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Destination: Westfield

Urban Conveniences in a Small-Town Setting

By Taylor Smith

Located in Northern New Jersey’s Union County, Westfield has earned increasing attention in recent years, not only for its convenient public transportation to Manhattan, but also as a place that many New York City transplants call home.

With a vibrant downtown dotted by extensive shopping, dining, and cultural options, Westfield is ideally suited for young families. The town is bustling on the weekends, when day trippers from all over the Tri-State area drive in to see what all the fuss is about. Well-regarded schools, attractive homes, and a sense of community have prompted many people to explore Westfield with family and friends.

Westfield Station is located in the center of downtown, and is clean, modern, and supplied by a steady stream of NJ Transit options. Nearby communities within Union County include Clark, Garwood, Cranford, Mountainside, and Scotch Plains.

Events like the Pizza Extravaganza in July, Halloween Parade, and Downtown Westfield 5K Run routinely draw thousands of participants. Downtown features include the Echo Lake Country Club (surrounded by nine parks), Westfield Memorial Pool, Westfield Memorial Library, community theater, renovated movie house, and a local orchestra. Regular musical and arts events are well-attended, particularly the summer jazz series where live bands perform free concerts in five downtown locations on a given weeknight.

Westfield is also the birthplace of New Yorker cartoonist Charles Addams. The family’s residence at 411 Elm Street was said to be the inspiration for the silly and spooky Addams Family house.

Westfield is the site of 10 schools, including Lincoln Early Childhood Learning Center (for prekindergarten and kindergarten), six elementary schools for first- through fifth-graders, two middle schools for grades sixth through eighth, and Westfield High School. Private schools are Holy Trinity Interparochial School and Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains.

So, exactly how close is Westfield to Manhattan? The drive of a little less than 24 miles typically takes about 40 minutes. NJ Transit runs daily from Westfield to New York’s Penn Station. The commute is estimated at 50 minutes. NJ Transit also operates numerous buses from Westfield to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

National chains located in downtown Westfield include Trader Joe’s, Lord & Taylor, Urban Outfitters, Carlo’s Bakery, GAP, and Williams-Sonoma. Westfield also features more than 450 unique stores, restaurants, boutiques, and services. Dining favorites include Addams Tavern, 1958 Cuban Cuisine, 16 Prospect Wine Bar & Bistro, Bovella’s Pastry Shoppe, Chez Catherine, Di Farina Pizzeria, Cosimo’s Italian Restaurant, and Tutti Baci Italian Bakery & Deli, just to name a few.

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