Turnpike Trivia

I recently cruised down the New Jersey Turnpike for a weekend in Philadelphia. I hadn't been to Philly since a poorly executed field trip in 1991, when many of the exhibits were inexplicably closed. So it was good to be back. We saw the same high-speed chase three times (a movie was filming near our hotel) and hit up the Starbucks across from Betsy Ross' house.

But the learning opportunities didn't start at Philadelphia's city limits. If you've ever traveled the Turnpike, you may have noticed the rest stops are all dedicated to famous (and not-so-famous) Americans. I've always wondered how these obscure names were connected to New Jersey. Let's take a ride up the Turnpike, making frequent stops for answers:

+Clara Barton, Established the American Red Cross
NJ Connection: Started NJ's first free public school
Milepost: 5.4 (southbound)

+John Fenwick, Quaker colonist in America
NJ Connection: Early settler of NJ
Milepost: 5.4 (northbound)

+Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass poet
NJ Connection: Buried in Camden
Milepost: 30.2

+J. Fenimore Cooper, Last of the Mohicans author
NJ Connection: This rest stop (He was born in Burlington, but moved at age 1 to Lake Oswego, NY)
Milepost: 39.4

+Richard Stockton, Declaration of Independence signer
NJ Connection: Continental Congressman from NJ
Milepost: 58.7 (southbound)

+Woodrow Wilson, 28th President
NJ Connection: President of Princeton
Milepost: 58.7 (northbound)

+Molly Pitcher, Possibly took the place of her wounded husband behind a cannon during the Revolutionary War
NJ Connection: If this did happen, it probably happened at The Battle of Monmouth in 1778.
Milepost: 71.7

+Joyce Kilmer, Poet and son of the guy who invented baby powder
NJ Connection: Born in New Brunswick
Milepost: 78.7

+Thomas Edison, Inventor with 1,097 U.S. patents
NJ Connection: "The Wizard of Menlo Park" is buried in West Orange
Milepost: 92.9 (southbound)

+Grover Cleveland, 22nd & 24th President
NJ Connection: Born in Caldwell, buried in Princeton
Milepost: 92.9 (northbound)

+Alexander Hamilton, First Secretary of the Treasury
NJ Connection: Killed by Aaron Burr in a Weehawken duel
Milepost: 111.6

+Vince Lombardi, legendary Green Bay Packers coach
NJ Connection: His first coaching job was at St. Cecilia High School in Engelwood
Milepost: 116

There probably wasn't a lot of resistance to any of these roadside memorials. I can't imagine anti-Clara Barton sentiment. But one naming has been a source of contention -- the Howard Stern Rest Area on I-295 in Springfield. It was christened in 1995 by governor Christie Todd Whitman. This gesture "“ a "thanks" for Stern's support in the November 1993 election "“ drew both criticism and thieves. A plaque featuring Stern in an outhouse was stolen. Jim McGreevey closed the rest stop in a 2003 cost-cutting measure.

Everything You Need to Know About Food in One Book

If you find yourself mixing up nigiri and sashimi at sushi restaurants or don’t know which fruits are in season, then this is the book for you. Food & Drink Infographics, published by TASCHEN, is a colorful and comprehensive guide to all things food and drink.

The book combines tips and tricks with historical context about the ways in which different civilizations illustrated and documented the foods they ate, as well as how humans went from hunter-gatherers to modern-day epicureans. As for the infographics, there’s a helpful graphic explaining the number of servings provided by different cake sizes, a heat index of various chilies, a chart of cheeses, and a guide to Italian cold cuts, among other delectable charts.

The 480-page coffee table book, which can be purchased on Amazon for $56, is written in three languages: English, French, and German. The infographics themselves come from various sources, and the text is provided by Simone Klabin, a New York City-based writer and lecturer on film, art, culture, and children’s media.

Keep scrolling to see a few of the infographics featured in the book.

An infographic about cheese

An infographic about cakes
Courtesy of TASCHEN

An infographic about fruits in season
Courtesy of TASCHEN


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