It's hard to believe that we left New Jersey six months ago. We came to the Midwest for several reasons. Being geographically closer to our families was the main priority, although I was expecting we would end up in Chicago. Cincinnati was never on our radar when my husband started interviewing with other companies. But, here we are, and everything is OK. The cost of living here is FANTASTIC. We never would have been able to afford living in New Jersey with two kids, a mortgage and $8K+/year in property tax for a 3 bedroom 1960's rancher with both of us working full time. Hell, we can't even afford to buy BACK our old rancher--even if my husband got a triple promotion to come back.
All in all, we know we have made the right decision in being here. And while I usually had something to complain about when I lived in New Jersey, (who DOESN'T have stuff to complain about in New Jersey--it's what they DO!!!) I have come to really miss some things from the NY/PA/NJ area. These are in no particular order.
1. I miss Wegman's. Wegman's is the Mecca of Grocery Stores. I first learned of Wegman's when we lived in Pittsburgh and I visited SNMartha when she moved to Western New York. Every single time we visited SNMartha and SNMartha's husband, we would get up early before we would head back home, and drive to Wegman's where we would wander the aisles in absolute awe of what a grocery store could be. I had never seen so many beautiful foods and beautiful things in which to cook the beautiful foods. Fortunately, Cincinnati is home of Jungle Jim's which I refer to as the Freakshow of Food. It is equally amazing, so I think I'm going to be OK.
2. I miss Princeton, NJ. We lived 15 minutes from the campus and we were always there. Our daughter started walking in earnest on the campus lawns. She also suffered her first knee scrape there. We miss parking our car on Nassau St. on a beautiful Sunday morning in the spring or autumn and walking from one end of the campus to the other. The shops were quaint, and the Gap and the Banana Republic near the campus ALWAYS had better stuff than the other Gaps in the area (I am easily pleased.) My husband and I had many a beer and meal at Triumph Brewing Company as well.
3. I miss shopping in New York. Who wouldn't? I miss Barney's. It's not like I went there often, but I loved going in there. Pearl River Market in SOHO was one of my favorite stores. I am grateful they have a website so I can continue to buy adorable shoes for my daughters, but it isn't quite the same. Century 21 is a fantastic discount department store. Unfortunately, the website doesn't have shopping on it. I miss Fishs Eddy . Crate and Barrel has nothing on them when it comes to cool dishes! Lastly, I miss Bigelow Chemists. Being a products junkie, my needs were always met (I'm a whore for pretty packaging!). Again, I am glad I can get my Bigelow toner online or at Bath and Body works, but it isn't quite the same!
4. I miss taking the train into the city. I always felt like a kid going on an adventure when I rode the train. Sure, there were drunks and the occasional smelly person riding it, but that was half the fun! I especially loved riding the train during morning rush hour and watching men shave while reading the paper and the women applying their war paint.
5. I miss the subway. I remember first riding the subway as a kid when I would come to New York to stay with my cousin in the summer. I felt so overwhelmed by the people, the oppressive heat and the smells, but I loved every minute of it.
6. I miss Manville, NJ. If any of you are from New Jersey, you might be scratching your head on this one. Manville was named after the Johns-Manville Company, which manufactured asbestos products there. May not sound so great, but the plant closed many years ago and it is cleaned up. What I miss about Manville was the three Polish grocery stores. I didn't have to suffer through Mrs. T's pierogies and Hillshire Farms smoked sausage because I could get my share of REAL Polish Food. Spending holidays in New Jersey without my family was bearable because of that food!
7. I miss my old backyard and my pool. Sure, the 30 deer in my backyard, complete with their shit was annoying, but it was a small price to pay.
8. I miss the Short Hills Mall. That is a locale that is PRIME for people watching. I was never there when there wasn't a miniature doggie or two wearing diamond tiaras, their owners also bejeweled and coiffed. My husband and I definitely brought the income level demographic down when we went there, but it was great fun.
9. I miss Lambertville, NJ/New Hope, PA. These two quaint towns are seperated by the Delaware River. Both towns possess fantastic little restaurants, eclectic shops and pricey antique stores. Walking around there was a great way we spent many a Sunday afternoon.
10. I miss Thai Chef Restaurant in Somerville, NJ. Somerville was home to three Thai restaurants, which was unusual considering the town's size. The pad thai and the spring rolls ROCKED, as did their sushi (yes, I said sushi.)
11. I miss Mrs. Chow's in Montgomery, NJ. I am a creature of habit when it comes to eating Chinese Food. I eat Crab Rangoon with Cashew Chicken or Pepper Beef. That's it. Mrs. Chow's ALWAYS made my Cashew Chicken the way I like it--with Cashews and Chicken. That's it. Most Chinese restaurants would sneak a veggie into it, but they don't. My meal always contained equal amounts of cashews and chicken. YUM!
12. I miss Michelle Lorie's Cheescakes in Trenton. It was worth it to drive through the hood for these cheesecakes. My friend Nicole turned me on to them and I found my car frequently veering in the direction of that bakery. They were probably the best cheescakes I have ever eaten.
There are so many other things I miss, like the Staten Island Ferry and Central Park (saw a great Wilco concert there.) If you are ever in the NJ/NY/PA area and spot any of these places, stop by and tell em Hausfrau sent ya!!!