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Trip Report Jed's Jaunt to Cape May, NJ

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Mrs. Jed and I and another couple decided to spend a weekend in Cape May, NJ. We were there Nov. 2 to Nov 4. We went from Philly down Rt. 55, took about 2:20 hr. Friends came from Easton, Md, took 4:30 with taking the Lewes ferry.

We stayed at the Mainstay Inn, a B&B with 12 rooms in 2 buildings. We stayed in the Henry Sawyer room, a 2 bed, large size room facing the street. Friends stayed in the Henry Clay room. Both were very lovely, well appointed and maintained, as was the whole building.

The place was built in 1872, as a gambling house and for other licentious activities. Since then it has mutated into other forms, being a B&B since 1977. The downstairs has a large living room and small sitting room, both with the original furniture which is well preserved and impressive. The people there were pleasant and accommodating. The breakfasts were very good, with one varying hot entree of some egg concoction.

When we got there Friday afternoon, it was starting to get cold and windy from the approach of Hurricane Noel, so we bundled up and took a short walk to the beach. There were a few blocks of small stores, most of which were closed.

Back to the Inn, for the 4 PM tea, which provided a good assortment of tempting cookies. Unfortunately, we had to be mindful of our upcoming dinner. We went to the Washington Inn, a few minutes away by car, for an excellent, slightly expensive dinner. The cuisine was heavily seafood, as was to be expected.

Next AM we went to see the 'Fall Arts and Crafts Festival' at the Convention Hall on the beach. It was heavily a show of their local craftswomen, which was quite nice. Mrs. Jed bought a cute pocketbook for the granddaughter. Then we hied over to the ticket booth at the Washington Street Mall, only to find out that the 11 AM trolley tour was sold out. So we got tickets for the 1:30 PM tour and also for the Emlen Physick Estate ($15). Until then we roamed the outdoor and indoor Washington Mall, in and out of the crafts and fudge stores, winding up the the Blue Pig Tavern for a good light lunch.

The trolley tour went around the old houses area for 45 minutes, with a good overview and history. Then we were let off at the Physick House. This was the residence of Dr. Emlen Physick, who inherited the house and lived very comfortably in it. Seeing the house gave a good view of how the rich lived the genteel life in the Victorian times of the late 1800's. Back to the Inn for tea, and a rest before dinner.

As the hurricane was passing by, it was getting colder and windier, but fortunately no rain. We drove a few minutes to the Peter Shields Restaurant (at the Inn), which is highly rated at Zagats. Indeed, it earned that rating with our dinners, decor, and service. It was a large house with several dining rooms, and we moved from a noisy one to a quieter room which made the experience more enjoyable. It was expensive, even though it was a BYOB.

Sunday morning we took the walking tour ($10) of the historic district. We had a very good guide, Cliff, who told us about the history of the town, about the great fire of 1878, and the rebirth of the area after 1960. He showed us many of the houses, and discussed the variety of architecture that was used even on individual houses, such that none is purely one style.

We checked out of the Mainstay Inn, and headed home, having had an excellent visit. There are many more sites to visit in the area, which we saved them for another visit. ((*))

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