Chatsworth, New Jersey
- Population: 1,364
- Median home price: $257,000
- The radius: Tiny Chatsworth is the unofficial capital of New Jersey's surprising Pine Barrens, a 3,000-square-mile (7,770-square-kilometer) spread of swamp-edged streams, stands of pine and cedar, andâin autumnâtracts of cranberries (all that, just 37 commutable miles [60 kilometers] east of Philly). The best route is the 50-mile (80-kilometer) Batona Trail; while you're hiking, watch for the diminutive (less than the length of your thumb) Pine Barrens Tree Frog.
I have to say that I was stunned when I got this news today. I lived in the town for three years and never would have considered it remotely possible that the town would be designated the best at anything except for perhaps "Best Cranberrying Village in the New Jersey Pinelands." There are two part-time retail businesses and a motorcycle shop in town. The post office is a trailer. You can't grow a darn thing because the deer outnumber the people and eat everything.
But it is amazingly beautiful in its own way. The people are down-to-earth and very nice. Robin's Hot Dogs are the best around. And as, the magazine notes, the hiking is outstanding. (The part about it being withing commutable distance to Philly is crap. Route 70 makes it a 90 minute trip during rush hour.) Tens of thousands flock there every year for the annual Cranberry Festival in October.
Now I can say that i have lived in two different "Best" towns. I am currently a proud resident of Moorestown, NJ, Money Magazine's 2005 Best Place to Live. I have to admit that the remoteness of Chatsworth makes Moorestown a clear winner for me. (That and the shops, neighhbors, parks, etc.)
Well congratulations to Chatsworth!