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The Jersey shore was a major vacation destination for residents of the Delaware Valley region throughout the early 20th century. From the 1890s to 1930s, two parallel railroad lines—the Atlantic City Railroad and West Jersey & Seashore Railroad—shuttled passengers to the coast for a seashore break. The competing trains, visible to each other along the parallel tracks, used to race to see which company could reach Cape May the fastest. As private automobiles grew more popular and people began to turn their interest toward more exotic destinations, the railroads merged and service was eventually discontinued.
This rail-trail journey will take you along a segment of the former West Jersey & Seashore Railroad railbed. Starting at the southern endpoint of the Cold Spring Bike Path (sometimes called the Historic Cold Spring Village Bike Path) at US 9/Sandman Boulevard, head north 1 mile to the Historic Cold Spring Village. At this nonprofit open-air living history museum, you can view life as it was in the early to mid-19th century and also enjoy a restored rail station. Just south of where US 9 meets the Historic Cold Spring Village, the path crosses an intermittent stream on an 8-foot wide, 40-foot-long trestle bridge for bike and pedestrian traffic.
The trail parallels Seashore Road as you travel under a canopy of trees, passing a high school and golf course to the right. Just past the suburban community of Erma, at 2.7 miles, the Cold Spring Bike Path connects to the Middle Township Bike Path, which continues another 8.9 miles north to the Cape May County Park & Zoo. The trail pairing acts as a backbone for the 16 municipalities that surround it, and future spur trails will connect even more communities and local attractions.
To reach parking near the southern endpoint, follow Garden State Pkwy. south to its end. Take Exit 0 for NJ 109, and turn right. In 0.6 mile, turn left onto US 9. A few parking spaces are available on your right in 700 feet, or continue 0.5 mile, and turn right onto Seashore Road. Parking for the trail’s southern endpoint can be found at the Historic Cold Spring Village Museum, which appears on your left in 0.7 mile.
If heading north on US 9 from Delaware, consider taking the US 9 N/Cape May–Lewes Ferry. Information on ferry vehicle fares can be found online. From the Cape May Terminal, drive 2.4 miles on US 9 N/Lincoln Blvd./Sandman Blvd. Turn left onto Seashore Road, and go 0.7 mile to reach the Historic Cold Spring Village Museum on your right. Once you park, the southernmost endpoint can be found 0.7 mile south at the intersection with US 9/Sandman Blvd. Alternatively, you can pick up the trail from the museum and continue north from there.
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