Sunset Beach, Cape May

Sunset Beach, Cape May There are many unique things that belong solely to South Jersey. We have sunsets over the ocean (not usually visible on the East Coast), diamonds found right on our beaches--free for the taking, patriotic ceremonies daily, historic landmarks and remains of past war ships. What’s even more fascinating, though, is the fact that these all can be found in one place: beautiful Historic Cape May. More specifically, Sunset Beach. This South Jersey site is full of radiant sights and historical attractions.

Atlantus, the Concrete Ship (pictured)
After the United States entered World War I, there was a desperate need for ships to transport supplies and soldiers to Europe. Due to a shortage of steel, the U.S. worked with concrete as an alternative material for an experimental fleet of ships. They were successful, but too slow to be economical. Out of the 38 ships, only 12 were put into use. The Atlantus was the second prototype, being a 3000 ton, 250-foot long ship which was going to be used as part of a ferry slip after the war in 1926. It was to be towed to Cape May and purposely sunk so that the ferry could be built over it. Due to a mishap, the ship got caught on a sand bar, and to this day, remains there. However, due to weather and time, it is hard to recognize it as what it once was, but with a little imagination, you can envision the giant it once was. There is a great view from the Cape May Lighthouse, where you can see the outline of the ship.

The “Concrete Tower”
Cape May also houses one of 15 towers that were built for patrol guards to look for enemy ships during World War II. Built in 1942, this tower was part of the widespread Delaware Harbor Defense system known as Fort Miles. Officially known as Fire Control Tower No. 23, it is the last intact tower in New Jersey. It is owned by the Cape May Point State Park and is located on Sunset Blvd. It was refurbished, and visitors are welcome to climb to the top to catch a view of what patrol guards saw all those years ago. Now, it's been restored!

Admission: $6 for adults; One child (ages 3-12) FREE with paying adult; $3 each additional child; $2 for active & retired military (with valid ID). Purchase tickets at the Tower during hours of operation.

For days and times when the tower is open, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or click here.

Summer Evening Flag Ceremony
Every sunset, from Memorial Day through September, there is a flag-lowering ceremony. The folks at Sunset Beach are immensely proud of this tradition, which has been a staple of our area for over 40 years. All of the flags that they fly at the mast are veterans' casket flags that families bring with them from their loved one's funeral. There is nothing as thought provoking than to watch the sun set over the Delaware Bay while taps plays and Old Glory is lowered for the evening. If you have not experienced this emotionally moving tradition, you can be a participant in this celebration of being an American. All are welcome to watch as this ceremony takes place. For more information, click here. You must reserve a spot to be a participant. ALL can watch. Reservations for 2015 are now being accepted.

Cape May Diamonds
So they’re not real diamonds, more like quartz crystals, but once polished and buffed, they really resemble real diamonds. Visitors are more than welcome to walk the beaches and search for their own pieces of Cape May to take home. Or, if you’d prefer to have the work done for you, purchase a piece of jewelry already created with these little jewels. Either way, these little souvenirs make an interesting conversation piece.

Whether you are a history buff or just someone curious about what different things New Jersey has to offer, Cape May really has something for everyone. And it should definitely be on your list of places to visit, no matter the season!

Go to sunsetbeachnj.com for more information.

6/25/15

© SouthJersey.com 2015. All rights reserved. This article or parts thereof may not be reprinted or reproduced by any other party without the express written consent of SouthJersey.com. For more information, please call 856-797-9910.

For an extensive list of South Jersey Attractions, with links to websites and other information, check out our South Jersey Attractions page.

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Author: Editorial Staff--SouthJersey.com

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