Millburn-Short Hills is home to numerous points of interest sure to enchant everyone from nature enthusiasts to die-hard shoppers to dedicated patrons of the arts.
Throughout the township, it is easy to appreciate the beauty of the natural surroundings. One of the most prominent places to enjoy the outdoors is the South Mountain Reservation (the largest parkland in Essex County), which extends through Millburn Township, as well as the surrounding municipalities of West Orange, Maplewood and South Orange. The more than 2,000 acres of reservation include hiking trails, waterfalls, creeks and ponds, as well as magnificent vistas from 550 feet above Millburn.
Just minutes away from Millburn Township is the newly restored Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex. The complex includes The Turtle Back Zoo, complete with a charming carousel; a fun and challenging zip line; a themed miniature golf course; and a scenic restaurant with waterside dining.
Short Hills is also home to the 16.5-acre Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary, a non-profit organization that serves as a cultural and educational center for the residents of greater Millburn Township. The arboretum was established more than 50 years ago to promote an understanding of the relationship between people and the environment. There are more than three miles of trails open to the public, and The Stone House has numerous animal exhibits for viewing—all part of the tract of woodlands donated to the township by Cora Hartshorn in 1958.
Greenwood Gardens is a 28-acre magnificent public garden located adjacent to Old Short Hills Park. The once private retreat was the country estate of 20th-century real estate auctioneer Joseph P. Day. Later, the property became part of the estate of Peter P. Blanchard Jr., who preserved the original gardens.
Greenwood Gardens combines formal gardens, open meadows, teahouses, ponds, woodlands and pastures. Greenwood is one of only 12 preservation projects of the Garden Conservancy, a national non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of America’s exceptional gardens.
The 100-year-old gardens are currently undergoing a $5 million restoration in order to preserve the gardens and its buildings for generations to come.
Throughout town, visitors can enjoy a walk back in time through the historic sites along the Veterans Memorial Path, a 4.5-mile trail with 17 points of interest, including Revolutionary battlegrounds, Civil War gravesites and WWI, WWII, Korean and Vietnam War memorials. The path begins at the Millburn Free Public Library with a Veterans Memorial that graces the lobby. The present library facility (opened in 1976) houses a collection in excess of 90,000 books, as well as substantial holdings of other circulating materials.
A recently completed River Walk, extends from Main Street in the heart of downtown, along Brookside Drive to the Paper Mill Playhouse. The walkway includes new lighting, landscaping, benches, bluestone panels and ornamental red brink pavers. The bluestone panels can be used to create a “Walk of Stars” in conjunction with the playhouse. The much wider River Walk aligns with Paper Mill’s mission to offer accessibility to all theatergoers.
The Millburn-Short Hills Historical Society oversees a museum that is housed in the westbound Short Hills train station building. The museum features exhibits, research materials and formal lectures. The Historical Society seeks to accumulate and preserve memorabilia, photographs, maps and postcards to encourage interest in local history by the dissemination of information about the town.
A great sense of history and community spirit is evident in every aspect of the township, particularly with numerous annual town-wide events and activities. Hundreds of people celebrate Independence Day with festivities and fireworks. Families enjoy summertime concerts and a fishing derby. Throughout the year, there are also celebrations, such as the Halloween Parade, Snowflake Parade, Egg Hunt, several Street Fairs, Girls Night Out shopping events and the annual 5K Investors Bank President’s Cup Night Race for residents and visitors of all ages to enjoy.
The Millburn Jersey Fresh Farmers’ Market has been a weekly fixture in town from June through October for 20 years. A variety of purveyors sell seasonal fresh produce, fresh baked rolls and breads, meats, poultry, cheese prepared food items and even pickles on a stick.
The Metropolitan Orchestra of New Jersey, which makes its home in the township, is now in its 40th season. The full symphonic community orchestra is composed mostly of local volunteer musicians and performs three concerts a year. It often features talented guest artists and some of the most popular and beautiful orchestral selections from major composers.
Hilton Short Hills