Cape May claims the famed status as being America's first sea resort town so it goes without saying that the history and architecture are a fine example of the United States' earliest years. Dutch settles first claimed the area in 1620 at which point it became a whaling industry town. But its fine location soon brought tourists for coastal sun bathing and swimming, pushing the architectural design to be top class. Today, Cape May is listed as a National Landmark City.

It was the Victorian era that saw the true charm of Cape May begin to take shape. During the 1800s when Queen Victoria ruled England and still greatly influenced life in New England, building representing the finest of Victorian design sprouted up. Ironically, because of two rather devastating fires during this century, Cape May blossomed into the beautiful town as it is known today. The renovations that took place to bring the city back to life after the fire, made it better than ever.

So what does Victorian design mean? Charming verandas, intricate ornamentation, and structured gardens. The designs have inspired people over time and the city boasts 600 buildings listed under the National Register of Historic Places. To digest all the beauty of these buildings, a historic walking tour is the best option. Tours run 90 minutes and focus on the architectural history of the town.