outside Hopewell, NJ

I like to refer to New Jersey as “Our Little Secret” because of its surprising diversity and beauty. Of course if you don’t live here you can’t call it that. You’ll have to find something else to lay that name upon which, I’m sure, won’t be too difficult. And since this is Blogland we’re all bound to find out about it sooner or later. So make it good.

Of course aspects of the state, like any other, are like hiking on a dead end trail or driving down wrong side of the street. Sure our governor could benefit from scaling back to a single scoop ice cream cone every now and then. Let’s start with once a month and work from there, shall we gov? And yes, the oil refineries which greet folks landing at Newark’s Liberty Airport can smell like a massive skunk convention when the wind blows in a certain direction (although they look eerily pretty at night). And yes, perhaps we are partly to blame for global climate change since 83% of the aerosol dispensed into the atmosphere came from cans of Aqua Net used by Jerseyans back in the good old days when that stuff was still aerosoled and the polar icecaps were still icy. All this is true. But we residents know the real deal and once our blood pressure returns to something resembling normal after any trip in the car, we can absorb the endless jokes made at the expense of our little hub of independence. We let y’all have your fun and, quite frankly, how could you not? The image perpetrated of New Jersey deserves a good ribbing. Hell, most of us laugh at it. At least those who choose to laugh rather than resort to acts of physical violence. But enough about the housewives.

Newark, NJ

Being somewhat proud to hail from the great Garden State I have taken it upon myself to reshape the perception of New Jersey to those who live beyond its borders. Of course I’m not doing this massive public service in any kind of sustained and coordinated manner. Don’t be silly. This is only my second post towards this end. As I mentioned in the first one months ago this “show them Jersey ain’t all that bad” is kind of a double edged sword. While I want you to know things here are actually quite different than you may think, I’m really not looking for you to come and see for yourself. I’m sure the state Tourism Board would disagree. Bully for them. They’re paid to lure you here to suck money out of your pockets. I’m not after your money; I’m after your heart. (Sorry about that.)

Tell you what. If you must visit take your inquisitive selves to the shore (or as most outsiders strangely call it, the “beach”). I’m a good 40 miles inland, so you being there won’t impact me being here. It’s not that I wouldn’t be delighted to meet each and every one of you. I just don’t want to do it all at once. There’s simply not enough parking.

Delaware River at Frenchtown, NJ

Red Bank, NJ (apologies to Edward Hopper for ripping off his idea)

Barnegat Light, NJ

  1. sparklebumps says:

    You must really want me to come live by you, because every picture you post from there makes me want to move there a little more…Sadly, I do not think I would fit in in Jersey.


  2. BrainRants says:

    Those back-to-the-wall restaurants in Jersey normally have some pretty damn good food, as I recall.


  3. whiteladyinthehood says:

    Well, I’m glad you spilled some secrets…(its really not good to harbor them, anyway)…and the photo – Frenchtown – Beautiful.


  4. surroundedbyimbeciles says:

    Hey, it really is the Garden State.


  5. mysterycoach says:

    Do you know what I absolutely cannot stand? Is the reference people make to Jersey as of that TV show “that jersey shore” whatever is what “everyone” here is like. It’s utterly annoying. Or … other ridiculous stereotypes of how people here are douche bags,looking for a fight or any numerous other bunches of crap. It’s annoying as hell…

    And all those TV shows? You wonder…. What are they? Housewives of where? Could they depict Jersey as any more lunatic ridden than they already have? It’s annoying…

    Oh. A Rant. 🙂 I even had one guy who actually WAS from Jersey tell me one day “You weren’t raised here were you?”

    No imbecile… I grew up out of the ground… wt… seriously? I said, yes… why do you ask? Well, you don’t have the attitude…oh, gee, thank you so much you moron. Ugh… it’s SO annoying.

    Okay. I’m good… breeeeaaath… What are you from Jersey? Guido’s and mafia abound or wha?

    Shut. Up. (not you, them) I would like to take this moment to say thank you Hahaha! for reminding me about the ridiculous things that I’ve heard people say about our home state. Bone heads.


  6. Vivian Bedoya says:

    Shhh! You’re letting our little secret out of the bag! Jersey rocks! : )


  7. misslisted says:

    two things about New jJrsey, the first, when I was in third grade, we drove through your state to reach “THE BIG APPLE”. I was SO EXCITED to go to the big apple. I thought it was going to be the most amazing trip EVER. I remember driving through NJ, and through factories and smoke stacks and I actually wept because it was so ugly, and not the shining path to OZ that I was expecting. Now a nicer angle…my parents are avid bird watchers and travel all over the US, and recently they informed me they were going to NJ, and I said “oh I’m sorry, why?” (based on my third grade experience). They went to watch birds by the ocean and they LOVED IT. They raved about how beautiful the places were where they went. I wasn’t really paying too much attention to where it was exactly, but somewhere near the ocean, and I have a whole new take on it now.


    • John says:

      Unfortunately, the least appealing places in the state sit right around NYC and Philadelphia. And the drive from NYC to Philly (or the other way) doesn’t do much for the state’s rep. Your experience is not unusual. And, as you surprisingly discovered, neither is your parents!


  8. The last pic is my favorite. But all of them make me glad to say that I was born and raised in NJ for the first 10 years of my life.


  9. Those were awesome pics! That Edward Hopper guy is pretty inspirational, whoever he is.


  10. kayjai says:

    Lovely pics, John.


  11. H.E. ELLIS says:

    Just like everything else, a small portion of something larger defines the whole. Honestly, the only thing I know about New Jersey is that it’s where Snooki is from. Hardly a winning or classy endorsement for your state. She certainly does not represent you, John.

    If it makes you feel any better, most people believe she is Italian, which she is NOT. Not a classy endorsement for my people either. I feel your pain.

    Your pictures make New Jersey look beautiful.


  12. Stunning photographs, John. These are going to make everyone put New Jersey on their ‘must see’ list. I especially like the Delaware River at Frenchtown photo.


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