A Short History of Cape May Point, NJ

Cape May Point is a quiet, quaint town, the southernmost town in New Jersey. Founded as "Seagrove," in 1875 as a religious community by the Philadelphians John Wanamaker, the originator of the department store, and Alexander Whilldin, a wool merchant, Cape May Point has always remained much more of a small town than its neighbor, Cape May. It contains only one general store and no restaurants or commercial lodgings of any kind. Cape May Point is mainly a residential community; it maintains a year-round population but also has a good number of seasonal residents.

Cape May Point is the home of St. Mary's By-the-Sea, the summer home for the Sisters of St. Joseph. Cape May Point also hosts the Migratory Bird Refuge and Lake Lily. It borders Sunset Beach, which offers beautiful, colorful sunsets, a rare spectacle in the East.

Bordered on the east by Cape May Point State Park and the Lighthouse, on the west by Delaware Bay and on the south by the Atlantic, the Point is different in character from many barrier-island shore resorts farther north. There are abundant trees, lush vegetation and a mix of housing — Victorian mansions and gingerbread cottages, World War II-era bungalows and modern ranches.

Everyone walks or bikes to the post office for the mail because there is no delivery. Volunteers plant grasses on the dunes to help stem erosion. In the center of town is the Circle, a once-barren park rejuvenated by volunteers who call themselves Bedfellows and tend to the dozen or so flower beds through the spring, summer and fall.

In the warm months, the salt air mixes with the perfume of flowers that bloom in almost every yard — lavender, wild clematis, blue sage and roses. Neighbors compete for the annual garden awards grand prize, a silver bowl with the winner's name engraved on the outside. Old-fashioned activities like the Fourth of July parade and pancake breakfasts at the firehouse are well attended. On Saturday evenings, games for children are held in the Circle.

Cape May Point offers a quiet small-town feel and is perfect for a bike ride or a stroll. It remains a hidden secret, very close to Cape May but not nearly as well known or as crowded.