Sunday, February 6, 2011


Cape May Point, New Jersey

When it came time to visit New Jersey our friends,  Nancy & Steve,  recommended a seaside resort called Cape May - the southernmost point in NJ.  After finding a travel guide to the Jersey Shore...(not the show) we decided to visit for Christmas.

You see, Cape May is a historic "whaling" town that celebrates all things Victorian.  So not only did we travel to NJ we also traveled back in time!

December 2009 - State # 30 - New Jersey

We flew Delta into Philadelphia, which was covered in snow, and rented a SUV to drive the 88 miles to Cape May.  Fortunately, our northern neighbors know how to deal with 11-inches of snow.  All the roads were neatly plowed and we had a beautiful drive to the Garden State.

We found the lovely, small town of Cape May nearly abandoned...(evidently the population triples here in the summer months.)  We actually love traveling in the "Shoulder Seasons"...crowds are not our favorite thing.  In this setting you must stay in a bed & breakfast inn and The Queen Victoria Inn was truly remarkable!

This inn is actually two grand Victorian homes and a gambling parlor at an intersection in Cape May.  We had the pleasure of staying in Prince Albert Hall.  And conveniently breakfast was served in our "home" during our stay.

We think the best time to visit this inn has to be Christmas.  Each room is decorated with a theme.  (And you know how I love a theme.)  And on Christmas morning a monogrammed stocking filled with treats was on our door.  Each morning a beautiful breakfast was served and we were joined by the other guests.  (We met 4 couples from Hong Kong and they reveled in the strange custom of breakfast!)   

When we arrived, tea was being served in the Main House.  (Tea is served every afternoon.)
While we enjoyed our tea and delicious treats we met the owners:

Anna Marie & Doug McCain

*Note to our friends:  Kate & Chickie
This is a must for you two!

And the inn is only one block from the Atlantic Ocean!

The main attractions in Cape May at this time of the year are tours of Christmas decorations. 
We took two:

Cape May Christmas Tour
Spirit of Christmas Candlelight Tour

The daytime tour includes several streets of decorated homes and the annual Decorator's Showhouse (photos prohibited) and a tour of the Victorian Physick Estate.

After the first tour and showhouse we returned to the Physick Estate and enjoyed a Tea Luncheon at the Carriage House Tearoom & Cafe.  This may be north of the Mason-Dixon line but someone from the south made the chicken salad!  That evening we took the Spirit of Christmas Candlelight Tour...(basically the same tour in the dark.) 

And we met and befriended the Mays-Hellman Family(If anyone in Cape May is reading this...your volunteer tour guides need some training in hospitality or at the very least manners.)  Our customer service skills and elder care knowledge kicked in and we helped this family with mom & dad, two small children, grandma and great-grandma.

And they insisted on treating us to drinks and dessert at The Pilot House Tavern.

The other interesting museum in Cape May was the
Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum

First of all, we were COLD!  This is an airplane hangar filled with vintage aircraft including:
an A-4 Skyhawk and an AH-1 Cobra Helicopter
and the last produced F-14 Tomcat.
(This one is can't get in it!) 

There is NO heat and did I mention there was 11 inches of snow on the ground!  What Guy enjoyed most...climbing into the cockpit of several of these aircraft.  I sat in a MASH helicopter.  We met the chairman of the foundation,  Dr. Joseph E. Salvatore, who operates and maintains this museum...(he took the photo of us together.)  By the way...we were COLD! 

If you are traveling with the kids (or MEN) this is a great place for them to get behind the controls of military airplanes and helicopters. 

And even the Thermonuclear Warhead did not keep us from being COLD!

After the museum, we visited the Cape May Lighthouse and Guy wandered on the snow covered beach. 

(I waited in the car listening to music...I was cold!)

Ocean Front Homes

Not surprisingly, Cape May was not a prized "Dining Destination" for us.  However, we did enjoy some nice meals of Coastal Cuisine and one extraordinary evening of fine dining.  Following is a list of restaurants...(with a link) we enjoyed:

The Queen Victoria Inn
Breakfast is divine.  Apple Cinnamon Stuffed French Toast!

Lobster House Restaurant
Waterfront dining.  Have the Lobster Tail Stuffed with Crab & Shrimp!

Peter Shields Inn
Oceanfront dining.  You must bring your own wine! 

The Ebbitt Room
Inside the Virgina Hotel

This elegant dining room is tucked inside the Virginia Hotel.  We dined here on Christmas Eve.  Executive Chef, LUCAS MANTECA, prepares superb, innovative food that is beautifully plated.  Since the chef takes advantage of fresh, seasonal ingredients your menu will be totally different from ours; but trust me, it will be delectable.  Three courses and dessert are served.

When we enjoy an evening of fine dining like this, Guy and I like to choose a winner for each course.  We always order something different so we can sample more things on the menu...don"t you? 

The Ebbitt Room winners:
First Course - Liz
Oysters and Pearls
American Caviar, Torrontes Wine Pearl and Horseradish Panna Cotta

Second Course - Guy
Braised Wild Boar Ravioli
Tomato Porcini Sauce, Roasted Fennel Puree, Raisins, Huckleberries and Grana Padana

Third Course - Guy
Pistachio & Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Caramelized Turnips, Roasted Butternut Squash, Riesling Poached Pears and Creamy Manchego Quinoa

Dessert Course - Liz
Peanut Butter Cup
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Mousse, Peanut Brittle and Chocolate Pool

So it was a tie...2 courses each...everybody wins at this restaurant!  And with that we returned to our inn to wait for Santa. 

(Note:  Skip The Blue Pig Tavern inside of Congress Hall.) 

Next time I will tell you about our Christmas Eve encounter with St. Nick and his priority gift!

Next time...Our Lady Star of the Sea

1 comment:

  1. We were SO excited to get a shout-out from the world-famous blogger! -Nancy & Steve