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Old 09-12-2019, 09:12 AM
 
6 posts, read 5,969 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi,

I've been in the Northern Liberties section of Philly for 7 years. I have a 4 yo son and a 3 yo daughter. My wife passed away a year ago and I'm finally ready to move forward with our plan of getting out of our neighborhood to a place with good public schools.

My details:
- I want a 3+ bedroom house with parking and decent outdoor space.
- My budget is $650k
- I currently work in Princeton, NJ however I don't want to move closer to my job because it is the only place in Princeton that I could work at and if that job disappears I'm out of luck if I live in that area. The plan is to live somewhere where I have work options closer to home. I work in defense so Lockheed Martin in Moorestown, L3 in Camden, Boeing south of Philly are all options along with other places in Philly. This kind of takes the main line out of the running for me.
- I'm considering the Fishtown neighborhood in Philly and I understand that Adaire is really starting to become a great school. But the houses I can get for $650k just don't seem to have a lot of space.

So I'll focus this thread on Haddonfield, unless you have some other advice for me!

I love the feel of Haddonfield. I'm not a fan of town's that just have islands of development separated by big busy roads (Cherry Hill for example). Haddonfield feels like a cohesive neighborhood. I love the downtown and the fact that the homes are all unique (not cookie cutter development type houses).

I guess I want to know more about what it's like to live there. I'm a pretty down to earth guy from a working class up bringing and I worry that we are going to be surrounded by wealthy, entitled people that I won't mesh well with. As a newly single dad I could definitely use a community that would be friendly and supportive of my family and not the types of folks that just keep to themselves or their cliques. I hope to be involved in the community and the schools as time allows. I guess I just want to make sure we'll fit in.

Any thoughts are appreciated!!
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:49 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
22,633 posts, read 27,956,073 times
Reputation: 9306
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtbassic View Post
Hi,

I've been in the Northern Liberties section of Philly for 7 years. I have a 4 yo son and a 3 yo daughter. My wife passed away a year ago and I'm finally ready to move forward with our plan of getting out of our neighborhood to a place with good public schools.

My details:
- I want a 3+ bedroom house with parking and decent outdoor space.
- My budget is $650k
- I currently work in Princeton, NJ however I don't want to move closer to my job because it is the only place in Princeton that I could work at and if that job disappears I'm out of luck if I live in that area. The plan is to live somewhere where I have work options closer to home. I work in defense so Lockheed Martin in Moorestown, L3 in Camden, Boeing south of Philly are all options along with other places in Philly. This kind of takes the main line out of the running for me.
- I'm considering the Fishtown neighborhood in Philly and I understand that Adaire is really starting to become a great school. But the houses I can get for $650k just don't seem to have a lot of space.

So I'll focus this thread on Haddonfield, unless you have some other advice for me!

I love the feel of Haddonfield. I'm not a fan of town's that just have islands of development separated by big busy roads (Cherry Hill for example). Haddonfield feels like a cohesive neighborhood. I love the downtown and the fact that the homes are all unique (not cookie cutter development type houses).

I guess I want to know more about what it's like to live there. I'm a pretty down to earth guy from a working class up bringing and I worry that we are going to be surrounded by wealthy, entitled people that I won't mesh well with. As a newly single dad I could definitely use a community that would be friendly and supportive of my family and not the types of folks that just keep to themselves or their cliques. I hope to be involved in the community and the schools as time allows. I guess I just want to make sure we'll fit in.

Any thoughts are appreciated!!
I think that you want to look in an area of Haddonfield that is north of Haddon Avenue. Grove St runs through it. You could also look at Erlton, in Cherry Hill. That section of Haddonfield is separated from Erlton by the Cooper River park.

My nephew is married with 2 boys and works at the Lockheed facility in Moorestown. They live in Erlton. Their older boy is in 1st grade and he is signed up for before and after care at the public school. The younger boy goes to a preschool in Haddon Twp where his mother is a teacher.

Take several trips over and walk around the 2 neighborhoods. They're similar neighborhoods, but different. As the kids get older, if you pick Erlton, you can still walk to downtown Haddonfield. Good luck. I think that either neighborhood could work for you.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:25 PM
 
8 posts, read 1,919 times
Reputation: 20
Check out Collingswood. It's right on the PATCO High Speed Line that takes you into Philadelphia and runs 24/7. It is an extremeley community-oriented town (technically a borough). It's schools may not have high ratings, but that is only because the high school is a regional school in the sense that other municipalities send their kids there. The Collingswood students tend to do very well in high school compared to the kids from Woodlynne and Oaklyn, to a lesser extent. It has the town layout you're looking for, but is cheaper and has lower taxes than Haddonfield or Moorestown. The commute to Princeton would take roughly an hour to 1:15, depending on traffic, so that would be rough, but if you're switching jobs to the locations you mentioned, you'd be in a perfect spot.

Definitely consider Collingswood or neighboring Haddon Township (specifically the Westmont portion - the town is non-contiguous, but the other portions wouldn't fit the criteria you're looking for in my opinion), which has 'better schools' but not quite the same community feel. It is worth mentioning that both Collingswood to the west and Haddonfield to the east of Westmont are both dry towns, so residents of all three municipalities tend to go to the bars in Westmont. It does not get rowdy, more of a laid-back atmosphere in these towns. You can't go wrong with any of the towns, but in terms of diversity, it gets whiter and less diverse the more east you go, with Collingswood being the most diverse and Haddonfield being the least. I just figured that was worth mentioning since you're coming from Philadelphia and may value diversity more than someone from the suburbs.

Another town in South Jersey I'd recommend is Mt Holly in Burlington County. Mt Holly will be less accessible to Philly as it is not situated on a passenger rail line, but it still quite accessible and is much closer to Princeton. It has a very nice downtown with cool restaurants and bars, and it has really been revitalized in recent years. There is some absolutely fabulous architecture on High Street, Washington St, and Garden St. Its high school is about on par with Collingswood's, but its elementary schools aren't quite as good from what I understand - probably about on par with Adaire in Fishtown. Again, your kids' educations will be dependent on how much work you're willing to put in. The teachers are all good, the scores are simply brought down by kids from lower income families. Mt Holly is quite diverse and is a good place to raise children.

I've lived in both areas, so if you have any questions, ask away. I am less familiar with Gloucester County, though I can say there are fewer towns with the community-oriented feel you're looking for. More subdivisions off county roads than gridded streets.

Last edited by WhiskeyLover123; 09-13-2019 at 03:35 PM..
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Old 09-13-2019, 07:12 PM
 
832 posts, read 710,002 times
Reputation: 988
The biggest problem is that Haddonfield is a 50 minute drive no traffic to Princeton. That’s a long commute. Especially considering you have such young children and are presumably on your own with no support system, you might be better served living closer to work. You should check out Bordentown. It’s 25 minutes to Princeton. If you end up working in Moorestown at some point, also 25 minutes, just in the opposite direction. It has that charming Haddonfield downtown feel (but it’s not dry!), and quite good schools, but not as good as Haddonfield’s which are the very best in all of South Jersey. More for your money too.

If you really don’t mind the commute, Haddonfield will be fine. Not going to lie, it can feel a little cliquey, but your social circle in towns like that can easily be built around your children. Just understand that your taxes will be absurd.
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Old 09-14-2019, 04:38 AM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
26,139 posts, read 24,905,187 times
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What Leps said. What will you do if the school calls and tells you to pick up your child because he/she is sick or injured? If you have relatives in Philadelphia who can help, then Haddonfield area will be OK. If not, I'd look for something further north.
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:22 AM
 
6 posts, read 5,969 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for all the replies everybody! I know the taxes are outrageous...but I'm hoping the schools are worth it. I'll be losing the Philly wage tax which will help ease the pain a little.

I don't see myself staying at the Princeton job for all that much longer. And in terms of support, I'll be getting an Au Pair to live with us. So hopefully I'll have my bases covered.
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