New Jersey Gems?

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Courtesy: www.visitnj.org

Sounds like an oxymoron. A gem in New Jersey? Well, I'm here to tell you as a Jersey girl (born and raised!) that New Jersey is NOT the armpit of America. If you haven't noticed Jersey is smoking hot right now, thanks to some popular reality TV shows. Want to strike gold in the Garden State? Here are a few hidden jewels of the NJ Turnpike.







1. Bravo-licious: Chateau The Art of Beauty

Recognize this beauty from "The Real Housewives of New Jersey"? Chateau The Art of Beauty is a full service salon and spa residing in Franklin Lakes, NJ. They pride themselves in catering to clients by giving them exactly what they want, need, and deserve. "Upon opening, four years ago, a group of women came to us immediately forming a bond with Chateau and its employees," says owner Victor Castro.

"Soon thereafter I was approached by Sirens Media asking if we would be interested in partaking in a show. They were looking for glamorous women, living lavish lifestyles, right away we knew who to call! It's been an amazing journey with Chateau and The Housewives." And the rest...is Jersey history!


2. Fist-Pumping at its Finest: Headliner
Photo Credit: DJ Nicky Sibilia & Headliner

The Headliner, in Neptune, is an outdoor/indoor hot-spot known for having the best summer Saturday party. Resident DJ and NJ legend Nicky Sibilia keeps the crowd coming (last weekend 3,000 people!) and has been for over a decade. Fans rave that Sibilia's music is incomparable to anyone else and that no one can keep the crowd energized like he can.

Headliner is famous for being is the Jersey shore destination spot -- one of the longest running venues at the Jersey shore. MTV chose to film there last summer for the hit show "Jersey Shore" and yes, the spot has bragging rights to a Snookie sighting.


3. Mutz Mania: Fiore's Deli

Hoboken is the home of baseball, Frank Sinatra, and Fiore's World Famous Mozzarella. From the beginning in 1913, Fiore's Deli offered the freshest food and quality service to a very demanding clientele, the newly-arrived Italian immigrants of Hoboken, New Jersey. Over the years, Fiore's Deli has maintained its reputation for being the standard by which all other Mozzarella is measured.

On Thursdays and Saturdays, savvy NJ residents line up to wrap their hands around a famous Fiore's roast beef and order mozzarella sandwiches (the line is more intimidating than it seems -- it really does move pretty fast). As a testement to how great their grub isFiore's will be featured in an episode of "The Cake Boss" this coming season, and their roast beef sandwich was featured on the NBC show "30 Rock" in the episode "Sandwich Day".

Fiore's ships their products all over the country and FedEx Ground ships NEXT DAY to a large area of the northeastern U.S. at a cost of around $10.00. And as for the pronunciation, you don't want to sound like a novice when ordering: "Mo-tza-REY-la" is the proper Italian pronunciation and "Mutz-a-REL-la", or "Mutz-a-RELL" is the most commonly used Hoboken Versions.


4. In the Know: Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is author of The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May and runs a blog about the Jersey Shore: Down The Shore With Jen.

One of her favorite NJ spots: Clayton Park. She says it's "an amazing wooded park with trails for horseback riding, running, hiking and mountain biking. Gorgeous." Check out: http://www.monmouthcountyparks.com/page.aspx?Id=2517


5. FYI: NJ DVD
Photo Credit: "new jersey: the movie"

Where is the dividing line between North and South Jersey? In North Jersey, it's about 'the city' -- the wait at the Holland Tunnel today, what the Knicks or Devils will do tonight, and figuring out which local street in your neighborhood Tony Soprano drove on. In South Jersey, it's about the relaxing pace -- a region of seaside resorts, cranberry bogs, farms and Philadelphia suburbs wrapped around the biggest wilderness area east of the Mississippi River, and the one million acre Pine Barrens. Ben Franklin was correct when he called New Jersey, "A barrel tapped at both ends." There is no doubt that the two cities have a tremendous effect on New Jersey. And these influences do indeed meet in certain areas (usually referred to as "Central Jersey"). But by measuring what names locals call a sandwich (hoagie or sub?) to what sports' teams New Jerseyans cheer, this small state has many conflicting characteristics.

Does the state possess a unique culture of its own? Is New Jersey simply a backwater for New York City and Philadelphia? It is questions like these that have caused New Jersey to have its own "identity crisis." So while historically this great state has had to weather being the butt end of jokes from outsiders, it also struggles with itself. So, can the state find any common ground that may help to unite them and ensure more cultural pride?

From Rodeos to Minor League Ballparks, From Boardwalks to Speedways, From Cape May to High Point, see the real New Jersey in "New Jersey: A Barrel Tapped at Both Ends." Follow Steve Chernoski, as he visits New Jersey's wonderful towns, interviews colorful residents (including many mayors) and gets in the middle of town festivals and high traffic areas polling people on the often asked question: Where is the cultural dividing line between North and South Jersey?


6. Strolling Along: Atlantic City Boardwalk
Photo Credit: www.visitnj.org

Atlantic City is an iconic destination with a variety of non-stop entertainment options. This fall it will be top-of-mind for travelers when the new HBO series "Boardwalk Empire" premieres, starring Steve Buscemi and directed by Martin Scorsese. AC is gearing up for some exciting Boardwalk Empire-inspired city-wide initiatives that will drive tourism to the city that's "Always Turned On." This summer, stroll along the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk and take in the wide variety of iconic hotels and shops. Enjoy a night of entertainment at Kennedy Plaza with free concerts on Thursdays in July and August from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and free movies on Sundays at 8 p.m. from May 30 to September 12. Free movies will also be shown at McClinton Park on Thursdays at 8 p.m. from May 27 to September 9 and Kingston Playground on Fridays at 8 p.m. from May 28 to September 10.
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