A sunny day at the Jersey Shore, historic homes, historic buildings, and an historic town--what could be a better way to spend a day for a history nut like me and a willing friend?
The Towne of Historic Smithville began as a stagecoach stop in 1787. Since we didn’t have to bump over rough trails from the Lenni Lenape native tribes, but the Garden State Parkway, it was a cinch to get here.
It is said the town grew around the early inn and the north/south trails became the King’s Highway (now U.S. 9). When the railroads came, the stage coaches were abandoned, and so was the town. In 1949, South Jersey fans Fred and Ethel Noyes restored the old stagecoach inn, but didn’t stop there. They collected historically significant original structures from the region, brought them to Smithville, and restored them to their former glory. In the 1950’s it was apparently a popular place to come. Present day visitors can enjoy a day here, shopping with various small vendors who have set up shop in the historic buildings. They can also eat at Fred & Ethel’s Lantern Light Tavern, and have a delightful meal.
A side trip a few miles away to the Noyes Museum of Art, also begun by dear old Fred & Ethel. It may not be the Fred & Ethel Mertz you were thinking of, but I’ll bet you will have a great time here anyway!