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Moving to NJ -- need help!


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My husband is planning to accept a job offer tomorrow in Lyndhurst, NJ (Bergen County). For almost two weeks I've been researching the surrounding areas, but I still don't know what we'll find there. Please help me find a great place to live!

 

I'm looking for a more suburban than city feel, but I don't want my husband's commute to be more than 45 minutes. Is that possible? We really want a yard, and I'm seeing some in Caldwell and have heard that's a good place. Bloomfield looks less expensive, but is it nice? What other towns are safe, affordable, and with a somewhat small-town feel? That's relative to NYC, I suppose. Our current Central California town has about 80,000 people but is semi-rural with no abutting towns. I've been looking primarily in Essex County and a little in Bergen Co., and we want at least 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. We don't need easy access to Manhattan. Times Square is less than 10 miles from my husband's new office, but I don't see us going there often.

 

We won't be able to sell our home in Calif. anytime soon, but we should be able to rent it out for most of what we're paying for the mortgage. We'd like to buy a home in NJ but aren't yet sure what it would entail to own 2 homes.

 

My husband is supposed to start work May 1, and his new company will pay up to $2500 rent for us all in June and July (so I guess we're not supposed to go with him yet but get to stay home and pack and clean. He's going to ask tomorrow if we can all go earlier if we can be ready by mid-May.)

 

Where are the homeschoolers in this area? What do I need to watch out for? I know property taxes are high.

 

Any and all help is welcome. I'm really hoping there are lots of you living in this area!! :)

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but my brother lives in Livingston which is close to Caldwell. Towns around Caldwell like Cedar Grove, Montclair, Verona, Roseland, and West Orange are nice suburban towns. Though some parts of Montclair and West Orange feels more like a city than suburbia.

 

I'm not as familiar with the Bergen county towns so I hope someone else will chime in.

 

Yes, property taxes are high! But on the bright side, NJ's gas prices are the lowest and it is all full serve. (That's why I don't know how to pump gas :001_smile:)

 

Try looking for homeschool groups on enochnj.org. Homeschoolers are pretty much left alone here (until the next child abuse case comes up which compels state lawmakers to introduce crazy homeschooling bills, which thankfully, has come to naught.)

 

Since the company is paying for rent, come over first and drive around the towns. Maybe rent in one of the towns you are considering.

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I would check out Midland Park, Ho-Ho-Kus (low taxes.. but higher priced homes), Glen Rock, Waldwick, Fair Lawn, Paramus (low taxes) and Ridgewood (downside is crazy high taxes).

 

All of those towns are great neighborhoods to be in (especially Ridgewood, my hometown lol) and are an easy commute to Lyndhurst and every one of those towns except Paramus has a train to Lyndhurst but even if he drives he will be just 10 minutes away (30 in rush hour).

 

Don't be discouraged by the super high priced homes because there are million dollar homes but there are also affordable smaller homes in different sections of town. Except maybe Paramus (the highway busy section) but there are NO bad sections in those other towns.

 

Oh and Paramus has Dick Blick, Apple, Trader Joe's, Fairway, Ikea, Whole Foods... and pretty much any other store you could think of. :)

 

ETA: Washing Twshp and Westwood are also nice. I don't personally like Bloomfield but I haven't been there in many many years so maybe it has changed for the better.

 

Hawthorne may be a more affordable option to think about too. Some parts bordering on Paterson may not be desirable.

Edited by Jumping In Puddles
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Thanks for the info. I will look into those towns. And we will take advantage of the free rent time to look around. It's good to have a better idea of where to start.

 

mamato4, I'll teach you how to pump gas! I grew up in Oregon, where you can't pump your own gas, so I was nervous about learning, but it's easy. :)

 

Jumping in Puddles, are there many homeschoolers in and around Ridgewood?

Edited by Teonei
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You will absoutley love the homeschooling laws here. It's one of the few benefits of living in NJ, IMHO. ;) And perhaps the gas.

 

My hubby says Rivervale is a good place and shouldn't be more than a 45 minutes and should be able to find homes with larger yards. I am from L.I., so I'm not as familiar with NJ as he is. Livingston, Caldwell, and Little Falls are also good. Definately steer clear of Patterson.(very high crime)

 

Seconding the pp about going to the Enoch site!

 

Good luck!

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A lot of great towns mentioned. My dh's from the Bay Area, and one thing he loved about northern NJ is that it's town after town, not just township running into township, with no real "there" there. There are Main Streets in almost every NJ town, and they're pretty darn nice. So in addition to being able to go to the big city easily, you're own town is pretty wonderful too!

 

Ridgewood. Can I just say "Swoon!"

 

Best of luck with your move!

Edited by nono
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I would check out Midland Park, Ho-Ho-Kus (low taxes.. but higher priced homes), Glen Rock, Waldwick, Fair Lawn, Paramus (low taxes) and Ridgewood (downside is crazy high taxes).

 

All of those towns are great neighborhoods to be in (especially Ridgewood, my hometown lol) and are an easy commute to Lyndhurst and every one of those towns except Paramus has a train to Lyndhurst but even if he drives he will be just 10 minutes away (30 in rush hour).

 

Don't be discouraged by the super high priced homes because there are million dollar homes but there are also affordable smaller homes in different sections of town. Except maybe Paramus (the highway busy section) but there are NO bad sections in those other towns.

 

Oh and Paramus has Dick Blick, Apple, Trader Joe's, Fairway, Ikea, Whole Foods... and pretty much any other store you could think of. :)

 

ETA: Washing Twshp and Westwood are also nice. I don't personally like Bloomfield but I haven't been there in many many years so maybe it has changed for the better.

 

Hawthorne may be a more affordable option to think about too. Some parts bordering on Paterson may not be desirable.

:iagree::iagree:

 

Ridgewood is awesome.

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:iagree: Midland Park is a great small town with lots of activities and families with kids. Ridgewood is a great place, good restaurants, nice to stroll through town. Glen Rock also has a nice main street. Fair Lawn is nice in areas, too busy in other areas, and my favorite kosher deli is there.(Kosher Nosh has the best corned beef sandwiches!!) :001_smile: Lots of shopping in Paramus. Ramsey is also very nice. There are some good housing deals to be had around here with many houses coming down off of the ridiculous highs of years past. Wyckoff is a very nice town, but I have noticed some snobbishness there. There seems to be good areas of town and looked down upon areas. (There are no bad areas...) We enjoy going to Abma's Farm to feed the animals and get some baked goodies. There is a homeschool group on meetup.com. (NJ Homeschool Hangout)

 

 

 

I would check out Midland Park, Ho-Ho-Kus (low taxes.. but higher priced homes), Glen Rock, Waldwick, Fair Lawn, Paramus (low taxes) and Ridgewood (downside is crazy high taxes).

 

All of those towns are great neighborhoods to be in (especially Ridgewood, my hometown lol) and are an easy commute to Lyndhurst and every one of those towns except Paramus has a train to Lyndhurst but even if he drives he will be just 10 minutes away (30 in rush hour).

 

Don't be discouraged by the super high priced homes because there are million dollar homes but there are also affordable smaller homes in different sections of town. Except maybe Paramus (the highway busy section) but there are NO bad sections in those other towns.

 

Oh and Paramus has Dick Blick, Apple, Trader Joe's, Fairway, Ikea, Whole Foods... and pretty much any other store you could think of. :)

 

ETA: Washing Twshp and Westwood are also nice. I don't personally like Bloomfield but I haven't been there in many many years so maybe it has changed for the better.

 

Hawthorne may be a more affordable option to think about too. Some parts bordering on Paterson may not be desirable.

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Wow! So much great information to digest. Thank you all so much!

 

My husband has received some job offers here in California this week, so he's told the NJ company he needs more time to consider. It's a great job, but we'd rather not move, so it's kind of 50-50 right now. I'll keep researching the towns you've all mentioned to be ready for that scenario.

 

Ridgewood does look beautiful. Lots of trees in the yards I've seen for sale online. I'm finding lots of old homes with character all over those counties and can see my family living there. It would be quite an adventure.

 

You are all so helpful!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, so we're really moving to NJ now. My husband accepted the job Monday, and we'll all be there May 19.

 

I've been looking all over the towns you've mentioned and just looked at the web site for Abma's Farm. Thanks, dsmith. We'll definitely go there -- my boys will love it. We have farmland all around the outskirts of our town here, though we live in a subdivision, so it's great to know there is a farm not far away.

 

We don't know yet where we'll live, but we'll look around when we get there. We're planning to rent to find out more about the areas and then hope to buy in a few months. If any of you know of a 3+ bedroom house to rent, please PM me. :)

 

Ridgewood does look amazing, but for some reason I've been really drawn to the Caldwells. We're still considering other areas, such as Midland Park and maybe Rutherford or Little Falls or Verona or... There are so many towns so close together! So many choices. I am hoping being there in real life and a real-estate agent will help me relax and see it all clearly.

 

I'm going to join the Homeschool Hangout meetup group that was recommended, as well. My children and I look forward to meeting as many of you as we can! My 11yo is especially anxious to be sure there are homeschoolers in NJ. I've assured him you exist!

 

Thank you for your help.

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You should also check out Morris County if you're looking for a suburban/rural feel without being too far from things.

 

There's a Northeast NJ homeschoolers group - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NE-NJ-Homeschooling/

 

NJ Homeschoolers group - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NJ_Homeschoolers/

 

FREE and Skyhomeschoolers are more NW NJ but we get quite a few people from Bergen, Passaic and Essex Counties too.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free_revisited/

 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SkyHomeschoolers/

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Dorothy, I just found out that my husband's company is putting us up in a place in Parsippany for the first month, so we'll have a chance to see whether the commute from Morris County is too much. He got tired of the commute through the SF Bay Area, so we're hoping for less, but we'll see. We don't need a rural area; we're actually in a very suburban location now. We're just hoping for a decent yard and small-town feel. I'll check into those other homeschool groups, too. I searched and bookmarked a few, but I haven't joined any yet. Thanks for letting me know which are good.

 

Thank you for the welcome, Tahara. I keep thinking Lyndhurst is in central New Jersey, but I guess it's just in the south part of north Jersey. I'm sure I'll figure it all out in a few years! :001_smile:

Edited: I just noticed you have an 11yo son, too. Are you way in the south or west of central New Jersey?

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Dorothy, I just found out that my husband's company is putting us up in a place in Parsippany for the first month, so we'll have a chance to see whether the commute from Morris County is too much. He got tired of the commute through the SF Bay Area, so we're hoping for less, but we'll see. We don't need a rural area; we're actually in a very suburban location now. We're just hoping for a decent yard and small-town feel. I'll check into those other homeschool groups, too. I searched and bookmarked a few, but I haven't joined any yet. Thanks for letting me know which are good.

 

 

 

I grew up in Parsippany. It's one of the bigger towns in Morris County with two major highways running through it - Route 80 (east to west) and Route 287 (north to south) . Lyndhurst is only about 1/2 hour away but traffic can make it closer to an hour during certain times of day. You can also look into the train schedules since many people like the convenience and they go everywhere.

 

For a small town feel, you can look at the Lake Hiawatha or Lake Parsippany sections of Parsippany (it really is a big place with 5 different "areas"), Boonton Township, Mountain Lakes ($$$), Montville, Hanover, East Hanover, Whippany or Denville. They are all right next to Parsippany with easy access to the highways.

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  • 2 weeks later...
For a small town feel, you can look at the Lake Hiawatha or Lake Parsippany sections of Parsippany (it really is a big place with 5 different "areas"), Boonton Township, Mountain Lakes ($$$), Montville, Hanover, East Hanover, Whippany or Denville. They are all right next to Parsippany with easy access to the highways.

 

Dorothy or anyone else, so are Hanover and East Hanover nice areas?

 

Our real-estate agent has been sending listings this week, and most of the homes I'm liking are in Livingston, Lincoln Park, and West Caldwell, which I've read repeatedly are great towns. A few however, are in Hanover, East Hanover, and Wayne. What are these places like? An earlier poster had mentioned that Wayne is nice, but I've read mixed reviews elsewhere. Even when I get there next week, I'm not sure how we'll know with a quick drive-through whether these are good places to live. Do I just avoid Paterson and Haledon and anyplace bordering those towns and everything else is safe? Seems too simplistic. Is flooding a concern everywhere? Some of the notes in MLS say non-flood area, but most are silent on this. I read that any home near water floods. Is that true? There are a lot of lakes and rivers in this area!

 

So, though I sometimes feel like I'm panicking and have to have it all figured out right now, I am feeling good about this move and am just anxious to start looking for a town to call home! (and having all the packing completed would be a nice feeling :))

 

On another note, I have reviewed the information at HSLDA's site; do I really not have to do ANYTHING when I get to NJ? Just move there and start homeschooling and go about our lives? I thought California was an easy place to homeschool!

 

Thanks for everybody's comments. I've been reading and rereading this thread as I continue my research.

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Wayne (and Oakland) have horrific flooding. If you find something in Wayne and it doesn't say anything about it, then make sure you ask (maybe neighbors or a local agent?). Last year Hurricane Irene devastated areas of Wayne along Rt. 23. In that area, Oakland is really nice.

 

Have you looked at Nutley? I worked there (and Martha Stewart grew up there, lol) and it has a small town feel with a nice town center and close to highways for convenience.

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I looked at Nutley a little bit weeks ago. It wouldn't hurt to add it back into the mix.

 

Really, I think flooding is my biggest concern right now. Almost every town is considered to be at least "nice" if not better. We found a house that we think we really like in Lincoln Park, right by the south part of Wayne. I would have thought flooding might be a problem, but the MLS notes say it's a non-flood area. I haven't been able to find anything online that shows what parts of NJ are considered flood area, so I appreciate your advice to check with the neighbors. That may be the only way to know.

 

Thank you, and Happy Mother's Day!

Teonei

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Denville is a great town, but certain areas do have flooding. Traffic on Rt. 46 and 80 can be horrendous at times. I'm not familiar with Lincoln Park. It's one of those towns I always drive by and never have a reason to go to. I've only been in the business/commercial areas of East Hanover but I've met people who like the area. I've only driven through West Caldwell, but my brother lived in Caldwell. His neighborhood was awesome - really big old houses with lots of character, tree lined streets, and a bustling downtown area a short drive away. If you want to pm me about any areas in North Jersey, my sister is very familiar with the area. She does appraisals for banks. Hopefully if you are in an apartment complex in Parsippany it is one of the nicer ones. A few of them are not very nice. Good luck with your move!

 

PS - You really don't have to do anything to homeschool here, and hopefully it will stay that way.:001_smile: I do keep good records though.

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My dh grew up in Parsippany and we lived there for a few years when we were first married. I taught in Mountain Lakes before I had our first child. None of it felt small town to me, but I'm from PA. It all felt jumbled and congested to me, and I hated the traffic on 80. Having said that, we were recently back there for a visit with a friend who lives in Roseland. I found myself really liking the Caldwells and Verona and seeing them with new eyes. Denville is nice, too. We have some friends who live in Caldwell and hs their five children. She was just telling me recently about all of the wonderful groups in the area. It almost sounds like she has more opportunities there than we do here, which I was surprised at since we have a large hs population here.

 

If you'd like more NJ info, I can check with my dh. It's been a long time (8 years) since we lived there, but we still have lots of friends back there. And he would know the area better than I would.

 

I do remember Wayne flooding all the time. There was a hurricane in the fall of '99 that was really bad. And this past fall it was on the Today show how bad the flooding was there.

 

I was going to ask how you are liking NJ so far, but it sounds like you literally just moved in!

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I nannied in Leonia 20 years ago... I noticed someone said Paramus and that's close to Leonia... Incredible Bagels, if they're still there... You'll be able to get fresh mozzarella, incredible deli bread (fresh) Shabbot Dinners ..... (which you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy!!) It was an incredible area and I loved the fact that you could get to NY quick... Museums... and more are going to be in your future... AND Philly is just a short bit away. Seriously... you're gonna have a BLAST!!! :)

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Dorothy or anyone else, so are Hanover and East Hanover nice areas?

 

East Hanover is nicer than Hanover as long as you are away from Route 10. There are some very nice neighborhoods.

 

Our real-estate agent has been sending listings this week, and most of the homes I'm liking are in Livingston, Lincoln Park, and West Caldwell, which I've read repeatedly are great towns. A few however, are in Hanover, East Hanover, and Wayne. What are these places like? An earlier poster had mentioned that Wayne is nice, but I've read mixed reviews elsewhere. Even when I get there next week, I'm not sure how we'll know with a quick drive-through whether these are good places to live. Do I just avoid Paterson and Haledon and anyplace bordering those towns and everything else is safe? Seems too simplistic. Is flooding a concern everywhere? Some of the notes in MLS say non-flood area, but most are silent on this. I read that any home near water floods. Is that true? There are a lot of lakes and rivers in this area!

 

There are a lot of towns with nice areas and not-so-nice areas. West Orange, West Caldwell, Livingston all have very nice areas. The farther you are away from the main thoroughfares (80, 287, 10, 46) the nicer the neighborhood usually is.

 

Essex County has a yahoo group - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gecho_nj/messages - that can probably give you lots of information about nice neighborhoods in Livingston, West Caldwell and surrounding areas.

 

We've had a lot of flooding the past few years in areas that never flooded before (hundred year flood type things). Wayne has had a lot of flooding lately and Denville sustained a lot of damage with Irene. They have been doing a lot of prevent it happening again but you might want to make sure the house you buy didn't have damage that they are trying to hide. I think a lot of them were bought out by FEMA but it's something to check.

 

 

I live right up the road from Denville and I have a river that parallels my street. Our house is way up above the river but the houses farther down my street were hit pretty hard. One is completely wrecked and being bought by FEMA.

 

So, though I sometimes feel like I'm panicking and have to have it all figured out right now, I am feeling good about this move and am just anxious to start looking for a town to call home! (and having all the packing completed would be a nice feeling :))

 

On another note, I have reviewed the information at HSLDA's site; do I really not have to do ANYTHING when I get to NJ? Just move there and start homeschooling and go about our lives? I thought California was an easy place to homeschool!

 

Absolutely nothing - no notification, testing or anything. The statute says you have to provide an "equivalent education" but leaves it up to the parent on how to do so. If anything comes into question (like someone reports you) the burden of proof is on the state.

 

Thanks for everybody's comments. I've been reading and rereading this thread as I continue my research.

 

Good Luck. I hope you find somewhere to be happy.

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There are a TON of opportunities for homeschool classes in this area. Bowling leagues, gymnastics, music classes, drama classes, museum classes, art classes, Minecraft groups, sports classes, gym classes, horseback riding. A lot of places are willing to offer classes if you can get a small group together since homeschoolers can often use their down time.

 

I will say that the majority of homeschoolers and groups around here are secular or inclusive. I only know of two Christian groups but I haven't particularly looked either.

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I missed a few posts in my move over the weekend. Thanks for the information! I am glad to know there are lots of groups and activities. I still haven't had a chance to join one -- will do that so we can start getting involved. We already put in an offer on a house in Lincoln Park (non-flood area, high ground) today. Hope that works out! That after considering a home not in a flood zone but that was flooded by Hurricane Irene and totally redone (hence the nice new look). All of the information here has helped me so much. I hope to meet some of you soon!

 

Oh, and my husband and oldest son are having dinner in NYC right now with a colleague of my husband's. My son was soooo excited to go! We're enjoying NJ so far and like it more each time we venture out to a new place. It is beautiful here! So green and lush. We saw one place today that my boys said looked just like a place we loved in Costa Rica. And the rain today made me think of Hawaii. So far so good!

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  • 1 year later...

Oh, I wish I had found this board a few weeks ago! We moved to Passaic at the beginning of June, and I have spent the last few weeks looking for homeschooling groups in this area, and have come up empty handed ( I guess I am so tired from unpacking that my internet research skills have been poor!). I knew it couldn't be true, but I was beginning to worry that we had more homeschooling activities/classes/opportunities back in Missouri! Does anyone in the area know of a good chess center or program (Northern New Jersey, but we will travel)? I will get on the suggest yahoo groups right away, please send any other tips for new NNJ homeschoolers!

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