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FAREWELL CAPE MAY

James Andrew, Cape May

James Andrew, Cape May

In addition to studying the incredible architecture on Cape May, there are many other amusing diversions to be had, including visiting the splendid lighthouse, hiking nature trails, bird watching, walking the sublime beaches, and of course hitting a few of Cape May’s divine dining establishments. In particular, I would suggest stopping at the legendary Lobster House which is really like five restaurants put together. We had a superb lobster luncheon there served al fresco aboard the Schooner “American.”

I’d also suggest Chef Lucas Manteca’a Red Store. Manteca – a James Beard nominee – serves seasonal cuisine with a South American flair inspired by his Argentinian heritage. It is the ultimate in organic farm-to-table cuisine. They actually grow their own organic produce for the restaurant at the Fincas del Mar seaside farms. Manteca (a gorgeous surfer-type) has a rather impressive resume having worked with the likes of Alain Ducasse and David Bouley in New York City.

For the most fabulous farewell Cape May dinner we gathered chic friends to dine at the Peter Shields Inn. The restaurant is housed in the most glorious Georgian Revival mansion. Commissioned by the developer, Peter Shields via the famous architect Lloyd Titus, this grand turn of the century home design can be seen as an extension of Shields’ plans to reclaim Cape May’s former glory (he along with his partners, aspired to create a resort out of Cape May to rival Newport). Sadly, Shields lost his son in a boating accident in 1907, only a year after his grand home was built, and this, combined with his failing real estate business, saw the end of Shields’ plans and a subsequent return to Pittsburg with his family.

Peter Shields Georgian Revival Cape May Mansion

Peter Shields Georgian Revival Cape May Mansion (Click to enlarge).

The Peter Shields Inn serves sensational seasonal cuisine. Like many places in Cape May, one brings one’s own liquor, so if you’re planning a visit, do stock up on rosé. The food and service is stellar (though sadly I cannot say the same about the decor which was rather plain and commercial, but as you know, I am a bit particular about these things. I do feel that it is a missed opportunity to capitalize on this beautiful setting.

Cape May Light House

The Cape May Light House

Cape May Lighthouse out building.

Cape May Lighthouse out building.

I’m pictured enjoying one of the many glasses of chilled rosé we had on the porch, and bringing a bit of my own brand of chic to Cape May! I’m wearing a Tom Ford pink silk “Spencer” jacket, white cotton shirt with French cuffs, pink and green silk madras plaid pants, black and white silk pocket square, ivory suede loafers, vintage Rolex, a set of moonstone cuff links, and my fragrance is Creed Original Cologne.

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A WEEKEND ON CAPE MAY

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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FAREWELL CHARMING CAPE

James Andrew - Cape Cod

James Andrew – Cape Cod


Sadly, our Cape holiday’s end seemed to come all too quickly, but spending five delightful days with fabulous friends, sunshine, and incredible food, was just what was needed before heading back to mid-summer in the city.

For the most part, we had delicious home-cooked dinners with copious amounts of sensational summer sea food, all grilled to perfection, and paired with well-selected wines. However as you may know, I do love to sample local restaurants to get a full picture of a place, so eating out was part of our holiday agenda as well.

Our super chic friends suggested the most perfect place for our farewell dinner, the Rye Tavern (originally named the Wright Tavern). A “slice of Colonial America,” Chef Andrew Swain’s menu is a terrific take on “farm to table” cuisine, with only the freshest ingredients and some truly unique combinations of flavors. Totally sensational. We enjoyed pre-dinner martinis in the garden while waiting to dine al fresco on the tavern’s patio — all the more to enjoy every last bit of our vacation outside in such lovely surrounds.

Dressed for dinner, I’m sporting a Tom Ford red cotton jacket, pink and white glen plaid cotton shirt with French cuffs, vintage moon stone cuff links, Charvet pink and white retro print silk pocket square, Uniqlo white jeans, KJP Briggs Capeside Docks woven white cotton belt, white woven leather flip flops from Schettino de Capri, vintage Rolex and my fragrance is Lorenzo Villoressi, Iporbarea.

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