South of the border

Well, not really south of the border. But the far southern end of New Jersey is below the Mason-Dixon line, technically in the South.

Virginia Hotel in Cape May

Virginia Hotel in Cape May

I don’t know if Cape May is above or below that imaginary line, and I’m not even going to bother looking it up, but I just want to say that highlights of a recent trip to the southern tip of the Jersey Shore including lolling on the beach while rereading “Up in the Old Hotel” by Joseph Mitchell and watching dolphins leaping through the surf (actually very close to shore and very near to clumps of totally oblivious bathers); going out in a flat-bottomed boat for a two-hour tour of marshlands and wetlands filled with herons, egrets and terrapin turtles and very noisy “personal watercraft”; and, most of all, sitting on the front porch of a fancy old hotel called the Virginia, where my wife and I alternated between sipping Irish creme on the rocks and good strong coffee laced with good strong Irish whiskey, and lightning was flashing silently in the distance somewhere over Delaware Bay, and tree frogs were trilling, and the night was quiet, and the air was heavy and hot and I guess we should have been sipping mint juleps and humming a Stephen Foster song, but as I mentioned the place was called the Virginia and the night was warm and the drinks were expensive but good and I know it sounds like I’ve been possessed by the spirit of Ernest Hemingway but I think we would have been content to sit on the Virginia’s porch all night until the sun rose and the dawn broke and the sunbeams shined off the wet backs of dolphins leaping through the rough surf off the coast of Cape May.

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