We've taken a tour of The Main Stay and enjoyed tea here. It seems that tea is not served to the public anymore, which is too bad because they were very nice.
The Main Stay was the first B&B to open in Cape May once the Renaissance came to the area. It was designed by Philadelphia Architect Stephen Decatur Button in 1872 as a private gambling club. When gambling was declared illegal, the club closed.
A family style breakfast is served, as well as afternoon tea for guests. The summer season prices $180-$320 (weekends and holidays, also). The Cottage and Officer's Quarters are additional accommodations.
Directions: Garden St. Parkway S. turns into Lafayette St. At 1st light turn left onto Madison-go 3 blocks to water tower, turn rt. onto Columbia. 3 blocks down on rt.
We didn't stay here personally, but we did take a tour through this beautiful Inn one fall day. At least once per year, the famous and not so famous bed & breakfast inns of Cape May are open for tours. Usually you can purchase tickets to tour about 6 Inns, or 2 tickets to visit all Inns on the tour. (Check the information kiosk at the end of Washington Street Mall for information about Cape May events and tickets.)
The Mainstay Inn was Cape May's first bed & breakfast and one of its grandest. Originally known as "The Clubhouse," it was a gentlemen's elegant gathering spot for amusements such as gambling. The main, yellow house is now one of three buildings accommodating guests at the Mainstay. It is superbly decorated with Victorian antiques and is quite elegant.
In Spring, Summer and Fall it is delightful to enjoy a cool drink or cup of tea on the front porch in a rocking chair, or have a stroll around the property to see the beautiful gardens. Every time I walk by the Mainstay, I am envious of the people staying there!!
Unique Quality: There are six rooms in the main house, all with private bath and air-conditioning. These rooms are furnished with Victorian antiques and have queen or king beds; one room has 2 double beds.
"The Cottage" and "The Officers' Quarters" are also part of the Inn and feature some rooms with private verandas, fireplaces, air-conditioning, en suite baths and more for an unparralled setting.
Breakfast is included and served on china "family-style" in the dining room spring & fall. In summer, a bountiful buffet is served & guests can dine outside or inside. I am not sure if it is still being published, but sometime ago I purchased a small cookbook with the Mainstay's favorite recipes. The Mainstay is approximately 2 blocks from the beach.
Directions: Take the Garden State Parkway South. The Parkway becomes Lafayette St., turn left at light onto Madison Ave; Go 3 blocks & turn right onto Columbia. The Inn is on the right. It is within walking distance to shops and restaurants as well as beach.
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Address: 635 Columbia Ave., Cape May, New Jersey, 08204, United States