Coppola is a member of one of three families that collaborate to create an all-around experience at Historic Smithville. Located in Galloway Township just outside of Atlantic City, the old towne is a destination for families looking to get away from the beach and boardwalk by the Jersey Shore.
"The original Smithville Inn dates back to 1787," said Coppola. "It was once a stagecoach stop for travelers traveling from New York City to Cape May."
However, the introduction of a railroad left the property defunct for many years. In the 1950s, Mr. & Mrs. Fred Noyes discovered the Inn and revived it to serve as a restaurant. Over the years, they deconstructed, relocated, and rebuilt historic buildings from around New Jersey and created the village that stands today.
"We've been coming here for quite a number of years," said Rosanne Cervone from Bridgeton, New Jersey. "It's quaint. It's quaint and it's quiet and no real hustle and bustle."
Many visitors seem enamored by the relaxing setting and keep coming back for an unwinding experience.
"Everyone's so nice. It's a pleasant walk around," said Eileen Estock from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. "The architecture is amazing to look at and you can feel yourself go back in time just looking at the buildings."
Historic-looking homes are carved out by more than 40 small business owners ranging from barbers and handcrafters to wine tasters and peanut butter bakers.
Families with small children are also amazed by the carousel and train ride, which provide a break from the shopping.
"It's soothing. It takes you around, you get to see everything," said Bob Rossell, who boarded the small train with his grandchildren. "Take your time. Let the wind blow through your hair."
The village itself has taken its time crafting an unforgettable experience for guests. It has encountered various owners and hardship over the years. Coppola says the restaurants were closed and only eight shops were open when his family took ownership two decades ago.
"I'm just a part of the legacy of this place and hopefully the next generation will take over and somebody will be talking about, you know, our impact here 100 years from now," said Coppola.
Historic Smithville hosts various events throughout the year, especially during the fall and winter season. To learn more, visit their website.
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