Taking kids to Historic Smithville in NJ is a bit like stumbling on a time capsule—a covered bridge leads to a quaint lake-side setting filled with history and plenty to do with the fam. From shopping and sweet treats to riding the train and going round and round on the carousel, there’s something for everyone at this historic spot on Lake Meone. The best part? The calendar is full of events all year long, especially during the holidays when Smithville turns into real life a Hallmark movie and one of the most charming Christmas village spots to visit in NJ. Read on for what to know about Smithville any time of year. (featured photo credit: @historicsmithvillenj)
A village straight out of a movie
As soon as you walk into the village, you will be transported back to a time with simple pleasures and family fun. There are over 50 unique shops for you to make your way through, including House of Jerky, La Petite Boutique, The Christmas Shoppe, Toy Market, and Out of Ireland. Walking along the cobblestone walkways and over footbridges, kids and adults will be in awe of the quintessential, small-town charm (a.k.a life before technology). Kids will want to make a bee-line to the carousel, where they can hop on a painted pony and listen to the sounds of the organ music coming from the speakers above as they go around. Another kid favorite? The bright blue and red train looks like a locomotive from the turn of the century and takes you for a ride from the adorable station and around the town. Kids will also want to spend time at the Antique Arcade with games like skee ball and ride on race cars and fire trucks.
A special holiday season
Historic Smithville shines during the holiday season with twinkling lights, decor, and festive music throughout the village. The festive season kicks off with Dickens Fest, where carolers and outdoor performers stroll the streets to bring the Spirit of Christmas to Historic Smithville. It really feels like you’ve landed on the set of a holiday movie—there are s’mores on the green, a Magical Talking Tree that awakens when kids ask questions, decorated train rides, Santa breakfasts, and a beautiful nightly light show. Shop for gifts at the Toy Market, buy candy at Sweet Things, stop by for a cup of steaming cocoa at the Inn, and gather around the bonfire in the evenings for a s’more. But don’t leave just yet—The Light Show On the Lake is a daily magical show with floating trees and lights that sync up to the music playing over the loudspeaker with songs like Jingle Bells and Jingle Bell Rock. This show runs consistently between 5:30 and 8:30 PM, and you can see it from different spots in the village until the first weekend in January.
Events throughout the year
No matter what season you visit Historic Smithville, you’ll find fun family events that celebrate the spirit of the village and the season. From an Easter Bunny breakfast and an art walk to Mayfest and the Irish Festival, each month throughout the year brings something new to do. During summer, there is a local farmers market with veggies, produce, seafood, and many other locally grown items, and in the fall, Octoberfest is a rousing good time for kids and adults. The 2024 schedule of events is available on their website, so mark your calendars now.
What to know before you go
When you arrive at Historic Smithville in New Jersey, there is ample parking across the street in a large lot or down the road in a smaller one. When there are events like Oktoberfest, shuttles run to and from the village for visitors. The Historic Smithville Inn is an award-winning restaurant that holds over 80 weddings each year. If you are looking for something more casual, there are three other restaurants to choose from. Want to stay the night? The Colonial Inn Bed and Breakfast has over 32 colonial-inspired rooms that have updated amenities, including steam sauna showers and soaking tubs. The train and carousel both cost $3 per person and close in January, February, and March but will reopen on Easter weekend.
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