The long, skinny state of NEW JERSEY has been at the heart of
US history since the Revolution , when a battle was fought at
Princeton , and George Washington spent two bleak winters at
Morristown . As the Civil War came, the state's commitment to
an industrial future ensured that, despite its border location
along the Mason-Dixon line, it fought with the Union.
That commitment to industry has doomed New Jersey in modern
times. Most travelers only see "the Garden State" (so
called for the rich market garden territory at the state's heart)
from the stupendously ugly New Jersey Turnpike toll road which,
heavy with truck traffic, cuts through a landscape of gray smokestacks
and industrial estates. Even the songs of Bruce Springsteen ,
Asbury Park's golden boy, paint his home state as a gritty urban
wasteland of empty lots, gray highways, lost dreams and blue-collar
tragedy. The majority of the refineries and factories hug only
a mere fifteen-mile-wide swath along the turnpike, but bleak
cities like Newark , home to the major airport, and Trenton ,
the capital, do little to improve the look of the place and the
state suffers from a major image problem.
But there is more to New Jersey than factories and pollution.
Alongside its revolutionary history, Thomas Paine and Walt Whitman
both wrote nostalgically of the happy years they spent there;
while the northwest corner near the Delaware Water Gap is traced
with picturesque lakes, streams and woodlands. Best of all, the
Atlantic shore offers many bustling resorts, from the tattered
glitz of Atlantic City to the glorious kitsch of Wildwoods and
the old-world charm of Cape May.