Like Connecticut, I have only been to New Jersey for day trips, but have thoroughly enjoyed myself each time. I know this state gets a bad reputation, which also hasn’t gotten any better since the shows the Jersey Shore, Real Housewives of New Jersey, or Jerseylicious were introduced into our regular TV programming, but I have to say I was quite impressed each time I visited.
My first trip to New Jersey was to East Rutherford to spend the day and attend a New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets game at the Continental Airlines Arena. Since my brother is an avid Nets fan, we spent most of the day touring the facility and hanging out in different sports bars/restaurants. The night of the game was so much fun. The city was packed with fans, and the stadium, inside and out, was full of energy waiting for the game to start. Unlike a lot of the TV shows, the people in the city weren’t all a bunch of orange Snooki’s running around drunk, they were normal people living in a normal city.
The city in New Jersey that completely blew me away and made me throw out all of my previous New Jersey stereotypes was Edgewater, NJ. This city is absolutely gorgeous, and, if you couldn’t tell by its name, is located right on the Hudson River. I have met a friend that I studied abroad here a few times to shop around and grab lunch and am always in awe of how beautiful it is. There are many condos, homes, and apartment buildings located directly on the water giving stunning views of the harbor filled with sailboats. It reminded me a little of Connecticut or Rhode Island the way the houses were set up lining the water.
We went shopping on The Promenade at City Place and grabbed a bit to eat there as well. I fell in love with Edgewater here, because it was luxurious and beautiful, but laid back at the same time. The great thing about the shopping and restaurants here, is that even though this is clearly a desirable and trendy area, the shops aren’t designer stores. They are more affordable, like White House/Black Market, Ulta, or Express. The restaurants also range from a steakhouse and wine bar, to Panera, which gives the city a younger vibe even though it’s probably wildly expensive to live right on the water!
For those of you who have never been to New Jersey, but are afraid because of the way these recent shows have made everyone look like, I would suggest traveling to one of these cities! Not everyone is like that, just like not everyone in NYC is cold and mean. I know I sure think of New Jersey differently now. I’m sure there’s a city out there for your next vacation, why not check it out?