The Naval Diplomat family is closing out the summer in maritime fashion, at Stone Harbor, our long-time haunt along the Jersey Shore. I hasten to add that this is not the stretch of the Shore inhabited by strange creatures bearing names like Snooki. It’s the extreme southern part near Cape May, the Victorian town that, together with its environs, shows why New Jersey merits the nickname Garden State. The gap between Cape May and Lewes, Delaware, constitutes the entryway to Delaware Bay, the gateway for shipping to the Delaware River, and thence to Philadelphia. The region is a microcosm of non-naval nautical pursuits.
For example, few think of Philly as a seafaring town. But it is. The city was home to the nation’s first naval shipyard, founded in 1776. Expanded over the centuries, the yard could ultimately dry dock aircraft carriers and battleships. It finally shut down during the 1990s, a victim of base realignment and closure. I got to know South Philly rather intimately during a post-shakedown refit in 1989.