Christmas in Cape May

Christmas in Cape May

 Victorian Cape May captures all the charm of a Dickens village at Christmastime. It’s the perfect destination for immersing yourself in the true spirit of the holidays. Add some jingle to your holidays with a getaway during Christmas in Cape May, which runs from November 22 through January 1.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Cape May is a dining destination year-round, but the holidays serve up some very special treats. Sample champagne and sparkling wines on Saturday, December 7, during the 25th anniversary of Cape May’s annual Wine School. The acclaimed Mad Batter Restaurant will be serving a “Home for the Holidays” wine dinner on Friday, December 13. Savor a Chocolate Lovers Feast at the Washington Inn on Saturday, December 14. (Optional wine pairings will also be offered.) And reserve early for the popular Chefs’ Dine-Arounds, scheduled for Thursday, December 26 and Monday, December 30. Indulge in a five-course gourmet feast, each served in one of Cape May’s restaurants with wine pairings from area wineries. A trolley will take you from course to course. And speaking of trolleys…

Hop a Jolly Trolley

A festive way to see the sights is aboard one of Cape May’s holiday trolley rides. (Much cozier, too!) You’ll have your choice of rides throughout the season: Holiday Lights, Santa’s Trolley Ride and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, where members of the East Lynne Theater company share Victorian ghost tales that will spook the Scrooge out of you. Check Christmas in Cape May for ticket prices and times. You can even take a trolley for lunch and a wine tasting on Saturday, December 28. (Includes stops at Willow Creek Farm & Winery and Natali Vineyards.)

On the Holiday Stage

You’ll be laughing as you try to figure out “whodunit” at Murder for Two: The Holiday Edition at the Cape May Stage. Running through December 29, this musical features just two actors—one playing the investigator and the other playing all of the other suspects. The only weapon in sight is a piano!  The East Lynne Theater Company is staging The Great Tree and Other Tales, American classic Christmas stories adapted and performed by Gayle Stahlhuth. (On stage November 29-30 and December 8 and 12-14.)

House Tours Aplenty

The festive highlight of the Cape May holiday season is the Christmas Candlelight House Tours, self-guided walking tours scheduled on Saturdays December 7, 14 and 28, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Enjoy beautifully decorated houses, caroling, traditional goodies and plenty of cheer. Entry to the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate is included, which gives you the chance to explore “An Old-Fashioned Christmas Exhibit: Holiday Traditions Through the Years.” As you tour these “Painted Ladies,” you’ll also gain an appreciation for Cape May’s architectural legacy. This National Historic Landmark city boasts nearly 600 restored Victorian buildings. If you miss the Candlelight tour, you can still enjoy bedecked and bedazzled Victorian homes and B&Bs on the Holiday Inns Tour, the Cheery Cherry House Christmas Tour and the Lamplighter Christmas House Tour.

A Natural Holiday

Enhance your season with an outdoor adventure or two. Seaside Cape May is a natural for beach walks, bird watching and wild encounters. 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 a day at Cape May County Park & Zoo. While the Zoo is closed on Christmas, it’s open every other day, currently from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

It’s a Wrap

Take a stroll and pick up holiday gifts at downtown Cape May’s Washington Street Mall, where you can shop for art, toys, books, apparel and more at quaint one-of-a-kind retailers. 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. Of course, Cape May is known for its gracious bed & breakfasts offering a romantic respite from the holiday rush. Why don’t you give yourself an early Christmas present with a weekend at one of Cape May’s charming inns or B&Bs. A few to check out: Angel of the Sea, Queen Victoria, Beauclaire's Bed & Breakfast, Wilbraham Mansion and the Mason Cottage. You can also learn about current deals in Cape May like the attractive Holiday Magic Package at Montreal Beach Club.