"Vineland" Vineland by asturnut
Vineland Travel Guide: 51 reviews and 76 photos
Center city Vineland, full of huge old houses on tree lined streets, is where I grew up. Vineland, is a HUGE city, land-wise. It's the biggest city in New Jersey, almost 69 square miles. Because of its size, Vineland is a really strange place to live. It has a small town feel and there's not much to do. But if you travel from one end of town to the other (which takes about 40 minutes) you feel like you're traveling to another universe. Vineland has all kinds of industry, commerce and agriculture. All in all, it's a pretty dull place to live though.
Two things make Vineland interesting however. The first is the city's location. The proximity to several major cities and sites of interest is really wonderful. Vineland’s location creates easy access to world class restaurants, education, arts, entertainment and sports. Philadelphia via Route 55 is a short 45- minute drive. Atlantic City is 1 hour away, New York is about 3 hours, Baltimore is about 2 hours, and Washington DC is 3 hours. Vinelanders have the benefit of the proximity to the cities, but also enjoy miles of farms, forests and uncongested suburban sprawl and cheap real estate.
The second great thing about Vineland is the people. Vineland's people really make it a special place to live. Vineland and all of Cumberland County have always had a large contingent of immigrants who really add to the cultural landscape of the community. Vineland was the country's first planned community. The first settlers in Vineland were French, German and Russian. Charles Landis, the town founder advertised an appeal to Italian immigrants by creating a community within Vineland called "Little Italy". He billed his new town as a chance to begin a new life of opportunity. The most recent wave of immigrants come from Puerto Rico and smaller numbers of people from Central and South America. There is also a significant population of Mexican migrant farm workers in the county. As a result of the number of Latinos in the community, Spanish is heard as often as English on the streets and in our classrooms. We also have small populations of Greek, Russian, Turkish, Chinese and Indian immigrants. Our community is culturally enriched as a result and there are many activities centered on celebrating the cultural heritage of these groups, as well as clubs, restaurants and churches.
The downside of the situation is unfortunately many newcomers have difficulty finding living-wage jobs because they arrive under-educated and with a language barrier. As a result we have a lot of problems associated with urban living. Vineland has a high rate of unemployment, a median household income of only about $40,000, only 68% of our population have a high school education or greater, and we have one of the highest teen-pregnancy and HIV infection rates in the country. Fortunately, in recent years there have been well-organized efforts to educated and mobilize the populations in our area that are struggling. Urban empowerment zones (3% sales tax), state grants, new schools, and locally motivated community improvement plans are moving Vineland into the future with brighter prospects.
And for a little bit of trivia, here's a few items of interest about about Vineland:
1. Welch's Grape Juice started here in Vineland. To quote the Welch's website: "The modern-day fruit juice industry began in 1869 in the Vineland, New Jersey, home of Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch, where he and his son Charles processed the first bottles of "unfermented wine" for use with the communion service at their church." Vinyards used to be abundant in this area (hence the name Vine-land.) Ultimately and unfortunately a blight struck the vinyards here and they were abandoned.
2. The founder of our town (who also founded Landisville and Sea Isle City), Mr. Charles Landis was the first person in the United States to use the plea of insanity when he killed someone.
3. Agriculture and fresh produce is a big part of our economy, culture and cuisine in Vineland.
-Vineland is home of the Dandelion Festival which celebrates the Dandelion as a foodstuff.
-Vineland is the home of Vineland Produce Auction, known by locals as "the Block." The auction is the largest of it's kind on the east coast.
- Once upon a time, Vineland was considered the "Egg Basket of America". Thank goodness those days are gone, because the stench from the remaining poultry farms is unbearable. I can't imagine a town full of them.
4. And finally, probably the oddest bit of trivia about Vineland... Vineland is the home of the Palace of Depression (featured in the movie Eddie and the Cruisers.) During the Great Depression a wacky hobo came up the the interesting idea to build his home out of junk. It was a tourist attration for a long time. Unfortunately when said hobo George Daynor died, the house was vandalized and the city eventually razed most of the structures on the property. There is currently an active group in the process of rebuilding the palace.
Finally, here are some links of interest
Virtual tour of historic Vineland
Visit Vineland's official webiste
the Regional Medical Center, the 1st new hospital in NJ in a long time (in Vineland)
Wikipedia's entry about Vineland
The Daily Journal newspaper
A great cultural and historical website about Vineland
I recommend if you are coming to the area, you also look at my Millville VT page, because the Vineland & Millville shopping and dining areas are very commingled.
- Pros:Cultural diversity, interesting food, summer activities, pretty old homes
- Cons:Not much to do, crime, poverty
- In a nutshell:Not a good place for a vacation, ok for shopping & eating
Cinco de Mayo is a little "mom & pop" Mexican Restaurant and Grocery Store that caters to the local Mexican population.... more travel advice
As I mentioned previously in another tip, we're crazy for chinese food around here. We have more chinese take-out places... more travel advice
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