Monday, October 27, 2008

A Three Hour Cruise

The plan was to post a book review today. Not going to happen, because I did not finish the book this weekend as planned. First, I was called into work for 12 hours unexpectedly Saturday. Then Sunday, after I got home from church, it was just such a lovely day that I decided to go on a cruise...yes, a three hour cruise. But without Gilligan.

No, I decided to take a ride on the Cape May Lewes Ferry, which, oddly enough, goes from Cape May NJ to Lewes Delaware, crossing the Delaware Bay. On a fine day such as this, temperatures on land of about 60 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, it is a grand trip, of about 1 1/2 hours each way. In a stormy evening, with wind and rain and snow and waves crashing over the car deck in the winter, well, it is a whole other sort of fun. But Sunday was fine and calm.

The Ferry service runs four ships, each carrying about 100 vehicles and bikes and a large number of walk on passengers as well. I decided to leave the car safely parked in Cape May and just pack my camera and binoculars for the trip. But when I arrived in Lewes, rather than just stay on and head right back, I disembarked to check out the Lewes terminal. There are shuttle buses on both ends, to take you into Cape May or, on the Delaware side, to the nearby shopping outlets.
Sadly, I did not think that there was enough time to go into Historic Lewes on this trip, but there were docks to check out, a gift shop (two books, of course, one tee shirt) and I had a nice lunch out on the terminal's large patio overlooking the harbor while waiting for the next ferry to arrive. A great place to start those books on Delaware lighthouses and Delmarva day trips, with the gulls carrying on and all sorts of pleasure boats in the nearby water.

And did I mention that you can see 4 lighthouses from the ferry? Yes, at least on a day as clear as this you can. Of course, there is the Cape May Lighthouse as you pull out from the terminal in North Cape May. And if you are very lucky, as you cross the Bay, off in the distance, maybe about 10 miles up the river you can see the Brandywine Shoal Lighthouse, sitting in the middle of the Delaware River. It was a great test for the zoom on my new camera!

Finally, as you sail into Lewes Harbor, you pass two very long breakwaters built offshore, out in the bay, to protect the harbor from the ice and storm ravages of the open ocean, each capped by a lighthouse. There is the poetically named Harbor of Refuge, pictured above, lit in 1908, and the red Delaware Breakwater Lighthouse, shown below, built in 1855. Since you can now visit both on cruises led by the nonprofit Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation from a dock just next to the Lewes ferry terminal, in the summer I forsee another visit in my future, with a complete rightup of the two lights then.

For most people, the ferry is a way to cut a good many miles off the road trip down the coast from NJ to Delaware, and you will see tractortrailers and RVs and cars from many states on the lowest car deck. Not to mention quite a few dogs happy to get out of their cars for a bit and take a walk around the outside decks. But it
is also a pleasant trip for we humans, whether you choose to sit inside in one of several lounanges and have something to eat or watch a football game as many were doing yesterday, or sit outside and get some sea air and some fine sights. No whales or dolphins, which are pretty common sights, yesterday. But there were those four lighthouse, without having to take a step!


  1. That sounds like so much fun. Glad you had a better crew than Gilligan!

  2. you don't see a lot of crew. I assume there is a captain and a second person in case he/she drops dead halfway across. A guy that put down the passenger ramp to the walkway...just like a long airport walkway. I remember when I was a kid you had to walk on the same ramp as the cars and then walk up to the people level.
    I assume in the height of summer, when they are full all the time and have the outside bar open, there are a lot more employees.

    And there was a security/cop looking person wandering around and they ask for a drivers license picture ID when you even buy a walk-on ticket....oh, these post 9-11 days.

  3. Looks like a lovely day to be out on the water. Glad you had a good time!

  4. Great pictures! We haven't done a ferry trip yet, but we're thinking about it at some point.

    If you make a summer trip into Lewes, check out Lightship Overfalls (make sure it's still there first - they're supposed to be moving it at some point for repairs). It's a fascinating tour, especially if you get a good guide.

  5. Jennifer, you must do the ferry!I am going to talk my sister in law in taking it over and taking the shuttle to the outlets for some Christmas shopping. I hate shopping but the trip would make it better for me.

    I do really have to check out the whole Delmarva area. the Overfalls is still there it seems..I will have to check it out! thanks

  6. Thanks! Always like visitors....and comments.


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