Emlen Physick Estate

Marvel at a beautifully constructed and preserved Victorian house in scenic Cape May. It features period decorations and original artifacts.

Step back in time at the Emlen Physick Estate. This stunning Victorian mansion has played a key role in the history of Cape May and today offers an insight into the region’s past. Explore immaculately preserved rooms, complete with 19th-century architecture and ornaments, to get a glimpse of life in New Jersey in bygone eras.

The house was built in 1879 by a popular architect named Frank Furness. Look for details in the exterior that represent his often exaggerated style. Many features, from the chimneys to the porch brackets, seem wildly oversized. It was built for Emlen Physick, a gentleman farmer and the son of famous American surgeon, Dr. Philip Syng Physick.

Explore the interior of this impressively vast landmark. Rooms include the formal parlor, where you can see Louis XVI Revival furniture, and a music room complete with ornate instruments. Head downstairs to view the servant’s wing and kitchen for an insight into how Physick’s employees lived. Look for a Victorian-era stove and 19th-century crockery.

See details in the house that typify 19th-century life, such as a separate library filled with books. A billiard room signifies the increase in leisure time available to the rich in this era. Outside, wander around a typical Victorian herb garden.

Tours of the estate end in the Carriage House, which hosts the Carroll Gallery. Enjoy exhibits covering different facets of local history, sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities.

Return to the house late at night to join the Midnight at the Physick Estate ghost tour. Cape May is said to be one of the most haunted towns in the U.S. Many believe that the estate is frequented by paranormal figures such as Dr. Physick’s Aunt Emilie.

Walk to the Emlen Physick Estate from downtown Cape May. The museum is only 20 minutes on foot from Cape May Beach. Visitors driving to the house can use the on-site parking. The estate is open daily and can be explored on either a self-guided or guided tour.