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Jersey.

Earl and I spent the weekend in suburban Philly spending time with Earl’s family. It was the first time we had seen them since his Dad’s funeral services; we gathered with Earl’s family to go through boxes of photographs and other mementos from the family. It was a pleasant stroll down memory lane for many and a nice learning experience for those of us that are newish members of the family.

As we got in the car to leave yesterday morning, I told Earl that I was going to go home “up the Jersey side”. Normally when we visit down there we end up going through the Poconos in both directions and the making our way up home once entering New York State near Binghamton (please note, no “p” in Binghamton). It’s been a few years since we’ve gone home “up the Jersey side”, which involves taking the Jersey Turnpike up to I-287 and then joining the New York State Thruway a few miles north of the Tappan Zee Bridge. I was just in the mood for a change of pace. I haven’t had a lot of changes in pace the past couple of months.

I have been pretty vocal about my dislike of New Jersey. Most of my experience has been along the New Jersey Turnpike where it’s very much industrialized. Any venturing off the the Turnpike has involved traffic jams no matter the hour and, no offense to anyone, but I find the typical Jersey accent to be a little offensive to my ears. Not that my somewhat nasally Central New York accent is that much better, but we are lot closer to the neutral Midwestern accent that most associate with “generic American” than anything along the east coast. Of course, New Jersey is also unfortunately represented by the travesty called “Jersey Shore” and that is an abomination on society as a whole, fueled by people from Jersey.

Let’s say I’m not the biggest fan.

There’s always talk in our house of where we would like to relocate to someday, given the right opportunity, and my answer has always been “anywhere as long as it isn’t Jersey.” Florida comes to a close second in that line of thinking but I don’t mention it because we like the House of the Mouse. All of that being said, I think I have been rather shortsighted in my opinion of The Garden State.

Earl and I chatted about Jersey a little bit as we whizzed by all the construction on the Turnpike. We both decided that if we ever had to live in New Jersey that it would have to be south of Trenton. There was no way that we were going to live in New Jersey. It’s too crowded, too depressing to us and way too close to the Big Apple for our tastes. However, South Jersey might be a different story (though we agreed that Camden was a no go). Once you get away from the Jersey side of Philly, there’s actually some open area of the state, complete with farms and rural communities. That’s the part of Jersey that I rarely see, hence my unfair assessment of the state. It’s kind of like someone being overwhelmed by the magnitude of Times Square and then saying that they don’t like Pulaski, the little town I grew up in, because after all, they’re both in New York.

I guess I had a pot-kettle-black realization yesterday. If I have offended anyone with previous anti-Jersey rants in the past I apologize, and as god as my witness, I apologize to DJ Sam Storicks for an email exchange we had about Jersey a few years ago.

So now that I have reassessed my feelings about the Garden State, I have decided that we might want to spend a weekend sometime this year in the rural area of South Jersey. If any of my gentle readers have a suggestion, I would love to hear it.

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