Weekend Getaway: Montclair Has Food, Lodging, Culture — and Adventure

[Editor’s note: this article was originally published in August 2018]

A change of scenery is good for the soul. If you can get out of town, rest, relax, and restore without leaving the state, even better. Montclair, a thriving Essex County community located at the foot of the First Watchung Mountain, offers something intriguing for nearly every visitor.

From live music and gorgeous gardens to an array of dining options and fine art, you may find that you’ll need more than just a few days to enjoy it all.

Below are some highlights that make Montclair the perfect destination for a weekend getaway:


Husband and wife team Steven Plofker and makeup mogul Bobbi Brown transformed a Georgian Inn into a boutique hotel, The George Inn, in the heart of Montclair.

Courtesy of The George

Blending historic bones with modern flair, the couple reimagined the space to create a chic aesthetic that boasts products from some of Brown’s hand-picked favorite brands. You won’t have to worry about leaving your pup behind. All pooches receive V.I.P. treatment as they’re welcomed with a dog bed and treats, for an extra $75 per dog per night fee.

Courtesy of The George

Each of the hotel’s 32 rooms is uniquely designed to make guests feel comfortable yet pampered. A continental breakfast buffet is available in the dining room each day from 7:30am-10:30am at a charge of $15.00 per guest.

Courtesy of The George

To book your stay, visit The George’s website.


Marvel at works of art, enjoy outdoor wonderlands, or browse an independent bookstore. Whichever you choose, its bound to be engaging and edifying.

Montclair Art Museum

Located at 3 S. Mountain Ave., Montclair Art Museum engages visitors through distinctive exhibitions, educational programs, and collections of American and Native American art. To learn more about current exhibitions, visit the museum’s website.

Van Vleck House & Gardens 

These private gardens are open to the public, 365 days a year. The house is a center for non-profit groups and is available to them for meetings, retreats, and fundraisers. Visitors are welcome to enjoy all the garden spaces and are encouraged to join check out classes, concerts, and special events.

Presby Iris Gardens:

The Iris garden, located at the base of more than 7 1/2 acre Mountainside Park, is home to over 10,000 irises, comprised of approximately 1,500 varieties producing 100,000 blooms throughout the season, which runs from mid-April through September.

Watchung Booksellers is a vibrant, independent community bookstore located on Fairfield Street. In addition to its fine collection of literary fiction, biography/memoir and history, with strong sections of travel, education, poetry, and the arts, it features a fabulous kids’ section as well as a Teen Corner. With book clubs and author appearances, its truly a special venue.

Live Music & More:

Downtown Montclair came alive when The Wellmont reopened in 2015. Known for hosting renowned artists ranging from comedians to musicians, the venue’s calendar could be a great first step in planning your weekend.

Since its inception in 1987, Outpost in the Burbs has produced more than 500 concerts by internationally known folk artists—Judy Collins, Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman, Richie Havens, J.D. Souther, Dar Williams—and more. The non-profit outreach organization is dedicated to building community through music, community service, and cultural programs.

Montclair State University’s Peak Performances series provides unique theatrical experiences that foster both creativity and learning for on-campus and community audiences throughout the academic year. Performing artists include members of the University campus from the Department of Theatre and Dance and the John J. Cali School of Music, as well as with established and upcoming creators on a national and international level. Visit the website for updates on the 2018-2019 season.


From casual to elegant and familiar to eclectic, Montclair’s dining scene offers something to please every palate. The following are few eateries that have garnered great reviews and come highly recommended.

A cozy and comfortable eatery on Walnut Street, Le Salbuen offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has been featured in The New York Times and on ABC News. Named among NJ Monthly‘s mouth-watering breakfast spots, Le Salbuen’s chefs John and Christina Salierno pay homage to the seasons by using local and organic produce, meats, dairy products and artisnal goods to create their ever-changing farm-to-table menus.

Credit lesalbuencafemarket/Instagram

Laurel & Sage is a modern American restaurant featuring globally inspired, locally sourced cuisine. The BYO, named for the owners’ daughters, is an intimate neighborhood spot where patrons enjoy seafood, farm to table, Italian, Asian, Mediterranean, and American fare.


A perfect date-night destination, Noce77’s romantic ambiance creates a lovely setting whether you’re there for your first date or 50th anniversary.


Whether you prefer to challenge yourself mentally or physically, you’ll find options in Montclair.

Amazing Escape Room prides itself on providing guests with an amazing, interactive experience through creative room concepts, service friendly staff, compelling and innovative location design. For those who love puzzles or riddles, don’t miss this.

A county park, consisting of a 157.15-acres, Mills Reservation is located in Cedar Grove and Montclair. The reservation, maintained by the Essex County Park Commission, consists of several walking/jogging trails, including four major trails, one of which leads to a cliff overlooking the iconic New York skyline.

If you’re looking for an interesting and easy-to-access getaway – or even a staycation for Essex County residents – Montclair offers plenty to see and do all in one place.