They settled on New Milford after researching school districts and public-transit options to Manhattan, where they work. Mr. Sprance, an art director, grew up next door in Teaneck, “but he had no idea New Milford existed,” Ms. Wells said.
The couple bought a renovated, circa-1900 colonial for $580,000. “We sold our 800-square-foot Hoboken apartment at a considerably larger price than what we paid for this four-bedroom house on almost half an acre,” Ms. Wells said.
The hour-plus commutes to their jobs in Manhattan are longer than what they had in Hoboken, but it’s a trade-off they readily accept. “Here you literally bump into people on the street and have conversations,” Ms. Wells said. “ When our dog Parker got loose and ran to the firehouse, a random guy in the neighborhood chased him and knocked on our door for a couple of minutes just to make sure the dog got back to the right house. You don’t get that in the city.”
What You’ll Find
Hugging the Hackensack River’s east bank, New Milford is bordered by River Edge to the west, Oradell to the west and north, Dumont and Bergenfield to the east, and Teaneck to the south. Route 4, the highway leading to the George Washington Bridge, is more than a mile away and the Garden State Parkway is within four miles.
There is no downtown and most commerce is in strip malls along River Road, which runs north-south from one end of town to the other. The new ShopRite and its 22 aisles sit near the northern end. For serious shopping, the giant malls of Paramus are a 10-minute drive — “close enough but far enough,” said Michael Putrino, the mayor.
Incorporated in 1922, New Milford was primarily vegetable fields into the middle of the century, and eventually developed downward from the north, where older homes still sit, including some Victorians. On flat terrain, developers erected collections of Cape Cods, ranches, bilevels and split-levels. Many of those unassuming properties have since been updated or enlarged, or replaced by new construction.