CAPE MAY – You can enjoy Cape May’s 18th annual Spring Festival, co-sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) and the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May, during the second weekend of events from May 3 through May 5.
Experience the special charms of this National Historic Landmark City and discover its fresh flavors, fascinating history and lively culture. You can taste innkeepers’ signature desserts during the Chocolate Championship Tour & Tasting, enjoy afternoon tea at the Carriage House Café & Tearoom, see inside Cape May’s beautiful private residences, and much more.
Come to lunch or afternoon tea and enjoy the 2013 season reopening of Cape May’s Carriage House Café & Tearoom on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. with a café menu that features signature salads, wraps and sandwiches, as well as homemade soups and quiche, plus the popular Classic Tea Luncheon and Elegant Afternoon Tea. If you have a busy schedule, everything is available for takeout. The Carriage House Café & Tearoom re-opens for the season on April 26. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and parking is free. For reservations call 609-884-5111.
Making its festival return is the Chocolate Championship Tour & Tasting on May 4 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. You are the judge as you taste some of the area’s most irresistible chocolate concoctions. Visit participating historic inns and B&Bs, sample their signature desserts and vote for your favorites. You decide who will take home Cape May’s Chocolate Champion title. Those who turn in completed evaluation cards will get recipes by email. Adult tickets are $20; children (ages 3-12) are $18.
If you delight over a good whodunit, you’ll enjoy a Murder Mystery Dinner at the Carriage House Café & Tearoom, on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Join the Impromptu Players as they set the scene for the original mystery, “Foul Weather Fiend” and enjoy a four-course dinner as you contemplate the clues, interact with the cast and help solve the mystery as it unfolds on May 4, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45 per person. If you prefer to mull over your mystery during lunch, a Murder Mystery Luncheon includes a three-course meal at Aleathea’s Restaurant at the lovely Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., and the thrill of unearthing clues to the mystery as it unfolds around you. Lunch is $30 per person on May 5, at 1 p.m.
Ready for an afternoon of good spirits? Try these events that introduce you to the flavors of the Cape May area’s outstanding vineyards and brewery:
Relax over a glass of wine at the Cape May Winery, 711 Townbank Road as you take a Winery Cellar Tour & Tasting. See how the grapes are grown and learn about the winemaker’s art as you enjoy a barrel-tasting accompanied by cheese and fruit on May 4, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20; the event is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth at Ocean Street. New additions in 2013! If you prefer, explore at your own pace during the Self-guided Wine Trail. Visit Natali Vineyards, Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery, along with this year’s newest addition, Jessie Creek Winery, and taste the unique flavors at each. Offered daily from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 and includes a map with the wineries listed and a tasting glass. What’s brewing in Cape May? Some great spirits, as you’ll find out on the Self-guided Wine & Brewery Tour of three area wineries, Natali Vineyards, Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery, and this year’s new addition, Jessie Creek Winery, plus the Cape May Brewing Company. Take a tour at each stop and sample some of their products. Admission is $15 and includes a map with directions. This tour is offered on May 4 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Discover Cape May’s “spirited” side during tours that focus on the paranormal; hear haunting tales about the nation’s first seaside resort and maybe even experience an actual ghost or two:
Board a MAC trolley for the Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour, a 45-minute evening ride through the haunted streets of Cape May. The paranormal findings of Cape May’s popular psychic medium and ghost writer Craig McManus come alive as your guide relates McManus’ spooky stories. Ride past the flickering gas street lamps and the haunted properties of Cape May and experience the spine-tingling tales exposed by McManus. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children (ages 3-12). Tours are offered on May 3 at 7:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. and May 4 at 9:30 p.m. Take the Historic Haunts Combo Tour and combine the Ghosts of Cape May trolley tour with a visit to the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s “original” haunted house. There you will visit a home séance room of the 1890s and learn of the Victorians’ fascination with spiritualism along with today’s methods of “ghost hunting.” Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children (ages 3-12). This tour is offered May 4 at 7:15 p.m. Take a trolley tour through parts of West Cape May to the Cape May Lighthouse and hear tales of ghostly activity along the way during the Ghosts of the Lighthouse Trolley Tour on May 4 at 8 p.m. Meet the Lighthouse Keeper who will relate a ghostly tale inside the Cape May Light and climb the 199 steps to the top. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children (ages 3-12).
A National Historic Landmark City and one of “America’s 20 Prettiest Towns,” Cape May is the perfect place to stroll, step back into a gentler era and explore the city’s magnificent Victorian architecture and seaside beauty:
Hunt for unique hand-made crafts and one-of-a-kind antiques during the Spring Festival Crafts & Antiques Show on May 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., becomes an outdoor marketplace as vendors from throughout the Northeast display their wares.
Take advantage of the rare opportunity to see inside some of Cape May’s finest private residences on the Spring Festival Private Homes Tours, May 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enjoy touring these interesting and stately homes from the Victorian era to the 21st century that are not normally open to the public, including: The DeMario Residence, 26 Congress St., The Cherry House, 637 Hughes St., The Hay Residence, 910 Lafayette St., The Jacob Leaming House, 712 Columbia Ave., and The Steiner/Wilson Cottage, 24 Congress St. Tickets are limited, so purchase early. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children (ages 3-12).
Learn about “Victorian Luxuries,” the new theme for guided tours of Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., beginning April 26. Get an in-depth glimpse of the Victorian lifestyle as your tour guide leads you through each room in the Estate. You’ll discover the differences between this house and a regular middle-class home and learn why our idea of luxury today is really a Victorian idea. The new theme will run through April 2014 (except during the holiday season). Tours are offered year-round and admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children (ages 3-12). Tours can also be combined with trolley tours of Cape May’s Historic District. Meet with the good doctor, Dr. Physick himself, when “The Dr. is In” on May 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the grounds of the Estate.
Board the Cape May Whale Watcher for a sightseeing cruise around the island of Cape May during the Around Cape Island Boat Cruise. View the majestic Victorian architecture and enjoy tales of local heroes, legends and history. Offered at 10 a.m. on May 4 and May 5. Tickets are $25 for adults and $18 for children (ages 7-12). Purchase tickets in advance at the Washington Street Mall information Booth or at the Hill House office at the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St.
Board the 110-foot Cape May Whale Watcher for the Cape May Whale & Dolphin Cruise, a three-hour cruise and the chance to see humpback whales, dozens of bottlenose dolphins, unusual sea birds or rare sea turtles, with guaranteed marine mammal sightings. Purchase tickets in advance at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth. Offered at 1 p.m. May 4 and May 5. $35 for adults, $23 for children (ages 6-12).
Learn about Cape May’s Civil War hero Henry Sawyer in theCarriage House Gallery exhibit, “Cape May’s Chalfonte Hotel: A Living National Landmark,” which opens April 26. Built by Civil War hero Henry Sawyer, taken prisoner 150 years ago in 1863, the Chalfonte Hotel has hosted guests continuously for over 137 years. Home to heroes, heroines, heartaches, legends, love affairs, unforgettable characters and nationally famous cooks, the hotel’s intriguing history comes alive in this exhibit at the Carriage House Gallery at the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Author Karen Fox adapts her book, “The Chalfonte,” into an intriguing exhibit showcasing life and legends at the hotel from Henry Sawyer’s handwritten battlefield diaries and prison letters to more than a century of vintage photos, watercolors, architectural drawings, kitchen diaries, first person narratives and memorabilia of guests who return to the hotel over five and six generations. The exhibit is free and open daily, April 26 through Nov. 10, at the Carriage House Gallery, on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St.
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