Having made the decision to move in the winter of 2012, my wife and I searched far and wide for the ideal place to move and raise our family. For the past decade, we had lived in Staten Island, a very busy outpost of New York City — wrought with chaotic strip malls and a burgeoning population that made driving to work an impossibility. The stated goal was, without question, to find a place to live that conformed with our chief interests, which entailed: good schools, friendly neighborhood, somewhat of a pastoral setting, but also accompanied with the modern amenities of a Main Street (e.g. local coffee shoppe, eatery, place to grab a slice of pizza), and most importantly low crime.
Admittedly, my wife and I are idealists. Often times our dreams intermingle with reality and cause us angst when things aren’t precisely how we envisioned it. I imagine many of us are striving for Mayberry, the mythical setting that we all saw on television growing up, the perfectly manicured lawns, friendly pie giving neighbors, and the token lemonade stand on the corner — where kids sold refreshments to working Moms and Dads arriving home from a long days work.
We hired a real estate agent to find us this reverie of a neighborhood, much to his chagrin. We must’ve traveled to every corner of New Jersey, in a near frantic mission for this ideal. Some homes were just perfect, but the neighborhood was dreadful. Others were wonderful, but the cost to live there was comically prohibitive (see Alpine, NJ).
Our home in Staten Island sold in 12 days, which made us both ecstatic and panicked, due to the fact that we had just sold the only place that stored all of our stuff — ourselves included.
While looking for homes on Zillow, my wife came home after picking up the kids and showed me a beautiful place in Pennington, NJ. I had no idea where Pennington was, other than the fact it was located 15 minutes outside Princeton — which is a wonderful and very old small town that was a bit out of our price range. We packed our three children into our car and drove an hour and a half to see Pennington, NJ.
The house was precisely what we were looking for, a cornucopia of amenities that harangued our very patient and very good real estate agent to wits end. Unbeknownst to us, the initial joys of finding a home — which possessed both the curb appeal and the space needed for a growing family — paled in comparison to the neighborhood that we, by happenstance, moved into.
The Hopewell area is a gem, a celebration of Americana and a time when details mattered. As residents, we are blessed with a plethora of organic food farms that retail affordable and quality meats, cheeses, milk, vegetables and fruit to the public. There are festivals, theatre, active sports leagues, the very best restaurants I’ve ever been to. Most importantly, the schools are unbelievably good and the neighborhood is ‘leave your door unlocked’ safe. The Hopewell Township is surrounded by several great towns, including Hopewell, Pennington, Lawrenceville, Princeton, Lambertville and West Windsor.
Since moving to Pennington, I’ve immersed myself in its rich history and the endless things to do and see in the area. Inside the confines of this blog, I intend to share my passion for Hopewell and the many things that my family and I experience while living here.