WE HAVE, on occasion, seen grumpy guests of establishments in Cape May (and everywhere else) act in such entitled, demeaning ways, one could hardly begrudge an employee of the customer service industry an eye roll or two… or a Half-Baked-style storm out mid-shift. And yet, there are servers, bartenders, counter workers and business proprietors in this town who are able to keep smiling, despite inevitable interactions with the odd sour apple, because they genuinely enjoy what they do, and it shows.
Case in point? We recently witnessed a scene at Sunset Beach Gifts on Sunset Boulevard, during which a little girl accidentally broke a small piece of merchandise. At the request of her mother, she found an employee — gift shop manager Sharon Booth — to tell. Sharon offered kind words about often breaking merchandise herself but, by this point, the guilty-feeling little girl was inconsolable.
Instead of simply moving on to the next customer in a long line of patiently waiting customers, Sharon excused herself, retreated to the back of the store, and returned with a “necklace of forgiveness.”
The gift, prompting the child’s mother to say, “See, honestly really is the best policy,” seemed to calm the little girl. It also brought a tear to the eye of Exit Zero’s Advertising Director, Jason Black, who assured us he did not need a necklace in order to stop crying.
Thanks for a job well done, Sunset Beach.
LAST Sunday, we biked to the porch of Elaine’s on Lafayette Street for some cocktails (pear martinis and old fashioneds, if you need to know) at dusk. We’ve been to shows at Elaine’s Dinner Theatre, and we’ve imbibed at their beautiful bar, Phinney’s Pub, afterward, but this was our first time checking out the porch scene since the spot was opened for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks this season. Our verdict? Well worth the trip.
Thank you to bartender Anita Anderson for her spot-on pours, but the real draw was seeing busy Lafayette Street from a breezy seat on an expansive veranda, rather than from the front seat of a car; watching the world go by is a slice of Americana that seems all the sweeter in the summer. Add to that an attentive server, good conversation, a plate of curly fries, and the occasional whiff of hanging flowers, and you’ve got the recipe for a quality evening. Check it out before word gets out…
CAPE May is full of animal lovers — we take our dogs to the BillMae Cottage for yappy hour, and to the Rusty Nail for their own Bowser Beer, for goodness sake. Someone even told us recently that he spotted a man resting under a tree with his cat… on a leash. Our pets are just as much a part of our family as our actual family members — sometimes even more so — which is why it’s so terrible to think we might be totally unaware of a potentially devastating threat to their health: the plants in our own backyards.
Last week, we spoke with a reader and Cape May Point resident who picked some lilies from her property as a gift for a friend in recovery following an operation. She put them in a vase and brought them inside, where she noticed one of her two cats, Woody, chewing on three of the plants’ leaves. “He’s a muncher,” she said.
Fortunately, this reader had the good sense to do some Googling, and she learned that lilies are incredibly toxic for cats. She called the ASPCA’s poison control line and spoke with a representative who advised her to seek help straightaway. (A hot tip: For a fee of $65, you can receive a case number from the ASPCA, allowing your vet to call as many times as necessary for advice, as not all doctors are well-versed on the subject of poisonous plants.)
In the end, Woody was fine, but only because he spent four days receiving fluids intravenously at the Ocean View Veterinary Hospital, and having his renal function monitored there and at Cape Veterinary Hospital. It was a close call, as it only takes one lilly leaf to cause the kidneys of a kitten to shut down completely.
“Who would have thought?” our reader said
Who would have thought, indeed.
For a complete list of plants and foods that are dangerous for your pet (keep those onions away from your cat!), check out aspca.org. Some of these poisons might be just under your nose…
“THE 80s were the last era of real music,” according to Mike Dempsey, drummer for local party band Stellarmojo. “In the 90s, things got weird and poppish; the musicality was watered down. Not that there’s anything wrong with pop music; I play pop music and I make a living off of it. It’s just that, in my opinion, the 80s was the last era of real music.”
It’s a feeling that makes Mike the perfect MC/drummer for one of the coolest live music events in town: 80s Open Mics happening at the Boiler Room every Sunday through Labor Day weekend. Mike’s other band – the ROCK boys – provides the soundtrack, you provide the vocals for whichever tune you like. “’Blister in the sun’ is popular,” Mike says. You can also sub in on an instrument – drums, bass, keyboards, or guitar – if you feel so inclined.
Last weekend, the venue was packed with people of every demographic, according to Mike. “There’s a great energy because the Boiler Room is one of the sexiest bars in town,” he said. “I just wish more locals would come out to participate.”
So show ‘em what you’ve got, Cape May. Turn up — neon pink sweatbands optional — this Sunday from 10pm to 1am. And don’t worry about having to get up early in the morning… it’ll be just another manic Monday anyway.
TWO years ago, local artists Janet Payne and Paige Cunningham paired up with the goal of making a children’s book… or, more accurately, they paired up with the goal of having the community make a children’s book.
Along with a group of local photographers, the women took pictures of various Cape May-related things, all beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. The photos were then blown up to 20 inches by 20 inches and cut into 64 squares each. At various places — the West Cape May Farmers’ Market, schools, the Washington Street Mall, etc — people of every age would color a square using oil pastels, to create a mosaic.
“The hardest thing was convincing people they really could color,” Janet told us. “Some would say, ‘I haven’t colored since I was a kid… and being an artist, that to me is like: ‘WHAT?!’” On the final page is a list of everyone who manned up and grabbed a pastel. If you’ve spent any time in Cape May, it’s likely you’ll recognize and artist or two.
Now Cape May A to Z — 1,000 hours of work and 1,792 squares later — is on shelves and, for $12.95 a copy, available for purchase in Exit Zero, Whale’s Tale, Good Scents, and the Nature Center. “We think it will help show people how special Cape May is,” Janet says. We think so, too. (And we’re not just saying that because Exit Zero was one of the first Cape May phrases the authors decided upon.)
THIS WEEK, we caught up with Captain Black (AKA, Dr. Charles Waldron), whose group —Valhalla’s Pirates — will be performing at our local living history museum, Historic Cold Spring Village, during their Seafarers’ Weekend, August 24 and 25. The event will showcase the New Jersey Blacksmith Association forging nautical ironworks as well as antique boats, decoy carving, face painting, live music by the Sea Dogs, and a treasure hunt of Exit Zero prizes… but let’s be real. The pirates might just be the greatest draw.
“We will perform a few of our live combat fight shows,” Captain Black told us. “We throw in a little of everything action, history, drama, and comedy.” And they enjoy every minute of it.
“Historic Cold Spring Village is one of several charity shows that we perform during the year,” he said. “Its a wonderful place for children and adults to learn about life in Early America. We have tremendous respect for the people who donate their time to this and are proud to do our share on Seafarers’ Weekend. After all, Pirates played a big role in Early Maritime America.”
And that’s a message the pirates relay, as much as possible, through re-enactments. “We feel they are the very best way to convey and teach history,” Captain Black said. “For when it is delivered in this manner of garb and dialogue, it not only captures children’s attention, is also stimulates their imagination.”
Expect photo ops with the pirate characters, plenty of pirate bantor, sword fighting lessons, and historical demonstrations that include the handling and firing of marine Cannons.
Expect, also, to walk away with some fascinating pirate trivia… like why pirates wear earrings (they believed the gold would stabilize their sea legs) and eye patches (to prepare for ship raids that took place at night. “You see, one would wear it all day long, so when one had to sneak onto the hold of a ship, which is very dark at night, he would flip the eye patch up and viola!” Captain Black said. “Instant night vision, as the eye under the patch had adjusted itself to the darkness.”
Seafarers’ Weekend runs from 10am to 4pm. For more information, call 609-898-2300. “I ask you,” says Captain Black, “would you ever forget the First time you met a ‘real pirate?’… I think not!”