Tuesday, September 27, 2011

5 "Signs of Fall Season"

Here in Ocean City NJ, there are some "Signs of Fall Season" that are unique to the Jersey Shore!

1. Bicycles are permitted on the Boardwalk at all hours (exceptions = Saturdays through October 8)

2. Parking meters are deactivated beginning October 1

3. No Beach Patrol protection (caution!)

4. Route 52 Causeway & Bridge onto the island will be one lane in each direction until May, 2012 when the construction project is due for completion!

5. SALES! Shop Downtown Asbury Avenue & the Boardwalk for great selection and prices; then treat yourself to a tasty lunch or dinner, too.

Through October 9, INDIAN SUMMER WEEKEND, stay at the Scarborough Inn and enjoy these - and many other - delights of fall at the shore!

Carol & Gus, Innkeepers
Scarborough Inn
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ocean City Bayfront: Spectacular Sunset

 After a week of rain and gray skies...tonight there is an awesome sunset!

First, a wide swath of the western sky is filled with a golden glow, then it transforms to fluorescent pink-orange with streaks of blue and purple.  Finally, it fades to velvety black as the sun sinks behind the horizon...

Carol & Gus, Innkeepers
Scarborough Inn
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Great Fall Recipes: Apple Butter

Apples are certainly among the most popular flavors of fall and the inspiration for countless delicious apple recipes!  It makes my mouth water to think of all the different varieties of apples and the many yummy dishes to be created from them. Apple pie, applesauce, apple-walnut salad...

Recently, I had the unique opportunity to witness the making of Apple Butter - the old-fashioned way.  Meaning, the apple butter was cooked in an enormous copper pot over an open fire.

Pounds of "Delicious" apples (I forgot to ask how many pounds) had to be peeled, cored, and sliced; and then piled into huge tubs in preparation for cooking. Starting at 6am, a wood fire was lit and a copper pot was placed above the flames - but not touching the flames - and the apples were added.

"Delicious" apples prepared for cooking
Then a team of women, working in 30-minute shifts, began stirring the apples constantly as they cooked. The work went on all day.  Steam filled the little cook house as they worked and the apples became soft, and bubbly, and fragrant.

Cooking the apples
A specially-designed wooden paddle was used for stirring the hot fruit. It had a wide, rounded bottom to reach the entire surface of the copper pot to prevent burning and a long L-shaped handle so that the women could keep a safe distance from the bubbling fruit. As they worked, more apples were added to the pot and more wood was added to the fire. The stirring continued non-stop all day long.

Using a specially-designed stirring paddle
Finally, sugar and vanilla was added to the warm fruit - now a rich, brown color - and the mixture was allowed to cool a bit. Then it was carefully ladled into jars and allowed to cool completely for storage. The result was over 500 jars of apple butter!  And a new appreciation for traditional cooking methods!

Apple Butter!
If you would like to try making Apple Butter this fall (but lack a huge copper pot, an open fire, and a team of cooks), try this recipe from this English B&B and enjoy!  Apple Butter recipe from Hopton House B&B

Carol & Gus, Innkeepers
Scarborough Inn
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast

Monday, September 19, 2011

Treasure Hunters at the Jersey Shore!

It sounds exciting when you learn about treasure hunters discovering some hidden hoard of gold...silver...or other artifacts from sunken ships or hapless tourists.  But the truth is that there's both an art and a science to being a detectorist as related in this recent article from New Jersey Monthly titled "Watching the Detectors."
An open beach hunt in Belmar.
An open beach hunt in Belmar.
Photo by Bjoern Kils.

Detectorist Brian Mayer at Margate Beach.
Detectorist Brian Mayer at Margate Beach.
Photo by Bjoern Kils.

A 1778 Spanish real coin that Mayer found on a New Jersey beach.
A 1778 Spanish real coin that Mayer found on a New Jersey beach.
Photo by Bjoern Kils.

It’s low tide the morning after the early September day when Hurricane Earl brushed the New Jersey coast. To the naked eye, Earl left hardly a trace when he passed through last year, but in the beach town of Margate, Brian Mayer senses the storm surge may have churned up gold.

Mayer had been tracking Earl’s approach all week, updating the Facebook page where he shares information about the storm. Now that the seas have settled, he is ready to hit the beach in his hunting best: neoprene socks, a “Powered by Minelab” T-shirt and a pair of bright yellow shorts—perhaps meant to attract that precious, nonferrous metal of a similar sunny hue.

Just to the north, Atlantic City casino-goers are hoping to get lucky at the tables and take home a bit of treasure. Mayer hopes to get lucky, too, but in his own fashion.

Equipped with his Minelab Excalibur, Mayer dons his headphones and scans the sand, waiting for a familiar beep. He’s mainly listening for the pitch—some metals yield a flatter tone, others, sharper—and for the signal strength, which will vary depending on the type of metal and how close the object is to the surface.

Finally, he hears a tone and makes the call: a penny. Then he thrusts a scoop with a 5-foot-long handle into the sand, loading up its sieve and drawing it back to the surface. He shakes the sieve until the prize clinks at the bottom like a coin tumbling from a slot machine. And there it is, as only ears with 30 years’ experience could have predicted: a copper Abe Lincoln encrusted in sand.

Not all the bounty reaped by these intrepid hobbyists, known as detectorists,  is penny-ante. Yes, they typically turn up common coins and plenty of scrap metal. But bigger prizes are there for the taking if you know your stuff. For pros like Mayer, hunting is a science, involving a knowledge of tides, weather systems, and erosional and depositional patterns.

For skilled detectorists, the hobby pays for itself, yet many claim that profits are secondary to the thrill of the hunt. There are diamond rings out there, gold chains, Mercury dimes, Indian-head pennies, perhaps even some old French and Spanish coins waiting to be discovered.

There’s an art to this too. Mayer doesn’t just stroll along the shoreline. He carves a W pattern from mid-beach to the water in search of the treasure zone. “Things of like density stick together,” he says. His method starts to reveal a 10-foot swath of beach that most frequently sounds the alarm. He homes in on this zone, hears another beep and in goes the scoop.

From a sunbather’s perspective, metal detectorists are slightly quirky retirees who wear high socks with shorts and have nothing better to do than prowl for scrap. People often ask them, “Do you ever actually find anything?”

Even Mayer, an imposing 6-foot-tall bike-patrol officer at the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City, has heard the wisecracks. He fends them off with a cold glare—then turns his attention back to the potential prizes.

Detectorists live for special moments—like a couple years ago when a beach-replenishment project just south of Margate spewed hundreds of 18th–century Spanish reales onto the shore, touching off a frenzy among local detectorists.

Mayer holds up a silver eight-real piece dated 1778, its sparkle belying the fact that it had been sitting on the ocean floor for hundreds of years. “You get this rush of history, knowing that you’re the first to touch it since the ship sank, probably in the 1700s,” Mayer says. The coin in question is valued at about $250. “It would have been worth more if we knew what wreck it came from,” he observes, adding that its existence suggests there are scores of other coins to be found.

In fact, mariners have been frequenting New Jersey’s coastal waters for centuries, and many a ship has wrecked just offshore. Dredges try not to disturb these relics, but sometimes they err, or the wrecks are unmapped.

More typically, detectorists find less antiquated booty, including gold chains accidentally brushed off beach blankets and diamond rings that slip off unlucky bathers’ fingers as they contract in the cold water. These are hardly easy finds, but with the right gear—and plenty of perseverance—detectorists can increase their likelihood of digging up what they call good targets. 

Ron DeGhetto runs a metal detector business out of his home in Raritan. His showroom is stocked with dozens of models from the top makers—Minelab, White’s, Garrett. Some say there are differences among the brands, but more important are the differences in technology. A pulse-induction machine will sound the alarm for any metal, while other machines can be set to discriminate among metals. Some models—including Mayer’s Excalibur—are made to slip beneath the waves, allowing detectors to hunt right in the surf rather than waiting for the tide to wash the targets ashore. Prices for metal detectors range from $150 up to $1,500. 

There are also different machines for different types of locations. While metal detecting is typically associated with the beach, New Jersey’s history makes it ideal for hunting battlefield war relics.

DeGhetto keeps Revolutionary War officers’ buttons on display in a cabinet in his shop, along with other favorite objects like coins from the 1700s minted by New Jersey and Connecticut—long before there was a federal agency to do so. Many of his treasures are found on farms and fields to which he has been granted access. Rarely does he have a clue as to what he is pulling out of the ground.

“It’s made me somewhat of a historian,” DeGhetto says, acknowledging that some pieces require a lot of research to identify. “Every find has a story.”

Good beach detectorists also have to be meteorologists and geologists, because knowing weather patterns and coastal formations makes for better decisions about where to search. Mayer highlights the basics on his YouTube channel, Surfdigger. Rule number 1: hunt during low tide—there’s more surface area. Two, a full moon brings a lower low tide than a new moon. Three, brave the cold and hunt during winter. That’s when storms sweep sands out to sea, doing the digging for you. Summer poses more of a challenge because that’s when sand is redeposited—and beachgoers may get in the way.

For skilled detectorists, the hard work pays off. Mayer says his $1,000 machine paid for itself in six months; by his estimate, he pulls in $500 to $600 a year in coins alone, not counting jewelry—some of which has gone up sharply in value with the rising price of gold.

Yet beach detectorists are not just heartless hoarders. If there’s a way of finding the owner of a piece of jewelry, many say they will pursue it. Tracing class rings to their owners is relatively easy; wedding rings carved only with initials present more of a puzzle.

There are several metal-detecting clubs in the state and members are always willing to help someone looking for lost valuables. Contact information on their websites can help connect a panicked beachgoer with a detectorist in their area. 

Detectorist Joe DeMarco of Millville, who runs a retail shop that sells detecting equipment, recalls seeing a man painstakingly combing the beach in Ocean City. When the man saw DeMarco’s gadget, he asked for help finding the wedding ring his bride had placed on his finger only two weeks earlier. Soon it was jingling in DeMarco’s scoop. Weeks later, DeMarco received a thank-you note from the relieved groom, handwritten on a wedding invitation.

“I keep all my thank you letters,” DeMarco says. “When it comes down to it, I do a lot of things just because. There’s no rhyme or reason. I just want to help people.”

The South Jersey Metal Detecting Club, of which DeMarco served as president for five years, posts similar stories on its website. Seekers can also reach out to the Mid-Jersey Research & Recovery Club and Deep Search Metal Detecting Club, among others. All clubs and individual detectors are bound by a code of ethics, which includes returning finds to rightful owners whenever possible. Another tenet: Always fill in your holes, lest kids or runners fall in and sprain an ankle.

And never, ever, hunt in a crowd, flinging sand into beachgoers’ eyes. Those who don’t follow the rules give other detectorists a bad name, says Mayer.

Yet nothing bothers Mayer as much as improper technique. After about an hour on the beach in Margate, yielding only a few pennies, nickels and quarters, Mayer sees two men approach from the direction of Atlantic City, rapidly swinging their metal detectors like pendulums and walking parallel to the ocean—two big mistakes. Keeping the detector head parallel to the sand at all times and using the W pattern is more effective, Mayer says.

“I don’t call that competition,” he whispers just before stopping to chat. The men have traveled from just outside Philadelphia but haven’t found anything good; so much for the first big storm of the season.

Even when you play your cards right, the hobby “can be very frustrating,” Mayer admits. Still, he’ll probably go home with a few more coins in his pockets than many of the casino revelers just to the north.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ocean City Attractions: The Cheese Board in Linwood NJ

The Cheese Board
Sometimes, "Ocean City Attractions" may be found in our neighboring communities!  In fact, just one of the great things about our little island community is that it not only has a multitude of attractions, activities, and special events itself - but, it is also conveniently located to a wealth of things to see and do in the surrounding area.

One of these fun destinations is "Central Square" in Linwood, NJ.  Home to a nice selection of shops in a little faux-village setting, Central Square is an accessible and interesting place to go for a shopping excursion. A highlight of such a trip is lunch at The Cheese Board, located near the front of the complex.  This cafe/store combination has a bright and casual ambiance and features delicious, freshly prepared, and interesting selections for lunch or take-out.

Here's how it works for lunch. Upon entering, take a look at the enormous board for the current selections - most of which are soups, sandwiches, wraps, and salads.  Then join the line to order your choices and sample some little tidbits of cheese or dips in the process. You'll give your name to the order-taker and select a table - inside or outdoors.  While waiting for your lunch to arrive, you can also help yourself to your beverage of choice and any sides (potato chips, cookies) that you can't resist.

Your name will be called and lunch delivered to your table.  This server will add the price of anything additional you have chosen.  Bon appetit!

When you have finished lunch (and perhaps selected some additional goodies to take home), pay for everything at the cash register. Easy. Fun. Delicious.

The Cheese Board, 23 Central Square, Linwood, NJ  (609) 653-8088

INNsider Tip: The Cheese Board in Central Square also has beautiful gift baskets if you need a special gift to take home; plus party trays & gourmet speciality items.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ocean City NJ: "International Coastal Clean-Up Day"

 Sand Dune, Ocean City NJ Beach

You're invited to participate in "International Coastal Clean-Up Day" on Saturday, September 17, 2011.  This annual event, sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy, is designed to focus attention on the problem of trash and the seashore environment.  Not only is debris a great danger to marine mammals, birds, and sea turtles , but it also poses a risk to human health and safety, too.

If you are visiting the Scarborough Inn on September 17, we hope you ill consider joining the effort to help clean our precious, coastal environment.

Perhaps even more importantly, when visiting the Ocean City NJ Beach and Boardwalk, we ask that you treat EVERY day as Coastal Clean-Up Day!

INNsider Tip: To learn more about 2011 "International Coastal Clean-Up Day" click here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

NEW JERSEY Remembers 9-11

Really love this collection of photographs of the Twin Towers, and the memories, collected by Ocean City Patch (see link below).

Today, let's all pause and remember...


Carol & Gus, Innkeepers
Scarborough Inn
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"Jersey Fresh" Corn Recipes

"Jersey Fresh" at the OC Farmer's Market
Sure, "Jersey Fresh" corn is delicious on the cob, but it is also versatile and absolutely scrumptious in a wide variety of recipes.  Here's a sampling:

1. Corn on the Cob - I prefer Bi-colored Corn (the kernels are yellow and white) fresh from the Ocean City Farmer's Market. Strip the husk and silk just before cooking in the microwave - for up to 10 minutes - on full power. Microwaves differ, so experiment until you achieve the results you prefer.  This method means less clean-up and heat in the kitchen - always a benefit in summer!

We enjoy corn on the cob a little al dente and served with butter, salt, and pepper.  For a savory twist, sprinkle the corn with Old Bay seasoning - the spicy seasoning is great with the sweet, tender corn.

2. Corn Pancakes - cook extra corn on the cob, remove the kernels and store in the fridge overnight to use in your favorite pancake recipe for breakfast - or follow these instructions.

If you want to use your favorite pancake mix, just stir reserved corn kernels into the batter, and cook as usual.  Try them topped with local honey or cinnamon butter; perhaps with grilled ham on the side.

3. Heather's Corn Salsa - this recipe from allRecipes.com features corn plus other "Jersey Fresh" vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers.  When these ingredients are in season, use them fresh from the market - just blanch corn and then allow additional time for the flavors to blend.

This Corn Salsa recipe would be great with tortilla chips, as a side with grilled chicken, or in tacos.  It is colorful and tangy - like a food fiesta!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Things to Do in Ocean City & in Cape May County NJ

Scarborough Inn
It may be fall, but there are many things to do & places to go in Ocean City and throughout Cape May County.  Here's just a sampling organized by location:

Things to Do in Ocean City NJ -

Ocean City Community Center (Ocean City)
        1735 Simpson Ave.  Call 609-398-6900
        Enjoy the Arts Center, Library, and Historical Museum - all in one location!
        [TIP - make time for lunch at Yanni's Cafe, also on site]

Check the Scarborough Inn website for Special Events in September & October.

LIKE our facebook page for updates on special events & local activities.  Use the Inn's blog as on online Travel Guide - both great resources when planning your vacation!

Things to Do in Cape May County NJ -

Cape May Stage (Cape May) -

      "Steel Magnolias" thru September 10, Tues. - Sun, 8PM
      "The Woolgatherer" September 14 - October 22, Wed. - Sun, 8PM
      [TIP - try Dinner and a Show package for either production]

Designer Show House (Cape May) -
      Osprey Landing, 109 Roseman's Lane thru October 30, admission.
      Call 800-275-4278

Cape May County Park & Zoo (Cape May Court House) -
      Open 7 days, weather permitting, 10A - 3:45P  Call 609-465-5271
      [TIP - look for the Albino Alligator & baby Snow Leopard]

Leaming's Run Gardens  (North Cape May Court House) -
      1845 Route #9 - open thru October 10  Adults $8. /Children $4.
      Call 609-465-5871
      [TIP - bring a camera & a picnic]

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ocean City NJ, Boardwalk - Labor Day Weekend 2011

Ocean City NJ Boardwalk as night falls

Amusement Pier

Miniature Golf, anyone?

Carol & Gus, Innkeepers
Scarborough Inn
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast

Jersey Shore Restaurants: Louisa's

Louisa's in Cape May,NJ
104 Jackson Street
Cape May, NJ 08204

On the way out of Louisa's, I picked up their business card; it's the perfect metaphor for this petite restaurant in Cape May!  The card is fluorescent pink with a simple pen-and-ink sketch of a sailboat and the pertinent information about the eatery (location, phone - nothing else).

Louisa's succeeds because it has a comfortable, slightly funky vibe and offers beautifully fresh food, simply prepared & presented.  No trendiness, no pretension.   In fact, the sides (brown rice & refreshing, homemade coleslaw) have remained the same for as long as I can remember and the decor is the essentially the same, as well. The naïf style art on the walls is echoed on the business card.  Together, it makes for a unique and pleasant atmosphere.  Still, the emphasis here is on the food, glorious food!

The restaurant is small - it reminds me of a European cafe - yet the servers move about with practiced ease.  Our server knew the menu well, and in detail, and was efficient in a friendly, casual manner. 

Our reservation was for 6:15 and the table was waiting for us when we arrived.  As we perused the blackboard for the evening's offerings - emphasis on seafood & fresh veggies - some items were already being erased!  We began to panic...oh, no...not the desserts!

Two of our party selected a salad of Iceberg lettuce with onion slices and beet cubes in a vinaigrette, my husband had plum tomatoes with mozzarella, and I had a carrot & tomato gazpacho garnished with small cubes of fresh, raw vegetables.  All choices where tasty, refreshing, summery starters.  

For entrees, grilled salmon was tender with a slight smokiness from the grill and two sauces on the side because my sister couldn't decide on just one!  Fresh flounder was accompanied with cucumber-dill sauce, my four mini crab cakes included a generous helping of homemade tarter, and the fourth selection was swordfish with fresh fruit salsa.  All had ample portions of the aforementioned sides, too.  Everyone was delighted with their selections - bright colors, fresh flavors, beautifully prepared!

We were able to save room for dessert:)  Among us, we enjoyed Panne Cotta with fresh strawberry sauce, warm peach cobbler, and the two "chocoholics" choose dark chocolate pie with apricot-peach sauce and rich semi-sweet chocolate tart.  Delicious!  All desserts included a cloud of softly whipped cream.

Eating at Louisa's is like coming home...it's a comfortable setting with scrumptious, fresh foods, lovingly prepared - what could be better?

The night we were there, starters were just under $7, entrees hovered around $20, and desserts were about $6.  Not inexpensive, but comparable to many Cape May restaurants in price.  If budget is an issue, you could forego appetizer or dessert...but who would want to?

Louisa's is BYO. Cash only. Children are welcome until 7PM only and there is no dedicated child's menu. Not handicapped accessible due to tight quarters and steps.

INNsider Tip
Allow about an hour from the Scarborough Inn to reach the restaurant via the Garden State Parkway; we will be happy to assist with directions.  Parking is always an issue in Cape May.  If possible, park in the public lot on Jackson Street (visit the kiosk to pay for the space) and walk about a block to the restaurant.  Conveniently, you will pass Collier's Liquor Store where you can purchase a bottle of wine to accompany your meal.  Bon appétit!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ocean City NJ: APPS for Beach Lovers

Tracks on the Ocean City Beach 
Planning a trip to Ocean City NJ?

Here at the Scarborough Inn we have a number of books about our island and the local environment in the Inn's Library (just one of the Common Areas at the Scarborough). It's interesting to learn about the unique attributes of the place you are visiting and we hope you enjoy these resources.

If you have a smart phone, you may be interested in these apps mentioned in a recent post from the "Beach Chair Scientist"  - 13 APPS For Your Day at the Beach!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ocean City NJ: Operation First Response: "Walk for the Wounded" on October 1

"Ocean City Home Bank donated $5,000 ...and set a goal to help raise $45,000 for the third annual Operation First Response: Walk for the Wounded, an October 1 event in Ocean City NJ that benefits wounded soldiers and their families," according to a recent report in OC Patch.

Three well-known basketball coaches participated in the kick-off announcement: Phil Martelli (St. Joseph's University), Fran Dunphy (Temple University) and Chris Ford (former coach of 76ers and other NBA teams).  Operation First Response, is the non-profit beneficiary of this fundraising effort and the most compelling speaker was retired US Marine Sgt. Matthew Sonderman.  He was assisted personally by Operation First Response after being seriously wounded during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan.

When he arrived at a military hospital in Texas for surgery and rehabilitation, his family was waiting for him -- their travel and accommodations paid for by Operation First Response.

"It meant so much to have my family there with me," Sonderman said in an Ocean City Patch article, "and Operation First Response made that happen."

To participate in the Ocean City walk to benefit Operation First Response on the Boardwalk Saturday, October 1, 2011, click "Walk for the Wounded" to learn more or to register for the event.

You are invited to make a donation to this very worthwhile organization, even if you are not walking in this event.

      To learn more about OPERATION FIRST RESPONSE