Due to the huge resurgence in cycling I put together a local tour that offers the following benefits:
- Stops at scenic and some historic locations I bet many people don’t know exist in the area.
- Uses low traffic streets with wide shoulders.
- 7.5 miles with little elevation – good for riders of all levels and ages.
Your starting and ending point for this tour are the Avis Campbell Gardens located behind the United Way building located at 60 South Fullerton Avenue in Montclair.
Also, you might want to consider bringing a little cash for when you get to bonus stop at the end of this ride. Cheers!
Turn left out of the parking lot, make your 1st right onto Union Street, then make your 1st right onto one the prettiest streets in town.
Head to end of Wilde Place and turn left. Ride up to Orange Rd., turn right and cycle to the intersection of Bloomfield Ave. Don't cross the street! Istead, walk your bike up the street to the first building on the left. Inspirational stoop, but this is a private residence so don't take a seat. Plenty of time for that later.
Now you can cross Bloomfield Ave.. where Orange Rd. turns into Bell St. Follow Bell St. around a bend to Valley Rd. Turn left and ride 2 blocks to Walnut St. Turn right and coast down Walnut St. across 4 intersections. Turn left on Frick St. and look for the 1st driveway. Can't find much history about this mural. My best guess is that it has something to do with the jazz club around the corner.
Turn right on Label St. and right on Depot St., make a quick left then a right onto Greenwood St. and follow to the end and into Crane Park. I can't find much history behind the tubular sculpture but their is a lot of history behind Crane Park; It faces the original site of the home of Israel Crane, the founder of Montclair’s precursor, Cranetown.
Continue on Gates to the intersection of Orange Rd. and turn left. Follow Orange Rd. through the South End shopping section and turn left on Willowmere Ave. Follow to the end and turn right into one of my favorite hidden bike paths in tiny Canterbury Park.
Ride the bike path through the park to Pleasant Way. Turn left and follow the loop to Orange Rd. Turn left, left again on Brooklawn Rd. Turn left on Willow St., right on Cross St., then left on Ridgewood Ave. Turn Left on Reynolds Rd. then right on Chestnut Hill Rd. Follow to end of the court and look for out place driveway to find the Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian-style Stuart Richardson House. This is a private residence so you can't get much closer than the driveway, but you can still get a decent view of one the iconic architect's work I bet you didn't know was in our backyard.
Go back the way you came on Chestnut Hill Rd. and turn left on Ridgewood Ave. Ride 1 block and turn right on Maolis Ave., then turn right again onto Hawthorne Ave. The small yet pristine Freeman Gardens, containing mostly roses, are on your right.
Turn around cycle away from the gardens to end of Hawthorne Ave. Turn left, then right on Ridgewood Ave, then turn left onto Lincoln Street. After a quick climb follow to the end and turn right on Elm St. Turn right the left onto Hawthorne Pl. Follow to S. Fullerton Ave. Turn right and go 1 block. Look for the driveway for the gardens on your right. Ride to the back of the parking lot to find brick shed. Well done!
If you want to enjoy nice post-ride adult beverage among the beautiful flora Amanti Vino is located a block away from the gardens. Ride PAST a street called The Crescent and turn left into the 1st parking lot. You'll find the back entrance to the store on your right.