There are (by our count) 46 airports in NJ. This is our attempt to chronicle all of them. Essex County Airport (KCDW), which is one of our home bases seemed like a logical place to start.
Essex County Airport (more commonly referred to as Caldwell Airport) is a class-D airport located 12nm NNW of Newark International Airport, sitting under the "inverted wedding cake" of the overlying NY-Bravo.
AvantAir and AirBound. Both are full service FBOs with very professional and courteous staff. There is cheaper fuel elsewhere, but the prices at KCDW are not outrageous. Mechanics shop on field as well. 30 minutes from Manhattan by car. A bit further out than Teterboro (KTEB), but much much much more friendly towards non-jet GA traffic.
If you are unfamiliar with the area, be careful not to confuse Caldwell with Morristown (KMMU), which is just 8nm away, and has a similar runway layout (13-31 & 5-23). It's an easy mistake to make, especially at night. We've heard more than one pilot on the radio with KCDW tower while circling KMMU.
With three flight schools in operation on the field---AirFleet, Century, and AirBound---the tower is accustomed to a lot of traffic, and is used to dealing with student pilots or those not yet familiar with the area. In short, very professional and patient. This does cut both ways. It appears that KCDW tower gets its fair share of trainee controllers as well, so it's a give-and-take sort of situation.
There used to be a nice little restaurant on the field called the 94th Bomb Group Restaurant---a favorite of local pilots. Unfortunately, it went out of business a few years ago, and the site has been paved over and turned into hangars and tie downs. The only dining option within walking distance now is the Crave Restaurant across the street. (The FBOs do have fully stocked vending machines, however.)