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Blog :: 12-2015

My "Walkable" New Year's Resolutions

New-Year-Greeting-PicturesI've gone through years of outlandish resolutions (lose 25 pounds by February, finish all the half-read books on my nightstand, eat kale at every meal), and I've greeted the New Year with no resolutions at all. But this year, I've thought about how I can take better advantage of this amazing community I live in -- and also how I can give back. Many of my resolutions this year are "walkable" in nature, and they feel absolutely right. It's a list that captures the things that are really important to me -- the perfect recipe for a Happy New Year!

o  If I'm buying only one bag of groceries, I will ride my bike to Acme     rather than take the car.

o  If it's not raining (or snowing!) I will walk to the train station for my trips into New York City.

o  Rather than drive to the YMCA for my usual 45 minutes on the treadmill, I will walk the 3-mile loop from Edgemont Park, up through Yogi Berra Way, across Highland and down through Anderson Park.

o  If it's above 20 degrees, my daughter will walk home from the high school rather than me picking her up. (However,   if she's annoying me, it will only have to be above 15 degrees!)

o  I will grow half the veggies my family consumes between the months of July and October.

o  Every month, I will give away or sell at least one un- or underused item from my garage attic or basement. (My favorite way to do this is on the Montclair Swap Meet Facebook page.)

o  Each month, I will make a donation of either time, food or supplies to the Montclair Animal Shelter.

If one of your resolutions is to move yourself or your family up, out or over and a walkable suburb seems like it might fit with what's important to you, too, please don't hesitate to call me. I'd love to show you all this area has to offer! 973.809.5277

Montclair's Edgemont Park on Crazy Tourist List

"Edgemont Park in winter." Well, yes, it is one of the most beautiful places to visit in New Jersey, and yes, it totally deserves to be on Crazy Tourist's list of Top 15 Places in NJ to Visit. But Edgemont Park is a wonderful place all year long.

This park epitomizes what I love about Montclair. It's set right in the middle of town and functions as a community hub to the many residents who can easily bike or walk there, but also as a destination for others looking for a poppin' outdoor experience.

Here's some of what regularly goes on at Edgemont: Outdoor exercise classes, a Qigong group, a dog-walking brigade, recess for two nearby schools, little league baseball games, a kids' football program, soccer practices, and a year-round tiny tot extravaganza in the expansive playground.

Edgemont Park is where kids learn to ride bikes, practice on scooters, climb trees, ice-skate. People will sunbathe in the summer and sit on benches playing guitar at dusk. I've seen kids fish in the pond and make forts in the underbrush. New love on picnic blankets, old love hand-in-hand on the walking path. Concerts, holiday ceremonies, local fairs. Kites. Frisbees. Painting easels. The occasional white heron.

Edgemont is like our Central Park and really does represent some of the best that this town has to offer. No pretzel vendors or Strawberry Fields, but in the winter... or when the trees begin to flower ... or in an early morning fog ... the beauty is absolutely surreal.Edgemont-Park-in-winter-Montclair-New-Jersey

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The Stately Homes of Montclair

staircaseSome of my clients end up in Montclair because they're looking to raise their kids in a diverse and accepting community. Others show up because we have lots of trains and buses into Manhattan. Still others want to be here because you don't need to put make-up on to go to the supermarket (someone actually told me that's why she settled here). And all those things are true. But there's also an elegance about Montclair that is often breathtaking - from the mountaintop views of the New York City skyline to the old world charm of shopping on Church Street. However, nothing is as elegant as the stately homes throughout town.

Local photographer, Andrew Wander, captured that elegance in a gorgeous coffee table book he published a few years ago - Stately Homes of Montclair. It features 50 local homes, inside and out, and one of them is more stunning than the last. As a former architecture student, I appreciate the way he captures the detail in these old and magnificent homes. And as an inveterate walker, I love flipping through the pages and saying to myself, one after another, "Oh, I walk by that house all the time."

This is a book I've given as a house-warming gift to my clients, and I wanted to pass it on as a special gift for anyone who loves old homes, fine architecture, refined design, or just has a little extra space to fill on their coffee table. You can pick up a copy at Watchung Booksellers or order it through a link on the Facebook page. (Or you can just spend some quality time with it at either Montclair or Glen Ridge Public Library!) I really don't mean to sound like a shill - what I mean is, it will make you fall in love with this town again and again and again.

Photo by Andrew Wander

Montclair: One of the Best Main Streets in NJ!

Main-Street-Fights-BackIf, like me, you are a fanatic about walkability, you will love this article I came upon in Huffington Post. It's very comprehensive and includes almost anything you want to know about who wants to live in a walkable area and why. The biggest takeaway for me was neither revolutionary nor surprising: people who live in areas where they can easily walk to things are reportedly more satisfied with where they live than those who have fewer walkable options.

This makes sense. Walking makes people happy.

The piece cites a few things that you should consider when looking for a walkable area to settle in.

1. Well-connected streets. The smaller the block size, the more easily and directly you'll be able to get from one place to another. 2. Things to walk to, like movies, stores, cafes, parks. Part of the satisfaction, it seems, is having a destination. 3. Good infrastructure for safe walking. If you're looking for housing in an area that doesn't have sidewalks, there's a good chance there won't be a lot of pedestrian street life.

This seems the perfect segue for another article I came across last month: These 12 Towns in NJ Have the Best Main Streets.

Montclair is number two! Restaurants galore. Cute stores. Movie theaters. Activities.

This time of year - when people are all out and about doing their holiday shopping - is when I truly appreciate having options other than the mall. I might be crazy, but being able to do my shopping locally, on foot, makes the holidays feel more special to me.

Ok, maybe not that's not so crazy coming from a Walkability Fanatic!