The City of Cape May, New Jersey, is known for its stunning beaches, charming Victorian architecture, and rich history. The city’s Historic District is one of its most significant and beloved attractions, showcasing over 600 preserved historic buildings that span more than two centuries of American architecture.
The Cape May Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976, and it is the largest collection of 19th-century architecture in the country. Visitors to the district can take a self-guided walking tour or join a guided tour to learn more about the history of the area and its unique architecture.
The district’s architecture spans a variety of styles, including Queen Anne, Gothic Revival, and Second Empire. Visitors can marvel at the intricate details of the buildings, such as the ornate gingerbread trim, stained-glass windows, and sweeping verandas.
One of the most iconic buildings in the district is the Emlen Physick Estate, a grand Victorian mansion that was built in 1879. Visitors can tour the mansion and learn about the life of Dr. Emlen Physick, who was one of Cape May’s most prominent citizens in the late 19th century.
Other notable buildings in the district include the historic Congress Hall Hotel, the Chalfonte Hotel, and the Cape May Lighthouse, which dates back to 1859. The district is also home to several museums, such as the Cape May Fireman’s Museum and the Cape May County Historical Museum.
The Cape May Historic District is not only a testament to the city’s rich history but also a thriving hub of restaurants, shops, and galleries. Visitors can enjoy a meal in one of the many restaurants housed in historic buildings, browse through antique shops, or admire the work of local artists in the district’s galleries.
Overall, the Cape May Historic District is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, architecture, or just looking for a unique and charming experience. With its stunning buildings, rich history, and lively atmosphere, it is a true gem of the East Coast and a beloved attraction of Cape May.