Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Joys Of A Small Town Christmas

 The old toys (above and below) in the Christmas window display at The Owl's Tale in historic Haddonfield.
There's no Christmas like a small town Christmas.
And in the shadow of Philadelphia, you'll find a small town rich in history with an old-fashioned main street, delightful shops, friendly merchants and neighbors with no small amount of genuine civic-pride.
On October 23, 1682, when he took up a tract of 400 acres, Francis Collins became the first settler within the boundaries of what is today Haddonfield, New Jersey. An English Quaker and a bricklayer by trade, Collins built his house, "Mountwell". Other settlers would soon follow.
Haddonfield flourished throughout the 18th century; by the Revolution it was the largest village in the area. One reason for its growth was water transportation via the Cooper's Creek; Haddonfield was at the terminus point where boats could be flatted. From this strategic point goods would have to be brought for shipment or incoming goods must be unloaded. Haddonfield also had an advanced road system, leading to what is now Camden and Gloucester City and to Salem and Burlington.
Both the Council of Safety and the New Jersey legislature, on the run from the British, met on a number of occasions in Haddonfield throughout 1777. Many of the famous names of the Revolution passed through Haddonfield, including Lafayette, Generals Morgan, Greene, Wayne and Pulaski, the Polish Count; British leaders included Sir Henry Clinton, Lord Cornwallis and a Hessian Commander, Colonel Donop.
Today, Haddonfield is a thriving, leafy community and one of the most desirable places to live in the Philadelphia region. Last night we visited Haddonfield for the town's tree lighting ceremony and the first in a series of Friday night "candellight shopping" nights. Every Friday between now and Christmas there will be luminary lights, carriage rides, music and other attractions in Haddonfield.
Last night, there was just enough of a nip in the air to remind us that Christmas is near.
Hundreds of people turned out for the tree lighting and the main street (Kings Highway) was festooned with lights, wreaths and decorated trees and busy shoppers. Bands played, carolers sung and shopkeepers provided a warm welcome to all.
The streetscape and scale of this wonderful town are as close to perfect as you will find anywhere.
Today is Shop Small Saturday -- meaning that you should support small businesses and local communities.
What better place to start than in Haddonfield or some similar town wherever it is that you live.
Check out some of the beautifully decorated windows in small town shopping districts, chat with the merchants, meet friends and neighbors and above all, BUY!
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and small towns help to make America great.

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