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“The Bergen County borough of Demarest packs a small-town feel into an area
not even three miles wide and less than 10 miles from Midtown Manhattan."

Small Town Meets Big History in Demarest

When families want to live near New York City but experience the calm of suburban life, Bergen County offers a range of options including larger, more active towns and smaller communities that almost conjure the feeling of the quiet country. The latter choice provides a sense of near-complete escape from the noise of city living, while keeping residents within reasonably close distance of excellent opportunities for employment, schools and culture. One of the quieter options includes Demarest, a borough that adds a sense of history to its appealing mix.

The Bergen County borough of Demarest packs a small-town feel into an area not even three miles wide and less than 10 miles from Midtown Manhattan. A world away in terms of traffic, the borough greets commuters with beautiful tree-lined streets and few traffic lights. Also apparent is the absence of industry and few apartments, a sign that people come to Demarest to settle for the long term.

In fact, the history of Demarest extends far back and is linked to important moments in the development of the United States. The area now known as Demarest was part of an eight-square-mile tract of land purchased in 1667 by David Desmarets, a French Huguenot ancestor of later Demarests, from the Hackensack branch of the Leni Lenape Indian tribe. During the Revolutionary War in the 18th century, which led to the founding of the nation, according to local history, British troops set upon Demarest during the war in 1776, when it is reported that a young woman saw their approach and alerted her father, who rushed to nearby Fort Lee to inform General George Washington. In this way, Demarest played a key role in saving what would become the United States.

Also during the Revolutionary War, two local patriot militia commanders, John M. Goetschius and John Huyler, owned and lived in a stone house that still stands today on County Road. First built by the Westervelts, a family of Dutch settlers in the 17th century, the stone house and three others on the same road now occupy the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Places. One of the houses has been occupied by priests that serve the area’s growing Korean-American community, a strong sign of how the rich past blends into the vibrant present in Demarest.

Likewise, the modern shopping district of Demarest downtown, which is tranquil and pleasant, is built from 19th century clapboard and brick at the intersection of Hardenburgh Avenue and County Road. The district consists of a limited but helpful number of stores for essentials such as food and dry cleaning. Again, in Demarest, the emphasis is placed on peaceful and quiet living, with options for more shopping and entertainment located in nearby town like Closter and within easy reach.

Not far from the downtown shopping area in Demarest, residents and visitors will find the duck pond and the Peace Gazebo built in 1986. This setting, a popular place for photos of weddings and other important milestones, offers free concerts and other cultural activities throughout the summer. Perhaps no location better captures the spirit of Demarest, a community committed to the quiet and restful life while being mindful of the world around it.

Despite its interesting history, the story of the borough’s name is rather conventional. Demarest is named for state senator Ralph Demarest, who was a direct descendant of David Desmarets, the director of the New Jersey Line Railrod that brought trains to town in 1859. The train station built in 1872 has been converted to a center to serve seniors, since train service to Demartest ceased in 1959.

Quiet with a rich sense of history, Demarest offers a suburban option in Bergen County for residents interested in being part of the world while having a rest from the fast pace.

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About Orly Chen

  Orly Chen is a leading
Tenafly real estate agent
in Northern New Jersey
specializing in the Bergen
County area. Her
outgoing personality,
honesty and
approachability and
integrity make Orly
one of the most sought-
after agents in the
Northern New Jersey
real estate market

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