3 April 2021: The very first photo of our very first 'Stomp Find' | part of Rio Grande, Cape May County
AS LOVERS OF TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE, 2020 SUCKED.
The pandemic had derailed a planned road trip around Scotland, made us unwelcome guests outside of our home state, and encouraged extra caution with every public interaction.
Needless to say, as the winter thaw began in 2021, we were getting a little stir crazy.
We are a husband, wife, and dog team born, raised, and living in the "Taylor Ham" part of New Jersey (Morris County, to be specific). Always keen on a little road trip, we are as at-home on a day trip to the Shore as we are hiking the hills of the northwest, grabbing a beer in Pennington, or downing a couple chili-cheese dogs out in Fort Lee.
In early 2021, our good friend Adam shared an oddball folk album as a good "Sunday Morning Listen." It was Going Back to Brooklyn, the 1985 record by a then-unknown-to-us Dave Van Ronk. As the album carried through the back half, we were absolutely floored by the bizarre flurry of only semi-recognizable place names from our home state. This was our introduction to the "Garden State Stomp", and it stuck with us immediately how many spots we had never so much as heard of.
We casually poked around at some maps looking for these places, just curious where some of them were. In April, our cabin fever was peaked and we decided to play it safe with an in-state road trip, driving down to Cape May by hugging the most coastal route possible and car-camping for a couple nights. As we put together our last-minute plans, we wrote down a handful of the "Stomp Locations" to perhaps pass through and catch a quick selfie— no real idea of manifesting the idea much further.
It was a brilliant, 11-hour drive down to Cape May— peeling off at beaches and boardwalks when we felt, discovering the darling shopping village at Smithville, visiting Lucy the Elephant all by ourselves, and eventually making it to Sunset Beach in West Cape May just minutes before a breathtaking (and cold as hell) sunset.
As we drove around the area that weekend, we headed through some of these "Stomps" and were surprised over and over at the character and unique atmosphere each provided. When we we returned home, the idea took shape to try to research, find, and visit every one of the eighty locations rambled off in the "Garden State Stomp". While our original ideas was to try to find a sign or business with each place's name, the focus shifted to looking in to the history of these spots and visit a significant, iconic, or just well-represented site at each.
After thousands of miles, many a brewery visit, plenty of side-quest journeys, and an exhaustively detailed travel spreadsheet, we are beyond stoked to be able to share our adventure with you all.
—Mike, Dev, Mavis | 31 December 2021