New Jersey is better than northern Virginia

My winter-oriented gripes have morphed into the gripe I always have year-round. As a travel lover, that is, a lover of exploring new cultures, new foods, and diverse lifestyles, I carry with me an arsenal of complaints as a resident of northern Virginia for the past two years. My grievances usually run along the lines of this area of the country being: crowded, having cookie cutter house styles (read “big and expensive”), and not diverse car choices– pick any German brand, and that’s your northern Virginia car.

This post does not suggest that growing up in Clinton, NJ, was a whole lot more exciting, but now that I have a lot of travel under my belt, I have been able to make the following evaluations based on firsthand experience. Here’s why New Jersey is better than where I live now:

1. Submarine sandwiches…

… and restaurants in general. My childhood in New Jersey is confettied with memories of fantastic sandwiches. There is nothing like a scrumptrilescent New Jersey submarine sandwich, handmade by a fifth or sixth generation New Jerseyean. The delicious family-owned sub shop in Clinton is “Just Subs,” or you can go to two or three others in the downtown Clinton area. Oh yeah, downtown Clinton has a famous old mill and waterfall.

When you are in New Jersey and you order a fantastic sandwich, you are certainly not standing in a Subway, Quiznos, Potbelly, or any other chain. You’re not, because you don’t have to be– there are a myriad of family-owned fresh options. I’m in Fairfax County, VA, it’s my day off, and I want a good sandwich. I will probably end up going to Panera, which can be quite tasty, but it’s a chain nevertheless. I actually do not know of any authentic family-owned non-chain delis in this area. If you know of one, please suggest it to me, because I am tired of giving my money to franchises.

2. Traffic patterns
A lot of people won’t believe me, but I have firsthand experience informing me that there is so much less road traffic in New Jersey than in Northern VA. When I visit my parents and we drive somewhere, they might complain of traffic, and I have no idea what they are talking about. Also, the people who planned northern VA must be in love with traffic lights. In NoVA you can drive fifty feet and then hit another traffic light. I’m not joking about that one.

3. Gas stations
In NJ, there’s this awesome premise where you don’t have to get out of your car at the gas station. The attendant comes up to your window and hooks you up. Payment happens through the window. Haters from other states say that New Jerseyeans think they’re too good to pump their own gas. Actually, we’re just doing our part to stimulate our stellar economy– having gas station attendants provides many jobs!

4. My Slovak grandmother lives in New Jersey. AND you can take a Ziploc bag of corn to feed my grandfather’s chickens.

5. The Jersey shore.
Yep, I went there. Obviously I am referring to the beach, not to the show. I’ve actually never seen the show, and people reassure me that I’m really not missing out. Sure, even while growing up in New Jersey, I was aware that the beach was crowded, dirty, offered unhealthy food options, and the people were impossibly tan. But at least I could go. At least there was a beach. I can get to the beach from my parents house in about an hour. People who live in northern VA say that Virginia Beach is great. I’ve never been there, so I won’t make any qualitative statements about it. All I can say about this is that when I pull up Google maps, it tells me it will take me four hours and four minutes to get there, which if you calculate in the tendencies of Virginia traffic, well, it hurts just to even consider it. That cumulative amount of time in an airplane could get us to the southern coast of Spain, and then by that point I don’t think we’d be so interested in going to an East Coast beach anymore.

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3 Comments on “New Jersey is better than northern Virginia”

  1. Karen January 17, 2011 at 19:00 #

    Agree – feel the same about PA…Fl is more laid back thn DC of course, but still…much less ‘crazy’ – all the way around!

  2. RJ January 17, 2011 at 19:42 #

    Regarding the traffic, you’re so right. I spent 22 years in NoVA before moving to Southern California. People complain about traffic in Los Angeles being a nightmare, but I have never sat in worse traffic in my life than in Virginia. That place is screwed when it comes to traffic..

  3. Annie July 28, 2014 at 20:27 #

    New Jersey is the best state!!always

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