CAPE MAY, N.J. -- If you like sand dunes and salty air, you're sure
to fall in love with this quaint little village at the southern tip
of the Jersey shore.
Cape May, a National Historic Landmark, is the pearl in the
oyster for seaside tourism in New Jersey, whose long stretch of
coastline has its share of honky-tonk boardwalks and cluttered
Three-and-a-half hours from New York, Cape May is the best known
of a handful of quiet seashore communities that pop up out of the
sand along the Atlantic Ocean -- from Spring Lake at Exit 98 on the
Garden State Parkway all the way here to Delaware Bay.
Cape May boasts more than 600 restored, Victorian-style
buildings. One is the Emlen Physick Estate, headquarters of the
Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC), a preservationist
association that sponsors trolley and walking tours of the historic
On a visit, make the Emlen Physick Estate, with its stick-style
architecture, your first stop. It's located at 1048 Washington St.
and has brochures and attendants with all the information you need
about tours and events going on this season.
This year, two of Cape May's most popular tours have been rolled
into one. Inns and Outs of Cape May, a combination of MAC's guided
walking tour and historical house tour, runs Thursdays beginning at
11 a.m. from May through July. The 90-minute cruise costs $10 per
With the coming of spring, festivals explode in Cape May.
The 15th annual Cape May Music Festival begins its four-week run
May 23. Concerts will be held in Cape May Convention Hall, Beach
Drive at Stockton Place, and the Episcopal Church of the Advent,
Washington and Franklin streets, every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday
through June 20.
Orchestra/jazz/pops concert tickets cost $20 ($10 for students
and $15 for senior citizens). Chamber music concerts are $15 ($5
for students, $10 for seniors).
Among the many other events coming up are the Victorian Fair
(June 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the grounds of the Physick Estate,
with free admission and parking) and the five-hour Delaware Bay
Lighthouse cruise (May 8 and 22; June 5 and 26; July 9 and 23; Aug.
6 and 20; Sept. 11 and 25; and Oct. 9).
Passengers board the Cape May Whale Watcher at 1 p.m. for a
cruise past six Delaware Bay lighthouses, most visible only from
the water. The $65 per-person cost includes the cruise and a buffet
New this year is the Winery Cellar Tour and Tasting at the Cape
May Winery, Saturdays from April 24 to May 29 and Wednesdays from
June 15 to Sept. 1. Cost is $20 per person.
Many of the Victorian-style homes here have been converted into
hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and restaurants.
24-room Virginia Hotel in the central historic district has room
rates that range from $165 to $295 midweek, single or double,
through June, and $195 to $425 weekends through mid-June.
Virginia Hotel also owns 2 Atlantic Terrace, the first in its
new venture of full-house weekly rentals operated under the name
Cape May Cottages.
The property sleeps up to 16 guests and has four floors and
three terraces. But if you want to rent the renovated 1891 home
($7,500 per week), you'll have to book now for summer 2005.
Rates at the Virginia Hotel and 2 Atlantic Terrace are
commissionable at 10% to travel agents. For more information, call
(800) 732-4236, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.virginiahotel.com.
For information about MAC's year-round schedule of tours,
festivals and special events, call (800) 275-4278 or (609) 884-5404
or visit www.capemaymac.org.
To contact Destinations editor Margaret Myre, send e-mail to