When you tell people you're from New Jersey, what's their first reaction? Is it "oh yeah, what exit?", is it "eew"? Is it, "I've smelled NJ plenty of times"? Chances are, those people have never bothered to venture south of the Driscoll Bridge.

When most people from outside the Garden State think of us (when they're not making fun of the perceived irony of our state nickname), they think of driving the Turnpike through Elizabeth, Newark Airport, strip malls, highways, and houses on top of each other with no back yards. Oh yeah, and The Sopranos. Let's be honest, great show, but man has that stereotype stuck or what??

I would encourage those people to head South of the 100's on the Garden State Parkway...they'll actually see trees! In fact, earlier this week a friend who is originally from out of state was asking me about where my office is (Bayville), I said "you know when you're on the Parkway South and it turns into just trees? Yeah, right there".

So let's start spreading the word, we have trees in Ocean County! We have beaches (some of them don't even have film crews on them!) We have great places to hike! Sure, we have some areas of congestion and strip malls, but unlike some of our sister counties to the North, it's easy to get away from the crowds. I live in one of the busier areas of Ocean County, and I can even see the stars in the night sky from my house (something I can't even say for the relatively quiet suburb where I grew up in Middlesex County).

So what's the biggest NJ stereotype that gets on your nerves? Feel free to vent in the comments section below!

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