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.
This Friday and Saturday (3-27 and 28), Cape May will host its eighth annual Singer Songwriter weekend. Though the weekend is designed for singer-songwriters, giving them the skills and information to further their careers, the many performances in locations all around town make a wonderful experience for us audience members. Not only are there a lot of performers to choose from, all of the acts (except Congress Hall) are free!
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.
The Cape May autumn migration – specifically the Hawk watch – runs from September 1 through Nov. 30th. October, however, is the peak period. In fact the 58th Annual N.J. Audubon Weekend/The Bird Show is October 28-30.
Audubon Migration Workshops
Experts are on hand at the Hawk Watch Observation Platform at Cape May Point State Park to help beginners identify the many species of raptors and birds which fly by on their way south. Their real job though, is to count the numbers of raptors. Cape May Point is a world famous migration capital. No place in North America offers more spectacles more consistently than Cape May, NJ and nowhere else will so many birds and so much birding talent be assembled in one place – at one time.
As an example, on Saturday October 4 alone, there’s a session on Fall Migrants at Rea’s Farm, a Photo walk, and fifteen other activities!! Go to their website to see the incredible variety of classes, workshops, and walks. You can ask for a packaged Early Birder Breakfast at Leith Hall to take with you, or you can return for our later breakfast seating.
Just when you thought the Cape May season was winding down, the middle of September brings the Cape May Food and Wine Celebration. There will be spectacular dinners like the Farm to Table dinner presented by the Red Store in Cape May Point and a Bourbon Tasting Dinner at Alethea’s Restaurant in the Inn of Cape May on the beach in Cape May. The Chocolate Lovers Feast will be at The Blue Rose, one of Cape May’s newest and best restaurants. There will also be special dinners, tours, and grape picking at three of Cape Mays vineyards – Hawk Haven, Natali, and Cape May Winery.
Just imagine your stay in Cape May. The ocean will still be warm, the weather will still be ideal. There will be lectures and demonstrations, tastings from many Cape May restaurants at Convention Hall; winery, brewery, and bourbon events, samples and tastings, and feasting galore. You can go to the website of the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts for a more complete list; and you can call or email us to make reservations.
And, it’s at Naval Airstation Wildwood’s Aviation Museum. This August 27th through 29th will be Airfest. The B 24 Liberator, the B 17 Flying Fortress and the B 51 Mustang bombers will be there. There will be food, fun, exhibitors, and a day-full of activities. Check out the website of the Aviation Museum to get the details.
Naval Airstation Wildwood’s Aviation Museum is one of the great places to visit in the Cape May area. This enormous wooden hangar is the size of a cathedral, and contains a great collection of planes that you can see, explore, and even sometimes sit in. The hangar is left over from WWII, and some of the planes are that old too. The museum explains Cape May’s role in WWII – so there’s an educational purpose, but the fun is to get close to lots and lots of planes.
This year, Cape May will once again come alive with spectacular fireworks off the beach in front of Congress Hall. The show will begin at about 8 P.M.. Just bring one of our sand chairs down to the foot of Ocean Street, or walk to the right a block and enjoy the show. This year, there will also be lots of music surrounding the 4th.. June 30th will feature the Cape May Diamonds at Convention Hall, as well as The Doctors of Rhythm at Rotary Park just beyond the Mall. July 1, the Logond Honors Band will perform Latin jazz and funk at 7P.M.
Just after Independence Day, John Clark Little Big Band will play on July 6 at Rotary Park. Finally, on July 7th, is Cape May’s Independence Day Parade – which is the essential small town Americana parade. The Coast Guard Band will be there as well as three string bands – so those of you who are nostalgic for a Philadelphia childhood will feel right at home. That evening, there will be two concerts – the Golden Eagle Band and the Fralinger’s String Band.
The West Cape May Strawberry Festival will be June 7 (rain date of June 8). Come out and enjoy strawberry smoothies, strawberry tacos, strawberry ice cream, chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry barbecue sauce on ribs and chicken and of course, strawberry shortcake You can buy strawberry t- shirts, hats, jewelry, art work and stained glass – not to mention antiques, crab cakes, and birdhouses
There’ll be live entertainment all day with Robin Hippell (who used to be our assistant innkeeper at Leith Hall, and is a pretty mean jazz singer) and Amy Hufana from 10-12, Bill Bitman on the steel drum from 9 to 11 A.M. and the crowning of the Strawberry King and Queen at 3 P.M..
Also stop by the Coastline Realty table and say hello to Elan’s co-workers when he has his reatlor hat on.
One of the joys of the West Cape May Strawberry Festival is absorbing the atmosphere of West Cape May, with neighborliness, good feeling, and cooperation in a traditional small town setting.
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.
This December, come to Cape May, where real old fashioned Christmas came to live. There are two major house tours offered by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts; the Christmas Candlelight Tour and the Lamplighter Tour. The Candlelight tour is the biggest of the year, with about a dozen houses each night. There’s still a date available – Saturday, December 28. Homeowners and Inn owners will greet you and show you their Victorian parlors, all decked out for the holidays. The carriage house at the Physick Estate will have hot cider and the town will be sparkling with lights.
A smaller, more intimate, tour of five houses and inns will be offered Friday December 27th , Monday December 30th, and Tuesday December 31st. My preference is the Lamplighter Tour. Five Victorian houses per day is near my limit. You can chose by what is offered on the evenings that you’d like to be in Cape May. Come stay with us at Leith Hall and enjoy Elan’s breakfasts and afternoon teas as well as Cape May’s shopping, touring, and dining.