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Old 10-15-2016, 10:40 PM
 
9 posts, read 16,921 times
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My husband and I are childless early forty-somethings looking to buy our first home. We spent 10 years in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and loved the access to great food, the beautiful architecture, the proximity to work and things to do, but we felt we needed more space, more green, and a more laid-back life in general. We've narrowed our search to Cranford and Maplewood, which both seem to have nice downtowns with good food and things to do. We get the sense that Maplewood is more artsy and Cranford is more nature-y. Both are appealing to us, for different reasons. We sense that Cranford may be safer than Maplewood (in the areas we can afford--on the border of Maplewood and Vauxhall or Irvington), but wonder if Cranford would be as good for a couple with a dog but no kids. Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-16-2016, 05:24 AM
 
Location: Durham NC
1,971 posts, read 1,645,558 times
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IF you are limiting your search in Maplewood to those areas then I would choose Cranford.
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Old 10-16-2016, 06:17 AM
 
Location: NJ
4,864 posts, read 10,249,012 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lancers View Post
IF you are limiting your search in Maplewood to those areas then I would choose Cranford.
I agree. Taxes in Cranford will be lower and the schools are also a lot better, which you don't need, but will help with resale value.
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Old 10-16-2016, 02:15 PM
 
64 posts, read 85,521 times
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Do you need to consider commute? Taxes are definitely something to consider. Why only these two towns?
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Old 10-16-2016, 03:35 PM
 
9 posts, read 16,921 times
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LalaMoves, yes, in addition to the above, we picked these two towns because they each
a) are on a train line, and the commute from each town to downtown Manhattan (for my husband) would realistically be an hour and fifteen or less from door to door
b) are very walkable, with sidewalks nearly everywhere for the miles I walk every day with our dog
c) have tree-lined neighborhoods and town centers we find charming (that also are walkable)
d) have a good number of pretty, pre-1950s homes (important to me) of a size that would befit a family of 2 people and 1 dog, some of which are priced at less than 500K
e) feel more go-your-own-way than keep-up-with-the-Joneses (which isn't who we are or particularly want to be around)

We looked at a bunch of other towns (South Orange, West Orange, Westfield, Garwood, Mountainside, Kenilworth, Madison, Chatham, Montclair, Bloomfield, and Ridgewood), but these were the ones that seemed to best meet our criteria. Taxes are a consideration, which, in addition to home price, is why we're looking in those specific areas of Maplewood. Cranford seems like it might allow us prettier, greener environs for our money, but we want to make sure we won't feel like outsiders.
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Old 10-16-2016, 08:41 PM
 
1,951 posts, read 1,438,550 times
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Most of the towns you mentioned are focused on families with kids. People meet each other and make friends through the schools. Since you don't have kids, you may feel like an outsider in that respect, and it will be an uphill battle to develop a social life. I'm not sure in what other way you think you might not fit in.

FYI, Maplewood and South Orange are essentially one town. They share a school district and some municipal services. People move between them all the time. It doesn't make sense to consider one but not the other. I live near downtown South Orange, and I can walk to Maplewood village in 15 minutes.
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Old 10-17-2016, 05:34 AM
 
9 posts, read 16,921 times
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Kthnry, no intent to offend. From both an aesthetic and a currently-available-restaurants perspective, SC town center was less to our taste. We'd live in SC close to the Mwood border, but there's little there in our price/property tax range--less still if we don't want a view of Ivy Hill Park, which is too reminiscent to me of the urban life we're trying to leave.

As for not fitting in, I was solely talking about our childlessness. My concern lies with making neighborhood friends and with feeling as if we're part of the town rather than people who simply reside in it. I know some of that is effort: getting involved in neighborhood associations, volunteering for town events, etc. But I also know that the openness of people in an area can make a big difference in whether you feel welcome when you try to get involved.

I'd thought, perhaps, that because of its artsiness, SOMA might be the better bet for a couple of DINKs, even though we're both more naturist than artist, but your mention of an "uphill battle" makes me think that perhaps we'll be in the same boat regardless and we should just go where we can put those boats in the water (literally--our kayaks) and enjoy the view in Cranford while we're paddling upstream.
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Old 10-17-2016, 08:01 AM
 
538 posts, read 508,037 times
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South Orange/Maplewood probably isn't the best place for DINKs, Montclair is the normal recommendation that fits your situation (which you decided against for some reason) it's a major stop on the post-NYC (and especially Brooklyn) migration path and since having a decent school district is a large part of that. As a result, most of these people moving here either have kids or intend to. I don't think you'll be ostracized for not having kids, but I can't imagine you not feeling like an outsider.

As far as SO vs Maplewood, the town really do function as the same community, there isn't anything where being from Maplewood is going to make much of a difference in your life, you'll still have to wait in line to get into Arturo's. Also, while the downtown is often thought of as cuter than SO's and the restaurants look like they might be better, in the end there's very little that's going to truly live up to what you're leaving in Park Slope - once again Montclair would be the closest here.

I can't say I know a ton about Cranford, I've been over that way a few times, and really have mostly been to Westfield, which isn't really my thing. I'd definitely take another look at Montclair, as from what you're saying and what I know of the place it really does seem to likely be the best fit.
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Old 10-17-2016, 08:58 AM
 
Location: NJ & NV
5,568 posts, read 14,131,439 times
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One thing I didn't know much about, I don't live in Cranford but often visit, is a campground called Cranford West which is in Western NJ, I think Silver Lake in Hope, NJ.

Google
cranford west campsite

Cranford West Campers Enjoy New Stand Up Paddleboards - Cranford, NJ Patch

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/cranfo...ition-proposed
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Old 10-17-2016, 09:11 AM
 
Location: NJ
4,864 posts, read 10,249,012 times
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Cranford as a whole is going to feel much more suburban than Maplewood, especially in terms of demographics.
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