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Emlen Physick Estate

Cape May Emlen Physick Estate

No visit to Cape May is complete without a stop at the Emlen Physick Estate.

The estate, located at 1048 Washington St., once belonged to a prominent family in Cape May’s history: the Physicks. Dr. Emlen Physick with his mother, Frances Ralston, and his aunt Emilie Parmentier moved into the house when it was completed in 1879. The house is said to be designed by architect Frank Furness and is the only one of its kind in Cape May. It was designed in a Slick Style whereas most homes of the era were designed in the Italianate, Gothic, and Mansard styles.

Though Dr. Physick never practiced medicine after completing medical school, his grandfather, Dr. Philip Syng Physick, is well known for his contributions to improving surgical procedures and inventing many instruments that are still in operating rooms today. Dr. Physick preferred the life of a gentleman farmer and enjoyed quite an active social life.

It seems Dr. Physick’s active social life continued even after he passed. The estate is known as Cape May’s original haunted house with multiple paranormal investigations taking place on the property with the help of Cape May’s psychic medium Craig McManus.  McManus has identified some of the resident ghosts, one being Dr. Physick’s Aunt Emilie, who happily keeps an eye on the place. Isabelle, Frances Ralston’s ill younger sister, who passed in 1883 after they moved into the mansion, will make her presence known as well. The carriage house is also home to a spirit who remains unidentified.

Today, the carriage house includes a tea room and gift shop, the perfect ending spot for the guided tours of the mansion.  The tea room hosts many themed events throughout the year and is another wonderful addition to the museum. The Carriage House Café & Tearoom is open daily from noon to 4 p.m., April through October.

Tours are offered of the estate for $12 per adult and $8 per child. Tours last approximately 45 minutes and are led by docents. If you want to take a tour with Dr. Physick himself, then check out the Dr. Physick’s Neighborhood Walking Tour where you’ll hear about the history and gossip of Cape May from the good Doctor.

For more information on the Emlen Physick Estate, please call the Cape May Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities at 609-884-5404.