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Blog :: 08-2015

Glen Ridge is Hot, Hot, Hot!!!

I talk about Montclair here a lot because, well, I live here, and sometimes Glen Ridge - our lovely neighbor to the east - does not get its due.

The great thing about Glen Ridge is that it's small and quietly awesome. Close enough to Montclair (and Bloomfield) to benefit from all the restaurants, art offerings, park space and activities, but also a little haven unto itself, with its own country club, gas-lit streets and engaged community.

It doesn't surprise me at all that Glen Ridge ended up in Realtor Magazine's top 12 hottest zip codes in the entire country. It's magical. Some of my favorite things: First, the Freeman Gardens - a tucked away little rose sanctuary that is delightfully meditative; Fitgerald's pub, a great place for brunch or a beer; and finally (this is sort of a "thing" of mine), the way the town deals with refuse. I just recently found out that not only does Glen Ridge have a monthly designated day where residents can put bulky, unwanted items out on the curb for pick-up, they actually have an online register where you can list the items you're discarding, so people can come by and pick up stuff that might be useful to them. It's called the Glen Ridge Freecycle Program, and for inveterate yard sale junkies, it's nothing short of inspired.

So, yay for you 07028! I'm sorry I neglect you sometimes. You certainly don't deserve it.

*Photo from Glen Ridge town website.

Location, Location, Location - in Montclair & Glen Ridge

FrontAs a born and bred New Yorker, I can be a little jaded about the filming that often takes place in Montclair and Glen Ridge. This area has long been a top destination for filmmakers looking for beautiful homes to shoot - not only because of its close proximity to the city, but also because the pickings are so vast and so varied. Here you can find classic Colonials, elegant Victorians, Georgian bricks and stucco Mediterraneans. There are California contemporaries, ranches, and stunning prewar apartment buildings. Truly a location scout's dream.

But New York City always had film crews and craft services trucks popping up here and there, and after the first few sightings, it really felt like no big deal.

But then there was the day I logged onto the New York Times website and saw my old house featured in an article. Does everyone look upon their house from the perspective of a proud parent? Because that's exactly what it felt like to see my first grown-up home, dapper and inviting, depicted in the news - and in the New York Times, no less!

Even after all these years, I'm still taken with the fact that I live in a community where home after home is picture perfect - a community that is so regularly sought after as representing the suburban ideal. If we find you a house together, I can't promise that your little bundle of joy will end up in the New York Times, but I can promise that Montclair and Glen Ridge deliver the goods for home buyers as least as well as they do for location scouts, usually even better!

Bike to the Montclair Jazz Festival

Jazz FestThis Saturday (August 15) is the Montclair Jazz Festival, an all-day music-fest that takes place at Nishuane Park. This rain-or-shine event includes performances by Jose James, The Paquito D'Rivera Quintet and The Christian McBride Big Band as well as many other ensembles and big bands.

People show up at noon with blankets and lawn chairs and spend a little or a lot of time taking in one of Montclair's most valuable offerings - a long-standing, unwavering dedication to bringing live music into the community.

No tickets required, you can just show up - and I just found out something that made my own heart sing: the community has arranged (through support from Diamond Cycle Bikes and Bike/Walk Montclair) extensive secure bike parking for the event - "Free Bike Valet!" (I know, hauling lawn chairs on a bike is not the easiest thing to do, but for those of us who are happy to sit on a towel and soak up a day of music, it's a great addition!)

If you're around on Saturday, I urge you to check it out. It runs noon to 9pm and truly is one of the many events that sets Montclair apart as a satellite cultural mecca.

Montclair Farmers' Market

Saturdays are busy days for me, so sometimes I just plan to stop by for a pickle. The pickle vendor sells pickles on a stick (the half-sours are legend!) and it just feels good to walk through the market and see everyone abuzz.

But I can't evIMG_6313er get away with just a pickle. The blueberries were only $2.50/pint this    week, and the tomatoes were literally calling my name. "Lina," they screamed. "Bring us home! We need to be with you and your basil and maybe a little mozzarella. A chunk of that bread wouldn't hurt either."

Who among us can resist the cry of a ripe red tomato? So through the market I trekked, collecting tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, eggplant, garlic, fresh eggs, a loaf of bread, some sunflowers, peaches, blueberries and, yes, a pickle.

The Montclair Farmers' Market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine. At this time of year it transforms the whole Walnut Street business area into a food-lover's street fair, with artisan food trucks and lots of breakfast goodies from Walnut Street eateries - Montclair Bread Co., La Salbuen, The Red Eye Café, Gina's Bakery and newcomer-that's-bound-to-be-a-hot-spot, The Corner. In the winter, there's a scaled bIMG_6317ack version, and far less al fresco dining, but it's wonderful to have farm fresh produce available all year long.

And because Montclair is so full of foodies, the Farmers' Market has even expanded to include a Tuesday venue on South Park Street from 1-7 p.m. from June through November.

The Saturday market is centrally located, so many people walk there or bike there. Sometimes there's live music or a pet adoption event. If we're looking at houses together on a Saturday, try to stop over. You'll walk away with a real taste of what Montclair is like. (Get it?)