from Chevy Chase, MD
Submitted on 01-30-2017
‚??Yikes!‚?? I said to my sidearm Yvonne over our oatmeal, with the sky wanting to snow and the temperature 31. ‚??It‚??s Thursday. Our anniversary‚??s Saturday and I haven‚??t planned anything. ‚??Bad boy,‚?? Yvonne said. ‚??Right,‚?? I said. ‚??We‚??ve gotta get out of here, tomorrow, for the weekend.‚?? A Christmas card on the mantle showed friends relaxing in Cape May, N.J. last summer, on the porch of a gussied-up, 138-year-old, 24-room Victorian Hotel. ‚??The Virginia,‚?? its sign in the ...
‚??Yikes!‚?? I said to my sidearm Yvonne over our oatmeal, with the sky wanting to snow and the temperature 31. ‚??It‚??s Thursday. Our anniversary‚??s Saturday and I haven‚??t planned anything. ‚??Bad boy,‚?? Yvonne said. ‚??Right,‚?? I said. ‚??We‚??ve gotta get out of here, tomorrow, for the weekend.‚?? A Christmas card on the mantle showed friends relaxing in Cape May, N.J. last summer, on the porch of a gussied-up, 138-year-old, 24-room Victorian Hotel. ‚??The Virginia,‚?? its sign in the card‚??s photo said.
‚??That‚??ll do,‚?? Yvonne said. We called. The Virginia had a room, the Southern Suite, across Jackson Street in the hotel‚??s smaller Red Cottage. We took it. Never mind that Cape May is a four-hour drive from our home near Washington, D.C. Never mind that the thermometer said 33 when we reached Cape May and felt 23 with the wind hurling so fiercely from the Atlantic that the seagulls had gone. We were learning, once again, that in travel planning, brainless spontaneity beats grinding through guidebooks and Google.
It was dusk as we drove up. A man unloaded our trunk and took the car. ‚??Valet parking,‚?? he said. ‚??It‚??s free.‚?? Up the hotel‚??s porch steps, the lobby sparkled under gently dimmed incandescent lights. We soaked up a cacophony of brass, stained glass, opulent framed mirrors and polished oak and mahogany. To the left, every stool at a horseshoe bar was taken by a rollicking crowd of vigorous retirees. They had to be vigorous because the Virginia doesn‚??t have elevators.
We were handed our keys, and the man brought us and our bags to our door. The Southern Suite is on the first floor. It has a front porch and a back porch. I expected to enter the hotel industry‚??s usual mock ‚??suite,‚??--one room with a sofa and coffee table at the foot of the bed. We came upon two large bedrooms, one with a king bed, the other with a queen. We tried both. We have tried many good beds, none firmer or better than these.
We had closets and dressers enough to settle in for a year. We found a full bathroom, with two terry cloth robes on hangars by the shower, and a full-size General Electric washer and dryer‚??that‚??s clothes dryer‚??as well as a hair dryer. We also found a half bath.
The pi√®ce de r√©sistance was the kitchen. It was a full-blown kitchen, with a full-size range, refrigerator and dishwasher. It had a toaster, a blender, a microwave oven and a Nespresso coffee maker stocked with ten or twelve pods. It had a wide center counter with two stools. It also had a nook with a table for four. We found enough utensils, pots and pans, linens, glasses and china to suit eight or ten people.
Everything was truly, spotlessly clean. Everything worked. The bedrooms and living room had flat-screen TVs. The d√©cor was straight-forward unpretentious, and the furniture comfortable. Yvonne calculated that the suite measured around 1,800 square feet. I counted our windows: nineteen.
Depending on what bothers you, the Red Cottage that could be troublesome. The cottage, like the hotel, stands squarely in the center of downtown Cape May. Our bedroom windows faced the street, which is noisy in summer. Parking in summer is difficult. (In winter, they shut off the parking meters.) Red Cottage has other rooms, on the upper two floors, so you hear feet as guests come and go.
We might have complained about breakfast. The hotel web site calls the cottage ‚??the perfect location for your bed and breakfast stay.‚?? The cottage, and the hotel, too, sure looks like a B&B. But breakfast, we learned on checking in, would not be available, though for $25 each, they could arrange it. We had an issue about our bedroom windows. We like fresh air. But the storm windows were down, locked down, it seemed. We complained, and a workman promptly came over and opened them.
For us, these objections are immaterial. The Virginia is a very well done, very well run, most agreeable place for an anniversary or any other day. At our peril‚??we‚??d want the same rates--our Red Cottage suite cost $199 for Friday night and $259 for Saturday. With $63.55 in taxes, we spent $521.55, or $260.78 a night. If that seems high, the rate card in our room says the price for two ranges from $209 in the deadest day of winter to $669 in the peak of summer. Excluding taxes.