This article is a little different from the typical story run on MWatch. It is not about the Freeholders or county government, per se – it is about a bigger picture. I have said many times that Cumberland County tops all of the wrong lists. And I have stated my opinion that our county is nothing more than a dumping ground for the rest of New Jersey. Cumberland County is the Rodney Dangerfield of the state – we get no respect.
Any doubts that I may have had about our lowly status in the state were laid to rest this week when I received a copy of New Jersey’s A-Z Guide, where to go and what to do, compliments of New Jersey Monthly.
Last month I subscribed to New Jersey Monthly. They had a deal on the subscription, $12 for a year plus freebies, of which the A-Z Guide was one. So imagine my dismay to leaf through the guide and discover that Cumberland County basically does not exist!
The guide has twenty-six categories – you guessed it, from A to Z. under Antiques and Flea Markets, the furthest south is one entry for The Old Mill Antique center in Mullica Hill, Gloucester County. Well, of course Gloucester County will be mentioned because Stephen Sweeney is the Senate president. Under Beaches and Boardwalks, at least the guide acknowledges that life exists below the Pine Barrens. Ocean City and Wildwood make the list. In fact, according to this guide, apparently Cape May County is the only civilized area below Mercer County!
C is for Culture, and we don’t got any! The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra is mentioned, but not the Bay Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. The Rutgers-Camden Center for the arts is included, but not the Frank Guaracini Center for the Arts.
Delicatessens and Diners, apparently only North Jersey establishments get free advertising in this rag! Ecology – nada. Farms and Orchards? The farthest south they go is Ocean County. Historic Spots – I would think that The Millville Army Airfield Museum merits mention – after all, it was “America’s First Defense Airport”. It doesn’t even get listed under Museums. Nor under Jersey Landmarks. But, Cumberland County does get its first mention – East Point Lighthouse is listed under Lighthouses.
Under Lakes and Rivers – we have the Wild and Scenic Maurice River which was passed over. Of course the Delaware river is mentioned, so I suppose we are included by virtue of bordering it.
Under Museums, at least the Noyes in Atlantic County is mentioned. The A.J. Meerwald is listed under Nautical Adventures. That is Cumberland County’s second mention.
Old Homes and Historic Villages passes over the Baracha Dunn house in Millville. The Southern Pacific’s C.P. Huntington is listed as being located at Wheaton Village. You would think they could at least get the name correct; it hasn’t been Wheaton Village for several years. This is Cumberland’s third and final entry. Bridgeton Zoo is missed under Zoos. Swansea Wineries are bypassed in the Wineries category.
Cumberland County has so much to offer. Unfortunately, tourism to the county took a dive after Lou Magazzu so short-sightedly removed all funding for marketing. In fact, the Cumberland County website page, More to Offer, is inexcusably blank!
Cumberland County has so much to offer. We are home to the New Jersey Motorsports Park, the Wild and Scenic Maurice River, the Glasstown Arts District, the Millville Army Airfield Museum, Swansea Winery, Gallery 50 in Bridgeton, the Bridgeton Zoo, the Bay Atlantic Symphony, the Bayshore Discovery Project, and there are many more which I am sure I missed! If we don’t blow our own horn, it is certain that the rest of the state will continue to ignore us. We ignore funding of tourism at our own peril. Every dollar invested in arts and tourism yields a return of over $80. The bulk of that money comes from outside the state and outside any particular county. It is reckless and irresponsible to be penny wise and pound foolish.