Bordering Westfield to the east and in the heart of Union County is Cranford. With a population of approximately 23,000, Cranford spans 4.868 sq. miles, which includes an astonishing 415 acres of parkland. Cranford is a lovely town for walking; one favorite walk is along the 2-mile fitness trail through Nomahegan Park. If you prefer biking, a 13.5 mile bike path connects all major points of interest in town and boasts bike lockers at the train station, downtown, the schools, the Library and recreational facilities.
Known at the turn-of-the-century as the Venice of New Jersey, the Township of Cranford grew up around the Rahway River. In fact, Cranford is the only place in Union County where you can still rent a canoe. The canoe ride is a fascinating one as many architecturally beautiful homes were built along the river.
The river played such an important roll back at the turn of the century that often the rear facades of the riverfront homes were designed to be just as extraordinary as their fronts. From 1880 to 1926 “river carnivals” played a major part in the Cranford social scene. Today canoes still glide along in the summer and in the winter the river becomes an ice skater’s paradise. On frosty mornings you can often catch a glimpse of the Ice Hockey team having an impromptu practice session.
In 1985 Cranford became the first NJ community to pass an ordinance for the formation of a Special Improvement District (SID) to revitalize its downtown. A picturesque, friendly town, Cranford’s downtown is a warm inviting piece of Americana. There are clothing stores, gift shops, antique shops, jewelers, restaurants, pizza parlors, diners, cafes and a five-plex movie theater. Now with Victorian street lamps, brick sidewalks, planters, pedestrian benches and the Clock Tower, Cranford charms citizens and visitors alike with a special ambience.
Cranford is conveniently located within 20 miles of Manhattan, a mere 15 minute ride to Newark’s International Airport, and less than an hour’s ride to the Jersey Shore and Kennedy International Airport. Commuters benefit from the township’s active rail station served by the Raritan Valley Line, which has connections to Manhattan and Newark, NJ. There is also bus service to Elizabeth, Newark and the NY Port Authority Terminal in Manhattan.
Cranford Township is accessible from Exits 136 and 137 on the Garden State Parkway and is also convenient to major roads such as the NJ Turnpike, Routes 1, 9, 22, and 24 and Interstates 78 and 287.
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