Randolph, N.J.: ‘A True New Jersey Hidden Gem’

Randolph, N.J.: ‘A True New Jersey Hidden Gem’

When Nina and Rob Lifshey moved to Randolph, N.J. in 2019. moved, they looked for good schools and a decent path to their jobs – his as a college admissions officer in Mahwah, his as a telecommunications product manager in Basking Ridge.

It was only after they bought their four-bedroom colonial-style home for $ 535,000 that "I happened upon the trails," said Ms. Lifshey, 37, referring to the 16-mile (16-mile) trails that cut through the woods and parks of this parish of Morris County.

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

The trail system, which dates back to the 1990s and was created for about $ 1.5 million, leads through Randolph's landscape of hills, ridges, canyons, streams and forests – an impressive landscape that makes it “a true hidden gem of New Jersey, ”said Danielle Hilliker. a real estate agent at Kienlen Lattmann Sotheby & # 39; s International Realty in neighboring Mendham.

Many out-of-area apartment hunters begin their searches in more well-known places like Morristown before discovering Randolph, where prices are slightly lower. "As a first-time buyer or perhaps a family with young children, affordability is a little easier in Randolph," said Ms. Hilliker.

"It's great value for money," said Rick Nogueira, 50, a pharmaceutical account manager who moved to the community from nearby Long Valley in 2019. "We got two acres for under $ 700,000."

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

Veteran Broadway performers Brian Noonan, 54, and Mayumi Miguel, 41, began house hunting in Morristown and Mendham around 2014 while living in Passaic. The couple were looking for a place with good schools and lots of families with young children.

When they found Randolph, "we drove around town and looked at each other and kept nodding our heads," said Noonan, who starred in The Phantom of the Opera and now runs an entertainment company that manages tribute acts, including The Jersey Tenors. He recently joined Keller Williams as a real estate agent.

"We were blown away by how beautiful it was," he said.

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

Randolph's housing market is dominated by single-family homes. Hidden between winding roads and tall trees, you'll find subdivisions in a mix of suburban styles: Cape Cods, split levels, ranches, and colonial.

Douglas Tucker, a real estate agent with Compass in Short Hills, said residential construction in Randolph accelerated in the 1970s and 1980s as communities near New York City expanded and developers pushed west.

Randolph also has several historic neighborhoods, including Ironia, where iron ore was mined in the 19th century, and Millbrook, a narrow valley where early Quaker settlers in the early 19th

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

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

Cheaper homes always sold fast in Randolph, Ms. Hilliker said, but during the pandemic, homes on the higher end of the market also sold quickly, often with multiple offers.

The pace of sales has dramatically reduced inventory levels from pre-pandemic levels, said Marlene Ginsberg, an agent at Coldwell Banker in Chester. At the end of July, there were 41 homes in Randolph – compared to 136 on the same day in 2019 – from a two-bedroom ranch for $ 300,000 to a colonial-style four-bedroom home for $ 1.575 million.

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

However, walking to shops and restaurants is not part of everyday life, as Randolph lacks a walkable downtown area. For this experience, residents travel to Morristown or Denville.

There are scattered businesses along the Sussex Turnpike in Mount Freedom, and the community has rededicated the area to accommodate mixed-use commercial and residential development. Although several developers have expressed interest, no plans have been approved yet, said Stephen Mountain, the township manager, although he said he expected some development in the next year or two.

Most of its business takes place along busy Route 10, which runs east to west through the northern portion of the parish and features popular establishments such as the Randolph Diner, Mr. Crabby & # 39; s Craft Kitchen & Bar, and Black River Barn, a sports bar and family, includes restaurant.

The Randolph Township School District has approximately 4,500 students in six schools: four elementary schools, one middle school for sixth through eighth grades, and Randolph High School, which enrolls approximately 1,570 students in ninth through twelfth grades. The student body in the district is 66 percent white, 16 percent Hispanic, 14 percent Asian, and 3 percent black.

The mean SAT scores for the 2019-20 school year were 593 in English-speaking arts and 589 in math, compared to national averages of 536 each. About 93 percent of the 2019 class enrolled in college or other post-secondary education.

The Gottesman RTW Academy, a Jewish day school for children from infancy to eighth grade, is also located in Randolph.

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

Randolph is about 40 miles west of Times Square. It's not on a train line, so New York City commuters head to Denville or Morristown to catch the Morris and Essex lines from New Jersey Transit. The drive from Morristown takes just over an hour and costs $ 14 each way or $ 393 a month.

The drive to Midtown Manhattan takes about an hour, depending on traffic. Randolph is conveniently located near Interstate 287 and Interstate 80, which puts the surrounding New Jersey and New York counties within easy commuting.

Before the Catskills became a borscht belt, Randolph was "New Jersey's Dirty Dancing," said Gail M. Hari, the township's historian. At the beginning of the 20th century, entrepreneurs opened hotels and bungalow colonies serving a predominantly Jewish clientele to escape the summer heat in New York City and Newark. In its heyday, from the 1930s to 1960s, artists such as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Milton Berle performed in the hotels. In the 1940s, vacationers could catch a bus near Times Square to get to Randolph ($ 1.75 round-trip). As highways and cheaper airfares allowed city dwellers to move into the distance, the vacation scene faded. But traces remain: A building that was part of the Saltz hotel complex with 175 rooms now houses Rosie's Trattoria, a local favorite.

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