The “Sum” of Summit: Urban Agenda NYC’s Guide to Summit, NJ

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Summit, New Jersey is a modern locale steeped in history. Known as one of the most prestigious towns in the country, Summit was first settled around 1710 as a region of small farms. With the 1837 addition of the Morris and Essex railroad line, the town became increasingly commercialized and by the late 1800s, it was considered the premiere weekend resort area for wealthy city-dwellers. Summit, aptly named for its location atop the Second Watching Mountain, quickly became known for its rural charm.  Due to its close proximity to New York City, many families built summer estates in the town to enjoy the fresh air and vast natural landscape.  

Fast-forward to 2015 and Summit is still attracting well-to-do government and business leaders looking to raise a family in a quaint town while quickly and easily commuting into Manhattan for work. This transportation hub in Union County boasts striking Tudor and Colonial style homes from the 1900s, nationally ranked schools, scenic arboretums, and quality shops and restaurants.

Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a day trip full of family fun, the tree-lined streets of Summit, New Jersey are ready to welcome you. Below, Urban Agenda: NYC maps out the perfect trip to Summit for every traveler’s taste.

Rise and Shine

If you’re in the mood for huge portions and free flowing coffee for breakfast, the Summit Diner is your place. Calling an old railroad car home, this nostalgic 1930s-styled establishment embodies the quintessential American diner. If you plan on indulging in their delicious Taylor Ham on a weekend morning, be prepared to wait alongside the usual crowd of people craving an authentic diner breakfast. The address is 1 Union Place. 908.277.3256.

How about some cookie dough pancakes or a crab cake benedict to kick off your day? At food. you can enjoy all the breakfast classics with a modern twist. Only one block away from the train, food. is not only conveniently located for out-of-towners, but also focuses on environmental responsibility and charitable events. The address is 399 Springfield Avenue. 908.277.6222 or

The Boxwood Café is a coffee oasis awaiting those in need of a quick, yet relaxing jolt of caffeine in the morning. Using Intelligentsia Coffee Beans, Boxwood is known for producing a high-quality brew. While it features café standards like Americanos, Cappuccinos, and a vast variety of teas, Boxwood also offers decadent specialized drinks like their Honey Cinnamon Latte (made from locally sourced honey), as well as delicious gluten-free sweets and treats.  The address is 17 Beechwood Road. 908.219.4076 or

Summit web 2

Shop Till You Drop

Going from a website to a bona fide brick and mortar storefront in the center of Summit, Willow St. Boutique is stocked with chic, easy to wear fashions for women. From Ella Moss and Joie to Frye and Nanette Lepore, their new weekly merchandise—including an impressive selection of designer jeans—features the trendiest styles with an urban bend. The address is 431 Springfield Avenue. 908.277.3334 or

With owner Bob Carroll having worked in clothing retail in Summit for more than 20 years, it’s clear that his men’s haberdashery, John Hyatt Clothing knows how to cater to the local fashions. Named after his late father, John Hyatt Carroll, the store offers menswear that makes a distinctive connection between old and new. John Hyatt carries preppy-traditional clothing in classic American and English styles, including a Peter Millar Crown Shop, which is limited to an exclusive group of retail partners. The address is 334 Springfield Avenue. 908.522.8790 or

Named after its co-owners, Amanda Murray and Erica Finnan, Murray & Finn is an adorable boutique in downtown Summit that provides chic clothing for women during all phases of pregnancy. In addition to maternity and nursing wear, Murray & Finn carries clothing, toys, and accessories for little ones up to seven years of age. The address is 46 Maple Street. 908.522.4513 or

Started by a mother and daughter team from Summit, No. 18 Boutique knows how to dress its locals. This high-end women’s clothing store sells an edited and curated selection of American and European designers. The address is 18 Maple Street. 908.273.4087.

According to the clothing store Lord Ivy, they carry clothing, gifts, and accessories “for women who love to have fun, look good and feel good.”  Known to have a diverse selection of beach apparel, Lord Ivy has been a Summit favorite for over 20 years. The address is 336 Springfield Avenue. 908.273.0199.

Find Your Adventure 

Listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places, the Reeves-Reed Arboretum is a 12.5 acre natural wonderland that is perfect for families. The landscaping at the arboretum is in the style of the late 19th and 20th century and is known for its impressive herb garden and striking daffodils during the month of April. Tours of the dense woodlands, formal gardens, and Wisner House can be arranged upon request Tuesday-Friday and Saturdays from 9am to 5pm. The address is 165 Hobart Avenue. 908.273.8787 or

Greenwood Gardens provides its guests with 28 acres of preserved land.  Known for its majestic gardens and landscaping, Greenwood also features stunning architecture, statuary, and artwork. Patrons can picnic in the outdoor patio area, attend tours of the grounds guided by knowledgeable docents, and observe the thousands of wildlife species and plant life Saturday-Tuesday 10am to 4pm. The address is 274 Old Short Hills Road. 908.258.4026 or

Relax and Revive

Drop by Exhale’s Summit, New Jersey location for a quick and effective pick-me-up. For $28/class, individuals have access to the full suite of Exhale’s award-winning Core Fusion classes. This popular high intensity interval-training program is guaranteed to make you feel healthy and energized after a day of Summit sightseeing. The address is 7 Bank Street. 908.206.1102 or

Woodhouse Day Spa is perhaps the most serene location in Summit. The upscale full service spa offers over 70 treatments including a 90-minute volcanic hot stone massage, luxurious facials, and premiere nail care. Supervised by trained therapists and certified practitioners, the staff ensures result-oriented treatments that focus on overall health and wellness. The address is 420 Springfield Avenue. 908.608.1120 or

Summit web 3

 Satisfy Your Stomach

Gorgonzola Salad? Black Spaghettini? Tuscan Stew? At La Focaccia Ristorante you can have all of Italy’s finest foods in this Tuscan-style high-end trattoria. The address is 523 Morris Avenue. 908.227.4006 or

If you’re ready for some seriously fresh fish and innovative hibachi, Taka Sushi is the go-to spot for Summit locals. Among their most popular items are the Spicy Tuna Roll or Black Angel Roll. The address is 95 Summit Avenue. 908.277.0886 or

The Huntley Taverne is a rustic eatery with cathedral ceilings, a wraparound porch, and two wood-burning stoves. It is the perfect spot to grab a drink and savor seasonal tavern-style cuisine. The address is 3 Morris Avenue. 908.273.3166 or

How about some history with that drink? Winberie’s Restaurant and Bar is housed in the beautiful Summit Opera House, which was built in 1893 for the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Come 2015, the locale has a much more spirited atmosphere, but maintains its historic roots. The address is 2 Kent Place Boulevard. 908.277.4224 or

There’s nothing like finishing off a night with an award-winning milkshake, which is just one of the many treats McCools Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt has to offer. With more than 45 flavors of ice cream and outdoor seating available, everyone is guaranteed to go home with a satisfied sweet-tooth. The address is 14 Beechwood Road. 908.522.9731 or

Plan Your Stay

In existence since 1868 and in its current location since 1929, The Grand Summit Hotel has certainly withstood the test of time. Established in order to cater to New Yorkers seeking to escape the city, this historical hotel has maintained its elegance. Just 30 minutes from New York City, the boutique hotel with 149 rooms and suites is ideally located for those seeking to experience both the city and the country while visiting Summit overnight. The address is 570 Springfield Avenue. 908.273.3000 or

Summit web 1