Cape May MAC offers admission to the Emlen Physick Estate, the Cape May Lighthouse and the World War II Lookout Tower, as well as trolley, walking, house and boat tours throughout the year. Keep in mind that social distancing will be maintained and/or masks will be required both indoors and outdoors at all Cape May MAC tours, events and historic sites; prevailing limits on crowds will be managed to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. Schedules subject to change and capacities may be limited.
Emlen Physick Estate Guided Tour: (45 min.) (Daytime) Take a guided tour of the first and second floors of the 1879 Physick House Museum for an in-depth look at Victorian architecture and the period, reflecting one Victorian family’s lifestyle, and detailing the way the Physick family and their household lived, worked and spent their leisure time. Built in 1879, the 18-room mansion is an architectural wonder built by famed American architect Frank Furness and is one of the best examples of Victorian Stick Style architecture in the country.
Magic and Mystery House Tour (and Dinner at Vintage): (30 min.) (Evening) Take a step back in time to the Victorian Era in the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate mansion during the Magic and Mystery House Tour and learn about the Victorian fascination with magic, illusion, the mysterious and the odd. Hear about the Great Lafayette, Houdini, Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper and much more! Tour can be combined with optional dinner at Vintage prior to the tour.
Historic District Trolley Tour: (45 min.) (Daytime) Known as the “Queen of the Seaside Resorts” for its quaint Victorian cottages and pristine beaches, Cape May is the oldest seaside resort in the country, and in 1976, the entire city was declared a National Historic Landmark. Possessing one of the country’s largest collections of 19th century seaside wood-framed buildings, the historic district features a variety of styles of Victorian architecture. It’s beautiful. It’s charming. Wonderful tour guides will explain Cape May’s history and architecture and how and why it has survived and thrives to this day. This narrated tour travels through portions of Cape May’s historic district. Guides discuss the architecture and history of the area. Offered all year either separately or as combination tours. Begins and ends at the Ocean Street trolley stop.
Mansions By the Sea Trolley Tour: (45 min.) (Daytime) You’ll hear the lifestyles of the rich and famous who lived in the early 1900s in the most elegant part of town on this trolley tour that includes the eastern beachfront. You’ll see the broad streets and massive plots on Cape May’s east side – an area marketed as “New Cape May” at the turn of the 20th century. Today, new, beachfront second homeowners have continued the tradition, running the gamut from the mere wealthy to the fabulously rich. This narrated tour travels along Beach Drive through the early 20th century East Cape May Development areas. Guides discuss history and architecture. Begins and ends at the Ocean Street trolley stop.
Welcome to Cape May Trolley Tour: (45 min.) (Daytime) This is the best introduction to Cape May for first timers. Find the hidden gems and the little-known treasures of this glorious seaside town and learn about natural and cultural points of interest. This narrated tour highlights the many cultural, historical and natural attractions on the island. Begins and ends at the Ocean Street trolley stop.
Spirits and Oddities Trolley Tour: (30 min) (Evening) Headless photography? Electric corsets? Coffin torpedoes? You won’t believe some of the strange beliefs, oddities, fads and superstitions of the Victorians. Hear stories on this trolley tour from Cape May’s history that bring to life the bizarre, the unexplained or the just plain weird. This tour explores some of the strange beliefs, superstitions, oddities, fads, curiosities and mysteries from the end of the 19th century. Begins and ends at the Ocean Street trolley stop. Presented by Cape May MAC (Museums+Arts+Culture).
Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour: (30 min.) (Evening) What was that shadow? Was it the undead of Cape May’s past wandering their beloved haunts? You might scoff, you might shudder, but rest assured: on board a trolley with an experienced guide you will begin to wonder what’s beyond when you hear the tales of hauntings unearthed in Cape May by famous psychic medium and author Craig McManus. Begins and ends at the Ocean Street trolley stop.
Underground Railroad Trolley Tour: (1.5 hours) (Daytime) Cape May was part of the Underground Railroad and this trolley tour tells of those dangerous days. Black slaves fled their chains in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia and braved strong currents and stormy seas, guided by the beacon at the Cape May Lighthouse. 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. Co-sponsored by the Center for Community Arts. Begins and ends at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth and travels through parts of Cape May and West Cape May, with stops along the way, including the Mt. Zion Cemetery.
Combination House and Trolley Tours
Combination Historic District Trolley Tour/Physick Estate Guided Tour:
(1.5 hours) (Daytime) This immersive, 1.5-hour tour experience combines a guided tour by trolley of Cape May’s Historic District with a guided tour of the Physick House Museum, providing an in-depth look into Cape May history and architecture. Learn why Cape May is the only National Historic Landmark City in the nation as you appreciate the details of Cape May’s unique Victorian streetscapes via trolley. Take a guided tour of the first and second floors of the 1879 Physick House Museum, for a detailed look at Victorian architecture and the period. Built in 1879, the 18-room mansion is an architectural masterpiece built by famed American architect Frank Furness and one of the best examples of Victorian Stick Style architecture in the country. The tour includes a visit to the Carriage House Carroll Gallery Exhibit and begins and ends at the Ocean Street Trolley stop.
Historic Haunts Combo Tour: (1 hr.) (Evening) Take an evening trolley ride through the Historic District and hear stories of haunted Cape May. Step off the trolley at the Physick House Museum with your guide and see the first floor of the Physick House Museum, reputed to be haunted, as you learn about Victorian Spiritualism. This tour combines a Ghosts of Cape May trolley tour with a visit to the Physick House. In the museum, guides will compare the methods of spirit contact used by the Victorians with those of today’s paranormal investigators. Begins and ends at the Ocean Street trolley stop.
Painted Ladies, Porches and More Walking Tour (and Brunch at Vintage): (45 min.) (Daytime) Take a walk from the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., to the Washington Street Mall with a knowledgeable guide and experience charming Cape May, a National Historic Landmark city, up close. Delight in beautiful gardens as you learn about Victorian architecture and Cape May’s colorful history along the way. Discover the interesting features of various Victorian styles and learn why front porches were so important to Victorian social customs. Comfortable shoes are recommended. Tour can be combined with optional brunch afterwards on select tour dates, at Vintage, on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate. Presented by Cape May MAC (Museums+Arts+Culture).
Dr. Physick’s Neighborhood Walking Tour and Brunch at Vintage: (1 hr. 15 min. tour, lunch at Vintage afterwards) (Daytime – Morning) What was Cape May’s Washington Street like during the late 1800s, when Dr. Emlen Physick was a fixture in the neighborhood? As the owner of the grand Emlen Physick Estate at 1048 Washington St., he was the talk of the town, with his startling, stately home designed by American architect Frank Furness, built in 1879. Take a walking tour of his neighborhood and learn about his life, and the architecture and the neighbors who lived there. Enjoy a delicious brunch afterwards at Vintage, on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate. Comfortable shoes recommended.
Golf Cart Tours
Custom City Guide Golf Cart Tours
Cape May MAC now offers customized golf cart tours of Cape Island for small groups of family or friends year-round to experience Cape May together. City Guide Golf Cart Tours include a dedicated driver and guide and can accommodate groups of up to four or six passengers on a golf cart, navigating Cape May in comfort and convenience. A skilled driver and guide lead guests on a personalized tour of Cape Island with door-to-door service. Learn about Cape May history, architecture and legends, and visit historic sites, such as the Cape May Lighthouse, the Emlen Physick Estate and the World War II Lookout Tower, with lots of fresh air along the way. Tours can be customized based on interests and time. Tours require two business days advance notice. Call Susan Gibson directly at 609-224-6030 to make your reservation.
Weekends beginning Friday, April 23
Daily beginning Friday, May 28
10 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Experience Vintage, one of Cape May’s newest destination restaurants with delicious outdoor brunch and dinner dining on the Carriage House patio under the tent, on the grounds of the beautiful Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Visit capemaymac.org for schedule and menu, and OpenTable.com to make reservations. Pet-friendly, take-out available. Free off-street and on-site parking. Cape May MAC members receive a 15% discount (discount not applicable to entire party).
Through Oct. 24
Carroll Gallery Exhibit: “MAC’s 50th Anniversary Exhibit”
The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC), now Cape May MAC (Museums+Arts+Culture), was born in 1970 when a small band of passionate volunteers committed themselves to save the Emlen Physick Estate from demolition. In more than 50 years since, the organization has grown to become a leading interpreter of Cape May history, culture and the arts. This landmark exhibit highlights the organization’s history and its contribution to the preservation of historic Cape May, telling the story of an organization that has helped Cape May not only survive, but thrive. In the Carroll Gallery in the Carriage House at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Free admission. Open daily through Oct. 24; times vary.
Calendar of Events
Crafts and Collectibles Shows in 2021
Shop and browse outdoors on the grounds of the beautiful Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., among crafters and collectibles dealers from the tristate region. Admission is free:
• Spring Crafts and Collectibles Show, Saturday, May 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Summer Crafts and Collectibles Show, Saturday, June 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• National Lighthouse Day Crafts Show at the Lighthouse, Saturday, Aug. 7, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Craft Beer, Music and Crab Festival Crafts and Collectibles Show, Saturday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 5K Craft Beer and Crab Crawl Sunday, Aug. 15, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Harvest Brew Fest Crafts and Collectibles Show, Saturday, Sept. 18, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Victorian Weekend Crafts and Collectibles Show, Sunday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Halloween Crafts and Collectibles Show, Saturday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Shop and browse inside Cape May Convention Hall among crafters and collectibles dealers from the tristate region this fall. capemaymac.org. Admission is $2:
• Crafts and Collectibles By the Sea Show, Saturday, Oct. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Fall Crafts and Collectibles Show, Saturday, Nov. 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Holiday Crafts and Collectibles Show, Friday, Nov. 26 and Saturday, Nov. 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dinners With Vintage: Mother’s Day Weekend Dinner
Saturday, May 8: 6:30 p.m.
Treat mom to a special four-course dinner at Vintage on the eve of Mother’s Day to celebrate mom and enjoy the Herb Moore Duo under the evening lights. $75 per person. Admission is limited.
Free Admission for Moms on Mother’s Day and Dads on Father’s Day
Sundays, May 9 and June 20
Moms and dads are admitted free at two of Cape May’s historic sites, the Cape May Lighthouse and the World War II Lookout Tower, on their respective holidays, Mother’s Day, May 9, and Father’s Day, June 20. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
Virtual Armed Forces Day and Peace Officers Memorial Day Ceremony
Saturday, May 15: 11 a.m.
In 2021, Armed Forces Day and Peace Officers Memorial Day fall on the same day, Saturday, May 15. Join us online for a pre-recorded virtual ceremony honoring veterans and the military and fallen peace officers, led by Cape May County Commissioner Jeffrey Pierson. The virtual ceremony can be viewed at 11 a.m. via the capemaymac.org website.
Murder Mystery Dinners
Saturdays, May 22 and May 29: 7 p.m.
Enjoy a four-course dinner and watch the mystery and drama unfold around you during “All Bets Are Off,” this spring’s Murder Mystery Dinner at Aleathea’s Restaurant, at the historic Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St. Admission is limited. $65 includes a four-course dinner.
32nd Annual Cape May Music Festival 2021 Series
May 13-June 27
Launching this year’s music festival is a free classical music concert presented virtually for viewing and listening at home via capemaymac.org, on Thursday, May 13 at 5:30 p.m. The virtual concert is pre-recorded and presented by a collaboration between Cape May MAC, the New York Chamber Ensemble and the Bay Atlantic Symphony. Viewers and listeners can further enjoy these concerts any time after the concert. A live Q&A session immediately after each concert encourages viewers to engage with the artists. Viewers register in advance via the website to participate. Visit https://capemaymac.org/experience/special-events/cape-may-music-festival/ to find out more, to watch virtual concerts and to register in advance for the Q&A sessions. Live concerts continue the 32-year festival tradition of bringing outstanding classical, brass band and jazz music to Cape May. This year, the live concerts kick off on Memorial Day Weekend, with the exciting return of the award-winning Atlantic Brass Band in a free concert at Rotary Park Bandstand, 400 Lafayette St., on Sunday, May 30 at 7 p.m. Cape May MAC, the New York Chamber Ensemble and the Bay Atlantic Symphony also collaborate to bring live classical music concerts to the stage on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., on Thursday, June 3 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, June 17 at 7 p.m., with rain dates the following evenings. $25 adults, $20 seniors and $15 students. The New York Chamber Ensemble will host the traditional benefit Friends of the Cape May Music Festival Present “A Musical Intermezzo” on Wednesday, June 16: 4 p.m. at Vintage at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., Enjoy an intimate performance and light refreshments in the lovely setting of Vintage, under the Carriage House Tent on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate. This event raises funds to share outstanding classical music with the community throughout the year. Reservations necessary. $25 for adults; $20 seniors and $15 for students. $3 off for members. capemaymac.org. Paula Johns returns in 2021 for a jazz concert titled “The Real Me” presented on the outdoor stage at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., on Sunday, June 27 at 7 p.m. Rain date is June 28 at 7 p.m. $25 adults, $20 seniors and $15 students. Bring blankets and chairs for outdoor concerts. Social distancing will be maintained and masks are required at this time at all Cape May MAC locations both indoors and outdoors. For ticket information, program updates and details visit capemaymac.org or call 609-884-5404.
Lighthouse Full Moon Climbs
Wednesday, May 26, Thursday, June 24, Friday, July 23 and Sunday, Aug. 22: 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Don’t miss the romance of a nighttime climb to the top of the Cape May Lighthouse. These special opportunities are only offered a handful of times each year, during a full moon. Regardless of a clear or cloudy night sky, you will join a select group who have experienced stepping out onto the Watch Gallery at nighttime. Revel in the view of the Delaware Bay and the southern tip of New Jersey from the highest vantage point on the peninsula. The Cape May Lighthouse is located at Cape May Point State Park, Lower Township (next to Cape May Point Borough Hall in Cape May Point), at 215 Lighthouse Ave., and normally closes at dusk. $20 for adults and $10 for children (ages 3-12).
Clueless at the Physick Estate: “Hook, Line and Sinker”
Saturdays, June 5-26: 6:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Tuesdays and Thursdays, July 1-Aug. 31: 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
“Clueless at the Physick Estate” returns this summer with an engaging new mystery based on the popular board game. “Hook, Line and Sinker” is this season’s “whodunit” mystery that dramatically unfolds as you travel through the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate. Can you solve this mystery before someone else vanishes? $25 for adults; $20 for children (ages 3-12).
Gardens of Cape May Tour
Saturday, June 12, 2021 (Rain date June 13): 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Join in the celebration of spring, beauty and hope! Here is your invitation to step past the frontage and explore the private plants and blooms of some of the Cape May area’s most dedicated gardeners. See their private landscape designs and take home ideas for your own gardens. Smell and see what’s blooming and flourishing in several different seashore locations dominated by sunlight, ocean breezes, sand and salt, but each uniquely situated. Physick Estate gardens are included! Maps and activities will be available the day of the tour outside on the grounds of the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., with Cape May Winery wine tastings, and vendors on the grounds! $20.
Brunch and Bingo At the Beach
Saturday, June 19: 9:30 a.m.
Laugh along with your girlfriends and guy friends as you play a little bingo, enjoy a fashion show by Lace Silhouettes/Cotton Company and compete for prizes. Admission includes a delicious brunch at the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St. Sunday, Feb. 16 at 9:30 a.m. $25.
Dinners With Vintage: Dinner and Fireworks
Saturday, July 3 and Sunday, July 4: 6:30 p.m.
Here’s an exclusive chance to see the area’s Independence Day fireworks from the ideal vantage point: atop the Cape May Lighthouse. Enjoy a four-course dinner at Vintage then board the trolley at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. for a short ride to Cape May Lighthouse. Climb to the top to watch the fireworks from the Watch Gallery. Reservations necessary. Capacity limited. Subject to cancellation if fireworks are cancelled. $125.
Family Fun Days at the Cape May Lighthouse
Wednesdays, July 7-Aug. 18: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
The 1859 Cape May Lighthouse in Cape May Point State Park, Lower Township, is a beacon for fun! Join us this summer and enjoy kid-friendly activities, performers, entertainment and crafts vendors at the base of the lighthouse. Free admission to the grounds.
Lessons of History Breakfast Lecture and Book Signing at Vintage
Richard Striner presents “The Audacity of Abraham Lincoln”
Wednesday, July 28: 9 a.m.
Richard Striner will present a 45-minute talk “The Audacity of Abraham Lincoln” at Vintage, Emlen Physick Estate. The event is sponsored by the Cape May MAC Lessons of History Team. A spell-binding public speaker, Striner taught history for more than 30 years at Washington College, Chestertown, Md. He is author of more than a dozen books, an acclaimed Lincoln scholar, and his books and articles have covered political history, presidential history, literature, economics, film, architecture, and historic preservation. His most recent book is “Summoned to Glory: The Audacious Life of Abraham Lincoln” (Rowman and Littlefield, 2020), which will be available for purchase at the Carriage House Museum Shop. Event is limited. Light breakfast is included, with book signing to follow.
REV Theater presents: “Honky Tonkin’ – A Country Music Show” at the Emlen Physick Estate
Tuesdays, Aug. 3 and Aug. 10, Thursdays, Aug. 5 and Aug. 12, Fridays, Aug. 6 and Aug. 13, Saturday, Aug. 7 and Sunday Aug. 8. (outdoor stage at 7 p.m.)
Wednesdays, Aug. 4 and Aug. 11 (gazebo at 4 p.m.)
Yee-haw! This lil’ ol’ shindig puts the hoot in hootenanny with retro hits from Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams and many more in August on the outdoor stage or gazebo at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Don’t miss this hoedown, pardner, for a rootin’, tootin’ good time! Adults, $25, seniors (62+), $20, children over 12, $20, children 12 and under, free. Groups of 20, $15 per person. Social distancing will be maintained and/or masks are required; prevailing limits on crowds will be managed to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. Presented by REV Theater in association with Cape May MAC (Museums+Arts+Culture).
Craft Beer, Music and Crab Festival and 5K Run
Saturday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Festival)
Sunday, Aug. 15, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. (5K Run)
It’s back! Cape May MAC’s most popular outdoor festival returns in 2021, this time for two days! Join us with friends and family all day on Saturday, Aug. 14, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., for crabs, beer, music and more, and then on Sunday, Aug. 15, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., join us for a 5K run and a bit of fun on the grounds. Experience what CBSNY dubbed one of the top 5 outdoor festivals in New Jersey! Families are welcome. Social distancing will be maintained and/or masks are required; prevailing limits on crowds will be managed to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. Presented by Cape May MAC (Museums+Arts+Culture).
For information and to purchase tickets to all these activities, visit capemaymac.org.