The green open spaces and proximity to New York City are just two of the many great features that attract people to the Township of South Orange Village. It was named the first Transit Village in New Jersey in recognition of its excellent transport systems, and redevelopments, including a bicycle path, have helped to revitalize the area.
The Maplewood - South Orange School District, serving Maplewood and South Orange, is comprised of six elementary schools. Clinton, Jefferson, Seth Boyden, andTuscan are in Maplewood, and Jefferson/Marshall and South Mountain (which also includes students from Maplewood residing near the school) are in South Orange. There are two Middle Schools - South Orange and Maplewood Middle - while the acclaimed Columbia High School serves both Maplewood and South Orange communities.
Columbia High School is known as one of the most academically progressive high schools in the state of New Jersey, and has been recognized nationally for its academic excellence with a Blue Ribbon award from the US Department of Education. Students can choose from a wide range of elective courses, including 24 AP classes, and every year Columbia High School sends alumni to top universities like Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and Yale. The extracurricular activities range from Future Business Leaders of America, a mock trial team, and an award-winning student newspaper and literary magazine to the chess club, championship athletics and music and drama. Hip-hop singer/songwriter Lauryn Hill is a former student here, but Columbia High School’s greatest claim to fame must surely be as the birthplace of Ultimate Frisbee, invented by students on the school grounds in 1968.
Maplewood Middle School puts a strong emphasis on academic excellence and social responsibility as the foundation for all educational endeavours. This philosophy obviously pays off, as around one third of 7th graders are identified by the Johns Hopkins Talent Search and invited to take the SATs, usually taken by high school juniors.
The South Orange-Maplewood Adult School, founded in 1933, is the oldest adult school in NJ and open to everyone from age 14 to 114. The inspiring program stimulates the mind, body and senses with high-quality classes covering everything from art and childcare to business studies and computer technology. Most classes are at Columbia High School or South Orange Middle School.
In the summer the school offers a highly praised children’s camp, the South Orange-Maplewood Community Summer Program.
Kinderenrichment is available to children entering the South Orange/ Maplewood School District’s kindergarten classes each fall. The program matches the school trimester dates and is intended to supplement the district’s half-day kindergarten.
There are 2 train stations servicing South Orange.
The South Orange train station, situated on South Orange Ave, is about a 25 minute commute to New York City's Penn Station. The Midtown Direct Line of NJ Transit takes commuters straight into New York Penn Station, Newark and Hoboken. A quick change onto the PATH Rapid Transit System at Newark or Hoboken transfers you to the heart of New York’s financial center.
Trains from Mountain Station in the Montrose section of South Orange reach Newark Broad Street in under 15 minutes.
The popular jitney commuter bus runs a shuttle service between South Orange station and Montrose/Tuxedo Park, Newstead/North Wyoming and Irvington/Prospect/Academy. Applications for the jitney and parking permits can be picked up at the Village Hall on South Orange Avenue or downloaded.
By car, Routes 24 and 280, I-78, the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway are all within 5-10 minutes. Route 124- Springfield Avenue - runs though Maplewood. Newark Liberty Airport, a major continental and international gateway, is a 20 minute drive away.
Bus routes 92 and 107 pass between South Orange and Irvington, Newark, Newark Liberty Airport, Union City and New York (to the Port Authority Bus Terminal). Other nearby mass transport options are the Ferry , the Lakeland Bus and the Community Coach, which takes you straight to NYC or Atlantic City from nearby stops.
(Approx. 5 year waiting list) Village-NJ Transit $70/mo Village-Commuter lot (resident only) $35/mo Mountain Station $40/mo
Data compiled from the GSMLS. Deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. Sue feels that if you are in the market to buy or sell real estate in South Orange, it is important to understand the trends in Active Listings, Days on the Market, and Listing to Sale Price ratio so that you can make an educated decision
|184 Montague Pl||$369,000||$369,000||$350,000||4||1.1||Colonial||95%||8|
|65 Ward Pl||$399,900||$379,900||$380,000||5||2.1||Colonial||95%||109|
|119 Sherman Place||$450,000||$450,000||$500,000||3||2||Colonial||111%||6|
|347 Tichenor Ave||$569,900||$549,900||$550,000||4||2.1||Colonial||97%||86|
|12 Wesley Ct||$600,000||$585,000||$580,000||4||2.2||SplitLev||97%||45|
|301 Grove Rd||$615,000||$615,000||$615,200||4||3.1||Colonial||100%||13|
|10 Speir Dr||$649,000||$649,000||$640,000||4||2.1||Ranch||99%||64|
|417 Overhill Rd||$660,000||$660,000||$640,000||4||2.1||Colonial||97%||56|
|151 Meadowbrook Pl||$759,000||$739,900||$742,000||6||2.1||Colonial||98%||144|
|525 Melrose Pl||$759,000||$759,000||$759,000||3||2.1||Cottage||100%||15|
|300 Tillou Rd||$775,000||$775,000||$799,000||5||3.1||Colonial||103%||8|
|10 Crest Cir||$850,000||$850,000||$889,000||5||4||Colonial||105%||12|
South Orange is justifiably proud of the SOPAC (South Orange Performing Arts Center), the shining star of the new South Orange downtown district. The eye-catching four-level building includes a state-of-the-art 415-seat theater, 5-movie screens operated by Clearview Cinema and a community space that seats 150-people. Opened at the end of 2006, it has already attracted luminaries like Dionne Warwick, Madeleine Peyroux, Olympia Dukakis and Nancy Wilson.
The Baird in Meadowland Park is the community’s recreational and arts hub, housing the recreation department’s offices, the Pierro Gallery of South Orange, The Theater on 3, Arts Room, Baird Pre-School, Kinderenrichment and Senior Services Unit offices. Most programs presented by The Baird are held in this facility or in the surrounding park.
The Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre is a small non-profit company of professional local actors who perform contemporary work and run youth programs. A family favourite for New Year’s Eve is First Night, a spectacular array of delights including fireworks, music, dance, storytelling and drama.
South Orange-Maplewood Artist's Network organizes events such as the inspiring tour of the studios of 40 local artists (yes, there really are that many here) and coordinates a monthly arts calendar of shows and performances.
The Book Arts Roundtable proclaims it is "open to anyone who can’t resist the feel of paper, the wonder of books and excitement of creativity," and meets monthly at the Baird. The Messy Artist, 60 Valley St., South Orange, (973)378-2425, www.themessyartist.com.
The Great Outdoors
The vantage points atop South Mountain Reservation afford a breathtaking panorama of the Manhattan skyline to the east. During the Revolutionary War George Washington viewed the movement of British troops in the Newark valley from the spot now known as Washington Rock. Today joggers, hikers, cyclists and nature lovers are drawn to the paths that meander through the 2,048 acres of native woodland, preserved in a wild state with creeks, ponds and a 25ft waterfall. The whole area is a haven for deer, chipmunks, squirrels and bird life, and some of my clients have even been wild mushroom picking there. There is also a great Dog Park complete with a canine obstacle course and drinking fountains! The reservation is so large it stretches from the South Orange borders through parts of neighbouring Maplewood, Millburn and West Orange. You can park at the top of South Mountain Reservation along South Orange Avenue, off Crest Drive. A map of South Mountain Reservation can be purchased for $4 at the South Orange, Maplewood and Millburn libraries
One of the enviable features of South Orange is its extensive community parkland and facilities, including over 60 acres of parkland, the largest stretch in Meadowland Park and adjacent Cameron Field. The amenities include nine baseball diamonds and little league pitches, 19 tennis courts, three soccer areas, a duck pond, playgrounds, a sculpture park, and winter sports areas, including a famous sledding hill.
The magnificent South Orange Community Pool complex in Cameron Field has an Olympic sized pool with diving tank, and two other pools to suit every swimming ability – all free to residents.
The Township offers a variety of sports and fitness activities throughout the year, ranging from baseball leagues, adult softball leagues, tennis instruction, track & field, soccer leagues, tae kwon do, swimming lessons and teams, basketball and lacrosse. You can register online or at The Baird.
Orange Lawn Tennis Club is a private swim and tennis club, founded in 1880, and is one of the original members of the US Lawn Tennis Association and serves a busy schedule of tournaments, kids’ camps and social events. This club is very popular with locals. Great caterers here, too!
The South Orange Summer Playground Program is for kids aged four to 8th grade and keeps them busy and entertained with a varied schedule, taking in games, sports, music, arts, swimming, field trips and more. Music Together with Kelly runs a range of classes introducing babies and young children to the wonders of sound and rhythm
A strongly global theme runs through many of South Orange’s eateries, ranging from the authentic Ethiopian dishes and intense coffee served at the Harrar Cafe and Lalibela, to countless Indian, Chinese, Japanese, French, Italian – and indeed American - restaurants. The Trinidad-inspired menu at Caribbean Cuisine brings together influences from the cuisine of India, the West Indies, China, Syria-Lebanon and Italy in one delicious place!
For aficionados of fine ales, the Gaslight Brewery and Restaurant in the center of the village is a must, offering an astonishing variety of beers from all over the world and closer to home, plus a mouthwatering food menu. Younger diners in South Orange love the pizza served at Bunny's Restaurant.
Louis Bamberger, founder of Bamberger’s Department Store – now known as Macy’s – lived in South Orange in the early part of the 20th century. He might not recognize the shopping district today, but he would surely be impressed with its changes. Since 1994 the area has been undergoing a major makeover, including new brick sidewalks, landscaping, mini-parks and new electrified gas lamps in keeping with its Victorian heritage.
Main Street South Orange and the South Orange Chamber of Commerce continue to work to revitalize downtown South Orange and are helping attract an eclectic range of shops, boutiques and cafes to the bustling center, alongside the newly opened Garden of Eden gourmet supermarket. The farmers' market comes to nearby Sloan Street every Wednesday afternoon between July and October.
Another plus is the free 2-hour parking on Taylor Place lot near the library, between South Orange and Irvington Avenues. There is also a Senior Citizens' Mini Bus into the village twice a week, as well as to nearby shopping malls.