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Old 11-11-2014, 01:07 PM
 
681 posts, read 1,443,896 times
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I would also have to say that Collingswood is an excellent choice. The schools are ranked well (Zane) up until the high school, ON PAPER but ask ANY graduate that the schools here are what you make of them. If your child is in with the academic side of things and you instill that, your child will do FINE at Collingswood HS. You may be able to split the goose and get Haddon Twp which is also excellent. Collingswood has a lively, village feel that offers you better contact with peopl...a little less sleepy.
Haddonfield and Moorestown do have their share of pretentiousness.
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Old 11-11-2014, 06:22 PM
 
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Thanks everyone. Seems there at least two slightly different general views. Of course, wishful thinking makes me hope for more opinions in favor of "there is some elitism but it is not prevalent and can be avoided" anyway, hopefully we get a few others' points of view.
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Old 11-11-2014, 07:02 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
31,200 posts, read 32,151,878 times
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There is some elitism but it is not prevalent and can be avoided. I certainly don't know; I've never lived there. I must say, I enjoyed visiting the Haddons and Collingswood when I lived in the area. In fact, I've never had an unpleasant experience while visiting. Locals and visitors alike were always very friendly.
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Old 11-11-2014, 08:40 PM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
23,806 posts, read 32,179,065 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dodonj View Post
Thanks everyone. Seems there at least two slightly different general views. Of course, wishful thinking makes me hope for more opinions in favor of "there is some elitism but it is not prevalent and can be avoided" anyway, hopefully we get a few others' points of view.
I lived in Cherry Hill for over 40 years & was in & out of Haddonfield all of that time. I remember when the 2 biggest retail establishments on Kings Highway were A&P & Woolworth. I had an apartment there years ago. I've had friends who lived there & Haddon Heights. If you're looking for snooty you can find it in any of the 3 places. It's easy enough to avoid it or ignore it, too.
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Old 11-16-2014, 06:47 AM
 
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Keep in mind that your combined income will increase as you move into your forties. Thus, you can begin with a starter home in Haddonfield and then can upgrade within the community in the years to come. Or, you can stay in your starter home and not worry about keeping up with the jones' because you will have money to spare.

I don't know what the statistics are regarding stay at home vs. working moms. You will find that in any community, though.

Really, it depends what you want? Good schools? Community sense? Nice downtown? Haddonfield and Moorestown have all of that, with Haddonfield having the far superior downtown.

Or, do you want to let fear drive you--the fear that you won't have enough money, dress the right way, or make organic foo, foo food to keep up with the Jones' and so you will be ostracized. People are people. Attend to the positive rather than the occasional snobbish (misperceived, likely) remark and you will be fine.

What Haddonfield does not have--a lot of house for the money and you will be hard pressed to find attached garage parking and a large lot size. If those things are important to you then look to Cherry Hill, Mt. Laurel, Marlton, and Voorhees, all of which have good schools.
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Old 12-10-2014, 04:15 PM
 
128 posts, read 338,653 times
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Default Its up to you ...

Even if there is a keeping up with the Joneses attitude, that doesn't need to be your reality. Its going to be what you make of it. If you know you and your spouse are hard workers, and that you pay mortgage and taxes like anyone else ... why would you allow anyone to make you feel less than? It sounds like the "old money" types, or the stay at home moms that have nannies aren't your crowd anyway. So don't worry about them. If you want your kids to go to a top tier school, and if you want the location and architecture that Haddonfield provides, go for it!! you don't have anything to prove to anyone. And if you are worried that your kids may feel like the "poor kids" in school, sounds like it would be a good learning opportunity to build up their self esteem, and not to allow themselves to bullied by rich brats. You can join different groups, meet people at the gym or even town hall meetings. You can pick and choose who you want to become friendly with.

That's just my opinion of course.
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:02 PM
 
21 posts, read 45,366 times
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Originally Posted by dodonj View Post
Hi - we are a young family in our early 30s (with a toddler) and we are considering a move from NJ to SJ.
My husband will commute to a job in Cinnaminson while I would be commuting to Center city.
We are looking to purchase a house and want to keep our monthly payment to 2k or less (including taxes, but we have up to 90k for downpayment).
We are considering Haddonfield as we used to rent there in 2009 for about a year and we really liked the walkability, proximity to ACME, CVS, ice cream store, nice restaurants and of course the PATCO into Philly. We always assumed if we came back we would just purchase in Haddonfield (based on the above we should be able to get an ok house up to 350k I think).
However I recently realized that we never really made any friends in Haddonfield itself, we never tried to get into the community life and thus get a feel for the soul of the town. Now we have a young child and I find this a really important aspect of our decision. We are both working professionals but our HHI will be about 160k so I am afraid that puts us in the "poorer" category of Haddonfield. I am afraid of getting caught up in a keeping up with the Jones's culture (I dislike spending money when not necessary and would rather have extra at the end of the month than drive a newer car), of neighborhood cliques comprised mainly of stay at home moms (staying home is definitely not an option for me), of my child feeling like the poor neighbor in school.
Am I right to worry about those things in Haddonfield? Or am I grossly generalizing (I do not mean to offend anyone, I really am trying to get more information and this forum seems to be a great source). Could you tell me what we could expect as a professional couple with no family money but with desire to work hard and make a good life with good people around us?

If you have other suggestions for us - short commutes (30-40 mins max), good school district, walkability are important for us.

Thank you for your help.
I'm going to give you my experience living in town for the last 5 years. People always like to talk of the keeping up with the joneses, the abundant SAHMs and their nannies, and the snobby attitudes but that just hasn't been my experience. I know that culture is here in town but it's not the whole town. There is a variety of homes sizes filled with families of all kinds. My immediate neighbors are DINKS, their neighbor is a working single mom in her 40s, her neighbor is a young professional in her 30s. My neighbors across the street are a retired couple in their 60s, next to them is a couple with young children and I believe the mom stays home. We don't do block parties but most people smile, say hi as they walk by and are generally pleasant. The town is more economically diverse them most people think. It's not ethnically diverse, but neither are the surrounding towns. Our downtown isn't as vibrant year round like Collingswood. I personally think it's because it's more retail than restaurants so come the evening there isn't a lot of foot traffic. But the town does a great job during the summer and spring planning family friendly activities and it's fun around the holiday season as well.

People have their opinions but I think if you talk to actual Haddonfield residents you'll hear more stories like mine and less of those that non-residents seem to project the town to be like.
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Old 01-15-2015, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
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I would LOVE for you to move to Haddon Township! We need more people like you. We are in similar situation - My husband and I are in our early 40's, he works fulltime, I work part time, and we have 2 young girls. We moved to Haddon Township from center city when our oldest was 2 - our budget was 400k. Loved Collingswood but ruled it out because of the schools. Couldn't afford a house over 2000 sq. ft. in Haddonfield. Decided on Haddon Township and thought it would be perfect. In many ways it is- convenient to Philly and PATCo line, schools are better than in Philly, it's walkable. But we've been here for 6 years and have been looking at houses in neighboring towns for a year.

Why? HT is VERY insular and VERY homogenous. Zero diversity. A good portion of the people have never left HT or leave for a few years and move back. We are still the "couple that move in from the city". It has been very difficult to penetrate the cliques that have been in place for decades. I have emotional flashbacks to high school all the time LOL. Thankfully, I have met a couple of other "newbies" who confided the same feelings to me. It is SO hard to make friends if you're not from HT. If I was happy with the schools, I would just deal with the social issues. But, I have been underwhelmed to put it nicely.

This time around we're looking at Haddonfield and Moorestown - still can't really afford either and am very concerned about not fitting in socially or financially. I have a friend in Haddonfield (single mom) who said if fitting in and making friends is important, it is not the town for us.

So, we've been focusing on Cherry Hill (east). Schools are very good and it is much more diverse. My gut is we're going to fit in there best of all. Good luck with your search!
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Old 01-16-2015, 12:46 AM
 
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I used to live in Collingswood, have friends who grew up there and who have their kids in school there. The schools have improved a lot over the last 10 years and will only get better . . . if you have a kid who isn't even in school yet you have 9 or 10 years to worry about high school. For the money you'd save on the mortgage and property taxes you could afford tuition at a private school. I got to know the mayor and council there and the economic development director there and you really couldn't ask for a more dedicated and savvy leadership to run your town. I moved there 15 years ago just as they were coming into borough hall and the changes they've made since then - through the recession and all - are incredible.

Haddon Ave. in Westmont is also really coming into its own. It's not as cute as C'wood or H'field but it's a lot more vibrant than it was even just a few years ago. It's not a dry town like the other two so you can actually order a glass of wine or a beer when you go out to dinner. I was just there last weekend and saw that the town center project, or at least the first phase of it, is underway. I don't know anyone who lives there but from living a few blocks away from the border between the two towns and frequenting the shops there I never got the impression that it was much different from Collingswood - half the time I was bumping into my own neighbors anyway.

Downtown Haddonfield is definitely not quiet or sleepy. I spent a lot of time in the different cafes there while finishing my thesis. There are a surprising amount of offices there that keep the place busy during the day and evenings and weekends it's families, high school kids, etc. You could say that it closes up a little early as there really isn't much of a restaurant scene there. I have friends who are walking distance from PATCO there and from what they say the town is more diverse (economically anyway) than one would expect.

You could also look into Cherry Hill and Voorhees - near the Woodcrest and Ashland stations. Both towns have good schools, good high schools and, especially around the Ashland station you can get a house right now for a relative bargain. I don't expect it to stay that way though. It would put you slightly further from Center City but being closer to 295 might make the Cinnaminson commute a little easier.
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Old 01-16-2015, 09:10 AM
 
884 posts, read 1,549,142 times
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Haddon Ave. in Westmont is also really coming into its own. It's not as cute as C'wood or H'field but it's a lot more vibrant than it was even just a few years ago. It's not a dry town like the other two so you can actually order a glass of wine or a beer when you go out to dinner. I was just there last weekend and saw that the town center project, or at least the first phase of it, is underway. I don't know anyone who lives there but from living a few blocks away from the border between the two towns and frequenting the shops there I never got the impression that it was much different from Collingswood - half the time I was bumping into my own neighbors anyway.
I'll disagree with this a bit. I currently live in Westmont now and it doesn't strike me as particularly vibrant. There are only a handful of storefronts, compared to Haddonfield or Collingswood, and they're spread out. Sure, there're a half-dozen ok bars, but they're usually pretty empty, even during the 9-to-11 period when they should be jumping. There are really no sidewalk cafes (except for Espressit's outdoor seating). There are strip malls along Haddon Avenue that would be more appropriate in Cherry Hill. Aside from a few folks at the bars, the town feels like it shuts down at 8:30, just like every other town in South Jersey. The PATCO station and surrounding area is awash in surface parking lots. I wouldn't say the walk home to my apartment feels unsafe...but the area does feel desolate at night. The Towne Center project has been dormant for a decade, and under its current rendition won't feature any ground-floor retail. Residents and business owners continue to worry over parking spaces because they don't understand the town's greatest asset should be density and walkability. On the bright side the Albertson Ave. apartments are rising, and they have a developer for the Westmont Theater, though I really wish it could have been used as an actual entertainment venue rather than a gym.
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