Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On the Way to Cape May: Tea by the Sea

Angel of the Sea B&B: from top left- exterior, sign with namesake's mermaid angel, tea cups and saucer collection, view from the porch. photos Cpaul2013
While any summer day at the beach is a delight, I find what could be called the "off-season" is one of my favorite times to escape to the seaside. These short weeks just before the rush of tourists arrive or just after the last of the crowds dissipates at summers end, when the weather is still sunny but mild, are perfect for exploring the quiet beaches and local area charm. 
Recently, I was lucky to be treated to a quick Spring girls getaway- (Mother, Aunt, and friend in tow) to the charming town of Cape May NJ., known for it's history, (one of the oldest seaside resorts) galleries and shops, and especially its delightful Victorian architecture.

 We stayed at a charming historic B&B called Angel of the Sea which hosted afternoon tea on the lovely open porches. Of course, once back home, this served as inspiration for a by-the-sea themed tea party featuring ocean inspired sweet treats to kick off summer, even in my landlocked backyard. (Plus I had bought an adorable shell sugar & creamer set for $5.59 I was itching to use)

On the Menu: Sand Dollar cookies, Pearl shortbreads, Sea Glass Candy and assorted hot and iced herbal teas

I used simple blue and white tea cups
Casually mismatched china  (I don't have a matching set of anything anyway) and a wicker basket gives a relaxed beachy feel. A scrap of blue lace picks up the color scheme.


Sea Glass Candy

Sea Glass Candy in brown sugar "sand"

It's amazing how something as undesirable as broken glass becomes somehow enchanting after a long tumble about in the waves. As a child finding a magical piece of sea glass was akin to finding a precious jewel. So why not pay homage to these beach-combing gems with a sweet and pretty treat.
 A quick internet search found countless recipes to create a sea glass candy that mimics the real thing. Some recipes call for boiling down sugar syrup but past experiences have put me off that process (yes candy thermometers can explode!) so I found a shortcut version using colored hard candy and powdered sugar. 
beachgirl image from graphics fairy



You'll Need:
hard candy in appropriate colors
powdered sugar
cooking spray


Simply line a cookie tray with foil and spritz with cooking spray and arrange candy separating by color. (Large candies can be crushed slightly)
Melt in a 350 degree preheated oven and check constantly.
In 2-5 minutes candy should be melted into puddles.
Carefully remove and when cool, break into pieces. Be careful to remove sharp edges.
Sift powder sugar over candy and toss lightlty to coat pieces. Rub off extra sugar with paper towel to give slightly opaque finish. Nestle the candy in brown sugar "sand" to display if desired.
This is the process I used for my iceberg toppers for my Polar Bear Club party, to see a tutorial with photos click here pennywiseblog polar bear club

Place in a jar and label, be careful not to display the real thing in an accessible spot to avoid confusion, especially around kids. Not suitable for small children.

vintage postcard allposters.com

Seaside Cookies

Pearl Shortbreads  * Sand Dollar Cookies

There so many amazing recipes for realistic shell and beach theme cookies using specific pans, professional baking ingredients and advanced kitchen skills. Short on all of those, I chose some much simpler ideas that still give a nod to the treasures of the sea. These are semi-scratch using store-bought treats as the starting point and just require some assembly.
To see the inspiration cookies or try more challenging recipes visit these delightful blogs finebaking.blogspot.com (scroll down for English), mamamiss.com and for cute kid clamshell cookies babylifestyles.com.


Pearl Shortbreads

You'll Need:
you favorite shell-like cookie ( I used inexpensive shortbread)
any color flavored icing
white coated chocolate candy- (I used white candies from white and green coconut M&M's)




Sand Dollar Cookies

You'll Need:
round thin cookie 
white meltable chocolate
slivered almonds

The ingredients: almonds, white chocolate, butter cookies 
(the elves are making an all natural cookie now-woopee)









Simple pleasures: biking on a foggy morning or relaxing on the porch
photoCPaul2013




Vintage photo exitzero
With full length dresses and hats and parasols, I suppose they didn't worry about sunburn in those days



Known as Painted Ladies, Cape May boasts streets lined with beautiful candy colored historic homes with "gingerbread" accents. 
Some of Cape May's best known landmarks:
The famous Pink House
 Historic Chalfont Hotel
Stately Congress Hall
(images Flickr.com)


PennyWise Tips

For fun and fascinating facts about this historic seaside resort visit the Cape May Historical Museum  and Genealogy Society



When creating a tablescape, I always "shop" around my house for items to use first
I popped some shells and a flameless candle in an IKEA outdoor lantern for a quick display 

And a birdhouse with a nautical topper which I had in the guest room adds to the theme





47 comments:

  1. Hi, I saw your beautiful post at Sandi's Tea Time Party. Ohhh, how lucky you are to go to the Angel of the Sea B & B! How gorgeous! The cookies are so creative and cute for a tea by the sea! And those historic buildings are just gorgeous! Thanks for sharing all that beauty with us!
    Gina

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Gina,
      Cape May is delightful especially if you enjoy Victorian architecture.
      so glad you enjoyed the post!
      Cheers!

      Delete
  2. Wow! What a lovely time you all must have had in Cape May. The buildings would be spectacular to see. I would love it myself. You have shared some wonderful ideas here. I love the sea glass candy; what fun! The cookies are cute too and I would love to try a sand dollar with a cup of tea. Thanks so much for coming to tea at Rose Chintz Cottage and have a lovely week, Christina.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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    1. Thanks so much Sandi,
      It's really a lovely place to visit-with so much history-
      so glad you enjoyed the post
      I always look forward to your weekly tea parties!
      Cheers

      Delete
  3. I have seen sooooo many articles about Cape May but never been there. This is a wonderful post. Thanks linking to Tea In The Garden!

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    1. Thanks Bernideen,
      It is a lovely place to visit if you ever find yourself in the area -
      full of Victorian history and charm
      Thanks for hosting your weekly delightful tea parties!
      Cheers!

      Delete
  4. Your girls' weekend sounds pretty wonderful. I have never been to Cape May, but I have seen pictures and would like to visit some day.

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    1. Thanks so much - we had a ball-sometimes even just a quick getaway can be such fun-
      It's a delightful place to visit if you find yourself in the area
      Thanks for stopping by :)

      Delete
  5. Vous avez un très joli blog
    merci de votre visite sur le mien
    belle journée
    Sophie

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    Replies
    1. Merci Beaucoup Sophie
      J'espère que vous visitez à nouveau -
        Je vais faire un post sur les chats :) bientôt

      Delete
  6. Fabulous post! Your inspired seaside tea time is wonderful. First of all, I have heard of that B&B. How was it? I have always wondered what it was like. I have never been to Cape May but would love to visit.
    Your tea cookies are so delicious looking and really fit your theme. The cream and sugar bowl are very pretty, and your tea cups so classy! You did a fine job making your tea have a beachy feel.
    I love those old Painted Ladies. They always look for regal and beautiful.
    Thanks so much for your wonderful tea post!
    Hugs,
    Terri

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    1. Thanks so much Terri!
      we only had a quick getaway but found the B&B and staff there delightful, with wonderful afternoon tea, wine and cheese and delightful breakfast we certainly didn't go hungry :) there are many Victorian B&B's in the area but this is the only one we've visited so far. As a child we would go down and rent one of the lovely homes for a week or so.
      If you find yourself in the area Cape May is worth a visit- lots of history and charm (and great shopping) which you don't always find at beach resorts.
      That's funny you mention the tea cups- they were freebies a relative was about to sent to Goodwill years ago - I just was looking online and apparently there fairly nice English porcelain- :)
      Thanks again for your kind words!
      Cheers

      Delete
  7. What a WONDERFUL...GORGEOUS...LOVELY Post!!!! All of the eye candy and glass candy! I LOVE EVERYTHING!!!! Thank you for a great morning smile!!!! Oh...I know...I don't know what National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day was not out there more than it was...I saw it in the NY TIMES so I thought I would celebrate : ) Hugs and thanks so much for dropping by! By the way...this post just proves the NJ ROCKS!!!! ; ) spoken like a true Jersey girl!

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    1. Hi Andrea - aka Jersey Girl :)
      I have relatives in NJ- and Just love Cape May!
      Thanks so much for your kind words and so glad you enjoyed the post!
      The candy is so easy to make!
      Thanks also for the heads up on Chocolate chip day- This will now be on our roster of celebrations! (As if everyday isn't chocolate chip day!) LOL
      Thanks again
      Cheers

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  8. What a wonderful party and full of so many creative ideas! I'm going to have to try all those recipes for sure! I LOVE the sea and have so many things like shells, starfish, and sea glass collected from vacations. Now I can make some EDIBLE sea glass! You've inspired my creative juices! Thanks!

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    1. Thanks Sandy!
      Sounds like you have all the accessories for a sea themed party already!
      -I love all things ocean too- (maybe because I'm a water sign) lol
      So glad you enjoyed the post- The recipes are almost too easy to be called recipes- hope you give some try- let us now how they turn out!
      Cheers!

      Delete
  9. I think your cookies are adorable! Love the idea:@)

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    1. Thanks so much!
      So glad you enjoyed the recipes and your blog name is a riot! :)
      Cheers!

      Delete
  10. Dear Christina,
    Oh my, so clever! Those cookies are works of art. Your presentation is amazing. You must have had so much fun and should be so proud of your results.
    Cape May looks so inviting. I would love to see those beautiful old "Ladies".
    Fabulous post!
    Thanks, Ruthie from: http://www.ladybstimefortea.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Ruthie!
      I'm so glad you liked the post-
      It was lots of fun to put together -Of course, I enjoy any excuse for a tea party! :)
      So glad you visited as it led me to your delightful site!
      Cheers!

      Delete
  11. Delicious looking post! What a great way to remember your special outing by having one at home also.

    Judith

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    1. Thanks so much Judith,
      That's true- any way extend vacation a bit :)

      Delete
  12. Oh I like eeeeeverything!!!! You did a great job. I love your tea party! Hugs :D

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    1. Thanks so much!
      So glad you stopped by for a visit! :)

      Delete
  13. What a fun post...I really enjoyed every bit of it.
    Over from Tablescaper..

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    1. Thanks so much BJ
      I just love your Tablescaper linky parties!
      Cheers!

      Delete
  14. I came to Thank you for stopping by and for leaving such a sweet comment and I was so pleasantly surprised. When I was a child, we vacationed in Wildwood every year and took a day trip to Cape May.I remember Cape May before it was put on the National Historical Register and all those homes were falling down. Slowly, each year, the town was being rebuilt and looks like it does today. I LOVE Cape May because I am a Victorian Soul and my dream vacation is to spend a week there durig Christmas time but that will have to wait until we retire as neither one of us can get time off during Christmas from work. Unfortunately, we have not been to N.J. in 15 years.
    I signed up to Follow You .... Do you leave in N.J. or close to the state? I am in Pa.

    Hugs,
    Deb

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Debbie!
      Oh how funny, we had friends in Wildwood. I love all things Victorian as well and spent many childhood summers in Cape may but hadn't been there for a while - we drifted to other destinations like the Outer banks (a delightful place too) I hope you do get to visit at Christmas time - I hear it's magical at the holidays! I live in Bucks County now so we're not too far. So glad you enjoyed the post and delighted you'll be following!
      Cheers!

      Delete
  15. How special to make those yummy desserts all about the sea! Love the vintage photos, too. Think how hot we would be strolling on the beach in those outfits! I've enjoyed this post....I love everything about the ocean!

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    1. Thanks so much!
      I know - I always think of those people in full dress on the beach!
      So glad you popped by for a visit- I love anything ocean too!

      Delete
  16. PINNED!! Under Beachy decorating... Thanks for sharing. Linda

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    1. Thanks so much Linda!
      I'll check you out on Pinterest (I spend way to much time on that site hahah)

      Delete
  17. What a yummie post!! Wonderful sea-tea-theme. Hugs, Wendy

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    1. So glad you enjoyed post Wendy!
      Hope you visit us again!

      Delete
  18. My heart aches that I didn't visit Cape May when I had the chance so many years ago. My husband was playing in a band at Harrah's in Atlantic City, and we just never found the time. We were newlyweds and very young, and even though I loved antiques at the time, he wasn't completely sold. Now thirty years later, we'd both LOVE to visit. Maybe we will. Thank you for sharing on Vintage View Sunday.

    Laura from Sunday View

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    1. Thanks Laura-
      Oh I do hope you get to visit Cape May!
      I know there are so many places on my must-visit list too- sometimes there's just never enough time, or money, or both haha
      If your husbands a musician you might want to go during the Music festival- here's the link
      http://www.capemaymac.org/content/subpage_main.aspx?id=120
      Cheers!
      Christina

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  19. Wonderful post. You hit every note. I am always drawn to your thumbnails at link parties, and you have quickly become one of my 'must visit' sites.
    I grew up in a beach community. You really captured the spirit. This Shorebird, Clam Digger, Jersey Girl will be trying your sea glass recipe a.s.a.p. (I am planning on making your Pink Champagne cake too but we keep drinking the champagne)Happy Vintage View Sunday!

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    1. Thanks so much Susan!
      How lucky you are to grow up by the beach!
      Hope the recipes turn out - let us know :)
      and you only need a small amount of champagne for the cake- so it would be a shame to waste the rest of the bottle!
      Cheers and thanks for your kind words!

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  20. What a fabulous tea! I have always wanted to visit Cape May. I love Victorian homes, and that has always looked tlike a fabulous repository of them. Your setting is wonderful, and I LOVE your cookies! They are fabulous! What a creative thing you are!!!! I am back from my restorative break, and thanks for your kkind wishes before. I have a new address for my blog and Tuesday Cuppa Tea....www.antiquesandteacups.info.
    Ruth

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    1. Thanks so much Ruth,
      Hope you are doing well!
      I think you would love Cape May if you're ever in the area I'm delighted you enjoyed the post and so appreciate your kind words-
      I will go visit your new address!
      Cheers

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  21. Oh, I could so be there! What a lovely place and those cookies are amazing! Love the vintage photos and the houses too! I appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,
    Kathy

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    1. Thanks so much Kathy,
      It is a delightful place to visit-wish I was there longer - lol-
      Thanks again for hosting your great linky parties!-I know it must be a lot of work putting them together every week-
      They're such a nice place to find and share fun ideas!
      Cheers

      Delete
  22. This is such a fav I wanted to re-share it.

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    1. Thanks so much! It's such a unique and fun place! Hoping to get back there before too long

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  23. Can these be made and frozen?

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    1. I've never frozen these cookies but I have frozen others and it worked out fine - maybe try a couple to see first if you have time :)

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  24. Can these be made and frozen?

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Love to hear your comments and suggestions!