Love song to New Jersey

By Cate Masters

Ahh, the sizzle of summer makes me think of one thing: the beach. And there’s nowhere I’d rather be than along the coast of my home state, New Jersey.

Hey, whaddaya mean, Joisey’s beaches ain’t no good? Why I oughtta throw a tomato at ya… (ahem) Sorry. I sometimes lapse into Jersey-speak. But frankly, my dear, I never had an accent, nor did anyone I know. Jersey gets a bad rap so often, it’s become trite. And hey, Jersey is known for its wonderful tomatoes. I think I’ll have a tomato sandwich. :)

I am here to sing the praises of New Jersey. I grew up in the small town of Lambertville, twin hamlet to New Hope, PA, with only the Delaware River separating them. It wasn’t unusual to see feature articles about my hometown in ladies’ magazines or The New York Times or even the Travel Channel. Tourists loved the shops full of art, antiques and cozy little restaurants. In my mom’s youth, it was nothing to see stars such as Roddy McDowell riding through town in his convertible, on his way for a run at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope.

Lambertville’s not the only gem in Jersey. Mm, and you haven’t tasted great pizza until you’ve tried Jersey pizza. Maybe that’s why bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert made Frenchtown her home.

The Garden State has spawned many a celebrity. Hoboken has a shrine to its son, Frank Sinatra.

From Long Branch, The Boss made the Jersey boardwalk his haunt, playing “in all the little seaside bars.” Here’s a live version of I'm on Fire, with an intro that's surprisingly insightful into his Jersey days as an angst-ridden teen.

And if your summer's not hot enough, this Bruce video will set you on FIRE!

Whew. I have to cool off myself, after that one.

A web site lists all the Famous Jerseyans. Hey, if Jersey can claim Albert Einstein, (and Bruce!) it can’t be all bad. :)

Native Zach Branff’s The Garden State was another ode to the much-maligned state. Careful what you say, or Metuchen’s David Copperfield may make you disappear. Ha ha! New Jersey’s borne many an amazing actor, from Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon, Anne Hathaway, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, Meryl Streep… by now, you get the idea. I could go on for inches and inches of blog space, but I’ll spare you.

Its many music natives range from Count Basie to David Cassidy, Connie Francis and Lesley Gore to Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rick Nelson to My Chemical Romance, the Shirelles to Patti Smith, to Clint Black to Debbie Harry.

Jon Bon Jovi’s a big believer in giving back to his hometown of Sayreville.

One of my favorite talk show hosts, Jon Stewart, is also a Jersey boy.

You film-lovers will appreciate Kevin Smith’s unique bent on New Jersey. Dogma’s one of my favorite films – what a killer cast. I’m sure many thought it appropriate that New Jersey be the setting of an apocalypse (though it was filmed at least partially in Pittsburgh, Pa.).

Orson Welles made Grover’s Mill, NJ, famous in 1938 with the broadcast of the live radio show on the eve of Halloween. Many people mistook it for a real newscast warning of a Martian invasion. The War of the Worlds has been remade many a time since.

Oh, Tom Cruise is also Jersey born and bred.

Yep, I could go on forever, but I’ll leave you with one of my recent Jersey favs, Gaslight Anthem:

Ah, now doesn’t this pic make you want to go “downna shore”?

If you have a hankering to visit the incredible island beaches of Key West – in 1856 – my historical adventure romance, Angels Sinners and Madmen, is available today! I love release days! *throws celebratory confetti and pops champagne bottle * Visit my blog for info on how you can win an e-copy.

Belmar Beach/Island Beach photo from
Lambertville photo is mine.

Cate Masters writes fantasy/dark fantasy, historical, contemporary and speculative fiction, described by reviewers as “so compelling, I did not want to put it down,” “such romantic tales that really touch your soul,” “filled with action scenes which made it a riveting story,” and “the author weaves a great tale with a creative way of using words that makes the story refreshing to read.” Visit Cate online at, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.


  1. So funny! I grew up near Huntington Beach in SoCal and the last thing I thought I'd do is marry a guy from New Jersey - lol! But John Travolta introduced me to the joys of Jersey boys. And when my Jersey boy showed up in California, we discovered we had almost identical childhoods - his on a Jersey Shore beach and mine on the opposite coast. We also joke about how "his" people came out west, brought their beach ideas with them and created my beach culture.

    The funny thing is, just a couple of weeks ago we were in Huntington Beach and ran into a couple of tourists from Wildwood, NJ, which is the beach where he grew up. He kept telling me HB was much like the Jersey Shore. And now that I've been to the Shore, I have to agree with him.

    Anyway, couldn't help share my Jersey Shore story, even though I'm a California girl. :)

  2. Hi Cate: Great post! I love the Springsteen clips too! I think we can all relate - no matter where we come from - we all have those kinds of memories about our past. Cheers!

  3. Loved your Love Song to New Jersey. Very beautiful beach shot - I'm an east coast Canadian gal and I love me my beaches. And my rocky shorelines.

    What an embarassment of riches your state has given the world. Including so many of my favorites, Frank Sinatra, Meryl Streep and Jon Stewart among them.

    And Happy Release Day, Cate! *throwing more confetti*

  4. Well you're an honorary Jersey girl, Kathy, at the very least. Or a Jerseyan by marriage. Lucky you get to enjoy bicoastal beaches. Cheers!

  5. Yes, Joanna, I apologize for double Springsteen clips. I just couldn't decide which was better. :)

  6. Probably the first time "embarrassment" and "riches" were used in the same sentence to describe NJ, Julia. Most are much less kind, though I suspect many haven't ventured to its heart, or its shore.
    Thanks for the confetti! I'm excited, and still happy dancing.

  7. I hart Springsteen! I also must confess for a year or so, I was a total Jersey girl, finding the city way to expensive to live in.

    I gotta admit, I did love having a refuse away from the madness of NYC.


  8. Hey Nana! I hope you ventured south sometimes. Most people are surprised that central Jersey is cow country, with no factories in sight. :) Growing up, I'd have much preferred to border New York City than a farm!


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