There's just something comforting about places that are old-fashioned. Perhaps it invokes images from a simpler time or maybe it's the fact that family and loved ones played such an integral part of everyday tasks like working and cooking. Smithville, a community in Galloway Township in Atlantic County, is such a place where the old-fashioned is part of today's world.
Although it's just 15 miles from Atlantic City, Smithville couldn't be more different than the gambling capital of the East Coast. Smithville is situated in the Pine Barrens and its history dates back to 1787 when James Baremore built the Smithville Inn for stagecoach travelers. That inn grew from a one room building and a century later, was six times its original size. Today, the Smithville Inn is a fine dining establishment where events like weddings are held. It's also considered a historic landmark. It's hard to imagine, but the town of Smithville grew from that inn. In the 1960s, historic buildings from other locations were moved near the inn. In 1990, the Village Greene, which includes shops, a carousel, a steam engine, a miniature golf course, and other attractions were added to give Smithville a bit of that old-fashioned, quaint feel in the spirit of Williamsburg, Virginia. Today, Smithville hosts activities which include an annual May Fest, a Fourth of July parade, a living encampment to teach the public about colonial life, Oktoberfest, and Breakfast with Santa. As of 2010, there were 7,200 people living within the area of Smithville. Students are served by the Galloway Township School District for prekindergarten through eighth grades. They attend Absegami High School for ninth through 12th grades. Walking through Smithville is like stepping back in time. The cobblestone paths wind through the Village Greene where the manicured lawns and beautiful flowers seem to wash away the world's cares. Shoppers enjoy browsing for candles, Christmas items, country décor, unique and unusual gifts, apothecary products, angel and fairy statues, specialty foods, jewelry, antiques, products from Italy, and other treasures. Obviously, the Smithville Inn is the most well-known place to dine, but there are other places to pick from including a tavern, a pizza shop, and a family restaurant. It's not unusual to see people enjoying an ice cream sundae from Scoop's Place. Historic Smithville is open every day of the year with the exception of Christmas Day. Although no one lives within the Village Greene, that is the town's main focus. Residents can walk the paths of the Village Greene and stop into the shops to buy quilting materials, gifts for loved ones, and jam for breakfast while enjoying the atmosphere of a country town 200 years removed from the present. A meal at the Smithville Inn caps off a perfect day with one of the restaurant's specialties and Lenny playing the piano for aesthetic pleasure. Returning home is a return to the present, but Smithville promises those who live nearby that the comfort and quaintness of yesteryear are very much still part of life today.