I know it can be tiresome defending our great state to outsiders with all the stereotypes about landfills, highways and the Jersey Shore (thanks a lot, MTV). Well, keep your heads up, fellow Jerseyans; we have a lot to be proud of. Though our state may be small, we really do have it all – and more. Here are just a few of the many reasons to be proud of New Jersey.
1. We're the best state to raise a family.
Niche, a data-analysis company, determined New Jersey had the ideal mix of criteria for raising a family. We rank high in safety, access to libraries, art and cultural events, schools and more.
2. We're major producers of the nation's produce.
New Jersey is a top producer of cranberries, bell peppers, spinach, peaches, blueberries and tomatoes, among other fruits and veggies. We are the Garden State, after all.
3. We offer an incredible education.
We have some of the highest graduation rates in the country - both high school and college. We're home to Princeton University and situated between two major cities with vast cultural opportunities. Last but not least, our state is home to numerous Blue Ribbon Schools including 2 of the top 20 in the country - Delbarton and Bay Head Elementary.
4. Everyone wants to live here.
We're the most densely packed state in the nation, and it's no surprise why. Everyone wants to live here! We've got mountains, beaches, cities, farms and so much more to enjoy!
5. We're the original home of college football.
The first intercollegiate football game was played by Rutgers and Princeton in New Brunswick on November 6, 1869.
6. We're home to over half a dozen music greats.
Some of the biggest names in music were born and raised here including Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Whitney Houston, Frankie Valli, William "Count" Basie, Paul Simon, Ricky Nelson and Les Paul.
7. We're all about the bass.
New Jersey is home to some of the best fishing spots in the nation. You never need to go far to find a great place to cast your line. In 1982, a world-record setting striped bass was caught off the Atlantic City coast. The fish was 53 inches long and weighted over 78 pounds!
8. We're the original summer beach destination.
Forget Miami or Myrtle Beach, New Jersey is where it's at. The nation's first seaside resorts were opened in Cape May and Long Branch in the early 1800s. Atlantic City is still a top U.S. travel destination.
9. We have more diners than any other state.
You never need to go far to find a diner; we have, on average, two per square mile. Some may say that's no big deal - they've never had 2 a.m. cheese fries.
10. New Jersey was home to TWO of the nation's first capitols.
Before we finally settled on Washington D.C., the United States went through 8 other capitols. The first was in Philadelphia, but the 5th and 7th were in New Jersey. Princeton's Nassau Hall, above, hosted hosted the Congress of the Confederation from July through October 1783. Trenton also housed a capitol building; it is now a Wachovia.
Which of these facts are you most proud of? What else would you add to this list? Share your reasons for having Jersey pride in the comments below!