Neighborhood Banners – Montclair

The banners of Montclair, much like banners found in small towns across the United States, hang from our vintage style light posts and flank the streets of our town. They are charming, they are advertising, they map neighborhoods, they communicate, and they display local pride. I love these banners because they display artistic flare and are created to be visually appealing. The eye-catching logos inspired me to start photographing them over a year ago. I originally thought this would be a photo only post, but the more I thought about and researched the role of banners in our community, the more I realized the importance of them. Banners play a vital role in the movement to support small businesses and revitalize small towns in the US. They help bring us together through advertising community and small business events. And as Jay Jensen points out in his article “A New Era of Street Pole Banners,” they have the unique ability to merge old with new and historic with modern (another theme emerging in my blog posts), by displaying hashtags, wifi hotspots, and other forms of modern communication.

So why are banners important and why do they work in Montclair?And most importantly, why on earth am I writing about them? Well, I find these banners to be just one more ingredient that make this town beautiful and unique. They are particularly important to our town because they advertise local events and label each neighborhood on the bottom of each individual banner. The neighborhood labels tie into the purpose of this blog; to explore our neighborhoods and how each area has it’s own unique vibe within the town of Montclair . The Montclair Film Festival banners are displayed all over town right now, but if you look closely you will find, ” Montclair Center,” “Uptown,” “South End,””Watchung Plaza,” and “Walnut Street” marked at the bottom of each banner in that neighborhood. Our street pole banners are helping to define our neighborhoods and reflect the uniqueness of each individual section of town. They reflect our local pride and draw locals and visitors to participate in town events, to shop at local stores, and to eat at local restaurants. Street Pole banners are particularly effective in Montclair because our town has so many walkable commercial areas and our community enjoys being on foot. Art, charm, celebration, and community are what I think of when I walk down the streets of Montclair and see the most recent event advertised on a light pole. I hope you enjoy these photographs and the next time you walk through town, stop to take a look.

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I Love Vintage Appliances- Montclair Area Homes

One thing I love about this area is the history, charm, and craftsmanship of our houses. The mix of old and new is a constant theme among our town and our homes. While we find ways to make traditional homes with formal dining rooms more open and modern, more and more homeowners are integrating original features of their homes with modern design. Adriana Smyth of Adriana Smyth Interiors put it perfectly when she told me, she appreciates this mix of old and new because ” it makes a house feel more like a home and less like a showroom.”

I personally love that these appliances are still in working order and I wonder if our modern day refrigerators will last half as long. And while something built in 1950 may not be as energy efficient, the construction of these solid items holds up enough to give them another life. Adriana pointed out that “there’s been a huge trend in using reclaimed materials to built anything from kitchen cabinets, to dining room tables, to light fixtures. ” So now I’m kind of obsessed with this idea and even found a pinterest board of ideas, because I too own vintage appliances.

My first home in Bloomfield came with this 1940s GE refrigerator that I fell instantly in love with.

1940s GE RefrigeratorI have no idea how it ended up in the basement of my home and I am actually quite convinced our basement was built around this monster of a fridge, but it is still in working condition and makes me long for the days when products were built to last .

My latest listing, a side hall colonial in the City of Clifton (a city which borders Upper Montclair) boasts this stunning vintage range, also in working order.

Photograph © Brian Zehowski


I never thought I would call a home from the late 1940s “newer,” but around here they are, and many of them are full of hidden gems such as this.

We’d love to see photos of the treasures in your homes. Feel free to post them in the comments.

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Montclair Center Wins “2015 Great American Main Street” Award

Did you wonder what Downtown Montclair is like? Check out this great video produced for The 2015 “Great American Main Street Award Winner,” Montclair.

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St Patrick’s Day Parade 2015- West Orange

There are no shortage of celebrations in the Montclair area. This community celebrates food, seasons, art, families, holidays, sports, and just about anything else we can use as an excuse to plan an event. So, on this Irish holiday I would expect nothing less than a huge celebration. Today in West Orange the Streets were lined with  green attire, food, drink, and festivities while the St Patty’s Day Parade marched on. There were several bagpipe bands, marching bands, dancers, trucks, motorcycles, a vintage fire truck, and a bat mobile. One of my favorite things about this celebration is that I live close enough to walk.  But wherever you are in this town, there are festivities and events within walking distance. This is yet another reason why I love Montclair.

parade crowd

Food Table

fire truck

2-Parade 3:15:15

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Montclair Tastes Good!


I don’t think I’m alone when I say I love the food in Montclair. There are an abundance of delicious food options, which makes it hard to know where to begin when it comes to writing a food post. So, it feels appropriate to write my first food entry about the dozens of local restaurants and food vendors that participated in Taste of Montclair. This delicious event, organized by the Rotary Club of Montclair and held in the Conference Center at Montclair State, featured over 45 Chefs, Restaurants, and Specialty Food vendors from the area. As patrons of the event sampled savory dishes from Fin, Salute, Blu, Nextdoor, Fricassee, Brick Lane, Escape, Le Salbuen, Mesob, Olive That and More, Montclair Bread, Spice Thai, Tiny Elephant, Toast, Gina’s Bakery, Anthony’s Cheesecake, and much more, live music played, and drinks were poured. It was a fun and delicious event. I love that I live in a town with so many options for fine dining and tasty community events.

My personal favorite was the short rib from Le Salbuen. Here are some of the other highlights in photos.

I started the night with Meatloaf and Chipotle Sauce, yum! I especially loved the presentation and the fact that there were no disposable plates required for the meatloaf, which meant less waste. Blu/Nextdoor

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Blu & Nextdoor


This soup from Escape was amazing!

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I had never had Spice Thai, but now I’m a fan. Mango salad, yum!

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Spice Thai & the Azariah Crane Cocktail by Warren Bobrow


This is literally the best cheesecake (other than my Mom’s) that I have ever eaten. Anthony’s Cheesecake

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Anthony’s Cheesecake


I have to say that THE highlight of my night was tasting a very pure and fresh cocktail prepared by Warren Bobrow, aka The Cocktail Whisperer.

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Warren Bobrow, the Cocktail Whisperer


For all of you who attended, what were your favorites of the night?


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Unique Housing Opportunities in Montclair

One thing we all love about Montclair is it’s close proximity and easy commute to New York City, so it’s no wonder that many of it’s residents are transplants from Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. And many of these transplants choose to rent homes and try out the area before they commit to the suburbs. I get a lot of questions from clients about the rental market here in town and one thing pretty much remains consistent; there usually aren’t very many rentals on the market and even fewer single family rentals. Every once in a while there are furnished and short term rentals (usually 3-6 months), like this fully furnished single family home on Grove Street that is available until the end of August.
Eat-in Kitchen

699 Grove Street

Rental Listing Information

As I’ve gotten to know and love this community I believe this may be a trend that stays consistent for years to come. First off, many of Montclair’s residents work in Manhattan for bi-coastal companies. This creates the opportunity to work and travel for long periods of time.  Many residents are also in Entertainment and Journalism, which give way to a more adventurous way of living and opportunity for travel. And in order to keep their mortgage paid and their homes warm, residents are renting out their houses for the short term. Tamima Friedman, a colleague of mine at Keller Williams NJ Metro Group recently helped a client rent her condo in the Siena that is fully furnished, for over list price. Tamima said, the landlord (owner of the condo) was taking a few months to test out another city and be foot loose and fancy free. The cost of doing that and maintaining her condo was high, so she decided to see if she could rent it out for a few months and cover her costs. The family that rented it were being relocated to another city and needed a short term furnished situation while they shipped their belongings south. I also had a client last year that rented her home to a woman who needed to stay local while doing renovations to her own home.

Whether it’s a decision to stay local during a renovation or a chance to get a taste of life in Montclair, short term rentals can be a great opportunity for both landlord and tenant. It’s a wonderful way for residents who want to spread their wings to come back to this town and community they love and call home.


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The Horse of Harrison Ave

This horse makes my kids and I so happy when we drive or walk by it. Today he (name?) is sporting a fashionable plaid coat.image


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Olive That and More! – Upper Montclair

Olive That and More Storefront -Hearts


Happy Valentine’s Day! One of the things I LOVE about Montclair is the fact that I don’t have to leave town to shop, eat, or play. One of my  very favorite stores for both gifts and practical cooking needs is Olive That and More in Upper Montclair. I never thought I would actually crave olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but this store has me hooked. This store is family run and the owners will inspire you to try their products in new ways. I will be dipping some strawberries in their chocolate balsamic today for sure! If you like to cook or even eat, this store is essential. It was recently voted Best Storefront/Window for 2015! in the Best of Essex poll and the interior of the store is equally inviting. When I think of an artisanal food store, I don’t always think kid-friendly, but the store owners of Olive That and More  have young children themselves and will welcome your whole family when you come in the door. They even have a toy bin for the kids and a bench for parents to sit and take a breather. It’s a great place to  pop into when you’re getting off the train or shopping in Upper Montclair.

I also have to say that a huge part of the charm of this store is that it’s family run and owned by Jennifer and Steve, individuals who not only want to sell their product, but bring the community together. They host events, cooking workshops, and recently even a chocolate tasting at their store. Montclair draws such warm, interesting people, said store owner Jennifer, we enjoy getting to know everyone. People are drawn to olive oil for very different reasons, it may be a memory of home cooked meals, but it can also be for healthful benefits, weight loss, or incorporated into beauty routines and daily care. People are always coming in to share their personal stories with us about friends and family. When I asked Jennifer why they chose Montclair and their Upper Montclair neighborhood for the store she said, So many of the residents of Montclair are self-proclaimed foodies, home chefs, and have a commitment to a healthy lifestyle and shopping local, it seemed like a perfect setting. After visiting several locations around Montclair, karma took over and we were presented with our current location – The Garden Shop at 246 Bellevue Avenue,  the aesthetic created by the previous shop owner provided inspiration for the store’s decor. Close to the train station, Valley Road, Bellevue Theater, and Anderson Park, we couldn’t have designed a better spot for a store that invites individuals to come in and taste the flavors of the world. We always wanted the store to be an extension of our home, from the bench out front, to the dining room table as the centerpiece, complete with a toy chest for kids–we wanted you to feel comfortable here, an invited guest.  In addition to that, we wanted Olive That and More to be a place where you might want to gather with friends and share stories that you would share over good food….travels, recipes, health, history.

Store Owners, Jennifer O’Sullivan and Steve Lehrhoff


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Watchung Scarecrow February


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Exploring Montclair Neighborhoods