Victorian Cape May for the Holidays? How Jolly!

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Like your halls decked and your trees trimmed? Then Cape May is your perfect holiday destination. As you stroll along its bedazzled streets and admire the ornate gingerbread trim on its Victorian homes, you can almost imagine bumping into Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim on their way to Christmas dinner. Make plans to explore this National Historic Landmark now through January 1 during "Christmas in Cape May."

Holly + Jolly + Trolleys

During the upcoming weeks, New Jersey's seaside gem turns up the Victorian charm. Enjoy its twinkling lights, greenery and holiday decorations with the ultimate Cape May experience, a combination tour that includes a 45-minute trolley ride around the historic district and a 45-minute tour of the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate. Get into a festive spirit as you trolley about town before seeing what Christmas was like in a Victorian household in Cape May's only Victorian House Museum.

Many of Cape May's colorful Victorian homes are gracious bed & breakfasts offering a cozy respite from the holiday rush. A few to check out: the Queen Victoria, serving afternoon tea in the British fashion, Beauclaire's Bed & Breakfast, a favorite for its family-style breakfasts, and the Mason Cottage, now offering its Chocolate Decadence at tea time through March 31. Or check out current deals and special offers at Cape May hotels and B&Bs.

Victorian Style By Candlelight

Cape May boasts nearly 600 restored Victorian buildings. Get a taste of its Victorian architectural legacy during the 44th annual Christmas Candlelight House Tours (December 2, 9 and 16). Enjoy beautifully decorated houses, caroling and plenty of good cheer. Wonder why Cape May has so many "Painted Ladies"? When a devastating fire in 1878 destroyed half of the city, architects used the popular styles of the time when rebuilding. You'll see many styles within the Victorian category, including Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Stick Style and more. By the way, Cape May was designated a National Historic Landmark City in 1976.

Epic Shopping and Epicurean Holidays

Looking for a unique gift? Cape May offers dozens of quaint one-of-a-kind retailers at the Washington Street Mall, where you can shop for art, toys, books, apparel and more. If you can't decide, buy a Cape May gift certificate, which can be purchased in increments of $25 and used at dozens of local merchants and organizations.

Cape May is also beloved for its dining and theater. While the East Lynne Theater Company is wrapping up its season with Louisa May Alcott's Christmas on December 9, you can still catch Scrooge: The Musical at Elaine's Dinner Theater through New Year's Eve—along with a full-course meal. Additionally, sample Cape May's celebrated culinary scene at Peter Shields Inn & Restaurant, Blue Rose Inn & Restaurant and Washington Inn. All three boast great reviews on TripAdvisor. Cap your epicurean outing with tastings at Willow Creek Farm & Winery, Cape May Winery & Vineyard and Turdo Vineyards & Winery.

Holidays Alfresco

Looking for a little escape and a lot of fresh air? Cape May offers natural havens where you can appreciate ocean views, watch for birds or come face-to-face with the animal kingdom. Work up an appetite for that lavish B&B afternoon tea by climbing the 199 steps of the historic Cape May Lighthouse, open select dates in December. Explore Cape May Bird Observatory and learn why birding enthusiasts always include Cape May on their bucket list. Or treat the family to wild encounters at Cape May County Park & Zoo. The Zoo is currently open daily from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. You can visit 364 days a year!

Learn more at CapeMay.com, and keep this seaside town on your radar all year long. Events are always on the calendar, ranging from live music to the upcoming Sherlock Holmes Weekend (March 16-18, 2018). Discover more holiday happenings at visitnj.org where you can also download a free NJ travel guide or sign up for e-news from New Jersey Travel and Tourism.