The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts offers a packed calendar of Christmas events]
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the nation’s first seaside resort. Thanks to the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) and Cape May’s support of cultural and heritage tourism, our town has become a top Christmastime destination. The city is transformed into an old-fashioned winter wonderland for the holidays and celebrates the season with seven weeks of special events. Victorian homes, hotels, churches and inns are decorated for the season with twinkling lights, boughs of holly and a wreath at every door. The festivities continue all the way through January 2.
Take a trolley ride to see the city’s twinkling lights, tour the Victorian gems decked out for the season, indulge with food and wine events, and celebrate the most wonderful time of the year! There is holiday entertainment for every member of the family. Unless otherwise noted, all events listed below are sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities. For more information, call (609) 884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org.
NOVEMBER 19–JANUARY 2
An Old-Fashioned Christmas Exhibit An exhibit of holiday traditions through the years. Complete with working LGB trains, trees, toys and more! At the Carriage House Gallery at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street. The Gallery is open daily; hours vary. Free admission.
Cape May’s Designer Show House at Christmas Discover Cape May’s sixth annual Designer Show House, beautifully decorated for the holiday season by some of the region’s top designers. The historic Fairthorne Cottage will be open for self-guided tours daily from 1–4pm, plus Thursday and Friday evenings from 7–9pm. Tours can be combined with lunch and dinner packages. 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. The show house will be closed on Christmas Day, so stay home and relax! There will be no evening hours on December 24 and 31.
Cape May Wine Weekend Triple your delight by combining a Wine–Tasting Dinner, Winery Cellar Tour and Wine–Tasting Class for a weekend of total indulgence. The weekend begins at 6pm on Friday 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 3pm, 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 1pm learn the finer points of fine wines at a Wine School Class at the Washington Inn. The complete package is $135 per person for the weekend.
37th Annual Christmas Candlelight House Tour This self-guided tour features homes, inns, hotels and churches decorated for the holidays, plus caroling and strolling musicians. Hospitality centers offer beverages and home-baked treats. Includes admission to the Physick Estate at 1048 Washington Street. Runs from 5:30–8:30pm on Saturday. Adults $25, children $20.
Cape May Wine School It’s All in the Bubbles—Sparkling Wines for the Holidays: Before you pop the cork, prepare for holiday celebrations with a tasting of sparkling wines at the Washington Inn, 801 Washington Street at 1pm. Admission is $30.
The Mad Batter Beer School Samuel Adams, America’s World–Class Beer: Learn about the world of beer at the Mad Batter on 19 Jackson Street. Includes five samples of beer and light refreshments. 2pm on Sunday. $25 per person. Bistro menu also available at an additional charge.
Cape May Wine Trail Spend the afternoon visiting Cape May County’s wineries and sampling the unique flavors of each. First enjoy lunch at the Carriage House Tearoom & Café 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. $75 per person, includes lunch, wine tastings at each vineyard and a wine–tasting glass. Limited event, reserve early! 12pm–5pm on Sunday.
Holiday Chefs’ Dine-around Enjoy a five-course gourmet feast with each course served in one of Cape May’s premier restaurants. Wine will be provided with each course, with a representative from the sponsoring winery on hand to explain the pairings. A trolley shuttle between restaurants is provided. Wine will be available for purchase. Event held at 6pm on Wednesday. Reserve early; limited to 34 people! $125 per person (gratuity included).
Cape May Christmas Tour 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 the 2010 Cape May Designer Show House dressed up for the holidays. Admission includes an “Old-fashioned Christmas” exhibit in the Carriage House Gallery and a shuttle to the show house. Offered Monday–Thursday, through December 30 at 11am. Adults $25, children $20.
Cape May Designer Show House at Christmas Dinner Package Combine a tour of Cape May’s 2010 Designer Show House decorated for Christmas with dinner at one of Cape May’s premier restaurants. Guests seat at 5:30pm and have the choice between two restaurants each night and choice from several options on the early seating menu. After dinner, tour the show house from 7–9pm. Offered Thursday, December 2, and December 16–30. Thursday Dinner Options in December: Union Park or The Mad Batter; Packages are $45 per person and are inclusive of tax and gratuity.
Cape May Designer Show House at Christmas Luncheon Package Combine 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. Enjoy an elegant four-course tea luncheon at the Carriage House before a self-guided tour of the show house, which is open from 1pm to 4pm for tours. Packages are available daily through December 31. The tearoom is open from 11:30am. 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.
Cape May Family Treasure Hunt Discover the fun of exploring Cape May and uncovering its architectural elements from a kid’s perspective. Packet includes clues sheet and map that will take you on a self-guided discovery tour, set to your own pace (answer sheet also included). Available daily year-round. Not offered on Christmas. $5 per packet (Only one packet is needed per family). Co-sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) and Preservation New Jersey.
Cape May Lighthouse, Oil House and Museum Shop Climb this 1859 structure and enjoy a panoramic view of the Jersey Cape and Atlantic Ocean. The museum shop carries souvenirs, books, videos and other maritime items. Open Saturdays and Sundays through December 19 from 12–3pm and daily December 26 through January 2 from 12–3pm. Located at Cape May Point State Park. Admission to the Visitors’ Center and the ground floor of the lighthouse is free. Tower admission is $7 adults, $3 children.
Carriage House Tearoom and Café An English tradition brought to Victorian Cape May, featuring a tea luncheon of sandwiches, salads, soups, breads, pastries and beverages, and elegant afternoon tea of finger sandwiches, pastries, scones and beverages. The café menu also offers heartier fare with a selection of entrée salads, soups, sandwiches and wraps. Carriage House Tearoom and Café is on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington. Open at 11:30am daily November 26 through December 23 and December 26 through December 31. To make reservations call 609-884-5111.
Combination Trolley/Physick Estate Tours Guided trolley tour of Cape May’s Historic District, followed by a guided tour of Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, the Emlen Physick Estate at 1048 Washington Street, decorated in authentic Victorian holiday style. Offered daily, times vary. $18 for adults, $9 for children.
Ghosts of Christmas Past Trolley Rides A member of the East Lynne Theater Company will regale you with a Victorian holiday ghost tale as you ride through Cape May’s Historic District. Adults: $10; children $7. Offered nightly through January 1. No tours on December 18, 24 and 25. Trolleys depart from the Washington Mall information booth at Washington and Ocean.