Almost Shlocal in Cape May

Did you know to be a shlocal in Cape May requires fierce devotion? Every year at the Victorian motel we see returning families who match that image. They nearly stampede to the front desk to re-book their next vacation before they even leave for home.

Although they may not fit the exact definition of shlocal, they truly love Cape May. The definition, though not widely known is included in the urban dictionary.

What follows is a new series of  profiles of dedicated visitors. Shlocals if you will, that go to great lengths to spend hard earned money in Cape May. For the most part responses will be as unedited as possible–letting the shlocal in Cape May be the cheerleader for a change.

First up meet the Allens.

Dairy farmers from southwestern Pennsylvania. The Allens remember when Carney’s was a place called Sids.

1. How long has the Allen family been coming to Cape May.?

We have been coming to Cape May since 1959, when I was almost three years old, with my dad’s family (the Fenilis). We stayed at the Colton Court’s little row apartments. Obviously, they are no longer there.
Cape May was a sleepy little town with white clapboard houses and shutters. They were not colorful as we see them now; that changed after 1976, when then-President Carter proclaimed Cape May a historical landmark and provided Federal funding.

During the late seventies, I worked for four summers here in Cape May– some of the businesses are no longer in existence – for example: Laura’s Fudge located on the boardwalk, Atlas Coffee shop (which is now Sea Salt).
My children remember walking along the promenade away from the center of town and the ocean splashing over the rocks and they would run from the water- that was before the beaches were refurbished in the mid nineties.

2. How many family members and generations travel with you to Cape May?

We have four generations coming altogether to Cape May: My mom, me, children, and grand children. My father (deceased) use to accompany us. I remember they would dress up (men’s jacket and tie and ladies in dresses and some in mink coats.) to go to dinner at the Lobster House, and to the Top of the Marq- Marquis de Lafayette.


3. How long does it take to get (drive) here?

With no traffic: 5 1/2 hours. My son left today at 4:50 am and made it through Philadelphia from the Walt Whitman bridge to Valley Forge exit on the PA turnpike in 5-10 minutes– obviously no traffic on a Sunday AM. :). Normally it takes us 6 and 1/4 hours because of traffic.

4.  What places did you eat at while you were here.? Did you have a favorite?

Lobster House, Lucky Bones, Carney’s, Cabana’s, Mad Batter ( best happy hour and Margarita Pizza). One of our favorites is the Lobster House- due to the great menu and the atmosphere. I want to try George’s Place and Fin’s . Danielle and her family like YB.


5.  Do you have a favorite activity while you are here? Beach , walking etc.

We all enjoy the beach and the related activities. I look forward to having some wine and sitting around the poolside tables with my mom and playing Gin.
The entire Cape May experience is what we look forward to. Cape May is not like any other beach. It is not cement buildings, crazy boardwalk, and beach- you can “get that anywhere” which is what we love and always have.

You know I learn “something” every year about the history of our nation’s sea resort- so as a teacher that is a bonus!!! And of course walking around the beach and just smelling the  salt air.

We are fortunate being teachers having the time to be here, and being dairy farmers you get to have some goooood milk. :).

Thanks to Lisa Allen for taking the time to visit with us and provide insight into her family’s vacation in Cape May.

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  1. Ann Keen
    July 8, 2015 / 12:30 pm

    I really enjoy your blog and today’s almost made me cry. My grandparents started coming down to Cape May and Wildwood in the ’30’s. My parents (both from Wilmington, DE) met on the Cape May beach, while my Mom worked at the Macomber for a summer during WWII. My husband and I and kids and grandkids have spent 20 June vacations at Summer Station. I long to buy a house in CM, but live vicariously through all of you.

  2. Kathy Armstrong
    July 8, 2015 / 3:20 pm

    John, I really enjoyed your blog today. Our family is the fourth generation coming to Cape May too. There is something to be said where a seaside resort can do so much to restore one’s soul in this world. When I come, I have so many wonderful memories as well as new ones every time we visit. I wish I were able to live there, but happy when I’m able to drive over that bridge and know I’m home away from home.

  3. Barbara Cramer
    June 5, 2020 / 8:53 pm

    John, three generations to the Victorian for 44 years. Cape May is our second home. No place like Cape May. No hosts like yourself! God bless.