Tuesday, February 5, 2008

An Afternoon at the Point

The weather this afternoon was kind of strange. Warmer than it has been lately, but still cool for my liking, sort of cloudy, as if it just couldn't make up its mind if it should rain or let the sun shine. But I was restless. Had to get out of the house. I decided to take a ride up to Cape May Point.

I started up Sunset Boulevard. It always makes me sad now to ride past what used to be my beloved South Cape Meadows. For thirty years it was a favorite spot for me. I would wander onto its paths which were usually rough and often puddled or muddy. No matter what time of year, it always offered something
wonderful to see. The best time of year was around Mothers' Day, when I could always count on goslings and signets, and sometimes met challenging geese or swans who did not want me to pass too near their babies. Butterflies could always be counted on in the warm weather. I often spotted small animals scurrying out of sight as I passed. Wild flowers were everywhere.

But for the past year the Meadows were off limits while all kinds of construction was goin
g on. We were told it would be better than ever when they were through. They now claim it is. I don't know about that. To begin with, admission is now charged. But putting that aside - Look at what has happened. The water is lying all the way up to the road - and we haven't had any really bad storms lately. As I look back toward the dunes in the distance, what I now see is ever-so-neat and tidy paths with bird-watching platforms and little bridges built over the low spots. What I do not see, even at a distance and despite all the water, is very many birds. I hope they will find their way back after a while. I suppose the Nature Conservancy should know what they were doing. Maybe the summer will bring back the wildlife. We can hope. At least their sign is nice looking and the parking lot is nice. But somehow I doubt that I will be spending much time there. Certainly not this year.

Well, I continued up Sunset Boulevard toward the Point, intending to end up at the Park where the lighthouse stands. But of course I had to detour around Lake Lily first. No visit to the Point is complete without visiting the lake. There weren't quite so many birds on the water today as usual, but I enjoyed those that were there. Nothing exotic. Just ducks and geese. I don't think I saw any swans today either.
I just circled the water once, and continued
on my way to the park.

The municipality of Cape May Point is an interesting place. I love the architecture found there. And if I wander very
far from my usual route, I always manage to get myself lost. It's a pleasant exprience, and I do find my way out before long, but I could never give anyone else directions to their Post Office or to any particular spot in the town except the lighthouse and the lake. I did not get lost today - just once around the lake and on to the park. But on the way I did pause to snap a picture of what I think is a beautiful sundial in someone's front yard. And, of course, the lighthouse itself can be seen from almost anywhere in town.

I always mean to take a picture of the tiny townhall that sits right at the entrance to the park. It's the cutest little building. But I always forget, and I forgot today.

As you enter the parking lot, Smokey admonishes you to be careful. You continue past the visitors' center and museum on one end of the lot, or head for the other, where you find the nature trails, and also the hawk watch platform.

I climbed up to the platform today, and enjoye
d the view for a while. Then I wandered down again and drove home. Not exactly an adventurous afternoon, but for me, a very pleasant one. I've been cooped up in the house for far too long.

As I left the park, the sun was starting to move down the sky, and silhouetted the lighthouse very prettily I thought.

By the way, I took the photo under the header for my blog up at the Point a few years ago.


Ralph said...

Okay, I now have a strong urge to vist Cape May Point. Being landlocked, I have always loved lighthouses. I have to visit that one.
For the first time I read the header at the top of your blog - about travelers. That is so, so true.

bobbie said...

We'd be happy to see you visit the Point, Ralph. NJ has some really great lighthouses. My favorite is Twin Lights of the Navesink, way up north.
For any of the birders who visited Cape May recently, I also took a pictures of the hawk watch stats, but I'd have to print a really big copy for anyone to read it. The total was 31,590.

kenju said...

We drove through that area many years ago, and I'd like to revisit when I could stop and look around.

kenju said...

Thanks, Bobbie. I have been reading her since way before the pregnancy. Some of her early posts about her work life are really hysterical (even if some of the lanugage is quite rough).

Shelly said...

Wow, love the lighthouse photo. Spending the night in a lighthouse is on my list of things I need to do.
The photo under your header? I thought that was an artists rendering, now that I know it's a photo that you took...I'm even more impressed. Absolutely lovely.

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

This is so interesting. I hope the birds come back. We go to a Nature Conservancy sanctuary near my house, and we used to see nesting birds, waterfowl, deer, butterflies, dragonflies, and other wildlife. Three years ago they disrupted things by clearing away all the wildflowers and grasses growing along the banks of the pond, which would have been fine, but they did it at the wrong time of year and nothing re-seeded. Now we see nothing, and it's so sad to go there now. They really affected the eco-system. There are nowhere near the amount of frogs anymore now either. I never assume that those in charge know what they are doing anymore. My husband and I have been talking about going to Cape May for the migration. I hope they haven't permanently spoiled it there.

LauraHinNJ said...

Your favorite lighthouse is just around the corner from me, Bobbie! (And one of my favorites is just around the corner from you!) Really, I think Old Barney is my favorite, tho I've never visited there in the summer when I imagine it looks really beautiful.

Cape May is probably my favorite place in the world. I consider myself lucky to live so close - you're really lucky!

I remember The Meadows before and was surprised when I saw it for the first time this fall - I agree it looks awful, too managed and artificial. Ultimately, I hope it will be more beneficial for the birds that use it and I hope the vegetation returns quickly to the wild state that it used to be in.