A golden afternoon in Cape May

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It was a magical moment as Sparkle dipped her toes in the surf, then gazed down at her reflection in the glistening-wet sand. The wind was blowing strongly along the beach, and Sparkle's ears flew up with the breeze. (Photos by Cathy Carter)

The day after Christmas, we set off for Cape May and arrived in late afternoon. The holiday crowd was light and convivial, and the wintry sun cast a resplendent glow over everything.

Sparkle was a bit frenetic at first, but calmed down after a few laps of the Washington Street Mall and a journey down to the beach just before sunset. She marveled in her first encounter with the ocean (she's been to Lake Michigan).

We stopped in at Congress Hall, and Sparkle was well-behaved as we strolled through the holiday-decorated first floor. We then walked back to the mall, dawdling along the way to admire the B&Bs (many of which were open) and other grand old Victorian gems.

After it quickly got dark around 5, we drove down to the end of the beach, where we walked along the surf and gazed at the sliver of moon, stars, and planets. 

Under the minivan's tailgate, I fed Sparkle her dinner and gave her some bottled water, before settling in for the journey home (with a pit stop for takeout at Arby's in Cape May Court House.)

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