When you visit Cape May, New Jersey, there are several things you must do. Take a walk along Sunset Beach, listen to the inspiring hymns at the Boardwalk Chapel, experience world class shopping at the Washington Street Mall, and pay a special visit to the Emlen Physick Estate.
There are several interesting homes in Cape May, like the John Holmes House, but the Emlen Physick Estate is by far the best because it is the city’s only Victorian house museum.
How to Explore The Beautiful Emlen Physick Estate
1. Appreciate The Architecture Of The Emlen Physick Estate
Located at 1048 Washington Street, the Emlen Physick Estate is an incredible 15-room Victorian mansion dating back to 1879. Frank Furness, a prominent American architect, built the house for Dr. Emlem Physick Jr. The Emlen Physick Estate is a well-known example of “Stick Style” architecture. It is very similar to another one of Furness’s homes, the Knowlton Mansion, in Philadelphia.
When you arrive at the Emlen Physick Estate, you’ll immediately notice Furness’s signature oversized features like the huge upside-down corbelled chimneys and large stick-like brackets on the porch.
2. Learn More About The Emlen Family
The Physick family was one of the wealthiest Victorian families in Cape May during their time. Dr. Emlen Physick Jr. was a descendant of a prominent Philadelphia family. He lived in the Emlen Physick Estate with his widowed mother, Mrs. Ralston, and maiden Aunt Emilie.
Dr. Physick’s grandfather, Dr. Philip Syng Physick, invented numerous surgical procedures and medical instruments doctors still use today. He was considered the father of American surgery and brought the family great prestige. Unlike his grandfather, Dr. Physick went to medical school but he never practiced. Instead, he was a gentlemen, farmer, and real estate investor.
3. Find Out If The Emlen Physick Estate Is Haunted
Visitors often ask, “Is the Emlen Physick Estate haunted?” This question isn’t surprising considering Cape May, New Jersey is one of our nation’s most haunted towns… And the Emlen Physick Estate is no exception!
The most expressive of the ghosts at the estate is Dr. Physick’s Aunt Emilie, who apparently watches over the home with great energy and a kind smile. You may also feel Dr. Physick’s mother in her bedroom on the second floor, a well-known hotspot for paranormal activity in the home.
4. Don’t Forget To Enjoy A Cup Of Emlen Physick Estate Tea
Make sure to stop into the Carriage House Café & Tearoom for some lunch and afternoon tea in true Victorian style. The Café & Tearoom is open from late April through the end of October each year.
Where To Stay When You Visit Emlen Physick Estate
There are four Select Registry Inns just minutes from the Emlen Physick Estate. All of our properties undergo a rigorous quality assurance test to make sure they are exceptional.
Just minutes from the Emlen Physick Estate is the historic Mainstay Inn and Cottage. This Cape May, New Jersey bed and breakfast used to be known as “The Clubhouse,” where gentlemen gathered to gamble and enjoy other amusements. Since 1976, its 12 guest rooms along with its grand spaces and authentic antiques have delighted travelers.
Another historic gem you can stay at is the lovely Queen Victoria Bed and Breakfast Inn. Well known for its spectacular Victorian ambiance, this Cape May bed and breakfast has welcomed guests since 1980. It’s comprised of four immaculately restored historic buildings that offer you 35 rooms to choose from.
Less than 5 minutes away from the Emlen Physick Estate is the lovely Peter Shields Inn, a waterfront Cape May bed and breakfast that’s just steps from the city’s historic district. This inn has 9 luxurious guest rooms and an oceanfront porch to enjoy breakfast on each morning of your stay.
And don’t forget about the Candlelight Inn Bed and Breakfast in North Wildwood, New Jersey! This elegant Queen Anne Victorian home has 10 guest rooms perfect for someone who can’t get enough of the Victorian age.
Photo credits: Cape May Mid-Atlantic Center