There are three towns in New Jersey that harken back to the 1950s: houses side by side with green lawns and sidewalks, cute downtowns, high quality schools and lots of neighborly waves. According to, a survey of 3,000 singles named the quintessential NJ cities with a “white picket fence” lifestyle for those who are looking to get married.

The survey wanted to show that modern-day romance, which is pretty much determined by social media, still has appeal in charming towns. The analysis aimed to uncover how many people envision a traditional white picket fence lifestyle once they get married, especially in towns that mix old-fashioned appeal with modern-day living.

The first New Jersey town on the list is Montclair, which placed 36th. The town has tree-lined streets and lots of pretty architecture, including Victorian mansions. The community is very diverse and holds lots of events filled with arts, education and community. There are galleries, theaters and music spaces like Montclair Art Museum, Wellmont Theater and Vanguard Theater Company. Montclair History Center offers historical walking tours, or eat your way through town on a Walk.Talk.Taste tour. The Montclair Jazz Festival is a huge draw every fall.

STAFF PHOTO / Ridgewood

The second Jersey town on the list, Ridgewood, came in at No. 41. There are lots of cute shops, green spaces and natural areas on both sides of the train tracks. For a great date, there are dozens of restaurants and cafes to choose from, like Latour, Taan Thai or Cafe 37 – or if you want to Netflix & Chill, order via the Wonder app. More importantly for people looking to start a family are the top-notch public schools. And for people who want a taste of city life, it’s easy to get into NYC for a date or activity.


The third town, Princeton, is a favorite for so many reasons. Ranking 91st, there is a mixture of beautiful old-fashioned homes, the campus at Princeton U., Nassau Street for shopping and eating, the historic Witherspoon-Jackson area that is steeped in Black history, Morven Museum & Garden for a mix of history and natural beauty, and McCarter Theatre Center for stage plays and musicals. There are lots of gourmet restaurants in Palmer Square (think summer concerts, kids activities and holiday specials) or the Princeton Shopping Center, and the historic district of Kingston and more suburban area of South Brunswick (think Rte. 1) are nearby. Community events like Communiversity, the Jazz Fest and Pi Day for Albert Einstein’s birthday complement events held by the Arts Council of Princeton and Art on Hulfish, which is part of the Princeton University Art Museum.

According to the details of the survey, 51 percent of respondents said they want to live in a suburban neighborhood that has a relaxed community where kids can play, but are also close enough to a major city where they can work and go away for the weekend. About 25 percent wanted to be in the countryside with lots of open spaces. More than 15 percent wanted strictly city life, while 8 percent prefer a beach bum life.

The survey also asked what lengths one would go to for their dream home. Almost half (48 percent) would put themself aside for their partner’s dreams. Fifteen percent said they are unwilling to compromise, while 37 percent are ready to compromise.

When it comes to selecting a partner, 81% wanted their boyfriend or girlfriend to share their lifestyle visions. Most people in the survey said age 28 is the time to settle down, and 74 percent want to have kids once the wedding is over.

These are the five most sought-after destinations to live out a classic “white picket fence” lifestyle in the U.S., according to
1. Greenville, SC
2. Waimea (Kamuela), Hawaii
3. Safety Harbor, Florida
4. Maryville, Tennessee
5. Alexandria, Virginia

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