Surrounded by Montclair, Caldwell, Cedar Grove and West Orange, Verona sits between the First and Second Watchung Mountains, with the Hilltop Reservation marking the northern peak and the Eagle Rock Reservation in the south. Bike paths cut across Hilltop Reservation, a 284-acre nature preserve that sits on one of the highest points in Verona.
Aside from the nature sites these two parks provide, the mountain is home to some of Verona’s pricier houses (the Afterglow section), named for the sunset views that their homeowners enjoy. The houses, up toward Eagle Rock, were mostly built in the 1920s and ’30s, and have larger lots.
The lower-lying center of Verona is home to the 64-acre Verona Park and lake, a popular summer destination, with playgrounds, a bocce ball court, paddle boats and a series of summer concerts.
Houses range from an assortment of ranches, split-levels, Cape Cods and smaller colonials. Living in Verona Township offers residents an urban suburban experience with a unique combination of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Local eateries on Bloomfield Avenue like Bloom and the Verona Inn tend to be town favorites.
In Verona, condominiums and townhouses typically account for a third of the housing market. Condominium choices include apartments in the Claridge Houses, two older high-rises on Verona’s eastern ridge, and Kips Ridge, a 1980s luxury townhouse development next to Kip’s Castle Park.
In 2008, New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Verona #1 in Essex County and #3 in New Jersey as “Top Places to Live in New Jersey”
In the early 20th century, the fresh air at the crest of what is now called Second Mountain seemed ideal for treating tuberculosis patients, and in 1907 the Essex Mountain Sanatorium opened. The institution faced such opposition from residents that patients had to be sneaked in at night. But as demand grew, so did the facility. Eventually, it consisted of 20 buildings spread over 200 acres, serving 700 patients. Between the departure of the final patients in the 1970s and the razing of the buildings in 1993, the site was a popular destination for the ghoulishly curious.
The township is bordered by Cedar Grove Township, Essex Fells, Montclair Township, North Caldwell and West Orange Township. Verona lies between two mountains, the First and Second Watchung Mountains with a small river, the Peckman, flowing at the bottom of the valley towards the Passaic River at Little Falls.
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