BRIDGEWATER – It must have been the bison burgers at the Top O’Th’ Hill Tavern that put Bridgewater over the top.
Money magazine has ranked Bridgewater as No. 31 in its annual “Best Places to Live in America” list for 2020.
Bridgewater and Mt. Laurel, No. 16, were the only New Jersey towns to make the list. Hillsborough, which has long touted being named on the list several times, did not make this year’s list.
To explain why Bridgewater made the list, Money wrote, “If you’re on the hunt for a great place to raise a family near New York City, this New Jersey suburb might be it.”
Money wrote that homes in Bridgewater “go for around $390,000 – well below New Jersey’s $554,000 median.” Money also touts Bridgewater-Raritan schools because students “perform 18% better than state averages on math testing and 20% better on reading tests.”
Monery notes “the city’s small-town feel sets it apart from others in the region. Take in a weekend baseball game thanks to Bridgewater’s own TD Bank Ballpark (home of the Somerset Patriots) and follow it up with bison burgers at mom-and-pop favorite Top O’Th’ Hill Tavern.”
Mayor Matt Moench, a township native, is proud of the designation.
“While it is an honor to appear in such a prestigious list, it will only go to show the rest of the country what we, as a community, already know,” Moench said. “Bridgewater is a beautiful and diverse community in every sense of the word and our residents take pride in keeping it that way.”
On the Top 50 list, Bridgewater falls between Shakopee, Minnesota and Delaware, Ohio. Money.com illustrated Bridgewater’s place on the list with a picture from the Somerset County 4-H Fair at North Branch Park on Milltown Road.
To qualify for the list, towns must have a population of at least 25,000. The list was narrowed by eliminating towns with more than double the national crime rate; a median income level lower than 85% of its state’s median; or little to no ethnic diversity.
From the 1,890 towns that made the first cut, Money collected nearly 212,000 different data points, including economic factors, housing, cost of living, diversity, health and safety, education, weather and lifestyle, and amenities.
To ensure geographic diversity, Money placed only two towns per state on the list.
Mike Deak is a reporter for MyCentralJersey.com. To get unlimited access to his articles on Somerset and Hunterdon counties, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.