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Cape May - Lewes refers to two of the most historic and picturesque towns along the Atlantic Coast – Cape May, New Jersey and Lewes, Delaware. Situated across from each other on the Delaware Bay, together the two cities create one of the most exciting vacation destinations on the East Coast. Cape May is the second largest fishing port on the Atlantic Ocean, and is known as one of the top birding destinations in the country. Lewes is one of the oldest towns in the United States with historic buildings dating back to the early 1600s. For convenience and fun, a ferry runs between the two towns on a regular basis across the Delaware Bay. Both of these unique towns are described in greater detail below.

Lewes, Delaware, while not the oldest city in America, is the “First Town in the First State.” It was founded in 1631 by the Dutch and is situated where the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet at Cape Henlopen. It’s a small, quiet seaside town (population 2,476) that offers a wealth of historical, nautical and recreational activities. Lewes is known for its fishing marinas, as well as its beautiful beaches, nature trails and bird sanctuaries. It’s also a great little town for walking. The town’s proud heritage has been carefully preserved by the Lewes Historical Society and a half-mile square area of the town center contains most of the oldest historical buildings, plus antique shops, art galleries, charming boutiques, bed & breakfasts and restaurants. Lewes is a bustling little town during the day, but it basically shuts down at night – even during the busiest tourist season. So, if you’re looking for a place to rest that is quiet and peaceful, where you can sit back and reflect on the day’s activities – Lewes is the perfect getaway.

Cape May, New Jersey, on the other side of the Bay, is another historical seaside village whose collection of Victorian homes attracts visitors from all over the world. This entire oceanside town has been declared a National Historic Landmark. Cape May has a fascinating history. The town is the oldest seashore resort in the nation, but in 1878 a devastating fire wiped out 30 blocks of the town, including most of the resort’s major hotels. The town quickly rebuilt, and as was the trend of the day, most of the homes and buildings that went up were built in the Victorian style, with lots of gingerbread trim, gables and turrets. This accounts for the huge amount of Victorian buildings in Cape May today. To this day, when someone in the area speaks of “the fire,” they are referring to the one that happened over a hundred years ago. Most of the huge Victorian homes have now been turned into bed & breakfasts, guesthouses and restaurants. It’s a breathtaking site to see so many lovely old Victorian mansions lined up along the shore – stately and proud – welcoming visitors just as they’ve done for a hundred years. For anyone who loves history, or is looking for a different sort of seaside get-a-way, the Cape May-Lewes region is a must see.


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