Verona was once home to the Lenape Indians, which changed in the 18th century when pioneers who moved west from Newark or southwest from the Paterson area settled here. For a while, the Verona scene was dominated by small farmsteads.
That changed not long after the Civil War, when improved travel with a rail line lured speculators like Captain Hiram Cook. While the rail failed, Cook and others stayed. Cook’s vision and foresight were ultimately responsible for transforming an unimproved mill pond into Verona Lake, which has become a mecca for those seeking recreation.
Today, Verona is a pretty little valley town that is mostly residential, though it has a small town center. It’s brimming with colonials built between the 1930’s and 1950’s and spotted with a few grand estate homes on the Montclair/Verona border (also known as the Afterglow section). Events like the annual Fair in the Square draw the community together with hundreds attending to watch the tree lighting, dance, and enjoy lots of tasty snacks.
Where is Verona?
Nestled between Cedar Grove, Montclair, Essex Fells and North Caldwell in New Jersey’s Essex County, Verona is located just 15 miles west of the Hudson River. A hop, skip, and a jump from NYC, Verona’s two square miles are perfect for commuters to Manhattan and for urban transplants who want to stay close to New York City.
What are the neighbors like?
The population of Verona is about 13,300. There are just under 5,300 households with an average household size of 2.5. Most residents are employed in professional, managerial and administrative support jobs. The average household income is $120,868.
To learn more than just the numbers, check out verona.patch.com or www.myveronanj.com for a healthy dose of local flavor.
By bus: DeCamp buses (www.decamp.com or www.njtransit.com) can take you to the Port Authority bus terminal in NYC. They also run late at night to accommodate party animals and weekend theatre goers.
By car: Verona is about one mile from Interstate 280 and 2.5 miles from Interstate 80 or Route 3. All of these major highways can get you to Manhattan, Newark Airport, and the Garden State Parkway.
Verona Park is, without a doubt, one of the prettiest public parks in New Jersey. A visit to the 54-acre park, with its sparkling lakes, picturesque bridge, 1.2 mile walking path, tennis courts and playgrounds is bound to put a smile on your face. Whether it’s lounging in the sunshine, going for a run, or fishing from the boathouse, you will find the little bit of relaxation you need here.
In addition to the park, there are athletic fields at the schools, as well as a town pool, tennis courts and a vibrant community center.
For more information on area parks go to: www.essex-countyNJ.org/p.
Verona’s school system is made up of four elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. 90% of seniors go on to further education. There is also the option of three different private schools located within Verona and others in nearby towns.
Before and After School Enrichment for Studends (BASES) offers low-cost childcare to parents of Verona public school children. Sponsored and held at the First Congregational Church of Verona, before-school care is offered for grades K-8 starting at 7am. The kids are transported to school by van. After-school care is offered for grades 1-8 from 2:45-6pm. Transportation to the church is provided and the kids get a snack and help with their homework.
Brookdale Avenue Elementary (K-4)
14 Brookdale Court, (973) 571-2029
F.N. Brown Elementary (K-4)
125 Grove Avenue, (973) 571-2029
Forest Avenue Elementary (K-4)
118 Forest Avenue, (973) 571-2029
Laning Avenue Elementary (K-4)
18 Laning Road, (973)
H.B. Whitehorne Middle School (5-8)
600 Bloomfield Avenue, (973) 571-2029
Verona High School (9-12)
151 Fairview Avenue, (973) 571-2029
For more information on Verona’s public schools, visit their website: www.veronaschools.org.
Five Verona MUSTS…
1. Verona Lake Park: Whether it’s boating, picknicking, jogging or playing tennis, any of your outdoor needs will be exceeded by this pretty spot. It’s gorgeous scenery and seemingly endless options will keep you busy all summer long.
2. Verona Community Center: The Verona Community Center is always bustling with activity. The complex houses Centennial Turf Field and Veterans Field, which are used mostly for high school and sports. In addition, the complex rents party spaces and has a gym upstairs for basketball. It’s also the go-to place for children’s summer camp programs. (www.veronanj.org/
3. Verona Community Pool: Recently resurfaced, this Olympic-sized pool includes diving boards, a kiddie pool, and a 100-foot water slide. Not feeling like swimming? Other amenities include everything from basketball courts and a beach volleyball court to horeshoe pits, ping-pong tables, a playground, shuffleboard courts and more! (www.veronanj.org/recreation/
4. Verona Inn: Recently celebrating its 65th year in business, the Verona Inn Tavern is a place you have to try. With craft beers, famous burgers and notable patrons, you can’t go wrong. A favorite story of the Inn was when Billy Guerin, a New Jersey Devils player, pulled the Stanley Cup out of the trunk of his car the night they won it and said, “Let’s see if this thing holds beer!” (www.veronainn.com)
5. Kip’s Castle: Kip’s Castle is a breathtaking 9,000 square foot mansion that replicates a medieval Norman castle. Spanning eleven acres and resting in both Montclair and Verona, the castle provides spectacular views of New York City. A popular spot for weddings and events, the castle also holds a summer concert and a variety of events throughout the year. (www.kipscastle.org)