Blog Blog

Restoration and Preservation

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    Belle of the Ball

    The notion of southern hospitality has long held a special place in the American psyche. So it should surprise no one (okay, maybe a few of you) that one of Cape May’s most notable landmarks is the Southern Mansion, a structure that, like Cape May, the South, and even America itself, has survived tough times only to come back stronger than ever.

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    Cape May’s Grande Dame: The Chalfonte Hotel

    Cape May’s 132-year-old Grande Dame has been sold. The venerable Chalfonte Hotel on Howard Street, known for its wrap-around porches and Southern comfort, has changed hands, but fear not, it has not gone into the hands of strangers. Bob Mullock, longtime Cape May resident and owner of Cape May National Golf Club, became the hotel’s […]

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    Cape May’s New “Little Star”

    From the beginning, Joe and Chris Asterino weren’t shy about change. The first thing they did when they purchased The Open Hearth Guest House in June 2003 was to change the name to the Majestic Star Inn. Not to say it’s unheard of, but certainly not the norm. It had been the Open Hearth for at least 30 years.

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    Congress Hall in 2002

    On June 7-8, 2002, Congress Hall Hotel opened its doors once again in Cape May. More than a grand momen… it’s a significant step in Cape May’s future.

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    Congress Hall’s Grand Re-Opening

    Hundreds of people line the lawn, stroll through the ballroom and dally on the verandah. I’m among them.

  6. The Starlux Motel. Photograph by Sharon Stabley

    Doo Wop in living color

    Exploring Wildwood’s iconic ’50s and ’60s style architecture.

  7. The Great Room with a 16-foot barreled ceiling features a Nina Scull original, "The Russian Peasant Woman," signed and dated 1945.

    East Cape May Spanish Style

    If the vision of one of East Cape May’s founders had caught on, homes on Beach Avenue east of Madison might have looked more Spanish Mission style today than Victorian.

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    Giving the Past a Future: Naval Air Wildwood

    A step through the doors of Hangar #1 is a step back in time. Music from the 1940s drifts in the background, and the smell of engine grease fills the air.

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    One Woman’s Legacy

    A one-woman-led fight for preservation put Cape May on the road to becoming the town we know today.

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    Renovating a Relic

    It’s been a long time coming. There were Department of Interior rules and regulations to follow, million-dollar funding to secure, lawsuits to brave, mountains of paperwork to wade through and endless rolls of red tape to unwind. Now, long overdue according to some and beyond belief to others, rehabilitation of Congress Hall has begun.

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    Renovating the Woodleigh House

    When it comes to buying an old house and renovating it, Joanne Tornambe has one guiding principle – “In life you have to be flexible.”

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    The Abbey: Gurney Street and Columbia Avenue

    If Senator John McCreary were somehow to return to Cape May today, he wouldn’t have much trouble recognizing his summer residence. Standing proudly at the corner of Gurney Street and Columbia Avenue, his home, in its most recent incarnation as renowned bed and breakfast inn, The Abbey, appears very much as it did when McCreary and his family occupied it one hundred and thirty years ago during their summer holidays.

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    The Cherry House

    The house, or parts of it, is old for sure. But there are some odd quirks in the old girl’s history.

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    The Delsea Gets a New Look

    In a year when Cape May has been a whirl with changes in the accommodations arena,  one Columbia Avenue address remains constant – The Delsea. The gingerbread-coated house has had the same owner since 1969. In fact, Rosemary Stumpo is only the fourth owner in the Delsea’s 137-year old history. Like many who settle in […]

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    The First Lady of Stained Glass

    Text by Karen Fox. Photographs by Dottie Rogers. The original article, Jewels of Cape May, first appeared in Cape May Magazine, Winter 2007. There’s a special glow this holiday season at Cape May’s First Presbyterian Church. The congregation is celebrating the restoration of the church’s 110-year-old stained glass windows. Thirty five windows, including massive 17-by-17 foot Gothic arches, […]

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    The Grey Ghost

    It is a summer place. But as the days shorten, the shadows lengthen and waters turn steely, the Grey Ghost in all of her high Victorian Gothic elegance takes hold of the landscape and reigns over land’s end where the ocean and bay meet. Lofty dunes thrown up by winds and storms protect the Grey […]

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    The Passing of the Christian Admiral

    From the beginning, the Hotel Cape May was doomed. It opened in 1908, several years behind schedule and 100 percent over budget – its final cost of $1 million was nearly unimaginable in those days.

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    The Restoration of Congress Hall: History’s Contemporary Challenge

    She was just one of many large hotels in the late 1800s that catered to the elite. Massive hotels they were, with broad verandahs and sweeping lawns that faced the ocean. John Philip Sousa wrote two songs for Congress Hall. In fact, he introduced them on her lawn. For she was well-known across the nation […]

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    Then and Now: The Impact of Urban Renewal

    Even for people who have been in Cape May for generations, the Cape May of just 50 years ago is a real juxtaposition with today’s town.

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    Tips on How to Buy an Old Home

    Have you always dreamed of owning an old house, one that dates back to, say, Queen Victoria? If the answer is yes – the next question is what would you be getting into? What better way to find out than to ask some of the people in Victorian Cape May who have already undergone the task.