It is hot in New Jersey. Very, very hot. For the past four days, excessive heat warnings have been issued, and the temperatures have been in the upper 90’s with high humidity. The forecast called for slightly cooler temperatures at the shore, so yet again DH and I headed down to the southernmost tip of the state, to stay at my family’s beach home.
Sunday morning after church, while temperatures were still not oppressively hot, I thought I would pay a visit to another very cool attraction: the Cape May Lighthouse. Built in 1859, the lighthouse stands at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, a beacon for ships transiting to and from the Philadelphia harbor. The current lighthouse is the third one built in Cape May, replacing the previous structures which were built in 1823 and 1847. Owing to beach erosion, the locations of the previous lighthouses are now both underwater (via the Lighthouse FAQ from the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities). The current lighthouse has been functioning for 156 years, and is now operated by the U.S. Coast Guard.
On my way out, I spoke to one of the volunteers and asked him, in this age of GPS and electronic navigation, if lighthouses were still valuable. He told me that a few years ago, he was sailing with friends from Florida to New Jersey, and a bad storm hit while at sea, knocking out the boat’s radar and GPS unit. A lighthouse off the coast of Virginia was the only thing that kept he and his friends from either running aground or drifting dangerously out to sea. While there are less lighthouses now than there were a century ago, they still provide a valuable resource for sailors, and the US Coast Guard operates over 500 lighthouses nationwide.
The Cape May Lighthouse is open during the summer from 9:00 am until 8:00 pm every day. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-12 (children 2 and under are free). On hot days, take your time, bring some water, and then venture to the top. The view, and the learning experience, are well worth it!
One other quick item. My friend Jason, who is an expert on all things from 80’s and 90’s pop culture, sent me this story: the Sonic the Hedgehog Honda Civic. The iconic video game Sonic the Hedgehog turns 25 this year, and Honda celebrated Sonic’s birthday with the “Sonic Civic.” Honda rolled it out at the San Diego Comic Con this year. If this was my car, I’d drive it proudly every day.