Talk to newcomers and you often hear the same story: A young couple is fed up with high rents for cramped apartments in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens. Maybe they're expecting a child. They approach the suburbs warily, unwilling to move too far from New York, where at least one of them works. Bergen County prices are out of reach. Then someone says, "Try Maplewood."

Maplewood's Norman Rockwell image is not just an illusion. Nothing much has changed here in 30 years. Sure, there is an art gallery and a bagel shop in town, but there's also an old-fashioned luncheonette, where neighbors sit and talk. The four-square-mile township is a vision of sidewalks, parks, and tranquil streets lined with tall trees and Colonial and Tudor homes. It's four-block downtown affectionately known as "the village," is filled with quaint, family owned shops. Even the downtown Kings, the smallest of the sixtTeen-store chain, is more like a country store than a supermarket. This small town atmosphere is what attracts people to Maplewood, along with the town's natural beauty and amenities. Maplewood abuts the South Mountain Reservation, a 2,020 acre recreational preserve that includes picnic grounds and hiking trails. The town also has six parks and an award-winning outdoor pool. Many couples are drawn to the socioeconomic mix of the community's 23,000 residents, which some say, gives it a down to earth feel. "No one's too rich or too poor or of one particular type."

The scenery in Maplewood attracts people to this 4 square mile township, but a strong sense of community keeps tradition strong and neighbors close. A collection of Tudors, Victorians, and Colonials predominate most of the single family housing. Beautiful established landscaping is a common thread throughout.

Maplewood is 18 miles from Manhattan and many residents commute daily by train and bus (about 45 minutes at rush hour). The Township shares a quality school system with South Orange. There are six elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school and a reputation for academic excellence. Columbia High School offers advance placement, college prep and vocational courses as well as classes in film making and journalism. Columbia offers 25 clubs from astronomy to chess and 23 varsity sports.

Maplewood is governed by a Township committee, made up of 5 men and women.

For more information on Maplewood, visit www.twotowns


Millburn/Short Hills

Millburn Township owes much of its character to Stewart Hartshorn, who bought a 15-acre tract in 1877 and founded a planned community he named Short Hills. Rather than laying out a grid of roads and lots, he followed the terrain and often adjusted roads to avoid felling trees. He built more than 50 houses on 2 to 5 acre lots. Many of the original Hartshorn Houses, built of wood and blue traprock in several styles, including Greek Revival and Victorian, are still standing, but the original lots have been subdivided into half-acre to one-acre sites.

The Morris & Essex Railroad, built in the late 1830's to haul coal from Pennsylvania to New York City, passed through Miliburn and spurred its growth. By 1872, when Hartshorn sought his town site, Miliburn was already a commuter suburb of New York City with its own train station, which Hartshorn augmented with a second station in Short Hills. The Wyoming section, on the southeastern side of the town, is a mix of styles including Tudors, Colonials, historic Farmhouses and Victorians. A middle market area of Short Hills is the Country Club section, next to a private 18-hole golf course. A short walk to the train station. The median price in town is $600,000+.

The Millburn Township Public School System has a reputation as one of the finest in New Jersey. It has four K-5 schools. The students go on to Millburn Middle School on Old Short Hills Road and then to Miliburn High School on Millburn Avenue. Last year the high school sent 97 percent of its graduates to higher education, and the graduating classes regularly include numerous National Merit Scholarship winners and finalists and, upon occasion, a Presidential Scholar and finalists.

Two downtowns, created around the two ends of Millburn Avenue, have convenience and service business, including ice cream parlors, beauty shops, hardware stores and several interesting restaurants, galleries, gift stores and banks. The million-square-foot Short Hills Mall, at Route 24 and JFK Parkway, is well known for a wide variety of luxury stores and across from the mall is the 300-room Hilton.

The most widely used recreational spot in the township is the 36-acre Gero Park off White Oak Ridge Road. It has a par-three, nine-hole golf course, the town pool, four tennis courts and three baseball diamonds. A popular township area is the 16-acre Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary; developed by the daughter of Stewart Hartshorn on Forest Drive. The Paper Mill Playhouse, on Brookside Drive, one of the Country's best known regional theaters, offers musicals, plays and children's events.

The Township is governed by five elected committee members who serve three-year terms and annually choose one of their own as mayor of Millburn. In keeping with Stewart Hartshorn's original tree preservation efforts, the town has a full-time forester. Before trees may be cut down, he must issue a permit, and he also advises residents on tree planting and care. The township has more than 1,000 trees that are more than 200 years old.

For more information on Millburn, visit


The Borough of Mountainside was incorporated in 1895, after seceding from Westfield. Its location contributed to its name. The borough covers 4.03 square miles, with easy access to routes 22 and 78. Much of the land is taken up by Echo Lake Park and the Watchung Reservation. The residential housing is along the slopes of the Watchung Mountains, with a view of New York City and the Southeast areas.

The governing body consists of a mayor and six member borough council. Municipal offices are in the borough hall at 1385 Route 22. Mountainside has its own elementary school district and uses a regional school system for advanced grades.

For more information on Mountainside, visit

South Orange

South Orange is a 2.8 square mile community spread out alongside New Jersey's South Mountain. Though fully developed, South Orange retains some vestiges of village life, including gas street lighting. Utility lines are in the back yards, rather than cluttering streets. The town of 16,390 people has an active downtown business section, currently enjoying an exciting rejuvenation. The village presents a diverse palate of popular cuisine.

The Montrose section of town provides the setting for mostly large, vintage homes, replete with interesting and varied architectural detail, situated on generous parcels of land. The Newstead section has predominately younger, Postwar Colonials, Ranches and Split Levels, sitting atop South Orange in an elegant setting. The South Mountain section offers diversity in housing, with lots of Tudor homes dating often in the 1930s, set along the side of the mountain.

South Orange shares a quality school system with Maplewood. There are six elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school and a reputation for academic excellence. Columbia High School offers advanced placement, college prep and vocational courses, as well as classes in film making and journalism. Columbia offers 25 clubs, from astronomy to chess and 23 varsity sports.

Sixty-two acres of parkland. two thirds of which consist of Meadowland Park and adjacent to Cameron Field, provide five baseball diamonds, 15 lighted tennis courts, a soccer field, duck pond, playgrounds, Baird Community Center and a fine outdoor pool complex and favorite sledding hill.

Every four years in a non-partisan election, a village president and six trustees are elected.

South Orange is twenty minutes via N.J. Transit Midtown Direct train. Downtown train commute is also available, as is bus service.

For more information on South Orange, visit


Conveniently located with easy access to Routes 78, 22 and 24, this Union County suburb offers an ideal blend of ingredients for a fine lifestyle.

Many homes in Springfield are post war three to five bedroom Colonials, Ranches and Splits. There are also 1000 condominiums in the township. "Baltusrol Top" offers homes, sometimes with NY views, in the $500,000+ price range. A more typical home would be a four bedroom split in a comfortable family neighborhood.

The population of the township is 13,500 and the area is made up of 5.1 square miles. Springfield has 1 pre K-K school, Walton School, 2 elementary schools, serving grades 1-5, and Florence Gaudineer Middle School servicing grades 6-8. Students in grades 9-12 attend Jonathan High School.

Besides the typical curriculum Springfield offers a public preschool from age 4, a full day kindergarten, a telephone "homework hotline" that allows parents and students to check on assignments, a before and after latchkey program for pupils whose parents work, after school enrichments programs and summer trips.

Computers are introduced in kindergarten. The average class size is 18. Special education courses and programs for gifted students are available. Only 14% of Springfield children attend private schools and 92% of the public school graduates go on to higher education.

Springfield has five committee members, elected to 3 year terms, who choose one member as mayor. Commuters can get to mid-town Manhattan via N.J. Transit bus in 45 minutes during rush hour, or take the Jitney from the center of town to the Midtown Direct N.J. Transit train at the Short Hills Train Station. Springfield has nine small parks. The most widely used is Chisolm School Park, a three acre facility with two baseball diamonds and a playground. Springfield Municipal Pool has a lighted baseball diamond, volleyball, basketball, bocci, and shuffle board courts.

Springfield is the home of Baltusrol Golf Club, founded in 1895, which has hosted seven United States Open Golf Tournaments.

For more information on Springfield, visit 


The City of Summit, population 19,757, is atop the Second Watchung Mountain. During the Revolutionary War, Summit played a pivotal role due to its higher elevation. Today there are several local historians who help maintain the proud history of this lovely city.

The railroad spurred the development of a town center, complete with luxury hotels. One, the Blackburn House, built in 1868 on Springfield Avenue, was reconstructed in 1929 as the Summit Suburban Hotel, then renovated in 1986 and renamed the Grand Summit Hotel. Today it caters to executives visiting corporations in Summit and nearby.

Schools are a major attraction in Summit with 89% of graduates going on to higher education. There are five elementary schools, Summit Middle School and Summit High School as well as various private schools.

Summit has 496 acres of green space. Memorial Field has a baseball field, two softball diamonds, two soccer fields, two basketball courts, a playground, an outdoor roller skating rink and eight tennis courts spread out over 25 acres. There is a 12.5 acre Arboretum which offers extensive child and adult nature education programs, and there is an Olympic-size municipal pool. There are various cultural events including the New Jersey Center for Visual Arts which has 20th Century art galleries and daily classes.

The center of Summit offers fine small shops and excellent shopping, which many find to be a welcome alternative to mall shopping, which is also nearby. Summit has several popular restaurants catering to a variety of tastes.

There is a mayor/council form of government with a mayoral election every four years and six council members representing wards elected every three years and one at large member elected every two years.

Summit is 22 miles from Manhattan, 50 minutes by N.J. Transit train or Lakeland bus.

For more information on Summit, visit


Westfield was founded in the 17th century (1794). West Fields meant the western fields of Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth) - and remained primarily a farm community and were then mostly open fields, but the development of the Jersey Central Railroad in the 1860s through Westfield, brought on rapid population growth. Today there are 33,000 residents, many of whom commute to New York and Newark.

The township maintains a center for recycling of garden refuse, while garbage collection is conducted by private firms. Glass, aluminum cans and newspapers are recycled bi-monthly with curbside pick-up.

The town has a mayor-council form of government with a mayor and eight councilmen. The town hall is located next to Mindowaskjn Park on East Broad Street.

Westfield has over 4,000 students attending the six elementary schools from kindergarten through fifth grades, two intermediate schools for grades six through eight and a high school for grades nine through twelve. There are also three private elementary schools. Each public school has its own library run by a media specialist. Classes are conducted by teacher specialists in art, music, physical education and reading. There is an advanced learning program and an active special services department, while an alternative high school program is also available.

For more information on Westfield, visit

West Orange

A well rounded community with an ideal balance of pleasant suburban living & big city conveniences. A buyer who is looking for a home to fit his family's way of living will most certainly be impressed by the variety and quality of homes he will find here.

The area encompassing this community is rich in history from Revolutionary days. In keeping with this significant background, many public and private groups have been formed in recent years to provide facilities in special interest clubs, workshops for various crafts, and centers for the performing arts.

West Orange is 17 miles from Manhattan and many residents commute to the city. The buses are easily accessible, with a commuting distance of 34 miles to the Port Authority. While there is no NJ Transit train station in West Orange, stations are not far away in Orange and South Orange. Route 280, an interstate spur linking West Orange with the New Jersey Turnpike, the Holland Tunnel and Route 80, cuts through the community.

Although many residents are New York oriented, West Orange maintains its own identity. There are two shopping centers in town, more than 1,000 acres of dedicated woodlands in two large parks, and several first-class restaurants. West Orange is also the home of the Turtle Back Zoo, with more than 750 animals, that is open year-round, the South Mountain ice skating arena and the Edison National Historic Site.

For more information on Westfield, visit

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