My husband Gerard and I have always loved Cape May during the holidays. The entire town is magical. This year, we fulfilled a dream of seeing the tree lighting and staying at a historic hotel. Continue reading below to hear all the details of our truly wonderful holiday weekend in Cape May.
Let me begin with the hotel. We stayed for two nights at the Carroll Villa on Jackson Street. This is the hotel part of The Mad Batter restaurant, a longtime family favorite. Our room was #11 and it was lovely with a calm vibe and just the perfect venue for a romantic and festive weekend. Honestly, our stay was fabulous and friendly. The experience started before we arrived with a welcoming email and text. The text was something we opted into, but it was very helpful and not intrusive. We were set for our stay!
The hospitality continued with the front desk. They could not have been more friendly and helpful. We were provided with a $30 voucher for breakfast each morning of our stay and a 30% discount on dinner entrees. Typically, there is a wait for a table at The Mad Batter at any time of day—it’s so popular. It was a real treat to get the buzzer and relax in the downstairs parlor until our table was available. Of course, there is always the option of waiting in their fabulous bar, The Blue Batter. It was obviously not beach weather, but you can read all about beach access amenities here.
One night something occurred that was a little startling, but also something we should have expected. We believe we had a ghostly visit the first evening. Yes, you read that correctly. Twice in the middle of the night the entire (king sized) bed shook really hard. Both times, I admonished my husband for waking me up and being so inconsiderate. Both times, he said “I was fast asleep until you yelled at me. I don’t know what you are taking about.” We discussed it in the light of day and realized that it takes a lot to move a big bed like that. It must have been a spirit playing tricks on us. The lovely woman at the front desk smiled when we relayed the story to her. Apparently, there are many who have had such experiences at Carroll Villa, including pennies dropping from the ceiling! If you had an experience too, comment below and let me know what happened.
This weekend getaway was a special treat for us and part of our Christmas gift. (We have been trying to do more experiences as gifts). So, reservations were made at our two favorite dining spots. The Washington Inn and The Ebbitt Room. As is our typical experience, they did not disappoint. The holiday decorations were spectacular, and the food was amazing. We enjoyed the lovely walk to The Washington Inn with all the houses and shops beautifully bejeweled with lights and sparkle. Of course, The Ebbitt Room was right next-door, so it was extremely convenient.
We had breakfast at The Mad Batter both mornings and could not have been more pleased. Gerard had savory (corn beef hash/eggs Benedict) with a bloody Mary to compliment—I think they are the best in town. My choice was sweet (orange almond French toast/Belgian waffle) with a fabulous mimosa on the side. We were so full we actually only had room for a light snack late afternoon before dinner!
Our snack location of choice was Carney’s. It had a super fun and welcoming vibe that just screamed the holidays. We indulged in cheese steak egg rolls and Bavarian soft pretzels.
We caught a little bit of the Tree Lighting Ceremony before heading to The Washington Inn. The ceremony was lovely and it was so special seeing Rotary Park decorated, including the gazebo. We didn’t actually see him, but we heard Santa himself made an appearance. We thought the carolers sang so beautifully. What better way to get into the holiday spirit?
The next night we were thrilled to attend the West Cape May Annual Christmas parade for the very first time. Perry street was lined with folding chairs at least a full day before the parade. It was everything we thought it would be. Our spot to view the parade was ideal—right at the turn on Perry Street by Cape May Mini Golf. The parade was heading right for us and then made the turn so we had a perfect perspective. The Coast Guard led the parade which is so appropriate! It was hard for us to pick a favorite – but the overall official winner for 2021 was Elf Dash. There were cars, trucks, floats, boats, first responder vehicles, golf carts and of course many who marched and danced in the parade. For a full view of each of the entries, here on their Facebook page. I was absolutely blown away!
Shopping in the many awesome stores in Cape May is always fun. At Christmas time, it is over the top. Our focus this year was primarily on stocking stuffers, and we really hit it out of the park. You can’t go wrong with a little something from Winterwood Gift & Christmas Shoppe this time of year. We always find something amazing (my post on Christmas ornaments goes into a lot more detail). This year we got: some great treats at Beef Jerky Experience; a little something spiritual at Guardian; fabulous coffee at Out There Coffee; car freshers from the Cape May Brewery booth at West End Garage and more. We also popped into Bath Time for a Santa rubber ducky for our neighbor who is obsessed with them. I think we were unbelievably inspired with our selections. Of course, it helped to have such wonderful options.
We also dropped into Congress Hall for a nightcap on the lawn Saturday evening. With their magnificent tree in the background and Christmas music softly playing, it was truly magical.
It was not all play during our holiday weekend in Cape May. I shot my third video for Ferry Vision at Rotary Park, the parade and Washington Mall. Gerard even got a bit of a cameo appearance during the parade part. My nerves were still going crazy leading up to and during the shoot. The team at FerryVision is awesome— my jitters were all on me. I was happy to be heading straight off to the Ebbitt Room afterwards and to walk around some more. I can’t get enough of all the lights and festivities in town.
Have I inspired you to visit Cape May for the tree lighting and parade? I certainly hope so! They say it is the busiest weekend in Cape May—even more than July 4th weekend! It is always the first weekend in December. We plan to make it a tradition, or at the very least annual visit during the season. Next time, we will be certain to a Cape May MAC house tour or maybe a carriage ride. What is your favorite thing to do in Cape May during the holidays? I would love to hear about it!