By Jessica Dean

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MEDFORD, N.J. (CBS) – Walk along Main Street Medford and you’ll pass buildings like Braddock’s Tavern, built in 1844 as the Medford House Hotel.

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“That’s where they came out with horse and buggy. (It) was out here, and you could stay here,” said managing partner Bob Wagner.

When Braddock’s had to renovate its exterior a few years ago, the owners paid extra to do it in real wood.

“You couldn’t take it and put vinyl siding on it because the place wouldn’t look right,” Bob said.

Downtown Medford takes pride in its historical buildings and small independent restaurants and shops like Wonder World Toys, run by Alex Breaux and her sister-in-law Jessica.


Credit: CBS3

“We’ve got a few breweries, restaurants, things like that,” Alex said. “A lot of the people that live here actually commute into Philadelphia, so this is like a quaint little vacation town for them.”

It’s also an escape for their beloved canines. At Freedom Barks Dog Park, we met Ken Moon, a native Canadian who has lived in Medford for 26 years.

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“It’s a great little town,” Ken said, “especially when you’re so close to a place like Philadelphia and it’s huge and whatnot. You kind of come to the country.”

Along Church Road, history buffs have spent decades slowly restoring Kirby’s Mill, which was built in 1778.

Every year, hundreds of school children come to the Dr. James Still Historic Office Site and Education Center to learn about Dr. Still. Born in 1812, Dr. Still’s fascination with medicinal herbs flowered into a storied career as the Black Doctor of the Pines.

Dr. James Still Historic Office Site and Education Center. (Credit: CBS3)

“The community knows about Dr. Still, and they love it,” said Samuel C. Still III, second great-grandnephew of Dr. Still. “They remember coming here when they were in 5th and 6th grade.”

Dr. Still’s old office is still standing, purchased by the state for historic preservation. And kids still plant herbs on the grounds.

Tucked inside the township is the one-mile-square borough of Medford Lakes, with more than 150 log homes and 22 lakes. Only about 4,000 people live there, but tens of thousands come to see the annual Canoe Carnival light up the lakes on the private beaches.

“They pull up all these canoes with all these lights and they literally parade canoes,” Alex said.

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You never know what you’ll find in Medford.