The Angel of the Sea bed & breakfast is located a half a block from the beach in Cape May, New Jersey. It has 27 guestrooms each with a private bath. The Angel of the Sea is an excellent example of Victorian architecture and even if you do not book a room there, you can still take a tour.
The Angel of the Sea was built in the 1850’s by a wealthy Philadelphia chemist who used it as a summer cottage. Originally, this Victorian was built near the center of town. In 1881, the owner decided that the beautiful porches of his “cottage” could be better enjoyed by having an ocean view so he hired local farmers to move it closer to the ocean.
The house was cut into sections and moved by horse to a property across the street from the ocean. It took all winter to move the house and renovations were needed to seal up where they could not push the home back together but it was completed in time for the summer season.
In 1962, a powerful nor’easter destroyed much of the city of Cape May. Although damage was done to the Angel of the Sea, it was still standing. After this time, the houses were used as dormitories for students and housing for employees of local hotels until 1981 when because of neglect, it became uninhabitable.
In 1989, John Girton and his wife rediscovered the property. John, who is a builder and developer, found that the homes were still structurely sound and bought the property. After one full year of around-the-clock work, the adjoining houses were completely renovated. Craftsman used the original house designs to copy much of the original gingerbread trim, windows and porches in order to restore the Angel to its original Victorian beauty. At a cost of more than 3.5 million dollars it was one of the most complete Victorian restorations in New Jersey.
Cape May boasts many Victorian homes that have been lovingly restored to their original beauty. The Angel of the Sea’s history stands out as a home that has survived against impossible odds.
Visitors to Cape May who want to stay at this bed and breakfast should be advised that booking a room should be done several months in advance. It is a beautiful place to use as a honeymoon destination, an anniversary celebration or just a romantic weekend getaway.