Plush furniture, fine linens and access to not only beautiful beaches but some of the best farm-to-table cuisine on the East Coast. If this isn’t the Jersey Shore you’re acquainted with, then perhaps you’ve watched a bit too much television. When summer’s warmest weather arrives there is no better time to plan a weekend jaunt out of the sweltering city, and no better small resort to rest your head than The Virginia Hotel. Pack up your swimsuit and seersucker shorts; it’s time to try out a new Cape.
Considered to be the foremost luxury destination in Cape May, The Virginia has an elegance about it that only buildings with real history can truly emanate. Restored from an 1879 landmark, the hotel has an almost Southern Plantation charm. Though the foundation is more old world, the decor tell a seaside story: colors are bright and paintings depict seashells, coral and starfish. Accommodations include 24 guestrooms and five cottages, all equipped with Belgian sheets, Italian duvets and Bulgari bath products.
A lovely setting for those seeking an intimate getaway, the resort has its own private beach where guests are afforded complimentary chairs and towels. The Virginia even offers packages that utilize fellow Cape Resort Group hotel Congress Hall’s Sea Spa. After spending the day in the sun, a tired body will relish in the feel of a Southern Comfort treatment: a swedish massage that combines heated towels with cool, refreshing aloe. All therapies are performed in cabana-style treatment rooms, so you won’t even like you ever left the beach.
Possibly best of all, however, is the hotel’s standout restaurant, The Ebbitt Room. Recently renovated, the farm-to-table sensation garners its dishes’ ingredients from nearby Beach Plum Farm. Start out your meal on the front porch – the perfect spot to kick up your heels and knock back a drink. The eatery is known for its classic drink selection of nods to the past; Nothing tastes better than a fruity Hemingway daiquiri with a side of salty sea air.
Once inside, you can enjoy all the typical ocean adjacent fare – except at The Ebbitt Room, food is anything but average. Order up little neck clams or oysters on the half shell from the raw bar, the latter served with a succulent pink peppercorn and Champagne mignonette. If you aren’t a seafood fan, classics such as rib eye, filet and roasted chicken with caramelized sweet potatoes are guaranteed to more than suffice. That isn’t to say that we don’t strongly suggest you try out some of the restaurant’s signatures dishes: The Barnegat Scallop plate is served with a tangy citrus thyme vinaigrette and corn sucotash, while the Flounder Francaise is rolled in panko bread crumbs and served with a white wine sauce and herbed mashed potatoes. Executive Chef Lucas Manteca aims to please, and he never disappoints. The Ebbitt Room has been honored by everyone from The New York Times to Atlantic City Magazine to Zagat.
Before you head up north to go to that other Cape, remind yourself that a quaint, lovely little paradise sits at the tip of New Jersey. We’re holding the seashell up to your ear; go on and listen to the sounds of the sweetest summer yet.