Written by By Fiona Croll, CNN
Harriet Elise Phillips, part of CNN’s 20 Under 20, penned the above story about Readington, a community of 50 residents who aim to preserve their quaintness.
Readington in New Jersey was named by Forbes in 2015 as one of the “World’s Hippest Small Towns”
In 1932 Readington, nestled in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, was the first incorporated town in the United States to adopt a zoning ordinance specifically banning gaudy paint, replacing historic institutions with grocers, department stores and factory farms. In 1980, the few farms that used to populate the town (one that held flowers for holidays, and another that grew tomatoes) were annexed and now there is virtually no farming.
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According to the National Park Service, the community of around 50 “mostly retired/retired” residents houses 24 businesses, has strong community relations and rules against shouting on the street, in part for their own sake but also to keep the rural charm that they cherish.
Contemporary homes in Readington, NJ, and the smaller markets by Garden State Vineyards (photos by Akshay Gupta)
Readington is a pocket of a national park that’s recognized globally as one of America’s natural treasures. It is also home to Garden State Vineyards, a 9-acre organic farm whose produce is sold at a small market.
Readington, the Market in Readington, NJ. Businesses and residents recognize the relevance of keeping the town’s charm. Credit: Rachel Graham Maxwell Photography
“I love the simpler things in life,” said David Epstein, a 83-year-old resident who has been living in Readington since the 1950s. “I feel like life is precious and so I like to save it. We really want to preserve it and preserve the small-town atmosphere that Readington has.”
Conceived and built by the World War II GIs, Readington is the serene home of Air Force general and Secretary of Defense Henry J. Jackson, as well as former Ambassador Edward R. Ray and his wife Linda Marshall Ray.
Watch the video above to see more of Readington.