Newsletter | December 2019
The Ultimate Christmas Destination
Cape May is many things to many people. For many, it is the perfect place to enjoy a summer vacation. Countless people think of Cape May as the ideal place to enjoy the Spring or Fall. Just about everyone agrees, however, that Christmas in Cape May is magical. It really is.
Even though Thanksgiving is just a few days behind us, we have been busy decorating The Queen Victoria for Christmas for over a month. In fact, we just finished the final touches in the last couple of days. As decorated as we are on the outside, as evidenced by this photo, we are even more decorated within!
Christmas arrives early in Cape May, with the first tours starting on "Christmas Preview Weekend", the weekend before Thanksgiving. That is also the date that Cape May MAC (Cape May Museums+Arts+Culture) kicks things off with their official tree lighting, marking the beginning of over 5 weeks of Christmas activities, tours, and events. There are LOTS of Christmas happenings in Cape May, including a wide variety of tours, the Cape May Christmas Parade, a magical vista of beautifully decorated houses, as well as fun Christmas shopping opportunities and the ever present wonderful Cape May dining options. No matter your interests, and even if you don't personally celebrate Christmas, it is still a wonderful time to visit and experience a timeless tradition.
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, or click the link below to reserve your room.
A Christmas Shopping Dilemma (not)
The Quest for the Perfect Gift
It happens every year. The Christmas gift purchasing season sneaks up and is upon you before you're quite ready for it. For most of the year those critical gift decisions can be deferred until "later". And then later arrives.
As overwhelming as it might appear at first, purchasing the perfect gift for your significant other is really quite simple. There is still a decision to be made, but you don't need to stress out over it, as your choice is guaranteed to be a winner.
If you've made it this far into this newsletter, then I'm pretty sure you'll agree with me that a visit to The Queen Victoria will prove to be a GREAT gift for the one you love. Having determined that, it comes down to a simple choice between two alternatives.
The first, and easiest, is to simply purchase a gift certificate to The Queen Victoria. It is fast, easy (either over the phone, or online) and it can be delivered to you electronically or in the form of a nice high-quality printed certificate. It has the advantage that you don't need to make concrete plans yet in a calendar that you're not sure of yet.
Click HERE to purchase a gift certificate!
The second alternative is to actually book a reservation at The Queen Victoria. It's still pretty easy, but requires a little more knowledge on your part in order to select the best date for your visit. It also requires the selection of a room, which adds a bit of time to the process. The advantage to this alternative is that you can choose a date based upon one of our fantastic upcoming special events (that you'll be reading about later), which adds a degree of thoughtfulness to the gift.
Click HERE to make your reservation!
I'm sure you'll agree with me that either alternative will provide a much loved and cherished gift for the person you care most about. You can't go wrong (especially if you get to enjoy the visit too) !
Room of The Month
The Benjamin Disraeli room is a charming, bright, and cheery room located on the 2nd floor of The Queen Victoria building. It features a queen sized bed, has some truly beautiful antique Victorian furniture (as you can see in the 2nd photo), and a wonderfully bright and spacious bathroom with a classic tub/shower setup and a big marble vanity top.
Benjamin Disraeli is a standard room, which means it is on the smaller side of our size spectrum, as well as one of the least expensive rooms in the inn. As such, that means it qualifies for the $234 ($117/night) discount package (see details in the article below if you are unfamiliar with this discount package). In fact, it is one of our most popular rooms during the time-frame of the $234 discount season.
Benjamin Disraeli has always been one of my favorite standard rooms. It is comfortable, quiet, and the decor is wonderfully neutral, neither masculine or overly feminine.
Upcoming Events & Activities
The highlight of the Christmas Season
Each December Cape May MAC (Music+Arts+Culture) hosts 3 magnificent evenings of touring. As a tour-goer, you'll have the opportunity to explore and enjoy 20-25 homes, inns, hotels, along with the Emlen Physick Estate, all of them decorated in their Christmas finery. The MAC trolleys will be operating as shuttles during the tours, whisking people from one end of town to the other, allowing everyone to see every building on tour.
The mood in the town is very festive, and you'll enjoy the Christmas Carolers and Strolling Musicians you'll find throughout the town. At some of the homes, like The Queen Victoria, you'll have the pleasure of seeing the hosts dressed up in their Victorian attire, truly setting the mood of this special evening. There are even hospitality centers serving complimentary warm beverages and fresh baked goods.
This year the tours will be held 5:30 to 8:30 on:
- Saturday, Dec 7
- Saturday, Dec 14
- Saturday, Dec 28 (only 8 rooms open for this date)
By the way, The Queen Victoria is on the tour on the 14th & 28th.
Dickens Christmas Extravaganza
The origins of Christmas as we know it today were greatly informed by the Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol". In Cape May, the Christmas tradition we enjoy today started in the early 80's (at The Queen Victoria, by the way) as a gathering of Christmas traditionalists celebrating that work and the sense of wonder and joy of the season. Ever since then, The Queen Victoria has been a cornerstone of the Christmas season in Cape May, including our proud participation in the Dickens Extravaganza. For 3 wonderful days, people from all over the country gather in Cape May, and especially at The Queen Victoria, to explore the history of Christmas, as well as other interesting historical topics. In addition to interesting lectures and talks, there are also tours and a "Dickens Feast" on Tuesday night, which is the grand finale of the event. For guests of The Queen Victoria, there is also a complimentary "Welcome Dinner" that Anna Marie and I treat our participating guests to on Sunday evening, as well as a holiday reception on Monday afternoon (open to everybody staying at the inn).
Simply put, the Dickens Extravaganza is 3 days of Christmas joy, comaraderie, and fun in Cape May. It is also a tremendous entertainment value. We only have 1 room left for these dates, so give us a call soon, or click on the link below to put your name on it. If you're a little advernturous and are willing to start in one room for 2 nights, then switch for the last night, then we have 2 more rooms available.
Lamplighter Christmas Tours
December 21 & December 31
Though the Candlelight Tours are the "Big Event" tours of the Christmas season, the Lamplighter tours are a wonderful alternative for a smaller, more intimate and informative touring experience. This year, due to the way the calendar has worked out, the third weekend of December, which would normally feature the 3rd Candlelight tour, is instead going to feature a Lamplighter tour.
The Lamplighter tour is a self guided tour comprised of 5 homes and inns, all decorated beautifully for Christmas. In fact, The Queen Victoria will be on both these tours. Interestingly, some of the most beautifully decorated private
homes, like the magnificent Cherry House pictured here, which simply aren't willing to participate in the Candlelight tour due to its size (1500 tickets sold), happily participate in the smaller Lamplighter tours. Since there are a smaller number of tour participants, the owners of each property can and do take the time to discuss their decorations, the history of their property, and answer questions.
The timing of the the Lamplighter tours is also very convenient, running from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on 12/21/19 and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on 12/31/19.
We still have a few rooms available for both weekends. We're even taking 1 night reservations for the weekend of 12/21/19, which is a great opportunity for those of you who simply can't get away for 2 nights!
Christmas at The Queen Victoria
What are your plans for Christmas?
Every year we are blessed to have dozens of guests celebrate Christmas at The Queen Victoria. In fact, many of these folks have made The Queen Victoria their annual Christmas celebration tradition. For some, The Queen Victoria is the perfect centrally located family gathering spot to celebrate Christmas (where nobody has to cook or clean!). Quite often, we have guests that make The Queen Victoria their home for the holidays on the years that their children are celebrating with their in-laws (usually on an alternating basis, I believe). Others yet, who don't celebrate Christmas, but enjoy the decorations and festivity of the season, find The Queen Victoria a wonderful place to visit on Christmas. Over the years, there have been any number of reasons for people to spend Christmas at The Queen Victoria.
If you're searching for a place to spend Christmas, no matter the reason, then perhaps your search is over. You'll be welcomed with all the cheer of the season, and experience a wonderful, relaxing, and magical time in Cape May.
Celebrate New Year's Eve
at your favorite Bed & Breakfast!
Cape May is a wonderful place to celebrate the New Year. Whether you're looking for a glitzy ballroom celebration experience, or a quiet, romantic getaway with your loved one, Cape May is hard to beat for New Year's Eve. We don't have huge crowds, fire works, or a dropping ball, and I think that everyone is happy about that. As a bonus, there will be Christmas tours running right through January 1st, so you'll be able to squeeze in a little more seasonal joy.
If you're still contemplating how to celebrate the coming of the New Year, I strongly suggest you consider a couple of nights at The Queen Victoria. Many of our rooms have already been booked for New Year's Eve, but we still have a nice selection to choose from.
Give us a call, and we'll help you plan the perfect New Year's visit, no matter what kind of celebration you have in mind.
Chocolate Lover's Weekend
January 24-25, 2020
I'm willing to go out on a limb and state that Chocolate is probably the most beloved food on the planet. I know not everyone loves chocolate, but I've met very few of those people.
I took the photo on the left at our November 16th Chocolate Lover's Weekend event, which was a HUGE hit. I'm pretty sure that everyone staying with us that weekend attended, and they were all raving about it. It is easy to imagine why. Between all the exotic chocolate (on the right), the freshly baked chocolate goodies, the freshly baked goodies that are perfect for drizzling melted chocolate over, and the fruits, cheeses, pretzels and marshmallows for dipping into the 6 types of melted chocolate, there was something to satisfy just about any chocolate fantasy. Here was the line-up of melted chocolates we served:
- Cherry Dark Chocolate
- Espresso Dark Chocolate
- Orange Dark Chocolate
- Raspberry Dark Chocolate
- Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate
- Dark Chocolate
It was impossible for me, as an avid chocolate fan, to abstain from enjoying the event, so I tried a little bit of everything. My big splurge was an inspiration completely worth indulging in. I took an Oatmeal Scotchie bar, cut a marshmallow in half and placed both halves on top, then drizzled Peanut Butter Chocolate over it all. Call it a luxury S'more. It might have been the best thing I've ever tasted.
Each of our Chocolate Lover's spreads are a little different. We try to mix up the melted chocolates and some of the treats that we're serving with them. Ultimately, however, we've got a serious Chocolate thing going that you would probably really enjoy.
Since I've been mentioning Christmas gift ideas, I can't help but comment that a reservation for this weekend might be the perfect Christmas gift for your favorite person in the world. Even people who already have everything could use some more chocolate in their life (and a trip to The Queen Victoria!).
Wine Lover's Weekend (Wine Blending Party)
February 8, 2020
The Wine Lover's Weekend blending party is our longest running annual event. Over the years hundreds of you have joined us for an afternoon of fun, friendship, and good wine. Our upcoming event is sure to be as wonderful as they all have been.
For those of you haven't yet participated, I'll explain how it all works. First of all, we all meet at what is now called the "Port Room" at the Cape May Winery at 1:00 p.m. Among the racks of barrels, tables will be arranged, with around 5 groupings of 6 seats, each one of which arranged with 3-4
glasses of red wine. The event kicks off with a brief intro by the host, then the tasting begins. As you taste each glass of wine, you'll evaluate it and try to determine which characteristics that particular wine might bring to a blend. Then the fun really begins. Each group then sets out to craft the best possible blend. Typically, each individual in each group recommends a blend to try. Usually one detail oriented participant from each group acts as the "blender", mixing the various varieties in the suggested proportions. Similarly, one organized participant acts as secretary to keep track of the percentages of each variety for each blend. Each blend then has to be tasted by the entire team, of course, and rated in some manner. Ultimately, once everyone has exhausted their blending imagination, or reached their limit, each team submits their "best" blend to the host.
While the host is mixing up a decanter of each team's blend, the participants take a tour of the winery and wine making facilities. Upon their return, each seat is arrayed with a tasting of each blend, all simply marked with a number. A tasting of each blend is done, and a vote is taken among all the participants to determine the winning blend.
The competition is all in fun, of course, but the team members of the winning team usually get a kick out of themselves for a few minutes while they pat each other on the back. The winning blend will eventually be bottled, once the wines have matured enough, and each participant will get a bottle of that wine with a customized label. The wine is typically available right around Memorial Day.
I should mention that we provide cheese/meat trays to snack on as we sip our way through the afternoon.
If you or your special someone love wine, this really is a wonderful way to spend a winter weekend. Once again, I would be remiss if I didn't suggest that a reservation for the weekend/event might just be the ideal Christmas gift for your favorite wine lover.
Birthday Party Weekends
January through April
Does your birthday fall between January 1 and April 30? If so, you've probably complained at least once in your life that you wish it was during a more enjoyable part of the year, when there are more things to do and more opportunities for celebrating.
I'm here to tell you that we understand where you are coming from (Anna Marie's birthday is in March), and we've come up with what we feel is a wonderful option for your birthday celebration in the coming year. One weekend in each of the first four months of the year we'll be hosting a special birthday celebration for everyone celebrating a birthday in that month.
We'll have cake, we'll have balloons, and we'll embarrass you by singing "Happy Birthday" to you. We even have gifts (not just for the birthday celebrants, but for everyone)!
Make this coming birthday (yours or your loved one's) one to remember, by celebrating it at The Queen Victoria. If your birthday isn't actually on the weekend of our party, then you'll really make out, as you'll probably go out to dinner on the actual date to celebrate, and then you'll get to celebrate again at The Queen Victoria. What could be better than that?
This year's Birthday party dates are:
- January 4th
- February 1st
- March 14th
- April 25th
More New Stuff!
A Beautiful Approach to The Queen Victoria (again!)
Last month I gave you a preview of our new side porch steps because I simply couldn't wait to share some of the beauty that was coming to fruition at The Queen Victoria. Since then, as you can see in this photo, our project is complete, and it looks so stunning that I simply had to share it with you again in all of its glory.
Last time I gave you a side shot which illustrated the side skirts on the steps and the gorgeous mahogany steps. In this photo you can still see the beautiful wood and stunning "grip strips" made from ground walnut shells. You can also see the elegantly curved railings and the magnificent newel posts. Also evident in this photo are the cut-outs on the stair risers, which are beautifully lighted at night, for both practical safety, as well as decorative splendor.
What truly inspired me to share our new steps with you again are all of the wonderful comments that we've been getting from guests who see them for the first time (both those who knew of them, and those who didn't see my last photo). The response is truly amazing and gratifying, especially the comments to the effect that they are SO MUCH more impressive than my previous photo showed.
Of course, the Christmas decorations don't hurt the look either!
The Discount Season Is Here!
234 & Winter Escape Discounts
Many of you already know about the deeply discounted packages that we offer during our non-peak seasons. As those seasons are fast approaching, I thought I would mention them here.
The 234 is a Sunday thru Thursday (mid-week) package offered now through April 30, 2020. It includes 2 nights in any standard room for $234+tax ($117/night). Similar savings are available for other room classes. The 234 is our best, and most popular, discount value. There are some "excluded" times, including Thanksgiving Day and the end of December (12/24-31 in 2019), and Sunday Feb 16, 2020.
The Winter Escape is our only "weekend" discount package. Starting January 1 and running through April 2, you can rent a "large standard" room for any 2 nights for $350 ($175 a night). Like the 234, similar savings are available for other classes of rooms. This package also includes a complimentary cheese platter and free wine tasting at Natali Vineyards. The only dates that this discount package is not available in 2020 is President's Day Weekend, Feb 14-16.
No matter which discount package you choose to take advantage of, you'll be saving lots of money and having a great time in Cape May.
A Cape May Fall Sunset
I know that I've shared this photo with you before, but as I was scanning through our photo library for some of my other features, this one stopped me cold. I simply could not stop looking at it.
This was taken by one of our guests at the "Cove", which is at the western end of the Cape May promenade. This photo has all the elements of a perfect sunset photo, as far as I'm concerned. The setting sun is essential, of course, but the clouds glowing gloriously, and shining on the water and wet sand are dazzling. The wave gives it energy and motion, and the lighthouse and trees in the distance give it context and texture.
View Photo Gallery >>
Featured Gift Shop Item
A Christmas Shopping Guide
I normally just share one gift shop item a month with you in my newsletter. This month, however, I feel it is my duty to assist you in your Christmas shopping endeavors by suggesting several gift ideas.
Queen Victoria Lighted House
Last week, after waiting 8 months, our lighted houses arrived. Lots of you had been patiently waiting for them, and within one week we sold 10 of the 25 we received. That leaves just 15 of these perfect little replicas of The Queen Victoria. If the little elf in your life treasures his/her time at The Queen Victoria, then one of our lighted houses is a wonderful way for them to enjoy it even at home.
Winter Rose Poinsettia
Every year we order enough of these beautiful plants to allow us to both decorate our inn for the holidays as well as sell many of them to our guests. For many of you it has become a Christmas tradition to take one home with you from your Christmas season visit to The Queen Victoria. This year's batch arrived the day before Thanksgiving and they are lovely an lush; just the thing to add a little additional Christmas cheer to your home.
The Queen Victoria Cookbook
Every breakfast dish you've every enjoyed at The Queen Victoria is prepared directly from our cookbook. Now I'm sure that having us prepare that favorite dish of yours might make it taste just perfect, but I honestly believe that you could re-create it at home with little trouble. Now I'm not suggesting you stop coming to The Queen Victoria because you can enjoy all of our breakfasts at home, but I am suggesting that this might be a way to hold you over between visits.
Bayberry Gift Pack
Do you love that Bayberry fragrance as much as I do? Perhaps your loved one is obsessed with that special fragrance. I know that every time I smell our bayberry soap it reminds me of the first time that Anna Marie and I ever stayed at The Queen Victoria. I think that happens for a lot of our guests. Given its size and affordability, a gift pack of The Queen Victoria bayberry soap might just make the perfect stocking stuffer gift.
We've got lots of other great items in our gift shop that would make a great gift for anyone who loves The Queen Victoria, but I don't have room to picture them all. A few items to consider are:
- Tea Pot with Cozy
- Tea Wallet
- Queen Victoria Afghan/Throw
- Yardley Hand Soap
- Coaster Rugs
- Harney's Tea
- Queen Victoria Granola
- Queen Victoria Cap
- Queen Victoria Spa Robe
- Queen Victoria Polo Shirt
- Queen Victoria Sweatshirt
- Queen Victoria Insulated Water Bottle
If you think about it, our little gift shop could be a one-stop Christmas shopping experience!
Fun Things to Do in Cape May
Tour the Physick Estate
The Physick Estate has always been one of my favorite Cape May destinations. No matter how many times I go there, I always enjoy the experience, seeing and learning new things.
Visiting during the Christmas season is particularly special, as it is so beautifully decorated. Not only is the house museum wonderful to experience, but the carriage house exhibit, pictured here, is truly magical.
We've had several guests the last couple of days who have been deeply impressed with the guided tour of the Physick Estate, led by a guide "in character". I haven't experienced that myself yet, but I'm looking forward to it.
Restaurant Pick of the Month
The Merion Inn is a Cape May classic, and one of the "must go" restaurants for many of our guests every time they visit Cape May.
Anna Marie and I have always loved the Merion, with its charming and romantic decor, wonderful classic bar, and live piano music nightly. The food is always good, the prices reasonable, and you can even get a decent bottle of wine without breaking the bank.
Anna Marie's favorite dish at the Merion has always been the Flounder Francaise, which I really enjoy too. I've also enjoyed the Salmon, Swordfish, and Filet. Anna Marie and I dined there last Saturday, and I ordered something I'd never had before: the Merion Lobster Imperial. It was a classic Crab Imperial with chunks of lobster added. I have to say it was incredible. It might be my new favorite!
If you're planning on a visit to Cape May this Christmas season, and I certainly hope you are, then I suggest you enjoy one of your meals at the lovely Merion Inn. I know you'll be happy you did.
See their Menu
Great Reasons to Visit The Queen Victoria
Upcoming Queen Victoria & Cape May Events
Christmas in Cape May
Now through January 1, 2020
December 8-10, 2019
January Birthdays Party
January 4, 2020
Queen Victoria Chocolate Lover's Weekend
January 24-25, 2020
February Birthday's Party
February 1, 2020
Wine Lover's Weekend (Blending Party)
February 7-8, 2020
"Big Cheesy" Cheese Tasting Party
March 7, 2020
March Birthday's Party
March 14, 2020
Singer Songwriter Cape May
March 28, 2020
April Birthday's Party
April 25, 2020
Make your reservations today for a fun, 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