Enjoy this great story from our current issue, then take a test drive to see how you can have full digital access for less than a cup of java! There’s something about the songs of rock superstar Jon Bon Jovi, with lyrics such as “freedom was a tank of gas…to drive, just drive,” that has always felt like a road trip set to music. And now there’s another reason to air guitar in your car—especially if your travel plans take you through New Jersey.
A Garden State Parkway rest area, at milepost 123 in South Amboy, has been renamed in Bon Jovi’s honor, thanks to a collaboration between the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
Sayreville, New Jersey—The Jon Bon Jovi Service Area has all the conveniences of a typical rest stop—restaurants, bathrooms, gas—in a setting that feels like you’re visiting Jovi at home. There’s a framed platinum record from the artist’s personal collection, commemorating a million copies sold of Bon Jovi’s 1987 mega-smash album Slippery When Wet. There are also banners adorned with inspirational quotes, a gigantic lit-up guitar, and a life-size hologram of Bon Jovi himself that talks and answers big questions, such as whether it is etiquette in North or South Jersey to put ketchup or mustard on pork roll.
The plaza is one of nine Garden State Parkway rest stops to be named after Jersey’s famous sons and daughters. Others will soon include the Whitney Houston Service Area near Union, New Jersey; the Toni Morrison Service Area at Ocean View; and the Frank Sinatra Service Area in Galloway. (And, fun fact, Frank Sinatra was actually Bon Jovi’s great-uncle on his father’s side.)
The Jon Bon Jovi Service Center is two miles from Bon Jovi’s childhood home —16 Robinhood Drive in Sayreville— where the singer also lived as an adult while his band was recording its first three records. Between those walls, Jon Bon Jovi wrote his band’s first No. 1 hit song, “You Give Love a Bad Name,” which is featured on that same platinum record on display at his eponymous rest stop.
New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy says she hopes the service area “inspires the next Jon Bon Jovi.” But even if it doesn’t set you down the road toward rock ’n’ roll stardom, it will allow you the chance to answer an over-tired kid, who’s asked for the hundredth time how much longer the road trip will be, by singing, “Ooooooh, we’re halfway there! Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear!”
Jon Bon Jovi Service Area
Milepost 123, between exits 124 and 125
The rest stop is near Sayreville, the Jersey borough where the future rocker was born and raised