From Victoria Carter
Llewellyn Park is an idyllic, gated hillside enclave in West Orange, New Jersey. Boasting fairytale-like castles, romantic landscapes, and rich history, Llewellyn Park is a lovely place to call home. Its 175 homes span 425 acres and encompass single-acre lots and sprawling estates. Steeped in history, past residents have included an A-list of storied names, including Colgate, Merck, and Chubb. Today, its most famous resident may be the actress and co-host of The View, Whoopi Goldberg.
If you have a penchant for history and are looking to move to northern New Jersey, Llewellyn Park may be the community for you. Here are 5 things you probably did not know about living in the heart of West Orange in beautiful Llewellyn Park:
1. Llewellyn Park is rich in history
Founded by New York businessman Llewellyn Solomon Haskell in 1853, Llewellyn Park was the first planned residential community in the United States. Today, its streets still glow with period gas lamps in the evenings, which date back to 1877. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Llewlyn Park was once home to Thomas Edison, and his Glenmont Estate, part of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, is located there. Abolitionist James Miller McKim hid escaped slaves in secret chambers in his home as part of the Underground Railroad, and visitors to Llewellyn Park can see the Gatehouse at the entrance, a structure designed by American architect Alexander Jackson (A.J.) Davis to resemble Llewellyn Haskell’s country house. Today, the Gatehouse is home to the Llewellyn Park archives and contains photographs and memorabilia.
2. Natural beauty abounds at Llewellyn Park
When Llewellyn Park was initially developed, A.J. Davis came up with the idea of a Neighborhood Park. This concept was the impetus for the beautiful common grounds and gardens which are reminiscent of Central Park in New York City. All three architectural landscape styles are present throughout the Llewellyn Park grounds, including picturesque, pastoral, and gardenesque. Haskell imported many different types of plants for the grounds, including exotic varieties from South America, Asia, and Europe. Llewellyn Park residents enjoy a stunning community park area, the Ramble, with its 50-acres of green open spaces, parks, and streams. They routinely gather to enjoy organized community wine tastings, holiday events, barbecues, and the view from the lovely gazebo that sits in the center of the community.
3. Llewellyn Park is a commuter haven
Llewellyn Park is a mere 14 miles from the Lincoln Tunnel and the hustle and bustle of New York City. Commuters that prefer to drive can hop onto nearby Route 280, the Garden State Parkway, or Route 80. There are two bus options to the City, the DeCamp private bus line and the West Orange community bus line. The Orange Train Station nearby has a convenient stop on the Midtown Direct Train Line so commuters can take the train to New York Penn Station. From the Orange Train Station, commuters can also get to Hoboken and take the ferry or PATH trains over to Manhattan.
4. West Orange, NJ has excellent schools
Residents of Llewellyn Park matriculate into the West Orange school district, which garnered an “A” ranking overall from niche.com. With an enviable 11-to-1 student to teacher ratio, West Orange residents can choose between the public school system or numerous private schools in nearby northern New Jersey towns. In the U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools Rankings, West Orange High School was ranked 112th in New Jersey and also secured rankings in five different categories that included college readiness and math and reading proficiency.
5. Llewellyn Park, West Orange is surrounded by vibrant towns
If you live in Llewellyn Park and are looking for something to do that’s close by, both the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) are a short drive away in neighboring towns. For high-end shopping, the famous Short Hills Mall is only nine miles away from West Orange, and surrounding towns like Montclair and South Orange offer dining, shopping, nightlife, and entertainment. If you prefer the outdoors, the Turtle Back Zoo, Treetop Adventure Course, and South Mountain Reservation are open in the warm weather. For indoor fun, the South Mountain Arena offers public ice-skating sessions, and afterward, the entire family can walk over to McLoone’s Boathouse for lunch or dinner.
If you’re thinking of moving to northern New Jersey and can see your family immersed in the activities, beauty, and history of Llewellyn Park or surrounding West Orange, I would love to show you around. Contact Victoria Carter at (973) 220-3050 or email [email protected].
Blog originally posted on December 30, 2019 on victoriacarter.com.