Montclair Highlights

Being new in town is never easy. Find out how a current Montclair State University student and native New Yorker fell in love with Montclair.

A city girl’s thoughts on Montclair.

New York City
© Sean Pavone | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Being a born and bred city girl, my first experiences with suburban New Jersey were a pleasant surprise to say the least. My love for Brooklyn being so pure, I never in a million years imagined that I would live in the suburbs and actually love it. Bergen County is my home now, and although it was a huge change for me, it was a change that I never knew I needed. Every day on my walk to the train, I appreciated the sounds of birds chirping happily, and the incomparable smell of the perfumed morning air. Soon, I began looking forward to these short walks and would wake up earlier so I could take a longer route in an attempt to discover more of my new surroundings. After dinner, my partner and I made it a habit to take walks around our new neighborhood. These little walks inevitably became moments that strengthened my love of newfound suburban living.

My enrollment at Montclair State University sparked a desire to tour Montclair Township. Mostly, my excitement was due to the many things I heard about this cute and quaint town and its rich history to boot. My first few visits certainly did not disappoint.

Being a native New Yorker, a classmate’s raving reviews of the “amazing bagel place on Bellevue Avenue” left me amused and unconvinced. For this reason, she made it a point to take me to this spot and prove me wrong. One day in between morning classes, Beyond the Bagel blew my mind. It brought me right back to the hot, fresh New York bagels I was accustomed to.

As the months passed there were more culinary experiences, some of which included the ever loud but unforgettable experience of Cuban Pete’s, the delicious and soul-satisfying brunch at Raymond’s and indeed the most memorable of all, dinner at Mundo Vegan. During these dinner jaunts, I had eventually come to realize that Montclair had a lot more to offer than just restaurants and cute sidewalk cafes.

Hiking has also become a newfound love, and the Alonzo F. Bonsal Wildlife Preserve was a great intro to the hiking trails of Montclair. I really appreciate the fact that this area protects its wildlife, in particular, the many species of birds that I spotted one early morning. Mills Reservation was also a welcome local hiking spot. Due to its steep hills and various gravel paths, Mills is a great trail to flex your physical abilities. There are several trails to choose from, and it even joins with the great Lenape trail, which spans over thirty miles through dozens of counties in New Jersey.

I consider myself still a new jack to the great town of Montclair. Through my walks, dinner jaunts, hikes and just recently, bike rides, I have discovered so much in just a few months. I love the variety that this historic town has to offer and this new jack looks forward to being a seasoned Montclair visitor.

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