Essex County Winner: NORTH CALDWELL
Marissa Becker grew up in North Caldwell and is thrilled to be able to raise her kids here. “It has everything both [my husband and I] ever dreamed of; great people, terrific neighborhoods, a strong sense of community, terrific location to the city and shore areas, fantastic sports and an outstanding school system,” says Becker, a science teacher at West Essex Middle School.
The West Essex Regional School District is a huge draw for families, both for academics and athletics. When they’re not hitting the books, kids take part in everything from parades and color runs to pancake breakfasts and holiday celebrations. Summer’s all about the town pool (think water slides, a kiddie wading area, sports facilities, fields and an outdoor TV) and Camp Caldwell programs, where kids craft, work on STEM activities, go on field trips and more.
For a fun night out, try Stephanie’s in Caldwell, a cozy Italian spot, or PF Market in West Caldwell, a seafood haven where you can shop the raw bar or dine in. Becker’s fave? “The best hidden gem is Ocha in Caldwell. This is mine and my husbands’ go-to place. Anyone who lives in the area knows that Ocha offers the best sushi and Asian cuisine.”
Fun fact: Tony’s house in The Sopranos is in North Caldwell and an iconic Essex County hotspot. Many scenes were shot in town, as well.