Seated patiently at the bend of the Raritan River, just beyond the high rises and bustle of New Brunswick, is Highland Park, a verdant hinterland of rolling hills and stately, spacious suburbs. Home originally to the Lenape, the area was for centuries the site of careful cultivation, the indigenous peoples maintaining clearings for deer within the forests and fields for growing atop the fertile, sun baked hills. It was here, in the orbit of New Brunswick, that the first European colonists chose to build ranches and plantations, placing permanent settlements where previously none had existed. From then on, generations of farmers would watch from these hills as the the sun rose behind them, settling above the river before silhouetting the skyline, the days final sun beams being sifted through the henge of buildings. The first real residential development took place beginning in the 1870s, with houses popping up along the Camden and Amboy Railroad, eventually branching out deeper into the surrounding farmland. It was around this time that Edison, then the expansive Raritan Township, annexed the emerging neighborhood of Highland Park, which many then still knew as East New Brunswick. It was not until 1905 that the town was reincorporated as its own municipality. By that point, Highland Park had blossomed into a roomy, tree lined suburb a comfortable distance from the city across the river and the industrial centers to the north.
That remains a fitting description for the town today, as Highland Park has worked so hard to maintain its unique character as a quaint residential community between giants. Enjoy a stroll along riverfront Donaldson Parks, take in diverse masterworks from an international selection of artists at Zimmerli Art Museum or explore Merriewold Castle, a real medieval estate right here in New Jersey. Get a little lunch along Raritan Avenue or head out to nearby New Brunswick, Edison and Metuchen for even more shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities. Located less than an hour from New York City and with highly rated, comprehensive schools, come home to Highland Park.