Special to the Star & Wave
The peak of the summer is here in Cape May, with temperatures in the 80s and nary a parking spot in sight.
The massive increase in summer population has Cape May bustling with activity from out-of-town visitors.
Year after year, both newcomers and return guests find themselves back in Cape May for vacation. Stores, restaurants and motels all see repeat guests return to spend another vacation in Cape May.
Even the most adventurous of travelers have a favorite destination. Perhaps that explains the phenomenon of people returning here, summer after summer. Emotional attachments to Cape May are evident when guests return not only to the city but to the same property.
Visitors enjoy noticing what has changed around the city, including shops that have closed and the new ones that have taken their place. Finding what is new in town is always a surprise for return vacationers.
It’s not vacation until you’ve had your coffee
Coffee fanatics noted that Café Buongiorno closed at 414 Washington St. and a familiar Cape May Staple, Coffee Tyme, opened a new store in its place.
Coffee Tyme greets their return customers over the span of the summer season, especially now in its two locations.
“We have return customers for every week in the summer,” Coffee Tyme owner Jesse Lambert said. “I actually have some customers memorized.”
In addition to the new location, the flagship Coffee Tyme remains at 315 Beach Ave. Both shops have new products available.
“We just got our metal straws back in stock and they are already selling fast,” Lambert said.
Creating connections with customers is a special way to connect with people, making for a strong business and memorable experience among travelers.
A vacation in Cape May is easy, but choosing where to stay is arguably the most important aspect of a vacation.
The Victorian Motel, located at 223 Congress Place, finds that their clientele is largely repeat customers.
“Cape May is a comfort zone to a lot of people who have a nostalgic connection with returning here,” Victorian Motel Manager John Cooke said. “Many people we speak with, consistently refer to Cape May as their happy place. It might account for the 75-80 percent repeat clientele which the hotel enjoys.”
Return guests to the Victorian Motel choose it for the prime location at the end of the Washington Street Mall. The motel is one block away from the beach and has a pool. In 2017, the Victorian Motel was voted best kid-friendly accommodation by Capemay.com’s “Best of Cape May” contest.
“We’ve watched several generations meet each year for the same week,” Cooke said. “As well as watching the teenagers of many families grow up around the pool each summer. The guests refer to themselves as beach families.
A passport full of stamps is desirable to those who love to travel, but for others, beach chairs and sunblock fill the car with a familiar feel and smell of the start of vacation.
The emotional attachment to Cape May is more than love for the town, extending to the businesses and experience. Returning to the same place has benefits; it’s not just a redundant vacation. For some, summer isn’t truly done until a vacation is had in Cape May.