A-Z Guide to New Jersey

Are you tired of the same old guides that are filled with too much information and statistics? Guides where you have to sift through dozens of pages or tedious historical facts to get to the good part? Well, with our New Jersey guide, the good part starts right away. It is filled with fun, interesting and rarely known facts.

In this essential, one of a kind guide we have gone through each letter of the alphabet to cover the rich offer and cultural wealth of this urban gem, the state of New Jersey. Here you can find everything, literally from A to Z: a bit of history, a bit of culture, some fun facts, some basic info, what to do, what to see, where to go, and much more. Take a look at this guide, learn a few new facts about the state, and come to visit it!

A – Crossroads of the American Revolution

New Jersey was the most important state in the American Revolution and the colonist victory against the British Crown, as most of the war engagements took place here – 296, to be exact.

Not surprisingly, this earned New Jersey the merited title of the Crossroads of the American Revolution, and even the federally designated National Heritage Area in 2006 with the same name, which covers fourteen counties in the state that played a role in the American Revolutionary War between 1776 and 1778.

The National Heritage Area is run by the Crossroads of the American Revolution Association (XRDS), a non-profit organization that raises awareness of the importance of New Jersey during the American Revolution.  

Rockingham House, Kingston, Somerset County, New Jersey – Served as George Washington’s final Revolutionary headquarters in 1783  

B – Beach

The popular Jersey Shore has a beautiful 130-mile-long shoreline, from Sandy Hook all the way to Cape May. They are characterized by the white sand, gigantic lighthouses, and picturesque view.

Cape May is the oldest vacation spot “down the shore” in the United States, full of Victorian-style houses, and has been acknowledged by many travel sites as one of the best beaches in the US.

There is a little bit for everyone, as the shore offers a rich dining experience in addition to swimming, surfing and beach fun, as well as high-end shopping and crazy nightlife with the party scene.

However, for those who just want peace and quiet, there are also many family beaches to choose from. Some other types of beaches include secluded, nude, pet-friendly, and “gay-friendly” beaches.

Cape May Sundown  

C – Candy Salt Water Taffy

Contrary to the popular belief, there is no salt water, if any water at all, in a salt water taffy!

Apparently, this Atlantic City original got its name from a storm that flooded a shoreline candy store and all the candy was soaking in ocean water.

A girl came to the store the next day and wanted to buy some taffy, but the vendor said all they had was a “salt water taffy”, and so the name stuck.

There are actually many versions of the story, but marketers recognize the name as a very smart marketing move, not believing any of the stories around it.

Salt Water Taffy  

D – Dogwood Tree

The flowering dogwood tree is a New Jersey native plant that blooms with bright colors in the spring, and whose leaves turn darker color in the fall. Its red berries attract songbirds and other fauna all year long.

The tree grows to about 25 feet tall so it can be used as a perfect cover-up for a flaw on the outside of your property if it has any.

The word dogwood actually used to be dagwood (because “dags” or daggers were made from it), but it was also used to make all kinds of tools such as arrows, tool handles, and other items that required hard, sturdy wood.

Dogwood tree in Spring  

E – Edison

The original name of the birthplace of technological revolution was Raritan Township from 1870, but the name was changed in 1954 in honor of the inventor Thomas A. Edison, whose main laboratory was located in the city.

It is often quoted on the top of the most livable, safest, best places to live in the Middlesex County.

The first lightbulb was given finishing touches here, and sound first recorded.

Edison is also home to the first public road in eastern New Jersey, the Old Post Road, which is said to have been traveled by George Washington on the way to his inauguration.

Edison’s laboratory”, by Euku, licensed under CC BY 3.0

F –  Franklin Mineral Museum

This museum, located just an hour drive from New York City, at the former Franklin Mine in the borough of Franklin, the “Fluorescent Mineral Capital of the World,” contains more than 150 types of minerals, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

The mine operated from 1898 until the mid-1950 and became a museum in 1964.

It is famous for its realistic simulation of the former mine tunnel and Native American artifacts.

Visitors can take the minerals as a souvenir in designated areas, and the museum is so safe that there is also a kids’ playground included.

Ores at the Franklin Mineral Museum

G – Gambling – Atlantic City

Atlantic City is buzzing with poker 24/7, so there is no wonder that one of the City’s casinos – Borgata – has got a whopping 3,475 slot machines on its own, and a room devoted to poker that houses 85 playing tables.

When we add to that the notorious Caesars, it is clear that Atlantic City is coming pretty close to Las Vegas in terms of gambling.

For the millennials or anyone who thinks that gambling is “out”, there’s a new type of gambling machines in town, and it’s called the “Video Game Gambling,” machine that combines gambling and online gaming for a new experience.

Inside of an Atlantic City Casino

H – Haskell Invitational Horse Race

Amory Haskell was the star of horseracing in New Jersey. He opened the Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey, and ran the park until his death.

That’s why the popular thoroughbred race, the Haskell Invitational, which boasts a million-dollar purse (that is the prize in the horse-racing world), is named after him.

The trophy is the most-coveted and prestigious one in the US horseracing, and the event is the richest invitational one in North America.

Fun fact – Haskell’s daughter (now over 80) was a professional race-car driver in the 1950s, who moved to Europe to be able to compete against both men and women (as opposed to women only in the US).

Haskell Day

I – Indian Reservations

Although they are not currently recognized by the federal government, the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indians are recognized by and have been associated with the state of New Jersey throughout history.

Recognized tribes have their legally specified reservations, that is, land that they can settle on, but only federally-recognized tribes have a government agency with a government representative that would facilitate the communication between the government and the tribe.

The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indians have permanent seats on the New Jersey Commission on American Indian Affairs and the tribe has been mentioned in the American Indian tribal population report by the United States Census Bureau in both the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census.

The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indian Sovereigns in the 1970s

J – Jackson, Six Flags Great Adventure

It all started when Mr. Warner LeRoy devised the concept of the “Great Adventure,” an entertainment complex that would encompass seven theme parks: amusement, safari, floral, show, and waterpark, and sports and shopping districts.

However, like in many projects, only three of those – the SafariEnchanted Forest, and Hurricane Harbor came into existence, while the others were present in some form within the Enchanted Forest. All of it was designed to look larger-than-life.

In 1977, the facility was bought by Six Flags, and in 2012 the two were combined to form an eleven-theme-complex of entertainment. It has also hosted some of the best musical acts, from Ramones to Alice Cooper.

The park is located in Jacksonville and it is easily accessible to residents of nearby towns including Trenton, Levittown, Edison, Woodbridge and others.

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey

K – Kingda Ka

Another thing that the Six Flags Great Adventure park is known for is the world’s tallest, second fastest and second ever built strata roller coaster (a type of roller coaster with a height or drop that is 400 feet or more and makes a full circle).

The roller coaster was completed at the beginning of 2005 and opened to the public soon after.

Not-so-fun fact: the roller coaster was struck by lightning in 2009 and had to be closed for three months after the incident to be repaired.

Another one: a boy was struck by a bird during the ride and had to be hospitalized after.

These incidents are what you get when you try to be the best.

Kingda Ka roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure

L – Liberty and Prosperity

The popular motto, “Liberty and Prosperity,” appears on the New Jersey state flag and seal, along with the year of statehood, 1776, and a shield with three plows that represent the farming custom of the state, alongside two lovely female characters, Liberty and Ceres, the mythological goddess of agriculture.

The motto is actually not an official state one, but in the same way, as many other states, it has been accepted as a part of the seal.

Fun fact regarding the New Jersey legislature: the state of New Jersey was the first state to sign the Bill of Rights in 1789, and third to sign the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1787.

New Jersey flag with the state coat of arms

M – Monopoly game

Few people know that the original Monopoly cardboard was based on the streets of Atlantic City in New Jersey.

The origin of the game is a very interesting one – it started out as The Landlord’s Game with the intent of educating the players about Georgism, an economic theory which the creator of the game, Elizabeth Magie, was fond of.

However, it wasn’t until Charles Darrow’s version of the game that it became popular – and he actually copied it from a friend, which wasn’t known publicly until the game publisher sued another person over a similar game, and some of the court evidence pointed to Elizabeth Magie, the original creator.

The original Monopoly map of Atlantic City, New Jersey

N – New York Jets & New York Giants

Except for the fact that they’re not based in New York!

The two teams actually both play at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, but the team name is usually reflective of the metropolitan area that the professional sports teams serve, and not just the physical location of their arena.

Since the stadium in East Rutherford is some 10 miles distance from Manhattan, and therefore a lot closer to the actual advertised city than other NFL stadiums, and New York City is the biggest metropolitan area in the US, in addition to a good marketing effort, it makes sense that both teams take their names after New York City.

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

O – Ocean City, New Jersey

There are actually two Ocean Cities in the US, one in New Jersey, and one in Maryland, 90 miles apart from each other.

Besides the name and the ocean, the two don’t really share much.

If you want a peaceful family vacation, the New Jersey one is the OC to visit because it is, famously, a “dry town,” meaning that they don’t sell or serve alcohol within the town limits (you can still bring your own drinks and have a house party).

Why is it “dry”?

Historically, most of the dry NJ towns were founded by religious groups who did not consume alcohol, like the Quakers, Methodists, and some Protestants.

A lot of it also has to do with Ocean City being and staying a family-friendly town.

Ocean City at Sunrise

P – Population of New Jersey

With almost nine million residents, New Jersey is the eleventh most populous state, but with an average of 1,185 people per square mile, which is 13 times the national average, the state of New Jersey has the highest population density in the U.S.

Not only that, but it also has the highest number of engineers and scientists per square mile than anywhere else in the world!

New Jersey also has the highest percent urban population in the U.S. with about 90% of the people living in an urban area, since all of its counties satisfy the definition of “urban” by the United States Census Bureau’s Combined Statistical Area.

The most populated areas are in the counties and suburbs around New York City, Philadelphia, and the Jersey Shore.

Downtown Newark, the most populous city in New Jersey

Q – New Jersey State Quarter

The Fifty State Quarters Program was the issuing of celebratory memorial coins with distinctive design elements pertinent to each state on the reverse side of a quarter coin.

The program started in 1999 and the coins were issued in the same order that the states ratified the United States Constitution, so New Jersey was the third state quarter to be released, with the Crossroads of the American Revolution depicted on the reverse.

Additional inscriptions include the State name, Statehood date, mintage date, and “E Pluribus Unum.”

Each individual state quarter was released ten weeks after the previous one, so five state coins were issued per year.

New Jersey State Quarter

R – Railway and Highway systems

New Jersey has the densest system of railroads and highways in the United States.

In terms of track mileage, it has the largest commuter rail in the United States, with 951 miles of the route.

The High Bridge Branch of the Central Railroad of New Jersey was deemed one of the most successful lines in the state, dragging an average of 25,000 tons of iron ore per month in the 1880s.

Fifty percent of the ore handled in New Jersey traveled over this line. It was taken out of service in 1976.

Ridgefield Park, New Jersey

S – Solar State

Thanks to the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), a regulation that postulates a higher production of energy from renewable sources, such as the solar energy and wind power (to be exact, 22.5% of all energy produced), New Jersey is the second state in the United States regarding the number of solar panels installed on residential and commercial properties.

In 2013, the total number of solar panels installed in the Garden State amounted to 22,014 and generated over 1,078 MW of power.

From 2010 to 2011, the increase in the number of megawatts installed was 131 percent.

Fun fact: There are more solar company locations in New Jersey than tanning salons.

A 308-kW commercial solar energy system in Pequannock, New Jersey. The system consists of 1,400 solar modules.

T – Trenton, State capital

Contrary to popular belief, Newark is not the state capital, although it is the most populous city in New Jersey.

Trenton, along with being the state capital, was actually the capital of the United States for a brief period in history.

That is to say, the city was George Washington’s first military victory location during the American Revolutionary War, and after the war, the Congress continued to meet in Trenton for some time in 1784, but the southern states had the final say in defining the capital.

The old barracks, Trenton, New Jersey

U – Princeton University

Princeton University, located in Princeton, New Jersey, is the fourth oldest college in the United States, founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey, and one of the pre-American Revolution War Colonial Colleges.

It has thirty-five academic departments, both with bachelor and graduate degrees.

Some of the most popular fields of study at the University are the social sciences, engineering, biology and biomedical studies.

It is part of the prestigious Ivy League, and ten of the current faculty members have received the Nobel Prize.

Many famous and successful people are Princeton alumni, such as the U.S. presidents James Madison and Woodrow Wilson, First Lady Michelle Obama, HP CEO Meg Whitman, and Forbes Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes.

Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

V – Vegetables

New Jersey can boast with over 9,000 farms (hence the coat of arms, mentioned earlier), so there is no wonder people call it the Garden State.

Agriculture is the state’s third most profitable industry and generates $65 billion a year.

New Jersey ranks fifth nationally in the blueberry production (a $66 million industry), third in cranberry production ($22 million), third in spinach, third in bell peppers ($29.5 million), and fourth in peach production ($27.3 million).

The state also makes for a lot of tomatoes, corn, apples, strawberries, potatoes, hay, soybeans and nursery stock.

New Jersey Farm

W – The Wildwoods

Who can resist free beaches, events, and festivals (180 of them!)?

The Wildwoods are truly a resort city where everyone can find something to do, and the waves of tourists that come visit every year prove that.

The population is about 5,000, but the city hosts some 9 million people throughout the year, and there are more than 11,000 accommodation facilities.

The Wildwoods are widely recognizable thanks to their famous boardwalk that has been named among the top ten American boardwalks, as well as being listed as one of the top vacation destinations and architectural wonders.

The Wildwoods, New Jersey

X – Meadowlands Xanadu

The American Dream Meadowlands (ADM), previously known as the Meadowlands Xanadu, is a failed mall project in East Rutherford, New Jersey, that has been lingering for fifteen years.

It was started in 2003 by the Mills Corporation, which went bankrupt in 2007, and the project was stalled.

When the company went bankrupt, Xanadu was taken over by Colony Capital, which stopped the project because of missing payments due to the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.

After that, the Triple Five Group took over the project and due to many financing and other complication, the project has been stalled again, which raises the question if the mall is ever going to be finished, given that malls are dying out, but the facility was very expensive and 80 percent done.

The project also faced lawsuits from the New York Giants and New York Jets due to the proximity of the MetLife Stadium and the concerns over traffic.

The Unfinished American Dream Meadowlands

Y – New Jersey Youth Symphony

The New Jersey Youth Symphony organization was started in 1979 in New Providence, New Jersey, and featured 65 young, high school musicians.

Today it accepts third grade to twelfth-grade string players and sixth grade to the twelfth-grade wind and percussion players.

Today the ensembles consist of 400 auditioned and outstanding young musicians from over 70 communities, who are then provided with top-notch music programs, classes, camps, etc.

The Symphony is the oldest and considered New Jersey’s leading professional orchestra.

New Jersey Youth Symphony

Z – New Jersey Zoos

Since the state of New Jersey is situated between New York City and Philadelphia, it is only logical that it will have a lot of tourist attractions and zoos.

There are four zoos in total in New Jersey, with Turtle Back Zoo, in West Orange, New Jersey, being voted the best, in addition to offering animal adoption for $30.

What that means is that some larger animals are more expensive to feed and upkeep than others, and so the zoo decided to let the public “adopt” a larger animal at the zoo and as a result they get a certificate of adoption along with a fact sheet about the animal, and a photograph with the sponsored animal.

Golden Poison Dart Frog at the Cape May Zoo

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