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Map of Hotels Near:
   Asbury Park
   Atlantic City
   Cape May
   Jersey City
   Toms River

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About Cape May

Explorer Cornelius Jacobsen Mey, sent by the Dutch East India Company to explore the coast, found the climate “charming” and lent his name to the shore area. The gingerbread of Victorian architecture is a recurrent theme in Cape May; the prevalence of well-preserved late 19th-century structures resulted in the community being designated a national historic landmark in 1976.

Representative of this architectural style is the Emlen Physick Estate. The Pink House on Perry Street typifies the ornate “wedding cake” style.

At the southeasternmost tip of the state, Cape May is one of the oldest seashore resorts on the Atlantic Coast. During the first half of the 19th century it rivaled Newport as a favored summer retreat for Philadelphia and New York socialites. Presidents Buchanan, Grant, Harrison and Pierce were among the luminaries who vacationed at the resort. An earlier, less extolled visitor was pirate Captain Kidd, who filled his water casks near Lily Pond.

In addition to the pleasures of the beach and the amusements of the promenade, Cape May offers good boating and fishing. Various craft can be rented for fishing in the ocean or in Delaware Bay. Rockhounds pursue their interest also; the tide-worn quartz pebbles known as “Cape May Diamonds” can be found on the beach at nearby Cape May Point and along the lower Delaware Bay. Those who prefer entertainment rather than sand with their food should try Elaine's Famous Dinner Theatre; phone (609) 884-1199.

At Cape May Point State Park, a mile southwest of Sunset Boulevard (CR 606), is the historic Cape May Point Lighthouse, erected in 1859. The state park is one of three places adjacent to Cape May Bird Observatory in nearby Cape May Point that offers prime bird watching areas. Higbee's Beach Wildlife Management Area and Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge also provide observation points.

Cape May can be explored on several tours offered daily spring through fall and on a reduced schedule the rest of the year. Trolley tours of the historic district depart from the Washington Street Mall information booth; phone (609) 884-5404 for schedule. Of special interest in nearby Cold Spring is The Cemetery at Cold Spring Presbyterian Church where the oldest grave dates to 1742 and the present church building to 1823; phone (609) 884-4065.

Carriage tours, trolley tours, historic house tours and guided walking tours also start at the Washington Street Mall information booth. For tour information contact the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, P.O. Box 340, 1048 Washington St., Cape May, NJ 08204; phone (609) 884-5404 or (800) 275-4278. The Cape May County Art League at 31 Perry St. offers exhibits, classes and workshops; phone (609) 884-8628.

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry runs daily between Cape May and Lewes, Del. Its terminal is on US 9, 3 miles west of the southern terminus of the Garden State Parkway. The 17-mile trip takes 70 minutes. Reservations may be made at least 1 day in advance by calling (800) 643-3779 Mon.-Fri. 8:30-4:30. For schedule information write P.O. Box 827, North Cape May, NJ 08204.

Visitor Information

Cape May Welcome Center: Lafayette and Elmira sts., Cape May, NJ 08225; phone (609) 884-9562.

Self Tours

Brochures outlining a walking tour of Cape May's historic sites are available at the welcome center.

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