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There are two New Jerseys – North Jersey and South Jersey. North Jersey is where there are mountains to play in, horse farms for celebrities to hide in (there are more millionaires living in New Jersey than any other state) and towns for Manhattan office workers to live in. South Jersey is where there are billions of pine trees, the flat cropland that makes this the Garden State, the most popular sandy beaches in America and towns for Philadelphia office workers to live in.
Although North Jersey and South Jersey are connected by two of the most heavily congested roads in the country – the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway – the two regions don’t have much to do with one another. One remains a satellite of New York City and the other a satellite of Philadelphia.
It was in the 1850s that Jonathan Pitney, a prominent physician, and Richard Osborne, a Philadelphia engineer, got the idea that the salt air might be a health boon to the denizens of sooty Philadelphia. They launched the Camden-Atlantic City Railroad and ever since the Jersey Shore has been a hot real estate market. Today shore property turns over more than any place in the state but it is almost always either developed or protected.
Much of south-central New Jersey is covered in more than one million acres of pine barrens. The bog ore in these timberlands supported America’s iron industry during the American Revolution. Today most of America’s blueberries are produced here. The Pinelands are dissected by more than 500 miles of unmapped sand roads and so remote – even in the country’s most densely populated state – that there are still reported sightings of the legendary winged creature known as the “Jersey Devil.”
The spine of the Appalachian Mountains slashes across northwestern New Jersey in the largely undeveloped region known as the Skylands. When fishermen need a break from the marlin and hard-fighting bluefish in the Atlantic Ocean they come here to pursue sunfish and brook trout, the state fish.