Let the Cape May Resorts Group host your next family reunion on the Jersey Shore. The five properties of the Congress Hall campus in Cape May, New Jersey are the perfect setting.
Boasting nearly as many stories as your family tree – Presidents Grant, Pierce, Buchanan and Harrison have stayed here – the history is in the details, and the folks at the Cape May Resorts Group are good at getting the details right. Their properties will surely satisfy the vacationing styles and budgets of everyone in your party, and it's a place where you can bring your relatives together.
The Family Place to Stay in Cape May
Guests of any one property have the convenience of signing privileges at all five, which are within walking distance of one another. A myriad of activities abound in the surf and on the turf in this former whaling town. Of course, there’s plenty for the kids to enjoy, too.
200 Congress Pl.
Cape May, NJ 08204
It’s the ritziest of all of the accommodations and the hub of activity. Children jump in and out of the pool while a pick-up soccer game takes place on the Grand Lawn just a few feet away. Meanwhile, the Adirondack chairs in front of Congress Hall are the perfect spot for repose. Escape from the sun and sand and wash off the salt water in one of their luxurious sunken tubs. Families that want to stay close are able to book adjoining rooms here. Let the below video acquaint you with Cape May and its centerpiece, Congress Hall:
Sandpiper Beach Club
11 West Beach Ave.
Cape May, NJ 08204
Directly across the street from the soft sands and the sounds of the crashing tide in Cape May the Sandpiper houses 51 one and two-bedroom suites and welcomes families who want to be seaside. Full kitchens, living rooms and balconies are all that’s needed to settle in and feel comfortable for extended stays. While the suites may feel like a home away from home, the Sandpiper still has the first-class service of the other properties, which includes beach service, an onsite pool, sauna and fitness center, house keeping and a concierge.
251 Beach Ave.
Cape May, NJ 08204
With a front porch simply made for sipping cocktails, it’s a great luxury option for the adults in your group. It’s also the location of The Ebbitt Room and the home kitchen of Argentinian chef Lucas Manteca where the farm-to-table philosophy is practiced. I was delighted at their pairing of strawberry shortcake and RumChata, a cinnamon rice milk and Caribbean rum blend. The combination tastes like the epitome of summer.
Also on Beach Avenue are five cottages owned by the Cape May Resorts Group. Tina Fey and her family enjoy summering in one of these homes.
29 Perry St.
Cape May, NJ 08204
The Star encompasses an inn with nine different suites and its own Starbucks. There's an adjacent motel with 10 efficiencies, each with their own private back yards. Two two-bedroom and two-bathroom Carriage suites, which are expertly and elegantly designed, are available and overlook the ocean, to boot.
205 Beach Avenue
Cape May, NJ
The surfer vibe of the Beach Shack encourages your inclination to remain in swim shorts and flip-flops around the clock. The rooms are efficiency-styled with a microwave, mini-fridge, coffee maker and plates and utensils while accommodating up to four people. A handful of extra-large suites – with extra-large patios – sleep up to eight people. It’s also home to the casual-dining Rusty Nail, where you can enjoy everything from lobster rolls to fried conch.
Cape May Resorts for the Young
Through the end of August, you and your little ones can take part in Carnival and Movie Night on the Grand Lawn. The family-friendly movie follows face painting, popcorn and balloon animals and classic carnival games. When adults need a night out Blue (the Congress Hall mascot, of course) and his babysitting services are available Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights through late September for children ages 4-12.
Cape May Resorts for the Young at Heart
Was there a family feud over blue pigs in blankets – house-made breakfast sausage wrapped in blueberry pancakes, and my brunch-time favorite – at the Blue Pig Tavern? Don’t get mad – get even – during a Family Pirate Cruise. For $20 a person, everyone in your family can play at being a pirate with a water canon battle. Eye patches are included.
Once everyone’s on better terms, join in for Family Karaoke Night on Thursday evenings downstairs in the Boiler Room.
Cape May Resorts for Active Sporty Types
Don’t worry about indulging in saltwater taffy or fudge from the nearby historic district The Original Fudge Kitchen, because the activities at Congress Hall – the centerpiece of this ideal family reunion campus – will keep you moving. Choose from Zumba on the Lawn or for early risers, Beach Boot Camp. Alternately, find refuge from family squabbles at Yoga on the Lawn, which lasts through the beginning of October.
Also, anyone can rent bikes, parasails, jet skis and kayaks. If tee time is more in line with what you’re searching for, reservations can be made at either Stone Harbor Golf Club or Barrens Golf Course.
Cape May Resorts for Outdoor Enthusiasts
A highlight of my recent visit to Cape May was an afternoon trolley ride to Beach Plum Farm that doubled as a bird-watching experience (the Cape May Bird Observatory is just down the road). Take a self-guided tour through the gardens and crops of the farm and relish in the serenity of the simple life.
If there are bird-watchers among your group the concierge at Congress Hall will gladly put together a birding backpack, complete with binoculars, a birding map and Sibley guide.
Cape May Resorts for Entertainment
Live music is in the neighborhood, too. The Beach Shack also houses the Rusty Nail where there is music – of the laid-back variety – throughout the entire week. The summer 2012 line-up is full of acoustic, rock, vintage rock and reggae performances. From now through August 20th sit back and enjoy the Stockton Goes to the Beach Concert Series at the newly-opened Cape May Convention Center. For 2012 the shows begin at 8pm, and tickets are $30 each.
Cape May Resorts for Serenity and Shopping Seekers
Step into the Sea Spa located in Congress Hall and you won’t be sure if you’re in one of the Congress Hall beach cabanas or about to begin your facial. The interior of the retreat is designed to match the beach cabanas under which you just finished your Congress Hall-packed picnic lunch. Facials, massages, manicures and pedicures and waxing services are available. The spa also sells Aveda products, which you’ll also find in tub and sink-side in your Congress Hall room.
Buy a new bathing suit or cover-up – or accessorize your current beachwear – at Tommy’s Folly Boutique and Home located in Congress Hall. It’s also where to go for a new Congress Hall tote bag to carry your beach reads or to pick up the same pig-embroidered napkins adorning the tables in The Blue Pig Tavern. Their selection surpasses normal beach attire, and I couldn’t resist taking home a cocktail dress from this shop.
The West End Garage 484 West Perry St., Cape May, NJ 08204 (609/770-8261)
Steps away from Congress Hall local and high-end artisan wears are being hocked at the West End Garage. From yoga apparel to glassware, it’s a carefully curated collection where you’re likely to find something for yourself or one of your loved ones.
Year-Round Cape May Family Fun
The wonderful atmosphere of the Cape May Resorts doesn’t diminish with the rolling up of beach towels and the earlier setting of the sun, but rather they have a year-round itinerary of annual events and celebrations that are ripe for making into family traditions. At Christmastime Mrs. Claus can be found reading children’s stories, while life-size Santas adorn the exterior of buildings and overlook the train rides taking place around the Grand Lawn. March brings the annual Race at the Cape marathon and soon thereafter is the Easter egg hunt. Suffice it to say, Cape May Resorts is never quite “off” during the off-season. The properties may sound a little quieter and feel a little quainter, but the hospitality is always right.
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