10 Things You Only Understand If You Grew Up In New Jersey

First things first, I’m a New Jerseyan and I’m proud. Many out-of-staters give us shit about our beautiful garden state, but to be honest, I don’t care. There are so many cool things about it that people will never fully appreciate unless they grew up or live here. You can’t make fun of us if you don’t truly know what goes on around here! Here are X things you only understand if you grew up in New Jersey:

  1. The Taylor Ham/Pork roll debate. Not only is this debate exclusive to NJ, but this salty ham is as well. My cousin and I (shout out to J) bicker about this ongoingly. She gets mad at me when I say taylor ham, but I’m too far gone and can’t change my ways. This food is usually eaten at breakfast and goes best on a bagel with eggs and melted cheese. Northerners say it’s taylor ham, southerners say it’s pork roll, I say it’s life-changing. 
  2. The appeal of Weird NJ. This is my absolute favorite thing about living here in NJ. There are countless abandoned places and cool landmarks to experience. Some include: Gingerbread Castle, Paulinskill Viaduct, the Profanity Houses, the Devil’s Tree, the Gates of Hell, Luna Parc (pictured below)…the list goes on. These sites make for some perfect adventure spots and photo-ops! Just be sure you acknowledge the no trespassing signs (oops! hehe).
  1. The cool coffee joints scattered around. There’s Van Gogh’s ear café, Rockin’ Joes, and Inkwell (down the shore) to name a few. You just have to search around, because you never know what cute beverage easter eggs you’re going to come across here!
  1. WaWa’s existence. It’s so much more than just a convenience store. This wonderland of food made it’s way throughout Jersey, stealing hearts all over the state. I suggest you try the mac and cheese. Also, moment of silence for $5 hoagies during Hoagiefest. Move aside 7/11 and Quick Check, because the big guns are taking over!
  1. The “central Jersey exists/doesn’t exist!” debate. You all know there’s a north and South Jersey, but did you know there’s also a central?? I’m pro-central Jers, but many people don’t believe in it. Argument: You can say you’re from central Jersey all you want, but you’re actually more North/more South. Apparently, there’s a magical line that cuts NJ in half and the people who live directly on it are probably having a huge identity crisis. 
  2. How great the Jersey Shore is. We’ve got Wildwood, Point Pleasant, Seaside, Long Branch, LBI, Cape Cod, Ocean City, and way too many more to count. How could you come here and NOT visit these beautiful stretches of sea and sand? Trust me, you won’t be able to resist boardwalk french fries!
  1. Diners. By God, diners. The most amazing creation on the history of the planet. Jersey is notorious for its scattered up-to 24 hour diners where you can get breakfast for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner, as well as vice-versa. Your 3 AM craving for pancakes never tasted so good!
  1. Not pumping your own gas. That’s right, folks. We don’t even have to get out of our cars to fill up our tanks. Fun fact: the only other state that does this is Oregon. Be jealous.
  1. Kingda Ka. The tallest roller coaster in the world, and guess what? IT’S IN OUR STATE. For all of you roller coaster connoisseurs out there, if there’s any Jersey amusement park you should be heading to, it’s Six Flags Great Adventure. Granted, the ride is closed more often than not, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a wonder to look at.
  1. “I’m exit ____ on the parkway”. If you’re from NJ then you know, we tell people where we live by giving our exit. Each town/city gets an exit number. The ones that don’t have one are you usually navigated by another exit and then you find it from there. It’s not as complicated as it sounds! In fact, it makes giving directions A LOT easier.

Don’t let The Jersey Shore give you a bad image of us. It’s not all guidos and nightclubs. Snooki hasn’t been relevant for years now. Besides, most of the J-shore cast are from Staten Island anyway! I will defend my state to the death. Here we have beautiful landscapes, beaches, and believe it or not, a couple friendly people. I highly suggest taking a visit to our humble abode if you’ve never been. You just might find that you actually enjoy our boardwalks and hoagies! 

Featured image via “Retro Wawa” by LancerE / CC BY 2.0


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