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.
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.
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.