Newsletter | October 2016
The Joys of November in Cape May
November may not be your first thought of a great time to visit Cape May. I’m thinking that perhaps you should reconsider.
I know that many of you take advantage of all that November has to offer in Cape May every year. For those of you who are unfamiliar, there are several great reasons to plan your next visit to The Queen Victoria for November. It turns out that November actually has more events and things going on than almost any other month of the year. Here is a quick peek:
- Cape May Restaurant Weekend (Nov 3-6)
- Sherlock Holmes Mystery Weekend (Nov 4-6)
- Exit Zero Jazz Festival (Nov 11-13)
- Christmas Preview Weekend (Nov 18-20)
In addition to these scheduled special events, both the NJ Teachers Association convention, Veteran’s Day (Nov 11) and Thanksgiving offer many of you a couple of extra days off from work to come to enjoy Cape May in November.
We’re always happy to assist you
find the best possible room for the dates you want to visit, or the best dates for the room you want to stay in. Call us at (609) 884-8702 to get started.
Prince Arthur is without a doubt my favorite “Standard” class room in The Queen Victoria. Standard rooms are our smallest, least expensive rooms, but Prince Arthur is larger than many, and has some features that make it very special.
To start with, Prince Arthur has our best ocean view. Given its corner location on the 3rd floor of the House of Royals, the view down one block to the beach is unobstructed. Prince Arthur has another great view out the other windows in the bedroom & bathroom: The Queen Victoria building across the street. Many guests tell me that they want to stay in The Queen Victoria building because it is so pretty. Ironically, the only guests that can enjoy the view of the exterior of the building are those staying in the House of Royals. If you really love to look at our beautiful Queen Victoria building, then Prince Arthur is the room for you.
Prince Arthur has some other wonderful characteristics beyond the view too. With an elegant marble floor & spacious marble counter, the bathroom is very special. Add to that the interesting marble bench seat in the shower (yes, lots of marble in the room), and the heated towel bar, the bathroom feels very luxurious. Finally, the mansard roof of the House of Royals building gives the 3rd floor rooms, including Prince Arthur, a lot of character. The resulting deep window wells beautifully frame all the great views out the windows.
Seriously, the Prince Arthur room, with all of its wonderful features is probably the best value we have at The Queen Victoria.
Oct 15, Nov 12, Jan 7, Feb 4
For the last few years we’ve been welcoming psychic medium Debbie Wojciechowski to The Queen Victoria for Saturday channeling sessions. Debbie has proved to be EXTREMELY popular, making believers out of even the most skeptical attendees.
For those of you unfamiliar with channeling, Debbie “channels” the spirits of loved ones, usually in the context of healing and comforting of the participants.
Incredibly, we still have a few open seats available for the October 15th event. Normally I would be mentioning this to encourage you to make reservations for that weekend. In this case, we don’t have any rooms left for the weekend, so I’m mentioning it as a fun and interesting opportunity for those of you already coming to stay with us. Even if you don’t have reservations for that weekend, but would like to attend this event, give us a call. We’re welcoming previous guests to be “Day Trip” attendees for the event.
The October & February events still have a couple of open seats, while the January event has plenty of availability.
Sherlock Holmes Mystery Weekend
The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Weekend is without a doubt the most fun tour based event of the year. It is so much fun that it is actually held twice a year, once in March, and again in November. As November is rapidly approaching, it seemed fitting to feature it here in our newsletter. This is the first of the November events I mentioned in the opening, lead off article.
The weekend starts out on Friday evening when participants (that’s you) attend the first of three acts of a custom Sherlock Holmes Mystery stage production, where they are introduced to the mystery and the characters. The following afternoon you’ll embark on a tour of several B&Bs, including The Queen Victoria, where you’ll rub elbows with the cast (in character), and search for clues to solve the mystery. Interaction with the cast is encouraged, as is donning of period costumes. Lots of attendees don their “Sherlock Best”, vying for the coveted, best costume prize. Saturday evening you’ll attend the second act of the mystery, where they will STILL leave you wondering who the culprit was.
On Sunday the event concludes with brunch where you’ll submit your solution to the mystery. At that point the solutions are evaluated and the winner is announced. They also have an award called the “Clueless Wonder”, which is given to the poor souls with the worst solution. The Best Costume prized is also awarded at the brunch.
It is all in good fun and will certainly make for a memorable weekend. If you love Sherlock Holmes, this event is a must for you.
Given the popularity and success of the annual Cape May Restaurant Week in June, the folks at CapeMay.com have organized another dining event in November. Given the season, they’ve shortened it to a long weekend, but that is where the differences between the two events end.
Like it’s June big brother, the Restaurant Weekend features several restaurants that all offer special pre fixe 3 course dinners for $35 a person. Though they are still recruiting restaurants to participate, there are already quite a few great restaurants on board, including (in alphabetical order) ...
- Black Duck on Sunset
- Fins Bar & Grill
- Lobster House
- Marie Nicoles (in Wildwood Crest)
- Peter Shields
- That’s Amore
- Union Park
- Washington Inn
Everyone loves to dine out in Cape May. When your favorite restaurants offer a great deal like this, it makes it even more special. If you’re looking for a reason to visit Cape May in the next month or two, this might just be the thing to sway you!
Exit 0 Jazz Festival
The Exit 0 Jazz Festival (Fall edition) returns to Cape May this November with an amazing lineup of musical talent. Heading up this group of musicians is the incredible Wynton Marsalis, returning to Cape May for a command performance on Saturday, November 12. The other headliner being featured is Cecile McLoren Salvant, a 23 year old virtuoso who brings to mind the likes of Billie Holliday, Sarah Vaughn, and Ella Fitzgerald, who will be performing on Friday, November 11.
As you can see from the image above, the festival is 3 days long and features 45 shows in various venues all around Cape May.
This really has become a World Class Festival that you won’t want to miss if you are a Jazz fan. In addition to the headliners, I suggest you check out Davina and the Vagabonds for a fun-filled, up-beat experience.
If you’re looking for the ultimate Christmas Season experience, filled with festive Christmas decor, wonderful hospitality, incredible entertainment, and joyful camaraderie, then you would be hard pressed to find anything which even approaches the annual Cape May Dickens’ Christmas Extravaganza, especially when you stay at The Queen Victoria. (I just realized that the previous sentence was typical “Dickens”; long, with lots of commas, and somewhat difficult to follow all the way to the end). This annual event features three days of performances, lectures and presentations.
Sunday night we kick things off with an “Innkeeper Welcome Dinner”, where Anna Marie and I treat all of the participants staying at The Queen Victoria to dinner at the Merion Inn. Following dinner on Sunday is the first performance by world-renowned lecturer Dr. Elliot Engel*. For those of you worried that a lecture by somebody with a “Dr.” in front of his name might be dry, take cheer. Elliot Engel could literally have you laughing hysterically with a reading of a dictionary. Monday follows with more presentations by Dr. Engel, and then the guests of The Queen Victoria are treated to a special hors d’oeuvres reception in place of afternoon tea (BYOB). On Tuesday the festivities continue with more presentations by other knowledgeable speakers ** on several fascinating topics. Festivities conclude on Tuesday evening where you’ll enjoy the “Dickens’ Feast” at Union Park (BYOB) in the company of your fellow participants.
We’re talking about 3 days of wonderful entertainment, two great meals out and a special reception, all for the cost of $175/person (in addition to the cost of your room). Even better yet, you can take advantage of our “222” discount package for your Sunday through Tuesday reservation, making the entire experience incredibly affordable.
We have many guests who participate in the Dicken’s Extravaganza every year. One of the reasons that Anna Marie and I enjoy this event so much is that they are such a fun group of people. I’m sure you would fit right in!
* Dr. Elliot Engel’s mini-lecture series on Dickens ran on PBS television stations around the country and his articles have appeared in national newspapers and magazines including Newsweek.
** Also featured are lectures by members of the Philadelphia Dickens Fellowships.
Christmas in Cape May
November 18 to January 1
Anna Marie and I have been taking questions about the Christmas season for months now. It seems like everybody has heard about just how special and festive Cape May is at Christmas.
It’s true. Christmas in Cape May is a BIG deal. It is so big, in fact, that we really can’t fit all of it into the month of December. Though we don’t kick things off quite as early as the retailers, the Christmas Preview Weekend (pictured here) gets things started with the lighting of the Christmas Tree at the Emlen Physick estate on Saturday, Nov 19. This is also the day that the Trolley Christmas light tours begin. That Saturday evening is also the only time that the Emlen Physick estate, all dressed up in its Christmas finest, is open to the public for free tours.
All through December, including New Year’s weekend, each day is filled with wonderful Christmas oriented tours, including the fantastic “Candlelight Tours” the first 3 weekends of December, “Holiday Inns Tours”, “Lamplighter Tours”, and of course the “Christmas Lights Trolley Tours”.
If you haven’t experienced Christmas in Cape May, then you really haven’t experienced Christmas. At the risk of sounding boastful, The Queen Victoria is probably the best decorated group of buildings in the city, and Christmas cheer is found throughout the inn.
Christmas at The Queen Victoria
As special as the Christmas Season in Cape May is, even more special is Christmas at The Queen Victoria. Every year dozens of guests make The Queen Victoria their home for Christmas. For many it is an annual event, which they look forward to every year. Many families, separated by the miles, have discovered that The Queen Victoria is the perfect central celebration location, one in which nobody is responsible for cooking, cleaning, or entertaining ... everybody just gets to have fun together. Christmas at The Queen Victoria is also for couples experiencing “in-law” years. They’re the ones whose married children alternate holiday celebrations between families, leaving at least one set of parents without children to celebrate Christmas with.
No matter what reason our guests choose to celebrate Christmas at The Queen Victoria, they always have a great time. It is Cape May, after all, all dressed up for Christmas.
Wine Lover’s Weekend
February 11, 2017
I’ll admit it, Anna Marie and I really enjoy wine. It’s no wonder, then, that our Wine Lover’s is one of our very favorite special events of the year.
As much as we enjoy wine, however, I have to say that most of our enjoyment of the event has to do with the experience itself, the time spent with interesting people exploring the process of wine blending together. It is just an incredibly fun event.
Our Wine Lover’s wine blending party is held annually at Cape May Winery, in the charming barrel room that you see pictured above. The room is set up with the round tables you see here, each one set for 4-6 people. The people seated at each table will find 3 or 4 glasses of red wine sitting in front of their seat, each one filled just enough for a good taste or two. The event starts off with an introduction by one of the staff, and proceeds to a tasting of the wines in front of everyone. Everyone evaluates each one, trying to identify characteristics of each that might contribute to a great wine blend. Once that is completed, each table starts working to create the perfect blend of the wines on the table. Usually each participant at each table will suggest at least one blend, which will be mixed, tasted, and evaluated by all present. Eventually a selection of the best blend is made by each table, and is submitted to the attending staff member. All participants then enjoy a tour of the winery & production facility, and return to find decanters of each table’s blend distributed across all the tables. The culmination of the event is the blind tasting of each blend by all participants. A show of hands determines everyone’s favorite, which is bottled once the winemaker thinks the wine is ready and labeled with custom labels featuring a picture of The Queen Victoria and whatever text each guest specifies. Each participant gets one bottle of the blended wine with the price of admission, though additional bottles can be purchased as well.
You’ll be pleased to know that along with all the wine that will be present in the room, there will also be a wonderful Italian platter filled with high quality cheeses & meats from Cappelletti’s Deli in West Cape May. We want you to be well fortified for your wine blending adventure.
This really is a great way to spend a chilly winter afternoon. Many couples over the years have given this event as a gift to each other for Christmas, which I’ve always thought was a great gift idea. Maybe you do too!
Price: $60/person (includes event & 1 bottle of wine)
Big Cheesy (Cheese Tasting Party)
March 11, 2017
I believe that cheese is perhaps mankind’s greatest culinary invention. Over the years my appreciation of different cheeses has grown, eventually reaching the point where I love just about any cheese available. The thing is, there are SO MANY types of cheese to try.
That is why we came up with the Big Cheesy cheese tasting party that we hold every March. Anna Marie and I probably have almost as much fun buying all of the 16 some-odd cheeses that we feature each year, as we do tasting them. We search high and low for interesting and obscure cheeses that we think you’ll really enjoy trying.
Admit it, when I say “Cheese”, the next word that comes to mind is “wine”. Am I right? It is very hard for me to contemplate a cheese tasting party without wine, which is why we encourage everybody to bring a bottle of wine to enjoy at the party. We’ll set up a spot on the buffet for all the wine, and provide the glasses and corkscrews. Sharing a good bottle of wine with friends often makes it a great bottle of wine, so bring one you would like to share. Remember, you’ll get to share everyone else’s wine too.
I guess I’ve said this before, but I don’t mind repeating myself. This is a terrific way to spend a winter weekend. What else would you rather do?
FREE (for registered guests)
Winter Birthday Weekends
• January 28, 2017
• February 18, 2017
• March 18, 2017
• April 22, 2017
A few years ago we celebrated Anna Marie’s significant birthday (I’ve conveniently forgotten which one) with a party at The Queen Victoria. It was especially fun because we turned it into a “March Birthday” celebration for several of our guests celebrating birthdays that month. They reserved a room for a fun weekend in Cape May and we had a big party for everyone.
It was such a great time, in fact, that we decided to repeat and expand the event. In 2017 we’ll be throwing a birthday party every month, January through April to celebrate the birthdays of any of our guests born in those months. If you’re going to be celebrating a birthday in winter/early spring 2017 and you’re looking for a fun way to do it, I suggest a trip to The Queen Victoria.
If you don’t have a winter birthday to celebrate, but are looking for an excuse to make a trip to Cape May, you’re welcome too! Book a room and join us, we won’t be checking IDs.
Booking Hint: Take advantage of our “Winter Escape” package and give yourself a nice discount for the January, February & March events!
Queen’s Cottage Bench Seat
I can’t help but be impressed with the way that our new bench seat in the side yard of the Queen’s Cottage came out.
For those of you who are familiar with the old bench, you might note that this one is slightly altered to match the design of the portico entrance into the yard. Rather than a flat top, we pitched the roof line to match it. You might also notice that we introduced two new colors of paint into the design to give it a little more character. The cream color of the decorative side elements as well as the beige color of the seat itself are matching colors from the building itself.
There are a couple of ways to enjoy this bench during your next visit. First of all, I suggest you stand across the street, near the entrance to the Library parking lot and view the bench, looking through the portico at the entrance to the yard. It really is quite striking. I’ve seen lots of folks using this bench for a great photo location too. Personally, I can see myself sitting there for at least a little while admiring the yard and garden while sipping a cup of coffee in the morning. I know that at least one couple, who will be using it as a backdrop for their wedding in a couple of weeks, are VERY excited about this beautiful new bench.
In the Christmas Spirit
I’ve dedicated a couple of articles in this newsletter to Christmas and/or Christmas events, so when I saw this photo taken by our good friends/guests Kevin & MegAnne during a Candlelight House tour in 2105, I couldn’t help but post it.
If you want to see Anna Marie and me dressed up like this yourselves, then plan on making a trip to The Queen Victoria for either the Dickens’ Extravaganza, or one of the Candlelight tours that we participate in. We don’t do this very often!
Queen Victoria Puzzle
Of all of the items that we carry in our gift shop, I think that our puzzle is the one that I was most excited about when we bought the inn. I mean who has a puzzle of their very own home?
I must admit that I’ve only actually put our puzzle together once, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. Once completed, we framed it and hung it up to display. It makes a beautiful piece of photographic art!
If you’re looking for a reminder of your visit to The Queen Victoria, how could you do any better than something that will give you hours of pleasure and leave you with a beautiful image of your favorite place in Cape May? For those of you with grandchildren, one of our puzzles might be a fun way to spend some quality time with your favorite little people in the world, and share with them what is special to you.
Fun Things to do in Cape May
Cape May Zoo
One of our favorite things to do on a pleasant fall day is make a trek to the Cape May County Zoo, located in Cape May Court House, just 11 miles from Cape May (exit 11 on the Garden State Parkway).
If you love a good zoo, then you absolutely have to plan on visiting this Zoo, which is comprised of 80 acres and features over 250 species of animals, reptiles and birds. Admission is free at the zoo, but most of our guests that have visited the zoo over the years end up making generous contributions in the donation box as they leave the zoo. Really, it is that good.
One of the things I really love about the zoo is the effort they’ve made to provide open space to the animals, giving them a comfortable environment. There are several very interesting areas to visit, including the “savannah”, which is where you’ll find this inquisitive fellow, along with the zebras and a couple of other herding species.
Restaurant Pick of the Month
Over the last couple years, ever since they first opened their doors, Sapore Italiano has been gathering a very broad following. In the early days, before they were very well known, Anna Marie and I could simply drop in and be seated immediately. These days, a meal at Sapore Italiano is something you have to plan at least a couple of days in advance.
Sapore Italiano is certainly our favorite Italian restaurant in Cape May. That is saying a lot, coming from a guy who married a beautiful Italian girl whose mother is a fantastic cook. Seriously, we really love the food.
So what makes it so special? First of all, the decor is very pleasant, in all of their many dining rooms. My personal favorite room is the back dining room next to the very large fireplace; lots of character. Beyond the ambiance of the place is the food. The menu is extensive, with lots of preparations and sauces that you simply don’t see in most Italian restaurants. I’ve never had a meal that I haven’t loved, but I certainly have my favorites, one of which is the Veal Saltimbocca. I’m not usually a veal guy, but it is wonderful. Anna Marie has been ordering the Flounder lately, which is topped with a generous helping of crab meat and capers in a white wine lemon caper sauce (which she gets on the side).
Here is your tip of the day for Sapore Italiano ... don’t order an appetizer. One of the special treats at Sapore Italiano is the complimentary antipasti platter that they bring to your table along with the bread.
Like most of our favorite restaurants, Sapore Italiano is a BYOB establishment, so bring a bottle of your favorite wine or beer to enjoy with your meal.
Sapore Italiano is located in West Cape May, just next to the corner of Broadway and Sunset boulevard. You might remember that this location has been the home of Copper Fish, Moonfish Grill, and Daniels (going way back). I’m guessing that these folks will be here for a LONG time.
Great Reasons to Visit The Queen Victoria®
Upcoming Queen Victoria & Cape May Events
Channeling with Debbie Wojciechowski
Sat, Oct 15
Cape May Restaurant Weekend
Sherlock Holmes Mystery Weekend
Channeling with Debbie Wojciechowski
Sat, Nov 12
Exit 0 Jazz Festival
Christmas in Cape May
Nov 18 - Jan 1
Christmas at The Queen Victoria
Dickens Extravaganza Festival
Channeling with Debbie Wojciechowski
Sat, Jan 7
January Birthday Celebration
Sat, Jan 28
Channeling with Debbie Wojciechowski
Sat, Feb 4
Wine Lover’s Weekend
February Birthday Celebration
Sat, Feb 18
Big Cheesy Cheese Tasting Party
Sat, Mar 11
March Birthday Celebration
Sat, Mar 18
Singer Songwriter Cape May
Fri & Sat, Mar 24-25
April Birthday Celebration
Sat, Apr 22
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, Owners/Innkeepers
The Queen Victoria Bed & Breakfast