CAPE MAY – Take a gentle step back into Cape May’s “gilded age” during Cape May’s 40th annual Victorian Weekend, sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC), and celebrate with a long holiday weekend of vintage dance lessons, house tours, living history programs, food and wine events, a crafts and antiques show, murder mystery dinners, trolley tours and more, from Fri., Oct. 5 through Tue., Oct. 9.
Waltz your way ‘round the dance floor during the Vintage Dance Weekend on Sat., Oct. 6 and Sun., Oct. 7. Vintage Dance instructor Martha Griffith will have you kicking-up your heels as they did in Cape May’s Victorian heyday when she teaches you the popular ballroom dances of the midand late-19th century. Take a Vintage Dance Workshop at the Franklin Street School, 712 Lafayette St. Sat., Oct. 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Test out your new steps at a costumed Vintage Ball with live music of the period by Spare Parts on Sat., Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. Then, on Sun., Oct. 9 at 2 p.m., try an elegant Tea Dance, also with live music by Spare Parts. Refreshments are included at the Ball and Tea Dance and Victorian costume is welcome and highly encouraged (but not required). An all-inclusive package is available or you can purchase events individually. Dance Weekend Package $95; Ball $35; Tea Dance $25; three Workshops $45.
Go beyond the doors of a selection of charming private cottages in the Cape May area that are not normally open to the public during the Private Homes Tour on Sat., Oct. 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The tour is limited to 300 tickets. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children (ages 3-12).
New Event! Check out this perfect tour for antiques and crafts shoppers, Lunch & Antiquing by Trolley. Hop on board a MAC trolley at the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., Sun., Oct. 7 at 11:45 a.m. and stop at the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., for lunch and antiquing. Then, it’s back on board for an afternoon of crafts and antiques shopping with stops at West End Garage, TreeHouseAntiques and Cape May Antique Center. Event lasts from 11:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. $35 includes lunch and transportation.
What was under all that Victorian lace and frills? On Mon., Oct. 8, at 10 a.m., come to the Show Us Your Undies Brunch & Fashion Show and you’ll discover what in the world they were wearing under all those Victorian garments. This new event features a delicious brunch at the Carriage House Café & Tearoom on the grounds of the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., and a fashion show by Grand Oak Plantation that will show you what shaped the fashionable Victorian lady. You’ll even see what the proper gentleman had to cope with to dress for the day. $25 includes fashion show and brunch.
“The Doctor is in” on Sun., Oct. 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Meet Dr. Emlen Physick as he greets and banters with visitors on his Estate’s grounds at 1048 Washington St. Enjoy a tour of his house with its new theme in 2012: “What Those Victorians Wore.” The Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian House Museum, is open daily. Tours of the Estate are $10 for adults and $5 for children (ages 3-12).
On Sun., Oct. 7, you’re invited to the Victorian Weekend Crafts & Antiques Show on the lawn of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Crafters and antiques dealers from throughout the region will display and sell their unique and hand-made wares from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free and free parking is available.
To drink or not to drink, that is the question at the Tea Luncheon & Temperance Debate on Tue., Oct. 9 at 12:30 p.m. at the Carriage House Café & Tearoom located on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Saloonkeeper Patrick Collins and Jennie Wales, staunch advocate of the temperance movement, debate this topic in a spirit of fun. Join Dr. Physick as he attempts to maintain decorum during this spirited debate. Admission is $25 and includes an Elegant Tea Luncheon. The event is limited to 50 guests. Advance reservations are highly recommended. Perhaps almost as famous as Cape May’s Victorian heritage is its dining and winery scene. Victorian Weekend offers plenty of opportunities to indulge your senses while expanding your knowledge of pairings.
Back again is the popular Chocolate Championship Tour & Tasting on Sat., Oct. 6 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Indulge in this annual favorite and you will sample some of the tastiest chocolate desserts from Cape May’s historic Inns and B&Bs. You be the judge as you visit each competitor’s property, sample their signature chocolate dessert and vote for your favorite. Those who turn in completed evaluation cards will get recipes by email. Limited to 200 tickets. Admission is $25 and $15 for children (ages 3-12).
For a diabolically delightful dining experience, visit the 1895 vintage Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., for Murder Mystery Dinners. Murder is on the menu when the Impromptu Players invade the dining room and present “Foul Weather Fiend,” a new mystery for 2012. The atmosphere reeks of foul bouquet, intrigue and deceit. Interact with the cast of likely suspects and try to solve the mystery as you enjoy a four-course dinner. Murder Mystery Dinners are offered at 7 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 6 – Mon., Oct. 8 and admission is $45. This is a limited event and reservations are necessary.
Celebrate Oktoberfest during the Mad Batter Beer Dinner “Local Microbrews” with a fourcourse Oktoberfest dinner paired with local microbrews on Fri., Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m., at the famous Mad Batter restaurant, 19 Jackson St. $65 per person. Seating is limited to 60.
You’ll learn how well chocolate and beer are paired at a Beer & Chocolate Tasting with America’s beer authority, Gary Monterosso. Gary hosts a sampling of beers and chocolates that go perfectly together at the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., on Sat., Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. Admission is $30.
On Sat., Oct. 6 at 3 p.m., spend the afternoon touring the award-winning Cape May Winery in North Cape May. The Winery Cellar Tour & Tasting features a tour of the vineyard to see how the grapes are grown and then a visit to the winery, where you’ll be introduced to the winemaker’s art and enjoy a barrel tasting accompanied by cheese and fruit. Admission is $20 and includes a complimentary tasting glass.
Fudge Fantasy with the The Original Fudge Kitchen will fill your sweetest desire for this chocolaty treat. On Sun., Oct. 7 at 2 p.m., The Original Fudge Kitchen will be displaying its hand whipped creamy fudge in an array of flavors at the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St. Sample the famous fudge flavors, watch and learn how they make the fudge and much more. Admission is $15 per person.
If you have a taste for history, take the Champagne Brunch Walk on Sun., Oct.7 at 10 a.m.
First, build up your appetite with a walking tour of Cape May’s Historic District, and then enjoy a Southern-style breakfast buffet with mimosas at the historic Chalfonte Hotel, 301 Howard St. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children (ages 3-12). The Historic District Walking Tour is also available for purchase separately if space is available.
Spend the afternoon touring the wineries of Cape May County at your own pace during the Self-Guided Wine Trail. Visit Natali Vineyards and Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery and taste wines at each. Admission is $8 and includes a map with the wineries listed, tastings at both wineries and a complimentary tasting glass. The Self-Guided Wine Trail is offered daily from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Offered Sat., Oct. 6 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. is the Self-guided Wine & Brewery Tour. You’ll discover some great spirits as you visit two area wineries, Natali Vineyards and Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery, plus the new Cape May Brewing Company. Take a tour at each stop and sample some of their products. Admission is $13 and includes a map with directions. Attend world-class theater productions in Cape May with Cape May Stage and the East Lynne Theater Company.
Cape May Stage presents “Time Stands Still” at 8 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 5, Sat., Oct. 6 and Sun., Oct. 7. Sarah and James, a photojournalist and a foreign correspondent, try to find happiness in a world that seems to have gone crazy. This moving new play prompts poignant questions about responsibility – to ourselves, to our loved ones, to our community, and to our world. The Robert Shackleton Playhouse is located at the corner of Bank & Lafayette streets. Admission is $35 Adults, $30 Seniors (62+) and $15 Students.
East Lynne Theater Company presents “It Pays to Advertise” at 8 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 5 and Sat., Oct. 6, and at 7:30 p.m. on Sun., Oct. 7. A long-running hit when it opened on Broadway in September of 1914, this screwball comedy by Roi Cooper Megrue and Walter C. Hackett was twice made into a movie: a silent in 1919, and in 1931 with Carole Lombard. The premise – and promise – that anything can be sold in America is at its core, but it also examines the very nature and romance of advertising and its influence. First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St. Tickets are $30 general; $25 senior; $15 students; ages 12 and under free.
Cape May’s Victorian Weekend is sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC), a multifaceted, not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the preservation, interpretation, and cultural enrichment of the Cape May region for its residents and visitors. MAC membership is open to all. For information about MAC’s year-round schedule of tours, festivals, and special events, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 , or visit MAC’s Web site at www.capemaymac.org. For information about restaurants, accommodations and shopping, call the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May at 609-884-5508 .