CAPE MAY—Now that Victorian Cape May is dressed up for the holidays, there’s a feeling of Christmas in the air, making it the most wonderful time of the year in the nation’s first seaside resort. Cape May welcomes visitors with an abundance of good-old fashioned cheer and seven weeks of festive tours and events, sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC), from Friday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. Warm your Christmas spirits on heated trolley rides, tour the famous Victorian gems decked out in all their holiday finery, indulge in food and wine events, meet the man in the red suit and much more this holiday season in Cape May.
Cape May’s oldest and most beloved holiday tour, the 37th Annual Christmas Candlelight House Tours, will take place on Saturdays, Dec. 4, 11 and 18. Each night from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., tour at least 15 Victorian homes, churches, inns and hotels that have been decked out for the Christmas season. Good old-fashioned cheer, Christmas carols by candlelight, strolling musicians and twinkling trees are sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Hospitality centers offer hot beverages of the season and home-baked goodies. Admission is $25 for adults and $20 for children (ages 3-12) and includes entry to the authentically decorated 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., and to “An Old-fashioned Christmas: Holiday Traditions through the Years” exhibit in the Carriage House Gallery located on the grounds of the Estate, as well as continuous shuttle service on heated trolleys. Christmas Candlelight Tours are limited; advance reservations are strongly recommended.
Start celebrating early during Cape May’s Holiday Preview Weekend, Nov. 19-21. Come to the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., for the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, sponsored by Sturdy Savings Bank, on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. Join MAC representatives, public officials, Mayor Ed Mahaney and the Cape Harmonaires at the gazebo for a round of Christmas carols. Old Saint Nick arrives at 7 p.m. and flips the switch to light thousands of bulbs on the giant 60-foot Christmas tree. Children can meet with Santa, sit on his lap and bring their letters to the man in the red suit. Warm beverages with freshly baked cookies are available in the Carriage House Tearoom & Café. The authentically-decorated Physick Estate with Victorian Christmas vignettes will be open for free, self-guided tours from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This event is free to the public.
Emlen Physick Estate Christmas Tours are offered daily from Nov. 19 through Jan. 2, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Estate is decked with all its holiday finery in authentic Victorian style. You will learn about Victorian Christmas decorations and traditions on this guided daytime tour. This tour can also be combined with a historic district trolley tour. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children (3-12). Tour times vary.
The wonders of the season are all on display at “An Old-Fashioned Christmas Exhibit: Holiday Traditions through the Years” at the Carriage House Gallery located on the grounds of the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Working LGB trains weave through a Christmas village, while decorated trees and old-fashioned toys recreate the traditions of Christmas past. Christmas artifacts ranging from the Victorian era through today will be on display. Enjoy the images and traditions of the holidays and reminisce. The exhibit opens Friday, Nov. 19 and runs through Sunday, Jan. 2. The Gallery is open daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas); hours vary. Admission is free.
New in 2010! The Mistletoe Mystery arrives at the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Presented by Murder at the Physick Estate, the “Mistletoe Mystery,” written by Ray Crew, is a holiday-themed version of this year’s hit offering. The interactive mystery production this holiday season will be “The Stolen Gift.” When you arrive at the Physick Estate, you learn that the patriarch of the clan passed away a few months ago but his widow is determined to celebrate Christmas as he would have done if he were alive. Shortly after you arrive, a pall of despair suddenly descends upon the yuletide gathering when the widow discovers that her most prized possession, the diamond brooch she was given by her late husband as a wedding present, is missing. There are many people who had both the motive and the opportunity to steal the precious stone. No one is above suspicion…not even you…and no one is leaving the house until the culprit is revealed. Productions are offered Fridays, Nov. 26 through Dec. 17 at 8:30 p.m., Sundays, Nov. 28 through Dec. 26 at 3:30 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 27 and Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $25 for adults and $20 for children (ages 3-12). Meet the cast over desert and coffee following the production.
Relive the memories of Christmas past on Lamplighter Christmas Tours. Twinkling lights, boughs of holly and warm feelings of yesteryear are sure to brighten your spirits on this self-guided evening tour of five of Cape May’s finest Bed and Breakfast inns, specially decorated for the holidays. Innkeepers will share their holiday spirit at each location. The tour also includes a visit to the Carriage House Gallery at the Emlen Physick Estate where you can see “An Old-Fashioned Christmas: Holiday Traditions through the Years” exhibit while enjoying warm Wassail punch and traditional cookies. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children (ages 3-12). Tours are offered Fridays, Nov. 26-Dec. 17, Saturday, Nov. 27, Tuesday, Dec. 28 and Thursday, Dec. 30 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Spirit of Christmas Tours feature a charming Victorian holiday tale on an evening trolley ride past Cape May’s decorated Victorian gems and through the historic streets dressed for the holidays. After your heated trolley ride, visit the authentically decorated Emlen Physick Estate for a living history holiday presentation. The tour includes a visit to the Carriage House for holiday refreshments and the Gallery exhibit “An Old-fashioned Christmas: Holiday Traditions through the Years.” Tours last about 2 hours. Admission is $18 for adults and $13 for children (ages 3-12). Tours are offered on Friday, Nov. 19, and nightly Nov. 26-Dec. 30 (tour times vary). Not offered Dec. 4, Dec. 9, Dec. 11, Dec. 18, Dec. 24 and Dec. 25.
Discover Cape May’s Designer Show House at Christmas and be inspired by the transformations inside the historic Fairthorne Cottage at 115 Ocean St. Cape May’s sixth annual Designer Show House is full of inspiring ideas after having been made-over with all the holiday trimmings by the region’s top designers. From Nov. 19 through Jan. 2, the home will be open for self-guided tours daily from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., plus Thursday and Friday evenings from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Each visitor will receive a full-color program book with information about the designers, products and vendors. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children (ages 3-12). Tours can be combined with lunch and dinner packages. The Show House is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. There will be no evening hours on Fridays, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31.
Celebrate the holidays in true Cape May fashion on the Cape May Christmas Tour, offered Mondays through Thursdays, Nov. 22 through Dec. 30 at 11 a.m. See Cape May’s Historic District decked out for the season from a heated trolley, then, take a guided tour of the Emlen Physick Estate, authentically decorated for a Victorian Christmas, and finally tour this year’s Cape May Designer Show House dressed up for the holidays. Admission is $25 for adults and $20 for children (ages 3-12) and includes the exhibit an “Old-fashioned Christmas: Holiday Traditions through the Years” in the Carriage House Gallery and a trolley shuttle to the Show House. No tour on Thanksgiving.
Tour the interiors of three of Cape May’s festively decorated Bed and Breakfast Inns and explore Cape May’s Designer Show House at Christmas on Holiday Inns Tours, offered Mondays through Thursdays, Nov. 29 through Dec. 16 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. You’ll be treated to a holiday presentation at each inn and enjoy a self guided tour at the Show House. Admission is $18 for adults and $13 for children (ages 3-12).
Holiday trolley rides are the best way tour Cape May and see all of the holiday decorations. Get into the Christmas spirit by cozying up to your loved ones on a variety of heated trolley rides. Ghosts of Christmas Past Trolley Rides feature a Victorian holiday ghost tale told by a member of the East Lynne Theater Company. Ride through Cape May’s Historic District, past the flickering gas lamps and the twinkling lights as you listen to a Victorian-era holiday ghost story. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children (ages 3-12). Tours are offered Saturday, Nov. 20 at 8:15 p.m. and 9 p.m. (trolleys depart from the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St.), and nightly, Nov. 26 through Jan. 1 (tour times vary). No tours on Dec. 4, Dec. 9, Dec. 11, Dec. 18, Dec. 24 and Dec. 25. All trolleys depart from the Washington Mall Information Booth, Washington and Ocean streets, unless otherwise stated. Advance reservations are strongly recommended.
Cape May has become a festive winter wonderland with thousands of Christmas lights and holly on every door. Take a Holiday Lights Trolley Ride through Cape May’s Historic District to see cheerfully decorated inns and homes as guides talk about Victorian Christmas traditions, lead sing-alongs, and play Christmas music. Rides last about 30 minutes and cost $10 per seat. Your ticket is also good for a 10% discount at any of MAC’s Museum Shops. Tours are offered on Friday, Nov. 19 and Saturday, Nov. 20, and nightly Nov. 26 through Jan. 1 (tour times vary). No tours on Dec. 4, Dec. 9, Dec. 11, Dec. 18, Dec. 24 and Dec. 25. Trolleys depart from the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., on Saturday, Nov. 20 and from the Washington Mall Information Booth, Washington and Ocean streets, all other dates.
Mr. and Mrs. Claus have made their way to Cape May from the North Pole to host Santa’s Trolley Rides. Bring the kids to the Physick Estate on weekends for a ride around Cape May with stories and songs led by Mrs. Claus. Santa will greet children with a sweet treat in the Carriage House located on the grounds of the Estate. All seats are $8. Tours are offered on Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 20 through Dec. 18 (tour times vary). All trolleys depart from the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Advance reservations are strongly recommended.
The holidays are the time to celebrate with good friends, great food and fine wine. MAC is offering plenty of holiday-themed food and wine tours to help you satisfy your appetite for Christmas cheer.
Get a taste of Victoriana on the Cape May Innteriors Tour and Tea on Saturdays, Nov. 20 and Nov. 27 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sample the very best of Cape May on this interior tour of four Victorian bed & breakfast inns and guesthouses, and enjoy a light afternoon tea at the Carriage House Tearoom and Café on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children (ages 3-12).
If you are craving a bit more Christmas spirit, then the Taste of Christmas Tour on Fridays, Nov. 19 through Dec. 31 at 11 a.m., is for you. Build up your appetite on a walking tour of Cape May’s Historic District dressed up for the holidays and then enjoy lunch at the famous Mad Batter restaurant, 19 Jackson St. Tours last about one hour. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children (ages 3-12). Advance reservations strongly recommended. Tickets for the Historic District Walking Tour can be purchased separately for $10 (adults) and $7 (children ages 3-12).
The man in the red suit is in town and visiting the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., for Breakfast with Santa. Enjoy a family-friendly breakfast buffet at the Inn of Cape May as children visit with Santa and hear a Christmas story. Children are encouraged to bring their Christmas lists. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children (ages-12) and includes a special treat for the kids. Breakfast with Santa is held every Saturday from Nov. 20 through Dec. 11 at 10 a.m.
Triple your holiday experience by attending one of the Cape May Wine Weekends offered Fridays through Sundays, Nov. 19 to Nov. 21 and Dec. 17 to Dec. 19. Each weekend combines a Wine Tasting Dinner, a Winery Cellar Tour and a Wine Tasting Class for a weekend of total indulgence. The weekend begins on Friday evening with a four-course dinner at the Washington Inn featuring wines themed to the Sunday Wine School Class. Guests will be treated to individual attention from the wine steward. On Saturday at 3 p.m., visit the award-winning Cape May Winery for a tour of the vineyard, an introduction to the winemaker’s art, and a barrel tasting with cheese and fruit. On Sunday at 1 p.m., learn the finer points of fine wines at a Wine School Class at the Washington Inn. The complete package is $135 per person.
The Cape May Wine School classes can be purchased separately from the Cape May Wine Weekend and feature Keith Bader from Lauber Imports sharing his expertise at the Washington Inn, 801 Washington St. You will learn about the world of wine, food pairings, judging, stocking and more. Expand your palate at one of these two classes: Wines from the Iberian Peninsula- Spain and Portugal on Sunday, Nov. 21 and It’s All in the Bubbles: Sparkling Wines for the Holidays on Sunday, Dec. 19. Classes are held at 1 p.m. and cost $30 each.
Spend the afternoon visiting Cape May County’s wineries and sampling the unique flavors of each on the Cape May Wine Trail. First enjoy lunch at the Carriage House Tearoom & Café located on the grounds of the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., and then take the trolley shuttle to the Cape May Winery, Natali Vineyards and Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery, where you’ll learn about viniculture and visit the tasting rooms. Admission is $75 per person and includes lunch, wine tastings at each vineyard and a wine tasting glass. Wine Trails are offered Saturday, Nov. 20 and Sunday, Dec. 26 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
If you’d rather taste, sip and swirl at your own pace, then you’ll love the new Self-guided Wine Trail. Spend the afternoon touring Natali Vineyards and Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery in Cape May County and taste wines at each. Admission is $8 and includes a map with the wineries listed and a tasting glass. Tours are offered daily from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Not offered on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Winery Cellar Tours and Tastings at the award-winning Cape May Winery are offered at 3 p.m. on Saturdays, Nov. 20 through Dec. 18, plus Saturday, Jan. 1, Friday, Nov. 26, Sundays, Nov. 28 and Dec. 26 and Monday through Friday, Dec. 27 through Dec. 31. Spend an afternoon touring the vineyard to see how the grapes are grown and then visit the winery, where you’ll be introduced to the winemaker’s art and enjoy a barrel tasting accompanied by cheese and fruit. Admission is $20 and includes a complimentary tasting glass.
From hops to barley, craft brews to IPAs, there is plenty to learn at the new Mad Batter Beer School. If you prefer pints over pinots, then attend this class at the Mad Batter restaurant, 19 Jackson St. At each class you will learn about beer history, food pairings, styles and more from beer experts. The class on Sunday, Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. is Flying Fish, New Jersey's Largest Craft Brewery. The class on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. is Samuel Adams, America's World Class Beer. Admission to each class is $25 and includes five samples of beer and light refreshments. The Bistro menu is also available at an additional charge.
The famous Mad Batter restaurant, 19 Jackson St., starts the celebrations early with the Holiday Preview Wine Tasting Dinner, Friday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Kick-off the holiday season with a five-course dinner paired with wine tastings of the Mad Batter’s dueling sommeliers. You decide which wine choice you prefer with each course. Dinner is limited to 60 and admission is $75 (tax and gratuity included).
The chef at the Mad Batter restaurant, 19 Jackson St., is cooking up a class for the holidays. The Holiday Cooking Class and Lunch on Saturdays, Nov. 20 and Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. is a quick class on cooking for the holidays taught by the Mad Batter’s chef. Admission is $45 (tax and gratuity included) and includes a light three-course lunch at the famous restaurant. Class size is limited to 30.
The Mad Batter Holiday Wine Tasting Dinner on Friday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. will help you learn to discern and appreciate fine wines while discovering appropriate pairings. Celebrate this holiday season with a festive five-course dinner paired with great varietal wines, which will be presented as a blind tasting at the Mad Batter Restaurant, 19 Jackson St. Admission is $75 (tax and gratuity included).
The Holiday Chefs’ Dine-around on Wednesday, Dec. 29 is the ultimate foodie extravaganza. A trolley will shuttle you to five different top Cape May restaurants where you will be served a course paired with wine from the sponsoring winery. The five-course gourmet feast will feature appropriate wine pairings and a representative from the sponsoring winery on hand to explain the pairings. The dine-around begins at 6 p.m. and admission is $125 per person (gratuity included). Reserve early, limited to 34 people!
For a stylish dining experience, try the Cape May Designer Show House at Christmas Dinner Package, which combines a tour of Cape May’s 2010 Designer Show House decorated for Christmas with dinner at one of Cape May’s premier restaurants. Choose between two different restaurants where you will be seated at 5:30 p.m. and have the choice from several options on the early seating menu. After dinner, tour the Show House from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday Dinner Options in November and December: Union Park or The Mad Batter; Friday Dinner Options in November: Aleathea’s restaurant at the Inn of Cape May or Panico’s; Friday Dinner Options in December: Panico’s or The Washington Inn. Packages are $45 per person and are inclusive of tax and gratuity. The package is offered Thursdays, Dec. 2 and Dec. 16 through Dec. 30, and Fridays Nov. 19 through Dec. 17.
The Cape May Designer Show House at Christmas Luncheon Package combines a tour of the new Cape May Designer Show House with a lunch at the Carriage House Tearoom & Café located on the grounds of the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Enjoy an elegant four-course Tea Luncheon at the Carriage House Tearoom & Café, before a self-guided tour of the Show House, which is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for tours. Packages are available Friday, Nov. 19 and Saturday, Nov. 20 and daily Nov. 26 through Dec. 23 and Dec. 26 through Dec. 31. The tearoom is open from 11:30 a.m. Tea Luncheon/Tour tickets are $30 per person and are inclusive of tax and gratuity. Please call 609-884-5111, to reserve your seating at the Tearoom.
New in 2010, the Holiday Preview Crafts Show on Saturday, Nov. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Star of the Sea Parish Hall, Ocean St. above the Washington Street Mall, is your chance to start your holiday shopping early and find unique, hand-made gifts from dozens of crafts vendors. Admission is $1 donation for adults, and free for children (ages 3-12).
The Holiday Crafts Fair has become an annual holiday tradition for shoppers. The crafts fair begins on Black Friday, Nov. 26 and ends on Saturday, Nov. 27. Crafts vendors set-up shop in Star of the Sea Parish Hall, Ocean St. above the Washington Street Mall, and sell one-of-a-kind merchandise including seasonal decorations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Admission is a $1 donation for adults, and free for children (ages 3-12).
Learn how Prince Albert brought Christmas traditions to England from Germany when he married Queen Victoria, and how these traditions spread to America during the Christmas Traditions Lecture on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Advent, Washington and Franklin streets. Much of what we associate with the celebration of Christmas comes from the Victorian era, including Christmas trees, Christmas cards, Christmas carols and our image of Santa Claus. Admission is $10.
Attend live theater productions by Cape May Stage and East Lynne Theater Company. Cape May Stage presents “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” over the Holiday Preview Weekend, Friday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. and on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. You've never seen Shakespeare like this - 37 plays and 154 sonnets by three actors in less than two hours! This fast-paced comedy offers a hilarious and irreverent take on the Bard's timeless tales. Imagine portraying Titus Andronicus as a cooking show, Othello in old-school rap style and all of Shakespeare's tragedies transformed into a giant football game. This zany tribute uses puns and pop culture to create a rollercoaster ride of a show that is hysterically funny and slightly naughty. Performances take place at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse, corner of Bank and Lafayette streets. General admission is $35, seniors $30 and students $12.50. The Saturday night performance is $40.
Cape May Stage’s holiday production is “The Little Prince.” Written by Rick Cummins and John Scoullar, this beloved classic of children's literature has been turned into a warm, wondrous production for the whole family. Based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's fable about a pilot who crash-lands in the desert and meets an openhearted boy from another planet, gently reminds us to hold onto what is truly important in life. Multiple Emmy Award-winning Designer Michael Schupbach (Avenue Q, Sesame Street, Jim Henson's Puppet Workshop) designs the characters in this production! Performances run Thursdays through Sundays, Nov. 26 through Dec. 30 at 8 p.m., plus Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. Additional performances are offered on Tuesdays, Dec. 21 and Dec. 28, Wednesdays, Dec. 22 and Dec. 29 at 8 p.m., and Thursday Dec. 30 at 3 p.m. The production takes place at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse, corner of Bank and Lafayette streets. General admission $35, seniors $30, students $12.50, opening night $50, and Saturday night $40.
East Lynne Theater Company presents “The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus” on Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 26 and Nov. 27 and Dec. 10 and Dec. 11 at 8:30 p.m., plus Sunday, Dec. 5 at 8:30 p.m. This charming tale about Claus' early years to how he became immortal is adapted from the L. Frank Baum (The Wizard of Oz) 1902 classic and presented in storytelling fashion by Gayle Stahlhuth portraying thirty-plus roles. Performances take place at the First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, 500 Hughes St. Adults and seniors $23; students $13, and children under 12 admitted free.
The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) is a multifaceted not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the preservation, interpretation, and cultural enrichment of the Cape May region for its residents and visitors. MAC membership is open to all. For information about MAC’s year-round schedule of tours, festivals, and special events, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278, or visit MAC’s Web site at www.capemaymac.org. For information about restaurants, accommodations and shopping, call the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May at 609-884-5508.
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