Blog :: 04-2015

May in Montclair!

magnoliaMay in Montclair is hard to describe...but I'm going to try. First, it's incredibly beautiful. The magnolia trees and all the fruit trees are in bloom, so it's pink and bright, and when the wind blows, petals rain down like confetti. Gardens blossom, parks fill up, people stroll leisurely after their dinner. But that's just the beginning.

May in Montclair is a "thing." So much so, there's a web page devoted to it. There are so many happenings and events it's almost impossible to keep track of them all. For example, there's an Herb Sale at the Montclair Historical Society, a Plant Sale at Van Vleck House, Hawk Watching at Mills Reservation, a May Day performance at Watchung Plaza, a Digital Scavenger Hunt for teens, a performance of "Hair" at the college, a Walking Tour, a Street Fair, a Jewelry Making Workshop at the art museum, an Author Event at the library, and that's just one weekend!

The first weekend in May also opens the Montclair Film Festival as well as the high school production of "Rent." And May 8th marks the opening ceremony of the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens, a public garden displaying a world-renowned collection of irises. This list goes on and on.

If you're visiting Montclair this month, to look at houses or just to get to know the area, I urge you to take a little extra time to see for yourself what May in Montclair is like. It's really pretty magical.

Crossing the Freedom Threshold; Staying in Montclair

Slide11

I just came across this graph of the Freedom Threshold and thought it provided a great visual for what I've been telling my clients for years: investing in this community is often more than just an investment in their childrearing years. The Freedom Threshold is the point where you no longer need to live somewhere for family obligations (say, a great school system) and can now live wherever you choose. The graph shows age 61 as the point at which most cross the threshold.

In addition to being a town of nuclear families (about 30 percent of the families here are raising children), Montclair is home to many households of young adults (because of our reasonably priced rental housing and easy access to New York City) as well as older adults. People here don't necessarily move out of town when their kids have grown and left home, and those who stay have plenty to fill their days.

With two movie theaters, a matinee club, an art museum, a smorgasbord of art classes, a vibrant and affordable adult school, performance spaces for dance, drama, opera and music, dance classes, meditation classes, exercise studios, book groups, discussion series, writing groups, garden clubs, knitting circles, martial arts, volunteer opportunities, tennis courts, three town pools, manicured parks, woodsy trails, and restaurants to suit every imaginable palette, this town offers almost everything you could want short of a hot, sandy beach - and much of it easy to access on foot.

I'm a Walkability Advocate!

IMG_5284 2I love this piece in Slate's design blog. It's the story of a guy who felt so strongly about the benefits of walking that he started his own guerrilla campaign to encourage people to walk more.

The Slate bloggers write, "Although 41 percent of all trips made in the United States are 1 mile or less, fewer than 10 percent of all trips are made by walking or biking."

They go on to say that the wayfinding signs that this guy developed - signs that tell people how many minutes it takes to walk or bike to popular local destinations - have become prototypes for pilot programs in other cities, used by community organizations, city planners and "walkability advocates."

Walkability Advocate! I didn't even realize there was a term for someone like me!

Yes, I can tell you how long it takes to walk from anywhere to anywhere else here in Montclair. Because that's why most of us come here... so we have the choice of leaving our cars behind.

But you don't need me with you when you're out and about. Montclair installed its own award-winning pedestrian  wayfinding system downtown a couple of years ago.

Don't worry, we won't look at homes together on foot - there's too much to see. But I promise you, I'll always make sure you have a full grasp of the wonderful walkability that awaits you here.

 

Another Reason to Move to Montclair: Montclair Film Festival Hosts Richard Gere!

mff2015_poster-663x1024Even though the Montclair Film Festival is a relative newcomer to town (premiering, as it were, only a few years ago) it fits so seamlessly into the culture and sensibility of Montclair, it feels like it's been a part of the town forever. Each year, local venues turn over their auditoriums to accommodate the week-long film event and people show up in droves. Last year, I took a day off of work to see three films, walking from one venue to the next.

Besides having the opportunity to see great films (and the excuse to do so mid-week!), the festival creates an even livelier than usual vibe in the community - you can feel the excitement and energy everywhere you turn. They just announced this year's guest panels, which will include conversations with Richard Gere (moderated by Stephen Colbert), Stanley Nelson, Patrick Wilson, Barbara Kopple, Jonathan Alter, and Bobcat Goldthwait.

Montclair Film Festival 2015 takes place May 1-10; tickets go on sale mid-April. You can attend screenings as a member or non-member. It's just one of the many draws of the Montclair area - a Sundance all our own!

If you want to talk movies, or houses, or how great it is to live in a walkable suburb, please do not hesitate to call me: 973-809-5277