Historical Bed and Breakfast Close to Cape May Beaches
Cheerful, chatty husband-and-wife innkeepers Dennis and Lucille Doherty have an arrangement—she does all the baking for the holidays and afternoon teas, and he makes breakfasts each morning. Their work enlivens a typical day inside The Dormer House, an 1899 Colonial Revival–style mansion in Cape May, New Jersey, that was once a summer residence for marble magnate John Jacoby. Rocking chairs, antique furniture, and a grand marble fireplace lend to the feel that you’re staying in an elegant guesthouse, and year-round seasonal decorations brighten both the interior and exterior.
Each of the inn’s guest rooms and suites features a private bath, pastel walls, and floral decorations. However, each room offers its own unique experience as well—some have sitting areas, some have whirlpool baths, and others have life-size Bob Newharts. The Antique Rose suite on the third floor is tucked under the sloping dormer ceilings that inspired the inn’s name. A wrought-iron bed anchors the room, and the windows look out on the horses and carriages clopping along Columbia Avenue.
Every morning, Dennis cooks a full breakfast that’s served on the enclosed sun porch, and Lucille bakes sweets and snacks to accompany a lazy afternoon tea. The main sitting room houses a display of antique photographs and a collection of Victorian-era costumes. Head out to the inn’s wraparound porch and enjoy the scene on charming Columbia Avenue with a glass of lemonade.
Cape May, New Jersey: Seaside Resort Town with Victorian Architecture
Long billed as America's oldest seaside resort, Cape May sits at New Jersey's southernmost tip. The setting is so idyllic that Travel Channel named the town’s coastline one of the top 10 beaches in the country. Aside from beachcombing, popular pastimes here include fishing, whale watching, and bird watching. In fact, the New York Times called Cape May "one of North America's hottest birding spots." You might see bald eagles, herons, and woodcocks. In the spring, keep your eyes peeled for the latter’s intricate mating dance.
After a fire ravaged most of Cape May in 1878, residents rebuilt in the contemporary style of the time, and dozens of their stately Victorian homes remain standing today. Consequently, the Cape May Historic District has earned the distinction of being a National Historic Landmark. Horses and carriages tour the colorful, cottage-lined streets, which have been deemed off-limits to chain stores in order to preserve the classic small-town atmosphere. Along Delaware Bay stands the 1859 Cape May Lighthouse. Those who climb the tower’s 199 stairs are rewarded at the top with an unbeatable view of the Atlantic Ocean.