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A craft brewery, an historic theatre, fabulous dining and high-speed motorsports make Millville a standout in Cumberland County
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What’s so special about Millville?

A craft brewery, an historic theatre, fabulous dining and high-speed motorsports make Millville a standout in Cumberland County

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Many folks outside of New Jersey, and likely even some within the state, may have first heard the town of Millville mentioned when Mike Trout began his ascent to baseball eminence, as the hometown boy is currently a three-time Major League Baseball MVP, a 10-time MLB All-Star, and captained the United States National Team during the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

For others, Millville’s name may have already been ingrained in their memories for its historical significance on at least two major fronts. Located in the heart of Cumberland County on the Maurice River, Millville has been a key manufacturer in the glass industry for more than 200 years, establishing the first of three factories in 1806 and maintaining the title as the oldest town in the United States still making glass today.

Millville also held a prominent place in U.S. history during World War II. The Millville Airport was dedicated as America’s First Defense Airport in 1941, and two years later opened as a gunnery school for fighter pilots. During its three years in this capacity, roughly 1,500 pilots received advanced training in the P-47 Thunderbolt, which was built on Long Island, New York, and was one of the primary U.S. Army Air Force fighter planes of WWII.

Modern-day MillvilleThere is a lot to love about Millville today, and from more than just those two major fronts, although the municipality still embraces its roots with such attractions as the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center. The center was founded in 1968 and houses such affiliates as the Museum of American Glass, the Down Jersey Folklife Center and others ( When the federal government decommissioned the Millville Airport and returned it to the city after WWII, the Millville Army Air Field Museum emerged and has been “dedicated to telling the stories of those who trained here, died here, and went on to serve our country in WWII and other wars throughout our history.” (

Millville can also count itself fortunate to have several entrepreneurial sorts who incorporated the city’s past into business ventures through a variety of creative ways. Paul and Jen Simmons were among the state’s early entries into the cosmos of craft breweries. The couple was married in January 2013 and by the end of that year had opened the Glasstown Brewing Company in what is now called the Millville Executive Airport complex, and in the early stages of what would be considered the microbrewery/craft beer industry explosion.

“We were the 13th microbrewery in the state to open, and now there’s about 150, so there’s been a lot of growth in those nine years,” says Jen Simmons. “Many will probably be closing this year, partially because the market has become oversaturated, but also because a lot of people don’t realize how much work goes into this. It seems like a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of hard work.”

Glasstown Brewing Company ( cans and kegs roughly 18 to 20 different craft beers on a rotating basis, which is controlled by such factors as seasonal preferences and supply and demand. Most of those packaged on-site can only be purchased on-site, including in six packs, 64-ounce growlers or 32-ounce crowlers, but others, such as their most popular products – the 609 IPA and 856 double IPA – can be found in pubs and tap rooms throughout the state. Those two beers are named after N.J. area codes, and the brewery – currently the only one in Cumberland County – also occasionally names other concoctions after local landmarks, such as the Fortescue Fisherman’s Ale and the Maurice River Bourbon Brown Ale.

“We were really doing well until the pandemic stopped our growth a little bit, but we’re pretty much back on track,” says Jen, whose brother, Michael Rossi, creates all the artwork that adorns Glasstown’s canned beer. “Paul and I do this full time and we love doing what we do. We feel fortunate to have been doing it for 10 years and look forward to many more.”

The Levoy Theatre — a Millville mainstayPhil Van Embden and his daughter Lauren are attorneys who operate a law practice on Pine Street in their hometown of Millville. A few blocks west of their office building is the historic Levoy Theatre, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in August 1998.

The Van Embdens – as booking agents for the 696-seat theater, and Levoy Theatre Preservation Society Board of Directors members – took the reins of a revitalization project initially spearheaded by Joseph Pierce Jr. in the mid-1990s. Pierce was instrumental in getting the Levoy, which first opened in 1908 as a vaudeville venue, declared a national historic landmark. Doing so may have saved it from the wrecking ball, as the theater sat vacant for nearly 40 years, falling into a serious state of disrepair and dodging efforts to raze it more than once.

“Pierce was a young man trained in historical preservation, and thought it best to restore and repurpose old buildings rather than destroy them,” says Phil Van Embden. “He led a group of people to preserve the Levoy, but unfortunately he passed away (at age 24, in a 2000 accident in which he saved a child from drowning but perished himself), and the building languished for several more years. But it was his initial effort to keep the building from being torn down so that we could do something with it.”

The Van Embdens took over the revitalization project, and in 2012 the Levoy reemerged as a sort of crown jewel in Millville’s main business district. Through Lauren Van Embdens’ ties to a local theater troupe called the Off Broad Street Players (OBSP), based in nearby Bridgeton, the OBSP and the non-profit Levoy Preservation Society together led the charge to raise the funding needed to make the restorations and bring the theater back to life.

“There were a lot of dissenting voices at the time were trying to raise the money to rebuild and reopen,” says Lauren Van Embden. “The question became was this going to be something to open and then close in a year or two, or would it stand the test of time?

“It really has become a mainstay, and when the pandemic forced everything to close, we were able to return almost immediately to the same if not greater capacity of operation and programmatic elements that were being offered before.”

“I look at it as a monumental success, but we were a little scared in the beginning because of how much there was to do,” says Phil. “And there’s an incredible, continuing task to run it. It takes a full-fledged organization to handle all the elements. If you go to a show and come out of the show having had a good experience, that means we did our job. But with the tech crew, lighting, sound – there’s 50 things going on behind the scenes for every one thing you notice as a customer.”

The Levoy Theatre ( has not only thrived since its 2012 reopening, its Board of Directors recently opened a second, nearby location called the Levoy Education Center on Pine Street that hosts courses and workshops in theater, music, dance and art. The theater often partners with other Millville businesses on special projects, among them the Mission Spirits Distillery (, located about a block away, and the Glasstown Brewing Company.

“We see the value in building those connections, and having partnerships with the people who are really putting out the effort and making an investment in our community,” says Lauren.

“And Mission (run by husband-and-wife Jay and Ashley Wheeler, and partner Steve Kelley) and Glasstown Brewing represent the good part of the collaboration between public and private entities,” adds Phil.

What else makes

Millville marvelous?Encompassing more than 500 acres, the New Jersey Motorsports Park is a motorsports entertainment complex that features two world-class road courses and one of the top outdoor go-karting tracks in the Northeast. (

There is a plethora of unique dining experiences throughout the town, among them the Wildflower Vegan Café ( that specializes in organic smoothies, soups and wraps; the Royal Spice Indian Restaurant ( that offers a variety of dishes from India including curry, biryani and Indo-Chinese options; the Old Oar House Irish Pub ( that dates to 1883 and is a classic remake of Philadelphia pubs built in the Irish tradition; the Kawa Thai & Sushi ( specializing in authentic Thai, Japanese and Asian cuisine, and several others.

Millville is also home to the 5,000-acre Union Lake Wildlife Management Area, which offers a variety of experiences to nature lovers of all levels.


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