Chatham

Overview

Chatham was first settled in the 1720′s along the Indian Minisink Trail, where the Leni Lenapes forded the Passaic River.  The Borough of Chatham thrives in its rich past evidenced by many establishments in town being housed in 19th-century structures. The character of Chatham Borough still mirrors its early roots.

Residential areas in Chatham reflect the wide range of housing styles that were popular in America in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  While the housing stock ranges from pre-Revolutionary farmhouses to 1950′s Cape Cods, Chatham is known for its many Victorians on winding roads lined with oaks, maples and dogwoods.

Chatham is a town where many people live their entire lives.

Activities

Entertainment

The old Chatham Cinema at the Hickory Tree Shopping Center only has one screen but brings in the top films from across the country. The Chatham Community Players have been entertaining residents of Morris County and the surrounding area since 1922 and stage shows at the Chatham Playhouse. The Chatham Community Band also puts on about 10 performances a year and has weekly practice sessions.

Parks & Recreation

The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest National Wildlife Refuges ever created in close proximity to an urban center. There are nine miles of trails and boardwalks that weave through the 7,600 acre refuge. The refuge is a resting and feeding area for more than 244 species of birds, fox, deer, muskrat, turtles, fish, frogs and a wide variety of wildflowers and plants also call the refuge home.

With a total of 769 acres including more than 5,000 ft. of shoreline, the Passaic River County Park and Reservation is open for leisurely hiking, picnicking, softball, fishing, ice skating and cross country skiing. Chatham offers plenty of playgrounds and picnic areas too, including those at Shepard Kollock Park, Memorial ParkShunpike Castle Playground, Garden Park and Stanley Park.

Sporting Life

The Borough and the Township have a joint recreation department offering activities like baseball, basketball, tennis, lacrosse, softball, hockey, football, volleyball and swimming. Residents can register online for a community pass which gives access to these excellent facilities. The Chatham Borough Recreation Department offers golf permits to the Millburn Par 3 Golf Course and continues to administer the Borough owned tennis courts, municipal pool, playgrounds and parks. Chatham Township runs Mountainview Field and Gym as well as the Colony Recreation Center – a large swimming pool, six tennis courts, two paddle tennis courts, a playground and recreational area.

Fitness

The Chatham Club has state of the art facilities for squash, fitness training, pilates, massages, and even karate and fencing.  You can also check out the Fitness Club in Chatham.

Restaurants

Chatham has a number of upscale, gourmet restaurants and has continued to add to those in recent years. The town may be small, but it boasts two restaurants among Zagat’s top picks. The first, Restaurant Serenade, whose French influenced cuisine certainly hits the spot. There’s usually a three course prix fixe, or for those occasions when you really want to eat, try the five-course tasting menu. In addition, Scalini Fedeli was rated the #1 Italian restaurant by a Zagat Survey, and is among Gourmet Magazine’s top 100 restaurants in the country. Both spots are perfect for a date night or celebrating special occasions. Reservations are a must in order to get in.

A hot new restaurant called Supper has a great reputation for its fabulous bistro-style cooking and relaxed atmosphere. Looking for dessert? Go a little further down Main Street, and you will find Cafe Beethoven-the go to place to grab savory desserts and fine coffees. It’s also a perfect place to meet for alfresco dining in the summer.

We can’t forget the Chatham Sandwich Shop. This place is a local institution, renowned for its fabulous subs. On Shunpike Road, The Hickory Tree Deli is said to produce the best triple decker sloppy Joes in New Jersey. In fact, you can’t really go wrong by heading to Main Street to fill up on delectable bites.

Shopping

Chatham has a charming central business district on Main Street along with small retail centers on the east and west ends of Main Street.  Businesses on Main Street, including banks, boutiques, hardware stores, beauty salons, video shops and one supermarket, are all small enough to blend in with the town’s turn-of-the-century look.

Out of the center of town along Shunpike Road is where you will find the Hickory Tree Shopping Center and Chatham Mall, with a variety of stores and supermarkets that cater for those everyday essentials. Designer labels and big store names are just a five minute drive away at the Short Hills Mall.

In addition, there is a Farmers’ Market that operates at the Railroad Station from late June to mid-November, providing residents with the opportunity to buy locally grown produce, locally-baked goods, meat and fish.

Transportation

Chatham Borough is very popular among residents and those who work in New York City as it is a commuter’s haven. Trains and buses are available for commuters to take advantage of.

Chatham Station is on New Jersey Transit’s Morristown Line with a Midtown Direct commuter service reaching New York Penn Station in 45 minutes. There are direct trains into Hoboken as well. Most homes in Chatham Borough are within walking distance of the train station and if not, there are free bike racks there. Residents must apply for parking permits from Chatham Borough for the lots next to the station on Fairmount Avenue and Railroad Plaza and along Bond Street and Fairmount Avenue. They cost around $350 a year.

Chatham is just off Route 24, providing easy access to I-78, I-287 and the New Jersey Turnpike. The Garden State Parkway and Route 280 are both within a 10-15 minute drive.

Newark Liberty Airport, a major international hub, is just a 20 minute drive away.

Jonathan Curcio

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