News from The Queen Victoria
Cape May ... the place to be.
Designer Show House

This year's Cape May Designer Show house is open and looks great. Anna Marie and I attended the Gala Opening the other night and really enjoyed it. It is a little different than our previous show houses because it is in an operating bed and breakfast. That means that only the first floor spaces are open, but they are magnificent. The good news is that the price is half of what it has been in past years, so it is a great entertainment value.

The location can't be beat this year either ... it is right next door to The Queen Victoria. If you're looking for something new and dfferent to do this year, check out the show house. I think you'll enjoy it.

Food & Wine Festival

You already know that Cape May is famous for its restaurants, and with good reason. What you may not be aware of is that each year many of our best restaurants also partcipate in the annual Cape May Food & Wine Festival. If you've never visited Cape May for the Food & Wine festival you are truly missing out on something special.

You might already know that the annual Food & Wine Festival is one of Cape May's very best events. Each September Cape May becomes the dining capital of the world (OK, perhaps I'm over stating things a bit) and people flock from all over to enjoy the festivities. It really is not a surprise. There are some great "goings on" throughout the festival.

This year's festival, running from September 18 through the 26 will be no exception. Here is a list of what is going on this year :

  • Harvest Wine Festival
  • People's Choice Chowder Contest
  • Cape May Harvest Food & Wine Tasting
  • Mad Batter Beer School
  • Beer Tasting Dinner
  • Gourmet Lunches
  • Chefs' Dine-Arounds
  • Classes, Seminars & Tastings
  • Winery Cellar Tour & Tasting
  • Fisherman's Wharf Tour
  • Gourmet Brunch Walk
  • Cape May Wine Weekend
  • Cape May Wine School
  • Cape May Wine Trail

    What a list! You are going to make it to Cape May for this event, right?

  • Playing Soon at Cape May Stage ... Romance Romance

    Each year Anna Marie and I co-sponsor a show at Cape May Stage. This year our show is Romance Romance, which is comprised of two one-act musicals which explore the highs and lows of love. Hailed by the New York Post as "a double dollop of the romantic spirit, "Romance/Romance" sparkles with charm and intelligence," raves The New York Times.

    We haven't seen this show yet, of course, but we're looking forward to it. If you've been to a Cape May Stage production, then you know that they're always terrific. I'm confident that this one will be no exception. Who knows, maybe I'll even learn a few romantic tricks to try out on Anna Marie.

    Cape May Forum: "Chautauqua at the Shore"

    Many of you may have heard of Chautauqua before. I must admit that I was unfamiliar with it until a couple of years ago. Generally speaking, Chautauqua was and is an adult education movement that started in the early 1900s. High profile experts and specialists in the Arts, Religion, Politics and Current Events come in from around the world to perform and speak about their fields of expertise. President Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying that Chautauqua is the "most American thing in America". High praise, I'd say.

    After years of efforts on the part of many people, the dream of creating a Chautauqua in Cape May is coming to fruition. In it's inaugural season this October, the theme of the 2010 Cape May Forum is "Humor: Can it Save the World?". It probably can, and there will be some seriously funny (yes, pun intended) and knowlegeable people coming to Cape May to explore the possibilities, including: John Morreall, Ph.D., writers Tom Cathcart and Daniel Klein, Petie Subin, Sassi Keegan, and Mary Dimino. All of these folks have serious humor credentials and will be sharing their knowlege and humor with all comers in Cape May.

    We are really excited about this new program/event. I'm pretty sure that the Cape May Forum will become a big part of the Cape May scene in years to come and I'm thrilled to be here to see it happen. I know that you'll want to be a part of it too.

    Call us soon to book your rooms, though, as this is a VERY popular weekend which coincides with Victorian Week and the Cape May wine festival. Our rooms are going fast.

    Victorian Week

    Victorian Week starts this October 8th and runs through the 14th. I was just scanning the MAC (Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities) website to see what the scheduled events were and I was stunned. Any hopes I had of copying & pasting the events into this article evaporated instantly when I saw just how many events are scheduled. I'm not exagerating when I tell you that there are over 100 scheduled things to do during Victorian Week. I'd say that might just qualifiy Victorian week as the best time to visit Cape May.

    Seriously, Victorian Week is a wonderful event that we look forward to every year. When was the last time that you saw people walking around town in Victorian attire? It happens every day in Cape May during Victorian Week. Of course, you don't have to get dressed up to enjoy it. I will say that last year we had 3 ladies stay with us who each had 3 Victorian gowns that they rotated through during the course of their stay. They were all beautiful women and all looked magnificent. In fact, they'll be back again this year so you won't even have to leave the house to see what a Victorian lady dressed like.

    The only bad thing about Victorian Week (from your perspective, anyway) is that we tend to book up pretty early for it. We still have availability, but we've been taking a lot of reservations lately and the rooms are going fast. If you want to treat yourself to a wonderful experience and a great time in Cape May, give us a call soon.

    Cape May Wine Festival

    October 9 & 10 is the date! That is when the New Jersey Wine Growers Assocation's "Cape May Wine Festival" returns to Cape May. This is the event that Anna Marie and I look forward to all year long! Yes, those of you that know us well know about our appreciation for wine, but it goes beyond that. This is a FUN event, even for people who don't drink (I'm serious).

    Each year about 25 wineries set up shop in Cape May to share their craft with visitors and locals alike. They set up tasting tents in a circle around the meadow at the Cape May Ferry terminal where thousands of people stroll from tent to tent sampling and purchasing wines from all over New Jersey.

    Anna Marie and I like to make a day of it by bringing beach chairs, a blanket and a picnic basket. There is always a live band, food vendors, craft & gift retailers and enough good times to easily fill a day. There is something truly magical about watching the sun sparkle on the Delaware Bay in the background and watching the Ferrys come and go while sampling wines from all over the state.

    You might have noted that the dates of this festival coincide with Victorian Week and the new Cape May Forum. That means two things: 1) There will be lots of great things to do while you're here 2) There will be lots of people coming to Cape May and rooms will be scarce. This last point is the significant one for you. Call us soon to make your reservations!

    Upcoming Events

  • Designer Show House - Jun 25 - Jan 2
  • Food & Wine Festival Sep 18-26
  • Cape May Renaissance Festival Oct 2-3
  • Victorian Week Oct 8-14
  • Cape May Wine Festival Oct 9-10
  • Cape May Forum "Chautauqua" Oct 8-11
  • War of the Worlds Oct 29-30
  • Halloween in Cape May Oct 15-31
  • Sherlock Holmes Mystery Weekend Nov 5-7
  • Christmas Preview weekend Nov 19-21
  • Christmas in Cape May Nov 19 - Dec 31
  • New Years in Cape May Dec 31

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      It is tempting to wax on about the wonderful summer we're having in Cape May this year (which makes up for last year's less than perfect weather), but I'm going to restrain my impulses and talk about some fantastic things coming up this fall instead. We have some SERIOUSLY great events coming up, many of them brand new, 1st time items. These are events that you won't want to miss, but may be in danger of missing if you don't call soon.

      Sure, we have all the usually great events like Food & Wine Festival in September, Cape May Wine Festival, Victorian Week and the General Halloween stuff in October. New for this year, though, are the Cape May Forum "Chautaqua at the Shore", our 1st ever "Looking Glass Mystery" event and a new Renaissance Festival. How much more stuff can we cram into a single season? It is actually hard for me to keep track of it all. What I do know, though is that we've got some new seriously great reasons to visit Cape May this Fall; as if you needed a reason.

      Featured "Room of the Month" ... Benjamin Disraeli

      I can't beileve I've never featured Benjamin Disraeli before! Sure, it isn't our fanciest or largest room. In fact, it is one of our smaller rooms. I must say, however, that it is certainly a favorite of mine. I know that lots of guests and some of our own staff who occasionally sleep over agree.

      First of all, Benjamin Disraeli has a very large, bright bathroom. That alone will seal the deal for lots of our feminine guests. It features a tub with integrated shower, a very large marble vanity top and lots of light from the window on the sunny side of the house.

      The room itself is filled with really beautiful antique pieces, including the bed pictured here. There are two more windows in the room, which make Benjamin Disraeli the brightest room in the house. No dark Victorian stuff here. The wallpaper is also cheery and bright, which completes the package.

      Cape May Renaissance Festival

      You were probably asking yourself "Just how many great events can one small town at the edge of reality have in a year?" and we've added yet another. The organization Access to Art is launching it's first ever Cape May Renaissance Festival this October 2-3.

      I've always enjoyed Renassance Festivals, and not just because I get to dress up in tights and frilly shirts (in fact, I've never dressed up for a festival before). Cape May always seemed like the perfect location for such an event too, so I'm thrilled that we're getting one.

      I'm told that there are already 17 acts scheduled to perform during the festival including music, acting, Shakespeare Improv, "As You Like It," falconers, Punch & Judy and lots more.

      This sounds like a great event and I'm really excited about it. I'm confident that this will become a fixture of October in Cape May. I sure hope so.

      War of the Worlds Weekend

      So you think Cape May is the safest place on earth. Think again. This Halloween Cape May will be invaded by Martians in a recreation of the most famous Halloween prank of them all ... Orson Well's "War of the Worlds". Nobody knows how this one will turn out!

      The Queen Victoria is proudly working with Looking Glass Mysteries to co-host this fabulous audience participation mystery event this Halloween on October 29-30. Picture yourself as either a Martian or Earthling searching for clues and pursuing your enemies all over Cape May. Sure, there will be casualties, perhaps you'll be among them, but it will be for a worthy cause, no matter what side you are on. This will be a weekend that you'll never forget.

      If you've participated in a Murder Mystery before then you can BEGIN to appreciate what an experience this will be. If you've done a Sherlock Holmes weekend in Cape May then you've got a hint of what this event will be like. This is going to be an incredible experience beyond any "mystery" event you've ever attended.

      The cost of the package , which includes participation in the event, a 4-course dinner, a wine/cheese reception, a tour of the participating inns, and souvenir T-Shirts, is an affordable $250/couple in addition to the cost of your room.

      I love to give advice, so I'll leave you with two suggestions. 1: Absolutely plan on participating in this event. 2: Call us soon. Only 30 couples can participate in the event and there are two other inns co-hosting it. You don't want to be too late for this one.

      The Convention Hall NEWS

      Well, I've got news for you now. First of all, it looks like the latest design of convention hall (the pretty one that we all really liked) is dead. Our new city council voted last Tuesday night not to approve increased funding required for the structure. I shouldn't be surprised, since all 3 of the people who cast the "no" vote just won their seats campaigning on a "scaled down" project.

      So are we going to get a new convention center? I believe we still will, but it is going to be a while. First, we'll have to engage architects to redesign the building to fit into it's current footprint and not encroach onto the promenade (that is where the additional expense was coming from). Then there will probably have to be a vote on the new design. Once that is complete I suppose that the NJ DEP will have to approve the new design. That will also be a good time for our "usual cast of characters" to call for another referendum on the project. Once approved, the RFPs (request for proposal) need to be sent out and new bids submitted (I wonder if the companies that have already submitted 2 bids for the current design will want to waste their time). Once received they'll have to be voted on to select the winning bid. Eventually a construction schedule can be contemplated. I'm thinking this will all take a few years, so this is probably the last "update" I'll give you for a while. We'll see.

      Ah ... small town politics. You have to love them!

      Favorite Guest Photos ... a Summer Seat

      Have you ever noticed how cool looking the life guard stands are in Cape May? I've been to lots of beaches in New Jersey and I've always felt that Cape May had the coolest stands. I'm not quite sure what it is that does it for me, but in my opinion they're the best. Mind you, I thought this even before we moved to Cape May and bought The Queen Victoria.

      I think that this photo is one of those "artistic" shots that was taken a while back by the Sheppards. It is a nice photo that I'm pleased to share with you.

      Now admit it ... you've climbed up and sat on one of these after the life guards leave for the day haven't you? One more thought before you move on ... why do they call them stands when are designed to sit down on?

      Doug & Anna Marie's Restaurant Pick Of The Month ... Washington Inn Wine Bar

      Lots of you ask me when you come to town "are there any new restaurants?". Some years we have one or two new places, and this year is no exception. Interestingly, my restaurant feature of the month is new, but not. What ???

      OK, so this month I'm featuring the Washington Inn Wine Bar. The Washington Inn certainly isn't new, and neither is their waiting area on the front porch. It has always been there. What is new is the redesign of the porch to be a "wine bar", complete with new tables and a new light menu for the wine bar.

      Anna Marie and I popped into the wine bar the other night for an after-dinner drink with friends and had a great time. We didn't try the food since we had just eaten, but the menu looked great. We did both enjoy a "flight" of wine, which was a sampling of 3 different wines. They actually have a special menu which describes each of the whimsically named flights. We had a great time and I'm looking forward to returning soon.

      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

      phone: 609-884-8702