It is unfortunate that the image many have of New Jersey is represented by the oil refineries surrounding Newark (Liberty) Airport and the New Jersey Turnpike. In truth, the State’s nickname, “The Garden State” more accurately reflects its true nature. While the state is one of the most densely populated in the country, large areas are devoted to vegetable and fruit farming and horse breeding. The northwestern part of the state is mountainous and sparsely populated and the eastern part of the state enjoys some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
Here are some things I bet you didn’t know about New Jersey:
- New Jersey has the most diners in the world
- There are more racehorses in New Jersey than in Kentucky
- New Jersey is home to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- New Jersey is the world leader in blueberry and cranberry production
- 80% of what the US imports comes through the Elizabeth Seaport
- The light bulb, phonograph and motion picture were invented by Thomas Edison in New Jersey
- The first Indian Reservation was in the Watchung Mountains
- The first baseball game was played in Hoboken
- The first college football game was played in New Brunswick
The “Jersey Shore” is the area bordering the Atlantic Ocean and stretches from Sandy Hook (about 45 minutes from NYC) down past Atlantic City. Honky Tonk towns like Seaside Heights share the coastline with a revived Asbury Park, sleepy summer towns like Bay Head and Stone Harbor and beautiful year round communities like Spring Lake and Brielle and the gambling mecca of Atlantic City. My favorite section is the area from Red Bank, south to Bay Head and including Long Branch, Belmar, Spring Lake, Manasquan, Brielle and Point Pleasant among others.
I love this area, grew up here in a kind of Mayberry existence, lived away for 10 years and then moved back to bring up my family. My closest friends, many of whom still live here, are from my high school days. The area has magnificent beaches, wonderful restaurants, great places to stay and a host of things to keep you busy. It is a great weekend retreat.