New Jersey gets a lot of crap. Like, A LOT of crap. We’re the butt of many jokes, and I get it, I really do. There are more than enough TV shows that display to the country that we are a bunch of overly tanned, heavily makeup’ed, thick accented weirdos living in highly industrialized, gross cities and cursing all day long. While, yes, there are many people like that, we’re not all like that. (Okay, so I do curse a lot. Maybe some stereotypes are true.)
A large majority of “out of towners” come into the state through Newark airport and then drive down the Turnpike, passing factories and refineries and billboards galore. (If you’ve ever seen the Sopranos, the opening sequence was taped on the Turnpike) So no wonder they may thing that NJ is the pits. But in reality, it’s full of forests, mountains, beaches, museums. You name it, we’ve got it. But no one ever talks about it.
Here’s the thing – I have lived in New Jersey my whole life. I was born here, I went to college here, I had my son here. And you know what? I’m happy that for the foreseeable future we will be raising our son here. I love New Jersey, and I do truly believe that it’s a great place to grow up. Don’t believe me? Here are some reasons to prove you wrong. (as told by my Instagram, since I post all the things I love the most there. Follow me to see them all!)
Day trips galore. Oh, you have nothing to do today? Pick a direction. In the mood for some sun and sand? Hit one of our beaches. Want to go for a hike? The Poconos or the Pine Barrens are both BEAUTIFUL. How about a city? Ever heard of New York City or Philadelphia? Yeah, both are a short train ride (or drive if you’re brave) away. Amish country in PA is gorgeous, as is We have boardwalks, aquariums, Children’s Museums, zoos, gambling – all in NJ or a short drive away. What could be better for a growing boy than being exposed to something new and exciting each weekend.
Beach or mountains? So you like the mountains? But you also like the beach? Yeah, me too. Head north and you can ski at Mountain Creek or a little further and you have countless resorts in NY and PA. Looking for some salt air? From Sandy Hook to Cape May, you’ve got more beaches to choose from than I care to count.
Four Seasons. You know how each winter, we pray for summer, and then vice versa? I kind of love that. But I also love fall and spring weather. I don’t think I could ever live somewhere where it’s mostly one season, or just the two extremes of summer and winter. In NJ we have all four seasons, like it or not, and I love each and everyone. (most of the time.)
Food. Food, guys. If there was one thing I could tell you about New Jersey, it’s that we LOVE to eat. And you’ll find just about any type of food you could image here. Although NJ’s only “claim to fame” may be Fat Sandwiches, disco fries, and pork roll, that doesn’t mean that we can’t do everything else AMAZINGLY. Because we can. From diners (24 hours, you guys. Anything else is just a restaurant.) to fine dining, you’ll find what you’re looking for. I can’t wait to expose Ryan to all of the good eats that this great state has to offer.
Parks on parks on parks. I can name you four, yes, four parks near me that are great for hiking, running, or just hanging out with the fam within 10 minutes of my house. I’m not talking dinky parks with just a slide and some swings, either. I’m talking acres of forest and trails, maybe a lake or a stream. There are 30 state parks in NJ (not including state trails, state historical sites, state marinas, or state forests, of which there are a bunch.) and over 30 county parks in Morris county alone. We might be a small, densely populated state, but we’ve got parks, guys. Beautiful ones.
So, yes, there are gross spots in NJ. Yes, I explain where I live by stating an exit off the Parkway. Yes, I can be crass and loud and obnoxious. Yes, we are horrible, aggressive drivers, (JK, we’re all great drivers, it’s the drivers from PA and NY screwing us up.) Yes, we’re pretty (justifiably..) full of ourselves and SOME of us may spend a little too much on tanner and hair gel. But don’t let that fool you. New Jersey is awesome.
OKAY, so I spilled my guts for this weeks Thinking Out Loud. Let me know what’s great about YOUR state! OR tell me about your favorite Jersey stereotype.
If you’re from Jersey, check out this link and let me know what you think. I grew up in Somerset and Monmouth county and I personally think that Central Jersey is real. If you don’t please, for the love of God, TELL ME WHERE I BELONG!!