anticipation & preparation: cape may, new jersey

I didn’t have much time to prepare for my mid-December escape to Cape May because, as it was an ESCAPE, I had to put my plan into motion quickly.

I barely had time to buy Moon Handbooks New Jersey and Off the Beaten Path New Jersey: A Guide to Unique Places, and after perusing the Cape May section, I noted all the things I wanted to do and see:

  1. Walk on Cape May beaches & through Cape May Point State Park
  2. Visit Cape May lighthouse
  3. Photograph the beautiful Victorian architecture
  4. Check out the Christmas decorations
  5. Visit the Emlen Physick Estate
  6. Walk around the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary
  7. Walk on the salt marsh trail and boardwalk at the Wetlands Institute
  8. Drive to Wildwood
  9. Eat lunch at Maui’s Dog House in Wildwood

I looked up pictures of some of these places and had fun adding some creative touches to my journal.  Keeping a travel journal is something I plan to do without fail going forward (You can read more on my page on keeping a travel journal if you’d like some inspiration).  I actually drew a picture of a Victorian house from an online picture, and I can’t even draw!  It was fun to try; it looks a little lopsided, but oh well.  An artist I’m not.

I found some pictures online and put them into my journal, but I guess I can’t show them to you as I would need permission from the photographer as long as the photos are recognizable.  You can get a general idea from my photo.  The flowers hopefully make the pictures less recognizable:


My Cape May Travel Journal

I normally read novels or memoirs about a place before I visit, but I didn’t have time.  If I had, I might have read one or two of these books that take place in New Jersey.

  • Bad Haircut: Stories of the Seventies by Tom Perrotta
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  • Drown by Junot Díaz
  • The Lay of the Land (Frank Bascombe #3) by Richard Ford
  • Palisades Park by Alan Brennert
  • Paterson by William Carlos Williams
  • The Pine Barrens by John McPhee (non-fiction)

Because I want to improve my travel journaling, I made a list of intentions, so I could focus. As this is the first time I’ve ever done this, I kept my goals fairly simple.  Here’s the list I put in my journal:


Cape May goals (now I call them intentions) 🙂

A number of years ago, I bought a bunch of vintage postcards of the 50 states.  As they’ve been sitting around gathering dust, I decided to send the New Jersey one home to myself with some thoughts. Here’s the postcard.  I’ll show what I wrote in a later post.


Finally, because I’d be in the car by myself for 4 1/2-5 hours, I made a playlist.  It’s on Spotify: On the Way to Cape May; it includes 22 songs.  My favorites are:

  1. “Jersey Girl” by Tom Waits
  2. “Atlantic City” by Bruce Springsteen
  3. “Jersey Shore” by The Promise Ring
  4. “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen
  5. “Nothing But Time” by Jackson Browne

Whenever I go on a road trip, I simply must have a playlist. I love to belt out songs at high volume as I zoom down the highway, and I honestly don’t care if anyone sees or hears me. 🙂

The master plan for this trip was to pamper myself, read some good books, write, get some space from my son and his issues, and quite simply, have an adventure. 🙂


“ANTICIPATION & PREPARATION” INVITATION: I invite you to write a 750-word (or less) post on your own blog about anticipation & preparation for a recently visited or a future particular destination (not journeys in general). If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to write in the comments. Include the link in the comments below by Thursday, April 5 at 1:00 p.m. EST.  When I write my post in response to this challenge on Friday, April 6, I’ll include your links in that post. My next post will be about Nashville, Tennessee. 🙂

This will be an ongoing invitation, once weekly and then bi-weekly through April, and monthly after that. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂  If you’d like to read more about the topic, see: journeys: anticipation & preparation.

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 posts from our wandering community. We only have one this time. I promise, you’ll be inspired!

Thanks to all of you who wrote posts about anticipation and preparation. 🙂