West Orange

“Essex County’s best-kept secret”

If you live in the city but the ‘burbs are beckoning, and you’re looking for a welcoming cosmopolitan community where you get more bang for your buck, here’s an inside tip – check out West Orange, Essex County’s best-kept secret.

Just 19 miles from Manhattan, West Orange is a dynamic suburb with historic charm and a down-to-earth vibe. Whether you’re hunting for a million-dollar mansion, a modest cape, a center hall Colonial or a cozy condo, you’ll find an array of options to fit any budget. Construction is also underway on residential Edison Village, named after inventor Thomas Edison who once called West Orange home. This $230 million redevelopment project will transform his old factory into an upscale townhouse complex. Complete with a fitness center, a pool, retail shops, and breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, you can start calling Edison Village “home sweet home” in 2019.

West Orange takes great pride in its 12 public parks, especially its section of The South Mountain Reservation – a sprawling 2,000-acre nature reserve with lush open spaces, barbecue areas, and hiking trails. The crown jewel of the reservation – and of West Orange – is the Recreation Complex built around the Orange Reservoir. In the era of “screen time,” residents and day-trippers can get back to ”fun time” at the complex’s many attractions.

Voted the #1 zoo in New Jersey, the Turtle Back Zoo is located within the South Mountain Recreation Complex and is the wildest place in West Orange. Home to over

200 species, the zoo allows visitors to get up-close-and-personal with sting rays, kangaroos, black bears and more. You don’t have to go on safari to see lions and giraffes when the new Africa Adventure Exhibit is practically in your backyard. And little ones won’t want to leave without taking a ride on the train, a spin on the carousel, or a walk through the butterfly tent.

Steps from the zoo, the Recreation Complex has even more to offer. Adrenaline junkies can zip line at the Treetop Adventure Course while competitive types can play 19 holes of Safari MiniGolf. Those looking for a more serene experience can paddleboat from the banks of the reservoir or lounge in the picnic pavilion. There’s also an indoor ice-skating arena, a nautical-themed playground, and McLoone’s Boathouse restaurant, featuring American cuisine, spectacular views, and both indoor and outdoor seating.

Off the reservation, West Orange residents enjoy convenient access to even more amenities, including 200 restaurants, two major supermarkets, a dine-in movie theater, and five distinct shopping districts. There is also a community swim club, an equestrian center, five golf courses, a Jewish Community Center, and The Thomas Edison National Historic Park.

West Orange educates nearly 7,000 students who speak a combined 49 languages. All 11 schools – 7 elementary, 3 middle, and 1 high school – strive for academic excellence and utilize the latest technology to prepare students for 21st century opportunities.

Commuting into the city is a cinch. The town operates free jitney service to the Orange and South Orange train stations and there are several buses that run express to Port Authority.

ALT ENDING: So if want a down-to-earth vibe without sky-high prices, your future can soar in West Orange.