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Experience Montclair

by Kevin Saez
 Just because the semester is over doesn’t mean that you have to leave Montclair behind. You may feel that visiting the place of your education while school isn’t in session will give you flashbacks of the stress of finals and the seemingly endless cold of winter; but there are many good times to be had on and off campus. Not only does Montclair State University come to life in the summer, but the town of Montclair does as well. Here’s a list of summer stops in Montclair, which just won the Great American Main Street Award.
Appreciate Nature
Presby Memorial Iris Gardens
474 Upper Mountain Avenue
Photo Credit: Kristen Bryfogle

Photo Credit: Kristen Bryfogle

     In the month of May and early June, Montclair is home to a lovely garden of irises in full bloom. These flowers are just a short walk or drive from main campus at Presby Memorial Iris Gardens. You can also buy irises to start your own garden. The best part is that admission is donation-based, so whether you give $5 or $50, you can walk through this flourishing location early in the summer.
Van Vleck House and Gardens
21 Van Vleck Street

Photo Credit: Kristen Bryfogle

      This once-privately owned home now acts as a public garden that blooms all year round. There are many events and programs at the gardens that you can sign up for or you can just take a walk through the wisteria and appreciate the Classical architecture of the home. Admission is free to this idyllic spot and positive reviews on websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp make it a must-see attraction for nature-lovers.
Taste the World
Mesob Restaurant
515 Bloomfield Ave
Costanera Restaurant
511 Bloomfield Ave
Uncle Momo
702 Bloomfield Ave
Cuban Pete’s
428 Bloomfield Avenue
     Both Upper and Downtown Montclair are full of top-tier restaurants of all sorts. You can find Ethiopian cusine at the Mesob Restaurant, Peruvian cuisine at Costanera Restaurant, Lebanese dishes at Uncle Momo and Cuban delights at the fan-favorite among students: Cuban Pete’s. Plan a night out with friends and try some new flavors at any of the impressive eateries in Montclair.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
Speakeasy Vintage
465 Bloomfield Avenue
      Downtown Montclair has unique boutiques with some great finds. My personal favorite is Speakeasy Vintage. The store owner is a really cool guy and the fashion there is great and surprisingly affordable for vintage and vintage-inspired items. It is definitely a top place to stop if you are into throwback styles.
     There are several other hip consignment stores and chain stores throughout the town that offer great retail therapy. If you swing by in August, you can pick up some great pieces for your back-to-school wardrobe. However, these shops are worth visiting all year round.
Let Montclair Entertain You
Bow Tie Bellevue Cinemas 4
260 Bellevue Avenue
Montclair Art Museum
3 South Mountain Avenue  
     With the music venue Webster Hall, the Montclair Art Museum and annual Film Festival, there are so many art forms to enjoy in Montclair’s streets. You can see shadowcastings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Bellevue Theater in Upper Montclair on the first Saturday of every month. The art museum features travelling exhibits and a collection of American and Native American art. These art projects should hold you over until the Fall semester, when performances at Kasser Theater start again.
Go to the Ball Game
     Come back to campus to see the minor league team, the Jackals, face off against their opponents’, at Yogi Berra Stadium. You can check out the Yogi Berra Museum while you’re there. The Jackals have all sorts of special events, like fireworks displays, Bring Your Pet to the Game days and deals on food and drinks, with hot dogs and brewskis for $1 on certain days. This stadium allows you to enjoy America’s favorite pastime close to home.
     No matter what your interests are, there is so much to do at Montclair during summer break. Don’t leave the town behind after you hand in your final papers. Montclair could be the perfect summer spot for you and your friends!

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