Realistically, from Readington, Clinton, Pittstown areas, you are looking at a 45 minute to 1 hour commute on a good day. As you get closer east, of course the amount of time will decrease. I have lived in both Somerset and Hunterdon Counties since 1986 and would never live anywhere else. This part of NJ is the BEST kept secret out there!
We have shopping outlets, malls, public transportation etc. I don't quite know what your wife's co-workers definition of "hicks" is but it does not refer to people living in these areas. The school systems in these areas are among the tops in the state.
Please feel free to contact me by phone or text (908-334-8010) so we can discuss the subject further. I would hate for you to miss out on a wonderful opportunity for your family because of the comments of a select few.
Clinton, NJ 08809