Since half of my family is from Jersey, I had been dying to go and my dad offered to pay for the trip to meet them. I hadn’t been to a beach since a teenager in Galveston, Texas.
When you go to Jersey you immediately learn that you don’t have to pump your own gas. This is shocking to anyone that doesn’t know this at the time when a person comes from the gas station and asks.
You also figure out that the air is ridiculously fresh to breathe in. Very unlike Texas and Kentucky humidity, it’s like you’re breathing in Angel dust. Southern Jersey does have Guapos but it is far from the proclaimed north shore, made famous by Snooki and her gang. Cape May, Jersey is also not quite like the great movie Garden State, which I suspect was filmed further toward the middle of Jersey.
Southern Jersey has nice lighthouses. My mom and I climbed one with almost 200 steps. The top of the lighthouse was windy and even with sturdy infrastructure, felt like it was swaying with the wind.
Driving to our hotel, we see interesting architecture.
One day we head to my cousin’s house, hidden among dark forest trees, and I wonder if the story of Jersey Devil is real, which my cousin denies. On his property I have the first experience up-close with a chicken and horses. It’s in this moment after being a vegetarian for years, that I really don’t like chickens because they attack everything.
Another day we hit the boardwalk. The amusement park is closed (I can’t remember why). We browse in all the shops, and I come across hermit crabs, remembering back when my childhood friend had one. Merchandise is everywhere, and I end up getting a couple sweatshirts and sweaters.
Food wafts everywhere, and let me tell you something. I’ve been every direction in the U.S. and nothing makes me feel more at home than Jersey (and Texas) food. The hoagies are fat and packed. The pizza is seasoned, thin, and crisp. Don’t even get me started on Cannolis’. The most memorable food item was the saltwater taffy, which literally tastes like the Jersey Shore unlike the knockoff kind you get at places like the cheap Dollar Store. FUHGEDDABOUTIT.
Above: Candy store on the boardwalk.
Seagulls on the boardwalk are absolutely NO joke. They are terrifying and I don’t know how locals deal with them.
Another day I got to hang out with my long lost family and play with my aunt’s cute cat.
I’ll never forget Jersey for the family, waves, sun, and food. It’s always a part of me.