Food and holiday happenings around the Garden State
During the harvest season and throughout the holidays, food and festivals, tree lightings and historic house tours are happening in towns throughout the state where you can revel in the festivities and retire to a cozy B&B at night.
In Cherry Hill, discover Barclay Farmstead, an 1816 historic house bedecked for the holidays (Winter Garden celebration from November 16-18). Taste and share World War I food and recipes at the Tuckerton Historical Museum in Little Egg Harbor (November 17) and learn how to make Thanksgiving food with Constance, a Puritan woman, at the Museum of Early trades & Crafts in Madison (November 17).
Head for Haddonfield for its Candlelight Shopping and Santa on Main Street (November 23-December 24) where you can take a carriage ride, enjoy dulcimers and carolers, visit with Santa and eat fun food curbside.
Take the Spring Lake Candlelight Christmas Inn tour (December 1) or make it a Cape May Christmas with the Holiday Chefs' Dine-Around (December 27), a five-course gourmet feast with each course served in one of Cape May's premier restaurants.
The Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life hits the stage at Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven (various showtimes beginning November 30), while in Atlantic City local dance studios perform holiday numbers at Trump Taj Mahal (December 1-23). The McCarter Theatre in Princeton celebrates the season with Charles Dickens' holiday tale, A Christmas Carol (December 2-23).
Join Santa's elves for wine tasting and shopping at Santa's Wine Workshop at Four Sisters Winery in Belvidere (December 1-2) and join Santa for breakfast at Mays Landing Memorial Park (December 8) where there'll be lots of food and festivities, train and carriage rides, and a Christmas Walk of Historic Homes.
And as always, when you're planning your culinary and Christmas getaways in the Garden State, be sure to snuggle in to one of our member inns!
"Relax with Recipes"
Blue Bay Inn, Atlantic Highlands
With the holidays coming, you may need some new ideas for meals. This package includes one night in a Deluxe King room, plus complimentary continental breakfast and a copy of "The Shore Gourmet" cookbook, featuring top dishes from local chefs of the Jersey Shore. Price is $264 plus tax.
"Allaire Village in Autumn" - Visit historic iron-making village and hop a hayride, stay two nights for 15% off (The Inn at the Shore, Belmar)
"Thanksgiving & Christmas Special" - Herald the holiday season at the beach and get 15% off a two-night stay (The Inn at the Shore, Belmar)
"Holiday Shopping Extravaganza" - Take the Seastreak Ferry to Manhattan for shopping and carousing, then "home" for a one-night stay (Blue Bay Inn, Atlantic Highlands).
"Dickens Christmas Extravaganza" -- A Dickensian dinner and other literary and historic delights of the Victorian era (John Wesley Inn, Cape May)
MEET THE INNKEEPERS
Mary & Barbara Morris
Henry Sawyer Inn, Cape May
In her 16 years as an innkeeper Mary Morris has had a lot of memorable guests and experiences. Yet one particular pair of visitors actually left an unforgettable piece of history behind.
Mary recalls a couple who came to visit shortly after the inn was open. They had been married 55 years and were then living in Denver, Colorado. They were avid antique collectors with a lot of unusual pieces which they were getting rid of, donating them to museums and so forth.
"They offered us a cradle made by Abraham Lincoln's father," says Mary, "which they had bought at auction about 70 years ago and had it authenticated through the carver's markings. (In giving it to us) they had some stipulations. We had to have it restored and not alter its character, and it had to be made available to the public."
Mary and Barbara gladly obliged and the cradle now sits in the second floor hallway of the inn for all their guests to see.
Fun fact: Mary and Barbara are a mother-daughter team who thought it would be fun to launch a business together. 16 years says they were right!
Stephen & Dianne Wright
Come Wright Inn, Ventnor City
The Wrights have always known their four-story Victorian home was special. Then one year they went for a tea and tour of four homes in Cape May and found that several of the homes had focal points - such as a "room on stilts" used by rich homeowners as a bathroom - which their own home had.
So when the city asked if any large homeowners in the redevelopment area in which they resided would like to turn their homes into B&Bs, the Wrights welcomed the opportunity. "We were so used to people visiting and staying with us, it wouldn't really be a big change," Dianne recalls. The Wrights' granddaughter came up with the cute name for the inn.
Being an innkeeper has opened new doors for Dianne, who appreciates the opportunity to use her creativity in decorating and making beautiful breakfasts. She enjoys serving her guests afternoon tea with cheese, crackers, desserts, as well as full sit-down wedding receptions with fine china and linens. "It’s a real joy for me," she says.
Fun fact: Proceeds of the Inn contribute to maintenance of the church across the street known as The Way of Life Assembly of God.
EAT INN: A pumpkin-flavored fall
This Autumn Seasonal Salad stoked with buttered pecans celebrates the apple season. (Chimney Hill Farm Estate, Lambertville)
Make a holiday gathering memorable with this Pumpkin Caramel Mousse touched with the scents and flavors of the harvest season. (Victoria House Bed and Breakfast Inn, Spring Lake)