Cape May, NJ Rally Recap
September 11-15, 2022

Dates: September 11-15, 2022
Location: Avalon Campground
1917 Route 9 North
Clermont, NJ 08210

September 11: Seventeen (17) Born Free Club members gathered for wine, cheese, and hoagies. Marilyn gave an overview of events on the itinerary.

All together at the campground
An evening campfire (started by Bob using flint and steel)

September 12: We van pooled to the Cape May Trolley, and Al, our excellent tour guide, pointed out various Victorian houses, nestled among many, that had historical significance. The town was visited and/or lived in by several notable people, including, among others, Ulysses S. Grant, Henry Ford, Norman Rockwell, John Philip Sousa, Benjamin Harrison, Harriet Tubman, and Stonewall Jackson. The houses were intricately detailed, colorful, and most extraordinary. Today, the city will not allow any house built unless it is in the Victorian style of the 1800s. At the conclusion of the trolley ride, our guide gave us an informative tour of the Emlen Physick Estate.

Cape May Trolley
Inside the Emlen Physick Home

Dr. Philip Syng Physick was regarded as the father of American Surgery. In 1876, his 20-year-old grandson, Emlen, having inherited his grandfather's wealth, bought eleven (11) acres of property, and, with the help of renowned Victorian architect, Frank Furness, had a carriage house and 18-room mansion built. Emlen never married or had children, so, after his death in 1916, the house fell into disrepair. In 1973, the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) enabled the city of Cape May to purchase the property, and, over the years, many of the original furnishings were located and/or donated. Today, the mansion is restored, and it stands as an example of classic Victorian architecture.

Lunch was enjoyed by all at Harry's Bar and Grill. We were seated on the upper deck and, on this bright, sunny day, had a bird's eye view of the Atlantic Ocean. After lunch, we went to Sunset Beach on the Jersey Shore and saw a half sunken concrete ship, the SS Atlantus. Some members then went to the Washington Street Mall which was comprised of several blocks of interesting shops, and others returned to the campground. Later, we all gathered at the Community Building for wine, cheese, and snacks.

Lunch at Harry's Bar and Grill

September 13: We coach/carpooled to the Skimmer Salt Marsh Safari. This was a fascinating 2-hour boat ride, with Captain Bill and First Mate Aiden. They were very knowledgeable and passionate about the ornithology and marine biology in the area, and we saw numerous examples of both. We had a delicious lunch at The Lobster House, followed by a short trip to the Cape May County Zoo, a well laid-out establishment with easy walking paths and expansive spaces for the wide variety of animals and birds. Later, we had a social gathering and campfire.

Boarding the Skimmer
Birding on the Skimmer

September 14: We coach/carpooled to the Naval Air Station Wildwood Museum where we were given a 2-hour guided tour. The base was originally established in 1942 and was a training facility for dive bomber squadrons. The museum now has an impressive collection of planes dating from World War I. Lunch was at the Flight Deck Diner, a restaurant located next to the museum. The afternoon was free, allowing Club members to explore the area on their own. The itinerary called for a pizza party at night. Twenty (20) minutes before delivery, a transformer blew and the campground lost all its electricity. The interior of the building where we had been meeting was too dark to eat, so everyone pitched in, moved tables and chairs, and, because it wasn't raining, we had the pizza outside and it was delightful. A campfire concluded the day.

Naval Air Station Wildwood Museum tour

September 15: Following a breakfast of bagels, fruit, and yogurt, good-byes were said, and members departed, taking with them good memories of a wonderful rally.

Rally attendees

By Mary Breu

***Note: This was the first rally Marilyn and Bob planned and organized and they did a wonderful job. The venues were fun, educational, and interesting, and all attendees thoroughly enjoyed themselves.