Beach? In January? Well, yes – to enjoy now as well as to plan for warmer days ahead! And that’s not all there is to do with your dog in Cape May. Here are a few of my favorites for you and your dog(s) to enjoy. And some people/doggie etiquette reminders so we can all enjoy these activities together now and later.
First, some basic etiquette
Whenever I go out with my dogs and mingle with other dog people, I want to be sure to have my dogs under control so they do not “rush” other dogs and people, even those who ARE dog lovers! If there is another dog, I always ask if my dogs can say, “Hello.” Guinness loves to say hello to other dogs and people, too. He will even cry if he doesn’t get to do so. Jameson would rather look for and chase down squirrels, but is nosy and jealous enough to not want to miss anything.
I try to always be careful to not let them go up to another dog at the same time, so they aren’t “ganging up” on the other dog(s).
I always want to pay attention to what my dogs are doing, mostly so I don’t miss a “package” and can pick up right away. Picking up after my dogs is so very important, because it leaves the area nice for everyone else to enjoy, and insures that we have a good reputation and are “welcome back.”
If we are walking around Cape May, as we do every day, or visiting one of the dog-friendly places in town, I stop or slow down, pull my dogs off to the side, or cross the street if there are others nearby or on the sidewalk coming our way, especially if they have a stroller, children, or a dog. This way, I not only allow them space to pass by comfortably, but in the event they are frightened or shy of dogs, it’s more comfortable for everyone. If they “want” to pet or see the dogs, they’ll ask, and we are always more than happy to accommodate as long as it gets us some attention from someone new and friendly.
The great outdoors
As I said before, we like walking all over town, and go a different way every time. But, there is also the dog park! Located on Lafayette Street near the corner of Broad, the dog park has a gazebo, toys, and a water source for when the dogs get thirsty during play. The park is double gated for easier entry and introduction. Passes are available at City Hall or at Swain’s Hardware.
Other dog friendly activities which are favorites of ours include Cape May Winery where you and your dogs can do a wine tasting and/or sit in the new meeting room. Sit out on the newly expanded patio, or sit on the upstairs deck to enjoy a glass (or a bottle!) of wine and enjoy the view of the vines. Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery and Natali Vineyards are also dog friendly.
Interested in wildlife? Is your dog a natural sailor? Try the Cape May Whale Watch Boat. The captain is a dog lover and is very happy to have your dog aboard. Just make sure your dog doesn’t bark and chase away all the great wildlife you’ll enjoy seeing while on board – everything from hawks and herons, to dolphin and sea turtles! Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum and Historic Cold Spring Village are also dog friendly, and your feet will be on solid ground at both places, even with dreams of soaring overhead!
Dining with your dogs
There are so many dog friendly restaurants in Cape May, and they all have great food in an al fresco setting. Food ranges from 4-star to casual, but all are great fun, and the dogs get lots of attention and “snacks”! Usually they will bring water for the dogs, even before you think to ask!
Here are some of the ones we list for our guests at Billmae Cottage:
Zoe’s - Beach and Stockton Place
Rusty Nail – 205 Beach Avenue, at the Beach Shack
Gecko’s – 31 Perry Street, in Carpenters Square Mall
Tisha’s – 322 Washington Street
The Blue Pig – 39 Perry Street, at Congress Hall
The Ugly Mug- 426 Washington Street
Jackson Mountain Cafe – 400 Washington Street
Dry Dock – 1440 Texas Avenue
And, now back to where we started – the beach. Most of the Delaware Bay beaches are dog friendly all year, as long as you keep your dog leashed and under control, and pick up after your dog. We like the beaches near the ferry entrance, which I call Ferry Beach (though I don’t think that’s its real name). We also like Higbee Beach and Sunset Beach, which are dog friendly off season. Cape May beach is only dog friendly November through April. My dogs and I prefer the Delaware Bay beaches if we’re going to swim because there is less surf so the dogs can enter easier if they are a little shy of the water. My other dog Cheyenne loved the water, but wouldn’t get her face wet, so she really liked the bay beaches and even more on a calm surf day. She was a bird-dog, so if she saw a bird, she would probably swim to Delaware to try to get it! I had to keep her on a long leash so she could swim, but so I could reel her in as needed.
So, come to Cape May to enjoy so many dog friendly activities – even in winter. Gee, you may even get lucky and have sea, sand, and snow!
Good Read Recommendation for the month:
Lost and Found by Jacqueline Sheehan.
This book is worth cuddling up with a warm drink, dog at your feet or in your lap, for a great story of survival, recovery, and strong bonds of love.