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James Andrew on Cape May

James Andrew on Cape May

It seems I’m becoming something of a professional house guest, and with quite a few recent invitations, I’ve been very pleased to spend some wonderful weekends out of town.

Speaking of which, I had the most delightful stay in Cape May, New Jersey, this weekend. My super chic friends Mark Alden Lukas and his partner Edward Celata were our most gracious hosts.

Lukas has been summering on Cape May for all of his life and has become, as you might imagine, an authority on all things having to do with the place, including its rich architectural heritage! In fact, he himself acquired a glorious Gothic Revival house that was transformed into a Colonial Revival in 1904. Lukas has been lovingly and painstakingly restoring the house to its original splendor and beyond.

During my stay, Lukas treated me to the most terrific architectural tour. The story goes that in the late 1880s, Cape May went out of fashion, and people took to Newport and Atlantic City instead. As a result, Cape May basically fell asleep for almost 100 years. A massive 1940s hurricane and another in the 60s destroyed much of what once stood on the beach front, but for the most part the town is a snapshot frozen in time. During its hay day, the people of Cape May indulged themselves with all the fashionable and important architects, and subsequently there is a really fantastic diversity of architectural styles to see.

Gallagher House in the Second Empire style

Gallagher House in the Second Empire style

Cherry House in the late Federal Style c. 1840s

Cherry House in the late Federal Style c. 1840s

Physick Estate, Stick style, 1879. Attributed to Frank Furness

Physick Estate, Stick style, 1879. Attributed to Frank Furness

A lovely little folly.

A lovely little folly.

I’m pictured in front of the Mainstay Inn. It’s a bracketed American Villa style building originally built in the 1870s (and known then as Jackson’s Clubhouse, a gambling hall and gentlemen’s club). For a morning of touring, I’m sporting a straw hat from India Hicks’ chic Harbour Island shop- The Sugar Mill, a YSL black cotton poplin safari style shirt, Tom Ford black linen sateen pant, Ralph Lauren black alligator belt with sterling buckle and Louboutin black leather sandal/espadrilles, vintage Rolex, and my fragrance is Creed Orange Spice.

Needless to say, after our tour, it was off to lounge on the beach and sip a few bottles of very chilled rosé.

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  1. John Cooke says:

    What a great post James and such a neat blog to follow for an aspiring blogger. And trust me I can use the fashion advice.


  2. Dean says:


    How fantastic this all is!

    Wouldn’t it be fun to do up a cottage there- very Cecil Beaton-Oliver Messels-John Fowler !


  3. John says:

    Hope you got to see the Henry Hunt house on Congress Place. One of Cape May’s most photographed houses in town.

    Enjoyed your post


  4. James Andrew says:

    Darling Dean,

    Yes wouldn’t it be sublime to create a version of a Cecil Beaton-Oliver Messell- John Fowler take on turn of the century Cape May!!!

    Much Love


  5. James Andrew says:

    Hello John Cooke,

    Thank You!

    So happy to hear you are enjoying our musings here on style and taste.

    I am not sure is we saw the Henry Hunt house – will have to have a look on my next visit.

    Certainly there is so much to see in Cape May.



  6. Danny Taylor says:

    LOVE the garden folly! xx.DT

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