We spent almost a decade away from New Jersey, where both of us were born and raised. There was a lot we came to love about the Baltimore-DC area, and we really do miss it, but as our 20s waned, we really found ourselves missing our home state. Where else can you can ski, swim in the ocean, and visit farm country, all just an hour away from New York City? There's the literary legacy of Paterson, the pomp and circumstance of Princeton, the colorful populism of underdog Newark, and the Appalachian enclaves of Sussex County's cow country, not to mention the nation's largest poetry festival. Of course, a trip down the Turnpike illustrates where Jersey gets its negative stereotype, but what many don't realize is that Manhattan's finest restaurants would be lost without the excellent products from our favorite local creameries and farms.
When we returned to NJ in 2005, it took us a year or two to hit our stride, seeking out the wine makers, mushroom lovers, biodynamic farms, renowned herbalists, and the best mozzarella in the world (better than Blue Ridge, even!). But now we're firmly entrenched, happy to live in a place where we've found such a diverse wealth of wise, friendly people happy to impart their gardening and artisanal knowledge.
We're sure that other folks are as passionate about their regions as we are about NJ. What are you grateful for in your area? Or for that matter, what do you like best about Jersey?