Nestled in the hilly Watchung Mountains in Central New Jersey, this tight knit community of Watchung offers more amenities than you might think. In addition to parks (Mobus Field, Philips Field, Watchung Lake Park), valleys and waterways, an arts center offers monthly art exhibitions, music performances and art, photography, yoga and dance classes for both adults and children, and there is an array of fine cuisine in which to partake.
The area is quite picturesque. The Watchung Mountains are known for their numerous scenic vistas overlooking the New York City and New Jersey skylines, as well as their isolated ecosystems containing rare plants, endangered wildlife, rich minerals, and globally-imperiled trap rock glade communities.
In Watchung, there’s something for everyone from foodies (expect to find top-notch Thai, Italian, Japanese eateries) to the horsey set, as the town plays host to numerous horse shows each year. Families and businessmen/women, are attracted to the town because of its above average schools, low crime rate (there hasn’t been a murder in Watchung in over a decade) and a relatively-short 40 minute commute to New York City.
What's In a Name
The name “Watchung’ comes from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans, meaning “high hills.” It is from the first ridge of the Watchung Mountains (appropriately named the First, Second and Third Watchung mountains) that George Washington surveyed the British troops in Perth Amboy. The eastern reach of these ridges is to the Oranges in the direction of Newark. The name “Washingtonville” was used in early times but rejected as the name for the area by the United States Postal Service because New Jersey already had too many places named Washington.
Around 1670, a group of Dutch settlers under the leadership of Captain Michaelson was traveling from the Amboys up an Indian trail at the same time The Watchung tribe of Lenni Lanape Indians was traveling for their annual summer trip to the ocean to fish and collect shells for wampum.