Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Jersey

About three years ago, Amber and I spent the weekend touring Nebraska. Along the way, we learned that just because a state has a reputation of being "boring" or "awful" doesn't mean that we can't have a good time. Now, I think it's time we give another much-maligned state a chance: New Jersey.

Yeah, I know. "Why the @#$% would anyone want to vacation in New Jersey???"

Well...with Marla, it's not practical to venture too far from home, and New Jersey happens to be a relatively nearby state that we've never really visited before. I've been to Washington Crossing, the Princeton campus, and the Meadowlands arena where the New Jersey Devils used to play, but other than that, New Jersey has pretty much just been a drive through state. It's time to change that! New Jersey deserves its fair shake.

Like Nebraska, many people judge New Jersey based on what you see from the interstate (or in New Jersey's case, the Turnpike). In Nebraska, that means you see absolutely nothing. In New Jersey, that means you see lots of ugly factories, which might even be worse than nothing. It should go without saying that our New Jersey trip will venture well away from the Turnpike. I bet there is a lot of neat stuff to be found here.

But where? Where should we go? Well, here are some destinations I have in mind...

- The highest point in New Jersey, the imaginatively named "High Point" in the northwestern corner of the state. This looks like a relatively easy high point to bag. And if we have time, we could bag the Delaware highpoint on our way up, too!

- The Quick Stop from the movie Clerks (as pictured here on Google Street View.) Just because.

- Southern New Jersey looks delightfully rural. I imagine most of the recreational areas in south New Jersey will be kind of swampy, which is fine with me! "Double Trouble State Park" has caught my attention, if nothing else because I like the name.

- There are five counties in New Jersey that I haven't been to yet, all in the southeastern part of the state (map). Visiting all five of those counties on this trip is a MUST.

- On a related road geek quest, I may also opt to drive the rest of I-78 in order to clinch the length of the highway. I'm missing the section from I-287 east into Manhattan. Which begs the question...is clinching I-78 really worth dealing with New York City traffic?

- No matter what, our New Jersey vacation will conclude with a ride on the Cape May-Lewes ferry back to Delaware.

Notice that I did not list the "Jersey Shore" or Atlantic City. While we'll likely be in those general areas, I doubt we'll actually "visit" these places. Not our scene.

I know a lot of people who are from New Jersey, lived there at one time, or live there now, so I'm going to solicit recommendations for New Jersey destinations. Anyone?

"Well, I know a ton of places you could go in Philadelphia and New York City..." NO! I don't care how close to New Jersey they are, the point of this trip is NOT to visit Philadelphia or New York City. This is strictly going to be a New Jersey trip.

Which brings me to this. My least favorite thing about New Jersey is their refueling policy: full service ONLY. I've told this story before, but the last (and to date, only) time I refueled in New Jersey, the attendant broke the gas cap so that it was no longer attached to the car. Since then, I have made it my vow to never refuel in New Jersey again, if possible. It's quite easy to coordinate that when you're just driving through; New Jersey is not a large state. But can we pull that off on this trip? Not if we're going to be spending the entire weekend in New Jersey, I suspect. I'll just have to hope that the attendant isn't an idiot this time. (The previous refueling stop was with my old car.)

We're thinking of doing this trip towards the end of March, so it'll still be on the cool side, just the way we like it. It's time to give New Jersey a chance!

5 comments:

Spartangoogle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spartangoogle said...

My grandfather would take my brother and me on mini-road trips, and I remember going to High Point and Lake Hopatcong. NW New Jersey is very nice in the SUMMER.

bubba0077 said...

Most of southern NJ between the Philly burbs and the immediate coast is indeed pretty rural: a mixture of farmland, swamp and the pine barrens. I found this website that has a few suggestions for day trips through the area: http://www.pineypower.com/visitors.htm

NW NJ is also rural, but a very different feel. More of a typical Appalachian forested area, good for hiking and camping.

I would recommend leaving enough time before your ferry to looks around Cape May. Cape May has a very different feel than the rest of the Jersey Shore. Also a historic lighthouse that might be worth a look.

While Camden in general is of course a place to avoid, I remember the Camden Aquarium actually being quite nice. May be too "Philly" for the trip though.

Like most of the NYC suburbs, the Highlands region can be very congested, especially along the major arteries in and out. Plan ahead.

Be sure to contact the Longs to plan a stop there.

jcrmoon42 said...

Hello! Sorry to be off topic here, but I'm desperate! I think you used to use visitedmap.com if I remember correctly, and, as I'm sure you know, they are now defunct. All of my county information is stored there, because I'm an idiot!

Do you know of anyone who has been able to retrieve their info from their to put up at mob-rule? I have tried contacting the site owner to no avail.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

Chris Allen said...

I used visitedmap.com once or twice, but no...I'm guessing that data is most likely gone. Only thing I can think of is to try your luck with web.archive.org: (I got one person's map to come up but most people's maps probably won't load)

http://web.archive.org/web/20110202134518/http://counties.visitedmap.com/