How we decided to move to Hammonton
Our quest began online with the Hammonton website, then a few rides through and around town. These quick snippets told us that Hammonton could be the town we were looking for—not too big, no over-building boom crowding-out all of the open spaces and neighborhoods. A mix of people with a variety of backgrounds, history and culture; and a nice distribution of nature and community with business and commercial venues. A place with people honoring the past and living in the present for the future.
It was a bit like my hometown in central New Jersey, and my wife’s in northern New Jersey. Some parts reminded us of the years our young family lived in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana—particularly the variety of flora and fauna. The warmth of the climate and the people, the reduced stress levels and a sense of community. Access, activity and a day-by-day spirit prevailed. Yes, there are always things to be done—but there must be time for interacting with others—for a community to exist and flourish.
We made visits last fall and winter. Hammonton presented itself with beautiful and long-lasting autumn colors. We had finished raising the family to adulthood and, as natives and college graduates of New Jersey (Rutgers University), we wanted to identify a location that could offer vibrant opportunities. We wanted a place to simplify and downsize after living in “Central Jersey” for the past 20 years. A place to explore and engage authentically with others. An oasis for recreation and relaxation.
We sought to see “the flow” of activity during the school year and so we visited downtown shops, coffee, food and read about a wide variety of events on the calendar, thanks to The Gazette. We made several “reconnaissance day-trips” to investigate proximity, transparency and hospitality—besides housing, jobs and costs—and to grab several meals at Silver Coin Diner. There was a clear level of convenience to local and nearby destinations, and easy access to the “local highways” when looking for other services.
We found helpful people and businesses to answer key questions honestly and openly. Based on our interactive experiences among Hammontonians and those working in the area we thought—“Why wait?”—let’s spend more time together now (in less traffic) and begin shaping our future. Besides, there are sidewalks, paths, lakes, parks and options for doing just about anything without much hassle or the fear of being exploited, played or preyed upon.
We made the move this past spring in a colorful yet different set of hues and vibrancy compared to the fall. In spite of the daily pollen replenishment, we hit the pavement and avoided lawn sprinkler dousings. We saw the workings of town inside and around the edges and found some of the many “places to be/go” by walking and driving like Bellevue Bagel Cafe, Chimney Rustic Ales, The Funky Cow, Marcello’s Trattoria, BreadHeads, Mary’s Cafe and others. We’ll see this short list get much longer as we continue this summer.
Cruisin’ MainStreet, Flower Power (Third Thursdays), the Arts and Music Downtown, the Memorial Day Parade and museum, food trucks and the Red White and Blueberry Festival during my wife’s birthday weekend made for good times. There are still more for us to explore, like The Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society Festival and the Eagle Theatre. These will give us further insight to the heart and soul of what made Hammonton our choice.
Now that we have a “view on the streets,” we’ve got a busy calendar. Where should we go and what should we do next? We’d be happy to hear your recommendations!
Dr. Paul J. Croft and his wife are from Woodbridge, N.J. and have resided in Hammonton since April 2023.