Chester

Chester Borough

Welcome to Chester Borough, NJ

Chester Borough, New Jersey is a small municipality that sits in the center of Chester Township in Morris County. While the township is largely rural and home to only a few businesses, the borough is known for its charming downtown area that attracts visitors from all over the state to shop and dine in buildings that have been serving the area for over a century. It is also home to a newer shopping center, a grocery store, and several other commercial offices and services.

The word "picturesque" does not even begin to describe Chester Borough, which is just 50 miles from New York City, 40 miles from Newark, and less than 40 miles from the coast. A walk through town will immediately make you feel as if you have stumbled onto the set of the movie. Many of the historic buildings and homes in the area have been renovated just enough to be habitable without losing their character.

You will find single-family housing within Chester's 1.45 square miles, as well as in the outlying Chester Township. The township is also devoted to preserving the rural atmosphere of the area, and over 40 percent of it can never be developed. For this reason, borough residents are just minutes from thousands of acres of parks and green spaces where they can do everything from fish to hike.

View Homes For Sale in Chester Borough

Chester Borough and Chester Township were the same municipality for years, but in 1930, the borough separated and incorporated itself. Today, the township forms a doughnut around it, and the two communities often go hand in hand. There has been some talk of a merger over the years.

Before either of them had a name, the area was known as Black River. The Lenape Native Americans had created a system of trails that led to a crossway there, and European settlers followed them to the area as well. By the early 1700s, the settlers began establishing a community in the area, and by 1730, it was a thriving agricultural destination. Apple and peach orchards provided fruit for whiskey distilleries. Flax, wool, and cattle were also popular. They named the community "Chester" in honor of Chestershire, England. By the 1800s, the development of roadways made Chester's town center — modern day Chester Borough — a hotspot for businesses like taverns, inn, and blacksmiths. For a while, during the late 1800s, iron ore mining became popular in the area, but the miners eventually headed west to Minnesota.

By the 1970s, residents and local business owners decided to make the most of their historic town center, and they began making the changes that led to Chester becoming the destination that it is today.

Dining, Shopping, and Entertainment in Chester Borough

Streets of Chester is the place to go in Chester for modern chain stores with familiar brand names. Some of its shops include Ann Taylor, Chico's, Banana Republic, Gymboree, Plow & Hearth, Gap, J Crew, and Talbots.

For a more unique shopping experience, residents can head downtown to the quaint shops and boutiques Chester is known for. Search for antiques and enjoy lunch and tea at Sally Lunn's Tea Room. Stained Glass Boutique offers beautiful handmade items like kaleidoscopes, jewelry, and pottery. Academy has sold jewelry along Main Street for over 30 years, and the Black River Candy Shoppe will take you back to your childhood with its over 900 selections of sweet treats. Dozens of other shops in the area sell everything from clothing and furniture to toys and pet supplies.

Chester is also home to several restaurants that offer delicious food with friendly service. Enjoy Italian dishes at Bella Pizza & Gourmet Deli or Benito's Trattoria. Lamplighter Restaurant has been a staple in the area for decades, while The Publick House is located in an actual historic tavern. When you just want coffee, baked goods, or a few other Italian specialties, try Maria's. Taylor’s Ice Cream Parlor is a must for dessert.

What else is there to do in and around Chester? You can catch a performance by the Chester Theatre Group or visit the historic Cooper Mill to see how grain was made in 1826. You can visit the 365-acre Alstede Farm throughout the year to enjoy hayrides, mazes, animals, and homemade ice cream or visit an orchard where you can pick your own apples. Several community-oriented events, like a tour of homes, craft fairs, and holiday celebrations, are also held throughout the year.

Parks and Playgrounds in Chester Borough

Aside from a few small green spaces in town, most of the parks in the community are located in the township. However, Chester has its own public pool that is open seasonally from Memorial to Labor Day. In addition to the main pool, it has a shallow interactive pool, a filtered infant pool with a play structure, concession stands, and a waterslide.

The township features thousands of acres of parks that are easily accessed by borough residents. They offer amenities and activities like ball fields, hiking trails, and fishing ponds and streams. The 890-acre Hacklebarney State Park is home to one of the most popular trout fishing spots in the state.

Real Estate Information

The median home price in the Chester area is $685,000. In the borough, you will find a number of historic Victorian homes. In the outlying area that makes up the township, you will find more of a variety of housing styles. There are many established neighborhoods made up of ranch, federal, and split-level style homes, as well as large multi-million-dollar estates spread throughout. Most homes in the area sit on large lots that are at least 1 to 2 acres.
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