Throughout her life, Marisa Olsen, the mom and blogger behind Girl Loves Food, has lived in Manhattan (twice); Summit, NJ; Boston, MA; Jersey City; and Boston (again), where she resides with her husband Will, two-year-old daughter, Marin and newborn son, Waylan. Marisa makes a quick jaunt to Summit to visit her parents often and loves exploring her hometown with her children. Check out why Marisa would move back to Summit in a heartbeat below.
Location, Location, Location
One of the best things about Summit, NJ is its proximity to New York City. Located on the famed Midtown Direct Line, riders can get to Penn Station in about 30-minutes on an express train. This is amazing for those looking to live in a beautiful suburb with easy access to New York.
Images: Serena & Lily, Summit via Jennifer Lavelle
Do you love to shop? Okay, good, me too. Summit is chock full of great shopping. Whether you are looking for small boutiques with fancy children clothing like Murray & Finn or the Red Balloon, or trendy adult shopping like Willow Street or Dor L’ Dor, this town has it. Jewelry stores, wine shops, hair salons, and even cobblers dot the town. And if bigger names are your thing, West Elm, Bluemercury, Serena & Lily, and Lululemon all have outposts here. Plus, the famous Short Hills Mall is a stone’s throw away. Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and more. Start making room in your closet.
Image: Farmer’s Market via Naturally Ella
Going out to eat is one of my favorite pastimes. And, Summit offers a diverse collection of cuisines. There are several Italian spots, a variety of Asian cuisines, a steakhouse, pub fare, farm to table taverns (Huntley Taverne and Summit House), a wonderful juice store (Juice Caboose), and even a Persian restaurant. Not quite the West Village, but I’ll take it.
If dining out isn’t your thing, there’s the farmer’s market filled with vendors from honey, pickles, cheese, bread, and farm-fresh vegetables. So, you can cook to your heart’s content.
Image: Stock photo
It’s All About the Kids
One of the main reasons people are drawn to Summit (and one of the many reasons I miss my hometown) is because of its family-friendly sense of community. There are five elementary schools, a middle and high school. If you’re going to be shelling out money in taxes, the schools better be good and Summit meets the mark. The Summit school system boasts competitive athletic programs, and there are also dance schools (Ms. Debbi’s School of Dance), The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, and a small playhouse downtown (The Summit Playhouse). Perhaps the most noteworthy, a huge festive Fourth of July firework spectacle that will knock your socks off and there’s a town pool!
For kid activities, the YMCA, the Connection, local library, and Rec Center all boast fun activities for kids. Summer camps and childcare options are abundant throughout the town.
Image: Stock photo
If you’re driving around Summit on a typical Saturday, you’ll see families in their mid 30s or 40s. They’re with their kids, likely carting them to soccer practice. One or both of the parents commute to New York City, so during the weekends, they’re probably lounging in Lululemon athleisure wear, toting a coffee (in both hands, because treat ya’self), and meandering through the farmer’s market. Fitness is key, and they love to work out at either the local YMCA, the Connection, or the upscale Equinox (who doesn’t love the eucalyptus towels?) or one of the several barre, yoga, or pilates studios. Once the evening hits, residents will get dressed up a bit to sip on mixology-inspired cocktails and dine at one of the farm to table restaurants. If they can’t get a sitter, they’ll be opening up a bottle of sauvignon blanc or Chianti at one of the BYO Italian restaurants with their kids.
There are hundreds of towns to choose from. How do you figure it all out? You simply don’t, without getting a Suburban Jungle Strategist to help you through it all. Schedule here for your strategy session with our innovative suburbs strategy team. All services are completely free.