Since we have lived in Pennsylvania, my family has enjoyed many summertime visits to the beaches in New Jersey. This year, however, we opted to skip the beach over the summer and check it out during the cooler months. We are not your typical beach family: we love cool weather and great gusts of wind. We are not fans of large crowds. Visiting Cape May in November was absolutely perfect.
We were invited to experience a weekend at Elaine’s, a super fun and friendly bed and breakfast in Cape May, a town famous for its many beautiful Victorian homes and inns. My mother, Lolly, and my six year old son, W and I drove down early Friday evening from Philadelphia. The traffic was manageable, but driving at night made us realize we were probably missing some incredible sights. It also built some creepy tension, because, you see, we arrived at Elaine’s just in time to witness a murder.
Oh yes! Our weekend included a murder mystery!
I spoke to W at length about what this would be like, and was assured by the staff at Elaine’s I would be given a heads up if any of the many activities associated with “playing” inside the mystery was going to be super scary. W has become a fan of one of Lolly’s soap operas so we told him repeatedly, “what you are about to see is ‘Days of Our Lives’ – not real.”
The other guests at Elaine’s were friendly and welcoming. Several were convinced that W must have a major clue. We all were on the hunt for clues and mystery information.
Most bed and breakfasts I have stayed in have been, well, quaint and maybe a little, um, fusty. However, I was delighted and so very pleasantly surprised by how updated the rooms were. My family was in Room 12 – perfect for a family as it had two comfortable bedrooms with a beautiful shared modern bathroom. The wifi didn’t quite reach our room, but we took advantage of that and unplugged for the weekend.
(I was able to grab some quiet time reading and easily used the inn’s wifi in the charming large-windowed Reading Room on the 2nd floor – just above Elaine’s large porch with rocking chairs.)
The next morning we enjoyed seriously delicious breakfasts. W and Lolly had pancakes (W’s with chocolate chips in his) and I had a heavenly vegetable frittata. It was perfect fuel to carry us on our day of exploring Cape May.
We spent most of the day at the beach. I can not even begin to describe how beautiful the Cape May beaches are. There were many families out enjoying the day, running on the sand and collecting shells.
Saturday evening we went to an elegant dinner at Elaine’s famous dinner theatre to enjoy a seasonal treat: a performance of Scrooge. The show is a holiday tradition in Cape May and is currently in its 20th year staring Parker Smith as Scrooge. Smith is a Cape May attorney who skillfully transforms himself into a mean old codger.
I LOVED being able to take W to dinner theatre. I performed in dinner theatre before I headed off to school in New York and it is such a challenging, interactive, and cozy environment – there really is nothing like it. W was so mesmerized by the show – the songs, the performances. It is a great show to enjoy sharing with your kids (and your mother)!
Sunday morning, as we enjoyed another delicious breakfast, our murder mystery came to a close. It was time to find out who the culprit was. All of the guests playing were instructed to fill in a report to hand over to Sherlock Holmes, a best guess as to our suspect, the motivation, and more. We had a wild guess and went for it. Lolly had the honor of filling out our report, whimsically illustrating our answers. In the end none of the guests identified the true murderer and motive, but we were rewarded 2nd place for creativity! (W decided to give the gift to a guest who was celebrating a birthday.)
We had so much fun – ridiculous amounts of fun at Elaine’s! It is the perfect mini getaway for friends, couples, and for families of all ages.
I had the privilege of chatting with Parker Smith, who plays ‘Scrooge’, at the party after this season’s premiere opening. This is a small piece of that conversation…
Disclosure: I was a media guest of Elaine’s. All opinions are my own.