Holiday season kicks off in Cape May

The holiday season kicked off at the Emlen Physick Estate on Saturday evening with their annual tree-lighting ceremony. Congress Hall and the City of Cape May will both hold tree-lighting ceremonies on December 4th. West Cape May’s annual Christmas Parade will be at 5pm on Saturday, December 5th.

For all holiday events, keep an eye on our events calendar and follow us on Twitter.

Tree-Lighting at the Physick Estate

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Decor going up around town

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Cape May honors veterans in annual ceremony

A crowd gathered this morning at the monument on Columbia Avenue for the annual Veterans Day ceremony, which included a performance by Lower Township third graders and a presentation from the US Coast Guard.Speakers included the mayors of Cape May, West Cape May, and Cape May Point, and Captain G. Todd Prestige, Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May.

On behalf of, thank you to all who have served.






The fire of 1878


Today in 1878, fire broke out in the Ocean House on Perry Street. Less than twelve hours later, it had destroyed forty acres and destroyed commercial properties including Congress Hall, Ocean House, Centre House, Columbia House, Atlantic House, and Merchant’s Hotel. The total loss was estimated at $400,000. Arson was suspected, but the suspect was found innocent due to insufficient evidence.

The outlined area above, on this 1878 map that appeared in the Philadelphia Bulletin just days after the fire, shows the extent of the devastation caused by the blaze.

Read more about the Cape May fire

Who’s serving this Thanksgiving?


If you’ll be spending the Thanksgiving holiday with us in Cape May, you might want to forego waking up early to start the turkey and enjoy a full holiday meal at one of these local restaurants. We’ll update this list as more information comes available.

Aleathea’s at the Inn of Cape May

Serving dinner from 2-7pm. Whole turkey carved tableside, and you take home the leftovers! A special a la carte menu is also available. For reservations, call 800-582-5933.

Congress Hall

Start the Holidays in Cape May this year, with two delicious dining options at Congress Hall. Gather around the warm hearth of the Blue Pig Tavern, and feast on traditional holiday favorites like slow roasted turkey breast with mashed potatoes and stuffing. In the Ballroom, chefs have prepared a Thanksgiving feast to rival the harvest of 1621. Enjoy freshly sliced turkey or maple glazed ham from a carving station. Help yourself to seconds from our decadent buffet, complete with favorites like Vanilla-Maple Sweet Potatoes, traditional Herb Mashed Potatoes, and more. For Thanksgiving reservations call 609-884-8422.

Blue Pig Tavern Service: 2pm-8pm $42+ per person, 3 courses

Ballroom Service: 1pm-5pm Adults $45+ per person, $19 per child ages 3-12

The Ebbitt Room at the Virginia Hotel.

Featuring family style and private dining options, savor traditional favorites like whipped potatoes and Roasted Pumpkin Soup. This year, the Ebbitt room is proud to feature Beach Plum Farm Heritage Turkey Breast, made with free-range turkey from our very own 62-acre farm in West Cape May.2pm – 7pm. $65 per person, $35 wine pairing per person. For reservations please call 609-884-5700.

Hemingway’s at the Grand Hotel

Hemingway’s is serving from noon to 7pm by reservations only. Please call 609-884-5611.

Peter Shields Inn

Serving a three-course, price-fixed menu from 2-7pm. Prices do not include taxes or gratuity. View the menu offerings. Adults $55; Children $25. For reservations, call 609-884-9090.

The Merion Inn

Dinner 12pm-8pm For reservations, call 609-884-8363.

Union Park

Union Park will be open and serving a 3-course, prix-fixe dinner from 2pm to 7pm. $48.00 per person/24.00 children. Call 609-884-8811 for reservations.

The Washington Inn

Offering a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner and a feast-to-go! A la carte sit-down menu including special appetizers, entrees, and desserts is available from 1pm to 7pm. Call 609-884-5697 for reservations and visit for the menu.

Skip the cooking with the Washington Inn’s Feast-to-Go! Includes a 20lb turkey, fresh mashed potatoes (6 lbs), Lucky Bones sweet potatoes (4lbs), apple stuffing (4 lbs), green beans with almond butter (2 lbs), Mimi’s homemade cranberry sauce (1qt.), Parker house rolls (doz), homemade gravy (2qts), mixed green salad with Cape May beach plum dressing (12oz), Cape May Roasters Pumpkin Spice coffee (1 lbs), one pumpkin pie & one apple pie. Serves 12. $330 (Plus Tax). Order by 11/23/15 by calling 609-884-5697. Pick up at Lucky Bones. 

Uncle Bill’s Pancake House

Serving till 12:00 noon


The Reeds – Stone Harbor

The Reeds is serving a traditional plated dinner from noon to 6pm. $42 per person; 12 & under $19; 3 & under free. Reservations are required. Please call 609-368-0100 for reservations.

Rio Station – Rio Grande

Offering a take-home whole turkey dinner (feeds 4-6 – includes sides, salad, and dessert) or a traditional plated meal from 1pm to 7pm with all the traditional Thanksgiving fixings. Call 609-889-2000 to reserve a take-home dinner or a table.

West Cape May Lima Bean Festival


Despite a storm the night before that left us a little soggy, the weather was beautiful this Saturday for West Cape May’s annual Lima Bean Festival. We had front-row seats for the music and had the fortune of being next to George’s Place/the y.b., which cooked up kobe sliders with lima aioli.

Our publisher and boss was crowned Lima Bean King! The staff (aka The Royal Court) is, of course, delighted. There will be much bowing in the office.

Lima Bean Contest Winner

We had a tie for the winner of our lima-bean-counting contest. Marge from Wilmington, DE and Deb from Brick, NJ guessed 1,400 lima beans between the two jars, so you’ve both earned a two-year subscription to Cape May Magazine. The total number was 1,449. But we discovered that Alena from Cape May Court House had guessed 1,450–just one bean over! While that technically goes against the contest rules, I successfully argued in your favor, so we’ll be sending a one-year subscription your way.

(And Savannah from Erma, NJ, with a guess of 10,000 beans, never give up that optimism.)

Cape May Mini Golf undergoing renovations


An excavation service has leveled Cocomoe’s Ice Cream on Jackson Street (you know it–pink building, octopus logo), but don’t worry. Cape May Mini Golf will be open in 2016 with a smaller building, according to the business’s Facebook page, and the golf course will be open in the spring.

After the nor’easter

On my drive down Seashore Road to work this morning, I saw the sun this morning for the first time in four days. It was a little reminiscent of the feeling on Christmas morning, having spent the last three days holed up with my dogs, listening to the wind shake my house. I always like the sun best after a nor’easter.

This most recent storm, which began late Thursday and ended early Sunday, downed branches and trees in the country and caused flooding in Wildwood and other barrier islands. A house in Grassy Sound collapsed into the water. Cape May came through the storm fine, with some flooding that closed Bank and Elmira streets, but we’re drying out today, just a little breezy. The sun is peeking through the leaves on the church next to our office as I type this, and Hurricane Joaquin is curving out to sea.

Kate captured these images on Cape May’s beach this weekend.





Best of Cape May 2015


Best Places to Stay

Bed & Breakfast: The Queen Victoria

Runner Up: The Carroll Villa

Guest House: The Highland House

Runner Up: Antoinettes

Hotel: Congress Hall

Runner Up: The Carroll Villa

Campground: Beachcomber

Runner Up: Holly Shores

Couples Friendly: The Queen Victoria

Runner Up: The Carroll Villa

Pet Friendly: The Highland House

Runner Up: Billmae

Family Friendly: The Victorian Motel

Runner Up: TIE Congress Hall and the Carroll Villa

Best Swimming Pool: TIE Congress Hall and the Victorian Motel


Best Places to Shop

Women’s Clothing: Cotton Company

Runner Up: Colors

Men’s Clothing: Galvanic

Runner Up: Pete Smith’s Surf Shop

Flip Flops/Sandals: Casale’s

Runner Up: Pete Smith’s Surf Shop

Jewelry: Whale’s Tale

Runner Up: Splash

Accessories: Whale’s Tale

Runner Up: West End Garage

Swimwear: South End Surf Shop

Runner Up: Pete Smith’s Surf Shop

Candy and Fudge: The Original Fudge Kitchen

Runner Up: Morrow’s Nut House

Souvenirs: Whale’s Tale

Runner Up: Sunset Beach Gift Shop

Home Decor: West End Garage

Runner Up: Cape May Wicker

Art: Cape May Artists Cooperative Gallery

Runner Up: SOMA Gallery

Furniture: Cape May Wicker

Runner Up: West End Garage

Antiques: West End Garage

Runner Up: Out of the Past Antiques

Best Places to Eat

Coffee: Coffee Tyme

Runner Up: Magic Brain

Pancakes: Uncle Bill’s Pancake House

Runner Up: The Mad Batter

Brunch: The Mad Batter

Runner Up: George’s Place

Hot Dog: Hot Dog Tommy’s (by a landslide; there was no runner up)

Taco: Key West Tacos

Runner Up: Big Wave Burrito

Wings: C-View Inn

Runner Up: The Mad Batter

Kid-Friendly: The Mad Batter

Runner Up: The Rusty Nail

Takeout: The Lobster House

Runner Up: Depot Market

Burger: Ugly Mug

Runner Up: Lucky Bones

Fish Tacos: Key West Tacos

Runner Up: The Rusty Nail

Pizza: Louie’s (still undefeated!)

Runner Up: Lucky Bones

Sushi: Yozu

Runner Up: Harbor View

Outdoor Dining: Lobster House

Runner Up: The Blue Pig and the Mad Batter

On a date: The Washington Inn

Runner Up: Tisha’s

Seafood: The Lobster House

Runner Up: Tisha’s

Raw Bar: Lobster House (there was no definitive runner-up in this category)

Crabcakes: Freda’s

Runner Up: The Mad Batter

Ice Cream, Custard & Gelato: Kohr Bros

Runner Up: Uncle Charley’s

Worth the Splurge: The Washington Inn

Runner Up: Peter Shields Inn

Night Life

Cocktail: Brown Room

Runner Up: The Ebbitt Room

Live Music: Cabanas

Runner Up: The Mad Batter

Outdoor Bar: The Rusty Nail

Runner Up: Harry’s Ocean Bar

Happy Hour: The Mad Batter

Runner Up: Cabanas

Best Things to Do

On a rainy day: Cape May Food Tours

Runner Up: Cape May Brewing Company

With Kids: Cape May County Park and Zoo

Runner Up: Cape May Lighthouse, miniature golf, beach

Best Spa: Cape May Day Spa

Runner Up: Sea Spa at Congress Hall

Festival: West Cape May Christmas Parade

Runner Up: West Cape May Lima Bean Festival

Birding Spot: Cape May Point

Runner Up: Lighthouse, Higbee Beach

Golf Course: Cape May National

Runner Up: Avalon Country Club

Miniature Golf: Sunset Beach

Runner Up: Stockton

Watersports: Kayaking

Runner Up: Stand-up paddleboarding

Ghost Tour: Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour

Water/Boat Ride: Cape May Whale Watcher

Free/low activity: Beach, Cape May County Zoo, Sunset Beach, Movies on the Beach

Must-Do Activity: Cape May Food Tours

Runner Up: The beach

Day trip: Cape May County Zoo

Runner Up: Ferry to Lewes, Delaware

Winery: Cape May Winery

Runner Up: Willow Creek

Favorite Victorian Building: The Queen Victoria

Runner Up: Emlen Physick Estate

Unquestionable Beach Belief

Sometimes finding the inspiration to write is difficult. Writers often live in a perpetual state of writer’s block. I know I do, and the last few days and weeks have been no exception.

But as I sit on my screened in porch at my home in Virginia, the 80 degree weather and accompaniment of the August issue of Cape May Magazine sent me into a frenzy of needing a pencil and paper to write down why I like to write about Cape May.

If you’re reading this blog, you must have some interest or a connection to Cape May. Just as I gravitate towards writing about Cape May, there are plenty of people who enjoy reading about the small beach town. Cape May has a je ne sais quoi that draws people in and does not let go.

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For me, growing up – most of my assigned writing projects for school featured Cape May in some way. Whether it was poems, short stories or opinion pieces, Cape May always showed up in my writing. I’ve often been told that writers write about what they know, which is why I wrote about the beach town I love so much.

It was too easy for me to write about the town where I have so many childhood memories. Every memory could easily spark a story – which is why I never hesitated to use Cape May as writing topic. Even when it came to standardized tests or writing descriptions when I was learning French, Cape May was the easiest topic for me to write about because I knew it like the back of my hand.

I’ve always dreamed of a future that included spending more time in Cape May. But it is only recently, this summer, that I realized that I want to have Cape May as my full time life – not just a vacation destination.

It should come as no surprise to me that everyone in my life has come to expect that my future will involve Cape May. I think my friends and family knew that before I consciously accepted that fact. It was not until this summer when I started blogging for, that I realized how much I want Cape May to become my future.

As I mentioned in my first blog post this June, My Cape May Past, Present and Future, I’m ready for my future to not only hold Cape May, but I want my future to be Cape May. The reality of moving to Cape May is that it will no longer be a vacation destination spot for me; it will be my new home.


I want to not only write about the town, but I want to live and breathe all the things that make Cape May, Cape May. It will be exciting to see the gradual change of the in season to off season, especially when the town quiets down from summer to fall and then ultimately to winter.

Writing about Cape May gives me the sense of peace I feel when I am there. Writing takes me to another place, and if I write enough details, I can close my eyes and picture myself sitting on a chair on the beach.

As I go into my senior year of college, I know a lot of people my age are uncertain of their futures and plans. But Cape May has always held a pull on me. And I’ve come to realize that I need to let go and allow Cape May to pull me in and embrace me.

I’ve never been as sure of anything as the hold Cape May has on me. And come graduation, I am coming home.

Connect with Rachel on Twitter @capemayrachel.