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.
Where to Eat? Always the question of the day in Cape May.
There are lots of new choices for this year in Cape May – as well as our existing favorites. On Carpenter’s Lane in the Carpenter’s Square building, a new Mexican Restaurant called La Doňa is opening – and the owner, Lucy Corvino, is from Oaxaca, so we have high hopes.
Another new restaurant is Asian Legends, in the Acme supermarket area. Suzie and I have eaten there four times already and I can testify that it’s the best Chinese food in south Jersey, and would be really good restaurant in New York. Coming from me, that is high praise indeed. I’ve had broccoli with hot garlic sauce and Szechuan spicy beef and loved them both. Suzie had mackerel sushi and sushi rolls and loved them both also. Last week, we ate here, then drove to New York and ate Szechuan food again. Asian Legends was just as good.
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. No, I take that back. It was just the best of times – at the Cape May Dickens Christmas Extravaganza. If you like a little culture with your Victorian vacation, consider coming to the Dickens Extravaganza, December 6, 7, and 8th. Dr. Elliot Engle has had a mini-series on PBS, and is a wonderful, entertaining speaker. Sunday evening, there will be a talk about Edgar Allan Poe and Dickens. Monday is a talk about Winston Churchill and another about the Bronte sisters.
Tuesday, Jay Friedlin of the Philadelphia Dickens Fellowship will lead a discussion about Nicholas Nickelby. Later, there’s a talk about Railways in the Victorian age. The afternoon and evening are filled with a fascinating talk about Dickens and the Jews, followed by a Dickens Feast at the spectacular Washington Inn.
Come stay with us at Leith Hall bed and breakfast for the full Extravaganza package. $435 Is the cost for the three night package for one person and a room and breakfast at Leith Hall. $631 is for a room, breakfast, and two participants in the full package. Give us a call for discounts on partial Dickens packages.
These days, the Cape May news seems to be all about beer. Aside from the two festivals; the Craft Beer and Crab festival two weeks ago, and the Brew Fest this week – both at the Emlyn Physick Estate hosted by MAC, The Cape May Brewing Company has been in the news. First, they got a coveted status as a Jersey Fresh product for their honey porter, made with Cape May honey. Second, they’ve been in the news for their new beer brewed in honor of Pope Francis’ visit – You Only Pope Once or YOPO a pale hoppy beer designed to go with Argentine beef.
In our other hoppy news, Historic Cold Spring Village will soon be giving the Cape May Brewery some competition. Anne Salvatore (and her husband Dr. Joe Salvatore) are re-erecting an 1804 century barn. They have their permits from the State and are planning on brewing historic beers like spruce beer made with spruce sprigs and honey porter. If you drive by the village, you can see the barn going up near Seashore Road.
Last week, I blogged about beer, so this week I’m going to blog about. . . Beer!
This is the most popular event of the year in Cape May – the Craft Beer and Crab Festival, Saturday, August 8, from 11 to 6 P.M. There are crabs, of course, and pulled pork barbeque, as well as burgers and dogs. Come hang out at the Physick Estate and listen to music all day long. The performers include New Pony, Shady Side, Audrey and Chris, Radio Neon Duo, and Sean K. Preston. Bring the kids to be entertained by the Give and Take Jugglers little circus.
I know that it’s early, but think about next September. Cape May’s first Harvest Brew Festival will be Saturday September 19th from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M.. Lots of craft beers at the Physick Estate; with local food, local produce, local wine – and local talent for entertainment. (four local bands!) There will also be a farmers’ market, a crafts show, and activities for the kids.
The Harvest Brew Festival will also take place during the week-long celebration of gourmandize called the annual Food and Wine Festival (September 11th through 20th). This is our nineteenth year for the Food and Wine Festival, and it never fails to delight everyone who participates. You already know that Cape May is home to some of the best restaurants in New Jersey, and this week gives them a chance to show off. The MAC website will give you lots of information about a Lobster Bake Dinner, grape picking at Natali Vineyards, a Chocolate Lover’s Feast, a Beer Tasting luncheon, and dozens more. Call us today or go online to make your reservation for the gluttony gala in Cape May!
LEITH HALL’S GREAT MIDWEEK SPECIAL 30% off the second night, now through mid-June
Midweek Special. Not only are there wonderful things to do in Cape May for the next month, but now it’s cheaper! We are offering 30% off your second night during the midweek. Remember, for us the weekend is Friday and Saturday night and the midweek is Sunday through Thursday night.
From May 24 through June 11 is the Cape May Music Festival, with Irish music, The Atlantic Brass Band, and a tribute to our own George Mesterhazy – featuring many musicians playing favorites from “The American Songbook.”
May 31 through June 7 is Restaurant Week in Cape May, with a host of food-related activities. There’s a progressive dinner, with each course in a different restaurant. There are contests among the chefs and waiters, a many special events with classes and demonstrations by the star chefs of Cape May. When you add Cape May’s wine and craft beer to the mix, it’ll be a fantastic experience.
So, you’re considering visiting Cape May for the second weekend of Spring Festival, May 8, 9, and 10. As we described in the last post, there are dozens of things to do – but no, you want more. Well, we’ve got it. That weekend is also our first Coast Guard Community Festival. Cape May has just been designated a Coast Guard Community. We’ve always been very close to the folks at the Coast Guard base. Lots of Cape Mayers are Coast Guard spouses and retired career Coast Guarders. This May, were going to celebrate the Coast Guard in Cape May.
There will be tours of Coast Guard boats, fishing boats, the Cape May harbor, and a search-and-rescue operation. There will be a barbeque, dinners with entertainment, as well as exhibits of Coast Guard stuff. Visit the Cape May County Chamber’s website for more information. Also, you can go to the Coast Guard’s Channel Community – their social media blog; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget the Spring Festival events while you’re soaking up our maritime heritage; chocolate tasting, winery tours, crafts and collectables, and several lunches with entertainment. This is going to be one of the busiest weekends of the Spring – in terms of things to do. (Or, you can do nothing: watch the sunsets, walk along the beach, gorge on tea treats, and read – it’s up to you.) Don’t miss it!
If the barbeque picture is what’s catching your eye, look at the Leith Hall blogpost for two weeks ago. Cape May has three new restaurants to add to the dozens of great places to eat already here. Look at our websites restaurants page.
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.
This Spring, prepare to feast at some new restaurants in Cape May. We know that many of our guests come to visit primarily to eat well, and this year will see some changes in the Cape May Restaurant scene. I’ll set some of those changes out here, and update the restaurants part of the website soon.
First, Cucina Rosa is no more. Their space will be filled by another Italian restaurant called That’s Amore. So if the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie – That’s Amore will open in April. (I realize that if you are younger than I am, you won’t know that That’s Amore was a pop song in the 1950s)
Gecko’s is moving and changing, but not going away. You may know it from the location on Carpenter’s Street, right behind the mall and in front of SoMa Gallery. This April, it will be taking over the space formerly know as Higher Grounds, on Perry Street in West Cape May. It sounds like the menu will be a little less Mexican, but still feature several Southwestern items. I think that it will be more of a soup, salad, and sandwich restaurant, but I’m not sure. It will open in April and stay open all year.
The space formerly knows as Gecko’s will now be Yozu Sushi, which has been located in North Cape May for several years. They have a great reputation, and it will be nice to have a sushi restaurant so convenient to the Mall.
Purely as a scientific study, and for your sake, not mine, I’ll have to visit all of these this Spring and report back later. Or, come visit us this Spring and do your own taste-test and comment on this blog!