Cape May’s 46th Annual Victorian Weekend Features Tours and Activities Celebrating this National Historic Landmark City

Cape May’s 46th annual Victorian Weekend, presented by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC), celebrates the city’s famous Victorian architecture and history with a long holiday weekend of activities and events from Oct. 4-8.

Join us on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. as history professor, scholar and author Natalia Mehlman Petrzela presents “Women and Children First? #MeToo, #NeverAgain and The New Faces of American Activism”— the 7th Annual Lessons of History Distinguished Lecture Series — at Cape May Convention Hall. The lecture will be followed by a meet-the-speaker reception hosted at The Chalfonte Hotel. Tickets are $30; lecture and reception $60; students, teachers and active military $10. Limited event.

The Carroll Gallery Exhibit, “Capturing Cape May’s Architecture: The Making of a National Historic Landmark,” tells the story of Cape May through the detailed HABS (Historic American Buildings Survey) architectural drawings from the 1970s that helped make Cape May what it is today. Free admission. Open daily during Victorian Weekend; hours vary.

What in the world were they wearing under those Victorian garments? During Show Us Your Undies Brunch & Fashion Show, living history presenters from Grand Oak Plantation will show what it took for the Victorian lady and gentleman to dress each day. Accompanied by a delicious brunch at the Carriage House Café & Tearoom. Monday, Oct. 8 at 10 a.m. $30 admission includes brunch and program.

For those who want to know, “How’d they do that?” Behind the Walls & Under the Crawls Trolley Tour will show you. Cape May has one of the largest concentrations of 19th century wood frame structures (over 600) in the United States. Take a look from a builder’s perspective and learn how things really worked on this one-hour guided trolley tour. Monday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. $15 adults, $10 (children ages 3-12).

Join in the fun at the Carriage House Café & Tearoom during An Afternoon of Victorian Parlor Games. Play the parlor games Victorians played, including such favorites as “Charades” and “Pass the Slipper.” Victorian dress encouraged but not required! Dessert is included with coffee or tea, and punch or beverage of your choice. Friday, Oct. 5 at 4:30 p.m. $15 adults, $12 MAC members. Limited event.

From candles, grease and lard in simple lamps, to fantastic shale oil and kerosene chandeliers, advances in lighting during the 19th century were a technological revolution. Shining A Light on the Victorian Era with Brett Ewald at the Carriage House Café & Tearoom brings to light anecdotes and highlights over a dozen antique hand blown and crafted sparking, miniature, finger and stand lamps. Sunday, Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. $25 admission includes afternoon tea and program.

Enjoy flavorful amuse-bouches, intensely flavored small plates, or hors d’ouevres, especially prepared for you during the new Taste Your Way Inn Tour, a self-guided walking tour, visiting several of Cape May’s renowned inns. Saturday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. $20 adults, $15 children (ages 3-12).

Enjoy an entertaining and educational guided tour of Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, during the Emlen Physick Estate Guided Tour, with the new 2018-19 tour theme, “That’s Entertainment!” Tours are offered daily during Victorian Weekend; hours vary. Adults $12, children $8 (ages 3-12).

Independent explorers can enjoy the Physick Estate Self-guided Tour. Self-guided audio presentation available. $12 adults, $8 children (ages 3-12). Combine a house tour with a guided trolley tour of Cape May’s Historic District with Combination Trolley/Physick Estate Tours which leaves from Washington Street Mall Information Booth. $22 adults, $14 children (ages 3-12).

Take a guided tour of the Emlen Physick House that focuses on the mechanical systems that made things run during the Nuts & Bolts Tour of the Physick Estate. Friday, Oct. 5 at 11:15 a.m. $12 adults, $8 children (ages 3-12).

Get into the “spirit” of things on a guided tour of the historic (some say haunted) Physick Estate during Historic Haunts House Tours. Offered Friday through Sunday, Oct. 5-7 at 7:45 p.m. $12 adults, $8 children (ages 3-12). Combine this tour with the Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour during Historic Haunts Combo Tours offered at 7:15 p.m. $22 adults, $14 children (ages 3-12).

Cape May has connections to the Underground Railroad and this trolley tour tells the local stories of those dangerous days. During the Underground Railroad Trolley Tour Saturday, Oct. 6 at 10:15 a.m., 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. $20 admission includes a guided tour of the Owen Coachman house (a historic free black’s house).

Kick off Victorian Weekend at Nauti Spirits Distillery with Victorian Vices at Nauti Spirits, an entertaining, illustrated talk on Thursday, Oct. 4 at noon, presented by Elan Zingman-Leith, about Victorians’ “naughty” side. You’ll travel by MAC trolley to the distillery and enjoy a box lunch. $25 admission includes trolley transport, program and box lunch.

Transport yourself to a time when entertainment was theatrical, sassy and teased the imagination during An Evening of Burlesque: Spectacular Burlesque Extravaganza Thursday, Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. at The Chalfonte Hotel. $30 admission. Reservations encouraged. For mature audiences. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

To drink or not to drink, that is the dispute between saloonkeeper Patrick Collins and Jennie Wales, staunch advocate of the temperance movement, during this Temperance Debate at Cape May Brewery! Hop on board the MAC trolley Saturday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m. and join Dr. Emlen Physick as he attempts to maintain decorum during this dramatic, spirited and Victorian debate at Cape May Brewery. $30 admission includes program and boxed dinner from the Carriage House Café & Tearoom.

Laugh along with friends as you play a little bingo, enjoy a fashion show by Lace Silhouettes/Cotton Company and compete for prizes, all during Brunch, Bingo & Lace. $25 admission includes brunch at the Inn of Cape May.

Increase your knowledge of wines during the Cape May Wine School: The Fantastic Wine of Tuscany on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. Learn about Italy’s favorite grape, Sangiovese, and taste the delicious different wines of this famous region. $40 admission. Call The Washington Inn directly at (609) 884-5697.

The scene and the table are both set for the Murder Mystery Dinner “An Evening to Die For,” written by Jacklyn Fazio, a mystery that will stimulate your imagination and satisfy your craving for a good whodunit. Enjoy a four-course dinner at Aleathea’s Restaurant at the Inn of Cape May as the mystery unfolds around you on Saturday, Oct. 6 and Sunday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. $55 adults, $30 children (ages 3-12).

Enjoy gracious, yet casual, dining at the Carriage House Café & Tearoom on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate with an a la carte menu that includes signature sandwiches, salads, tea sandwiches and more, plus a Classic Tea Lunchone and Afternoon Tea Luncheon featuring teas from the House of Tea in Philadelphia. Everything is available for takeout. Open daily during Victorian Weekend from noon to 4 p.m. For reservations, call (609) 884-6064.

Walk the haunted streets of historic Cape May with your guide, Craig McManus, who will talk about the houses where he has sensed paranormal activity, during the Ghost Walk with Craig McManus on Friday, Oct. 5 at 6 and 9 p.m. $25 admission.

Walk the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate on Sunday, Oct. 7 during the Victorian Weekend Crafts & Collectibles Show on the lawn. Crafters and collectibles dealers from throughout the region will display and sell their unique and handmade wares from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission. Free parking available.

Build up an appetite with a walking tour of the Historic District, and then enjoy a Southern-style breakfast buffet at the historic Chalfonte Hotel during the Brunch Walk on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 10:30 a.m. $20 adults, $15 children (ages 3-12). Walking tour is available separately, subject to availability. $10 adults, $7 children (ages 3-12).

Go on a clues hunt and discover answers to questions as you search the grounds of the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate during the Physick Estate Scavenger Hunt. Packet with clue sheet costs $5. Available daily, year-round.

Discover the fun of exploring Cape May and uncovering its architectural elements from a kid’s perspective with the Cape May Family Treasure Hunt. Packet with clue sheet, map and answer sheet costs $5.

Get acquainted with Cape May on a trolley tour as knowledgeable guides present entertaining and educational stories about the nation’s oldest seashore resort during Historic District Trolley Tours. Offered daily; hours vary. Tours leave from the Washington Street Mall Information Booth. $12 adults, $8 children (ages 3-12).

Board a MAC trolley tour for a 30-minute evening ride through the haunted streets of Cape May during Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour. Recent paranormal findings of ghost writer Craig McManus come alive as your guide translates McManus’ spooky stories. Offered nightly; hours vary. $12 adults, $8 children (ages 3-12).

Discover points of interest, activities and special events throughout Cape May during the Welcome to Cape May Trolley Tour. It’s a perfect introduction to town. Offered daily; hours vary. $12 adults, $8 children (ages 3-12).

Headless photography? Electric corsets? Coffin torpedoes? During the Cape Mayhem Trolley Tour, a 30-minute trolley tours through the gas-lit streets of Cape May, explore some of these strange beliefs, superstitions, oddities, fads, curiosities and mysteries from the end of the Victorian era. Offered Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5 at 7:45 and 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6 at 7 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. $12 adults, $8 children (ages 3-12).

Don’t be green with envy on the Mansions by the Sea Trolley Tour when you see how well the rich lived in the early 1900s in the most elegant part of town. You’ll see the broad streets and massive plots on Cape May’s east side on this trolley tour – an area marketed as “New Cape May” at the turn of the 20th Century. Offered Thursday, Oct. 4 at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5 at 11 a.m., 1:30 and 4 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 6 at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 7 at 11 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. $12 adults, $8 children (ages 3-12).

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