“Where in New Jersey do you live?” is probably one of the most frequent questions I get when introducing myself to someone. Problem is that I live in such a small town that no one knows what it’s called, so I end up referring it to Central Jersey.
I’m really from Hunterdon County. Where I live is unlike any place you’ve ever imagined, which is why I get offended when people say New Jersey is “ugly” or the “armpit state” of the United States. My town is full of farmland, trees, endless roads, and horses. It is not the New Jersey you’ve heard about or seen on TV.
A wise man once said “You don’t know what you've got until it’s gone.” This quote never really meant anything to me until I left Hunterdon County for college. After spending nearly my whole life in Jersey I was ready to get out of my small town. But as breaks started to come around and I returned home I noticed that I had a new found appreciation for my town. It’s beauty, the people, it’s community; everything about it is breathtaking.
Where else can you go on a run at 10 p.m. and feel as safe as ever? Have you ever laid down in a silent field and watched a sunset? Can you drive down dirt roads for miles upon miles? Is your town so close that you know everyone you see and can exchange hellos? These are the little things about Hunterdon County that touch my heart. Sure, we live in the middle of nowhere and have to drive twenty minutes to get to a grocery store, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
So as my parents begin to put my house on the market and look for other places for us to move, I look around Hunterdon County and value it more than ever. I wake up every morning and take in all the scenery around me. I appreciate the miles of fields I pass everyday on the way to work. I smile every time I get stuck behind a tractor while driving. I gaze at the beautiful sunsets that fill the nighttime sky. I no longer want to get out of Hunterdon County; I now want to take it all in.
Places as gorgeous and genuine as my town don’t exist as much anymore as we’d like them to. In fact, it is hard to find a place like this anywhere in the world in my opinion. It has given me more than I could have asked for while growing - beautiful parks, a safe environment, and lifelong friends.
As I hold onto some of my last days in Hunterdon County I want to say thank you. Thank you for providing me with the best childhood and high school days that I could ask for. Without you I wouldn’t be the same. I wouldn’t be able to appreciate the little things in life, I wouldn’t admire nature as much, and I certainly wouldn’t have known Jersey to be as beautiful as it is.
I can only hope that my future children will be able to grow up in a county like mine. Thank you for the best twenty years of my life.