Located just a few miles from the New Jersey shore in the southern part of the state, the Historic town of Smithville is a charming destination for visitors who wish to truly take a step back in time and relax, unwind and experience life in a quaint village that’s unlike any other in the state. With meandering walkways, and a small boardwalk surrounding an expansive lake, Smithville is home to a number of cute shops, highly-rated restaurants, and lakefront entertainment.
Smithville has an intriguing history and is not actually a legendary town. The humble beginnings of the town of Smithville started out as an abandoned stagecoach stop, which was purchased (along with adjacent land) and refurbished in 1952 by a local couple, Fred and Ethel Noyes. Know for their creative ideas, they first transformed the property into The Smithville Inn, a popular high-end restaurant that served early American cuisine and was considered a “special occasion” dining destination.
Eventually, they created the entire town of Smithville around this noteworthy restaurant. This town stretched throughout the 2,300 acres of the surrounding area, which encompassed multiple structures, about 50 shops, three inns, and a boutique hotel. In the 1970s, the property grew to become a major entertainment spot—with plenty of local shops housed in the town’s colonial buildings surrounded by lovely outdoor space—it was eventually was sold by the Noyes family to ABC.
Although some of the structures have been rebuilt, the majority of the buildings are authentic and have been restored. Today, Smithville attracts visitors from near and far.
The Best Time to Visit
Historic Smithville a fun and lively destination that draws visitors all year long. It’s a great, laid-back rustic village that’s a perfect place for a day trip—and especially ideal for a multi-generational visit.
Ideally, it’s best to visit Historic Smithville during the warmer months, as many of the activities are outdoors (and the cafes and restaurants have indoor as well as patio seating). Smithville is a popular local spot, and weekends in the summer are especially busy, so stick with weekdays if you wish to avoid crowds. The holiday season is also an incredible time to visit, as Smithville’s winter decorations and Christmas lights are simply stunning. They also present a festive light show over the lake around the holidays. And if you bundle up, it’s fun to admire the scenery and enjoy a brisk winter walk!
Before planning your visit, go to the Historic Smithville website and check out the monthly calendar, as this destination usually plans about 40 events each year (including car shows, Oktoberfest, and children’s festivals) so you will want to be prepared!
Things to Do
Smithville offers an abundance of picturesque scenery, a lovely lake (with paddleboats for rent), easy walking paths with ample benches for seating (even a cute gazebo for relaxing). The free-roaming ducks, geese, and chickens also add to the rustic ambiance. In addition to relaxing lakeside, Smithville is a shopper’s paradise with dozens of boutiques in town. When you need a break and need to recharge, several cafes and restaurants are steps away at a variety of price points. There’s much to see and do at Historic Smithville—it’s truly an area for everyone.
Shopping: There are over 50 boutique “shoppes” (yes, that's how they spell it) in Smithville and you can spend a fun afternoon window-shopping and perusing these fascinating and often whimsical local businesses. Some of the many retail stores include Feather Your Nest, a stylish home decor store; The Honey Pot, offering products made with raw and natural honey; Celebrity Collectibles, a gift shop featuring memorabilia about current and classic movie stars; Olive N Grape, which sells exclusive organic oils and delectable vinegar; and The Smiling Lama, a store with unique products imported from Peru and Chile.
Dining: You will love the dining options at Historic Smithville, as there is an array of options—whether you want to grab a quick snack or enjoy an elegant dinner. The top restaurants here are The Historic Smithville Inn, featuring world-class cuisine; Fred and Ethel’s Lantern Light Tavern with a large bar area and casual fare; Costello’s Pizza; the Lakeside Grill (with plenty of outdoor seating) and Scoop’s Place (for homemade ice cream). The Smithville Bakery is also a popular spot among locals for fresh bread, cookies, and baked goods.
Family-Friendly Activities: If you’re traveling with kids to Smithville, you are certain to have a fun-filled day. Children love to explore the cobblestone pathways and quaint footbridges that lead around the village and over the beautiful lake. There’s a classic carousel with painted houses and other animals; the Smithville Trail that runs throughout the town and paddle boats on the lake that you can rent and enjoy the sights from the water. The Toy Market shop in the center of town is also a fun shopping destination for kids, as it’s overflowing with games, puzzles, books, stuffed animals, and a wide selection of delightful surprises. This award-winning store has been named “South Jersey’s Favorite Toy Store” by South Jersey Magazine and will most likely be buzzing with excited kids of all ages—as it emphasizes interactive play and often offers classes and workshops.
Things to Do Nearby
Historic Smithville is situated very close to the New Jersey shore town of Atlantic City, which is located about a 20-minute drive away.
The warmer months are by far the ideal time to visit this area of New Jersey, as many attractions are outdoors. In Atlantic City, you can relax on the beach, stroll along the boardwalk, visit the many casinos that line the shoreline, and check out a few beach bars and local restaurants, too. Visit the official Atlantic City website for details before you go.
Where to Stay
Great news if you wish to spend the night (or two)! Historic Smithville has its own on-site lodging options—right in the center of it all. The Colonial Inn at Historic Smithville features 30 elegantly-appointed rooms located in several buildings, including the Main house, the Country Inn the Barn and Village rooms.
Please note that often these rooms are booked up for weddings, as Smithville is a popular wedding destination. It’s best to reserve a room in advance if you wish to stay in the heart of this historic village, especially on the weekends.