What towns in New Jersey can you really identify blindfolded, just by the smell? I can name two right off the top of my head just from the seemingly endless hours I spend on New Jersey highways.

The first is Florence.

When you're traveling north or south on I-295, the smell is unmistakable. The source is a landfill. Not even in Jersey! There's a landfill in PA that smells awful.

For years Florence residents have been assaulted by the awful smell and even though there was a financial settlement from the company managing the landfill, it still stinks.

Tullytown Waste Landfill - Google Earth
Tullytown Waste Landfill - Google Earth

The second unmistakable bad smell is on the Turnpike when you pass through Elizabeth.

The refineries give off an odor when combined with traffic and summer humidity is, well, less than pleasant.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Caller Jim mentioned the sewage treatment plant that depending on the wind permeates the air when crossing the Driscoll Bridge on Garden State Parkway.

It reminded me of the smell of the Trenton sewage treatment facility on Duck Island, which was across the road from our studio where we taped my show "Chasing News." Depending on the wind direction, we had some rough taping days.

Joe Votruba photo
Joe Votruba photo

Of course, the smells in the Garden State are not all bad.

Notably at the shore when the salt air surrounds you on a perfect Spring morning, giving you that great feeling that summer is around the corner.

From the boardwalk-smells like Macks pizza and Curleys Fries in Wildwood, to the sausage and peppers on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, New Jersey has some awesome smells that just make you feel great.

Jersey Shore Prepares For Memorial Day Weekend And Summer Season
Getty Images

One of my favorites is the Melitta Coffee Roasting Facility off of I-295, which reminds me of heading back from Phillies games as a kid to our home in Cherry Hill.

Melitta - Goole Earth
Melitta - Google Earth

Caller John in New Brunswick, who drives a truck in the Garden State, mentioned a distinct spicy smell between Exit 9 and Exit 10 on the Turnpike. It's a cinnamon smell from a local spice plant. I will be looking out for it on my next trip on the Turnpike for sure.

Sign for Exit 9 of the NJ Turnpike
Sign for Exit 9 of the NJ Turnpike (Google Street View)

A few of my friends texted me about a smell that emanated from the old Nabisco Plant in Fair Lawn...mmm, delicious. Of course, that company and so many others have left the Garden State for states who actually encourage businesses to thrive, but that's another story.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

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Best coffee shops & cafes near NJ beaches

When it comes to food, New Jersey is known for many things such as pizza and pork roll. Don't count us out when it comes to coffee.

With all the hustle and bustle involved in the average New Jersey resident's day, coffee is essential. It doesn't matter whether you're living in the cities of North Jersey or the vacation spots at the shore.

In fact, as the former owner of two Jersey shore coffee houses, Coffee Dot Comedy in Sea Isle City and the Daily Grind in Ocean Grove, I know firsthand how much people at the Jersey shore love their coffee.

With respect to that, I asked my social media following where the best coffee houses at the Jersey Shore were, especially since my two places no longer exist.

Below is what they came up with. (And see this other article for their coffee shop and cafe recommendations for Central Jersey.)

Gravy or sauce? These restaurants make the best red in Central Jersey

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