The_Reeds_at_Shelter_Haven_usn_20By: Chrysa Smith

Some folks told me that September was the perfect time at the shore. The crowds are gone, shops are still open and the weather is still nice. Really? Well, while I didn’t find a whole lot to do during the week in September, I must say that The Reeds, a newer than everything resort in Stone Harbor, was quite a nice stay.

Located just a few blocks from the beach, The Reeds is a small, boutique-style hotel.  With 37 rooms, it feels intimate, yet with an urban vibe. The rooms were beachy, as you might expect, with light wood floors and white, comfy bedding. While we didn’t have the bay view, we did eat at their restaurant, The Water Star Grille, which was alfresco dining about as close to the bay as you could get without being starboard on someone’s boat. The offering was nice, but  the ambience, because we were there at sunset, was ooh and aah, as we watched a red ball sink into the sea.

This is about as good as it gets down the Jersey Shore, outside of your own home or renting one that is far too pricey. The staff would usher you to the beach in a stretch golf-cart, and set you up with chairs and towels on the beach. While it was windy the day we were there, umbrellas usually come along too. A nice service not to schlep a whole bunch of beach paraphernalia with you.

The indoor restaurant, Rax, had a slightly different offering; a little more formal, as was the atmosphere.

So what to do in September at the shore? A short drive from Stone Harbor is Cape May. At the very end of NJ, I always enjoy the little beach that hugs the shoreline. Usually, that’s where you can catch ‘schools’??? of Dolphin making their way to and fro, and you can wander through the touristy beach shops. Next, it’s into town, where the main strip holds lots of shops in which to spend your money.

Also a short distance away is The Cape May Zoo. We hadn’t been there in over 15 years, but it’s been ranked one of the best zoos in the country. And for good reason. Not only are the walkways elevated for a good view of the animals, but the animals actually have pretty large plains on which to roam. As an animal lover, I was impressed. Also with the deer that acted like a pet when the caretaker stroked him, but the copulating Galapagos turtles who had quite a lot to moan about.

For a few days, it was rather nice. Sometimes getting away from people and in touch with nature is just what the doctor called for. And in September, the bill is a lot easier to swallow.