I love music, it doesn’t matter what kind (with the exception of rap/hip-hop … call me old-fashioned). Anyway, I always get excited as May rolls around because it heralds the return of the Cape May Music Festival.
This year marks the 24th season that Cape May has been blessed with an incredibly talented group of musicians performing a variety of music from Irish Folk to Chamber Ensemble music.
This year’s lineup looks wonderful, as always. The Cape May Music Festival is a little different than most music festivals, as it runs from May 26 through June 13, with performances on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Wednesdays feature a “Bach’s Lunch” (get it?) at the Carriage House Cafe & Tearoom. Here is how the sponsors describe their festival:
From classical to the classic, the 24th Cape May Music Festival will offer a feast for every musical taste, including orchestra, chamber, world traditions, beloved classics and even a few intriguing new sounds.
Alan R. Kay and the New York Chamber Ensemble and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players are returning for their annual chamber concerts and the Bay-Atlantic Symphony, under the baton of principal conductor Jed Gaylin, returns as the orchestra-in-residence.
OK, so I think we can all agree that Cape May is a dining mecca. Where else can you find so many great restaurants packed into such a small area? I know that for lots of you dining is one of the most important factors in your selection of Cape May as a vacation destination (I say “one of”, because I’m equally certain that The Queen Victoria is another prime reason).
Given that truth, I can’t help but be excited to announce Cape May Restaurant Week, which is coming up really quickly. Talk about a great excuse for a getaway to The Queen Victoria! This is a chance to experience our world class dining at significant savings before the crowds of Summer arrive.
As they say on their website … “8 nights, 3 courses”, which sums up the event pretty well. This year there are 23 restaurants participating. Each has fashioned a 3-course offering for either the $35 dinner, the $25 dinner, or the $15 lunch. I always enjoy taking advantage of the restaurant week specials and I know that you will too.
We’ve still got availability for this week, so give us a call and make reservations today.
2nd Annual Craft Beer & Crab Fest (August 10th)
Are you having a hard time deciding what dates to visit The Queen Victoria this Summer? I suggest that you’ll want to be here on August 10th.
After the phenomenal success and popularity of last year’s Craft Beer & Crab Fest, plans were immediately put in place to hold another one in 2013. I’m pleased to announce that it is now official. Despite a mostly rainy day and a few “growing pains” problems with keeping the beer flowing and crab boiling, the 2012 event was hugely popular. For 2013 things are on track for an even better event.
What will you find when you get there? At the risk of stating the obvious, there will be Craft Beers and lots of Crab. My first stop would be a visit to the Beer Tent to enjoy the offerings by:
Cape May Brewing Company
Tuckahoe Brewing Company
Victory Brewing Company
Harrison Beverage (Budweiser, not exactly a craft beer)
After you’ve sated your thirst, head over to the food tent for some great food, including:
Fresh Boiled Crab
Corn on the Cob
Summer Salads (and more)
Did I mention the entertainment? There will be music on the outdoor stage all day long. Between visits to the beer and food tents, check out the old-fashioned Victorian circus with jugglers and acrobats from the The Give & Take Jugglers Little Circus. You’ll also want to explore the craft vendors, and farmers’ market.
This is going to be a great event that you definitely don’t want to miss. It is definitely worth taking a couple of hours out of your beach day to enjoy it.
Shopping in Cape May … Exit Zero Discount Deck
Last month I introduced this article with a feature on Artisan’s Alcove. This time around I’m keeping it a little closer to home. In fact, I’m keeping “In House”, if you will, featuring our latest gift-shop offering. The new and just released “Exit Zero Discount Deck”. This is a really cool concept that Anna Marie and I loved as soon as we saw it.
The EZ Discount Deck is literally a deck of cards. It is unlike any deck of cards you’ve ever owned, though. It does have 52 cards in it, but this deck is far more than a game. It is actually a great money saving set of discounts for shops and restaurants all over town. In a way, I’m featuring most of the shops in town this month.
Each card works like a discount coupon which can redeemed for significant discounts at a shop or restaurant in town. You’ll find cards for shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues all over Cape May, each offering a discount. Scanning through the cards, I found discount cards for most of my favorite places in town.
You can purchase a deck for $25 and easily save double that after your first day of use. You know you’re going to be shopping and dining out while you’re in Cape May. Why not save some money doing it? Besides saving money, it is a fun way to explore some of the places you may not have known about before.
Available in our gift shop for only $25
Summer Concert Series
Once again this Summer, Cape May is hosting a Monday “Classic Artist” concert series that I’m pretty excited about. While it is somewhat disturbing to me that the music I enjoyed as a teenager is now considered Solid Gold, I’m gratified that my taste in music is enduring.
This year’s lineup looks like a pretty good one. Do you remember Christopher Cross? How about John Ford Coley (as in England Dan & John Ford Coley)? I honestly don’t know all of these musicians, as some of them are a bit before my time. Here is the full schedule:
John Ford Coley July 8
Chad & Jeremy July 15
Helen Reddy July 22
Ronnie Spector July 29
Christopher Cross August 5
Herman’s Hermits August 12
All of these concerts will be held in our beautiful new Convention Hall facility located directly on the beach. Depending on the stage setup, you may be able to watch the waves roll into the beach while enjoying a nice evening of music. It sounds like a lot of fun to me!
Anna Marie and I are very excited about the 2nd Annual “Lessons of History” Lecture returning to Cape May this October 13th. This year MAC (Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities) is bringing the preeminent Lincoln Scholar and speaker in the country to Cape May to present a lecture entitled “Lessons from Lincoln:The Poetry and Prose of Freedom“.
Harold Holzer is the author of 43 books on Lincoln and the Civil War era, and the historical advisor for Steven Spielberg in the making of his recent film “Lincoln”. He will be examining how Lincoln balanced the prose and poetry of his Gettysburg Address and Emancipation Proclamation, as he recounts the year that Lincoln so deftly balanced the political, military, and historic to preserve government of, by, and for the people.
This is sure to be a fascinating and entertaining lecture. It is being held at the Presbyterian church, right next door to The Queen Victoria. Immediately following the lecture we will be hosting an optional Meet the Speaker reception at The Queen Victoria.
Tickets are $25 before Sep. 2 and $30 after Sep. 2. The additional charge to attend the reception is $20.
Upcoming Cape May Events
Cape May Music Festival May 26-Jun 13
Cape May Restaurant week Jun 2-9
Cape May Designer Show House Jun 21 through Oct 31
John Ford Coley Concert Jul 8
Chad & Jeremy Concert Jul 15
Helen Reddy Concert Jul 22
Ronnie Spector Concert Jul 29
Christopher Cross Concert Aug 5
2nd Annual Craft Beer & Crab Fest Aug 10
Herman’s Hermits Concert Aug 12
Food & Wine Festival Sep 14-22
Victorian Weekend Oct 11-14
Lessons from Lincoln Lecture Oct 13
Halloween Happenings Oct 15-31
Sherlock Holmes Murder Mystery Weekend Nov 1-3
Channeling with Craig McManus Nov 16
Christmas in Cape May Nov 22 – Jan 1
Dickens Extravaganza Dec 8-10
Wow, we blew right through April and are already making our way through May … Summer is fast approaching!
As usual at this time of year, our phones are really starting to ring. Lots of folks are planning their summer vacations at The Queen Victoria. Of course, lots of our technologically oriented guests are booking their visits to The Queen Victoria online through our website.
A sure sign of Spring, our beautiful Tree Peony.
Featured “Room of the Month” … Benjamin Disraeli
With 35 rooms, we’ve got something to suit the tastes and needs of just about anybody. We’ve got big rooms and small rooms, masculine and feminine rooms, balcony rooms and rooms with ocean views. Seriously, we’ve got something for everyone.
The Benjamin Disraeli room is one of our standard rooms, which means that it is on the smaller end of our size spectrum. It is also one of our least expensive rooms. Despite its size, it is a very comfortable room with fairly neutral decor (feminine vs. masculine). Benjamin Disraeli is located on the 2nd floor of the Queen Victoria building on the sunny side of the house. It also has lots of windows, making it a very cheery room. The bathroom is large with a very nice marble counter top and a traditional bathtub with integrated shower.
Like all of our rooms, the Benjamin Disraeli room features a private bath, individual climate control, mini-fridge, room safe, iron/board, TV with DVD player and free wireless internet.
This is a great room for a summer vacation when most of your time is probably spent out and about Cape May. If you’re looking for a very comfortable, affordable room for your next visit to The Queen Victoria Benjamin Disraeli would be hard to beat.
The 2013 Designer Show House opens in just over a month! I know that many of our guests really missed the Show House in 2012, so this is welcome news. I’ve always enjoyed the Show Houses, so I’m excited to have one returning for 2013.
Like the 2011 Designer Show House, this year’s entry is a brand new home. That is about the extent of the similarities, however. Where the 2011 home was basically a high-end town house located near the marina, this year’s show house is located in the heart of town, directly across from the Emlen Physick estate. This year’s house is a “retro Victorian” Italianate style home that is reminiscent of the Southern Mansion. As you can see from this photo, construction is nearly complete, with the carpenters apparently applying the finishing touches. You can’t see it in this photo, but there are signs in the front door windows that say “Use other door, just finished”. I believe that means the designers are already working their magic and transforming this new house into a beautiful modern Victorian style home.
The house, which has been named the Cavalier Cottage, will be open for tours and your pleasure between June 21st and October 31. There will be lots of package offerings with restaurants, as usual. The Tour & Lunch (or Tea) specials at the Carriage House Cafe & Tearoom located right across the street will be particularly compelling this year.
The Lighthouse is without a doubt Cape May’s most popular attraction. It is certainly my favorite destination. There is just something about a lighthouse that captures the imagination. The fact that you can go to the top and walk around the cat-walk just seals the deal.
The lighthouse is operated by MAC (the Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities). They restored and opened it to the public 25 years ago in 1988. More than 2 million people have climbed the 199 steps to the top since that time.
The Cape May Lighthouse also has a fascinating history. The original lantern for the lighthouse was lit on October 31, 1859. This is actually the third lighthouse built in Cape May. To read more about the lighthouse, be sure to click on the link below. You’ll be glad you did. Better yet, go to the top next time you’re in Cape May!
I seem to be obsessed with flowers this month, but I suppose it is the season. With all this natural beauty bursting out of the ground, I just can’t help myself.
This colorful photo was taken in the side garden of the Crown Jewel. These are wild violets, which bloom early in the Spring and spend the rest of the year trying to choke out all the other growth in the garden. I guess you can tell I have mixed feelings about these plants.
Anyway, the blooms are beautiful and add to the feeling of renewal at The Queen Victoria this time of year.
Cape May Stage – How to Make a Rope Swing (May 17 – June 7)
Cape May is very fortunate to have a few theater groups. Our favorite has always been Cape May Stage, which is located in the beautifully restored and comfortable “Robert Shackleton Playhouse” opposite of Rotary park.
The first production of 2013 at Cape May Stage is “How to Make a Rope Swing”, which is definitely not an instructional performance relating to recreational rope swings. I’ll be honest, I prefer a lighter performance, with comedy and music, but I know that some of our guests are into serious drama. I think that this show is probably for them. This show opens May 17th and will be a “World Premier”. Here is how they describe the show on their website:
The South Jersey town of Oakbranch is replacing the old schoolhouse. Two local elders have been selected to decide on a person after whom the new building should be named. As they come together, they rediscover the circumstances of their first meeting- a time when the school was first integrated and the region earned its nickname, “The Mississippi of the North”. Within the brick walls of the century-old building, a long-suppressed moment in the town’s history surfaces and threatens to change the memory of the town and these people, forever.
Doug & Anna Marie’s Restaurant Pick Of The Month … Union Park
Have you tried Union Park before? It is definitely one of our favorite restaurants in Cape May. In fact, we seem to celebrate a lot of special occasions there. I guess it just seems special to us.
As you can see from this picture, Union Park is clearly an elegant place. When you walk into the dining room you realize that you are in a special place. Everything you experience after that moment just reinforces that feeling.
We were stunned to hear that they had to close early last October, just one week before Hurricane Sandy, due to flooding that occurred when roofers punctured a high-pressure fire sprinkler system, pouring about 45,000 gallons of water into the building. Repairs took all of 6 months, but the result is a beautifully renovated, brand new dining room that is even more special than it was before the flood.
But lets talk about the food. One word describes it … EXCELLENT. I’ve got to say that every meal I’ve ever had at Union Park has been exceptional. My recent favorite dish is the “Short Rib”, which has a vanilla chai glace, smoked bacon marmalade, carrot ginger purée, and is served on a bed of ashed yukon gold potatoes. The other night Anna Marie had the St. Laurent Salmon, which was served with a tomato crab salad, goat cheese herb potato cake, and sauce verte. Wow, talk about special.
Last year Union Park introduced a special package called “Touch of Elegance” exclusively for guests of The Queen Victoria. This 3-course dinner for two, featuring a nice selection of all of my favorite items on the regular menu, is only $100, tax & gratuity included. This is really a fantastic deal! Check out their menu on their website, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be adding the package to your next reservation. The “Touch of Elegance” package can only be purchased from The Queen Victoria, and we’ll be pleased to make your reservations for you.