Nothing beats Christmas in Cape May. It’s like living in a Victorian dream. Walk down any street and you will see decorated Victorian homes, people taking candlelight tours and the smell of burning hearths throughout the island. We’ve picked out 10 Must Dos for the month of December, but hurry up, at least three of them are this weekend. No worries though, there are plenty of other activities throughout the month to keep you engaged.
1) West Cape May Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 3 beginning at 5 p.m.
Always the first Saturday in December, The West Cape May Community Christmas Parade sets the stage for the areas holiday season. Now in her 46th year, the parade steps off at 5 p.m. sharp from the WCM Volunteer Firehouse and marches South on Broadway, winds East on Perry, and onto Carpenters Lane in the City of Cape May. Under the able leadership of Parade Lady Charlotte Daily, a small army of volunteers assembles an unforgettable hometown memory each year! The Parade reschedules to 12/4/11 in the case of inclement weather.
2) City of Cape May’s Christmas Tree Lighting
Friday, December 2 at 7 p.m.
Join city officials at the Rotary Park Gazebo/Bandstand, Lyle Lane, behind the Washington Street Mall, for the official Cape May tree lighting. Santa will be on hand to make sure kids stay off the naughty list. Carolers will lead everyone in Christmas carols and you will see what a special time it is for both locals and visitors.
3) Congress Hall’s Christmas Tree Lighting and Ceremony
Friday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m.
We sure like Christmas here in this little town. After the city lights up their tree, stroll over to Congress Hall and you’ll get another treat – this tree lighting comes complete with a presentation from the Congress Hall Choir. Visit the Congress Hall Shopping village and the Hot Chocolate Bar while you’re there.
4) Candlelight Hospitality Nights on the Washington Street Mall
Thursday, December 8 & 9 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Merchants open their doors to welcome shoppers, visitors and friends. If you have been a good girl or boy, you might even get offered a treat and some spirits along the way. And be sure to join in with the Towne Crier Carolers who will be strolling the three-block avenue of the Washington Street Mall singing Christmas carols and wishing you Christmas cheer.
5) Christmas Candlelight House Tour
Saturdays, Dec. 3, 10 & 17 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Experience the high point of Cape May’s holiday season during these self-guided tours, which feature homes, inns, hotels & churches specially decorated for the holidays (at least 15 each night); Christmas caroling and strolling musicians, trees and garland & good old-fashioned cheer; and hospitality centers with warm beverages & home-baked goodies. Includes admission to the Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, and to “An Old-fashioned Christmas: Holiday Traditions through the Years” exhibit in the Carriage House Gallery. Continuous shuttle service on heated trolleys. For tickets, contact Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities, (609)-884-5404, www.capemaymac.org
6) Wassail Day at Historic Cold Spring Village
Saturday. December 3, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Ring in the holiday season, c. 1840! Enjoy free admission to this Village event and visit a selection of buildings, which are trimmed for the holidays and warmed by the hearth. Meet Father Christmas at the Country Store! Historic Cold Spring Village, 720 Rte 9, Cold Spring
7) Winery Tour at Cape May Winery & Wine Dinner at Mad Batter
If you would like to sample some of Cape May’s local wines, take a trip to Cape May Winery on Townbank Road in North Cape May. Tours and tasting offered daily at 3 p.m. Reservations recommended. Call 609-884-1169.
Friday, December 9, 7:30 p.m.
Get a great start on the holiday season with a five-course dinner paired with an interesting selection of wines from around the country. At the Mad Batter Restaurant on Jackson Street. Limited to 60 participants. $75 per person. To reserve, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit www.capemaymac.org
8) Dickens Christmas Extravaganza
Sunday through Tuesday, December 4-6
Welcome friends, to Cape May’ s annual Dickens Christmas Extravaganza. Cape May is the perfect place to celebrate Dickens and the holidays, as it transforms to a Victorian Christmas Village during this season. Immerse yourself in the world of Dickens through lectures and performances. The festivities conclude on Tuesday evening with a proper Victorian Feast. The Extravaganza costs $150 per person. Complete packages with accommodations are also available from participating inns. Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities, (609)-884-5404, www.capemaymac.org
9) “Winds of Bethlehem”
Sunday, December 11, 4 p.m.
The combined choirs of the First Presbyterian Church and the Episcopal Church of the Advent will present the premiere performance of “Winds of Bethlehem,” a Christmas cantata by librettist Robert D. Reader and composer Jane Sbarra on Sunday, December 11, at 4 p.m. at the Church of the Advent. Soloists include Karen Buckley, Charlie Buckley and the Rev. John Mitchell, with Carol Obligado, organist.
The Church of the Advent is at the corner of Franklin and Washington Streets in Cape May. A free-will offering will be taken and a reception follows the performance. For more information, call 884-6652.
10) Breakfast with Santa
Dates vary by location; see below
Congress Hall’s Breakfast with Santa is taking place Saturdays & Sundays through December 18 from 8am – 11am.
Location: Congress Hall, 888-944-1816, www.congresshall.com for more information.
Visit with Santa at the Inn of Cape May on Saturday, December 3 and 10 at 10 a.m. Enjoy a family-friendly breakfast buffet as children visit with Santa and hear a Christmas story. Christmas lists accepted! Treats for the kids. $15 adults, $10 children (3-12)
Location: Aleathea’s at Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean Street, 609-884-5555