CAPE MAY – Cape May County residents can play tourist for the day during Community Day on Sunday, June 12. Community Day is presented by The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) and sponsored by Sturdy Savings Bank.
On Community Day, county residents are offered free admission to some of the most popular Cape May tours and historic sites. It is only through the ongoing and enthusiastic support of local residents that MAC’s cultural and history programs and preservation efforts are possible, and Community Day is one way to say “thank you.”
With only a proof of residency, Cape May County residents can climb the Cape May Lighthouse, visit the World War II Lookout Tower (Fire Control Tower No. 23), tour the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate Tours and take a Historic District Trolley Tour. Suggested proofs of residency include a driver’s license, voter registration card, passport or utility bill. Children under the age of 18 need not prove residency but must be accompanied by an eligible adult.
County residents can enjoy the following tours and activities for free on Sunday, June 12:
The Cape May Lighthouse: Climb this 1859 structure with 199 steps to the watch gallery for an amazing panoramic view of the Jersey Cape and Atlantic Ocean. The Museum Shop offers souvenirs, books, videos and other maritime items for sale. A fully accessible Visitors’ Orientation Center is located in the Oil House on the Lighthouse grounds where visitors who choose not to climb can see a photomural of the view. The Lighthouse is located at Cape May Point State Park in Lower Township (215 Lighthouse Avenue, off of Sunset Boulevard) and is open Sunday, June 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The World War II Lookout Tower (Fire Control Tower No. 23) Museum & Memorial: Fire Control Tower No. 23 is 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 and boardwalk interpretive panels are fully accessible, as is the All Veterans Memorial that is open all year for quiet contemplation. The Tower is located on Sunset Boulevard in Lower Township near Cape May Point. The Tower is open Sunday, June 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
New in 2016! Physick Estate Self-guided Tour: Explore at your own pace during the new self-guided tour of the Emlen Physick Estate. Spend time exploring the rooms and collections of the Physick House Museum with knowledgeable interpreters and volunteers to answer questions. In some rooms you will meet a member of the Physick family or domestic staff, who will discuss the “hows and whys” of the objects found there. Self-guided Tours are offered Sunday, June 12 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Historic District Trolley Tours: Get acquainted with Cape May history on a trolley tour as knowledgeable guides present entertaining and educational stories about the nation’s oldest seashore resort. Trolleys depart from the Washington Street Mall Information Booth, Washington Street Mall at Ocean Street. Tours are offered on Sunday, June 12 at 11 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.
Combination Trolley/Physick Estate Tours: A guided trolley tour of Cape May’s Historic District, followed by a self-guided tour of Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., with its new theme in 2016: “What the Heck Is That Thing” is available on Community Day. Tours begin at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth, Washington Street Mall at Ocean Street, and are offered Sunday, June 12 at 11 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Visitors are encouraged to plan ahead for timed tours and leave enough time to accommodate possible traffic delays. Lower Township Police report that certain roads surrounding the Cape May-Lewes Ferry and in North Cape May will be closed or detoured during the morning of June 12 for the Escape the Cape Triathalon, from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. These include Ferry Road, New England Road and others. Visitors are also encouraged to leave extra time to present your proof of residency, at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth at Ocean Street for trolley tours, or the Carriage House Visitors Center at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street for Physick Estate tours. The Cape May Lighthouse and the World War II Tower each will accept proof of residence at the entrances. Some tours may be subject to availability.
MAC is 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. Since 1970, MAC has helped drive the economic engine of the county, bringing millions of tourists into Cape May through its year-round offering of affordable tours, activities and events. Over 90% of MAC’s revenue comes from ticket sales, and that revenue not only helps MAC achieve its mission of historic preservation and cultural enrichment, it helps support the local economy. For example, large fund-raising events such as the Craft Beer & Crab Festival on the Physick Estate grounds provide local businesses and vendors with outstanding economic opportunities, while profits from this huge event enable MAC to fund free education programs in county schools.Last year, for example, in 2015, MAC educators went into local schools and provided 19,591 hours of free educational programming in Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic Counties, which amounts to some $131,000 worth of educational instruction. While the educational enrichment value to students who experience these living history programs is priceless, the cost savings to local taxpayers is one more benefit MAC gives back to the county.
For more information about MAC or its year-round schedule of tours, festivals, and special events, please call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278, or visit MAC’s Web site at www.capemaymac.org.