Group celebrates Cape May's Victorian identity

CAPE MAY, N.J. -- The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC), a nonprofit organization that promotes the restoration, interpretation and cultural enrichment of the region, scheduled concerts for the spring and summer that help make the beach resort a leading Victorian theme destination.

According to its Web site, MAC was formed in September 1970 to rescue the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, an 18-room mansion, from demolition. Soon after, the group initiated trolley rides, historical house tours and special events that are still offered.

The Victorian Fair, established in 1971, became a weekend event in 1973 and is now a 10-day Victorian Week, always starting on Columbus Day weekend.

Since 1974, Christmas candlelight house tours have put Cape May on the map as a major holiday destination.

In the 1980s, MAC undertook its second major restoration effort. The 1859 Cape May Lighthouse, which had been closed to the public for almost 50 years, reopened its doors in 1988.

More recently, MAC restored the Carriage House at the Physick Estate. Its first floor is now a gallery of changing exhibits, and its second-floor hay loft was adapted as office space.

Among other MAC-sponsored events:

  • The Twinnings Tearoom, an English luncheon of sandwiches, quiche, salads, breads and pastries, for $12.50 per person, or an Elegant Afternoon Tea of finger sandwiches and scones, $15 per person.
  • May 1 to July 31, at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St.

  • The 11th annual Cape May Music Festival, with the New York Chamber Ensemble and the Cape May Festival Orchestra.
  • Concerts at Convention Hall (Beach Drive at Stockton Place) and other venues in Cape May on May 21, 23, 25, 28 and 30 at 8 p.m.; in various venues in Atlantic City May 20 and June 3 and 24 at 8 p.m., and at the Middle Township Performing Arts Center on May 27 at 10 a.m.

    Prices: $15 and $20, depending on the concert; $5 for students and $10 for seniors.

  • An afternoon cruise of the Delaware Bay aboard the Cape May Whale Watcher to see seven lighthouses.
  • At the Miss Chris Fishing Center, Third Avenue and Wilson Drive, Cape May, at 1 p.m. on May 21, June 10 and 24 and July 7 and 21.

    Cost: $50 per person, including refreshments.

  • A World War II History Cruise aboard the Cape May Whale Watcher to view bunkers, gun emplacements and submarine lookout towers, with commentary on shipping, sinkings and boat activity.
  • At the Miss Chris Fishing Center, June 6 at 9 a.m. Cost: $40 per person, including continental breakfast.

  • The Cape May Kids Playhouse, with juggling, sing-alongs and puppets.
  • At the Cape May Convention Hall Mondays and Thursdays from July 3 to Aug. 21, at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Cost: $3 per adult, $1 per child ages 3 to 12.

  • A Steeped in History tour, a walk through some of the area's bed-and-breakfast inns and guesthouses where guests can view collections of teacups and silver.
  • The tour takes place May 7 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets: $15 per adult, $7.50 per child age 3 to 12. Tickets at the Washington Street Mall information booth on Ocean Street.

  • The Historic District Walking Tour, a 90-minute stroll down the streets of the historic district.
  • From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on May 2 and 4; May 13 to 27; June 3 to 17, and June 26 to July 31. Price: $15 per adult, $7.50 per child age 3 to 12. Tickets at the Washington Street Mall information booth.

  • Historic District Trolley Tours, including the East End, West End, Beachfront, Children's and Garden programs, through May, June and July. Prices: $5.50 per adult and $2.75 per child ages 3 to 12. Tickets and schedules at the Washington Street Mall information booth.
  • Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts
    Phone: (800) 275-4278 or (609) 884-5404
    Fax: (609) 884-5064
    E-mail: [email protected]

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