Though many of you think of Cape May as a summer destination, with beautiful beaches and warm, sunny days, the most special time to visit Cape May is probably during the Christmas season. Sure, Cape May is exceptional and special all the time, but during the Christmas season, it really shines like the gem it is.
A visit to Cape May during Christmas is like stepping into a living set of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. When you start dressing up all of the beautiful Victorian homes with Christmas Decorations and lights, you can’t help but create something magical.
Though the beach isn’t a major attraction in December, there are always plenty of other attractions and things to do in Cape May. One of the most popular attractions during Christmas are the many Christmas tours offered nearly every day of the week. Christmas shopping is wonderful too, with all of the charming, unique shops we have in town.
I honestly don’t think you could find a more festive place to get into the Christmas spirit than Cape May. We’ll be beautifully decorated and full of Christmas Cheer!
Perhaps you should make plans to visit us this Christmas to get yourself in the spirit of the season. We’d love to see you!
You may not think of Cape May as an Oktoberfest destination, but there you would be wrong. Cape May is THE place to be for Oktoberfest.
Jackson street, one of the prettiest in Cape May (which is saying a lot), is the home of the Cape May Oktoberfest. Each October 1st, or the closest Saturday to it, the street is closed down and filled with vendors of food, arts, crafts, and other fun stuff. And there is beer, of course, in the beer garden at the Mad Batter.
Amazingly, we still have a couple of rooms available for this Oktoberfest weekend, so give us a call to reserve your room soon. What a wonderful way to kick off the Fall season!
Lessons of History 3rd Annual, October 12th
If you were to ask me what I’m most looking forward to this year, I would tell you that this year’s Lessons of History lecture is it. I’m TRULY looking forward to meeting David O. Stewart and listening to his discourse on our founding fathers and the manner in which our constitution came to be.
I just finished reading his book (pictured above) and I can honestly say that I’ve never enjoyed any non-fictional writing as much as I enjoyed this book. The amazing thing about it, was that it didn’t feel like history. It felt like a great story that I couldn’t wait to get back to between sittings. Mr. Stewart is a supreme story teller, who happens to be telling a true and important story. I can only imagine how compelling he will be in person!
We hear the word “constitutional” all the time, but I think few of us probably have much appreciation or understanding of what our constitution actually says, who the men who wrote it were, what the issues that formed it were, and how (or even when … see the title of the book) it came to be. I was certainly one of those reasonably intelligent, educated individuals that was basically clueless about the topic. And I’ve always loved history! Go figure.
If you’re the least bit curious about how our great nation came to be, and nearly fell apart in its earliest days, then I highly recommend you make plans soon to attend this lecture. You’ll be very happy you did, I’m sure.
Seating is limited and time is short, so act quickly! Visit the Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) for more information. Tickets are $30/person for the lecture and $20/person to attend the “Meet the Speaker” reception to be held afterward at The Queen Victoria (limited to 75 people).
Exit Zero Jazz Festival
Nov 7-9 We are thrilled that Jazz is back in Cape May again. With 3 festivals under their belt now, the Exit Zero Jazz Festival is becoming the world class event its promoter envisioned when he launched it in 2012.
Unfortunate timing for their first event, which was held one week after hurricane Sandy, got them off to a slow start. After successful events in November 2013 and May 2014, however, there is no doubt that the Exit Zero Jazz Festival is an event that any music lover will love to attend.
This year’s lineup looks great, with great acts booked all over town, including the Convention Center for the headliners, and club venues for 3 straight days. We’re talking about a serious weekend of music & fun.
There are several different “Pass” options for enjoying all the music available, starting at only $38 for the “Pops” pass, which gets you into all the club venues all weekend long (vs $20 cash at the door for a single performance).
Christmas in Cape May! As promised, I’m teasing you with some thoughts about Christmas.
If you don’t already know it, let me tell you that Cape May is THE place to experience Christmas, either before hand to get into the spirit of the season, or during the holiday itself. There are magnificent tours, fabulous decorations, festive events, great shopping, and as usual, wonderful dining. There is probably no place else in the U.S., or perhaps the world that is as well suited to exemplify Christmas as Cape May, given our Victorian era architecture. Cape May looks like a living Dickens Village (usually without the snow). Imagine stepping into the little village of Studio 56 ceramic houses that you decorate with at Christmas and it suddenly coming to life. We’ve even got Carolers and strolling musicians for some of our Christmas tours. Let’s not forget the Christmas parade on the 1st Saturday of December, either.
The Queen Victoria is completely decorated for Christmas, of course. In fact, we’ll be completely decorated by Thanksgiving, giving you a special treat if you want to spend it at The Queen Victoria.
We’ve been taking a lot of December reservations for both the Christmas season and New Year’s Eve the last couple of weeks. We still have some nice availability, but it is going fast. I’d definitely call us soon if you’re hoping to visit in December.
On December 19th, 1843 Charles Dickens published “A Christmas Carol”, changing our perception of Christmas forever. Since the early 1980s, Cape May has been celebrating the season, the author, and the era with a 3 day festival full of entertaining performances, great feasts, fun tours, wine tasting, receptions and interesting lectures about Dickens, Christmas, and all things Victorian. Perhaps best of all is the fun group of guests that always attend this event.
The last couple of years have witnessed the revival of this wonderful Cape May tradition, with the return of Elliot Engel, the incredibly entertaining Dickens Scholar who really got it started 30+ years ago. Believe me when I tell you that Elliot could literally have you laughing hysterically about the phone book if he read it to you. This year his talented performance partner Quinn Hawkesworth will be returning to Cape May to charm us all as well. It is shaping up to be the best Dickens Festival ever!
The Dickens festival is also an amazing value. It is pretty hard to beat 3 days of programming, two dinners*, a wine tasting and a reception for $160 (in addition to your room, of course). When you combine that with the terrific discounted rates at The Queen Victoria, this festival is by far the best value of the year in Cape May.
* the “Welcome Dinner” on Sunday, Dec. 7th at the Merion Inn is a complimentary dinner hosted by Anna Marie and myself for participants staying at The Queen Victoria. Other inns may or may not participate in it.
Wine Lover’s Weekend
Every February for the last 5 or 6 years The Queen Victoria has hosted a wine blending party at the Cape May Winery. It is definitely one of my favorite events of the year.
On February 21, 2015 Anna Marie and I will join our participating guests at Cape May Winery to craft the perfect blend of red wine. We’ll break up into teams of 4-6 people at a table laden with bottles of the various red wines right out of the barrel and trays laden with premium cheeses, crackers and other goodies. Each team will craft & document different blends, ranking them among themselves. Once each team has selected its “finest blend”, we’ll all break for a tour of the winery while the winemaker creates the blends we’ve chosen. Following the tour, we head back to the blending room and do a “blind” tasting of the chosen blend of each team. We’ll all vote on the best blend, which will then be bottled for us with a special “Queen Victoria Cellars” label. Each participant will get a bottle of the final blend (2 per couple), the labels of which will be customized with your names and the blending details.
Our Price: $ 50/person
The Savings Season
222 In about a month, those of you that are able to travel mid-week (Sunday through Thursday) will be able to take advantage of our “222” package, which runs from November 2 through the end of April, 2015. Talk about affordable, this package offers 2 nights for $222 for a standard room. Upgrades to larger rooms are possible at similar savings. This package is not available during the Dec 24 through Jan 1 holiday week.
Winter Escape Starting January 4, 2015 we’ll once again be offering our ever popular Winter Escape package. The Winter Escape is ANY 2 nights (including weekends) in a Large Standard room for $325. This package runs through March 31, 2015. Upgrades to Premium rooms and suites are also possible at similar savings. This package is not available during the Feb 13-15 President’s Day holiday weekend.
For some reason Osborne has always been the most viewed room on our website. I suppose it is because it has a very distinct decor with a very comfortable feel to it. It is also one of our most popular rooms. There are several reasons for that, I believe.
Osborne has many features that are quite popular with our guests, including a dedicated on-site parking spot, a 2 person whirlpool tub, a fireplace, and a convenient first floor location. That is pretty close to a description of what most guests ask for when they call for a special room. Osborne is special.
Because of its popularity, Osborne is often difficult to reserve. It is one of those rooms that guests book a year in advance (or more) to be sure they get it for their preferred week the following year. Of course, we offer an “Early Bird Discount” when guests reserve a year in advance like that.
Gift Shop Featured Item The Queen Victoria Cookbook
The VERY most popular gift shop item at The Queen Victoria is without a doubt our cookbook. Maybe that is because you get to “test drive” it at both breakfast and afternoon tea.
I like to think that our cookbook is so much more than a cookbook. Sure it has recipes for nearly every dish we serve. They’re divided into different sections, including breakfast entrees, breakfast breads, teatime sweets & treats, and teatime savory spreads. Every page is adorned with a photo from The Queen Victoria. Nearly every guest room is pictured, as are our gardens, parlors, and buildings. Even if you never cooked a single thing from the book, you could enjoy it regularly, reliving your last trip to The Queen Victoria with the photos and the memories of the meals you enjoyed here.
Our cookbook is also an excellent gift to share with your loved ones (maybe for Christmas). It is also a wonderful “thank you” gift for those special people who care for your pets while you’re enjoying yourselves at The Queen Victoria.
Favorite Photo Just Passing Through
This photo was shared with us several years ago and I thought it was perfect to include in this month’s newsletter. These unusual and beautiful birds migrate through Cape May every September on their way south, I know not where. I believe they are called “Black Skimmers”.
They are a joy to watch flying over the beaches and waves along the shore. They flock together on the beach like this until something inspires them to launch into the air simultaneously. Their flight is so graceful, elegant and effortless that I can’t help but watch them pass by.
In case you weren’t aware, Cape May is a world famous bird watching destination, and these beautiful creatures are certainly part of the attraction.
More New Stuff! A New Desk for Prince Albert
This is the charming new desk (not so new, actually, but new to us) that we recently restored and put into service in the Prince Albert room.
This desk replaces the white & wicker wood desk that has always been in that room which was looking a little tired. Our new desk, on the other hand, has been given a very nice facelift with some beautiful custom wood work on the top, which replaced the damaged leather top it had when we bought it.
The desk adds a touch of charm and elegance to the room, which is already one of our most popular rooms.
Many of you had heard that Craig McManus had become so popular and busy that he wasn’t able to schedule any visits to Cape May for our Channeling Weekends. I honestly assumed that was the end of our Channeling Weekends.
I was lamenting the loss of Craig with one of our guests who had attended one of his events at The Queen Victoria and she mentioned that she knew of a medium/psychic that was at least as good as Craig who she had experience with. That was high praise, indeed.
I’m pleased to report to you that after extensive communication and discussions, we have invited Debbie Wojciechowski to become our new “resident” medium/psychic.
Debbie is a Certified Psychic Medium and a Certified Master Teacher, both c/o Lisa Williams International School of Spiritual Development. She has been trained, assessed and certified by Lisa Williams (International Psychic Medium). Debbie became a full time medium/spiritualist after retiring from a 25 year law enforcement career. She also holds a Master of Science degree from John’s Hopkins university.
Debbie will be doing two sessions for each scheduled Saturday event, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Participation is limited to 10 guests per session. Each participant is guaranteed at least a 10 minute reading.
Price: $ 60/person
Next at Cape May Stage Other Desert Cities (Through October 31)
Cape May Stage seems to be alternating between light comedy and drama this year, and “Other Desert Cities” follows the pattern. This family drama will probably ring true for anybody that came from a family.
I haven’t seen the show yet, but the description from Cape May Stage’s website is intriguing …
“Brooke Wyeth returns home to Palm Springs after a six-year absence to celebrate Christmas with her parents, her brother, and her aunt. Brooke announces that she’s about to publish a memoir dredging up a pivotal and tragic event in the family’s history – a wound they don’t want reopened. In effect, she draws a line in the sand and dares them all to cross it.”
Perhaps not a light evening of entertainment, but probably a great one. Be sure to check out the many “Dinner and Show” special packages offered by our local restaurants!
Wine Tasting in Cape May A Wonderful Autumn Pastime
As we head into the cooler months of the year, some guests ask me “what is there to do?”. After my 15 minute response, they’re usually sorry they asked, but one of the things I always mention first is wine tasting. Anna Marie and love to go wine tasting, both in Cape May and almost anywhere we go. There is just something so special about visiting a vineyard and enjoying some nice wine in a charming tasting room.
We’re fortunate to have 6 different wineries in Cape May county, all within a 20 minute drive. In fact, there are 3 wineries within 5 miles of the inn.
Pictured above is the Cape May winery’s back patio, festooned with bistro tables and featuring a fountain and even a fire pit. I can’t imagine anything much more enjoyable than sitting on that patio on an Autumn afternoon, surrounded by vines tinted by the season, sipping a glass of wine with my lovely wife.
Restaurant of the Month Sapore Italiano
It is not often that we get to introduce a completely new restaurant to you. On the other hand, this is the second one this year! Lots of excitement on the dining scene in Cape May this year. This month I’m sharing what I’m sure will become a favorite of ours … Sapore Italiano.
Anna Marie and I had heard from many guests this summer how good the food was at this new Italian restaurant. We finally made it there ourselves this week and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The atmosphere, the decor, the food and the service were all excellent.
Anna Marie and I took a leisurely 20 minute stroll to the restaurant, which is located on the corner of Broadway and Sunset Blvd, where Moonfish Grill used to be. When we got there we were greeted by a charming hostess with a wonderful Italian accent (authenticity) to a comfortable table in one of their 4 dining rooms.
We ordered a delicious plate of fried calamari to start things off, but were surprised when a great serving of antipasto was delivered to the table first, courtesy of the house. I’d like to think we’re special, but I noticed that everyone else also seemed to be getting the same. It was a nice touch. Anna Marie ordered a delicious “Pollo Francaise” (chicken francais) and I had an amazing “Risotto alla Pescatore” (seafood risotto). We both loved our meals, and I loved a little bit of Anna Marie’s.
Thankfully, Sapore Italiano is a BYOB restaurant, so we were able to enjoy a wonderful and affordable bottle of wine with dinner.
We’re already talking about when we’ll be going back to this wonderful new restaurant. I suggest you start thinking about it for your next visit to The Queen Victoria.
Visit The Queen Victoria Soon!
Cape May’s Premier Bed and Breakfast
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