Since last week, we hit up the largest city there is (that would be New York), I thought this weekend we would hit up the country instead as I had read somewhere about the Whitesbog Blueberry Festival – the centennial celebration no less. I had visions of bucolic fantasy, sampling fresh blueberries from the bog, eating slices of prize-winning blueberry pies, perhaps a little live banjo in the background, maybe the aromas of our bbq’d lunch floating in with the summer breezes…
But none of that was to be had. After roving around South Jersey and noticing a/ rather high number of correctional facilities lining the highway and b/ that this particular Saturday was a very popular day for yard sales in the greater Pemberton area, we noticed a traffic jam among some wide flat fields (the bogs). And that was the extent of our participation in the festival – it was “at capacity” as the state troopers told us while they swiftly shoo’ed us away. No room at the inn. Apparently Whitesbog, which is also home to a 1920’s company town complete with General Store, wasn’t able to sustain this massive influx of blueberry-seeking visitors. Needless to say, I was a bit heartbroken. We drove back and forth for awhile, bought some blueberries alongside the road, declared victory and went home.
But the drive was still eye-opening. I had to give up my visions of barbecue and instead settle for a burger at Burger King since fast food is definitely the prevailing option – though I thought it was a lovely touch that the staff took the time to put flowers on all of the tables, albeit faux ones. I always forget in the US the prevalence of the strip mall, as well all sorts houses of worship – some of the most surprising kind. Who knew that in these itty bitty towns of NJ were populations large enough to sustain a Korean-based Baptist church? And finally, there are the Americana towns that still exist but are becoming rarer – full of flags and begonias and porches that look like movie sets from the 1950’s.
All photographs by The New Diplomat’s Wife.