Ocean Grove is not to be missed. Founded in 1869, it is right out of the Victorian era. There is a nice downtown area and some small hotels, but it is known for its Methodist Camp Meeting and the Great Auditorium which was built in 1894. Methodist Camp Meetings were open air revivals held in woodland or seaside settings and lasting many days. Some grew into enduring communities. Permanent structures replaced many of the original tents. Ocean Grove is one of the few camp meeting sites left that remains true to its original purpose and still holds a Camp Meeting Revival every summer. In addition to religious services and events, there are many musical events including classical music and organ concerts. There are also musical events in the Boardwalk Pavilion throughout the Summer.
People come here year after year and live in small tents surrounding the Auditorium. Today there are 114 tent structures still nestled around the Great Auditorium which is the hub of the summer program activities and where descendants of founding families continue to carry on this wonderful tradition. There is a permanent kitchen and bathroom in the back but the living and sleeping area is a tent. Everyone decorates their tent with flowers or flags and it is very colorful.
Make sure to walk the street near the beach as the historic architecture is really lovely.
You have to check out Day’s Ice Cream, which is a great ice cream parlor that has been there since the late 1800’s. 48 Pitman Ave. You will love the atmosphere! Next door, you can eat there at The Starving Artist restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. I particularly like it for lunch or brunch. The building is unique and out of a different era. 47 Olin St.
Another good option is the SeaGrass Restaurant at 68 Main Ave. for fresh, local cuisine.
On my most recent visit, I enjoyed a great lox and cream cheese bagel sandwich at All Star Bagel by the Beach. This is a casual sandwich shop with a fun staff, opened in 2019 by the owner from Brooklyn, NY, is located at 60 Main Ave.
Neaby is Odyssey Coffee at 50 Main Ave. This is a fun spot to stop in for coffee along with pastries, sandwiches or quiches.
I also loved going to the colorful shop, Chocolates & Sweets by Joanne, at 73 Main Ave. In addition to great chocolates and baked goods, they feature an excellent selection of gelatos. The hazelnut flavor was one of the best that I have had. The staff was also delightful.
Nearby is Jax Shack OG which is a recently opened cafe that is open for breakfast and lunch. I look forward to trying it next summer.