"Vineland" Vineland by asturnut

Vineland Travel Guide: 51 reviews and 76 photos

Vineland- The Basics

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.

Vineland- Some Trivia

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 and Cons
  • 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
  • Last visit to Vineland: Jan 2005
  • Intro Updated Jan 27, 2005
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Reviews (52)

Comments (25)

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Jan 18, 2005 at 10:55 PM

    Welch's grapejuice! Yum. That brings back memories. This is a great page, Joy! (BTW, my name means "joy")

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2005 at 11:44 AM

    there must be a lot of..alma gitana..in Vineland, when reading the council's member names ^..^, and that makes me think, this is not a dull place after all. Joy, you presented a superb page. Dankeschoen

  • jamiesno's Profile Photo
    Dec 7, 2004 at 9:42 AM

    LOL Joy, I rated some of your tips, I came here because of the name Vineland but your not exactly an advocate for the place are you, LOL :-) Cheers from -23 Labrador, Canada!!!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Nov 11, 2004 at 2:11 PM

    I don't really think I would like this place -- but I like the way you write about it. And that photo of Tony's Lunch is a classic.

  • Aug 20, 2004 at 8:00 PM

    Your page brings back many memories..I used to sell tickets at the Landis Theatre and watch all the commings and goings at the East Landis Hotel it was scary even back then in 1980!

  • RedEaredPanda's Profile Photo
    Jun 29, 2004 at 9:56 AM

    Thanx for your tips on Vineland, NJ.. Enjoyed browsing through the pages.. Learned where to play pool which I love hehehe Take care.

  • Luchonda's Profile Photo
    Nov 29, 2003 at 9:57 PM

    Nice witness of America - But Tony's spot is nice to see the american way of having BF !

  • gosiaPL's Profile Photo
    Nov 11, 2003 at 4:29 PM

    No tourists and lots of options to stay for the night and eat out? Well, we'd better go there then! :-) Nice page, Joy!

  • nigelw6443's Profile Photo
    Oct 20, 2003 at 6:48 AM

    It's funny that a health food shop would also sell german imports. Have you seen what they eat over here?

  • MURRA's Profile Photo
    Aug 8, 2003 at 9:15 AM

    we have a vineland in canada near niagara its nice too

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