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Monday, December 21, 2015

West Cape May Guided Tour

It's one of the most pleasant experience to join this tour with multiple itineraries. I love to see a lot of things and places in one tour without having to worry about GPS directions and getting lost :). A big bonus if it's a guided tour as well.

Our motorcoach guided tour through West Cape May brought us to the tip of Cape May's peninsula, which is one of the most celebrated migratory locations in North America.
We visited Cape May Point State Park where a fully restored lighthouse built in 1859 is located.




The park is considered to be a popular tourist attraction for viewing the fall bird migration. There are observation platforms for wildlife viewing where visitors can witness the park's constantly changing coastal marsh and ponds, and dunes.

The Cape May lighthouse which is accessible within the park is another attraction frequently visited by tourists. It has 199 steps in order to reach the top and get a panoramic view of the scenic Cape May peninsula. Unfortunately, the lighthouse was closed for the season when we visited :(.

Near the beach is a WWII bunker that served as a gun emplacement and hiding place of 6-inch guns. It was built as one of the coastal defenses for the Delaware Bay in WWII and after the war, it was deemed obsolete and ultimately disarmed. The bunker and the two barracks buildings (which are now converted as the museum and office at the park) are the only ruins that was left after it was abandoned.



Sunset Beach is also a must-see when you're in Cape May. You can still see the sunken ship "Atlantus" halfway visible on the beach, just off the shore. The S.S. Atlantus was once one of the concrete ships that were built which hauled cargo and troops back and forth the Atlantic several times! In 1926, it was repaired and towed to Cape May, but was unfortunately hit by a storm in the summer of the same year and broke off some of its parts which caused it to run 150 ft. off the coast of Sunset Beach, N.J.
As of today, the ruins are deteriorating fast, since the ship began to split apart at the mid section in the late 50's. It is expected that sooner, the last of its visible remains will then be buried underneath the waves.

Me and the visible remains of  S.S."Atlantus"


Sunset Beach didn't only become famous because of S.S. Atlantus, but it is also considered as one of the East Coast's most unique beaches situated at the end of Sunset Blvd. way at the tip of South Jersey. It is here where you can view spectacular sunsets over the waters of Delaware Bay without any obstructions.
One interesting fact you would want to discover is about how to find beautiful gems known as "Cape May Diamonds". These are pure quartz crystals carried by the tides and appear as pebbles on the beach, just off-shore close to the Atlantus. Quartz comes in a variety of colors and is one of the common forms of minerals. They say that the source of these diamonds can be seen at the upper point of Delaware River, and some about 200 miles upstream that can take thousand of years to form, and then being swifted by strong flow of the sea sending these quartz pebbles ashore.


During early spring until late fall, tons of visitors gather at Sunset Beach to collect Cape May Diamonds, including Indian artifacts and other fossils. During winter months, most of the larger stones come ashore when the tide is considered to be stronger, especially during storms.
At the Sunset Beach are also 3 gift shops you can visit for shopping, a grill restaurant where you can grab a quick bite, and a mini-golf course with a magnificent view overlooking Delaware Bay!

Along Sunset Blvd. going toward Sunset Beach is the WWII lookout tower called Tower 23. It was built in 1942 and was used to spot enemy ships during WWII. It was one of the coastal defenses that is still standing today and restored in 2008-2009 by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). Inside the tower is now a museum with built-in stair cases for the public to climb up to the top.


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