GREAT NJ TOWNS TO LIVE IN: If having one of New Jersey’s best school systems isn’t enough to make you look at this town twice, then its close proximity to the beautiful wilds of South Mountain Reservation, should be.
Known as the home of the upscale Short Hills Mall and the Paper Mill Playhouse, the township of Millburn-Short Hills (referred to as ‘Millburn’ here) is in Essex County.
Millburn Township’s area covers the beautiful hamlet of Short Hills, South Mountain and the Millburn downtown centre, as well as the historic Short Hills Park and Wyoming districts. The township is surrounded by several picturesque municipalities including Madison, Chatham, Summit, Springfield, Maplewood- South Orange, West Orange, Florham Park and Livingstone. Millburn is approximately 21 miles from New York City and is serviced by the NJ Transit on the Morris and Essex Line.
Situated at the bottom of South Mountain, the town’s borders include a significant portion of the South Mountain Reserve as well as the Canoe Brook Reservoirs and Taylor Lake.
Town size & Cultural Makeup
Much of the town’s current character reflects its original development in the later 1870’s. Wishing to create an idyllic community, the majority landowner, Stuart Hartshorn vetted each property purchase and building plans to ensure suitability of incoming new residents.
Today the township is noted for its very high socioeconomic worth, with the highest average income per citizen in New Jersey. With a population nearing 20,000, the average age of 39, shows the changing nature of Millburn, shifting from older residents to younger newcomers from New York and multinational sponsored expats. The Millburn township’s housing reflects its prosperity with a median house purchase price of $580k+ in Millburn and $1,850k+ in Short Hills (Source: Zillow July 2013).
Shopping & Amenities
The main downtown area is centred largely on Millburn Ave which runs from west to east through Millburn’s town centre. Many restaurants, coffee shops, retail and professional businesses are located either on this road or nearby. The township has its own swimming pool and tennis courts.
Food & Entertainment
A wide number of restaurants and cafes serve the Millburn-Short Hills community including Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Italian and American food fare.
For entertainment, there is a Clearview cinema complex downtown while the township is also home to the Paper Mill Playhouse, a regional theatre with a production schedule more like one seen in Broadway than in Essex County.
At the heart of Millburn’s town center is Taylor Park, with its own lake and historic stone bridges.
Just a stone’s throw away from Millburn is the massive South Mountain Reservation, a protected nature area with hiking trails, dog-park and a historic landmark.
New Jersey Magazine has previously ranked the Millburn Township school system among the top three school districts in the state. In addition, township schools are also ranked as high-achievers with the local Millburn High School rated as fourth-highest in New Jersey.
Other well-rated public schools include Millburn Middle School, Wyoming and South Mountain Elementary Schools.
There are four private schools catering for kindergarten and above: St Rose of Lima Catholic School, Far Brook School, the Pingry School and the Winston School.
With such a well-heeled population, it comes as no surprise to see that the town center, as well as the Short Hills Mall, caters for the locals with chic boutique clothing and shoe shops, and upper end restaurants. There is a very low crime rate in Millburn and the locals seem to love their town. While not as bohemian as Montclair and having less social diversity than some other nearby towns, Millburn has a nice small town feel with a sophisticated edge.