Historic Cape May

Located at the most southern tip of New Jersey where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean is the cute little beach town, Cape May. All of the colorful historic Victorian-style homes make it very charming. It’s also home to America’s first seaside resort, Congress Hall.

Dating back to the early 1800s, Congress Hall has been offering its hospitality to the public. There are also a few restaurants located within the resort. My husband and I went to one, Boiler Room. It’s a unique underground pizzeria and bar located in the basement of Congress Hall. They have some delicious wood-fired pizza and they also offer some local beer from Cape May Brewery. Even if you aren’t staying the night at Congress Hall, it’s a great place to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat in one of Cape May’s historic buildings.

Speaking of history, there are also some World War ll historic relics along the shores. Located at Cape May Point State Park you will find a World War ll Bunker and a World War ll Lookout Tower. These both played major roles during that time. Visiting these historic sites, I couldn’t help but try to envision living back then when it was illegal for the public to photograph the ocean, and there I was taking all the pictures I wanted.

Our one-night stay in Cape May ended at the Carroll Villa Hotel, which is a National Landmark hotel built-in 1882. It was named after Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Upon arrival we were greeted by very friendly staff and given the keys to our room. We stayed on the third floor in one of the Broadway rooms, room 31. Our room was beautiful and very clean. Included in each nights stay you will receive a breakfast voucher and 30% off dinner for the attached restaurant, Mad Batter. The food was excellent, definitely a great brunch location.

Thanks to the B&B for Vets program, they offer one free night stay at participating inns for active duty and retired veterans to celebrate the Veteran’s Day holiday. The Carroll Villa Hotel participates in this program and we are very thankful for their generosity. I am also, very thankful for my husband and his service to our nation. If you are a military family be sure to check this program out next Veteran’s Day! Below are some of pictures from our trip.

America’s first national monument

A unique and mysterious geological formation located in the state of Wyoming is home to America’s very first national monument, Devils Tower. President Theodore Roosevelt first declared Devils Tower a national monument on September 24, 1906.

Devils Tower National Monument is a famous geological mystery that geologists today are still puzzled as to how the process of the formation occurred. According to the National Park Service, “When the Tower formed around 50 million years ago, it was one to two miles below the Earth’s surface. Somewhere between 5 and 10 million years ago, erosive forces began to expose the Tower.”

This natural wonder also has many ancient Native American legends behind it. All of the legends are related to a giant bear and the Great Spirit. Two of my favorites are from the Lakota tribe and the Kiowa tribe. The legend of the Lakota tribe talks about a young warrior who ventured alone with his buffalo skull to worship the Great Spirit. The buffalo skull is still on top of the tower today and can be seen at its highest point. The legend of the Kiowa tribe talks about seven little girls and how they became the Pleiades constellation. During the winter months, the seven stars are seen directly above the tower.

Native American tribes have their very own names for the tower as well. The most common name is Bear Lodge. Local tribes and tribes throughout the United States consider this to be a sacred site. Many tribes still come here today for ceremonial rituals. If visiting, you will find pieces of colorful cloth tied around trees that they call prayer ties. They use these as spiritual offerings and ask that you please do not remove them.

During my visit, I felt the spiritual energy immediately. It’s a feeling that is unexplainable but yet undeniable. No matter what your religious beliefs or thoughts on religion, I can guarantee you will feel some powerful energy that is mystical. This energy is carried on through the connection with the divine and brought upon us through a realm that we can feel in our soul. This personally made me feel a earthly spiritual connection. I then knew why this place was so sacred to the Native Americans.

My husband and I hiked the Tower Trail, a 1.3-mile loop around the tower, which is the most popular. This trail is paved and very easy. It also shows the significance of the size being so close-up. After our hike, we stopped at the Devils Tower Trading Post. An interesting fact that I learned from visiting the trading post is Devils Tower is in an alien-related movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” There have also been numerous UFO sightings at Devils Tower.

Inside the Devils Tower Trading Post, you will find a wide variety of souvenirs to choose from. They also have a snack bar and beer! For a first trip visit, I recommend visiting Devils Tower National Monument during the months that the trading post is also open. I hope you can visit America’s first national monument and feel that powerful mystical energy while making new memories. It’s a spiritual connection I will never forget!

Why explore America?

It can be easy to forget how big the United States is, currently ranked third-largest country in the world. With 50 states to choose from, we have a wide variety of diverse landscapes to explore. I feel very fortunate to live in a country with immense diversity.

 It’s always been on my bucket list to experience the natural scenic beauty of each state in person. I’m talking about exploring deep into the heart of each state and discovering what makes each of them unique from one another. From all the different geographical and cultural landscapes that America has to offer, there is infinite adventure.

You can be sure to discover each state has its very own picturesque natural attractions. Many poets have written about the abundance of natural beauty in America and there is a reason why they call it “America the Beautiful.”

Katharine Lee Bates, an American poet, wrote the famous poem “America the Beautiful” that was published in 1895. It was later on transformed into a song that many of you may have heard before. Numerous artists have recorded it but the most famous version was sung by Ray Charles in 1972, “America the Beautiful”.

Reading Katharine Lee Bates’ original poem and listening to the song version sung by Ray Charles, it will certainly paint us a picture in our minds of vast mountains and shining seas. This is all the more reason I someday hope to fulfill my ultimate bucket list goal of exploring all 50 states.

I challenge you to go out and explore your local area, discover it’s natural beauty! I’m very optimistic you will be inspired at what you find is surrounding you. Never stop exploring.

Where does your soul belong?

Do you ever feel like your soul belongs somewhere? For me, that place is outside in nature.

I grew up in Pennsylvania which means “Penn’s Woods” and it truly is a beautiful forest land. I would say that my love for nature began at a very early age thanks to my father.

As far back as I can remember, he was always taking me out with him to explore nature. Building forts in the woods and collecting natural clay in buckets from creeks to make pottery are some of my fondest early childhood memories. That place is very easy to remember and very difficult to forget.

I also grew up five minutes from one of the famous Great Lakes, Lake Erie. Home to some of the best sunsets in the world! I always felt truly blessed living so close to the water and I never took that for granted. One of the hidden gems in my hometown for me was Fisherman’s Beach.

The sound of the waves crashing paired with a beach fire and an amazing sunset was pure bliss. And how could I forget beach glass hunting? I always enjoyed the simple pleasure of walking along the shore searching for those little gems. Fisherman’s Beach was one of the best spots for beach glass hunting.

Moving away from home, and all that I loved, was a very hard transition for me. My husband enlisted in the military in 2015 and we were off to South Dakota. Living in South Dakota and experiencing a drastic difference in landscape compared to where I was raised was a very eye-opening opportunity. In 2019 we moved again to New Jersey, where I have been able to see other beautiful landscapes that I never thought I would experience.

I never really traveled much outside of my home state when I was growing up. Little did I know that moving away and supporting my husband’s military career was also part of my true calling, exploring America.

By definition, the word “Aesthete” means a person who has or professes to have, refined sensitivity toward the beauties of art or nature. I thought America Aesthete was the perfect name for this blog because to me there is nothing more freeing than a day spent out enjoying the natural beauty of nature.