Welcome to Berkeley Heights, NJ
In 2011, the New York Times described Berkeley Heights as “suburbia, but not the cookie-cutter kind.” In 2013, CNN named it one of the “Best Places to Live – America’s Top 50 Small Towns.” It has also been ranked as one of the top 10 places to live in New Jersey. So, why did the Union County township, home to just over 13,000 residents earn all of these accolades? Here are just a few reasons:
Beautiful homes, access to New York, and ample outdoor spaces often top the list, along with great schools, decent tax rates, and a general sense of peace and quiet that fills the community, despite its proximity to major roadways. It is the perfect place to take advantage of idyllic small town living while also enjoying the advantage of suburban amenities.
Just over 25 miles from New York City and 15 miles from Newark, Berkeley Heights is a commuter’s dream. Interstate 78 runs along the southern portion of the township, while the New Jersey Transit provides rail service to Newark and Manhattan via the Berkeley Heights station. Bus service is also available. Newark Liberty International Airport is only 18 miles away. There are also many places to work right here in Berkeley Heights, ranging from small businesses to large companies, like L’Oréal and Murray Hill Bell Labs, both of which make their headquarters in town.
The community is also a favorite amongst families with young children. The schools are all highly-ranked, including Governor Livingston High School, which is often listed as one of the top high schools in the nation and the state of New Jersey by various media outlets. The township also has a reputation for its outdoor spaces, ranging from municipal parks with ball fields and picnic pavilions to large nature reservations. It even has its own library and hospital.
Settlement of the land now known as Berkeley Heights dates back to 1720 when a man named Peter Wilcox built a grist and lumber mill here. However, the township was not officially incorporated until 1809, under the name “New Providence.” Around that time, a village began to grow up around the mill that included homes, a post office, a general store, orchards, and a church. In 1882, the mill went bankrupt, but the remains of the village that surrounded it can be toured today. It was not until 1951 that the township earned the name “Berkeley Heights.”
Dining, Shopping, and Entertainment in Berkeley Heights
There is no shortage of things to do in and around Berkeley Heights. While you will not find any large shopping malls in the township, you will find an array of local and independent shops and restaurants along the north side of the community. Some favorite places to eat include The Trap Rock Restaurant & Brewery, Delicious Heights, Goodman’s, Seoulite’s, and East Japanese & Asian Fusion.
However, if you are into malls, there are a couple close by. Valley Mall, just a few minutes west in Gillette, is home to stores like Old Navy, HomeGoods, Bath & Body Works, Starbucks, and T.J. Maxx. Head a few minutes northeast to Millburn and the upscale Mall at Short Hills. Here you will find stores like Neiman Marcus, Apple, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Chanel, Burberry, Nordstrom, Kate Spade, Hermes, and Prada.
For a day of family fun, head south to the Bowcraft Amusement Park in Scotch Plains. Things to do include kiddie rides, family rides, thrill rides, concessions, and an arcade. Of course, the coast is just an hour or less away, which means a weekend getaway or day trip to the beach is at your fingertips.
Parks and Playgrounds in Berkeley Heights
Berkeley Heights has a reputation for its parks and green spaces. This includes over a dozen local community parks like Columbia Park, which features tennis courts, baseball fields, basketball courts, and a large playground. There are also three swimming clubs. The township’s recreation department holds summer camps, manages youth sports leagues, and provides summer concerts and movie nights, as well.
Along the southern portion of the township is part of the 1,945-acre Watchung Reservation. The majority of the reservation is made up of undisturbed forest with hiking trails, horseback-riding trails, picnic areas, and Lake Surprise. You will also find a science and nature center, playgrounds, the Deserted Village of Feltville, and stables within the reservation.
Real Estate Information
Like the New York Times said, you will not find cookie cutter living here in Berkeley Heights, and that is especially true when it comes to real estate. No matter your taste or budget, you are sure to find something you fall in love with, whether it’s a townhome, a vintage bungalow, a mid-century ranch-style or split level home, or a newly built colonial or Cape Cod. Historic homes that have been updated and renovated, homes in established neighborhoods built during the late 1900s, and new construction in modern communities are all available.
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