Randolph, NJ: “The Real Treasure of New Jersey”

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When Nina and Rob Lifshie moved to Randolph, NJ in 2019, they were looking for good schools and a sensible commute – she worked for Mahwah College’s admissions office, and he worked as a Telecom Product Manager in Basking. -Ridge.

It wasn’t until they bought their colonial-style four-bedroom home for $ 535,000 that “I had the chance to discover trails,” Ms. Lifshi, 37, said, referring to the 16 miles of trails that wind through the woods. and Parks is a Morris County township.

Like a marathon runner, Ms. Lifshi runs the trails; Mr Lifshi, also 37, and the couple’s three children, ages 4 to 12, enjoy walking the dog. “We are an active family,” said Ms Lifshi.

The trail system, created in the 1990s for $ 1.5 million, traverses Randolph’s hills, ridges, ravines, streams and forests — a stunning landscape that makes it “a true New Jersey hidden gem,” said Danielle Hilliker. estate agent Keenlen Luttmann at Sotheby’s International Realty in nearby Mendham.

Many home hunters from outside the area begin their search in upmarket locations such as Morristown before discovering Randolph, where prices are slightly lower. “As a first-time buyer, or perhaps a family with young children, accessibility in Randolph is a little easier,” said Ms. Hilliker.

“It’s great value for money,” said Rick Nogueira, 50, a pharmaceutical business manager who relocated to the city in 2019 from nearby Long Valley. “We have two acres of land for less than $ 700,000.”

Mr. Nogueira and his wife, 40-year-old Stephanie Duarte, a hospital administrator, paid $ 629,000 for their colonial-style home. The couple, who have a 12-year-old son and a young daughter, appreciate Randolph’s ethnicity, which is very valuable for children. “The more diversity, the less unconscious bias,” said Mr. Nogueira, who, like his wife, is a child of Portuguese immigrants.

Brian Noonan, 54, and Mayumi Miguel, 41, veteran Broadway performers, began their house hunting in Morristown and Mendham around 2014 when they lived in Passaic. The couple were looking for a place with good schools and many families with small children.

When they found Randolph, “we drove through town, looked at each other and kept nodding,” said Mr. Noonan, who appeared on The Phantom of the Opera and now runs an entertainment company that organizes tributes, including Tenors Jersey. … He also recently became a real estate agent for Keller Williams.

“It amazed us how wonderful it was,” he said.

The couple, who now have three young children, paid $ 463,000 for a ranch in 2014 and are happy with the school and the sense of community, Mr. Noonan said, “People care about each other.”

The Randolph housing market is dominated by single-family homes. Tucked away among winding roads and tall trees, you’ll find subdivisions in a mix of suburban styles: Cape Cods, Duplex, Ranch, and Colonial Settlements.

Douglas Tucker, a Short Hills-based real estate agent for Compass, said that home construction in Randolph accelerated in the 1970s and 1980s as communities closer to New York began to build up and developers moved west.

Randolph also has several historic quarters, including Irony, where iron ore was mined in the 19th century, and Millbrook, a narrow valley where the early Quaker settlers used creek-powered mills in the early 1800s.

Home prices and sales in Randolph have skyrocketed over the past year as the pandemic pushed home buyers from densely populated areas into suburban and suburban markets.

In the 12 months ended June 24, 409 homes were sold in Randolph for an average price of $ 562,500, according to the Garden State Multiple Listing Service; during the previous 12 months, 308 homes were sold at an average price of $ 505,000.

Lower priced homes have always sold quickly in Randolph, Ms. Hilliker said, but during the pandemic, higher priced homes also sold quickly, often with multiple bids.

According to Marlene Ginsberg, Coldwell Banker’s agent in Chester, the pace of sales has dramatically reduced inventory from pre-pandemic levels. As of the end of July, there were 41 houses on display in Randolph – up from 136 on the same day in 2019 – from a two-bedroom ranch for $ 300,000 to a four-bedroom colonial-style home for $ 1.575 million.

Residents enjoy the natural pleasures of parks, trails, farmers markets and swimming at Randolph Park Beach or, if they belong to the Shongum Lake Property Owners Association, Shongum Lake.

However, shopping and dining is not part of daily life, as Randolph lacks a pedestrianized city center. To do this, residents go to Morristown or Denville

Businesses are scattered along the Sussex Turnpike in Mount Freedom, and the town has been re-zoned to allow for mixed commercial and residential development. While several developers have shown interest, plans have yet to be approved, said Stephen Mountain, the village’s manager, although he expects some development to take place in the next year or two.

Much of the business activity takes place on the bustling Route 10, which runs east-west through the northern end of the town and includes popular establishments such as the Randolph Diner, Mr. Crabby’s Craft Kitchen & Bar and Black River Barn, a sports bar and a family restaurant. … a restaurant.

The Randolph Township School District serves approximately 4,500 students across six schools: four elementary schools, one high school in grades 6 through 8, and Randolph High School, which has approximately 1,570 students in grades 9 through 12. The district’s students are 66 percent white, 16 percent Hispanic, 14 percent Asian, and 3 percent black.

Average SAT scores for the 2019-20 academic year were 593 in Arts English and 589 in Mathematics, compared with a state average of 536 each. About 93 percent of the 2019 class went to college or other higher education.

Randolph is also home to the Gottesman RTW Academy, a Jewish day school serving children from infancy to eighth grade.

Morris County College, a community college with approximately 7,000 students, is also located in Randolph.

Randolph is located about 40 miles west of Times Square. It’s not on the rail line, so commuters to New York travel to Denville or Morristown to catch the New Jersey Transit Morris and Essex line. The ride from Morristown takes just over an hour and costs $ 14 one way, or $ 393 a month.

The drive to downtown Manhattan takes about an hour, depending on traffic conditions. Randolph is close to Interstate 287 and Interstate 80, which are within commuting reach of the surrounding New Jersey and New York counties.

Before the Catskills became a borscht belt, Randolph was New Jersey’s “dirty dancer,” said Gail M. Hari, a town historian. Since the early 20th century, entrepreneurs have opened hotels and bungalow settlements serving a predominantly Jewish clientele fleeing the summer heat in New York and Newark. During its heyday, from the 1930s to the 1960s, the hotels featured artists such as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Milton Berle. In the 1940s, tourists could take a bus near Times Square and travel to Randolph ($ 1.75 round trip). As highways and cheaper air tickets allowed townspeople to move farther away, the recreation scene disappeared. But traces remain: the building, which was part of the 175-room Saltz hotel complex, now houses the local Rosie’s Trattoria.

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