NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - After 15+ years as a Berkeley Heights resident, I thought I knew our neighbor, New Providence, pretty well. It's where we go to church (when you could actually attend a church), it offers great restaurant options, it's home to the nearest Starbucks and UPS store, and the Pioneers were the nemesis when my kids played soccer for GL and of course the Thanksgiving football game.
With quarantine 2020 requiring us to stay local, I decided to explore it a bit more thoroughly. In 2019 a group of friends and I ran every road in Berkeley Heights over the course of the year, for no reason other than it seemed like an interesting idea. With that same thing in mind, from April to May I tackled all the roads of our next-door neighbor.
Just like the Berkeley Heights runs, I was struck by how lucky we are to live in this area. From the spectacular houses on Pine Court and Oakwood Drive to the Lenci wilderness and nature trails off Livingston Path. There is much to love about living here. Despite being involved in kids' sports for years, I discovered parks and sports fields I had no idea existed, Oakwood Park, Warner Field, and Grove Terrace Park. And hills, New Providence certainly has its share of hills -- 4,804 feet of elevation in total, from the 20 percent grade where Elm meets Mountain to the mile-long leg-killer of Union Avenue.
The 3.6 square miles that make up New Providence provided me with 86.3 miles of running and a much-needed distraction from the times we find ourselves in.
Thank you to all the people of the town that gave me a friendly smile or wave and never asked why I was running up and down dead-end streets.