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Featured Town

Somerville, NJ

Featured Region Somerset County

  • 1 Hour by car to NYC
  • 1.5 hours by Public Transit
  • Great Schools and Walkable Towns

Read more about Somerset County

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Somerset County - The heart of central NJ - REGIONAL OVERVIEW

Many people (individuals, couples, families) today are interested in leaving densely populated cities, NYC being a prime case. The de-urbanization movement had started several years ago as typical condo prices and apartment rentals in Manhattan, and then Brooklyn soared. Thus the prior rise of city living, that accelerated in the 2000s, was already starting to reverse even before the pandemic made density an issue of greater concern.

Why live in Somerset County?

  • Lower property taxes than other towns in the tri-state area (Northern Jersey, Westchester, Connecticut and Long Island)
  • Under an hour by car to NYC
  • Lower home prices (than towns closer to NYC)
  • Strong economy (high paying jobs with good benefits)
  • Fine dining restaurants (steakhouses, gastropubs, wineries, breweries)
  • Huge fast food and diner scene (quick and cheap delivery)
  • Large, well stocked grocery stores with great prices
  • Great school systems from preK, elementary, middle to high school, and colleges.
  • Excellent community college (RVCC) for associates degrees (partners with Rutgers and NJIT for bachelors degrees)
  • The New York Yankees adopted Somerset Patriots baseball team and ballpark (in Bridgewater, NJ) to become their AA minor league team
  • Local business opportunities for running your own business
  • Technology (wired and wireless highest speed internet for work and school from home)
  • Cultural activities (theater, dance, arts, festivals, etc)
  • College sports (Rutgers and Princeton, etc.)
  • Outdoor activities (lots of parks, nature, hiking, sports)
  • Scenic wonderland (from small mountains to farms and rivers)
  • Jersey shore about an hour drive (beaches, boardwalks, entertainment)
  • Vocational Technical Schools (high school and higher education)


Diverse mix of towns: You can find towns that cater to the full range of middle income home price ranges, and also some at the luxury end of the market as well. You’ll find many towns with a walkable and commutable character (with train stations) to commute to NYC in around 45-75 minutes depending on the particular station. There are busy towns like Bridgewater and Somerville with lots of local job opportunities for working couples where one or both can commute while the other stays local. You can find vintage country suburbs like Warren that are still affordable and have beautiful larger homes with extra bedrooms that can be converted to work-from-home and homeschool environments.

Following are summary of Regional Activities and Attractions of Living in Somerset County:

Commuter Train stations to NYC for work and play:

NJ Transit runs commuter trains from Somerset County on two lines: Raritan Valley Line with stations (with parking) in Somerville, Bridgewater, Raritan, Bound Brook, and No. Plainfield. Some trains are direct to Penn Station, NYC, others change at Newark. Gladstone NJ Line: stations in Peapack-Gladstone, Far Hills and Bernardsville with a change in Summit; and then from the major station in Summit — some as Midtown Direct (also stops in Maplewood and So. Orange) through to NYC/Penn St. (see especially our Maplewood Profile for trip duration time). Bus Commuting: Direct express buses during commuter hours run from many towns like The Hills in Bedminster, Warren, Hillsborough, Maplewood (Essex county) and others featuring Park and Ride areas. (During the Pandemic of course, some of these bus routes may have been temporarily suspended.) Driving has become fairly expensive with Bridge tolls having gone up, but without road congestion the drive takes roughly 1 hour (Bridgewater for example) more or less.

Colleges and Universities: Great Education, Sports and Theaters:

Princeton U.(Mercer County. a 20-50 min. drive). Visit for a fun experience walking through a campus of varied architecture (including Nassau Hall — colonial Continental Congress), shop in the lively, once quaint town, attend McCarter Theater music/concert halls, dance, plays. On-campus film screenings at Princeton and Rutgers. Ivy league basketball, football and lots of other sports, Westminster Choir College programs including musical instruction.

Rutgers U. in New Brunswick (Middlesex County nearby) for popular music & concert halls, theater, and big time basketball and football. A state college with wide ranging college departments, not so cheap but still well under big time private schools.

Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, a top 2 year school for Somerset and Hunterdon County residents: many top rated associate degree programs and an inexpensive way to get the first 2 years of a full 4 year degree. RVCC Nash Theater (concerts, theater & dance and Planetarium offer college & professional entertainment through the year.

New Jersey, across the rest of the State, has other fine state and private colleges.

Regional and Local Employment Possibilities/Opportunities:

The Region has developed a wide range of employers: start by noting Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in Somerville and Sloan Kettering in Basking Ridge. Lots of professional offices dot the area, especially legal and even political (around the county seat in Somerville) and accounting. Retail at the Bridgewater Commons Mall will return after the pandemic.

Central NJ’s traditionally strong healthcare industry: Johnson & Johnson, Ethicon (Somerville), Pfizer & Sanofi (both Bridgewater), — which have been enhanced by newer Life Sciences & biotech firms drawn to the region.

Communications technology also has a long history here: Verizon, AT&T, and Bloomberg LP (Skillman). Other tech companies join Qualcomm (powerhouse in cell phone tech) in the Bridgewater Golden Triangle complex. Large insurance: MetLife (Bridgewater) and Federal Insurance (Warren).

Outstanding PreK - 12 Public and Private School Options:

Most towns in Somerset county have excellent public school systems though some co-emphasize private schools. The breath of each town’s elementary, middle and high school system can be found in our profile for each town. Ratings from Great Schools, Inc. also appear for each town profile.

Some towns like Bedminster and Far Hill send most of their kids to private schools; hence the region has good ones at all grades (expensive of course) from Montessori to names like Far Hills Country Day and Pingry through high school; the all-girls Purnell School in Pottersville (history dating to Revolutionary War), which is partly in Bedminster.

Cultural and Live Theater:

The area is rich with theater and concert venues; some at Princeton, Rutgers and RVCC were noted above.

The State Theater and George Street Playhouse (both in New Brunswick), Plainfield Symphony Orchestra with some professional musicians, but all highly talented, sometimes with guest stars from NYC.

Central Jersey Symphony Orchestra– amateur and professional players, perform at the Nash Theater, RVCC college.

Arts on Division Festival– Division Street, Somerville community organization, Summer entertainment in the walking mall in the heart of Somerville, near many restaurants, etc.

The Discovery Orchestra, Warren — live concerts, music sessions, in-home recitals, and public TV broadcasters.

Watchung Arts Center, Warren — live music including jazz with professional entertainers from New Jersey and sometimes from NYC stages.

Maplewood has the MDR, its own resident repertory company, of over 100 Broadway actors and theater pros with a theater in the heart of Maplewood .

So. Orange Performing Arts Center — well known in a town adjacent to Maplewood.

Mayo Performing Arts Center (Morristown), PNC Bank Arts Center (Holmdel) and more offer summer or year-round concerts and events.

Recreation, Parks and Environment:

Somerset County has a variety of large and exceptional parks spread throughout and car drives with amazing vistas of rolling country hills and mountain views (Watchung Mountains and Sourland Mtns.)

Natarir County Park in Peapack offers wide expanses and Readington has a hot air balloon festival in August. Many other parks local and county offer family fun.

Horseback riding and lessons and just pleasant viewing on drives through rural parts of Somerset and Hunterdon Counties. Hamilton Farms in the northern part of Bedminster, in addition to a golf club, hosts the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team Training Center with an ornate riding stable dating to 1917, visitors generally permitted.

South Mountain Reservation (2047 acre park) in Maplewood (Essex County) with a zoo, hiking & walking trails and carriage roads, waterfalls and more.

Environmental Educational:

Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in particular offers environment and ecology course work including a 2 year degree program.

Duke Farms (Hillsborough) is a treasure for environmental education. It has walking trails, an Arboretum and Meditation Garden, cage, farmers market, and environmental education programs for kids and adults.

The Sourland Mtns. Preserve (6000 acres) in Hillsborough & Montgomery has walking and biking trails. A natural area with streams, geological outcrops, and an ecological preserve as habitat for diversity of flora and fauna. Known for nesting birds on edges of their breeding grounds.

Leonard J. Bucks Gardens in Far Hills Has wonderfully scenic walking and landscaped gardens.

County 4H Fairs: Somerset County and Hunterdon County have annual summer 4H Fairs’ great for kids who love to raise or watch farm animals and country pets.

Local Environment Organizations are active such as: Raritan Valley Headwaters Assoc. for headwaters preservation.

Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park — The Six Mile Run Reservoir Site has fields and forests to enjoy the splendor of Nature. Over 3000 acres to bike, hike, horse ride and watching for songbirds in migration.

Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge — 500 acres in Lord Sterling Park, with trails, Naturalist programs, events, resource center, etc. fun for the kids of course. The Great Swamp Experience (environmentally sensitive park) –Highlights ecological information about the historic Great Swamp. Diverse habitats provide homes for diverse plant and animal populations.

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