Cape May Sparkles During Six Weeks of Christmas Holiday Tours and Activities

CAPE MAY — Cape May welcomes visitors with an abundance of good, old-fashioned cheer for the Christmas holiday during six weeks of festive tours and events sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC), from Friday, Nov. 17 through Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.

Victorian Cape May is the perfect setting for sharing the Christmas holiday season with family and friends. Soak in the sights, sounds and tastes as you warm up on heated trolley rides, delight in the city’s Victorian Christmas decorations, indulge in delicious food and wine events, share breakfast with the jolly man in the red suit, and much more this holiday season.

Cape May’s oldest and beloved holiday tour, the 44th Annual Christmas Candlelight House Tours, will take place on Saturdays, Dec. 2, 9 and 16. Each night from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., tour-goers can walk to their choice of homes, inns, hotels and churches, beautifully decorated for the holiday season. Along the streets, carolers and strolling musicians serenade, imparting good old-fashioned Christmas cheer, while hospitality centers offer holiday revelers warm beverages and traditional holiday treats. All this is sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Admission is $35 for adults and $20 for children (ages 3-12) and includes entry to the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., authentically decorated for a Victorian Christmas, and to “An Old-fashioned Christmas: Holiday Traditions through the Years” exhibit in the Carroll Gallery in the Carriage House. Limited shuttle service on heated trolleys is available. Christmas Candlelight House Tours are limited; advance reservations are strongly recommended.

The wonders of the season are on display at “An Old-Fashioned Christmas Exhibit: Holiday Traditions through the Years” at the Carroll Gallery located in the Estate Carriage House. Here you can experience an exhibit of holiday traditions complete with a giant Christmas tree, a Dept. 56 Dickens Village, model trains, nostalgic photos from Christmas past and much more! Friday, Nov. 17-Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. The Gallery is open daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas); hours vary. Admission is free and free parking is available.

Take a guided, daytime, living history tour of the magnificent 1879 Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, decorated in authentic Victorian style for Christmas, during Physick Family Christmas House Tours, presented from the viewpoint of a member of the Physick family in the early 1900s. The tour also includes a visit to the Carroll Gallery at the Emlen Physick Estate where you can see “An Old-fashioned Christmas” exhibit. Offered daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) through Jan. 1, 2018; hours vary. Adults $12; children (3-12) $8.

During the Historic District Trolley Tour, you’ll get acquainted with Cape May on a trolley tour as knowledgeable guides present entertaining and educational stories about the nation’s oldest seashore resort. Adults $12; children (ages 3-12) $8. Offered daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas). Hours vary.

Enjoy a guided trolley tour of Cape May’s Historic District, followed by a guided tour of Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, the Emlen Physick Estate, decorated in true Victorian style for Christmas and presented through the eyes of a member of the Physick family in the early 1900s, during the Combination Trolley/Physick Family Christmas House Tours. Adults $22, children (ages 3-12) $14. Tours are offered daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas). Hours vary.

Relive the memories of Christmas past on Lamplighter Christmas Tours, self-guided evening tours of Cape May’s inns or private homes specially decorated for the holidays. Hear a holiday presentation by the owner at each location. The tour also includes a visit to the Carroll Gallery at the Emlen Physick Estate where you can see “An Old-fashioned Christmas” exhibit and enjoy warm beverages and holiday treats. Adults $20; children (3-12) $15. Offered 7-9 p.m. on Fridays, Dec. 1, 8 and 15; Saturday, Nov. 25; and Wednesday, Dec. 27.

Be inspired and get into the Christmas spirit during Holiday Inns Tours, self-guided tours where you’ll visit three of Cape May’s festive inns or private homes delightfully decorated for the holiday. Adults $15; children (3-12) $10. Offered Monday-Thursday, Nov. 27-30 and Dec. 4-7, 1-3 p.m.

See over a dozen beautifully decorated rooms in a 168-year-old, privately owned home on one of Cape May’s oldest streets during the Cheery Cherry House Christmas Tour. Frank and Beth Acker invite you to travel back through time while viewing Santa and Mrs. Claus beside the tinsel-covered tree; the dining room table set with Christmas turkey and trimmings; the parlor Christmas tree ornamented with family decorations from the 1800s; and the glow of Dicken’s Village lit windows and mantel. Adults $10; children (under age 10) free. Offered Monday-Thursday, Dec 11-14 at 1 p.m.

Ghosts of Christmas Past Trolley Rides feature a member of the East Lynne Theater Company who will regale you with a Victorian holiday ghost tale as you ride through Cape May’s festively decorated Historic District. Adults $12; children (3-12) $8. Ride begins and ends at Washington Street Mall at Ocean Street, except for the Nov. 18 ride which leaves from the Emlen Physick Estate. Offered Fridays, Nov. 24-Dec. 29; Saturdays, Nov. 18-25, Dec. 30; Sundays, Nov. 26-Dec. 17 and Dec. 31; Tuesday-Thursday, Dec. 26-28. Hours vary. Advance reservation strongly recommended.

Thousands of Christmas lights and holly transform Cape May during the holiday season. Take one of the many Holiday Lights Trolley Rides through Cape May’s Historic District to see cheerfully decorated inns and homes as guides talk about Victorian Christmas traditions, lead sing-alongs and play Christmas music. Rides last about 30 minutes and admission is $12 adults; $10 children (ages 3-12). Offered Saturday, Nov. 18 and nightly, Nov. 24-Dec. 30 (no tours Dec. 2, 9, 11, 16, 24 and 25). Trolley rides leave from the Washington Street Mall Information Booth, except for Nov. 19 trolley rides which leave from the Physick Estate.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus have made their way to Cape May from the North Pole to host Santa’s Trolley Rides. Bring the kids to the Physick Estate on weekends for a ride around Cape May with stories and songs led by Mrs. Claus. Santa will greet children with a sweet in the Carriage House. Adults $10; children (ages 3-12) $8. Saturday, Nov. 18, Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 25-Dec. 17. Hours vary. Advance reservation strongly recommended.

Revel in the sparkly lights of Cape May’s beautiful Victorian homes decorated for Christmas on a trolley ride through town, then take a guided tour of the first floor rooms of the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, authentically decorated for a Victorian Christmas during the Evening Yuletide Tour. See how the Physick family would have entertained for the holidays. Afterwards, visit the Carriage House for holiday refreshments and a visit to “An Old-fashioned Christmas” exhibit. Tour begins and ends at the Ocean Street trolley stop. Adults $22; children (3-12) $14. You can also take just the house tour portion, the Evening Physick Estate Tour, a 30-minute guided tour of Cape May’s 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, decorated in authentic style for a Victorian Christmas. Included is a visit the Carriage House for holiday refreshments and a visit to “An Old-Fashioned Christmas” exhibit. Adults $12; children (3-12) $8. Both tours offered every evening, Nov. 24 through Dec. 30, except Dec. 2, 9, 11, 16, 24 and 25. Hours vary.

Savor the flavors and colors of autumn Friday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. during the Mad Batter Wine Dinner –Autumn Harvest, a five-course seasonal menu paired with wine at the Mad Batter restaurant. Small vineyards, big taste! Limited to 60. Admission is $75 (tax and gratuity included).

C’mon girls… this is all about you! Grab your best girlfriends for Brunch, Bingo & Lace and enjoy time away from the holiday to-do list on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 9:30 a.m. Play a little bingo, enjoy a fashion show by Lace Silhouettes/Cotton Company and win some great prizes at the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., all while enjoying a delicious brunch. This fun event is a great way to relax with your gal pals. Admission is $25.

The man in the jolly red suit will be coming to town and visiting the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., for Breakfast with Santa at 10 a.m. on Saturdays, Nov. 25, Dec. 2 and Dec. 9, and Sundays, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10. Share a family-friendly breakfast buffet with Santa at the Inn of Cape May. Children can visit with Santa Claus, share their Christmas lists and hear a Christmas story. Admission is $18 adults, $12 children (ages 3-12) and $5 children under 3 who are dining.

It’s a bountiful buffet 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 Chocolate Lovers Feast. This is a limited event so reserve early. The Blue Rose Inn, 653 Washington St. Saturday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. Admission is $40.

Come home for the holidays! Celebrate with a festive five-course dinner paired with a selection of wines at the famous Mad Batter restaurant during the Mad Batter Wine Dinner— “Holiday Spirits and Dueling Sommeliers” on Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. The dinner is limited to 60 so reserve early. Admission is $75 per person (tax and gratuity included).

Are you a wine lover? Learn all about wines made for celebrating during the Cape May Wine School Class “Holiday Sparklers” on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. Before you pop the cork, prepare for your holiday celebrations by tasting delicious sparkling wines perfect for holiday celebrations at the Washington Inn, 801 Washington St. Call the Washington Inn directly at (609) 884-5697 for tickets. Admission is $40 (gratuity not included).

Don’t miss this special opportunity! Enjoy a five-course, gourmet feast this holiday, with each course served in one of Cape May’s premier restaurants during the unforgettable Chefs’ Dine-Around on Tuesday, Dec. 26 at 6 p.m. Wine will be selected for each course, and a representative from the sponsoring winery will explain the pairings. A trolley shuttle between restaurants is provided. Reserve early; Chefs’ Dine-Arounds are limited to 34 people per evening! Admission is $125 (gratuity included).

A must visit to help complete your holiday gift-giving list is the Holiday Crafts Fair. Shop for unique handmade gifts and seasonal decorations over two days inside Cape May Convention Hall. Friday, Nov. 24 and Saturday, Nov. 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cape May Convention Hall, Beach Avenue at Stockton. Admission is $2.

MAC’s Museum Shops are open for extended hours during the holiday season and offer museum quality gift ideas for the holidays including jewelry, teapots, books and more at the Carriage House Museum Shop on the grounds of the Physick Estate. There are selections for youngsters as well, including children’s books, toys, dolls, puzzles and games. Cape May Teddy Bear Co.® bears, Mocha and Champagne, make lovable gifts for children and dozens of different outfits are available for them. The fully accessible Museum Shop is open daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas); hours vary.

You can also delight the lighthouse lover on your holiday list with a gift from the Cape May Lighthouse Museum Shop, located next to the lighthouse in Cape May Point State Park. Here you’ll find Cape May diamond jewelry, toys, books and clothing for fans of the lighthouse. The fully accessible Museum Shop is open Saturdays through Dec. 24, Sundays through Dec. 18, Friday, Nov. 25 and daily Dec. 26-Jan. 1. Hours of operation vary and parking is free at both locations.

It was Prince Albert who brought Christmas traditions to England from Germany when he married Queen Victoria. Learn how these traditions spread to America during the Christmas Traditions Lecture, a richly illustrated presentation at the Episcopal Church of the Advent, 612 Franklin St. Much of what we associate with the celebration of Christmas comes from the Victorian era, including Christmas trees, Christmas cards, Christmas carols and our image of Santa Claus. Admission $10. Saturday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m.

Join world-renowned lecturer on Charles Dickens, Dr. Elliot Engel, and immerse yourself in the storied world of Dickens during the annual Dickens Christmas Extravaganza, with lectures and performances offered daily. Engel’s mini-lecture series on Dickens ran on PBS television stations around the country and his articles have appeared in national newspapers and magazines including “Newsweek.” Also featured are lectures by members of the Philadelphia Dickens Fellowships. Included in the Extravaganza is a Dickensian-style feast at Union Park Dining Room, along with a wine tasting and a holiday tour of Cape May. Sunday-Tuesday, Dec 3-5. Admission to the Extravaganza is $175 per person. Some events available for individual purchase. Complete packages with accommodations are available from participating inns.

Cape May Stage presents “The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged).” When a big storm shuts down the Garden State Parkway, the three presenters are forced to present a very ambitious Christmas show at Saint Everybody’s Non-Denominational Universalist Church. This silly, slap-stick pastiche is the perfect way to usher in the holidays or stay in the spirit through New Year’s Eve! Nov. 15-Dec. 30, Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays-Sundays at 3 p.m. Advance reservation strongly recommended. The Robert Shackleton Playhouse is located at the corner of Bank & Lafayette streets.

East Lynne Theater Company presents “Louisa May Alcott’s Christmas.” Gayle Stahlhuth, who’s been performing one-person shows for over 35 years, including her own “Lou: The Remarkable Miss Alcott,” brings to life 30-plus characters in her memorized, unique storytelling style. With the flick of the wrist and change of accent, she glides seamlessly from one character to another in this tour-de-force performance that delights all ages. Nov. 24-25, Dec. 3, 7, Dec. 8-9 at 8 p.m.; Saturday matinee on Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, 500 Hughes St.

Schedules are subject to change. Visit for the most up-to-date schedule and ticket information.

For more information, call (609) 884-5404 or (800) 275-4278, or visit