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The Mainstay Inn was originally known as “The Clubhouse,” a 19th century pleasure palace, where gentlemen gathered in an elegant setting for gambling and other amusements. The Clubhouse operated until the late 1890s when gambling was made illegal and Cape May was losing ground to Atlantic City, Asbury Park and Coney Island in popularity. In 1898 the property was sold the Frances “Fanny” Wistar Scott and continued the tradition of wealthy Philadelphians owning summer cottages in Cape May. In 1945 the property was sold to the Frank O’Brien family who had wonderful parties that Cape May’s old time residences still remember. In 1949, Rev. and Mrs. John Pemberton bought the building and converted it to a guest house, The Victorian Mansion, which they operated until the summer of 1976.

In 1977, Tom and Sue Carroll purchased the building and began an extensive restoration project. They opened a bed-and-breakfast, which they named The Mainstay Inn. In 1980, the neighboring property was purchased and converted into six additional rooms and the apartment. Known as “The Cottage” this classic Victorian’s design is also attributed to Stephen Decatur Button and was originally built as a private summer home in 1870. The Cottage is adjacent to the Inn across a brick walkway that transverses a lovely garden with a Victorian fountain.

Tom and Sue continued to own and operate The Mainstay Inn until April of 2004, when the properties were purchased by David and Susan Macrae. In March of 2014 the Inn was sold to the current owners, Pete & Esther Scalone of McLean, VA. Together with longtime innkeeper, Diane Clark, they continue the historic traditions and commitment to hospitality worthy of this special place.

635 Columbia Avenue
Cape May, NJ 08204
(609) 884-8690