the call to place: cape may, new jersey

Cape May. August 1994. I lounge on a blue-and-yellow striped beach chair, a dusting of grit stuck to my sunscreen-slathered legs, my feet burrowed into sand.  Immersed in a book, I bask in the sun, getting up periodically to dip into the water.  My husband digs a hole in the beach with his bare hands. Into that hollow, my 1- and 3-year-old sons toddle, brandishing toy shovels, digging and piling sand into yellow construction equipment: a cement mixer, a bulldozer, a dump truck. I’m amused by their concentrated industriousness.

When not on the beach, we climb the lighthouse and marvel over the beach and town sprawled beneath us.  We cook dinners in.  I am happy yet overwhelmed by motherhood. I fiercely love my children, but in the process of loving them, I’ve lost all sense of myself.

Driving through the beach town in our blue Chevy van, chock-full of car seats and beach paraphernalia, I glimpse colorful Victorian houses blur past the window. The charming town, with its promise of candlelit dinners in Victorian inns, will have to wait for another time.

I tell my husband I’d love to come back one day without our children: to stroll on the beaches and through marshland, wander aimlessly through town, pop into shops, stay in a cozy bed-and-breakfast.

December 2017.  Twenty-three years later. I need an escape. My youngest son, 25 and living under our roof, has become a force to be reckoned with. After an upsetting altercation, I decide it is time to take care of myself.  After all, memory beckons: those Victorian houses, windswept beaches, billowing sea grasses, marshes and shore birds, seafood and ice cream. Oh yes, and, north of Cape May is that crazy amusement park, Wildwood, which might flash its bawdy vintage signs despite being closed in winter. Inspired by John’s Instagram, which features vintage American icons in Arizona, I’m interested in rediscovering Americana.  My getaway won’t be to Arizona, but to the Jersey shore; only a 4 1/2-hour drive, it’s close enough for a two-night escape.  There will be no romantic dinners this time because I’m going alone.  It’s time to pamper myself.

On this southernmost point of New Jersey shore jutting into the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic, I can meander on a deserted wind-swept beach, lingering in memories of my little boys when they were untarnished by the world — so innocent, so industrious.


“THE CALL TO PLACE” INVITATION: I invite you to write a 500-word (or less) post on your own blog about what enticed you to choose a recently visited or a future destination. If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to write in the comments.  If your destination is a place you love and keep returning to, feel free to write about that. If you want to see the original post about the subject, you can check it out here: imaginings: the call to place.

Include the link in the comments below by Wednesday, March 28 at 1:00 p.m. EST.  When I write my post in response to this challenge on Thursday, March 29, I’ll include your links in that post. My next post will be about Nashville, Tennessee.

This will be an ongoing invitation, once weekly through March, bi-weekly in April, and monthly after that. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂

I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!


the ~ wander.essence ~ community

I invite you all to settle in and read a few posts from our wandering community.  I promise, you’ll be inspired!

  • Jo, of Restless Jo, writes of her enthusiasm for her recent trip to Jerez de la Frontera, in Andalucía, Spain. I love her words: “I’m sure I must have gypsy blood somewhere in the ancestry. The rhythmic stamp of that foot and the proud arch of the neck has me on the edge of my seat, breathing suspended, totally in the moment. Who wouldn’t travel for this?”  Read more about her excitement over the Festival of Flamenco and the dancing horses at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art.  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to go. 🙂
  • Jude, of Travel Words, shares her call to move to West Penwith during a visit in 2015.  Her dream has come true, and she now lives there. Her words are captivating: “I am enchanted by the landscape where the sea and the sky become one, a land littered with history, where the past is always present.” And she goes on, with delightful descriptions and photos.  Can I visit one of these days, Jude?
  • Sue, of WordsVisual, shares her sense of place through two haiku in this piece from 2015. She attempted to climb Cadair Idris, a Welsh summit, but the weather didn’t allow for it. On that climb the black rock was “glowering” and “unfathomable.” On the other climb, it seemed it might be a success, but alas, it wasn’t to be: the last of the sunlight was “taunting.” I like to hope that she will get there one day, if not in physical reality, at least in her imagination.

Thanks to all of you who wrote posts about a call to place. 🙂