During your stay in Cape May, NJ, between trips to the beach and gazing at blocks of Victorian mansions, take a step back in time and visit Historic Cold Spring Village. There is something for everyone: history buffs, beer lovers, gardeners, crafters, shoppers, and ice cream aficionados. The best part, however, is the total immersion in the lifestyle of the 1800s. Plan a day to explore New Jersey’s largest open-air museum and walk away with an appreciation for many of the small everyday items we take for granted.
How Historic Cold Spring Village Began
Historic Cold Spring Village began in 1973 with the acquisition of a single grange building by Dr. Joseph Salvatore and his wife, Patricia Anne. They moved it onto 22 acres of wooded land between Routes 9 and 626. For the next eight years, they acquired additional buildings, along with period furnishings, tools, and other implements. The goal was to create a sense of returning to the 1800s.
More than 40 years later, Historic Cold Spring Village has 27 restored buildings where historically clothed interpreters demonstrate skills like blacksmithing, tinsmithing, and basket weaving.
What to Know When You Visit
The buildings of Historic Cold Spring Village open for the season on June 29, 2023. Tickets are available online or at the gate. The cost for adults is $14 for the day, and for children ages 3 – 12, $12. Village Walking Tours are available at an additional cost.
Food is available at the Cold Spring Grange Restaurant, the Village Bakery, and the Ice Cream Parlor.
There are a total of 27 buildings sitting on 30 acres. Here are details on several of them to give you an idea of what you will see:
Cold Spring Grange Hall #132 is the only building on its original site. It was built in 1912 as a meeting hall. It is now a farm-to-table restaurant.
The Village Print Shop is housed in a building originally built in 1830. You will see demonstrations of early print presses. While you are in the building, note that it was home to a minister, his wife, and six children.
The Blacksmith Shop building is from the late 1800s and was originally probably a blacksmith shop. You will see demonstrations here of blacksmithing.
Along with these buildings, you can visit a farm where heritage crops are grown, see village sheep, and then see a weaver spin yarn from their fleece. Visit the schoolhouse, where a teacher demonstrates how things were in the old schoolhouse.
Cold Spring Brewery
The Cold Spring Brewery has an interesting story. The building in which it is located was an old barn that was taken down and reconstructed board by board. It is the first New Jersey non-profit brewery. The Brewery is located outside of the Village fencing and hence, can be visited without admission to the Village; it is still part of the property.
The Brewery normally has about a dozen craft beers on tap, some created in the style of the 1800s like Cape May Farmhouse, but there are also an IPA, Stout, and Porter. There is even an old-fashioned Sarsaparilla (along with a non-alcoholic version)
There are events happening almost every weekend from the end of June until the fall. They include a Revolutionary War Encampment, Independence Day Weekend, Down on the Farm Weekend, and many more.
The Rest of Your Cape May Stay
Following your visit to Historic Cold Spring Village, how do you want to spend the remainder of your visit to America’s Oldest Seaside Resort? There are so many things to do! Being a guest at the Carroll Villa Hotel, you will have a complimentary beach pass, towels, and a chair if you want to visit the beach. Or maybe you want to be ON the water, either kayaking or taking a whale-watching tour. Don’t forget to make reservations at one of our many top-notch restaurants! If you are tired and are staying with us at Carroll Villa Hotel, just take a few steps downstairs and have a marvelous meal at the Mad Batter. Summer is upon us; don’t delay making your reservations for that beach vacation you’ve been dreaming about.