The Friends of the Physick Estate group are offering free tours of the estate, on select dates and times, in exchange for donations for Cape May Community Food Closet.The Emlen Physick Estate is an 18-room mansion-turned-museum in Cape May which houses the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC) organization.

Built in 1879, the four-acre estate is considered by some to be one of the finest examples of Victorian "Stick Style" architecture in America. From 1879 to 1937 it was home to the wealthy Dr. Emlen Physick, his widowed mother, Mrs. Ralston and his Aunt Emilie. Emlen Physick is said to have owned the first automobile in Cape May.The MAC organization was formed in 1970 to save then-deteriorating mansion. MAC's mission was to restore the mansion, fill it with Victorian style d�cor, and use it to share the stories of the Physick family and life during Cape May's Victorian era.

The Friends of the Physick Estate formed in 2010 to help bring more visitors into the estate. It's led by Barbara Oberholtzer, a longtime educational outreach coordinator for MAC and resident of Cape May.

Oberholtzer, who was a member of MAC for many years before taking on the role of Chairperson of the Friends of the Physick Estate, said a main goal of the group is to bring more locals, especially young children and teens, through the estate.

"When we do have locals that come they always leave saying, 'I've lived here X amount of years and wow, why haven't I been here? Why haven't I been involved,'" Oberholtzer said.

The tour is 45 minutes and can be adapted for children and adults.

"We like to see younger kids and teens become interested because that's our future," she said. "That's how these stories will be passed on."

The idea behind offering the tour for free is gain more exposure and to help the food closet.

"We want to do things within the community that a draws attention to the organization as well as fundraisers to help the community," Oberholtzer said. "We feel helping the food closet is a worthwhile cause."

Typically the tour costs $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Contact Elisa Lala:


If you go


Free Tours of the Emlen Physick Estate to benefit the Cape May Community Food Closet. The food closet is housed in the First Presbyterian Church of Cape May.


1048 Washington St., Cape May


11:45 a.m. Friday, March 1, 8 and 15.

How much:

A donation of $5 worth of non-perishable food or personal care items are recommended, however at least one item is mandatory for free admission. Call 609-884-5404.