In this post: Did you ever wonder what makes a neighborhood special? Here are some key reasons for putting down roots in the place you choose to live.⇒
Are you rooted firmly in place like a tree in the ground?
Some people seem to find it very easy to pick up and move from place to place without much thought. While others live within a mile from where they grew up and spend their whole lives in the same area.
I’m somewhere in between.
Today I’m joining with a few friends for a blog hop hosted by Jennifer from Town n Country Living. We were asked to share why we chose to live where we live and to highlight our favorite aspects of our current home town. For the other stories, be sure to check out the posts linked at the bottom of this one.
This is a sort-of Part 2 to the first question we were posed, which asked why we chose the house we live in.
If you missed that post, you can find it HERE, where I talk about moving to our townhouse as empty nesters and transforming that cookie cutter home into the modern French Country home it is now.
But today I will address why we chose our location in the first place and how and when those roots took hold.
In short, the simple answer can best be represented by the images above and below, because these views were both taken in our neighborhood and they encapsulate the very reason we’ve chosen to settle here.
You see, we live 15 miles outside of Manhattan and from that vantage point, we have the best of both worlds. We have serene vistas of nature and trees, but also the sophistication that comes with such proximity to New York City.
The reservation above is a park-like area filled with hiking trails, picnic areas, and boats for hire, plus an adjoining zoo and a waterside restaurant which is a wonderful place to relax. I’ve listened to many an audio-book, running the path around the water and this lovely oasis is a 5 minute drive from our house.
At the other end of the spectrum is our world class mall, a shopper’s dream comprised of every designer shop you can possibly imagine. In one section you can find in succession Cartier, Hermes, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Fendi, Ferragamo, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Dior, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, and many more.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that this is one of my most often visited places in town.
But more about the spots where I spend my time, below. First, a little bit of personal history.
When we first moved to the area, over 20 years ago, we bought a home in an adjacent town that was the place I’d aspired to live for many years. It was that kind of magical suburb with manicured lawns, no sidewalks, mature trees and older homes with an abundance of character. For a girl who grew up in the city, this was paradise. We brought our kids up in this town, with a school district rated among the best in the state, and once our kids grew up and moved out, we knew we wanted to stay close by.
After a few earlier moves, it turns out we’d finally developed roots.
So our move to a neighboring town into the townhouse we’re in now was a very natural progression, and the best part is that I still frequent the same shops and restaurants and businesses.
When I’m not in the mall, you can usually find me at an antiques center, meandering the aisles for pieces for our home. We’re lucky to have a great one nearby, as most of the storefront antique shops have closed in the years since we’ve lived here. This particular market has multiple sellers on 2 levels with lots of square footage and a broad range of items, from furniture and lighting to silver and china, and everything in between.
When I need a quick pick-me-up, this is my go-to spot!
The other place I visit at least once a week is a garden center that’s right down the road. I buy cut flowers from their refrigerated florist section and plants and seasonal decor from the outdoor garden market. This is often my first stop for the week, before I even take care of the groceries, and it lifts my spirits to walk among the rows of lush plants and flowers.
For someone who works at home and spends endless hours in the house, I’m the first one who wants to go out when the weekend finally comes.
Or really any day of the week.
I am unequivocally a dining out kind of girl, and the atmosphere of the restaurant is as important as the food to me. If there’s an outdoor terrace to dine, all the better! Plants and flowers and pretty linens – sign me up!
We have several nice local places that we return to over and over. All I need is a glass of white burgundy wine and this is the most relaxing way for me to spend an evening.
Fun fact: in New Jersey, many of our restaurants are “bring your own”, a curious custom which seems unique to our state. This is no doubt a result of the limited availability of liquor licenses, but it works out well for us because it helps keep the prices down, even when drinking quality wines with dinner.
Regardless of how lovely our neighborhood is and the amenities that are easily accessible to us, the real reason we chose to live here has to do with something not in our town, or even in our state.
As a born and bred New Yorker, I simply need to be near the city, which makes the train station one of the most important points of interest in our entire neighborhood for me.
Without a doubt, the proximity to New York is the number one reason why we live where we do and for many years this is the train I used to commute into New York to work. An easy 35 minute ride into the city, our community is as much an extension of New York as it is a pleasant suburb.
I hardly need to describe the wonders of New York City, but I can share what aspects of the city are most meaningful to me. The city has an energy like nowhere else, and you can find absolutely anything there. Every type of cuisine, every kind of shop, the broadest selection of entertainment venues and on and on.
For me, the best thing to do in Manhattan is immerse yourself in the diverse neighborhoods. The uniqueness of what is available is quite exceptional and around any corner you might happen on a delightful surprise, a veritable wonderland of sorts.
Whether it be a tiny shop that charms, a gem of a café, a trendy gallery or a bit of street art, New York has it all, as well as some beautiful architecture, too.
And of course there are the iconic views, as well.
There’s one other thing I can’t leave out, in a post about why I love where I live, and that is the short distance to a major international airport that opens up the rest of the world to us, too.
As a passionate traveler I’m so grateful for the 20 minute ride to the airport, where there’s almost always a direct flight option to the destinations we’re looking to visit.
As much as I love to travel, it’s always a pleasure to come home. There’s no doubt in my mind we picked the right place to settle and let our roots take hold. My neighborhood is very different than where I grew up, but the one thing I know for certain is that this place is exactly where we belong and it’s hard to picture living anywhere else.
As today’s post is part of a blog hop, I think you’ll enjoy the stories of how these other bloggers chose to live in the locations that they chose, as well! Be sure to visit the other posts in today’s blog hop, below:
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