Cape May’s Annual Spring Celebration Welcomes the Season With 10 Days of Tours and Events

CAPE MAY — Celebrate the beauty of spring during Cape May’s 22nd annual Spring Celebration sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). Experience this National Historic Landmark City’s charm and discover its fresh flavors, dramatic architecture and lively culture during the 10-day springtime celebration from Friday, April 28 to Sunday, May 7.

Cape May’s 22nd Annual Spring Celebration features a tempting selection of food and wine events:

Enjoy the 2017 season reopening of Cape May’s Carriage House Café & Tearoom on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Gracious, yet casual, dining awaits with a café menu that includes signature sandwiches, salads and tea sandwiches, as well as homemade soups and quiche, plus the popular Classic Tea Luncheon and Afternoon Tea featuring loose tea service and specialty teas from the House of Tea in Philadelphia. The Carriage House Café & Tearoom reopens for the season April 28. Spring hours are Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m. through June 15. The Carriage House Café & Tearoom is open daily from June 16 through Oct. 31 (except Aug. 5). Parking is free.

If you delight over a good whodunit, you’ll enjoy Murder Mystery Dinners at Aleathea’s Restaurant at the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean Street. Join the Impromptu Players as they set the scene for the original mystery, “Marriage and Other Crimes” and enjoy a four-course dinner as you contemplate the clues, interact with the cast and help solve the mystery as it unfolds on Saturdays, April 29 and May 6 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person.

It’s a bountiful feast for chocolate lovers! Enjoy seven plated courses of delicious chocolate desserts and hear how each was created from the chef who prepared it during the popular Chocolate Lovers Feast at The Blue Rose Inn. This is a limited event so reserve early. The Blue Rose Inn, 653 Washington St. Saturday, April 29 at 1 p.m. Admission is $40.

What was under all those layers of Victorian garments? Discover what proper ladies and gentlemen wore in this overview (or underview?) of Victorian undergarments during Show Us Your Undies Brunch & Fashion Show at the Carriage House Café & Tearoom on the grounds of the Physick Estate. Grand Oak Plantation 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. Saturday, May 6 at 10 a.m. Admission is $25, which includes fashion show and brunch.

Have you experienced the variety of vineyards flourishing in the Cape May area? Join the Cape May Wine Trail on Saturday, April 29 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and you’ll discover them at your leisure. Board the MAC trolley at the Physick Estate that will transport you to the Willow Creek Winery, where you’ll enjoy lunch, a tour and tastings. Then it’s onward to Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery and Natali Vineyards for tastings. You’ll learn all about viniculture and visit each of the tasting rooms. $75 includes lunch, wine tastings at each vineyard. This is a limited event, so please reserve early. Free parking at the Physick Estate.

Discover Cape May’s “other” side during tours that focus on the odd or strange; hear haunting tales and discover the bizarre side of the nation’s first seaside resort:

Board a MAC trolley for the Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour, a 30-minute evening ride through the streets of Cape May. The findings of Cape May’s popular ghost writer Craig McManus come alive as your trolley guide tells of McManus’ findings. Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children (ages 3-12). Tours are offered on Fridays, April 28 and May 5 and Saturdays, April 29 and May 6. Times vary.

Get into the spirit of things on a guided tour of the historic (some say haunted) Physick Estate during Historic Haunts House Tours offered Saturdays, April 29 and May 6 at 7:45 p.m. There you will visit a home séance room of the 1890s and learn of today’s methods of “ghost hunting.” Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children (ages 3-12). 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. Admission is $22 for adults and $14 for children (ages 3-12). Tours are offered Saturdays, April 29 and May 6 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 Saturdays, April 29 and May 6 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 $22 for adults and $14 for children (ages 3-12).

Headless photography? Electric corsets? Coffin torpedoes? Explore some of the strange beliefs, superstitions, oddities, fads, curiosities and mysteries from the end of the 19th century — the Victorian era — during Cape Mayhem Trolley Tour, a 30-minute trolley tour through the gaslit streets of Cape May. Hear stories from Cape May’s history that are bizarre, unexplained or just downright weird. Offered on Saturdays, April 29 and May 6 at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $12 adults, $8 children (ages 3-12).

A National Historic Landmark City and one of “America’s 20 Prettiest Towns,” Cape May is the perfect place to step back into a gentler era and explore the city’s magnificent Victorian architecture and seaside beauty:

Experience Cape May’s history up close through the eyes of those who lived it during the Cape May Time Capsule Trolley Tour. Meet characters from the past who visited, lived and worked in Cape May as your trolley travels through town. Costumed historical interpreters bring to life 200 years of the town’s history. Offered at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, May 6. Admission is $35 and includes a box lunch with tea sandwiches.

Hunt for unique hand-made crafts and delightful collectibles at Spring Celebration Crafts & Collectibles at the Physick Estate shows on Saturdays, April 29 and May 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Emlen Physick Estate becomes an outdoor marketplace as vendors from throughout the Northeast display their wares. Family-friendly activities include bubbles, games and historic characters. Admission is free and free parking is available.

Take advantage of the rare opportunity to see inside some of Cape May’s fine private residences on the Spring Festival Private Homes Tour, Saturdays, April 29 and May 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enjoy touring a variety of interesting homes from the Victorian era to the 21st century that are not normally open to the public. Tickets are limited, so purchase early. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children (ages 3-12).

The new theme for guided tours of the Emlen Physick Estate, “Let’s Go Shopping! Victorian Consumer Culture” begins April 28. Learn about shopping during the Victorian era and hear about where Dr. Emlen Physick might have gone to purchase necessities and luxuries for his 1879 mansion. The new theme will run through April 2018 (except during the holiday season). Tours are offered year round and admission is $12 for adults and $8 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 Saturdays, April 29 and May 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the grounds of the Estate.

Stroll Dr. Physick’s neighborhood on tree-lined Washington Street and hear about the families who lived there and the architecture of the homes during Dr. Physick’s Neighborhood Walking Tour. Explore one of Cape May's great mysteries - why the Doctor chose to live in this area of Cape May. Offered on Saturdays, April 29 and May 6 at 11:15 a.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for children (ages 3-12). Enjoy lunch anytime from noon to 4 p.m. along with your walk on Dr. Physick’s Neighborhood Walking Tour & Café Combo, at the Carriage House Café & Tearoom on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate. Admission is $20 and includes lunch and the tour.

New in 2017! Climb aboard Cape May’s newest trolley tour to hear tales of the Underground Railroad in Cape May during the Underground Railroad Trolley Tour. Hear how, fleeing their chains in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, African American slaves braved strong currents and stormy seas, guided by the beacon at the Cape May Lighthouse. Hear how legendary anti-slavery fighter, Harriet Tubman, walked these streets, as did businessman and former slave, Stephen Smith, whose railroad cars carried hundreds to freedom. Offered on Saturday, April 29 at 2:15 p.m. Co-presented by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) and the Center for Community Arts (CCA).

At the southernmost tip of New Jersey, Cape May is especially vulnerable to the elements. Hurricanes, Nor’easters and blizzards have all left the city with a flood of memories and haunting images of utter devastation. Images taken after the Storm of 1962, which devastated the Cape May beachfront and boardwalk and caused catastrophic flooding throughout Cape May County will be featured in a new exhibit, “Cape May’s Stormy Past: From the Pages of The First Resort” that opens Friday, April 28 at 7 p.m. at the Carroll Gallery in the Carriage House of the Emlen Physick Estate. Admission is free. Friday, April 28 through Monday, Oct. 9. Open daily; times vary.

See the interiors of select Cape May properties on the Chocolate Tasting Tour, a self-guide tour that includes a mouth-watering chocolate treat at each stop. This tour celebrates the variety of ways that chocolate desserts are delicious and Cape May properties are beautiful, on Saturday, May 6 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $20 adults, $15 children (ages 3-12).

Learn about and tour an award-winning bed & breakfast inn on the Angel of the Sea Guided Tour. Inn staff guide you on this tour of the first floor, porches and exteriors including the history of the building. Offered Tuesdays through Thursdays, beginning May 2 at 12:15 p.m. Admission is $8.

Board the Cape May Whale Watcher for a sightseeing cruise around the island of Cape May. On the Around Cape Island Cruise, guests can view the majestic Victorian architecture and enjoy tales of local heroes, legends and history. The cruise is offered April 29-30 and May 3-7 at 10 a.m. during Spring Celebration. Admission is $30 for adults and $20 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. Co-sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) and the Cape May Whale Watcher.

Climb the 1859 Cape May Lighthouse up the 199 steps to the watch gallery for a panoramic view of the Jersey Cape and Atlantic Ocean. For those who choose not to climb, the Oil House contains a fully-accessible Visitors' Orientation Center and a Museum Shop stocked with maritime accessories and lighthouse memorabilia. Open Saturday and Sunday, beginning April 29, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tower admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children (ages 3-12).

Visit the World War II Tower Lookout Museum and Memorial (Fire Control Tower No. 23) on Sunset Boulevard, New Jersey’s last freestanding World War II tower, part of the immense Harbor Defense of the Delaware system known as Fort Miles. Visitors can climb to the 6th floor spotting gallery while reliving the homeland defense efforts during World War II. The ground floor of the tower is fully accessible. Open daily, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children (ages 3-12). (One child free with paying adult).

Come to Cape May to celebrate Mother’s Day under the tent at the Carriage House Café & Tearoom with brunch and enjoy live jazz from The Great American Songbook during Jazz Brunch at the Estate for Mother’s Day, featuring the Herb Moore Duo. Sunday, May 14 from 10 a.m. to noon. Admission is $30 and parking is free at the Carriage House Café & Tearoom on the grounds of the Physick Estate. Advance reservations strongly recommended.

To purchase tickets or for more information about these events, call (609) 884-5404 or (800) 275-4278. Tickets may also be purchased for many of these events online at MAC’s website at www.capemaymac.org. Purchase tickets in person by visiting the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. during regular business hours, or during hours of operation at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth, Washington Street Mall at Ocean St., Cape May.

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