Newsletter | January 2020
The Celebration Season Returns
If you've been following our newsletters for a while, then you might recall me referring to the winter as the "Celebration Season". I couldn't resist elaborating on that concept in this newsletter.
During the summer, the beach is probably the major draw to Cape May. In December, the incredible decorations and Christmas tours draw legions of visitors to Cape May. Many of you celebrate special occasions at The Queen Victoria throughout the year, but when January rolls around, the wonderful charm and quiet romance of Cape May makes it the perfect destination to celebrate a special occasion with a loved one.
There are any number of celebrations that might be celebrated, of course. Here is a quick list of the most common celebrations:
- Valentines Day
Do you have an upcoming celebration? If you haven't yet decided how to celebrate your special occasion, perhaps you need to start making plans to return to The Queen Victoria. We have lots of fun special events planned this winter, including four monthly Birthday Weekends, that might just be the perfect way for you to celebrate.
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.
Room of The Month
Prince of Wales
It has been a long time since I've featured the Prince of Wales room in our newsletter, and I can't for the life of me figure out why. That means that many of you reading this will be seeing this beautiful room for the first time.
Prince of Wales is a very popular Large Standard room located on the second floor of the Queen Victoria building. It is the original master bedroom of the house. The romantic four poster canopy bed that you see in the top photo features a very comfortable queen sized mattress. Also visible in the top picture, and zoomed in on the 2nd, is the turret/bay window, which provides a glimpse of the beach and ocean. It also makes the room very bright and cheery, as you can see in the middle photo. The left most marble top piece of furniture that you see in the top photo is a vanity sink, which is a wonderful feature in the room, allowing someone to brush their teeth, etc. while the bathroom is occupied by the other. The bottom photo beautifully illustrates the bathroom that we completely remodeled a few years ago, installing a wonderful soaking tub and integrated shower. I'm particularly fond of the glass block shower wall, which brightens the shower considerably.
The Prince of Wales room is one of those rooms which our guests often return to year after year, often booking it a year or more in advance. If you haven't tried it yet, I can't think of a reason you shouldn't reserve it for your next visit to The Queen Victoria.
Upcoming Events & Activities
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 there are people out there who don't like chocolate, but I've met very few of them.
I took the photo at the top 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.
Referring back to the Celebration Season theme, I can't help but suggest that a reservation for this weekend might be the perfect way to celebrate your January special occasion with your fellow chocolate lover.
Free! (for registered guests)
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 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 would be a wonderful way to celebrate nearly any special occasion you have coming up in February, especially Valentines Day!
Birthday Party Weekends
February 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 remaining Birthday party dates are:
- February 1st
- March 14th
- April 25th
"The Big Cheesy" Cheese Tasting Party
March 7, 2020
Do you love cheese? I have to admit that my life would be incomplete without it. I literally enjoy it with almost every meal I eat. It follows, then, that I am anxiously anticipating our upcoming annual Big Cheesy event. Every March, Anna Marie and I search high and low for interesting and fun cheeses to serve to our cheese loving guests. We usually end up with about 15 tasty and tempting cheeses, which we serve with premium breads, olive oils, olives, roasted peppers, and anything else we can think of to round out the table.
Now tasting cheese is a thirsty enterprise. Wine is the preferred beverage to quench your cheese inspired thirst, of course. We aren't licensed to serve wine, however, so our Big Cheesy is a "BYOB" event. Bring a bottle of wine that you'd like to share with everyone, and they'll do the same, making it a bit of a wine tasting event too!
If you think that cheese deserves to be its own food group, then you should start making plans today to attend our 2020 Big Cheesy event. You'll be in good company, as this event is a perennial favorite at The Queen Victoria, and one that many of our guests refuse to miss. Perhaps you'll become one too!
FREE! (for registered guests)
Sherlock Holmes Mystery Weekend
March 13-15, 2020
The intrepid Sherlock Holmes and his faithful sidekick Watson are returning to Cape May again this March to track down the infamous Jack Frost, who is trying to silence somebody that knows just a little too much about his nefarious deeds.
The mystery weekend kicks off on Friday, March 13 at 8:30 with a coffee & dessert reception (cash bar available) at the Inn of Cape May, where the crime unfolds. On Saturday afternoon you'll explore several inns in Cape May, including The Queen Victoria, searching for clues that will help you solve the mystery yourself. Immediately following the house tour, you'll return to the Inn of Cape May to see how Holmes is faring in his quest. On Sunday afternoon you'll return to the Inn of Cape May for lunch, following which, Holmes & Watson will reveal the culprit and you'll see if you have evenly matched wits with Sherlock or are a "Clueless Wonder", both of which possibilities come with a prize.
This is always a fun event; one which I'm sure you would thoroughly enjoy!
Singer Songwriter Cape May
March 27-28, 2020
As I write this segment about the upcoming Singer Songwriter Cape May event, I'm wondering if I should change my overall theme from "Celebration" to "Music". Between this amazing event and the Jazz Festival that is featured in the next column, Cape May is bracing for a serious onslaught of great music (and that doesn't even take into account the live music and open mike nights at our local restaurants).
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. The Singer Songwriter Cape May event brings about 75 highly talented artists to Cape May every year, performing around 150 (mostly free) concerts at venues all over town. They're still in the process of selecting which artists will be participating for this year's event, so I don't have any details to share with you.
This really is a wonderful event filled with great entertainment just about everywhere you look. In fact, some of that great entertainment will take place right at The Queen Victoria. Avi Wisnia will once again be performing at The Queen Victoria in concert exclusively for our guests. During afternoon tea on March 28 Avi will set up in our parlor and fill it with his smooth, jazzy Bossa Nova sound that we've come to love so much over the last few years.
By the way, we'll be serving some special hors d'oeuvres for you to enjoy during the concert. This is a BYOB event, so feel free to bring a bottle of wine to enjoy the music and goodies with.
Exit Zero Jazz Festival
April 17-19, 2020
Yes, the Exit Zero Jazz Festival is returning again this April and it looks to be as outstanding as ever. If you've been following this festival, then you've seen them bring some amazing acts to Cape May, both in April and November.
While the lineup for April is not quite complete yet, the acts that have already been announced are impressive, including the legendary 3-time Grammy award winner Sergio Mendes, and the adventurous Jazz innovator Madeleine Peyroux (pictured at center), both of whom will be headliners.
In addition to the headliners, there are several outstanding acts such as Gabrielle Cavassa (pictured at bottom), whose video performances completely captivated me as I was researching the artists scheduled thus far. Here is the full list so far:
- Sergio Mendes
- Madeleine Peyroux
- Joey Alexander Trio
- Joey Defrancesco's Philadelphia Reunion Band (Kevin Eubanks, Lil John Roberts & Orin Evans)
- Eddie Palmieri Jazz Sextet
- Matthew Whitaker
- Laurin Talese
- Liv Warfield
- Gabrielle Cavassa
- Chelsea Reed and the Fairweather Five
- Bill Frisell Trio
- Daud El-Bakara
The April Exit Zero Jazz Festival has become an iconic tradition, which any music lover should absolutely become a part of. Start making your plans today!
More New Stuff!
More new stairs (to our Prince Albert Hall Suites)
If you've ever eaten breakfast in the summer in our garden, or stayed in any of our Prince Albert suites, then you're no doubt familiar with this stairway and railings. When this building was renovated to become The Queen Victoria back in 1989, one of the compromises made was to mimic a cut baluster (as visible here in the older sections along the top walkway and the lower steps in the foreground) with simple boards. I've always yearned to upgrade those railings and balusters to match the original ones found on the front porch. The recent need to replace the steps, has provided me with that opportunity. As you can see in the photo, the new cut balusters running up the steps are wonderfully ornate, matching those on the front porch of the building. In addition to the balusters and railings, we've also upgraded
the posts from the simple 4x4 pressure treated posts from the 1989 renovation, to the much beefier and ornate carved posts you see here. The difference is truly dramatic. Not so obvious in this photo, but gratifying, is the re-siding of most of the wall from the top of the stairs down to the ground, the rebuilding of the window and door trims (you might notice the fancy copper flashing on the top of each), as well as the new deck flooring just in front of the new storm door.
This initial section is merely the start of a much bigger project, which will eventually work its way from the ground level steps and platform (in the foreground) across the upper walkway and ultimately all the way to the roof deck. As you might have guessed, we'll be working on this for a while, along with some other exciting projects we have planned for 2020. I imagine I'll be unable to resist sharing further pictures of this project as work progresses throughout the year. Stay tuned!
The Discount Season Is Here!
234 & Winter Escape Discounts
Anna Marie and I want to make it easy for you to visit The Queen Victoria for the Celebration season, so we're offering some really deeply discounted packages for you to take advantage of. Check them out!
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. Sunday Feb 16, 2020, President's Day Weekend, is the only excluded date.
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.
Our Wonderful Front Porch
This has always been one of my favorite photos of The Queen Victoria. There is just something about it that really catches my eye, and brings about a sense of relaxation to me. It is certainly timeless, though those of you who have been coming to The Queen Victoria for a long time will be able to identify some things that have changed since it was taken quite a few years back.
I realized as I was selecting a photo to share with you this month that I haven't been getting many photos from guests lately. If you have a favorite photo of Cape May or The Queen Victoria that you'd like to share with us, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Who knows, you might just see it in the next monthly newsletter!
View Photo Gallery >>
Featured Gift Shop Item
A Tin of Harney & Sons Tea
If you've stayed at The Queen Victoria more than once or twice, it is pretty likely that you've had an opportunity to try out our Harney & Sons teas, either with a pot at breakfast or during Afternoon Tea. It is a pretty safe bet that you enjoyed that experience, even if you're not normally a tea drinker. If so, then you should seriously consider taking a tin or two of tea home with you next time you visit. It is a great way to relive your visit at home, if for just a few minutes. Actually, the packaging of the tea in our gift shop is as impressive as the tea itself. I think I've always loved the tins as much as the tea! Beyond that, the tea itself is packaged in a sachet, instead of your typical flow through tea bag, so it feels really special. Very classy.
A tin of our Harney's tea also makes an excellent gift for the people you care about that didn't get to visit The Queen Victoria with you, or those who enabled you to make your visit by watching your house, kids, or pets while you were here.
There are many reasons to buy a tin of Harney & Sons tea during your next visit. You just have to choose which one inspires you!
Fun Things to Do in Cape May
Take a Trolley Tour
This winter Anna Marie and I are once again co-sponsoring the Historic Trolley Tours that will be running Friday through Monday in January and February, and daily in March. If you have any interest in the history of Cape May or the beautiful vintage homes that line our streets, then you should absolutely plan on taking this tour during your upcoming visit. Even if you've taken the Historic Trolley tour before, as I have, I guarantee that you'll enjoy it again.
Because of our sponsorship of the tour, we're able to offer tickets to our guests for the tour at a substantial discount, making this interesting 45 minute tour a real value proposition.
Only $8 (the regular price is $15)
Restaurant Pick of the Month
Exit Zero Filling Station
Last night Anna Marie and I visited the Exit Zero Filling Station for the first time. I'm a little mystified that it took us so long to try this fun "new" restaurant, which opened up in 2018. Actually, by Cape May standards, it still is pretty new.
We loved the fun casual atmosphere at Exit Zero Filling Station, which is located on Sunset Blvd, very near Sapore Italiano, Viggiano's, and Sunset Liquors. It is hard to describe the decor of the place, but it has a very cool vibe. They describe themselves as "fun and quirky" on their website, which works for me. The menu is quite large and varied. It includes a lot of fun appetizers, their burger bar offerings, several interesting sandwiches, a few
delicious sounding seafood options, and a generous selection of Indian curries.
Anna Marie and I both opted for a burger, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Anna Marie had the "Americana" (pictured at the upper left of the top photo), with bacon, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and green tomato marmalade. I opted for the "Holy Guacamole" which featured spicy guacamole, pico de gallo, pepper jack cheese and jalapeno mayo. Mine wasn't as hot as it sounds, but it was just as messy as you would expect due to the generous portion of guacamole. Both orders came with waffle fries, which were every bit as good as they look in this picture (be sure to enjoy them with the homemade ketchup they serve!) I was quite tempted by the "EZ Burger Bowl" (pictured in the lower right of the top photo), which was gluten free, of course, and seemed like a less naughty way to enjoy a great burger. I'll probably try it next time.
We happened to arrive shortly before 6:00 p.m., so our first couple of glasses of wine were at the $5 Happy Hour price, which was great. The following glasses of wine were $10, which wasn't too bad. It was a nice Cabernet blend. The Exit Zero Filling Station is the only restaurant in West Cape May with a liquor license, so you can also get your favorite mixed drink there, or try one of the interesting sounding house specialties. By the way, there is seating in both the restaurant and the small bar area, which offers the same menu.
Though we didn't catch it during our Thursday visit, the Exit Zero Filling Station also features live music on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights!
If you were wondering about the name, the bottom picture tells the story. In addition to a fun restaurant, they also sell gasoline, and have a retail shop, selling mostly "Exit Zero" lifestyle apparel (hats, shirts, etc.).
See their Menu
Great Reasons to Visit The Queen Victoria
Upcoming Queen Victoria & Cape May Events
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
Sherlock Holmes Mystery Weekend
Singer Songwriter Cape May
March 27-28, 2020
Exit Zero Jazz Festival
April 17-19, 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