Welcome to Watchung, NJ
The suburban borough of Watchung, New Jersey is a little less than 30 miles from New York City and 20 miles from Newark, but you would never know it. The community is a little slice of heaven. It spreads across the ridges of the Watchung Mountains and is home to two small lakes, rolling hills, and several winding brooks and creeks that set a gorgeous backdrop for the beautiful homes spread throughout the community. Wildlife is plentiful in the upscale area, and it is not unusual to see a deer crossing your front lawn or a group of ducks waddling down a winding street.
Thanks to the small population of about 6,000 and large lots sizes, privacy is also abundant in Watchung. You will find mostly larger homes on even larger plots of land, and very few homes on less than half an acre. Even though you may not live too close together, you will still find that your neighbors in this small New Jersey community are friendly and welcoming. There is always a way to get to know your neighbors, such as visiting the borough’s farmers’ market or taking part in Watchung History Day.
Another attraction for young families is the excellent public school system with its reputation for a lower student/teacher ratio and smaller class sizes than schools in other parts of the state. Watchung Hills Regional High School has received national recognition for its science programs and is a National Blue Ribbon school.
Finally, Watchung is ideal for commuters who prefer to get away from the city on nights and weekends. Major roadways, including Route 22 and Interstate 78, surround it, and the Plainfield Train Station is just minutes away.
Watchung was named for the Watchung Mountains. The word “Watchung” means “high hills” in the language spoken by the Lenni Lanape Native Americans. The locals initially chose the name “Washingtonville,” because George Washington himself used the area as a place to spy on the British troops when they arrived 20 miles away in Perth Amboy. In 1926, at the time of the borough’s incorporation, the United States Postal Service claimed there were already too many places by that name. Up until the 1960s, Watchung remained largely rural with a small town feel. The families who lived there had been there for years. However, the latter half of the 20th century saw an influx of city dwellers searching for a more laid-back lifestyle, but Watchung still feels like a small town in many ways.
Dining, Shopping, and Entertainment in Watchung
A popular spot in Watchung is the local arts center which features art exhibitions, as well as musical and comedy performances throughout the year. Classes are also available for all ages in various subjects like dance, photography, yoga, drawing, and painting.
The Watchung Square Mall is a great place to shop when you need a few necessities. Stores there include Home Depot, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, Staples, Super Stop & Shop, Stein Mart, and Ethan Allen. For even more shopping opportunities, The Mall at Short Hills and Bridgewater Commons are both a little over 10 miles away.
While Watchung is largely residential, there are some fine restaurants in town. Water & Wine is great for upscale Italian, but you can find something a little more casual and even pizza at Paisano’s Pizzeria & Restaurant or Marino’s. Try the buffet at Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet or enjoy fast service and excellent Chinese food at Authentic Chengdu.
Watchung is home to the Twin Brooks Country Club which dates back to 1895. Its 6,721-yard golf course is often called one of the most scenic in the region. Finally, the borough is just about 20 miles from the coast which is great for weekend beach trips and anyone who loves to take their boat out on the bay.
Parks and Playgrounds in Watchung
Watchung manages five parks and recreational areas. Mobus Field and Phillips Field are home to tennis courts, basketball courts, soccer fields, and baseball and softball fields. Watchung Lake Park is a popular spot for fishing during the summertime and sledding during the winter. The Best Lake Picnic Grove has its own fitness circuit and a spot for playing chess and checkers. The borough borders the Watchung Reservation in nearby Mountainside, which is a popular recreational spot for residents. Fishing, camping, hiking, skiing, and ice skating are all great ways to spend some time in the scenic park.
Real Estate Information
Watchung is an upscale community, and the homes in the area reflect that. The median home price is around $660,000, though you can find homes starting around $400,000 up to over $2 million. You will find a number of regal brick and stucco estates in the borough sitting on an acre or more of land. Many of them were built over the last few decades and feature amenities like granite countertops in modern kitchens, heated swimming pools and spas, and even some gated entrances. On the lower end of the price spectrum, you will find a selection of quality mid-century ranch, Cape Cod, and split-level style homes in tree-lined established neighborhoods. There are also a few townhome in Watchung.
Some popular neighborhoods are Watchung Lake, Burnheade, Stony Hill, Watchung Hills Estates, and Villa Domenico.
Many residents head next door to Watchung to stock up on everything they need at Watchung Square Mall. Stores there include Target, Super Stop & Shop, Home Depot, Walmart, Staples, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Top New Jersey shopping destinations, like Bridgewater Commons and the Mall at Short Hills are just 10 and 15 miles away respectively.
You do not have to leave the township for a good meal, however. Turf’ N Surf Burger Grill is a popular spot for seafood and burgers, or you can enjoy steak and seafood at Uproot. Stone House at Stirling Ridge is as popular for its ambience as it is its American cuisine. International cuisine is also plentiful in the area. Try the Afghan food at Silk Road, the sushi at Mr. Pi’s, or the Indian cuisine at A Calcutta Affair.
For those who enjoy boating, swimming, and spending a day at the beach, the coast is just over 25 miles away from Watchung.
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