Let The Ice Begin


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Pumpkin, on ice

There’s wood stacked up for the boathouse fireplace and a sheet of ice on Verona Park Lake. It’s enough to support the water bottles, branches and stray bits of Halloween pumpkin that have blown onto the lake, but not enough for skaters–just yet. Sunday’s expected weather could mess things up, but sooner or later, there will be a good long cold spell. So while we wait for Dan Salvante, head of Essex County’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs (and a Verona lake skater when he was a kid) to OK this year’s skating in Verona, we thought it might help to review your other options.

The Pond–a flooded field at the corner of Fells Road and Forest Way in Essex Fells–will be the first to freeze. The folks who look after it raise an American flag when it is open, but if you don’t want to drive that far, go to the center of Verona and look for the green “Skating Today” sign in the window of Verona Sports Center. Skate The Pond early in the day if if you’ve got little kids because the hockey crowd will be out later. The warm-up hut is small, but a respite nonetheless.

The Canfield-Morgan House pond in Cedar Grove near the intersection of Fairview and Pompton avenues will be next to freeze. The entrance is off Commerce Road., and while there’s no boathouse, there is an outdoor fireplace. The pond in Grover Cleveland Park often freezes at the same time and it has a lovely boathouse that usually has a roaring fire. Try to park as close to the corner of Brookside Avenue and Runnymeade Road as you can.

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We had several fabulous weeks of skating last winter, and we have high hopes for this year. We’ll put a box on the homepage right under the weather to let you know what’s open.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


  1. Just wanted say that having grown-up in Verona from ’64 till ’84 I have nothing but fond memories of skating at Verona Park….it’s was well worth the wait! We would buy our skates from the Verona Sports Center and head on over to the lake…for a very HOT Chocolate..I will always cherish those days and it is one of the things I miss having moved away…I live at the Jersey Shore…another great asset of living in NJ! The Verona Park is a huge part of my childhood…thank you for sharing the article I enjoyed it immensely!!

  2. I was wondering if Verona Park or Grover Cleveland Park have opened for skating as of yet- the weather has been pretty cold an i’d love to do some skating outside


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