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Coastal Escapes: Cape May, N.J.( Baltimore Sun / July 2, 2013 )
Nestled at one of the southernmost points of the Jersey coast, Cape May is a quiet, peaceful beach town, removed from the hustle and bustle of the more popular shoreline destinations. You're going to reach in your pocket a little more than you would in somewhere like Ocean City, but the elegance and sophistication of the Victorian town is worth a hike in prices.
Distance from Baltimore: 150 miles
Summer events/activities: If you're looking to venture off the beach for an afternoon, head to Victorian Cape May (capemay.com), a National Historic Landmark City with a collection of old Victorian era buildings. While you're there, check out the Cape May Lighthouse (above), built in 1859 and still operational. If you need more incentive to go, catch the Cape May Craft Beer & Crab Festival (Aug. 10). If shopping is more your style, check out the boutiques and other shops on Washington Street.
Cool lodging: A majestic hotel by the water, Congress Hall (200 Congress Place; congresshall.com or 888-944-1816) is a model of grace and sophistication. The gigantic yellow building sticks out like a sore thumb, but for all the right reasons. From the flower-spotted lawn to the first-class accommodations, it's no wonder Congress Hall was named one of Conde Nast Traveler's Top 45 Hotels in the Northeast in 2012.
Eat here: There's nothing like wrapping up a beach day with a good meal on the front porch. That's why Mad Batter Restaurant (19 Jackson St.; madbatter.com or 609-884-5970) is a must. With a moderately priced menu, a relaxed atmosphere and critically acclaimed meals, Mad Batter is the perfect place to get the family together at the end of a long day on the water.
Don't miss: Any Jersey beachgoer could tell you that a summer trip to the shore isn't complete until you've had breakfast at Uncle Bill's Pancake House (261 Beach Ave.; unclebillspancakehouse.com/cape-may.html or 609-884-7199), a Jersey Shore tradition for more than 50 years. There's something for everyone at Uncle Bill's, from ice cream waffles to a ham and cheese omelet. If you entertain any ideas of chowing down at Uncle Bill's, set your alarm, as the shore's most popular breakfast destination fills up quickly. There's also a second location in North Cape May.