montclair, nj: scratching the surface

keep montclair clean

Bob and I have started exploring possible areas to buy a house or condo in and around NYC. Our best options seem to be places just outside the city since they offer more for less. More space! More rooms! And an actual washer and dryer IN the unit is always a huge plus (these are so hard to come by in the city).

Montclair, NJ has been on my radar for a couple of weeks now. It’s a walkable town with lots of restaurants, shops, culture, commuting options and some of the most gorgeous homes I’ve ever seen.


church and sidewalk

The whole town just has this quaint and cute charm about it. Pretty boutiques, cafes, thrift shops, old bookstores and cobblestone churches at every turn. The quiet streets off the main roads are lined with trees, enormous homes and well-manicured lawns. I was practically salivating. If you would have asked me 4 years ago what kind of home I wanted, I would have told you a small apartment in the East Village so I could have easy access to all the cool dive bars and trendy restaurants. Now, it’s all about space and dishwashers and low crime rates. How priorities change in just a few short years.


I kinda’ loved it. It felt like the kind of place you could just walk around for hours and completely lose track of time. It didn’t seem overcrowded and I imagined that this isn’t the kind of place you get bored of. On the way home, we discussed it and I felt hopeful that maybe, just maybe, Montclair could be our new home!


Of course, afterward we digged a little more into the transportation situation and found out that it isn’t as commuter-friendly towards people with unorthodox work schedules (i.e. us). Only one bus every hour? No train service on the weekends? Sadly, that’s out of the question.


I don’t regret spending the afternoon in Montclair. I feel a little more informed and I’m grateful we got to see such a beautiful community. But we both foresee a lot of ups and downs in this process and so far, the downs have been extremely disheartening (as they tend to be). But I’m remaining hopeful. After all, time is on our side.

9 responses to “montclair, nj: scratching the surface”

  1. Emily Smith says:

    That looks like a quaint community and the old houses are beautiful. I feel you in the up & downs of house hunting….sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever move out of our condo. Would so love to find the ‘right’ place for our family and growing needs. All the best with the process…it’s a journey :)

  2. Ashley says:

    I love Montclair! I’m a brisk walk away in Bloomfield, NJ. I used to attend the church you took a picture of. Sorry it did not work out for you but good luck! There are plenty of areas to look into!

    • Jillian says:

      Hi Ashley. We actually drove through a small part of Bloomfield too! Yes, Montclair is pretty great, but eh….what are you going to do? We’re looking into a few other areas so we’ll see. If you know of any walkable areas in NJ with good transportation options, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

  3. Lena says:

    Three cheers for NJ–and safe ‘hoods and washer-dryers!

  4. rooth says:

    Awww, it does look really cute but I’m sorry to hear about the crummy transportation schedule. I’m sure you will find something that suits both of you better

  5. Laura says:

    What a cute neighborhood! Bummer that it won’t work out. I’m sure you’ll find something soon :)

  6. ashley says:

    This reminds me a lot of the area I lived in London…except the transportation there was rockin’…and what is wrong with the US anyway on that front? Small(er) towns need to have better transportation!

    These are my main US vs. Europe complaints though!

  7. Ashley says:

    Hoboken is very walkable with ample transportation, trains, buses, Ferry!! to the City. With that said, you will not get as much “house” as in Montclair. Rutherford is also a great option. Both cities have train stations with ample trains to NYC.

    • Jillian says:

      I love Hoboken! Unfortunately, it’s a little too rich for my blood. But I’ll look into Rutherford for sure. Thanks!

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