The Mercer County town has long attracted affluent professionals who take on long commutes in return for the charming setting and top-rated schools.

After living in Manhattan for 25 years, Donna Fay decided to create a new kind of life in 2019, in Princeton, N.J.

Ms. Fay, a licensed aesthetician who advises people on how to look their best “from the clavicle up,” moved with her baby son from the Upper East Side into a house with parts dating from the early 1700s. The property, which sits on the edge of Mercer County, 10 minutes from the center of town, included a carriage house, a cottage, a tennis court, a pool and a paved courtyard. And while some might have been daunted by the upkeep of its almost eight acres, Ms. Fay, 49, said she was born on a farm and had “no problems getting on a lawn tractor and cutting grass.”

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