Beyond the Sea.

During my ownership over the past thirteen months, DH has been driven 21,000 miles, has visited ten states, has been as far north as Boston, and as far west as Wisconsin. This weekend I took the Accord on a whole new adventure that involved visiting a new state by traveling 34 miles without putting a wheel to the road. We went out to sea.

Friday, after work, I headed down to my family’s shore house for the weekend, once again returning to Cape May. Traffic was awful as I left work, and I fought a terrible rush hour jam for the first 12 miles, which took over an hour! Once I passed the bottleneck and made my way to Route 55, the roads cleared and the rest of the 80-mile drive was calm. I managed to arrive in time for sunset, racing to the beach at the end of our block to take some photos of a gorgeous view.

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No Photoshop required. This is the view that greeted me upon my arrival at the shore.

Saturday morning I awoke early, grabbed my camera and my tickets, and headed to the Cape May – Lewes Ferry. Beginning operation on July 1, 1964, the ferry system runs between Cape May, New Jersey and Lewes, Delaware. The idea of a ferry across the Delaware Bay has a long history filled with numerous false starts and failures. For instance, one plan in the 1920’s involved the use of concrete ships to create a ferry terminal. The concrete ship plan failed when one broke loose and became grounded near Sunset Beach, the history of which I detailed in this post. There were several other failed attempts in the 1940s and 1950s until the current system became operational in 1964.

The Cape May – Lewes Ferry has a fleet of three vessels: the MV Delaware, the MV Cape Henlopen, and the MV New Jersey. Each vessel is 320 feet long, 68 feet wide, four decks high, and is powered by twin 4,000 horsepower diesel engines. The route is 17 miles long and takes approximately 90 minutes of sailing time. Since it began operating, the ferry system has transported more than 11 million vehicles and over 34 million passengers. On Saturday, DH and I added our names to the roster of vehicles and people who have crossed aboard the ships.

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The ferry terminal in Cape May marks the end of Route 9 in New Jersey. Route 9 begins again in Delaware.
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Upon arrival, cars cue up in a series of lanes and then at boarding time, are directed aboard in a very orderly manner. The ferry for the outbound journey would be the MV Cape Henlopen.
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“All aboard!”
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DH, tucked away during the journey. You have full access to your vehicle during the trip.
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Beginning our voyage…
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Heading out to sea. I have stood on that very jetty many time to take photos. I have never seen it from this angle, however.
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Rapidly leaving the coast of New Jersey behind.

 

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In addition to a snack shop, a bar, and a gift shop, the ship also has a video game arcade. Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and Galaga? It’s like they recreated my childhood!
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I’ve been very fortunate to spend time during both my childhood and adult years on the water. To me, there is no more peaceful feeling than being far enough away from the shore that you see no land.
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When you’re on the water, it is always eye opening to look at your position on a map. That’s a lot of blue!
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Traffic.
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Land Ho! The Lewes ferry terminal is the blue building straight ahead.

Arriving in Delaware shortly before noon, I drove off the ferry and immediately pondered what to do. For as strong of a planner as I am, I was momentarily stumped. When the weekend began, I knew I wanted to take DH on the ferry. I knew I needed a round trip, and so had randomly picked a return time – 2:45 pm – that seemed to fit my schedule. I hadn’t given any thought as to what to do in between. Oops. Fortunately, when I had bought my ferry ticket, the kindly lady at the ticket booth had also given me a guide to sights and attractions in Delaware. I thumbed through it and saw that Rehoboth Beach was only 8 miles away.

I took Route 9 and then switched to Route 1, and found traffic to be surprisingly light for a warm weekend in late spring. From the point that it intersects with Route 9 until the beginning of Rehoboth Beach, Route 1 is basically one long mall. The prime attraction is Tangier Outlets of Rehoboth Beach, which has 128 stores and 5 restaurants and seemed to stretch for miles beside the highway. Shopaholics take note!

I headed to Dewey Beach, slightly south of the main town of Rehoboth. After paying for parking at one of the beach access lots, I got out of DH to stretch my legs. I wandered down to the ocean for a bit, picking my way through the crowds of beachgoers. Perhaps I am a bit spoiled by the quieter beach scene in Cape May, but there were honestly too many people for me. I stayed for a little while and then decided to get back into my car and go to town to get some lunch.

I had found a restaurant on Yelp that seemed promising- a brewery that also had good ratings for its food. Except… I got lost. Maybe it was the sun, or fatigue, or my own hunger, but I made a series of wrong turns and ended up nowhere near my designation. Muttering angrily to myself, I pulled into a random restaurant’s parking lot to check my map, when the restaurant’s sign caught my eye: Stingray Sushi Bar and Asian-Latina Grill. Asian-Latina? My curiosity was piqued. I checked Yelp and saw really good reviews, so I decided to give it a try, and had a wonderful meal. Full and happy, I made my way back to the ferry terminal for the 2:45 pm departure.

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At Dewey Beach, to stretch my legs.
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A very pretty beach but absolutely packed. I prefer my beaches to be quieter.
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Near the beach were these old watchtowers from World War II. They were built to triangulate gun fire against possible German ships. Does that sound implausible? It wasn’t implausible at all, actually. Several German U-Boats have been found sunk off the coast of New Jersey.
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I stopped here to get directions, and ended up with a terrific meal!
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Yum!
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Back at the ferry terminal after lunch, awaiting the arrival of the MV New Jersey, which would take DH and I back to Cape May.
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Back aboard. I arrived at the ferry terminal early, and ended up with a parking spot on the bow of the ship.
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DH, on the left and second from the front, enjoying the sea air.
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We passed this old, but still functioning, lighthouse on the way out of Lewes.
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Maybe the greatest moment from the trip, and completely unexpected. As I was taking photographs a pod of dolphins broke the surface of the water. I took exactly one photo, and then they vanished beneath the sea.
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As we headed back to NJ, we passed the MV Cape Henlopen as it made its way back again to Delaware. These are busy ships!
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Arriving back in Cape May, the journey almost complete.
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The end of the journey. The men and women who coordinate the vehicles exiting the ship operate with the precision of a Swiss watch. All vehicles were off in a matter of minutes.
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Back home in time for one more sunset.

The adventure over, I headed back home. Arriving in the driveway of our shore house, I checked my odometer- I had only driven 36 miles during the day, yet it felt like I had gone so much farther than that. The day was fun, exciting, and relaxing. The Cape May – Lewes ferry was a great adventure, and I can now say that my car has been to sea. 21,000 miles, 11 states, and 1 ocean (well, it’s actually a bay, but who’s counting?).

‘Til next time.

 

Postscript: A link to the song that gave its title to this article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Beyond the Sea.

  1. What a great adventure! Now you’ve got me craving sushi. Just because I think other readers may be wondering, too: What’s the fare for the ferry? Love that they had a Pac-Man game console on there, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Tyson. I didn’t list the fares because it’s actually complicated- it varies based on time of year, type of vehicle, number of passenger, etc. It’s all on the website. I spent $87 for the round trip.

      Like

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