Emlen Physick Estate#5 in Best Things To Do in Cape May
Price & Hours
Take a step back in time at the Emlen Physick Estate, the only Victorian-era house museum in New Jersey. Completed in 1879, the house belonged to a wealthy Philadelphia family, the Physicks. After surviving a proposed demolition in the 1960s, the grounds underwent a full restoration. Today, visitors can take guided tours to admire the architecture and period decor of the house, as well as learn more about the Physicks' lives. Travelers looking for a more heart-pumping experience should opt for the Historic Haunts house tour. The grounds are said to be inhabited by the spirits of the Physick family (and their many dogs), earning itself the nickname "Cape May's original haunted house."
Recent travelers loved learning about the rich history of the property from the museum's guides, who dress the part in Victorian clothing and stay in character through the entire tour. Some recommended visiting over the holidays to see the house fully decorated for Christmas – though many said the estate was worth a visit no matter the time of year. After touring, patrons recommended stopping for high tea at the Carriage House within the estate.
For a standard house tour, tickets cost $15 for adults and $8 for children between the ages of 3 and 12. Veterans and active military can enter for free. For a more specialized tour (focusing on the property's paranormal activity, for example) tickets costs $15 for adults and $10 for kids and members of the military. Tickets can be purchased online. Combination trolley tours of the historic district are also available for $25 for adults and $15 for children and military personnel. Emlen Physick Estate is open every day of the week between 9 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. for self-guided tours. Guided tour times vary. To learn more, visit the Emlen Physick Estate's website.
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#1 Cape May City Beaches
For many travelers, the allure of Cape May has much to do with its plethora of spacious, white sand beaches. The entire Jersey Cape (which stretches through 10 communities) boasts 30 miles of shoreline, and Cape May itself offers up 2 1/2 miles' worth. Across the various beaches, vacationers can swim, skimboard, surf, fish, kayak and play volleyball in designated areas. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer and all of Cape May's beaches are family-friendly. Alcohol is prohibited at all times and dogs are only welcome on the sand between November and March. Metered parking can be found along the main strip and you may also find free parking on side streets. Restrooms are located at every half-mile, as are open-air showers to rinse off sand.
Recent beachgoers said Cape May's shores were clean and easy to access. Many noted the stretches of sand were especially picturesque at sunrise and sunset, and some even spotted dolphins during these times. To enjoy fewer crowds, a few travelers recommended Poverty Beach, though families preferred to stay on the main promenade for easier access to bathrooms, umbrella rentals and restaurants. Keep in mind that some visitors reported the surf could be a bit rough at times, which may be dangerous for young children.
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