Welcome to Mahwah

Bergen’s biggest township is an outdoor-enthusiast’s dream.

Boasting low property taxes, good schools, a low crime rate and abundant parkland, the Township of Mahwah is the place nearly 26,000 residents happily call home. Located in the northwest corner of the county on the New York/New Jersey border, Mahwah is the biggest municipality in Bergen, covering 26 square miles.

The Leni Lenape Indians called it Mawewi, meaning the meeting place of rivers and paths, and the area is still home to around 3,000 Ramapough Mountain Indians, descendents of the Lenape. The Ramapo River runs through the township, which is known as “Bergen County’s Parkland” due to the almost 5,000 acres of state and county parks and reservations here, including Ramapo Valley Reservation, Campgaw Ski Area and Darlington County Park. Between camping, hiking, skiing, fishing, golf and swimming, there’s loads to do outside in this wooded wonderland.

When they aren’t enjoying the great outdoors, the township’s children can be found in one of six public schools, three for grades K-3, Joyce Kilmer Elementary for grades 4 and 5, Ramapo Ridge Middle School for grades 6-8, and Mahwah High School for grades 9-12. Ramapo College of New Jersey, a public liberal arts college, is also located in Mahwah with 6,000 students. 

The township was once known for a Ford manufacturing plant, which operated on 172 acres from 1955 until 1980, but these days, other large corporations such as Net-A-Porter, Jaguar, Stryker, Seiko and UPS call Mahwah home, helping to keep property taxes lower than many other Bergen towns. 

Shopping in Mahwah is limited, with a few small stores centered around the train station area. Most residents head to malls and shopping plazas in nearby Ramsey, Paramus and New York State to get what they need. Plans for a new mall at the Sheridan Crossroads Hotel on the former site of the Ford plant have been in the works for years, though many residents strongly oppose the idea due to traffic and environmental concerns. 

Mahwah is about 30 miles from New York City, and commuting is possible via the Short Line Bus to Port Authority or the NJ Transit train via the Main/Bergen line. The original Mahwah train depot was constructed in 1871 and is now a museum, open Sundays from June to September. The current station was built in 1914 and still serves commuters today.

FUN FACTS

  • The 58-room, 50,000- square-foot mansion Darlington (built for the son of a railroad tycoon) is for sale for $48 million.
  • American Brake Shoe and Foundry opened in 1902, making brake shoes for railroad cars. It employed more than 500 people before its closure in 1983.
  • CBS2 News anchor Chris Wragge grew up in Mahwah and graduated from Mahwah High School.
  • Some of the biggest names in tennis, including Chris Evert, Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova, played in Mahwah when the township hosted the A&P Tennis Classic for 25 years beginning in 1976.
  • Mahwah sports teams are still called the Thunderbirds in honor of the Ford plant that produced 6 million cars in its 25 years in Mahwah. The plant’s closure is mentioned in Bruce Springsteen’s 1982 song “Johnny 99.”

DINING
One of Mahwah’s long-time favorite restaurants is The Mason Jar, serving brick oven pizza, burgers and other American eats since 1977. Other popular comfort food spots include the Mahwah Bar & Grill and the State Line Diner. In the mood for Spanish food? Check out Sangria for tapas or paella, best enjoyed with a glass of sangria, of course. Craving a steak? The River Palm Terrace is a surefire hit, and Italian lovers have Roxanne’s, Sonny & Tony’s or Nonna’s from which to choose. For dessert, pick up a pastry from Bon Appetit or, in warmer months, ice cream at Ernie’s or Field of Creams. 

HOUSING COSTS
The median home value in Mahwah is currently $456,000—up 2.1 percent over last year and predicted to rise 1.8 percent within the next year, according to Zillow. 

LOCALS LOVE

  • Hiking in Ramapo Reservation
  • Skiing or snowboarding at Campgaw Mountain
  • Easy access to Interstate 287
  • Checking out former resident Les Paul’s guitars at the Mahwah Museum

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME
Approximately $107,336, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

DID YOU KNOW?
Poet Joyce Kilmer lived in Mahwah and is thought to have composed his famous poem “Trees” while a resident there.

Categories: Bergen Health & Life