-- Best New Jersey Day Trips - Cape May (under construction)
Founded as a whaling port during New Jersey's colonial settlement, Cape May emerged as the nation's first beachfront resort in 1830s; its summer residents included families of wealthy Philadelphians as well as Southern plantation owners seeking cooler climates and ocean breezes. After the Civil War, it lost its position as the state's leading resort to Atlantic City, which catered to more blue-collar, shorter-term visitors, as the railroad connected Absecon Island to Philadelphia. A series of fires also devastated much of Cape May. In September 1856, the newly-built Mount Vernon Hotel,, at the time believed to be the largest resort hotel in the world with some 400 rooms and a capacity of lodging some 2,100 guests, was gutted, with the owner and his family among the six who were killed..In 1878, leading beachfront hotels, along with rooming houses, stores and private homes were destroyed in a fire that continued for 11 hours and spread over 40 acres.
The town's 600 Victorian era houses and hotels comprise one of the largest existing collections of late 19th Century frame buildings in the country.
* Cape May on Fire, CapeMay.com.
One of 25 Greatest Beach Towns in America by Thrillist, also listed as National Historic Landmark. Cape May also was named No. 15 for America’s Favorite Towns by Travel + Leisure, Region one of nation's most popular sites for birdwatchers, particularly tracking seasonal migrations of coastal species, New Jersey Audubon Society sponsors “World Series of Birding” held each May since 1984 attracts teams of birders from other states and nations competing to identify most species over 24-hour period, Audubon Society also operates Cape May Bird Observatory, which offers frequent guided walks, field trips, classes, other events. for both beginning and advanced birders. Located at southern end of Garden State Parkway,may be up to 4-hour drive from New York City and North Jersey, perhaps 2 hours from Philadelphia metro in traffic during summer. Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts sponsors series of programs and events, operates Emlen Physick Estate (restored Victorian home built 1879 with period furnishings and art); Fire Control Tower No. 23 (New Jersey’s last remaining restorable World War II tower built in 1942, part of Delaware Bay wartime defense system)
Cape May Lighthouse (built in 1859, located in Cape May Point State Park, third documented lighthouse at New Jersey's southern
Washington Street Mall site for shopping and dining, includes art galleries, craft shops
Mainstay Inn (built 1872 as gentleman's gambling club, now B&B with total 12 rooms, 6 in main house, another 6 in adjacent cottage, Certificate Of Excellence, Trip Advisor,
John Wesley Inn
Wilbraham Mansion (26-room B&B on 3 floors, indoor pool 'exceptional' rating, Hotels.com)
Carroll Villa Hotel
(19-room hotel first built 1882 in town center, includes The Mad Batter Restaurant & Bar with breakfast, lunch and dinner,, served in sky-lit dining room or front porch or garden, live music, one of Best Brunch Spots in New Jersey, BestofNew Jersey.com
Tisha's Fine Dining
The Mad Batter Restaurant & Bar
tishasfinedining.com (in Washington Street Mall
Tisha's Fine Dining
1859 Cape May Lighthouse is fully restored and visitors can climb 199 steps to the top for a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. The original Oil Storage Building is accessible and houses a Museum Shop and accessible displays. Open daily from April through November and weekends in the shoulder seasons. Evening trolley tours and Full Moon Climbs offered during the summer season. The Cape May Lighthouse has been restored and is managed by the non-profit Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities. While located at Cape May Point State Park, it is not affiliated with State Park System. The State Park is open sunrise to sunset and offers many opportunities for nature lovers, including the Hawk Watch platform and well-marked nature trails. Summertime programming is offered to introduce visitors to the history of the Lighthouse and is free of charge. The beach is free but swimming is not allowed. The park is “carry in, carry out;” please do not litter.
* Emlen Physick Estate
Victorian home with 15 restored rooms originally home of Emlyn Physick and family, Physick lived in home from 1879 until his death in 1916, descended from wealthy Philadelphia family which included Dr. Philip Syng Physick, considered father of American surgery and inventor of surgical procedures and medical instruments, some of which still in use today; both guided ($15 adults; $8 children 3-12) and self-guided tours available
Shopping in Cape May is centered on the outdoor Washington Street Mall, extending for three blocks with convenient metered parking behind the line of shops connected by a landscaped walkway.. Cape May Peanut Butter Co. (9 flavors of gourmet peanut butter including Honey Roast, Butter Scotch, Capu Cino, Choc Choc, Natural, Almond, Sunflower, Cashew, and Organic; over 40 flavors of jam including carrot cake, habanero, oatmeal stout, India pale ale as well as grape and strawberry; also sandwiches and dog treats); Cape May Olive Oil Company (gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegars; spices, dips mustards); Gallery D'May (fine art representing local, regional, and international artists, also separate Home Gallery location with home crafts and original glass, sculpture, and fine objects);
* Jersey Shore Alpacas small farm located in Green Creek, a small town near Cape May, open to public August-December without reservation on Saturdays from 10 to 4; also private tours by advance appointment)
-- Restaurants -- Hotels -- Theaters
-- Stadiums/Arenas/Teams -- Historic Homes
-- Battlefields/Military -- Lighthouses
-- Art Museums -- History Museums