Friday, December 3, 2010

A Victorian Christmas in Cape May

Christmas time in Cape May is our most favorite time of the year at the Mason Cottage.  As such, we love to go all out with our holiday decorations (it doesn't hurt that my sister, Carrie Campbell, is a renowned garden designer in Bucks County, PA who also specializes in holiday exterior decorations for her clients).  

This year we started our Christmas decorating on Sunday, November 28th (this may seem early to some, but in Cape May this is actually considered late).  Since we chose to use all real greenery, we were limited to how early we could put up the tree, garlands and greenery.  All of the outside and inside garland (on the banisters, fireplace, above the doors and mirrors) was a beautiful Western Red Cedar.  Plush red velvet bows were lovingly place on wreaths, fencing, as well as the Mason Cottage sign.

The Mason Cottage tree of choice is a Leyland Cyprus.   We chose the Leyland Cyprus for its beautiful lacy greenery, as well as the fact that it stays green and fresh for a very long time.  Since we were decorating so early this was a major requirement (the 1st day we put the tree up, it drank 2 gallons of water).  These trees grow very quickly in the fields so its not unusual to find trees that are 12+ feet tall.  The theme of this years tree was Au Natural.  Most of the ornaments are made from objects of nature that were collected on our many nature walks or from the walks along the beach. 

Our little angel ornaments were all tediously made by hand, all from objects of nature.  If you can find them on the tree,  turn them over, you will find their name on the back of each one - Cloe, Froe, Zoey, Maura & Laura (pictured here to the left is Zoey.)  The wings on the angel are  made from shells that are actually called "Angel Wing's".  The dress is made from dried  Coxcomb Celosia and Maiden Grass plumes, the head is a Shark-eye shell and the hands are Cats-Paw shells. The hair was made from real wool gathered from the lambs on our friends family farm.

Among the many other ornaments you can find on the tree are real finch and robin bird nests, sand dollars, starfish, dried hydrangea, grass seed heads, pine cone and shell pomander balls.  Each ornament that graces this tree has its own special story - each made by hand.

Each year Cape May's Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC, for short) offers their Cape May Candlelight House Tours.  This year the tours fall on Saturdays, December 4th, 11th & 18th from 5:30 to 8:30 PM.  These tours present a wonderful opportunity to peek inside many of the Cape May Bed & Breakfast.   We are very excited that the Mason Cottage will be one of the featured inns on tour during this years 2010 tour.   

If you would like more information on the Mason Cottage, a Cape May NJ Bed and Breakfast, please visit us at

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Top 10 Things to do in Cape May this Fall

If you've been to Cape May, New Jersey before, than lucky you (you can understand my enthusiasm when I speak of this little gem of a town).  If not, and your thinking about a little getaway, then why not check out all this town has to offer (I promise you will not be disappointed).  So, on to my Top 10 list of things to do this fall in Cape May:

10. New Jersey Audubon Weekend (October 28th - 31st)
This is one of the biggest birding events on the East Coast - "If birds are good judges of excellent climate, Cape May has the finest climate in the United States, for it has the greatest variety of birds."  – Alexander Wilson

9.  Dinner at George's
OK, this really isn't an event, but it is worthy to make the list in my opinion.  If you are into really great food in a casual atmosphere, than this is the place for you.  It's a BYOB and the prices won't break the bank either.  Keep a look out for them on the Food Networks "Diners, Drive-ins & Dives" where they were recently featured with Guy Fieri.  

8.  Shopping along Washington Street Mall
The fall is the best time to go shopping in Cape May, Why you ask?  Well a lot of shops close down for two months in the winter and they need to sell their inventory to make room for next years stock.  You can find great sales in almost every shop.  My personal favorites are Caroline's Boutique, Bath Time and Good Scents. 

7.  Physick Estate Tree-lighting and Open House (November 20th at 7:00 PM)
This is the kick-off to the holiday season in Cape May - a jump start to getting people into the Christmas spirit. 

6.  Cape May Jazz Festival (November 12th - 14th)
This event happens twice a year in Cape May, once in the spring and again in the Fall.  If you are into good music than this is a definite do-not-miss event.

5.  Cape May New Jersey Film Festival (October 19th - 21st)
"The Cape May NJ State Film Festival is New Jersey’s premiere weekend film festival dedicated exclusively to the support and presentation of creative, challenging, groundbreaking, film/video works by New Jersey filmmakers.  During this four-day period, festival goers have the opportunity to celebrate the best New Jersey films and filmmakers, screening a full day of shorts, numerous features, retrospectives, special events. Along the way, attendees have the pleasure unique to film festivals of meeting face-to-face with the directors, actors, producers, screenwriters, and composers who are the makers of these films."

4.  Food & Wine Festival (September 18th - 26th)
Foodies and oenophile's will delight in this week long festival.  Indulge in great food, fine wine, and all types of culinary creations during the 14th Cape May Food & Wine Festival 

3.  Christmas Candlelight House Tours (December 4th, 11th and 18th)
Since Winter does not officially begin until December 21st, this event makes my fall top 10 list!  Christmas is such an amazing time in Cape May.  It's something short of magical to see all the homes and Cape May Bed and Breakfasts decked out with the lights, garlands and Victorian splendor.  The Mason Cottage Bed and Breakfast will be one of the featured inn on tour this year (December 4th and 18th).

2.  Cape May's Victorian Week 2010 (October 8th - 17th)
So much to do and see in Cape May during this week long celebration (Please see my earlier post for more on this event).  One of the events especially near and dear to me, the Chocolate Championship Tour and Tasting is happening during Victorian Week on October 9th.  If you like Chocolate, then this is a tour for you!  Last season, we were the 1st Runner Up with our "Pounds of Chocolate".   Will our "Everything, but the Kitchen Sink Brownies" take the win??  I hope!  If it does, check back for the recipe!

And the #1 thing to do in Cape May, New Jersey is:

Relax on the beach, listen to the surf and do nothing. 
Hectic times call for drastic measures my friends!

If you are interested in learing more about us, you can visit us at

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cape May Victorian Week 2010

One of the many great things about Cape May, New Jersey is that this is a year-round beach town. Unlike many other New Jersey shore towns, Cape May offers visitors a variety of activities, fairs, and festivals to enjoy throughout the year. Come October, while our neighboring shore towns start to wind down, Cape May continues to charm visitors with its most well-known festival, Cape May Victorian Week (rated a “Top 100 Event in North America”).

Cape May Victorian Week is a time to celebrate what makes this seaside retreat so special – its history. Learn to dance as they did back in the Victorian era by attending one of the vintage dance workshops offered throughout the week. You may also be interested in one of the guided walking tours or trolley tours where you will learn about the history of the town, the people (and the ghosts) and the many historic buildings and B&B’s that date back to the late 1800’s.

Visitors to Cape May have always been intrigued by the many Victorian bed and breakfasts nestled throughout the town (rated “One of the country’s Top Ten Bed & Breakfast Towns” by Coastal Living). Before having the opportunity to own one of these spectacular painted ladies, I was one of those personally captivated. I remember walking down the quaint little streets in Cape May, seeing people on the verandas enjoying their afternoon tea and even getting the opportunity to glance inside one of the inns when a guest was coming out the front door. Now as an owner, I experience peoples curiously first hand. I can’t tell you how many people have come up to the Mason Cottage front door and asked for a tour. I can see the excitement in their eyes as they say “Can we have a tour of your inn”? And then I see it quickly fade when I say “I’m sorry, but we have guests staying in our rooms, so I won’t be able to show you”. But alas there is good news; the Mason Cottage will be one of the inns on tour during this year’s Cape May Victorian Week. There are a variety of Cape May B&B tours being offered during Victorian Week through Cape May’s MAC (Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities). The inn tours include the Victorian Week Sampler Tour, Cape May Homes & Collections Tour, Chocolate Championship Tour & Tasting and the INNteriors Tour & Tea.

Come check out the Mason Cottage and enjoy the many other activities in Cape May such as murder mysteries, food and wine events, ghost tours and the East Lynn Theater just to name a few.

Cape May Victorian Week 2010 starts October 8th and runs through October 14th. For accommodations at our Cape May NJ Bed and Breakfast, please visit us at

Monday, July 26, 2010

Our Cape May Bed and Breakfast

If you never been to the picturesque little town of Cape May New Jersey, then you are surly missing out. The town of Cap May is located at the Southernest most point of the state (about 45 miles south of Atlantic City, NJ). This quaint little beach town was just voted a “Top 20 Prettiest Towns in the USA” by

The town of Cape May is most known for the majestic Victorian homes and B&B’s that date back to the late 1800’s. Our little B&B, the Mason Cottage, is located along Columbia Avenue right in the center of town. The inn is endowed with lofty ceilings, full-length windows and a sweeping veranda, all so characteristic of Victorian homes of the period.

The great thing about the inn is that it's within walking distance to everything, so once you arrive, you won't need to get back into your car (which is great for walking off the strawberry stuffed french toast served for breakfast!). If you're not up for walking, you can take one of their beach cruiser bicycles out for a ride to explore the town. Check out the great shops along Washington Street Mall - some of our favorites are Bath Time, Good Scents and Caroline's Boutique.

If you just want to relax at the beach, great news – this Cape May Bed and Breakfast is only a block away and they offer complimentary beach chairs and towels, so no need to lug that stuff from home.

There inn has 9 rooms/suites to choose from and they all have private baths, flat screen TV's and I-Pod docking stations. Most of their suites offer a Jacuzzi tub, fireplace, mini-refrigerator and plush cotton bathrobes.

The Mason Cottage Cape May B&B makes for a fantastic getaway: Enjoy a gourmet breakfast, relax on the veranda for afternoon tea, have a nice dinner at a local BYOB or enjoy a cocktail at the "Brown Room" in Congress Hall. To wind down, guest can enjoy some ginger brandy in the parlor.