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Bay crossing is more than just
your routine ferry ride


M.V. Cape Henlopen rounds the
breakwater and glides into the
terminal south of Lewes, Del.

Getting there, they say, can be half the fun. Vacationers and even some year-around residents of Saltwater Sussex in southern Delaware will tell you that the journey itself qualifies as a worthwhile holiday activity.

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry has been plying back and forth in a 17-mile arc at the mouth of Delaware Bay between Cape Henlopen and Cape May Point for 40 years. It's not exactly an ocean cruise, but given decent weather, it's a good 80 minutes worth of sea breezes with a dash of salt.

Motorists traveling between the New Jersey shore and points south of Norfolk, Va., and west of Annapolis, Md., lop several miles off their trip and, depending on destination, might save a bit of time. But the real way to get the most out of the experience is to do it on foot or bicycle.

Fare for passenger vehicles is $25 between April and October, plus $8 for each passenger. That goes down to $20 and $6 in the off-season. It's $8 one way or $15 round-trip for walk-ons. For another $3 the ticket includes shuttle transportation between the respective terminals and Cape May and Lewes or Rehoboth Beach, all of which offer a variety of between-sailings activities.

The ferries run on posted schedules and it's possible to make advance reservations to guarantee space on the boat.

On the Delaware side, the boat backs carefully into the slip, so vehicles end up pointed in the right direction to disembark.