Last week on the way to and from Atlantic City we took the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. Travelling this way is not so much a short cut, but it does avoid having to fight Wilmington and Philly traffic, and if your timing's right and depending on your destination, it takes no longer. On top of that it is a very genteel way to travel.
The day we headed up was the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and security was tight. Sniffer dogs and officers with pole mirrors were busy inspecting cars, and the ferry had an armed Coast Guard escort heading out of the Lewes harbor. Once away from shore, the cloudy skies and cool weather made me long for a jacket. Despite the chill, I spent the whole trip on deck. Some might think there was not much to see beyond sky and water, but those are things I rarely tire looking at. Closer to Cape May I noticed two small boats with kayaks behind them and was amazed anyone would kayak across the bay. A few minutes later my amazement grew as I realized the kayaks were actually escorting two swimmers across the bay. Two days later on the trip back it was sunny and much warmer, and the boat was full. Many of the passengers were NYC fireman on their way to a golfing trip in Delaware. If anybody deserved a golf outing, it would be them.
If you are interested in heading that way, I would recommend making a reservation rather than taking your chances, especially in the summer. You will save no money taking the ferry; it is not cheap. However, it is very relaxing, the views are great, you can get a meal on board and the non-drivers can get adult beverages; most civilized.