Cheerful, chatty husband and wife innkeepers Lucille and Dennis Doherty have an arrangementshe does all the baking for the holidays and afternoon teas, and he whips up the daily breakfasts. Their work enlivens a typical day inside The Dormer House, an 1899 Colonial Revivalstyle mansion that was once a summer residence for marble magnate Commodore Jacoby. Rocking chairs, antique furniture, and a grand marble fireplace help to create an aura of genteel hospitality, and year-round seasonal decorations brighten both the inside and outside of the house.
Each of the inns rooms and suites features a private bath, soothing pastel walls, and floral decorations, but all rooms offer their own unique experiencesome have sitting areas, some have a whirlpool bath, and others have a life-size Bob Newhart. The Antique Rose suite on the third floor is tucked under the sloping dormer ceilings that inspired the inns 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, which is 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.
Long billed as America's oldest seaside resort, the little island of Cape May lies at New Jersey's southernmost tip. When a fire ravaged most of the town in 1878, its residents rebuilt in the contemporary style of the time, and dozens of their Victorian homes remain standing today. Consequently, the Cape May Historic District has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Horses and carriages tour the colorful, cottage-lined streets, which have been deemed off-limits to chain stores and flying-car dealerships to preserve the classic, small-town feel.
Built in 1859, the Cape May Lighthouse stands guard over Delaware Bay. Its seemingly endless flight of stairs awards visitors who climb to the top with an unbeatable view of the Atlantic Ocean. The town is also known for its whale- and dolphin-watching tours that typically begin in late March, when sea captains lead expeditions into the bay to spot humpback and finback whales.
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