Cape May has been named the best Beach on the Jersey Shore. An article by Joe Atmonavage quotes on NJ.com “As the farthest point south on the Shore, Cape May is the crown jewel of the region with gorgeous beaches and a quaint town center filled with gingerbread Victorians and colorful red and breakfasts.” the Travel Chanel post read. “Bring your binoculars to the beach to spy the playful dolphins jumping in the wake.”
Cape May storm – Through October 9, there’s an exhibit at the Carroll Gallery at the Physick Estate in Cape May. The show is really interesting. It’s about the storms that have hit Cape May since it’s founding, but the reason I’m particularly interested is, it includes one of my paintings. The exhibit organizers invited a number of Cape May artists to submit paintings on the theme of storms, and the Mid-Atlantic Center will auction them off at the end of the exhibit. So, feel free to buy it. You can even buy it now for the suggested reserve price. Forty percent of the proceeds will benefit MAC. Also feel free to make a reservation at Leith Hall bed and breakfast to enjoy Cape May’s beaches, restaurants, and culture.
P.S. Not only is this one painting is on exhibit, but I have an upcoming show of my paintings at the Carroll Gallery in Cape May for the last three weeks in October. I’ll hang about
We’re thrilled to announce that Elan’s paintings are now available online through the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts website. The online sale is in anticipation of a show at the Carroll Gallery at the Physick Estate scheduled for next year. Though you can buy the same paintings at www.Elan ZingmanLeith-artist.com, if you buy them through MAC, forty percent of the price counts as a charitable donation. Don’t think of buying a painting as a luxury, think of it as clever tax planning!
Susan and I just visited Beach Plum Farm for the first time. Sometimes it takes us Cape Mayers a while to discover new local attractions. It is an organic farm, garden, gift shop, and restaurant owned by the Congress Hall / Virginia Hotel crowd. It is really beautiful. There’s a wooden barn-like building which houses a breakfast and lunch spot, a gift shop on the first and second floors, a produce stand, and some herb plants to take home. The building is flanked by a formal herb garden laid out as a parterre. There are pick-nick tables and chairs and benches to sit among the flowers. There are golf cart tours of the grounds.
Beach Plum Farm is an idyllic country experience only a couple of miles from Leith Hall. It’s beautiful. It’s calm. And it’s healthy. Come visit us and, when you need a break from the beach, visit the farm and it’s near neighbor Willow Creek Winery. The winery is another beautiful country spot, only a few yards from the farm. It includes a beautiful big building set up as a wine bar, restaurant, and wedding hall. Willow Creek also offers tours and grounds to relax in.
Suzie and I were driving up the parkway two weeks ago on our way to visit my doctor’s office in North Jersey. I looked up and saw a solitary, enormous, raincloud hanging over the wetlands. The cloud was immense and the landscape was extraordinarily wide. I tried to memorize the scene to paint later when I got home. I just finished it. It’s the largest painting I’ve done in a few years; five feet wide and three feet tall. I’m pleased with the sense of depth in an essentially flat, featureless, landscape. And the color of the wetlands before they really turn green in the Spring.
Cape May’s annual Spring Festival is next week – and this year there are lots of spectacular activities. There will be the Spring Festival Crafts and Collectibles show, as well as several tours like Cape May After Dark, Chocolate Tasting Tour, and Historic Haunts Combo Tour.
The Self-guided Winery and Brewery Tour and the Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery Tour, and the Winery Cellar Tour and Tasting may all sound like the same thing, but are really three very distinct experiences – at different wineries and with different presentations. You can link to the Mid-Atlantic Center’s website to get details and sign up for activities.
My favorite part of this year’s Spring Festival is an exhibit of paintings by Alice Steer Wilson, who was a great painter who lived in Cape May. Her watercolors were extraordinary and in the same league as Winslow Homer’s or John Singer Sargent’s.
We are thrilled, happy, and delirious to announce that our new book is being published as a Kindle ebook on Amazon. It’s called Rome Secrets – Eleven Self Guided Walking Tours. You may remember that we spent a winter stay in Rome a couple of years ago because we had a book contract. That project is finally done and we are very pleased with the product. You can stay home and feel that you are wandering the sunny streets of Rome. There are lots of photographs, gossip, scandal, food, and of course, art, and architecture. Or, you can use it in Rome to guide you through the neighborhoods and make you feel like a real Roman.
Spring festival is Cape May’s annual sigh of relief that Winter is over. This year we have a few new events that will get you in the spirit. First, if you’re a Downton Abbey fan, you can put your Easter bonnet on and have a Royal Tea at the Carriage House at the Physick Estate. There will be Royal Trivia to test your knowledge of all things regal. There’s a new tour called the Cape May Time Capsule, where characters from the nineteenth-century will guide you through there town.
And Chocolate too…
Saturday, May 3rd will feature the Chocolate Championship tour, where you can benefit from the cuthroat competition among Bed and Breakfast owners for the honor and the trophy. You get to sample the goodies and vote for the best in show. April 26th, there’s a Murder Mystery Dinner at Alethea’s Restaurant, with a new mystery “Revenge is Sweet” and a delicious dinner. Earlier the same day (April 26) there is a Private Homes Tour, showing houses not ususally open to the public. I love snooping in other people’s house and you will too.
A new painting of Castelo São Jorge in the parlor at Leith Hall
This is just a brief post to tell you about a change in our parlor atLeith Hall bed and breakfast. A few weeks ago, I went to a yard sale with a neighbor and found a great late nineteenth-century gilded frame for five dollars – and amazing price for a very fancy frame. The outermost molding was broken, so I replaced it and gilded it and ended up with a spectacular frame. Of course, it isn’t a standard size and I had no painting that would fit it. Fortunately, I wanted to make a picture of the Castelo São Jorge in Lisbon, which we visited during last winter’s vacation. The castelo sits on top of the Alfama hill, which was the old Arab city before the Christians conquered Portugal. We were staying on a cliff-top on the opposite side of the old city and could look across the lower town (the Baixa) to the Alfama and the castelo.
The Castelo Sao Jorge is the highest point in Lisbon. The Romans may have built a fort there on an Iron Age site, but if they did, it was obliterated by later building. The Arabs built a medinat (city) or al-qasaba (fort) on the same site, populated by “people of the book” – Christians, Moslems and Jews. The kings of Portugal kept and extended the fortifications until 1755 – the year of the terrible earthquake, tidal wave, and fire that wiped out the center of Lisbon. Much of what we see now was restored in 1910.
Suzie and I took the little yellow number 28 trolley from one extreme end of Lisbon to the other, ending in the Castelo neighborhood. It is a wonderful and sometimes exciting ride, as the trolley just missed hitting buildings in the narrow twisted alleyways. Of course, the trolley is on tracks, so it always just misses the buildings, but it plunges down the face of the cliff and up the hillside lke a cross between transportation and a roller coaster.
A book about Alice Steer Wilson by her daughter to be celebrated in Cape May
Alice Steer Wilson was a great Cape May painter, and will be remembered at a book signing this Saturday at the Carriage House of the Emlen Physick Estate. Her daughter Janice Wilson Stridick, has just written a book about her mother, Light Particularly, and will appear to autograph copies.
Alice Steer Wison was both a skilled and inspired painter. Her paintings often specified the highlights and shadows of a subject, leaving the viewer to fill-in the middle tones. This caused the paintings to pop into three
dimensions, and somehow made them more striking and involving, too. The paintings are beautiful, but they are not just souvenirs of pretty Cape May cottages. Instead, they are accomplished paintings that use the light falling on complicated architecture and the shadows cast as their common theme.
Many of her paintings remind me of watercolors by John Singer
Sargent. This is no small compliment, as John Singer Sargent was the best watercolorist there ever was.
Take the time to visit the book signing at the Carriage House at the Physick Estate and meet Janice Wilson Stridick. Janice is a designer in her own right and is active in Historic Preservation in New Jersey. Use the occasion for a visit to Leith Hall, a dip in the ocean and a snooze on the beach.