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New Jersey

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New Jersey [1] is on the east coast of the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States of America. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and by the states of Delaware to the south west, Pennsylvania to the west, and New York to the north and north east. Parts of the state are suburbs of New York City, just across the Hudson River to the the north east, and Philadelphia, just across the Delaware River on the south west.

Although the most densely populated state in the nation, New Jersey is well known for its beautiful beaches and other natural attractions, including the migratory birds of Cape May, the Pine Barrens, blueberry farms and cranberry bogs, the Delaware Water Gap, a 72-mile leg of the Appalachian Trail and its interurban analogue, the East Coast Greenway [2], and the Palisades.

Regions

Cities

  • Trenton — The state capital and home of The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). The New Jersey Capital Building is the second oldest capitol building in America.
  • Atlantic City — A ocean resort town from the 1800s, the city was reborn as a gambling town in the 1970s. The boardwalk is popular on summer weekends.
  • Camden — On the Delaware River, east of Philadelphia. Site of the USS New Jersey, Adventure Aquarium, and Campbell's Field.
  • Hoboken — Old city on the Hudson with awesome view of lower Manhattan. Plenty of bars, restaurants, and music. Birthplace of Frank Sinatra. The site of the world's first baseball game.
  • Jersey City — New Jersey's second largest city, just across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan. Home to Liberty State Park, where ferries leave for Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
  • Newark New Jersey's largest city — City near New York that is home to Newark Liberty International Airport, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark Symphony Hall, and Newark Arena, the Newark Museum- the state's largest, and the New Jersey Devils hockey team.
  • New Brunswick — Home of the original and largest campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, two hospitals and the headquarters of Johnson & Johnson.
  • Paterson — Third largest city in the state. Home to the Great Falls of the Passaic (a state park), Lambert Castle, and Garret Mountain (also in West Paterson).
  • Princeton — Home of Princeton University, as well as many research and technology organizations.

Other destinations

Attractions

Here are a few areas worth exploring:

  • Cream Ridge — Wine country.
  • The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area — Camping, hiking and rafting on the Delaware River.
  • The Jersey Shore- Beaches, birds, and boardwalks-and beautiful lighthouses.
  • Lake Hopatcong — New Jersey's largest lake provides boating and swimming for families and singles.
  • Mountain Creek — Ski resort and water park in Sussex County, 1 hour from New York City.
  • The Pine Barrens — A natural forest that covers about a third of the state.
  • Raritan Bayshore- An area along the Raritan Bay between the Amboys and Sandy Hook. Though the area is more developed than the Delaware Bayshore, its brackish water beaches remain less crowded than the Atlantic Beaches.
  • Sandy Hook. At the northern end of New Jersey's coast, Sandy Hook is home to one of the Northeast's only officially clothing-optional beaches.
  • Six Flags Great Adventure & Hurricane Harbor — Safari, waterpark and amusement park in Jackson Township.
  • Camden Waterfront--includes USS NEW Jersey (battleship), Adventure Aquarium, and Children's Garden.

National parks

Understand

New Jersey is densely populated state with a diverse population, rich culture, and many assets, including abundant natural resources and Fortune 500 companies.

New Jersey's big cities are centers of government and business. Though parts of the larger cities may be run down, they still have a lot to offer. Atlantic City, Princeton and New Brunswick are great cities and inhabited by the middle to upper class. Most New Jerseyans prefer to live in their suburbs and in nearby small towns. Rich folks cluster in certain old established towns and rural enclaves like Alpine, Harding Township, and Rumson. More than a third of the state, including the Pine Barrens, is rural and sparsely populated, with little or no public transportation.

There is a strong New York City influence in the north, and Philadelphia influence in the south. All major radio stations and local TV stations that serve New Jersey are located in those cities. New Jersey also serves as a bedroom community for many people who work in New York City and Philadelphia.

If driving in New Jersey, keep in mind that state law does not allow self-service at gas stations. New Jersey has some of the cheapest gasoline in the country due to its low gas tax, but a gas station attendant must pump the gas. Just pull up to the pump and tell the attendant "(Dollar amount, or "Fill it with"), (grade), (cash/credit), please".

You are legally allowed to pump your own diesel fuel. However, not all gas stations allow this. Many truckstops will let you pump diesel.

Talk

People flock to New Jersey from all over, especially from New York City and Philadelphia, making it difficult to isolate the New Jersey accent. The true New Jersey accent is evident in native speakers like politician-turned-broadcaster Steve Adubato, United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, and Louis Freeh, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Philadelphia influence on South Jersey accent

wooder: water

caw-fee: coffee


Etiquette

  • Disparaging references to a "New Joisey" accent, the popular HBO series The Sopranos, or any part of the state's appearance are not recommended. Such characterizations are unwarranted and may be resented by residents.

Get in

By plane

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) [4] probably provides the most convenient international access to both New York City and New Jersey. Philadelphia (PHL) [5] is also another option. Atlantic City Airport (ACY) [6] provides some minor domestic service, mostly carrier service, but travellers should be aware that it is a good distance away from most destinations.

By train

Amtrak [7] operates a line (the Northeast Corridor) through NJ. It goes through NJ from Philadelphia to NY Penn Station to points beyond (Boston in the north, and Washington, DC and Newport News, VA in the south).

SEPTA has service into Trenton from Philadelphia, and can be used in Southeastern New Jersey.

New Jersey Transit has rail service from New York City. NJ Transit rail service can be used for central Jersey and Northwest Jersey. One can also take the PATH train from NYC into New Jersey or PATCO from Philadelphia into New Jersey.

By car

The New Jersey Turnpike (Interstate 95) [8] runs through the state, connecting the north of the state with the south. Interstates 80 and 78 provide good access from the west. The Garden State Parkway is in many ways the backbone of the state, connecting many major cities.

When it is time to fill your gas tank be ready for full service and no tip, or extra fees required. In the state of New Jersey it is illegal to pump your own gas. This makes it one of the only two states (Oregon being the other with looser restrictions) in America where self serve is non-existent, and don't worry, the prices are often significantly cheaper then gas in all surrounding states.

By bus

Greyhound [9] provides service as well as several intra-state services. These include Academy, Martz Trailways and New Jersey Transit, connecting New Jersey to New York City and Philadelphia.

By thumb

Believe it or not, it is possible to hitchhike out of the New York Metro area. If you are trying to go long distances, your best bet is to take NJ Transit or Metro North far enough to put you well into the suburbs, preferably to a stop that puts you near (i.e. within walking distance of) a major highway such as an Interstate. From there, get to an on-ramp and put out your thumb. Be advised, however, that New Jersey state laws on hitchhiking are notoriously ambiguous, and you may be hassled by local police, so use common sense and discretion.

If you're trying to go west into Pennsylvania, a good tip is to take NJ transit to Mt. Olive, which is only a 5 minute walk from I-80, which generally carries a good amount of long-distance traffic going west.

Get around

The PATH train system [10] runs from Manhattan to Hoboken, Jersey City and Newark.

NJ Transit [11] is a commuter network of trains, light rail and buses connecting communities throughout the entire state. It can be used for travel to Newark Liberty International Airport as well as Pennsylvania Station in New York City. Its website provides a user friendly method of planning your itinerary.

SEPTA [12] Regional Rail Lines connect Trenton and West Trenton with Philadelphia.

PATCO [13] Operates a high speed train that connects several key points in downtown Philadelphia to many immediate southern New Jersey suburban towns.

There are also numerous taxi and limousine services that one can call for a pick-up, and a variety of county bus services that can take people to lesser-known spots in the state (usually suburbs, parking lots, train stations, strip malls, apartment buildings, and/or small towns, depending on the county and the route).

Private bus companies, such as Suburban Transit, Martz Trailways and DeCamp, also work New Jersey and have routes in the state.

Some traffic oddities peculiar to New Jersey... Left turns are not permitted from many of the major divided highways in urban areas. Instead, exit ramps for left turns and U-Turns may follow intersections, providing opportunities to return to the desired intersection and make a (permitted) right turn. Also, many signals have a 'delayed' green light following a red, so keeping an eye on the traffic signal instead of observing oncoming traffic is essential. Traffic circles ('roundabouts') are quite common as well along major highways, and exits are not always clearly marked. Some toll bridges along the shore charge vehicles heading in one particular direction only, like toward New York State to the east and toward Delaware and Pennsylvania to the west.

See

New Jersey has many scenic sites, including the majestic Palisades (where Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton), opposite New York City on the western banks of the Hudson River. The cliffs rise about 300 to 500 feet in areas and give a breathtaking view of New York City across the river. There are also many mountains located in the western portion of the states that are full of many trails.

Do

No matter what you are interested in, you will probably find it in New Jersey. Fine beaches where you can surf, swim, sunbathe, or play volleyball in the summer, and run, stroll, walk your dog, or fly kites off season. Some skiiing in the Skylands region, hot air balooning in Clinton, and canoeing in the Pine Barrens. Hiking trails and campsites, especially in Southern and Northwestern New Jersey. Plenty of nature preserves for birdwatchers and photographers. Many bed and breakfasts. Spectator sports, including two professional football teams, horseracing Monmouth Park and at Meadowlands Racetrack in the Meadowlands Sports Complex, and (at last count) 8 baseball teams, along with Sky Blue Soccer, a new women's professional soccer team. Many museums, concert halls, and historic sites, including George Washington's winter headquarters in Morristown. Several tourist railroads and preservation groups offer (in season) Santa Train Rides[14] and Easter Bunny Train Rides[15]. Several college towns, including New Brunswick (Rutgers) and Princeton. Places of worship for every religon, may offering services in various languages. Virtually any kind of food you can imagine. Nightlife ranging from casinos in Atlantic City, to Albert Hall[16] in Waretown, to clubs in Belmar, to jazz in Madison. Also some amusement parks, and countless places to shop, including main street stores and boutiques, craft shows, antique shops, estate sales, yard sales, flea markets, farm stands, and farmers' markets, as well as several very large shopping malls.

Eat

New Jersey is famous for its Jersey tomatoes, sweet corn, blueberries, and cranberries, and other fresh produce which every visitor will want to experience in season. That is easy to do, because the state has approximately 25,000 eateries, more per square mile than any other state in the US. Furthermore, the climate and soils offered there provide for ideal berry growing environments.

They serve everything from fast food to haute cuisine, including Italian, French, and Asian. There are also plenty of take-out shops and diners, which do not require reservations, seat patrons promptly, and offer large menus of inexpensive meals, which they serve quickly. Many are open 24 hours and breakfast is served all day.

Snack foods are also extremely popular, especially pizza, fries, and bagels. Other favorites include submarine sandwiches, sausage sandwiches, and Italian ice, which are known as hoagies and water ice in South Jersey. There many also enjoy soft pretzels and Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks and breakfast sandwiches of Scrapple, a loaf formed from cornmeal, pork scraps and spices, cut into 1/4 thick slices and fried crisp in butter or oil.

Drink

Beer and liquor can be purchased in freestanding liquor stores. There are a small amount of Supermarkets that are licensed to sell beer and liquor, however they are the exception, not the rule. Some stores are only licensed to sell warm (non-refrigerated) beer and malts (i.e. Mike's Hard Lemonade), while others may sell liquor, cold beer and wines. Underage drinking is illegal and many disapprove of it, but it is common. Anyone who provides alcohol to a person under age 21 may be prosecuted. Drunken driving is illegal and there is no sympathy for those who do it. Anyone caught driving while intoxicated will be prosecuted, may wind up in jail. Drunk driving checkpoints are extremely common on the shore. Be advised that smoking is illegal in all bars and restaurants (save designated "cigar bars").

There are a variety of microbrews to try. Flying Fish and Cricket Hill are recommended. Some liquor stores allow you to purchase indvidual bottles of beer.

Stay safe

New Jersey is a fairly safe place to visit. Suburban and countryside areas are very safe. Cities are mostly safe but do exercise common travel sense. Some neighborhoods of Camden, Newark, Jersey City, Trenton, are crime prone but it is unlikely that you will visit these areas. As in most US cities, when out at night, stay in well lit and well trafficked areas and you will be fine.

New Jersey has the highest density of car ownership in the United States so expect crowded highways and the occasional irate driver. Traffic tends to move well above the speed limit on the New Jersey Turnpike or other highways and you can expect to be tail-gated or yelled when driving in the left lane. Best to stick in the middle or right lane if you don't like that sort of thing.

Under no circumstances whatsoever are you to import firearms into the state. New Jersey does not recognize any out-of-state gun licenses and there are no gun offenses that are graded below a felony. Police are known to enforce these laws vigorously, and if caught with a firearm you will be prosecuted, even if you are just a hunter traveling through.

Also, it is illegal to import fireworks into the state unless they are mandated by a municipality for special occasions to be attended by the public at a park or on the shore (i.e. Independence Day).

Get out

  • New York — One of the benefits of visiting New Jersey is that you're very close to New York City, which lies just across the Hudson river. Further north is upstate New York, a rural and very beautiful area.
  • PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia is just across the Delaware river. Both Interstate 80 and Interstate 78 will take you through Northeastern Pennsylvania to the Poconos and the Lehigh Valley respectively, where there are many things to do year round.
  • Delaware — New Jersey's southern neighbor was the first state to ratify the Constitution (hence its nickname of the "First State") and offers an urban experience in its northern parts while providing a rural experience to the south.


This is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!





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