By Leigh Brandt

Just like that, six weeks have passed in Boston and I am anticipating my visit back to my homeland, the Jersey Shore. While first thoughts may evoke images of Snooki and other cast members from MTV’s hit show, I must rightfully defend Monmouth County and disprove any pre-existing ideas of those not native to the area. 

Living in a city this past month and a half has definitely had its perks, but there are still some aspects of home that even Boston can’t replace.

First and foremost: pork roll. While some from North Jersey may call it by its alter-ego, taylor ham, we all can agree that this random breakfast meat holds some significance in our lives. You leave New Jersey, my area in particular, and no one has even heard of it. 

My uncle has his own pork roll shop and my weekend trip home would not be complete without paying him a visit. While I did recently go vegetarian three months ago, I still delight in the fact that I get to visit my uncle’s shop and spend time with family. My go-to order: pork roll, egg, and cheese, hold the pork roll.

Next is the Rook Coffee. Because who can enjoy an egg and cheese sandwich without a coffee to go with it? Rook is a coffee shop that operates out of my local train station. If you go during peak commuter hours, you can bet you’re waiting in a line out the door. So I will most definitely be visiting the coffee shop and ordering a 16oz Iced New Orleans with a splash of cream.

Moving on from food to a place I intend to visit: Asbury Park. In the summer, visits to Asbury are a popular weekend attraction. Mini golf, the beach, live music and good company. But this time of year, it’s a much different feel. My mom and I will most likely walk our dog on the boardwalk, grab some hot chocolate from Convention Hall and shop. 

Last but certainly not least, my favorite place to visit any time of year is Twin Lights in Atlantic Highlands. If you go on a good day when the sky is clear, you can climb up the North Tower and take in its incredible views. You have to climb up a long, narrow staircase to get there (it’s exhausting) but I try and think of it as an opportunity to squeeze in an extra leg day. Plus, once you reach the top, you’ll never want to leave.

So my weekend will be crammed as I try and squeeze in every Jersey Shore related thing I can. Being away from home has definitely made me appreciate the little things.