Home Fashion + BeautyAccessories Your Guide to Madison, New Jersey, by The Giordano Group

Your Guide to Madison, New Jersey, by The Giordano Group

by Hoboken Girl Team
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Each month, The Hoboken Girl and The Giordano Group highlight one town in Northern New Jersey to share some of the best places to eat, drink, and socialize. We’ll outline the different commuting options and some fun, family-friendly activities while also giving you insight into the competitive Northern NJ real estate market. This New Jersey real estate series will showcase what makes each town cool, unique, and vibrant. So while you may not be looking to move, we all know stalking Zillow houses is the best hobby — and The Giordano Group is here to make it that much easier.

After visiting the Caldwells, we are heading to the nearby town of Madison, located in Morris County. At just 4.21 square miles and about 25 miles west of downtown Manhattan, Madison features a mix of history and modern-day living with a quaint, small city feel.

Madison has a unique character due to a wide range of housing types, an influence from local universities, and its unusual historical development — plus, it’s family-friendly and walkable. And with so many fun things to do, shops to check out, and restaurants to try, you’ll understand why it’s such a desirable place to live. Read on for your guide to Madison, NJ.

About the Giordano Group

Darren Giordano and his team of realtors have over a decade of experience in Hudson County and Northern New Jersey, achieving the Platinum Level of Excellence every year since 2016. They closed over $300,000,000 over the last decade.

To learn more about the market value for homes in Madison — or if you want to find out the current market value of your home in Hudson County, text CMA to 201-723-3300 to get in touch with the Giordano Group, and click here or download the North Jersey Homes app to stay ahead of the market anytime.

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The Commute

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By Train

Madison is an accessible town thanks to the NJ Transit Morris and Essex Line, which has trains to Penn Station in New York City, Newark, and Hoboken. The Morristown Line is a direct train to Manhattan — and it only takes about an hour.

By Bus

For access to NYC, Madison has the private commuter bus line known as the Morris Meteor run by Boxcar Transit that operates five days a week, running directly to and from Midtown Manhattan.

NJ Transit also has local bus service on the 873 and 878 routes with stops by Fairleigh Dickson and Drew Universities in Madison and access to nearby train stations and The Livingston Mall.

A low-cost campus/downtown shuttle bus also operates along Madison Avenue and Main Street during afternoon and evening hours, making this area even more accessible.

By Car

Only 25 miles west of New York City, Madison is usually a 55-minute drive from Hudson County (depending, of course, on traffic). Madison is known for being particularly commuter-friendly for drivers. NJ State Route 124 passes directly through Madison. Route 24, Route 287, and Route 78 are all nearby — plus, if you’re lucky enough to snag one, there are some free parking spots in town.

Where to Eat + Drink

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^ Sunday Motor Co.

Madison has over fifty food establishments within its four square miles. We’ve compiled just a sample of some of the varied cuisine options that you’ll find here.

54 Main Bar & Grille | 54 Main Street

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The homey restaurant is a great place to stop for some new American food while strolling along Main Street. This spot proudly boasts the “largest selection of single malt scotches and single barrel bourbons around” — and you can enjoy it while watching the game at the sports bar. You can also find 37 types of beer, a wide variety of wines, and a large selection of top-shelf cordials.

Begum Palace | 300 Main Street

This is one of the few Indian restaurants you’ll find in Madison. It features a variety of vegetarian and vegan options as well as gluten-free options. It’s been part of the Madison community since its opening in 1996.

Bottle Hill Tavern | 13 Waverly Place

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The tavern, named for the Bottle Hill Historic District settled in the 1700s, is decked out with plank-wood floors, exposed-brick walls, lots of nostalgic touches, and a specialty cocktail list. It serves up tavern food and also has a brunch menu.

Butter & Jam Cafe | 30 Cook Plaza

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(Photo credits: @butter.and.jam.cafe)

This is one of the newest lunch/brunch spots in town and it has a really fun element that we love. You can actually order flights of flavored butter and/or jam to complement your pancakes or croissants. The jams are all made from seasonally-available fruits.

Crowley Cupcakes | 9 Waverly Place

If you’re the type of person who likes having too many choices, this is the spot to visit. Crowley has a large assortment of different cupcake flavors — like the mint brownie cupcake, which is a brownie in the shape of a cupcake topped with peppermint buttercream, dipped in a dark chocolate ganache, and served with a brownie on top. There’s also a snowball, which is a double chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting topped with a fluffy white sweetened coconut.

Daddy Matty’s BBQ | 6 Elmer Street

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Not only do customers rave about this spot, but Daddy Matty’s BBQ also has great connections with the community. Its motto is “Everybody Eats,” and the team has partnered with Morris County Interfaith Food Pantry to give back to neighbors who need it most. The eatery is available for catering, takeout, outdoor dining, and special events.

Il Mondo Vecchio | 72 Main Street

Il Mondo Vecchio and Scalini Fedeli, which is in Chatham, are both creations of Michael Cetrulo. This Italian spot serves pastas like pappardelle con vodka and lazagnette di vecchio, while entrées include vitello alla Patrizia and pollo scarpiello. If you are looking for a change from the usual pasta, chicken, and veal their seafood dishes are the way to go.

McCool’s Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt | 26 Main Street

Known for its incredible milkshakes, McCool’s (also in Summit) serves over 50 flavors of ice cream with creative names like Lil Blue Panda, LlamaLicious, and Graham Central Station. Plus, it has a variety of low-fat frozen yogurt.

Nahm Thai & French Cuisine | 41 Main Street

For anyone who is a fan of Thai street food (like pad Thai), this is a great local spot to get it. This spot has friendly service and also features outdoor seating for when the weather is nice.

Osteria Trevi | 4 Park Avenue

The BYOB upscale restaurant features one small dining room that brings Italy to Madison. You’ll find photographs from Italy, an “old school vibe” from the wait staff, and as reviewers put it the “best cannoli” they’ve ever had.

Sunday Motor Co. | 27 Kings Road

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This shop is a ’50s gas station turned café with distinct automotive touches. There’s coffee, tea, fresh bread, and pastries daily from Balthazar in Englewood. The toasts are absolute must-tries.

Things to Do

Madison hosts a variety of annual events — including its signature annual Bottle Hill Day every fall, a weekly farmer’s market, and more. Here are our picks for some unique experiences in the area.

Shakespeare Theatre of NJ | 36 Madison Avenue

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F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is the performance home to the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, one of the biggest and longest-running professional Shakespeare companies in America.

Healthy Italia | 55 Main Street

La Buona Cucina, located inside Healthy Italia, is an Italian specialty market that also holds cooking classes. We’re talking gnocchi, risotto, calzones, and tiramisu — yum.

Mud Clay Studio | 6 Main Street

From hand-building to exploring the potter’s wheel, this interactive studio is something you should have on your bucket list. It offers packages and one-time wheel classes — for ladies’ nights, couples’ nights, and your standard intro. Plus, it’s BYOB.

Museum of Early Trades and Crafts | 9 Main Street

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Museum of Early Trades and Crafts is a popular field trip destination that explores the history and lives of New Jersey workers. The museum’s mission is “to inspire a connection with New Jersey’s history, culture, trades, and crafts.”

Shanghai Jazz Restaurant & Bar | 24 Main Street

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Shanghai Jazz is a hybrid Asian restaurant and jazz club that attracts big names like Bucky Pizzarelli and Nat Adderley Jr. It is consistently ranked one of the top 100 jazz spots in the country and features a fun speakeasy known as Encore downstairs.

Stryxe | 300 Main Street

This boutique entertainment venue features bowling lanes, three gaming rooms, an upscale eatery, wood-fired specialty pizza, two bars, and private event space.

Where to Shop

Madison’s shopping was spotlighted on a national level thanks to Snooki — whose shop, The Snooki Shop, was featured on the MTV hit show, Jersey Shore Family Vacation. But you will also find multiple bookstores, mom-and-pop boutiques, galleries, and more.

The Chatham Bookseller | 8 Green Village Road

The Chatham Bookseller is worth checking out to find some collector’s items. They not only buy and sell used and rare books and ephemera, but they also have hard-to-find and out-of-print books. For example, they have The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe for sale for $950.00.

Hat Shop Madison | 18B Main Street

Just as the name suggests, this shop sells what it calls ‘a hat for every head.’ Whatever your style or hat needs may be, this is the place to visit for headware.

The Snooki Shop | 32 Main Street

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Owned by Jersey Shore star Snooki, The Snooki Shop has many women’s clothing and accessories as well as “The Snooki Shop” branded items, such as coffee mugs, sweatshirts, makeup bags, hats, and many more. You’ll also find Snooki’s makeup and eyelash collection along with the fashion moments she posts on her Instagram. If you’re lucky enough, you might even get to see her in person when she visits.

New Leaf Consignment | 16 Park Avenue

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New Leaf Consignment opened its doors in 1994. The mission was to be more mindful of the Earth’s environment, to encourage recycling, and to allow locals to shop high-end merchandise without paying retail prices. Here, you’ll find affordable upscale and designer women’s clothing and accessories.

Redtail Gallery | 6 Park Avenue

Even if you’re not on the hunt for art, Redtail Gallery has quite the collection. Known for specializing in Native American art, Redtail has a large collection of art primarily from the American Southwest. It also carries a wide variety of handmade items, including Navajo turquoise jewelry, baskets, Hopi katsina dolls, Zuni fetishes, original paintings, pottery, weavings, music, books, DVDs, and sage.

Top Rated Schools

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^  Madison High School

The Schools

Madison has a public school system that consistently ranks among New Jersey’s top education programs. Madison’s public school district serves students in Pre-K through 12th grade. There are three elementary schools — Torey J Sabatini, Central Avenue, and Kings Road Elementary. These all feed into one middle school —  Madison Junior Middle School (6-8) and then go to Madison High School.

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Madison is also a college town. It is the proud home of Drew University, and both Fairleigh Dickinson and Saint Elizabeth University are nearby.

Drew University | 36 Madison Avenue

Nicknamed the “University in the Forest” because of its wooded 186-acre campus, Drew University is worth a visit. Drew is a small private university that has three schools: the College of Liberal Arts, the Theological School, and the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies. It was founded in 1867 by financier Daniel Drew, who purchased what was an estate at the time to establish a theological seminary to train candidates for Methodist ministry.

Fairleigh Dickinson University | 285 Madison Avenue

Bridging the towns of Florham Park and Madison is the Florham Park campus of Fairleigh Dickinson. The campus consists of 178 acres and is part of Florham, a former country estate of early 20th-century socialites Florence Vanderbilt and Hamilton Twombly.

Kid’s Corner — Parks + Playgrounds

Madison is home to many local parks that range in size and have a variety of amenities. Madison is connected to the beauty of the region by picturesque country roads. A short bike ride away are well-loved Morris County Parks such as the Loantaka Brook Park and Reservation, The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, and Zuck Arboretum located at Drew University.

Giralda Farms Preserve Trail

The 1.5-mile loop trail features a lake and is primarily used for walking, hiking, dog walking, and bird watching — plus, it’s open the whole year. Giralda Farms was the former estate of Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge who used to host dog shows at the property. Some of the property was converted into a corporate park containing the headquarters for Quest Diagnostics, Pharmaceutical giant Allergan, and Pfizer Inc, among other corps.

Real Estate Corner via The Giordano Group

The Madison real estate market is hopping, just like all Northern NJ Suburban towns. The most popular style of home is colonial. There were 133 sales YTD, which was down from 159 at the same time last year (a common trend we are seeing). There are only 19 active homes for sale as of October 18th.

Homes in a few neighborhoods south of the train tracks — like the Hill section and the coveted nearby neighborhood known as Dellwood — often go for more than $1 million. The borough’s YTD median home-sale price in 2022 is $900,000, up 4 percent from $865,000 in 2021. There are also more new construction homes in areas like Knollwood, with builders buying up properties.

The total average sales price is $1,104,723 YTD, and the average days on market is still tight at 20 days. If you’re interested in learning more about Madison or any neighboring towns, you can give Darren and The Giordano team a call or send them an email at darreng@kw.com.

Stay tuned for the next town in our North Jersey series, coming soon.

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