From memories of kayaking on Packanack Lake to shopping with grandparents at Cost Cutters, many of our Brightview Wayne associates are excited to work in and serve a community they love. We talked to a group of four associates about their memories of Wayne, their favorite places to eat, and what makes Wayne such a special town.
Q: Tell us about your history with Wayne.
Lauren Johnson, Vibrant Living Director: I grew up in Wayne and lived there for 28 years. I went to Theunis Dey Elementary School, Schuyler Colfax Middle School, Wayne Hills High School (the better high school in town, sorry Emily!), and William Paterson University. My family still currently lives in Wayne. Most of my close friends have families that have lived in town for decades and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
Emily Vassoler, Associate Executive Director: I am a proud Packanacker! I grew up in Wayne, Packanack Lake, all my life and enjoyed the lake community to its full extent. We owned kayaks, fished, and learned to sail on that lake. In the winter, it was the world’s best ice rink! I went to high school at Wayne Valley and enjoyed their athletics program as a fencer all four years. Lauren and I were on riveling sides of town – she will say she went to the elite high school, but my valley side of Wayne would disagree. My father was a Captain in the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department, and my family enjoyed participating in the town parades, Wayne Day, etc.
Lindsay Fairchild, Community Sales Director: I didn’t grow up in Wayne but in the bordering town of Oakland. My parents and I lived with my grandparents, and their house sat on the border of Wayne and Oakland. I now live in Lincoln Park on the other side of Wayne.
Hannah Miseo, Community Sales Director: I grew up a little north of Wayne in Vernon, a rural town. Vernon was a lovely place to grow up, and I always loved venturing down to the Wayne area with my mom to go shopping and visit family in Packanack Lake.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories of growing up in and around Wayne?
Lauren: I have so many – neighborhood block parties, fireworks every summer, high school football games, and family fun nights through the school. I also enjoyed PAL (Wayne Police Athletic League) summer camps, sports, and the many lakes in town.
Emily: As I grew up, I enjoyed being a camp counselor, participating in the PAL sports leagues, and getting involved with our community church. Also, Wayne is close to New York City, so we were a quick bus ride away from an adventure.
Lindsay: Brightview Wayne actually used to be a strip mall with a Cost Cutters. I went there all the time as a kid. I always loved getting the candy up front! We also often went to the town functions. The big outing was going to Toys R Us and waiting in line early in the morning.
Hannah: I loved coming to Wayne to do some shopping and visit the Willowbrook Mall! My mom would always treat us to something fun, and we would get to go to different restaurants after a day of shopping.
Q: What makes Wayne a great place to live?
Lauren: Wayne is an amazing place to live! Everything you need is within a five-minute drive. There is also plenty of shopping and other fun things to do. I still like to take advantage of the local parks, walking trails, and even great hiking spots.
Emily: Wayne offers so many opportunities for families. Whether it be picnics, block parties, or the town pool, there is a strong community culture.
Lindsay: Wayne has all the amenities and features you want but still maintains this fantastic small community vibe. There are beautiful, classic homes in the town, and there is such a strong community. Generations love to live and stay here.
Hannah: Anything you could ever need is never more than a ten-minute drive, and there are lots of great local, family-owned businesses to support!
Q: What are your favorite shops or restaurants local to the town?
Lauren: There are so many great restaurants! Some of my favorites are Positano for a great slice of pizza or pasta dish, Double Ai for sushi and Chinese, Zorba for delicious Greek food, and of course, the Wayne Hills Diner has something for everyone!
Emily: Well, I worked at Packanack Bakery for many years, so I would be lying if I did not say they have the best crumb cake around. Wayne has many pizzerias in town, and any local would know that you order the best pie from each. Tony’s is your go-to plain pie, but Positano’s has the best Fresca pie – they are famous for it! Corrado’s Market is an essential stop when visiting; they have fresh, authentic Italian food.
Lindsay: Guacamole Wayne knows me on a first-name basis, and it is too close for comfort! There are also lots of amazing bagel shops. I also enjoy visiting the Laurelwood Arboretum and Pines Lake.
Hannah: A few tried and true favorites are Positanos and Laurie’s Homemade Candies!
Q: Why are you excited about Brightview Wayne opening?
Lauren: I’m so excited that Brightview is coming to Wayne because it will fit into the community seamlessly. Everything Brightview stands for aligns with the values found within this town and the people who live here. I’m thrilled to be able to share all the things I love about Wayne with the residents and involve them in the great life Wayne has to offer!
Emily: When I saw the opportunity to open a Brightview in Wayne, I was ecstatic, and I knew I had to be part of this new beginning. Brightview’s values and missions align so closely with my personal beliefs. I am excited to bring my passion back to the community I love. Being a long-time Wayne resident, I know how many opportunities there are for our community to get involved with the town, and I look forward to sharing that with our future residents.
Lindsay: I know how important it is for families to stay in Wayne; I have 16 first cousins that live in the area! I’m glad to offer residents of Wayne the opportunity to stay close and have fewer burdens in terms of home maintenance.
Hannah: Wayne is such a proud and passionate town; it has a lot to offer!
Brightview Senior Living builds, owns, and operates award-winning vibrant senior living communities in eight states along the East Coast: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. We offer senior Independent Living, Assisted Living, Enhanced Care, and Wellspring Village®, a specialized neighborhood for people living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Schedule a personal visit to experience our communities firsthand.