Located in the heart of South Orange, the Avenue is pivoted around live music, good cheer, shops, and nature. This spirited town brings forth a positive environment, especially during turbulent times and uncertainty. Introducing “Summer Saturdays”- residents can enjoy free live music while outdoor shopping or outdoor dining in downtown South Orange (1). Additionally, on Saturdays, South Orange residents can find “summer sidewalk sales” from many retail stores such as Kitchen A La Mode, Sparkehouse, and Sadie’s (2). (Dates might change without notice.)
The Avenue residents may be interested in checking out Bistro d’Azur, an artisanal, French, and Mediterranean restaurant kicking the weekends off on Thursdays with a creative tapas menu and a gorgeous outdoor dining setting (3). A head-start to the weekend with al fresco dining! For residents looking to start their morning early, Jackie & Son offers a unique breakfast menu to choose from and get a good start to the day. Located near Bistro d’Azur, residents may take a day away from cooking at home and enjoy their local dining experience. In addition to businesses being opened, the Village’s municipal offices are now opened to the public. Services rendered with masks or face coverings and social distance measures followed. Most services may be conducted online, via mail or phone in addition to in-person (4).
Residents looking to explore outside of the Village may enjoy a day away by packing a basket, a blanket, and an appetite! Special locations to picnic and get the most out of charming towns are:
- Round Valley Recreation Area: home to NJ’s deepest lake, this park offers shady, grassy spots close to the water overlooking the reservoir, and vast skies to take in the sunset from (5). Furthermore, the park provides tables, grills, restrooms, playgrounds, hiking, horseback riding trails, and mountain bike riding trails as well (5).
- Hedden County Park in Morris County: if you’re in the mood for smelling the pines and walking through small water creeks, this is the picnic place for you. This gorgeous park in Randolph delivers a large lake, a pond, fishing deck, play area, picnic shelter, hiking, paved trails, and Indian Falls. A great area to explore and take in some fresh air (5).
- Divine Park in Monmouth: Although smaller than the last two parks, Divine Park has a lot to offer visitors. Beautiful landscapes to sit and take in while enjoying a picnic, lined with willows and cyan blue waters from underground springs (5).
- High Point State Park: A must-see park in the upper corner of NJ, way above sea-level known as Skylands, this spectacular park is worth the drive to enjoy on any sunny day. With the tallest waterfall, picture-worthy forest and farmland, a pavilion at the summit, and trails to enjoy. Excellent and vast for picnics, this a location to visit at least once during the summer (5).
Though summer activities are keeping NJ residents busy, the beginning of 2020’s school year is around the corner. There is much discussion regarding schools reopening and “in-person” education. Many parents are fearful of sending their kids in too early while some teachers also fear the same and may not feel as prepared for the changes that will ensue (6). Nonetheless, rules and regulations as to how schools will reopen are being discussed and new school procedures are being spelled out. It has been made clear that in the event that COVID-19 numbers spike up again, there is always the possibility of remote-learning. With this in mind and although some information may still be ambiguous, it is essential for all parents to prepare ahead of time by visiting the following link with information on the new protocols for when schools reopen- https://patch.com/new-jersey/hoboken/watch-live-murphy-nj-coronavirus-school-reopen-update-6-26-20
A Word to Our Residents at The Avenue
To any resident following The Village’s Center on Facebook, it may not come as a surprise to learn that there is growing concern from a recent spike. There were reported 9 positive COVID-19 tests and in the prior week, there were none (7). This is an alarm because once numbers spike, that number may grow substantially if measures are not taken. South Orange officials and The Avenue’s team would like to continue urging residents to wear masks or face coverings in addition to keeping at least a 6-foot distance away from non-family members. It is especially important to do this when in the hallways.
For residents looking to help out their community, The Village offers many ways to do so! Residents may make donations to the FLAG group where contributions go directly to the South Orange and Maplewood area to frontline and healthcare workers in need of support. For more information and ways to donate, please check out the FLAG Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2661680927454511
Residents looking to donate their time and items can drop off goods for the OLS Food Pantry and The Parenting Center in front of the church on 217 Prospect Street, South Orange. Donations are accepted Monday-Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (8). Residents looking to get more involved may volunteer at The Parenting Center by contacting Karen Kingsley at email@example.com. Additionally, anyone who would like to make masks or donate personal protective equipment supplies may be able to through the SoMA Sewing Volunteers also found in Facebook.
The Avenue residents looking to stay up-to-date and informed on emergencies, non-emergency issues or looking for services may subscribe to The Village’s Emergency Alert Notification System at http://www.southorange.org/610/SO-Alerts.
We can’t say it enough, a special thank you to all the healthcare and frontline workers who continue to work tirelessly to ensure the health and comfort of all others, and a kind thank you to residents of The Avenue that continue to push forward during one of the most difficult times.
We wish you a great August!
-The Team at The Avenue