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Old 04-05-2011, 08:12 PM
 
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Hello!
We are currently living in the midwest( a chicago suburb) and are facing the possibility of moving to the Somerville area(flemington, Readington twnshp) or the Omaha area. I know what the Omaha area will be like, however central jersey has me puzzled. We have lived in North Jersey and I have lived near South Jersey(Delaware) but I don't know about central Jersey. So what can you tell me? Is it like North Jersey?(we lived in Wayne commuted to NYC) or does it have a more laid back feel? We like the slightly laid back feel of the midwest but we are close enough to the action where we are now. Please help me know the area a little better.

Thanks so much!
BTW, we have 3 kids, 8,6 and 5 and need a good gymnastics and karate program in the area plus great schools...will we find this in central jersey?
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:09 AM
 
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It's nice around Somerville. Not sure about Somerville itself, not familiar with it, but the surrounding towns are nice IMO (Hillsborough, Branchburg, Montgomery).

Not sure about how it feels against Wayne. Probably the same, it can be laid back or not, it's up to the person.
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:45 AM
 
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When you say "Somerville area", are you actually talking about Somerville and towns directly adjacent to it, or are you casting a very wide net when you use the term "Somerville area"?

Somerville itself has somewhat of a small town feel to it, and contains mostly well kept-up smaller mid-20th Century homes. As the county seat, it also houses the Somerset County Court House, Sheriff's Office, and other country office buildings, and it has a main street with a fair number of small businesses and a significant number of good restaurants. It also has the only hospital in the county, and as a result, many MD's offices. Housing costs in Somerville are reasonable.

Adjacent to Somerville is Bridgewater, which is essentially a nice, sprawling suburban community with a large regional mall. Bridgewater also features a good school system.

Also nearby is Manville, which is a blue-collar community that...has seen better days; Bound Brook is also close, and it is essentially a community split between the more affluent white population living in the more elevated area and the large hispanic community living in the flood-plagued low-lying areas. Bound Brook does have a main street lined with shops, but unless you speak Spanish you may not find it easy to patronize those shops.

By contrast, Readington is really suburban/rural with a lot of expensive homes built over the past decade or so.

Hillsborough, also nearby to Somerville, is a very large suburban enclave, with everything from large McMansions, to suburban tract homes of the '80s, to garden apartments. Hillsborough has a good school system, and--as with most suburban communites--has no tradtional downtown "main street".


Flemington, which is not adjacent to Somerville, has a lot of charming 19th century homes, and attorney's offices clustered near the Hunterdon County Court House, and it is also the location of the only hospital in that county. Flemington, like Somerville, has a small town feel to it, despite the presence of a couple of factory outlet malls.

If you check US Census figures, you will find that Somerset and Hunterdon Counties are among the wealthiest counties in the nation. (Hunterdon is #4 nationally, Somerset is ranked #5 nationally) That wealth, although not evenly distributed, does lead to a very nice lifestyle for those of us who live in the area. Taxes are high, but generally speaking, the services that we receive are very good. Recreational facilities are very good.

I have lived in many places in my life, and I consider Central NJ to be one of the nicest areas that I have seen. The concentration of high-income individuals in this area seems to bear out my impression of the region.

Last edited by Retriever; 04-06-2011 at 07:59 AM..
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:03 AM
 
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Retriever gave a very accurate description of Somerville and the towns surrounding it. Central Jersey (particularly Flemington, Readington, Bridgewater) have very good schools. The traffic is central NJ is not as bad as it is around Wayne and is convenient to major highways and is halfway between NYC and Philly. Parts of the area are more urban but there are alot of more rural areas especially in Hunterdon. Basically their all just suburbs and are great for family life some more than others.

I don't know what your budget is, but houses can range from million+ but you can also find houses under $400,000 and less if you don't need all the bells and whistles like 3 car garages or 3 bathrooms. The lots tend to be larger than in areas around Wayne.

We also have some very good restaurants, shopping and recreational activities for every age group.

IMHO I would look at towns such as Flemington (which is actually very tiny-most of the housing is in Raritan Township which surrounds the town), Bridgewater, Readington, Three Bridges, Neshanic Station, Clinton, Long Branch. I'd stay away from Bound Brook (major flooding by the river and more crime), Manville (alot of bars in that town) and Hillsborough (because you have to deal with the horror known as Rt. 206).

The downtown area of Somerville has great restaurants, a variety of interesting stores including some great antique and second hand stores with great prices (I had to throw this in lol). There is a strip mall on Rt. 28 (which is the main thoroughfare through the town) which lies west of the courthouse is undergoing a complete transformation though there is a large grocery store currently operating there. Most of the houses are on smaller lots around Somerville and are more affordable. Besides the old Victorians which tend to be clustered around downtown and are very pretty, there are many houses built during the '50's, '60's and '70's with a few exceptions.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:57 AM
 
Location: NJ
15,941 posts, read 10,982,938 times
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Default Somerville area

Great hunting and fishing, paddling and hiking nearby.
annual bicycle race in town draws riders from all over the world.
cruise night on Fridays
deer all over!
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:22 AM
PDD
 
Location: The Sand Hills of NC
8,776 posts, read 14,163,149 times
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Retriever and Rowan pretty much spelled it it out without the "this town is better " recommendation.

The further West you go from Somerville, the more rural it becomes.
If your moving to NJ this area will satisfy the needs of most.
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Old 04-06-2011, 01:04 PM
 
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Somerville has a decent downtown. I never thought of it as that desirable of an area though. The area around 22 through Bridgewater is very strip-mally. The surrounding towns are quite boring and characterless with not much to do in my experience.
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Old 04-06-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HubCityMadMan View Post
Somerville has a decent downtown. I never thought of it as that desirable of an area though. The area around 22 through Bridgewater is very strip-mally. The surrounding towns are quite boring and characterless with not much to do in my experience.
If you haven't been to downtown Somerville for awhile, you should take a look. There are several new, very attractive stores and restaurants, and the old mall is finally being redeveloped after lying fallow for too many years. Overall, Main Street looks much better than it has for a very long time.

Is Rt 22 "strip-mally"? Absolutely. So are many (perhaps most) highways near population centers in the US at this point!

If someone in Central NJ wants some entertainment in the evening, New Brunswick is only minutes away, and NYC is really not far.
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:51 PM
 
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Branchburg is a great place to raise kids. And there are all different types of sporting clinics. In fact a Branchburg Sports Center just opened that has tons of different things for kids your age.

The grades K-8 are in Branchburg and they are EXCELLENT. Branchburg does not have it's own high school, and sends it's kids to Somerville. Kids that go to Somerville get into the top colleges, and I'm talking Ivy League, the "almost" Ivy's, etc. It's a small high school that if your kid wants to be in the school play, they probably will. If he wants to play soccer, he probably will, etc. etc.

Branchburg has the executive areas of Center Hall Colonials built 30+ years ago on an acre, then they have the smaller houses built in the early 1990s that sit on about 1/4 acre. Then there are the McMansions, etc.

Please be aware that anywhere in Somerset County and Hunterdon county that your real estate taxes will average around $9,000+ a year. But, it will be like that plus MORE in the northern part of NJ.

This area is the absolute BEST for raising kids in a safe but upwardly mobile area. You can't go wrong.
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:53 PM
 
683 posts, read 158,431 times
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By the way, there are tons of gymnastic and karate schools all over the area. Somerville high school had and may still have a gymnastics team. I don't know if they still have it as some sports have been temporarily cut, but I know it was a very successful program. Also big in this area is fencing. We now have many fencing academies in the immediate area too!
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