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

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