LIFE IN NEW JERSEY: Like others elsewhere in the world, I started to blog about our expat life in New Jersey as a way of documenting the experience. Then I started to photograph images to add some colour and life to my blog.
But along the way, there have been increasing numbers of colorful images from New Jersey that have caught my eye and my camera. Not long after starting the blog, I came to realize these photos can provide something more than just illustrations for the text. They give a pictorial view on what life in New Jersey is really like – one the hardest things to visualize when you live afar, and particularly if you are about to make the big relocation leap.
So although I never intended it to be, Expat Aussie In NJ is as much about photo-blogging New Jersey as well as writing about it. So here are some colourful things, amazing places and events we have experienced to date.
1. Crab Apple Avenue
New Jersey State Botanical Gardens are located at Ringwood in the state’s north, not far from the border with New York state. Amongst an array of beautiful plants and historic architecture that can be appreciated, there are rows of beautiful crab apple trees which come into season around late April-early May.
2. Jersey Shore Beaches
A large part of New Jersey’s local fame stems from the Jersey Shore. No, I don’t mean the TV reality show that produced the likes of Snooki and other temporarily famous characters. The term ‘Jersey Shore’ refers to part of New Jersey coastline that extends from Sandy Hook, all the way down to Cape May, at the state’s southern tip. While this particular beach is at Cape May, it could well be one of hundreds of other Jersey Shore beaches, with the white sand, framed by a wooden paling fence and blue sea.
3. Empty Sky: the 9/11 Memorial in Jersey City
Even twelve years on, there is still a lot of deep feeling amongst Americans about 9/11. While it was a catastrophic event to watch from afar, it takes on a whole other level of feeling when you come here and appreciate the depth of impact. Many of the people killed came from New Jersey towns including my own. The memorial is named ‘Empty Sky’, after Bruce Springsteen’s song about 9/11. Although quite simple in design, this memorial is one of the most impactful and poignant monuments I have ever seen. The iron structure in front is part of the actual 9/11 wreckage-a very sobering reminder. The length of the two walls and their distance apart are symbolic and designed to recreate a proportional replica of the twin towers width and distance apart from each other.
All the victims names are listed on the walls, which you can read as you walk through. As you might guess, the positioning of this memorial was carefully chosen because it is directly across from where the towers once stood in Manhattan.
4. Clinton Township Clock
Clinton is a small New Jersey town out west, with beautiful historic architecture and great places to shop for antiques. It looks gorgeous no matter what time of year you go there. While I love this town, the historic looking clock, is a mainstay in virtually every New Jersey town you can visit. Although some others may not be as well maintained as Clinton’s clock, you can’t really say you’ve seen a New Jersey town if you haven’t visited the town clock!
5. The Delaware Water Gap
The ‘gap’ refers to a place along the Delaware River where nearly four hundred million years ago the river stared to cut through a ridge of the Appalachian mountain range . This geological feature which is known as a water gap, forms part of a larger recreational area used by many New Jerseyans for swimming, fishing, canoeing and camping. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Park extends from Delaware Water gap shown below, all the way up this river border to Port Jervis in New York State. This is one of New Jersey’s iconic destinations.
6. St Patrick’ Day Parade Morristown
With a large number of the state’s population claiming at least part-Irish heritage, it’s no surprise that St Patrick’s day is a big holiday in New Jersey. Many towns hold their own parades. Morristown’s parade is however one of the biggest and most colourful. There is a true feeling of celebration and mateship during the parade, as you can tell. Then it’s off to the local pub to continue the celebrations.
7. Spring Flower Wreaths on Doors
New Jerseyans love to decorate their houses for different occasions and celebrations. During Spring and Summer, many front doors throughout this state are bedecked with pretty wreaths of spring flowers that add color and charm. There are many different styles and colours used but these pretty church doors from Flemington caught my eye in June this year.
8. Winter Snow Storm in Montclair
Snow storms are a fairly regular occurrence in New Jersey although they rate as next to nothing in severity compared to many more northern places. The great thing is that there is enough snow to enjoy the beauty of a white landscape but not so much that our houses and cars are buried under twenty feet of snow.
9. Cape May Harbour
10. Six Flags Animal Safari at Jackson
A popular family attraction, the Six Flags Animal Safari was one of the few drive-yourself-through safaris left around anywhere. Well, this one like many others has changed to a safari-bus style trip through which is still fun but very different from driving your own vehicle at your own speed. I guess the risks involved with people driving themselves must have become intolerably high not to mention insurance premiums. We have yet to try the new version but hopefully it will still be possible to see great images like this one in the future.
11. Pumpkin Palooza in Millburn
Fall is the season for pumpkins. Even if you don’t eat them, you can’t avoid seeing them no matter where you go during September to November. Luckily I love pumpkin but my favourite part is seeing the flashes of orange everywhere amongst other bright decorations whether they are flowers, holiday decorations or sheaves of corn.
12. The Old Red Mill Clinton
If you read up on what is considered iconic for New Jersey, you will find out that the Old Red Mill, which sits on a branch of the Raritan River, is one of the most photographed images in this state. Now functioning as a museum, it has been well maintained and provides a picturesque view as you cross the river before entering the town’s main street.
13. Cape May Victorian Houses
Cape May is known for its Victorian style housing which is prevalent and adds much to the historic harm of this seaside destination. These houses here are featured regularly in promotions and iconic imagery for Cape May.
14. New York Cityscape from Jersey City
At any time of the day, this view from the Hyatt Regency wharf in Jersey City, is busy with sailing yachts, commuter ferries, garbage boats and much more. One thing stands out though and that is the One World Trade Centre, built on part of the 9/11 World Trade site. This is the large bluish building at centre. Unfortunately New Jersey’s image seems inaccurately portrayed in most cases, at least amongst Americans not from this state. New Jersey is not just one big industrial estate with Newark at its center. There’s a lot more to life here than that, as you can see. I hope you enjoyed these photos and if so please look up my Pinterest site where I will be sharing much more of these images over time.