If there’s one thing the pandemic showed me about my community, it was that having a nice place to walk is priceless. My friend really illuminated the essence of what it’s like to live in this walkable suburb when she described her now-daily ritual of hitting the sidewalks. She agreed to let me share it here:
We’ve lived here for nine years and part of what drew us to Montclair was being able to walk places. So, my partner and I often took walks. But last year when the gyms and yoga studios closed, we decided to do a daily four-mile walk for exercise. We do the same route every day, but on Saturdays, we do it in reverse because I like to start at the Farmer’s Market, which is one of my favorite places to people watch.
From there, we head to Watchung Plaza, which is invariably lively and full of people. This is always the highlight for me. I like to see what’s going on there, what new stores are opening up. I stick my head into Local Coffee and wave to Robert, and I usually run into someone I know outside Bluestone Cafe.
Besides watching people, I like to look at people’s gardens and see how they progress over time. And I like looking at the houses. One thing I love about Montclair is that the houses are all different from one another. We usually walk on Midland Ave, which has a lot of nice houses and gardens.
Once we hit Walnut Street, we head back toward the market and invariably stop at Cucina for a chicken parm sandwich, or sometimes I go into Curated Home and Living, which is an amazing place to buy gifts. Walnut Street itself is usually hopping, so there’s more people watching to be done.
If it’s an especially nice day, we sometimes make a pit stop at home and then head out in the other direction for a second walk. This time we go up Glenridge Avenue toward Church Street because: People!
When we’re in that neighborhood, we usually check out the progress of the new arts center by The Wellmont theater. I’ve been watching that area come together from the beginning and I’m really excited about it.
Sometimes we walk up to the art museum and then swing by Whole Foods on the way back home. Other times, we loop around and visit the beautiful public garden behind the United Way building on South Fullerton. This is one of my other favorite places in town.
Each walk usually takes a little over an hour. We walk at a good pace, but it never feels like we’re doing “exercise” – it feels like we’ve having an outing.
If you have a favorite place to walk in Montclair, please share it in the comments! And if you want to take a walk around town with me to get a sense of this walkable suburb, call or text! I love showing off my town. 973-809-5277