America’s oldest seaside resort

September 29, 2014 — At the southern most tip of New Jersey sits Cape May, the nation’s oldest seashore resort. The city is designated a national historic landmark due to the number of Victorian houses built there, many of which have turned into bed & breakfast destinations and quaint inns.

While vacationing there last week, I took a walk through the historic district and captured these images.

Congress Hall is a landmark that has provided generations with a seaside escape year after year. The hotel first opened its doors in 1816.

congress hall

congress hall 2

The jewel of all the inns is said to be the “Mainstay”, according to the Washington Post. The structure was built in 1872 and provides “pleasant accomodations” with 12 rooms and suites, three parlors, and rocker filled porches.

mainstay inn

mainstay inn 2

Private homes also populate the historic district.

private home 2

private home 3

private home 4

The big change that comes with autumn 2014

imagesSeptember 22, 2014 – Autumn arrives today, the ideal season that takes us from the September equinox to the December solstice here in the northern hemisphere.

I am a late autumn baby, I adore the season, and I believe it to be the most pleasant of the four. I always thought I was lucky to share my birthday with such delightful autumn holidays as Halloween and Thanksgiving.

This year in particular the start of autumn makes me aware that another birthday is looming. This is a big one, folks. Huge, in fact,  because I turn 55 in early December.

Sure, people consider the new decade birthdays as the biggies. I’ve participated in numerous birthday parties celebrating 30, 40, 50, etc. However, 55 is crucial because whenever I take a survey from December 9, 2014 on, I will no longer check the 45-54 age group. Instead, I’ll have graduated to the 55-64 age group, and will remain there for the next nine years until I reach the final group in the survey world, the 65+ group. Yikes!

It may seem silly and rather vain, but I’ve pondered this event for a few years now, knowing that 55 was coming fast. Once I check the 55-64 box, the person reading the survey could actually think I’m 64, and not the young, vibrant 55 I like to think I am.

Still, If you equate the seasons with stages of life, I’m right smack in the autumn of my days. And like the season, one that is filled with pumpkin lattes, spiced wafers, and perfect weather, that’s gotta be a good thing.

The last rose of summer

_2000045September 19, 2014 — Whenever someone doesn’t look quite right, my mother will say they look like the last rose of summer. It is not quite a compliment since the last rose of summer, the one that hung around through all the heat and humidity, looks withered and parched. On the positive side, however, it shows longevity, strength and determination.

The expression comes from a poem by Irish poet Thomas Moore, who wrote “The Last Rose of Summer” in 1805. It begins, “Tis the last rose of summer, left blooming alone; All her lovely companions are faded and gone…”

This weekend is the last of summer, and the one that begins my anticipated my summer vacation. I’ll be heading to the New Jersey beaches, which often seem lovelier in September when the crowds have gone, and those remaining, those true last roses of summer, try to squeeze every ounce out of the season before autumn sets in.

See you at the beach

September 15, 2014 — For the past 12 years, my family has gathered at a New Jersey beach on a Saturday in September to honor two uncles who have passed. The weather is usually spectacular, but if the rain clouds try to dampen our day as they did on Saturday, we meet anyway because it’s tradition. This year, a four-legged friend joined us, too.

dog

Perhaps the words of my cousin say it best:

“Although your physical presence is out of reach,
that will never stop us from meeting at the beach.
In loving memory of all the lives you’ve touched,
our time moves on and you’re missed so much.
We gather together to enjoy each other,
Mothers, sons, sisters and brothers.
Aunts, uncles, and cousins too,
this day is set to celebrate you.
So let us continue our journey to the beach,
until that day we rest in peace.”

– Tom Wolfinger