As we approach the New Year, I’m sad to see the holiday season come to an end. It’s such a beautiful sight to see all our neighborhoods lit up and decorated to celebrate this season. One Montclair block in particular, the cul-de-sac of Potter Ct, where the homes (mostly 1940s side hall colonials) are as quaint as the block itself, embraces the season with their very own tradition. Each year the residents of Potter Ct replace their flagpole (in the center circle of their cul-de-sac) with a tree. The neighbors come out and join together to trim and light the tree and have a little party. There is food, fun, and hot cocoa. Kids play in the street and all are reminded of neighborhood friendships and the beginning of the holiday season. It’s a celebration of Hanukkah, Christmas, and most of all, neighbors.
Stories like this one are why I really love Montclair. As a mother it’s incredibly important to know my neighbors and expose my children to the people around us, people we may not otherwise have the opportunity to know. Getting outside of our homes builds a stronger, safer, and happier community. And I’m happy to live in a place where the residents are not only friendly, but a place where they reach out and come together to establish new traditions. Thank you Potter Ct for sharing your story, your photos, and most of all, for making our town and our holiday a little bit brighter. I hope everyone reading has a wonderful New Year!
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.
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.
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.
It’s always a nice day to visit beautiful Kips Castle Park, located on the former Estate Frederick Ellsworth Kip and his wife, Charlotte Bishop Williams Kip. The home or “Kip’s Castle” was built in 1902 and is a beautiful example of local architecture. In the winter you can see through the trees and get a nice view of Upper Montclair homes and the New York City skyline.