About Ringwood

About Ringwood

Deep in the stunning Ramapo Mountains on the banks of the Wanaque River, Ringwood is a friendly community of about 13,000 people. One of New Jersey’s premiere recreational regions, the mountain “Highlands” are dotted with countless lakes, several rivers, and many superb regional and state parks, and Ringwood is known for its fantastic views of the New York City skyline. You can enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, boating, camping, skiing, skating, and more here—and what’s more, you’re only an hour’s drive at most from New York City! (Public transportation is also excellent here, with an all-day service to the Port Authority in Manhattan, about a 60-minute trip. 

With modern conveniences and plenty of pretty historic buildings, Ringwood is a charming mix of old and new, and its picturesque beauty guarantees plenty of material for the many local painters and illustrators who call Ringwood home. Local artists support one another to work and exhibit, and Ringwood also has its own community theater, the Iron Mountain Stage Company. Bolstered by tourism, the local hospitality and dining scene is unusually sophisticated for a settlement of this size. 

Location

About 45 miles northwest of New York City, the Borough of Ringwood is in the north end of New Jersey, about 5 minutes drive west of the state line with New York State. Pennsylvania borders due west. 

Geography/Terrain

Situated on the Wanaque River in the heart of the Ramapo Mountains, Ringwood covers about 28 square miles and is surrounded by natural beauty. The densely forested Ringwood Manor State Park is full of trails and lakes, and the nearby Harriman State Park and the Wyanokie Mountains offer further recreational opportunities and scenic vistas.  

The beautiful Wanaque Reservoir runs for about 6 miles between Ringwood at its northern end to Wanaque on its southern end; additional lakes and ponds include Hidden Valley Lake, Lake Rickonda , Adler Pool, Stephens Ponds, Sheppard Pond, Scarletelli Pond, Swan Pond, and Gatun Pond. Apart from the Wanaque River, there are several added waterways in Ringwood, including Ringwood Creek, High Mountain Brook, West Brook, Cupsaw Brook, and Burnt Meadow Brook.  

This region is often referred to locally as the “Highlands” and local residents sometimes find themselves referred to as “Highlanders”. 

Distance to 3 closest major cities

Ringwood is about 40 miles northwest of New York City and 18 miles north of Paterson, NJ. West Milford is just 9 miles west of Ringwood, and other neighboring towns include Suffern and Mahwah to the east, and Oakland and Wanaque to the south. 

Jobs

Ringwood is a small municipality, with local educational, health and social service providers the major employers. Hospitality and retail thrive in this beautiful, tourist friendly part of the Highlands, and local artists and craftspeople cooperate to show and sell their work to the many yearly visitors. Many also find work at the small industrial park, while others choose to commute to New York City (downtown NYC is about 60 minutes away by express bus). 

Housing

Buyers will find an appealing amount of choice when looking for a home in Ringwood. From Colonial to contemporary single-family homes; from duplexes to condominiums, there is something to suit most needs. Homes tend to be in good condition and quality and price mid-range to upscale in this pretty semi-rural community. 

There are several lakeside communities within the Ringwood Borough, several tree lined subdivisions and pretty rural Stonetown.  

In 2006, property tax rates (which include local, school, and county payments), are calculated by multiplying .4522 times your assessed property value. 

Parks/Sports/Recreation/Golf

Ringwood is a green town of tree lined streets and plentiful public parks. An active Parks and Recreation Department organizes a wide range of recreational programs for all ages year round, including baseball, basketball, softball, bocci ball, and tennis in summer and ice skating and skiing in winter. The Parks Department also maintains a superb system of marked hiking and multi use trails through surrounding woodlands. The trails open onto stunning mountain views and are perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and cross country skiing. The Ringwood skate park is a safe and challenging course. 

The Wanaque River passes through Ringwood, and has been dammed just short of town, from whence it continues to flow south. Canoeing and fishing are enjoyed on the Wanaque in summer and ice-fishing and ice skating in winter. Riverside trails are perfect for hiking in summer or cross country skiing in winter, and the Cannonball Trail Footbridge provides some scenic views. Greenwood Lake, the source of the Wanaque, is another lovely local recreation spot. 

There are several State Parks near Ringwood, including the extensive Ringwood State Park, a beautiful natural area that was once home to a flourishing iron industry. The park has an excellent local history museum in the beautiful Skylands Manor and the superb New Jersey Botanical Gardens. 

The Ramapo Mountain State Forrest is another lovely wilderness area, with miles of challenging trails through woodland that offer intermittent views of the New York City Skyline. The many ponds, streams and marshes in Ramapo attract a wide variety of bird- and other wild-life, who also find protection in the neighboring Ramapo Mountain Reservation. A 120-acre clear water mountain lake provides an excellent spot for fishing and bird watching (swimming is not permitted in this wilderness friendly area). 

Norvin Green State Park near Wanaque Reservoir is another scenic forest area, home to myriad bird and animal life. Extensive trails built from old logging roads cater for hikers, and scenic vistas include the Wanaque Reservoir from Wyanokie High Point, the New York skyline, Burnt Meadow Brook and Lake Sonoma. The informative Weis Ecology Center at the park has a lovely butterfly and songbird garden and is near the Chikahoki Falls.  

As if this wasn’t enough, locals also have the massive Harriman State Park to visit, just a short drive north of Ringwood in New York State. Covering 46,647 acres, Harriman is a stunning wilderness, with a resident Black Bear population, superb camping sites, swimming beaches, and hiking trails, and numerous historic sites. Both the Appalachian Trail and the Long Path pass along these hills. 

Thanks to the importance of tourism to the local economy, Ringwood is near a surprising number of top golfing facilities, including the Packanack Golf Club, the North Jersey Country Club, the Preakness Hills Country Club, and the Upper Montclair Country Club. The Passaic County Golf Course in nearby Wayne was one of the first 100 golf clubs to be established in the nation, and is a beautiful facility found in the Preakness Valley Park next to the historic Dey Mansion. The course has two eighteen-hole courses, a shag field, and several practice greens. 

Special Attractions/Events

Ringwood’s ever increasing popularity is almost entirely due to the superior recreational opportunities that life here offers, and to the fact that New York City is only 40 miles away. Locals may enjoy stunning scenery, year round mountain and water sports, and a small town community while being less than an hour’s drive from the eastern seaboard’s primary cultural and economic center.  

Locals enjoy many get-togethers year round, from community sporting events to seasonal celebrations like the annual Easter Bonnet Parade, the Halloween Party, the Tree Lighting Ceremony in December, Holiday Window Painting and Santa's Arrival by Helicopter (both firm family favorites). The annual Highlands Festival is a popular event in early fall. 

Interesting Facts/Historic Buildings and Places

The Ringwood area was first settled by outsiders in 1730, when iron was found in the mountains nearby. Peter Hasenclever developed mines and works in 1764 and lived at Ringwood Manor, which is now a National Historic Landmark and local history museum, surrounded by the Ringwood State Park. Robert Erskine, his successor, oversaw the production of munitions (particularly cannonballs) for the patriots during the American Revolution, and George Washington was a frequent visitor to this strategic location. Eventually the Manor passed to the Hewitt family and their descendents, who owned a vast 33,000 acre estate then named “The Forges and Manor of Ringwood”. While the Hewitt’s gave most of their land to the state in 1936, part of it included company housing for mine workers, and this constitutes Upper Ringwood today.  

Many early landholders became wealthy, as land values appreciated and housing was built. At Shepard Lake, two such men were Loomis and Prince, whose histories are found at the Lautenburg Visitor’s Center, overlooking the lake in the Ringwood Manor Park. The center is well worth a visit, with interesting exhibits on the iron industry and natural history of Sterling Forest. Stetson and MacKenzie Lewis built “Skylands Farm”, which has also been preserved at the Manor Park. At the turn of the century, most locals were mine workers or wealthy families who lived on large estates, and by 1918 Ringwood was large enough to incorporate. 

The nineteen-twenties and thirties saw the establishment of the Ringwood Land Company, who built cabins on the lakefront and marketed them to tourists. Many city dwellers were attracted to this beautiful spot, and road, electric, and water infrastructure was built, including the Wanaque Reservoir. 

During the Second World War the mines were sold to the U.S. Government for possible use, and after the war they were sold back to the private sector. After increasingly intermittent operation, the mines were closed for good in 1957. The post-war development boom saw the population of Ringwood explode as development companies successfully promoted the borough. 

Contact Information

Karen Adatto
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
130 Skyline Drive
Ringwood NJ 07456
973-962-5413