It’s called the “Garden State,” but I grew up thinking of New Jersey as the epitome of everything “Northern.” And I hate to admit it, but as a Southern girl, that was not a flattering adjective.
Then I met a real-live person from New Jersey, and I found myself inexplicably drawn to his candor and – when he took me home for the first time – to the unexpected beauty of his state. Yes, New Jersey is more than turnpikes and industrial zones (what most see as they drive through on their way to NYC). There is beauty there. Wildlife, greenery, and people who are truly and deeply kind. My parents-in-law and all of their friends, for example.
There is a loyalty with someone you become friends with from New Jersey. They will be your friend for life, through thick and thin. Now, of course I’m biased since I’m married to a New Jersey man. And I do think God must have chuckled when he saw the younger version of myself making fun of New Jersey accents/etc. He must have been saying – “Just wait … just wait!”
So New Jersey? It’s home of the best tomatoes and blueberries and it holds some of the kindest, most candid, and most loyal people I’ve ever met. Plus it really is beautiful. Don’t believe me yet? I’ll include a few photos as proof. If you dare, take an exit off the turnpike and visit one of the many charming towns – and you might think you’re in small-town America, not the big industrial New Jersey you’ve always imagined it to be.
This is part of the 31 days of five minute writing series I’m participating in for the month of October. Find more here.