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Ocean Grove - A Charming Jersey Shore Town Where Recreation, History, and Religion Prosper

Aug 17, 2007
This Jersey Shore town is unique with its charming tree lined village, Victorian breakfast and breakfast inns, a beach with a rustic boardwalk, and a large, attractive historic wooden auditorium that provides an atmosphere and friendliness from a past era.

The town is steep in religious tradition and welcomes visitors who seek to stay in lovely cottages and recreation in the form of quiet summer evenings and peaceful strolls along the boardwalk without the 21st century commercial, honky-tonk, noisy attractions found in other beach destinations.

The focal point of activity is the 7,000 seat Ocean Grove auditorium that hosts Christian programs and for recreation a variety of popular family value performers and concerts.

Ocean Grove has maintained its communal and religious ties with the original Methodist Camp Meeting ground. It is a dry town with a ban on alcohol and restricted use of the beach on Sunday until after noon. The wooden boardwalk along the beach has maintained its natural beauty with no commercial amusements or concession stands.

Ocean Grove is entered in both the National Register of Historic Places and the New Jersey State Register of Historic Places.

For years, Ocean Grove has been known as God's Square Mile. It is unique with its community of historic tents owned by the Methodist Camp Meeting Association and rented out. In 1878 there were 506 tents in Ocean Grove. Today, over 100 tents remain to the north of the Great Auditorium. The tents are made with canvas with a striped canvas-covered porch, a plain canvas-covered sleeping and living area in the front. It has a wooden shed behind the tent that contains the kitchen, bath and dining area. The size of the tents, including the rear wooden structure, is a little over 300 square feet. You don't have to belong to the church to rent a tent, but if you are interested in renting, there is a long waiting list, up to twenty years.

It's a wonderful place for a weekend getaway with plenty of charming, Victorian bed and breakfast inns to choose from. There is plenty of free street parking, yes no meters.

Things to do
A must see during your visit is The Great Auditorium. This 7,000-seat auditorium on Pilgrim Pathway is a remarkable wooden structure. Almost as big as a football field, it has one of the largest pipe organs in the country. If you aren't here for Christian worship, go to a Saturday night show or one of the many other year round concerts and performers that appear in the Auditorium.

If you're a history buff, take a Historic House Tour offered by the Historical Society of Ocean Grove.
Looking to do a little shopping or browsing, stroll along tree lined Main Avenue with many small eateries and interesting shops.

Of course there is the beach. The Ocean Grove Beach is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday - Saturday from 9 am - 5:30 pm, and on Sunday from Noon - 5:30 PM. Badges are required and can be purchased at the beach office at Ocean and Embury Avenues. They have public bathrooms, public changing rooms, a public gazebo, and umbrellas and chairs can be rented on the beach. During the early morning or evening hours, take a stroll along the natural wooden boardwalk. It's a pleasant, relaxing stroll with no commercial amusements or concession stands.
About the Author
Frank Dalotto is a freelance writer and travel consultant, and is the owner and editor of New Jersey Leisure Guide and a travel consultant for Leisure Travel Mart.
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