The Watchung Reservation and its woodland nature trails are a major recreational resource for the borough. Echo Lake Park offers fishing and boating and free concerts on summer evenings. Residents can also join the community swim club at the pool near Borough Hall. Next to the pool are softball fields, tennis and basketball courts and a jogging trail. The borough also provides organized sports and other activities. Its 50,000+ volume public library sponsors story hours for children.
There is a lingering sense of the past in Mountainside Borough, which was settled by Dutch and English farmers in the 17th century, and it is reflected in the vintage residences.
Although the business district of Mountainside straddles Route 22, down a series of wooded back roads in this Union County borough lies a rustic preserve of homes terraced on the Watchung mountains.
Almost half of the Watchung Reservation's 1,945 acres and most of the 147-acre Echo Lake Park, with its three large lakes, lie within the borough's borders - making nearly a third of its four square miles park land.
|In Mountainside, the pace is unhurried and customs are a bit old-fashioned, by choice. Sidewalks and street lights are rare, and people turn out in force for the annual Little League parade. And although many residents liken the borough to an isolated country hamlet, they revel in the fact that from their perch they can see Manhattan just 24 miles away.
Mountainside is more than just a pretty place. It has the Children's specialized Hospital and some 300 light industrial and commercial businesses, most of them along Route 22. As a result, the borough's tax rate is among the lowest in Union County.
Mountainside continues to attract new residents, and the most recent arrivals have been young professional couples with children. Families are often drawn to the community because of its attention to education. Pre-Kindergarten through grade 2 attend Beechwood School, and grades 3 through 8 attand Deerfield School, the then continue their studies at Berkeley Heights school in New Providence.
Most of the Mountainside's social and civic organizations are associated with the school or the borough's three churches, the oldest of which, Mountainside Union Chapel, was built in 1801. There are also such annual holiday events at a Fourth of July picnic and a Memorial Day parade to promote community spirit.
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