Short Hills is a suburb of New York City located in Essex County, ranked as one of the best places to live in New Jersey. Living in Short Hills offers residents a sparse suburban feel and most residents own their homes. Short Hills is one of the better-known and most established NJ suburbs with a population of 13,428. It is an unincorporated community within the larger town of Millburn; they share a school district. Millburn proper is made up of a few walkable residential neighborhoods with a fairly broad range of real estate while Short Hills is a more sprawling section with, generally, larger houses on bigger lots.
Bordered by Route 24, which provides access to Interstate 78, Short Hills is tucked into a hilly, sylvan pocket in the southwestern corner of Essex, surrounded by Millburn, Summit and South Mountain Reservation. Millburn and Summit have shopping (and restaurants and theaters), but Short Hills also has its own strip shopping centers.
Short Hill’s topography gives it a different feel than neighboring areas. Streets meander over hills and past large lawns. Houses run the style gamut, from classic antiques to new stone-covered custom construction to ranches. Short Hills contains the sections of Knollwood, Glenwood, Brookhaven, Country Club, Merrywood, Deerfield-Crossroads, Mountaintop, White Oak Ridge, and Old Short Hills Estates.
These areas are old and well-established, with beautiful tree-lined streets and natural features. The Hobart Ave section of Short Hills has some of the grandest homes in the area, situated in a woodsy section of rolling hills with an abundance of privacy.
Homes in Short Hills are believed to retain their value better than in surrounding towns. And, considering the cost of the real estate, taxes are more reasonable than in other towns. That is in part because the mall and other commerce provide a strong tax base.
Stewart Hartshorn, a 19th-century tycoon who made his fortune making spring roller shades, named his development Short Hills after the Lenape name for the area, Little Hills. Never incorporated, it is now part of the Township of Millburn, total population about 20,000. But Short Hills has its own ZIP code, 07078, and its lot sizes tend to be larger than Millburn’s.
The public schools in Short Hills/Millburn are a source of pride, constantly being ranked among the best in the state of New Jersey.
Three of the five primary schools are in Short Hills: Deerfield, Glenwood and Hartshorn. Enrollment is about 500 at Deerfield, which runs through Grade 5. Millburn Middle School, in Millburn, has about 1,100 students in Grades 6, 7 and 8. The high school has about 1,400 students in Grades 9 through 12.
Commute/Proximity to New York City
With one train station each, Millburn and Short Hills are two of the best commuting towns in NJ. Both train stations offer direct trains to New York Penn Station, some as fast as 39 minutes but generally around 45. Multiple stations means many more train and parking opportunities. Each station has its own commuter lot and many residential neighborhoods, especially in Millburn, are within walking distance to the station. It’s situated right alongside Routes 78, 24, the Garden State Parkway, and the New Jersey Turnpike for easy driving access in all directions.
The Short Hills station is on the Morris and Essex train line. On weekdays from 5 to 9 in the morning and 5 to 9 in the evening, 14 Midtown Direct trains make the 45-minute trip to and from Penn Station — 7 each way.
Accessibility to South Mountain Reservation is considered a huge asset, but there are several smaller neighborhood parks, including Gero Park, a 36-acre expanse off White Oak Ridge Road, which has a clubhouse, a pool, a playground, a par 3 golf course, tennis courts, basketball courts and several baseball fields.
There are multiple downtowns in Millburn/Short Hills. Millburn’s main downtown takes up a few blocks right next to the train station and includes Taylor Park, the library, a playground, several great restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries. Also in close proximity are the Paper Mill Playhouse, clothing and gift boutiques, a movie theater and hiking trails within walking distance. The middle school and high school on the very near outskirts. And Short Hills features two separate little downtowns of its own. One very quaint strip right across from the Short Hills train station hosts all the basics – dry cleaner, pizza place and takeout restaurants. Part of the actual train station was converted into a bar/restaurant, complete with the actual benches from the original station. The other downtown section of Short Hills is a few blocks over and has some of the best workout studios in the area and a few restaurants and cafes.
In addition to the downtown, there is The Mall at Short Hills -160 stores covering 1.3 million square feet right off an exit ramp of State Route 24. One of the best malls in the state, The Mall at Short Hills included a broad range of shops, from Fendi and Chanel to Forever21 and Gap. This mall is busy nearly every day of the week but there’s another reason people in Millburn and Short Hills love it so much — taxes! The Mall at Short Hills actually offsets some of the property taxes on residential zones so, while situated in Essex County, Millburn and Short Hills actually have lower taxes than many other towns in the county.