I don't know if any of you have noticed (and yes, I'm kidding), but New Jersey is a total hot spot right now. Well, in general, because right at this very moment, I can only assume that it's as ridiculously cold as it is here. Anyway, there are a number of reasons explaining its new found sought after status. I got interested in learning why, did some research, talked to some people who are actually from Jersey, so here's my take on some of the top reasons why New Jersey is so popular now.
1. The TV
Now, a lot of people attribute – or blame – Jersey's popularity on certain, very trashy shows. You know what they are. Jersey Shore; The Real Housewives of New Jersey; Jerseylicious; Jersey Couture. Even the Cake Boss is a bit responsible, though Buddy is arguably a better role model, as it were, than The Situation. So this has to make it on the list – but those shows are by no means the sole reason why New Jersey is attracting a lot of attention.
New people might visit the Garden State because they've seen so much of it on TV, but they're quite surprised when they arrive. For instance, New Jersey has a hugely diverse population. It's a melting pot of a state, which makes it much more interesting than you might think. No matter who you are, what you look like, what you believe, or whom you love, you'll likely find NJ welcoming.
3. Great Food
New Jersey has some of the greatest food you could ever hope to eat. For one thing, it's filled with diners, and I don't know about you, but I love those slightly rundown, retro diners that serve great coffee and awesome pie. However, there are also tons of restaurants devoted to delicious ethnic food, especially Italian, and you'll find that much of it is homemade.
4. Interesting People
People in NJ get a reputation as being nasty, rude, and unfriendly. In some cases that's true, in that the Better Half's infamous pretentious coworker is from Jersey – but I really believe he's a dbag exception rather than the rule. Really, though, get the time to know them, and you can meet some really colorful characters, who can also be really friendly.
5. The Shore (but Not That Shore)
The actual Jersey shore is getting a reputation it doesn't necessarily deserve because of That Show. However, the truth of the matter is that it's really gorgeous, from the real Seaside to Wildwood to Point Pleasant and Lavalette. It's worth at least a single vacation there – but preferably not during certain parts of the summer.
6. Central Location
New Jersey is really centrally located. You can experience so much there, because you have Philadelphia on one side and New York City on the other. No matter what you want to do, two of the most exciting cities in the United States are within driving distance. What can be better than that?
7. The Boardwalk
I love boardwalks. They're full of games, great food that's wonderfully bad for you, interesting people, and beautiful scenery. You can find great boardwalks all over New Jersey, to suit every possible taste level. Atlantic City has a spectacular boardwalk, for instance, as does Asbury Park, Seaside, and many more.
You have to be careful with stereotypes; it's always better to see for yourself if they're true. And you should never, ever believe what you see on TV. Do you think people will always think of Jersey Shore and similar shows when they think of New Jersey?
Top Photo Credit: CarlaFrancisco