May 31, 2018

Touring the Cape May, NJ Victorian Physick Estate

I've vacationed many times in the charming seaside town of Cape May, New Jersey,
but until recently, I hadn't toured the Emlen Physick Estate.
I'm sorry I haven't done so sooner, and I encourage any 
of you who visit the area to take the time to do it!

Cape May is known for its lovely Victorian homes with gingerbread embellishments.
One of these houses, the Emlen Physick Estate, has been opened as a museum. 
The tour allows us to take a peek back in time to 
the architecture of that era and the lifestyle of its occupants. 

Emlen Physick, Jr. was from a well-to-do Philadelphia family.
His grandfather, Dr. Philip Syng Physick, is the father of American surgery.  
Emlen moved into the estate in 1879, along with his widowed 
mother Frances Ralston, and his unmarried aunt, Emilie Parmentier.

Located at 1048 Washington Street, the house was designed by Frank Furness 
in the stick style of architecture that was prevalent in Victorian times.

Architectural features to notice and appreciate include the porch brackets,
jerkinhead (clipped gable) dormers, and corbelled (upside down) chimneys.

The estate's grand entrance hall wowed me as I stepped inside.
Our docent pointed out the "lincrusta" applications on the ceiling and walls.
Lincrusta is an early version of linoleum, a design feature popular in the 1880s.
The home incorporates 8 different patterns in various rooms.
These photos show one the ceiling and another on the staircase wall.

Be sure to also notice the ornate wood trim and the gorgeous wallpaper. 

This chandelier showed off the additions of new lighting fixtures,
as they became available, on different arms of the piece.

I envisioned the family using their sitting rooms to read, work on embroidery,
play and listen to music, and enjoy one another's company.

The library contains Dr. Physick's roll-top desk.

This recliner, designed by William Morris during the 
Arts and Craft movement, is an original from the home's library.

A heavy iron cook stove dominates the kitchen.

In the servant's quarters, a row of call bells is lined above a doorway.
The one at the far right is original; the others are reproductions.
We may recognize them from the popular PBS series, Downton Abbey!

Loved sharing this experience with my lifelong friend, Suzy!
We met for a Cape May overnight and had great fun.
Here we are enjoying our favorite breakfast spot, The Mad Batter.

Here's more information to help you plan your visit!~


  1. On my traveling bucket list ! Next year I will get there! I think it is worth visiting!!
    Always though that Cape May couldn`t be interesting place for vacation but after reading this, seems worth it!


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