Woodbine, NJ 08270
Cape May County
Lake Nummy/ King Nummy is the namesake of “Nummytown” which is located in Cape May County in today’s Middle Township (about 6 miles west of Wildwood). Nummy was the last chief of the Unalachtigo Tribe of Native Americans, a branch of the Leni-Lenapes. The chief sold a 16-mile stretch of land along Cape May on the Delaware Bay to Governor Van Twiller of New Amsterdam in 1630.
Although the sale called for no settlements in the land, the Dutch quickly violated that provision, and brought settlers in. Nummy moved to “Nummy Island” at the mouth of Hereford Inlet near North Wildwood.
An interesting story of the origination of Cape May Diamonds involving King Nummy.
Larger, flawless stones were often given as a token to seal the bonds of friendship. One such stone was presented to early Cape May settler Christopher Leaming (Do Leaming’s Run Gardens ring a bell?) by King Nummy, the last chief of the Unalachtigo.
Chief Nummy originally received the stone from another tribe, the Kechemeche, as tribute to Nummy and as a sign of their faithfulness and loyalty. Leaming, in turn, sent the stone back to Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, to be cut and polished into a finished gem. Which is why we finish them today (or you see them all shiny in the Cape May-Sunset Beach gift shop).
These beautiful translucent gems were held in high regards by the Kechemeche “who attached mystical powers and a sacred trust to their possession.” They believed the “diamonds” possessed supernatural powers, “influencing the success, well-being and good fortune of the possessor.”
In other words as Elizabeth Taylor is famous for saying in her White Diamonds commercial (you still see them airing around Christmas), “These have always brought me luck.” The same goes for our beloved Cape May Diamonds.
This location of Lake Nummy was previously a cranberry bog owned by the Meisle family and was converted into a 26 acre lake in the 1930s. The lake was dug BY HAND by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Today, the lake contains pickerel, bull heads, sunfish, and painted and snapping turtles. It is located in Belleplain state forest and remains a popular swimming hole and campsite. It is open to the public.
Visitors will find a beach complex containing a lovely changing area, restrooms, a first-aid station (in case the Jersey Devil decides to visit you) and a concession offering refreshments, novelties and beach supplies. Ooooh lah lah!
It’s also another great place to cool off rather than suffering in traffic going to the shore!
Trust me. You will enjoy your day connecting with nature here. Peace and quiet awaits you at Lake Nummy. Even if you don’t want to take a swim, there are still plenty of offerings. There are tremendous great trails to explore. They even offer cabin rentals year round!
Until our next adventure, my friends!
P.S. I’m trying to make it to 400 blog posts by year-end. This is post #324. I still have a waaaays to go! Don’t worry, I have a ton of great places I will be writing about. I truly hope you are enjoying your tour of South Jersey with this blog!
If you aren’t…oh well…can’t please them all!