More people should appreciate Penns Grove, New Jersey

Where else can you get a hoagie the size of your arm?

When you ask someone about their hometown, they often say ‘We have the BEST [insert a list of things],’ or ‘No one does it like my hometown.’ Although this may ring true in some cases, my home town of Penns Grove/Carneys Point, encompasses all of these things, despite not always getting credit for it.

Diversity is a valuable characteristic of PG/CP, which makes living here super welcoming. The Italians who settled in PG/CP in the early 20th century, along with the Latinos, African-Americans and other ethnicities, bring a culture of food, tradition and people that you can’t help but miss when you’re away.

Many of the people I grew up with mainly came from Italian, Hispanic or African-American families who valued, and continue to value, their cultures, such as Sunday dinners, close family, good food and more.

We’re great for family owned eateries

One of the best things about these small stores and others in PG/CP is the fact that they are family owned just like Manning’s Home Grown New Jersey Produce.

The owners Manning and Madeline own Manning’s Homegrown New Jersey Produce located on Harding Highway. What makes this little side joint so special? Literally everything they sell is completely made from their hands. They even sell homemade spaghetti sauce, sweet and spicy green pickled tomatoes, red salsa along with the canning of several other vegetables.

If you’re looking for something real and healthy, don’t pass up the side vendors!

Our hoagies are to die for

The small shops like Roman Pantry and IGA have their perks too, and often make me miss the food from back home. The hoagies from Roman Pantry are ginormous and never leave you disappointed. I often get an Italian hoagie, chips, Arizona tea, and a piece of red velvet cake to top it off – because why not.

If you look at the size of your forearm, that’s basically the size of small hoagie – maybe a bit longer. This basically means you can have lunch and dinner while only paying for one meal. Sensational.

‘I said a small hoagie’

They don’t have a thing on IGA

Forget Krispy Kreme. Forget Dunkin Donuts or any other famous donut shop you are used to visiting.

The donuts from IGA are the best donuts EVER. People enter the store as soon as it opens just to buy one… or a dozen. These donuts are made with tender, love and care. I have tried to find a better donut and have failed every single time.

Once you leave you realize how much you miss the good ole’ times

Penns Grove/Carneys Point is such a comfortable place to be, and I didn’t realize this until I left for college. My high school, PGHS,  doesn’t look like much, but it holds memories of times that I shared with people I will never forget.

The football and basketball games were always hyped up and fun. You had classes with the same people every year. Some of the teachers were basically another version of your parents, and they made it easy to create a bond. At lunch time people made beats on the table tops and tried to freestyle rap. I still think about things like that and fall out laughing.

PG isn’t the prettiest town on the planet, and although food is our main claim to fame, what more could you ask for? There is always a silver lining. Everyone knows everyone, and for me, that is a part of what makes Penns Grove/Carneys Point a great place to be.

The people here remind you that there really is no place like home.

Rochester Institute of Technology