As someone who was raised in NJ and lived there for over 20 years, I am sick and tired of the bad reputation that we New Jersians have in the eyes of the “out-of-staters”. I can only believe that people who say unkind things about New Jersey either (a) have never actually been to New Jersey, or (b) have only ever driven on the Turnpike or a major road on the way to another destination.
You simply can’t judge New Jersey based off of the Turnpike! The Turnpike is ugly. In some areas, it smells. It’s trafficky and people are always in a rush to get off it. I’m sure almost every state has a road like that – but because NJ is such a small state, everyone who goes through it manages to suffer a little on the Turnpike.
You also can’t judge New Jersey on the reality shows that claim to depict New Jersey. In all my years of living in New Jersey, I have never ONCE met someone like the Jersey Shore actors (who if I recall correctly actually come from New York). Every summer I went to the same Jersey Shore, and I never met or saw a “Snookie” or a “The Situation”. They just don’t exist in real life – at least not in New Jersey.
New Jersey has some amazing and beautiful places. In New Jersey you can find forests, beaches and farms. We have the best corn in the country when it’s in season (trust me – you can’t beat it). I’ve made lifelong friends and met many wonderful people in New Jersey. We have an Ivy League college (Princeton) and the city of Princeton is wonderful to visit. We’re close to other cities like New York City and Philadelphia, which are fantastic to visit when you want a change of scenery and pace. New Jersey does not charge sales tax on clothing – so even New Yorkers will come down to go shopping in Jersey!
We have pumpkin and apple picking in the fall, and when the colors change the foliage is breathtaking. We get snow, but not TOO much snow (usually), and when spring returns it brings with it beautiful flowering trees.
We have plentiful wildlife such as deer (not always a good thing when you are driving), bear (!) and songbirds. Where I lived as a child I could walk to a neighborhood duck pond and feed the ducks and the fish and play beneath the weeping willow trees.
I would never change where I grew up – New Jersey helped shape me into the awesome person I am now.