Ocean Grove: The Best of Two Worlds
There is no place quite like Ocean Grove and, as many residents and visitors will tell you, you get the best of two worlds in this Monmouth County beach town along the Jersey Shore. It is just a short seaside walk to the vibrant nightlife of revitalized Asbury Park, so much in contrast to the tranquil streets and small town feel of Ocean Grove itself with its population of about 3,500. That population has historically see-sawed dramatically going back some 150 years, depending on the season, to Methodist camp meeting days and a beach town atmosphere savored by vacationers.
It’s the kind of town in which you like to walk around, reassuring you that small town life in America still survives and thrives.
“I think Ocean Grove is interesting to a lot of people,” Jack Green, owner of Jack Green Realty, says. “It’s quirky. There’s a strong sense of community and an emphasis on porches. It’s a walking town.”
Aside from the community feel there, the unique look of Ocean Grove, notably in its architecture, draws people like iron to a magnet.
Victorian Homes Restored
Ocean Grove is known for its array of Victorian homes of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Many of the surrounding towns have taken to modern style rebuilds while Ocean Grove remains committed to preserving its historical integrity through renewal and restoration. Whether you are looking to own a single-family home, two-family home or a condo, or perhaps a seasonal rental, you can find it here. It is also a great destination for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation stay, thanks for its assortment of inns, hotels, and bed and breakfasts.
The recent resurgence of neighboring Asbury Park has resulted in more people discovering Ocean Grove, its tree-lined streets and unique architectural display. That means they want to spend more time here, even become part of it as full-time or seasonal residents.
Aside from memorable concerts and gatherings in Ocean Grove’s historic Great Auditorium, both secular and religious, there are other attractions. They include a mile of pristine ocean beach and a family-friendly boardwalk that will take you to other cultural enclaves, intimate stores and restaurants in the town and natural preserve waterways. Then there is the Ocean Grove Fishing Pier that spans the beach and into the ocean.
Ocean Grove’s History: Presidents and Parades
Over the years, Ocean Grove has continued traditions to which residents and visitors look forward like the annual Fourth of July parades — one of the most popular in the region. But the uniqueness of Ocean Grove goes back to 1869 when a group of spiritual lay leaders assembled as The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to form and incorporate the town of Ocean Grove. They set up tents and spent the summer reaping the benefits of the salty sea air.
It essentially established the community as family-oriented, even two decades into the 21st Century.
Among the visitors and vacationers to this one-square mile of seaside tranquility over the span of more than a century have been U.S. presidents, celebrities and award-winning writers.
Jack Green grew up spending his summers in the Ocean Grove tent community while both his father and grandfather held leadership roles in what was known as the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. He eventually became involved in the town’s restoration projects, first volunteering to help restore the Great Auditorium, Ocean Grove’s iconic assembly hall where big name performers return to entertain every year.
In 1976, the Ocean Grove was entered in the National Register of Historic Places and is also in the New Jersey State Register of Historic Places.