2011 Designer Show House ... Now Open!
I'm thrilled to tell you about our magnificent 2011 Designer Show House. Anna Marie and I went to see this year's show house for the first time and we were VERY impressed. We weren't quite sure what to expect, as this house is very different from past show houses. We need not have worried.
This year's show house, a brand new $2.2 Million 4-story townhouse, really is a departure from the renovated/restored show houses of the past. To start your tour you'll be whisked by elevator to the master suite which occupies the entire 4th floor. This amazing space features beautiful views of the harbor and wetlands near the Cape May bridge. The bedroom is immense and decorated beautifully throughout. Though the incredibly large closets were not decorated, they probably could have been. If you want to have bathroom envy, just stroll down the hall in the master bath suite with its custom shower, 2 person whirlpool tub and magnificent decor.
Stroll down the stairs to the 3rd floor and you'll find yourself in the beautifully decorated living space than includes the living room, kitchen and dining room. All three of these spaces are wonderful and have to be seen to be appreciated. The 2nd floor contains creative and wonderful guest rooms & baths, featuring some very impressive mural art and special touches. The first floor has an incredible mural in the entry way (you'll see it when you first walk in), a garage filled with really cool old vehicles that rotate (a cherry '67 Corvette was there when we went through) and other interesting items. Even the back yard ground floor porch is a delight.
I definitely suggest you make your way to the show house this year. Personally, I recommend the luncheon package at the Carriage House Tearoom & Cafe package. It is a great afternoon!
Get all the details ...
I've noticed this summer that there are a lot of (wonderful) guests that come for an annual visit, but don't take advantage of our Earlybird reservation discount program. If you are one of these folks, and you like saving money too, then you should seriously consider booking your next year's reservation while you are here this year. You'll get the room you want and a nice discount too.
This is how it works: When you are here this year reserve your room 12 months in advance for your 2012 visit. We'll give you this year's room rates, saving you $5/night, and an additional 5% discount on your entire stay. For a 3 night stay that equates to a discount of between $58 and $104, depending on the type of room your reserve. On average, the savings would be $65 for a 3 night stay (premium room). If you are a financial wizard, then you might have already figured out that the discount represents a return of 15% on your 50% deposit. Think about it, are you getting 15% on your bank deposits right now?
For many people who already do this, the discount is secondary, however. Lots of our guests have found their favorite rooms over the years and have discovered that the only way to get the room they really want is to reserve it early. For them, the discount is just icing on the cake.
Mermaids & Mariners Benefit
So, you're planning on visiting us in early August and you want to do something really special and interesting. OR, you don't yet have reservations for early August, but a trip to Cape May sounds fun and you need that extra little incentive to make the commitment. Either way, I've got just the thing for you.
On August 6th the Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) is sponsoring a very special fund raising benefit called "Mermaids & Mariners" at Osprey Landing, which is the site of the 2011 Designer Show House. You don't have to be either a mermaid or a mariner to attend, but if you are either you'll be a big hit at the party (especially a mermaid, I imagine). This is most assuredly going to be the event of the season! Dress is casual, but if you come in a nautical themed outfit you'll get a free raffle ticket at the door.
The event runs from 7-10pm with lots of seafood and some good land-lubber fare as well, served all night long. An open (top shelf) bar will be serving you what ever you want to drink throughout the evening. That's a good thing too, because you'll be dancing all night to a live band called "Hennessy & Jack", who are famous for the seafarer music they play at the Lobster House each weekend.
This really will be the party of the season in Cape May and a good time is sure to be had by all. It's also for a good cause: supporting MAC's educational outreach program. I hope you'll be able to join Anna Marie and me for this fun event. Look for us on the dance floor!
Taste of Cape May Package
Everyone loves a package. In years past, however, we never had any great packages to offer during the summer. I'm pleased to say those days are gone.
This year Anna Marie and I have partnered with the Merion Inn to offer the "Taste of Cape May" package. This is a great dining package for two people that features a 3-course meal at the wonderful Merion Inn restaurant, just steps from The Queen Victoria. You'll be greeted at the door with a special smile by the host or hostess and escorted to the best available table. Anna Marie and I worked with Vicki, the owner of the Merion Inn, to create an incredible 3 course menu that has something for everyone. Beyond all the wonderful appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts on the menu, you'll also find real VALUE. This package includes tax and gratuity, so all you have to do is sit down and enjoy one of the best meals in town.
Anna Marie's Gift Shop feature of the month ... our Cookbook!
This month Anna Marie's choice for gift shop feature is her cookbook. It is a great choice.
Lots of you have already purchased this beautiful book. If you have, then you already know that it is more than a cookbook. It is truly a keepsake of your visit to The Queen Victoria, filled with photos of all of our guest rooms and most of our parlors, sitting rooms, and gardens. Of course, any cookbook worth purchasing must be filled with great recipes, and this one is no exception.
This cookbook contains the recipe for EVERY single thing that we serve at The Queen Victoria. Every breakfast entree, ever tea time treat, every breakfast bread, every savory spread ... everything.
So, next time you find yourself gazing at our spacious gift shop, wondering what treasure to take home with you Anna Marie recommends the cookbook. Sure, she is biased, being the author and all, but she is also always right. Trust me on this.
Did I mention that the cookbook also makes a great gift for just about anybody remotely interested in cooking?
$16.95 and worth every penny!
Upcoming Cape May Events
· Designer Show House (thru 10/30/11)
· National Lighthouse Day Craft Show Aug 7
· Cape May Wine Trail (3 wineries) Sep 10
· Food & Wine Festival Sep 16-25
· Mad Batter Beer Dinner Oct 7
· Victorian Weekend Oct 7 - 11
· Victorian Weekend Craft & Antiques Show Oct 9
· Cape May Wine Trail (2 wineries) Oct 14
· Harvest Festival Craft & Antiques Show Oct 15
· Halloween in Cape May Oct 14-31 LOTS of events!
· Sherlock Holmes Mystery Weekend Nov 4-6
· Fall Craft & Antiques Show Nov 5
· Cape May Jazz Festival Nov 11-13
· Christmas in Cape May Nov 18 - Jan 1, 2012
· Wine Dinner @ Mad Batter Nov 18
· Cape May Wine Trail (2 wineries) Nov 19
· Wine Dinner @ Mad Batter Dec 9
· Cape May Wine Trail (2 wineries) Dec 30
Over? It's not over! Summer is a long way from over in Cape May.
Sure, the "back to school" ads are in the paper and on the radio. Remember, though, that these are the same folks who start playing Christmas jingles in September. I say "let's not rush things". We've got another solid 6 weeks of summer to enjoy, and let's get to it.
So July has passed you by and you haven't made a summer trip to The Queen Victoria yet. Or maybe you haven't made enough trips to The Queen Victoria yet. I've got GREAT news! There is still hope for you. We've still got some availability at the end of August, even on Labor Day weekend.
If your schedule doesn't revolve around a school year, then I strongly suggest a September visit. September is my favorite time of the year in Cape May. Great weather, the warmest ocean water of the year, less crowds, and everything is still open. Did I mention lower rates? How could I have left that off the list? Anyway, we've got some really nice openings for a September visit too.
Call us! We'll make sure that you get the summer vacation you deserve.
The sights of Summer!
Featured "Room of the Month" ... Prince Alfred
So what is our most popular room this summer? It has to be the Prince Alfred room. Right now there are only 2 nights available in the Prince Alfred room between now and October. Seriously, if you want to stay in this room this summer or early fall, you've got 2 choices, Wed. Aug 10 or Wed, Sep 28.
Prince Alfred is a 2nd floor room in the House of Royals. It is beautifully decorated with the House of Royals signature Bradbury hand silk-screened wall papers, including a dramatic and classic frieze (a BIG border). It features a 10.5 foot ceiling which is crowned by the original plaster crown molding, to give it a spacious and gracious feeling. The authentic 19th century Victorian bedroom set complements the classic beauty of the room.
As beautiful as the room is, though, that is not why it is booked solid from May through November. What really sets this room apart is its magnificent wrap-around balcony. This is a BIG balcony which features ocean views on one side of the room and the best view in town of The Queen Victoria building across the street on the other side of the room. It is so big we had to put 2 sets of rocking chairs out there. It really is the perfect place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee, take in the afternoon breezes coming off of the ocean, share a wonderful sunset happy hour, or spend a romantic moon-lit evening. It really is a wonderful balcony.
If you're planning a fall trip to The Queen Victoria (and I think you should!), then I highly recommend considering this room. Otherwise, start planning for next year early and book it now.
Buying American at The Queen Victoria
The other day I did something that made me feel really good. I thought I would share it with you. As you know, we proudly fly the American flag on all 4 of our buildings. We fly the British flag too, but always smaller and lower than the American flag. Anyway, our flags are a little faded, so I decided to purchase a new set of them. I found a great website that featured exactly the kind of flag I wanted.
When I went to add them to my cart, however, I discovered that I could buy a foreign made flag for $23 or an American made flag for $32. I like to save money as much as the next guy, but I paused to think about it. Sure, I could save $9/flag, $36 in all, by purchasing a foreign made flag. They were exactly the same materials and quality of workmanship. Why would I not purchase the foreign made flag? Why, indeed.
I ultimately decided that I'd rather spend a few extra dollars and reward those manufacturers who are sticking it out with domestic production. If I can't buy an American made American flag, then I have no right to complain about the economy or the export of jobs overseas. I purchased the American made flags, spent the extra $36 and feel good about it. It was worth the extra money to me.
I'm thinking that if every one of us made a decision like this once a month or maybe even once a week, then our economy would be humming right along. Let's give it a try. I'll be doing my part.
The Convention Hall NEWS
It is a little difficult to see from this photo, but they seem to be making good progress on our new convention center. What you are seeing here are the foundation "beams" of reinforced concrete that have been created on-sight. It has been fascinating to see how they are doing this.
First they sunk the pre-formed concrete pilings deep into the beach. Next they fabricated a series of "forms" between the pilings in the shape of the foundation beams you see here. Inside of the forms they created a network of epoxy coated steel reinforcing bars (rebar). Finally, they poured concrete into each of the forms. When it dries, they remove the wooden forms leaving an incredibly strong reinforced concrete foundation.
I've particularly enjoyed watching them pour the concrete into the forms. These guys aren't using a wheel barrel for this folks. Actually, they can't, because the forms are built about 5 feet above ground on top of the pilings. They have a special vehicle with a crane like structure which they pump the concrete through. They can position the truck in a single spot and back the cement mixing trucks up to it. They then pump the concrete up and over to the spot they need it. It is pretty cool to watch.
I say cool in the non-temperature sense, as it has been blisteringly hot for the gents working the project the last couple of weeks. I'm sure cool would not be their description at all. Anyway, it looks like they are indeed making good progress!
Favorite Guest Photos ... October Teatime
Like many of my favorite guest photos, I've chosen this one to share with you this month because it portrays a couple of essential elements of The Queen Victoria at one time. This was submitted by our good friend Gary Wiesner.
First of all, it clearly demonstrates how wonderfully beautiful it can be in Cape May during the fall. This photo was taken on October 8, 2010 (thank God for digital picture date stamps). Notice the beautiful quality of the lighting at tea on the Prince Albert Hall porch!
Another thing that really strikes me about this photo is that shows our guests are obviously having a great time with one another at tea. Either that or they are crazy (maybe it is a little bit of both). I love the actual tea and goodies we serve at tea as much as the next person, but I think that the social aspect of tea time is really what makes it so wonderful.
Finally, this collection of people are what I call a "reunion group". These are folks that have met at The Queen Victoria over the years and discovered that they enjoy each other's company so much that they've started planning their visits with us together. We've got a few such groups that have formed over the years. I've got to say that it is extremely gratifying to think that we've played some small part in the friendships that have developed among them all. It is interesting for me to note that these reunion groups are always made up of really fun-loving, interesting people who have become true friends over the years.
Cape May Stage - Steel Magnolias
I have a confession to make ... I never saw the movie "Steel Magnolias". I'm sure that if you are a female then you are incredulous and wondering how this could be possible. Your next thought, which would be correct, might be that my long-suffering wife Anna Marie has not seen it either. You see, I always thought it was a "chic flick". Since I never inflicted action-adventure movies on her, she never forced me to watch movies like this. I'm sure you guys out there can relate.
So why am I sharing this with you? You guessed it. The next show opening at Cape May Stage on August 5th is Steel Magnolias. I'm thinking that my days of avoiding this story are officially over. The good news is I'm actually looking forward to seeing it now. Everything Cape May Stage does is excellent and I know that the actors they've got lined up for the show are very talented.
How bad could it be to watch a show about a bunch of women in a hair salon gossiping and sharing stories of their lives for an hour or two? I'll let you know next time I see you. Seriously though, I think it will be a great show.
Doug & Anna Marie's Restaurant Pick Of The Month ... Frescos
You know that Anna Marie and I have our perennial favorite restaurants which are on our A-list all the time. The most recent addition to that list is probably Frescos. We've probably frequented Frescos more than any other restaurant this summer, and that must tell you something. It wasn't a conscious thing, it is just that Frescos has sounded good to us more frequently than any place else; for lots of reasons.
So what is so special about Frescos? Well, everything, when I think about it. They are located just a couple of blocks from the inn, so it is an easy walk (that is pretty much essential to make our A-list). We also love the setting/decor in Frescos, which is relaxing, refreshing, and interesting. Frescos is also a BYO restaurant, which is always a plus for us. The most important thing, though, is the food. Frescos serves great food ... it is that simple.
I could just say everything is good and leave it at that, but I know you want to hear some specifics. Order the swordfish. Simply put, the swordfish piccata is incredible. I've always loved swordfish and I've never had it better anywhere. One of Anna Marie's new favorites is the Penne Pesto, which is wonderfully prepared and a little lighter than is often served. If you've got an appetite, give the Osso Bucco a try. It is rich and generous, and Frescos is quite famous for it.
If you've never tried Frescos, then I highly recommend it to you. If it has been a few years, then try it again. If you haven't ever been, then you need to work Frescos into your dining schedule during your upcoming visit. Who knows, you might see us there.
Make your reservations today for a romantic getaway at The Queen Victoria Bed and Breakfast. We are looking forward to helping you plan your next visit!
Doug & Anna Marie McMain, Innkeepers
The Queen Victoria Bed and Breakfast