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Jan 19

A Tour of Stained Glass, Doors and Porches in Cape May, New Jersey

Posted on January 19, 2016 at 8:52 AM by Rachael Cox

Cape May, New Jersey, is home to hundreds of stained glass windows in unexpected places around town. Guests can admire beautiful and tastefully designed window art, especially nouveau pieces from the famous Louis Comfort Tiffany found in several houses. Guests are advised to swing by Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church on Washington Street and First Presbyterian Church on Hughes and Decatur to admire the city’s most beautiful stained glass art. Both churches display windows that date back a hundred years and are still remarkably well preserved.


Take a walk through historic neighborhoods in Cape May to see stained glass art displayed from bed and breakfast inns, private homes and business establishments. Guests will notice the continuous theme of royal blue, ruby red and emerald green as traditional colors for the stained glass. Nearly all of the stained glass in Cape May is decades old (with a few reproductions).

After dark, guests can continue their strolls in the same neighborhood and marvel at the colorful lights reflecting from the glass, casting kaleidoscope-like shadows.


The famous sayings, “in the red” and “in the black” stems from several folktales told by locals in Cape May. One of the more popular stories explains that years ago, families had their doors painted red as a message that they had a mortgage on their house. Those with black doors owned their properties. But today, colors of doors in Cape May only represents the owner’s personal taste and decorating choices.


Take a walk along historic Hughes street and study the string of unique entrances of Victorian homes, cottages and mansions. Most porches are outfitted with beautiful vintage furniture like rocking chairs and hammocks. Look for the Memucan Hughes house to see the most intricately and eye-catching detailed doors, frames, stained glass, woodwork and exterior.


Cape May is known for having vibrant houses in Victorian or craftsman style. Residents of the city are not shy of using bold colors when painting their homes. Guests may find porches painted sky blue or window frames dyed leafy green. During summers, colorful flowers compliment the exteriors of the seaside houses.


It’s important to check out or stay overnight at the famous and historic Chalfonte Hotel that is a block from the Atlantic Ocean. At the hotel, guests can enjoy its two-story wraparound porches loaded with rocking chairs, making it a perfect place to read or relax by the sea.


Visitors can further their learning experience of the architectural history of Cape May by attending East Lynne Theater’s “Tales of the Victorians,” where professional actors read short stories about Cape May and its contribution to the beauty of the city.