our next celebratory spot.
Make no mistake—it’s cold in Cape May this time of year. But I still haven’t found a better way to spend the first morning of the new year — walking on the beach in Cape May.