Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May, New Jersey
For over 200 years, Cape May, New Jersey, has welcomed travelers to its beachfront, including the elite of New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. But Cape May isn’t just a summer destination: During the winter season, this shore town transforms into a storybook holiday town. A two-day tour offers the opportunity to experience historic Cape May during a magical time of year.
Upon arriving in Cape May, board the trolley for a guided tour of the historic district, featuring a variety of Victorian architectural styles. Local guides discuss the importance of preservation and Cape May’s status as a National Historic Landmark site. Stop off at the Emlen Physick Estate, festooned in authentic Victorian holiday decorations, for an in-depth inside look at period architecture and lifestyle. Built in 1879, the 18-room mansion is an architectural wonder and one of the best examples of Victorian Stick style in the country.
After lunch at the Washington Inn—a local landmark constructed in 1846—spend time on the Washington Street Mall before checking into Congress Hall, where four 19th-century presidents stayed. Dinner is followed by a talk on Christmas traditions of the Victorian era and an evening trolley ride through the town to enjoy the holiday lights and decorations.
The next morning, after breakfast at the hotel, visit Cape May Point at the tip of the peninsula to see the World War II lookout tower and 1859 Cape May lighthouse, which boasts breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. Your guide discusses the history and restoration of both sites. Stop off for a traditional shore meal at the Lobster House before your last site, Historic Cold Spring Village, a living 19th-century historic district; then return to Washington, D.C.
Know Before You Go
- Cost includes bus transportation, lodging, all activities, and the following meals: one breakfast, two lunches, and one dinner.
- Tour departs by bus from the Mayflower Hotel, Connecticut Ave. and DeSales St., NW, with a pickup stop at the at the DoubleTree by Hilton Laurel, 15101 Sweitzer Lane, Laurel, Maryland at about 7:45 a.m.
- Single-room supplement $130 (factored into the Single Room Member and Single Room Non-Member pricing).
- Singles registering at the double-room rate are paired (on a nonsmoking basis) if possible, but must pay the single-room supplement otherwise.
- Detailed information is emailed to registrants about four weeks prior to departure.
- Participants are advised to purchase travel insurance for overnight and multi-day tours from a provider of your choice. Travel insurance provides additional coverage against unforeseen incidents that require last-minute cancellations.
- Registration for this tour will end by 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, December 12, 2023.
- The tour departs by motorcoach from downtown Washington, DC with a designated secondary pick-up outside the city. Content delivered by the study leader on the way to the destination, after the secondary pick-up, is an integral part of the study tour experience. Meeting the group once the tour is en route is discouraged.
- Smithsonian is a mask-friendly environment. Masks are strongly recommended to be worn on buses at all times and may also be required at various indoor sites.
- For additional tour information: