Congress Hall Cape May

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Escaping the city every now and again is one of the essentials to maintaining my sanity. Or what's left of it anyway.

Fortunately, the Northeast boasts a number of breathtaking, family-friendly destinations, all within driving distance.

Last month, I had the good fortune of joining a distinguished group of bloggers organized by The Motherhood on a press retreat sponsored by Cape Resorts Group to the Jersey Shore.

Now I know what you're thinking...GTL. But I assure you, the gym and tanning were optional and lucky for us, there was NO laundry to attend to.

Cape Resorts Group owns 6 hotel properties, 5 of which are located in Cape May, the southern tip of New Jersey where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean: Congress Hall, a 108-room seaside resort with nearly two centuries of storied history, The Virginia Hotel & Cottage, a chic, Victorian-style main house with 24 intimate rooms, 5 spacious cottages, and the acclaimed Ebbitt Room restaurant, The Star Inn, a motel with 9 en suite bedrooms, 10 efficiencies, and 2 carriage suites, The Beach Shack, another efficiency-style beach motel, and The Sandpiper Beach Club, a newly renovated family-friendly condominium with 51 one or two bedroom units, all with a full kitchen, living room, balcony, and view of the Atlantic Ocean. Something to suit everyone's fancy at varied price levels.

Less than 3.5 hours after departure from Manhattan, we arrived at our home base Congress Hall, built in 1918 and meticulously renovated by the original developer's grandson, fellow Penn grad, Curtis Bradshaw, owner of Cape Resorts Group. Bradshaw grew up at Congress Hall and his fond memories have shaped the family-oriented, activity-packed resort that the property is today. The hotel features a full-service spa, pool, lobby shops, fitness room, night club, cocktail lounge, poolside and beachfront service, The Blue Pig Tavern, and more.

The rooms at Congress Hall are clean, bright, and spacious. Bathrooms feature soaking tubs and Aveda products. The resort is super family-friendly, well-located in the heart of Cape May on the beach, and has both boutique shopping and restaurants in the resort and within walking distance. Most impressive is the line-up of activities designed for all ages and resort-wide celebrations like the "Full Moon Party," and Fourth of July and Christmas festivities. Highlights of my visit include:

Breaking into the mini-bar, solo:

Bubbly

Our "welcome dinner" at The Rusty Nail, a buzzing surfer bar on the grounds of The Beach Shack (and a stone's throw from Congress Hall):

Strolling around Cape May's quaint village with Ellen of Baby Meets City and taking in the unique dichotomy of beach town and Victorian village:

Lunch at the magical Beach Plum Farm, which I'll cover in a separate post it was so memorable and the photos capture it so beautifully:

Strawberry rhubarb pie and coffee in the solarium at The Virginia:

And our "farewell dinner," complete with lobster mac 'n cheese and more bubbly, at The Blue Pig Tavern:

Coincidentally, The New York Times Travel section featured 36 Hours In Cape May, NJthis past week and many of our destinations made their fabulous list as well. It's impossible to pick a favorite part of the trip but I know one thing for sure, it was a retreat I won't soon forget and I look forward to heading back with the family in tow.

*Cape Resorts Group is generously offering Glamamom readers a $100 resort credit if you book a reservation for 2011 by July 31st. Reservations must be made online using the promo code MOMBLOG. Your $100 credit will be applied during checkout.

For more information, follow Congress Hall on Facebook or Twitter.

{This trip was sponsored by Cape Resorts Group and The Motherhood. Travel, meals, and accommodations were complimentary for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own. For more photos, visit Glamamom on Facebook.}