Basking Ridge in Bernards Township has retained its small-town charm for over 200 years. Most of the shops, restaurants, and services along tree-lined South Finley Avenue are located in historic 19th-century houses. In fact, the downtown area has so much history that it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.
Even though maps indicate that Basking Ridge is a small commercial district in the northeast section of Bernards, about 95% of the township is referred to as Basking Ridge and has a Basking Ridge postal address. The only major parts of Bernards that do not have Basking Ridge addresses are the Veterans Administration Hospital in Lyons and Liberty Corner, a small historic district in the southern portion of the township.
There are many community-oriented events scheduled in Bernards Township, offering opportunities for residents to gather throughout the year. Past programs have included maple sugaring, family fun day, wildlife art exhibition, art of nature show, concert series, film festivals, Scottish games, Plays in the Park, Bike Tour of Basking Ridge, Halloween night walks, 1770's Festival, and Holiday Open House Tour.
The Bernards Township School District has six public schools. These include four kindergarten through grade 5 schools: Cedar Hill Elementary School, Liberty Corner Elementary School, Mount Prospect Elementary School, and Oak Street Elementary School. William Annin Middle School educates students in grades 6 through 8 and Ridge High School houses grades 9 to 12.
Ridge High School was the second-highest ranked school in New Jersey in Newsweek's May 8, 2006, issue listing the Top 1,000 High Schools in The United States. The high school was also the 9th-ranked public high school in New Jersey (out of 328 schools statewide) in New Jersey Monthly magazine's August 2012 story highlighting the state's Top Public High Schools.
Pingry School is a private day school with its upper campus for grades 6 to 12 located in Martinsville. The Albrook School is a private Montessori school for children up to 12 years-old and the St. James School is a Catholic school for grades pre-K through 8.
Interstate 78 is situated in the southern section of the township, and Interstate 287 is in the north. Other nearby highways include Routes 22, 24, 202, and 206. The Basking Ridge and Lyons train stations located within the township offer service into New York City.
Bernards Township has a variety of single-family neighborhoods, condominium and town house complexes, historic properties, and luxury estate homes. Part of the township includes The Hills, a master-planned residential development located near the intersection of Routes 78 and 287.
Downtown Basking Ridge has a charming collection of Early American homes in addition to its shops, restaurants, and services. There are over 200 antique structures in Basking Ridge's historic district, including several rumored haunted houses. One is an old reproduction castle on Summerville Road built in 1920 for former Mayor Frank Beatty and his brother, William. William Beatty is said to haunt the castle, albeit in a helpful way; there have been reports of him closing windows during rainstorms. The story was once featured on television's "Unsolved Mysteries" series.
Lord Stirling County Park and Environmental Center is located behind the municipal complex on South Maple Avenue. This 900-acre county-owned park includes riding stables where lessons are offered, as well as the Somerset County Environmental Education Center, which runs educational programs for children, adults, and school groups. The park stands on land that was originally the estate of William Alexander, who relinquished his British title of Lord Stirling to command troops in George Washington's army.
Pleasant Valley Park is the largest town-owned park, a 111-acre parcel off Valley Road. It has baseball, softball, and soccer fields, tennis courts, paddle-ball courts, and an amphitheater for summer performances.
Pleasant Valley Pool is next to the park and offers an Olympic-sized pool, a kiddie pool, and play areas.
Brick Academy Museum is an 1809 Federal style building on West Oak Street with a museum of local history on its main floor. Featured exhibits have included one on early education and a display of artifacts from Lord Stirling's plantation. The lower floor of the Brick Academy contains a Research Room with collections focusing on local genealogy, local history subjects, and documents and photographs pertaining to real estate properties in Bernards Township. Garden beds are planted and maintained by the Basking Ridge Garden Club.
Parks: Lord Stirling County Park, Pleasant Valley Park, The MAVERIC Driving Range and Learning Center at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Lyons, Harry Dunham Park, Southard Park.
Local Sites/Attractions: The Brick Academy Museum, Basking Ridge historic district.
Major Roads: Interstates 78 and 287, Routes 22, 24, 202 and 206 are nearby.
Mass Transportation: New Jersey Transit's Gladstone Branch of the Morris and Essex Line offers service from Lyons or Basking Ridge stations in Bernards Township to Penn Station in midtown Manhattan, Hoboken or Newark. A one-way trip to Manhattan is approximately 70 minutes. Lakeland Bus has local commuter service to Port Authority in midtown Manhattan, a trip that takes about an hour.
Housing: Antique farmhouses, antique Colonials, Early American homes, country manors, luxury real estate, Victorians, estate properties, equestrian farms, contemporary homes, town houses and condominiums offer an appealing mix of diverse architectural styles.