Colts Neck photos courtesy of the Asbury Park Press
Colts Neck is the kind of town the originators of the Sunday drive must have had in mind.
Along winding roads with names like Dutch Lane, Montrose and Five Points, greenery is everywhere. Sloping contours and frequent turns offer a different view every few hundred yards.
Enormous houses where farms once were worked seem to grow out of the ground as they come into view. Fruit trees, horse farms and pumpkin patches punctuate the scenery.
It's enough to make you forget what's going on in the world, if only for a little while
A park-like township of lush fields and rolling hills with huge houses on large lots, orchards and horse farms, and a young high school that's already expanding. Even the town hall looks like a palace.
As the sun lowers in the sky above the water, Gene McAllister's blue eyes look upward and he points at the flock of geese flying above his head.
He comes to the pond in front of Town Hall most afternoons, walking from his nearby home. He sits on a bench near the large, geese-filled pond and enjoys the day before dinnertime.
"We just take a walk around the pond and look at the ducks," the 69-year-old Army retiree says.
McAllister moved to Colts Neck from New York 20 years ago because the town is "nicer, prettier," he says.
Ron Gassaway, vegetable manager at Delicious Orchards off Route 34, puts out some Colts Neck grown eggplant for sale.
"It's still nice, quiet, green, very rural, very pleasant," he says.
The sprawling farms, large estates, serene parks and family-run stores that make up this semirural township are a source of pride for many residents and something to be admired for many visitors.
And Colts Neck is at its most colorful in the autumn, when pumpkin stands and hayrides outnumber traffic signs and you-pick-it farms and homemade pies are available on nearly every corner.
Tall corn stalks and picket fences line the main roads, while the foliage has begun to change to deep reds and bright yellows.
John Rispoli, a farrier, better known as a blacksmith, hot shoes Foxy the horse at the Country Club Farm off Montrose Road.
Classic old homes are mixed with new, million-dollar homes, all of which are surrounded by hilly topography and countless trees.
"This is a nice area," says Yvonne Manuel, 46, of Freehold. "It has a lot of shade trees when the weather's hot."
Manuel and friend Charles Glover, 48, of Howell, spend part of the late morning fishing from the pond in front of the township municipal building.
"We fish out here quite often," Manuel says. "You have your good days and your bad days. It all depends if they're hungry or not."
She yanks her pole, thinking she might have a fish to add to the catfish Glover caught earlier. Her line comes up empty, but that's all right with her. It's just nice to get away from all the noise, she says.
Eleven parks, located within the 31.7 square miles that makes up Colts Neck, draw visitors from throughout Monmouth County.
"This is probably the nicest park in town," Roseann Gaudio says of Dorbrook Recreation Area, a Monmouth County park off Route 537.
Gaudio, 37, of the Lincroft section of Middletown, and her friend Diana Jung, 39, of Middletown, bring their children to the park's playground after their Books and Cooks class each Wednesday and Thursday.
"It's a definite plus for anyone who has kids," Jung says.
Nearby, another group of mothers -- these from Little Silver and Fair Haven -- watch as their children jump and slide on the playground.
"This is a beautiful park," Kate Palma, 35, of Little Silver, says. "It's my favorite, by far."
The woman silence each other from talking in too much depth about the park's assets, saying they don't want everyone to know the secrets and crowd their hangout.
One Colts Neck attraction no one has a problem talking about is Delicious Orchards, the one place all visitors to the town admit to stopping by before they leave.
When Palma was a child, her mother would take her to Delicious Orchards before going to the park. Now, Palma takes her children.
Gary Spencer, a chiropractor in town, brings his friend Ralph DiMaio from Montville to Delicious Orchards each time he comes to town.
Today, DiMaio buys a blueberry pie and a sugarless apple pie.
Spencer, 47, of Manalapan, and DiMaio, 48, are eating lunch at Huddy's, a tradition for the two chiropractors about as regular as the trips to Delicious Orchards.
While waiting for chicken and steak to arrive, Spencer reflects on the 20 years he's been practicing in Colts Neck.
"It was a good place to open," Spencer says. "There were no other chiropractors in town."
But that changed, as did other aspects of Colts Neck, he says.
"It's changed dramatically with growth, building of houses and a lot of people coming down here from Staten Island and Brooklyn," Spencer says. "A lot of money came into this town."
"They want to get away from that city-like lifestyle for their kids," Spencer says. "I think celebrities like it because there's not many people here."
Colts Neck's population is 12,300, up from 8,500 a decade ago. Property values have skyrocketed from an average home worth $129,000 in 1980 to about $575,000 in 2000.
Large estates on 10-acre lots are becoming the rule, not the exception, since 10-acre zoning was adopted in much of the town.
"The homes that they put in are nice and the people that move in are very nice," McAllister says.
from the Asbury Park Press
Published: October 18, 2001