We are currently in Montclair (technically Verona-less than a mile from the main strip of Montclair) & have been for 3 years now. I have lived/worked in South Brunswick/New Brunswick/Princeton/Hopewell areas for many years during & after college which are down toward the Bucks County side but in NJ.
I am originally from Sussex Cty which is very rural, Northwestern-most part of NJ.
So I kind of have a pretty wide scope & experience living here.
Bucks County is very nice & New Hope/Lambertville are fun. Very alternative lifestyle friendly. Not far from Philly.
Montclair, NJ is also nice, alternative friendly. Not far from NYC. We have made it into the city in 30 mins sometimes. Plus there are major train & bus lines all through Montclair, Verona & Orange that run into the city.
IMHO-I prefer being up here in Montclair. We prefer being closer to NYC & feel there are so many fun things going on for kids in Northern NJ & NYC.
And for Moms & Dads, Montclair has tons of restaurants (most are BYOB).
Bucks County might have more opportunities for rural living if you are looking at wanting to be tucked away more.
Many of my friends are still down in Ewing, New Brunswick, Princeton etc so when I miss walking around New Hope or Princeton, we go there to visit. But I don't feel like New Hope & Lambertville are as family friendly as Montclair is??? Maybe it's just me. I was hanging out down there when I was single & working right over the border in Pennington/Hopewell.
We are within walking distance of Verona Park which is also just a mile or so down the road from the main strip of Montclair. Verona park is beautiful. There is a lake with a walking path around it, a snack house with boat rentals, tennis courts & a large playground area with the 1-5 year old side & then a bigger kids side-swings in between.
Rt 46 is close enough by that during non peak traffic times, you can shoot out there quick. Babies R Us, Willowbrook Mall, Buy Buy Baby, Barnes & Noble, Home Depot, Target etc.
We are within a mile of 2 different Whole Foods. I know some people don't like WF but I have done extensive comparison's on certain things that I insist on buying more "natural" & the 365 brand is cheaper than Shoprite, Kings, Stop & Shop etc.
Taxes are high here but the services are great. Town pools, great libraries, great parks etc.
Any specific ?s-just ask. And if you end up in Montclair-let me know-we can meet at the park with the kids