OK, I'm going to cheat just this once. Even though I've spent time in only forty seven of the fifty, below is my Mt. Rushmore of the States, in ascending order. I'm taking this liberty only because by the time I visit Alabama, Hawaii, and Mississippi I may no longer be blogging. In the meanwhile, I'd like to know which four States you'd enshrine and why. And I don't care how many you've seen.
1.) Massachusetts: Aside from the slightly-colder-than-NJ winters, the only other thing that's kept me from re-locating to the Bay State is the New England reserve of some residents I've encountered. Beats the obnoxious Jersey demeanor but not by much.
2.) Colorado: If I'd constructed this monument a month ago, Colorado may not have made the cut. But the combination of robust outdoor lifestyle, friendly natives, and staggering beauty has converted me.
3.) Oregon: Too much rain, true. But Oregon was the first State that ever tempted me to pick up stakes. Not as gorgeous as Colorado or as close as Massachusetts, but every trip to Oregon has solidified it's position near the top of my mountain.
4.) New Jersey: As I've repeatedly said, I sincerely hope every comic who has ever poked fun at my lifelong home continues making fun of us. If it prevents people from moving here, great; we've already got plenty of those, thank you. We've also got beautiful beaches, the Pinelands, and skiing (not Colorado quality, granted). We've got diversity to spare, strong environmental laws, an educational system that consistently draws accolades. NYC is a short drive or train ride away; the brave could reasonably get there by bike.
For the really attentive, below is an earlier iteration of Mt. Rushmore with four enshrined cities, three from the U.S. Though New Orleans and San Francisco made that earlier mountain, their respective States don't hold quite the same appeal as those above, although a beloved niece who lives in California could be a deal breaker. But Boston? Now you're talking.