If you’re short on time or our paid tour times don’t work with your schedule, consider a self-guided tour that starts in the Museum and directs you on your own walking tour around town to points of interest.
If you have a bit more time and can schedule in advance, consider one or more of our paid guided walking tours when you return to Ocean Grove.
This self-guided tour guide provides an interesting overview of what you can see inside the HSOG Museum and walking around the Ocean Grove Historic District.
The guide covers some basic facts about Ocean Grove, its early history, the Great Auditorium, historical perspectives from the 19th century, cultural and intellectual prominence, the Museum’s library, architecture of Ocean Grove, the past rule on no vehicles on Sunday, a look at Ocean Grove in 1890, the Museum’s collections, and Ocean Grove today.
Click here to view or download the Self Guided Tour brochure.
The HSOG offers several paid tours during the summer season, many of which fill up early. All of the walking tours last about 90 minutes.
History Walking Tour
Summer. These are offered several days of the week and on Saturday. This tour provides visitors with an overview of Ocean Grove from its founding in 1869 through the present. The tour begins at the Museum, and continues on to Auditorium Park, where you will learn about the historic buildings that surround the Park. The Great Auditorium is a highlight of the tour. You’ll also visit one of the tents in the historic tent colony, and Centennial Cottage, which dates to 1884 and has been restored as a living history house museum from the late 19th century. Group tours are available.
Architecture Walking Tour
July and August. These walking tours, aptly titled From Tents to Turrets, focus on the unique architectural history of Ocean Grove. Led by architectural historian Jenny Shaffer, each tour considers the exteriors of select homes in Ocean Grove, a state and national historic district, as well as a camp meeting tent, Victorian cottages, and 20th century houses.
Women’s History Walking Tour
Summer. Focused on women’s history in early Ocean Grove, this tour is offered several times during the summer season. Given by historian Lyndell O’Hara, PhD, she highlights the contributions of women from Ocean Grove’s founding in 1869 to 1900 when women comprised two-thirds of Ocean Grove’s population. The lives, ministries, and careers of female evangelists, temperance leaders, hotel owners and managers, physicians, entrepreneurs, and holiness preachers are discussed as we view their homes and places of business.
February. Each year, the Ocean Grove Chamber of Commerce hosts a Girlfriends Weekend celebrating friendship. As part of Weekend, the Museum is open to the public and the HSOG hosts an Afternoon British Tea, with chamber music, beautifully set tables, and an environment that enhances charming conversation. Featured are assorted teas and delightful finger sandwiches, homemade scones, devonshire cream and jams, fruit tartlets, and other sweets.
Presentations and General Meetings
April, June, and August. The HSOG holds three presentations each year, each followed by a general meeting. The presentations feature a guest speaker with an interesting lecture or presentation related to Ocean Grove history. In the past, these included lectures on the Camp Meeting Movement, Ocean Grove at the end of the 19th Century, and a presentation on Victorian Food Traditions.
Golden Age of the American Carousel – August 27, 2020
Presentation. Perdita Buchan, author of The Carousel Carver, will speak via Zoom as part of the HSOG Summer Presentations and General Meetings Series. Perdita will talk about her new novel which is an American story of immigrants, by choice or chance, struggling to find their place in a new land. Her presentation will also include a slide presentation on American carousels, their history, their craftsmanship, and charm, including Ocean Grove’s former merry-go-round in the North End.
The great carousel carvers of the last century were mainly immigrants – German, Italian, Russian – who brought their skills as cabinet makers or carvers of religious icons to America. In the beautiful animals they created for the “golden age” of the carousel, they achieved a synthesis of the old world and the new, past, and present. Perdita last spoke at the HSOG in September 2008 on her book, Utopia, New Jersey: Travels in the Nearest Eden, Rutgers University Press, 2007. She is a full-time Ocean Grove resident.
General Meeting. Bob Waitt, HSOG President, with additional executive board members, will follow Perdita’s presentation with a General Meeting of the HSOG. Everyone is welcome to stay online and learn more about the nonprofit HSOG’s upcoming events, projects, volunteer opportunities, operations, and challenges.
When it comes time to vote on next year’s Executive Board, we ask that only current HSOG members vote. Thank you.
7 pm ET, Thursday, August 27, 2020
Online Zoom Meeting through your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Before the meeting, make sure you are using the latest version of Zoom. Go to Zoom.us > Check for Updates. 5.2 is the latest version.
Link to Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82872685680
Meeting ID: 828 7268 5680
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Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kchfU4aV4w
Author. Perdita Buchan was born in England and came to America as a child. She grew up in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, and has since lived in London, Florence, New York, and, for many years, in Vermont and Massachusetts. She now lives full-time in Ocean Grove. She is also the author of Utopia, New Jersey: Travels in the Nearest Eden, Rutgers University Press, 2007; Cliffe Notes: a nostalgic look at a bygone world, Harvard Magazine, May/June 2002; Called Away, Little, Brown, 1980; and Girl with a Zebra, Scribner’s, 1966. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Ladies’ Home Journal, Fiction Network, House Beautiful, The New York Times, and The Christian Science Monitor, among other publications.
Book. Published by Plexus Publishing in May 2019, the book is a winner of a 2020 Independent Publisher National Book Award, Mid-Atlantic (Best Regional Fiction). The book is an engaging and insightful tale of tolerance, second chances, and what it means for those once adrift to call America home. This evocative historical novel tells the story of Giacinto, who emigrates from Italy in 1912 and becomes a carousel carver during the golden age of the craft in America; and Rosa, the eight-year-old orphan girl thrust into his care. It vividly recreates the world of immigrant carvers—from inspiration found in fiery horses, big cats, and children’s laughter to the clatter, sawdust, and politics of Philadelphia’s bustling multicultural workshops.
The book is available at the Comfort Zone, Ocean Grove; Booktowne, Manasquan; and throughout New Jersey and the Shore at retailers that are open or offer curbside pickup. The book is also available online at BN.com (Nook only), Amazon.com (all formats), and direct from the publisher, PlexusPublishing.com.
Past Presentations and General Meetings ⇣
Great Storms of the Jersey Shore – June 22, 2020
Presentation. Margaret Thomas Buchholz and Scott Mazzella, two of the three authors of Great Storms of the Jersey Shore, Expanded 2nd Edition, will speak via Zoom as part of the HSOG Summer Presentations and General Meetings Series. Margaret and Scott will talk about the historic threat of storm events along the New Jersey coast with a slide presentation with images from the 1st and 2nd Editions of the book. They will include survivor and first responder stories and significant meteorological events of the past three decades.
General Meeting. Bob Waitt, HSOG President, with additional executive board members, will follow Margaret and Scott’s presentation with a General Meeting of the HSOG. Everyone is welcome to stay online and learn more about the nonprofit HSOG’s upcoming events, projects, volunteer opportunities, operations, and challenges
7 pm ET, Monday, June 22, 2020
Online Zoom Meeting through your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Before the meeting, make sure you are using the latest version of the app. Go to Zoom.us > Check for Updates. 5.1 is the latest version as of this announcement.
Link to Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 868 4527 0473
One tap mobile:
Dial-in by your location:
Find your local number:
Authors. Margaret Thomas Buchholz, author, editor, and weekly newspaper publisher has written or edited many books about New Jersey Shore history, including the award-winning New Jersey Shipwrecks: 350 Years in the Graveyard of the Atlantic, and Shore Chronicles: Diaries and Travelers’ Tales from the Jersey Shore. She grew up in Harvey Cedars, where her family has been coming since 1833 and where she now lives year-round in her childhood home.
Scott Mazzella, the author of the multiple national award-winning books, Surviving Sandy: Long Beach Island and the Greatest Storm of the Jersey Shore (2013), wrote the new sections for the 2nd Edition and added unique weather events of the past quarter-century. He is an educator, former reporter, and passionate weather buff. With a long family history on Long Beach Island (and a summer home in Holgate that was severely damaged in Sandy), Scott lives in Matawan with his wife, two children, and dogs.
Book. Published by Down The Shore Publishing in August 2019, the expanded 2nd edition received a Gold Award on May 7, 2020, from the national Benjamin Franklin Book Awards. Seven years after Superstorm Sandy of 2012, the book has been reissued and completely redesigned with an additional book’s worth of stories and pictures from the past three decades. Greatly expanded to include Sandy and even more weather events, updated data, and record tides and storm tracks.
The expanded 2nd Edition is available at the Comfort Zone, Ocean Grove; and the Asbury Book Cooperative (formerly Words! Bookstore), Asbury Park, throughout New Jersey and the Shore at retailers that are open or offer curbside pickup. The book is also available in New Jersey Barnes & Noble stores or online at BN.com, Amazon.com, and direct from the publisher, Down-The-Shore.com.
A Weekend in Old Monmouth
May. The Monmouth County Historical Commission sponsors this annual two-day event when 50 Monmouth County history sites open their doors to visitors and waive their admission fees. The HSOG always participates and admission is always free. The event is a self-guided tour. View the Tour Booklet.
And you can also view the Tour online with a smartphone, tablet, or computer. View the Virtual Tour. The Monmouth County Division of Planning uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to generate the Story Map and created this virtual tour that presents all 50 tour locations in a linear, place-based narrative with photographs.
Each tour site is a story point on an interactive map using geolocation technology. You can click sequentially through the narrative, or you can browse one of the tour routes by interacting with the map. Visiting the multiple pages within the virtual tour will help you to learn more about each of the tour routes and clicking on each point will reveal more about the specific historic sites.
Ocean Grove History Day
July. History Day in Ocean Grove looks back at the fascinating men and women of early Ocean Grove, as well as the architecture that is renowned as an example of Victorian splendor. In the past, Lyndell O’Hara, HSOG historian, took a special look at the neighborhood on New York Avenue between Clark and Cookman Avenues. It has a storied history. Dr. O’Hara shared her research about this noteworthy area, which housed some of the most interesting people and homes in early Ocean Grove.
Annual House Tour
August. The Annual House Tour has been held every year since 1969. It is one of the most popular events of the year, when over 700 people visit Ocean Grove. The all-day, self-guided tour in one of New Jersey’s most historic towns includes six to eight historic homes, as well as two tent cottages, and some of Ocean Grove’s historic buildings and inns. Learn more.
Click here to view a recent House Tour guide.
Teddy Bear Picnic
August. This annual children’s program for ages 4-11 is a fun filled day, with a variety of activities which include story time, games, arts and crafts, a teddy bear scavenger hunt, and games.
Lunch is served to all, and of course, a sweet treat from Days Ice Cream completes the day. Children are encouraged to bring their favorite teddy bear.
Celebration of Ocean Grove Architecture
August. This annual slide presentation focuses on a particular aspect of Ocean Grove architecture. A recent presentation was all about the different architectural periods and styles in Ocean Grove, how each influenced subsequent periods and styles, and what aesthetic and design elements constitute each.
Christmas in Ocean Grove
December. Each year, the Ocean Grove Chamber of Commerce sponsors a Victorian Holiday Festival Weekend, with a Holiday House Tour, the Lights of Ocean Grove, and much more in local shops and restaurants.
As part of the Weekend, the Museum is open to the public and decorated for the holiday with a new, Christmas-themed mini-exhibition each year.
Beersheba Preservation Awards
The HSOG is deeply committed to preserving Ocean Grove’s Victorian ambience and its status as both a State and National Historic District. We all inherit the rewards of those homeowners, businesses, and individuals who have restored, revitalized, or built their properties using historically appropriate methods for our unique community.
From 1995 through 2018, the HSOG gave out annual Beersheba Preservation Awards for outstanding Ocean Grove architecture and streetscapes. Awards were given to those who worked diligently to restore or build their homes and businesses in the community, and to those who served the community of Ocean Grove and the region.
Award categories included Homeowners Restoration, Homeowners New Construction, Commercial Restoration, Commercial New Construction, Streetscapes, Civic, Centennial, Nonprofit, and Special Recognition. Not all categories were awarded each year.
Civic Awards were given to individuals or groups for their contributions to the preservation of our architectural, cultural, or natural resources of Ocean Grove.
Centennial Awards were given to families who have meticulously preserved the historic aspects of their homes or businesses for generations.
Nonprofit Awards were given to nonprofit organizations for their reclamation and restoration efforts.
Special Recognition Awards were given for outstanding years of service to the Ocean Grove community, Neptune Township, or Monmouth County.
The culmination of the program was an awards ceremony and dinner, in later years an ice cream social, held each year at a local restaurant, with a public walking tour of award recipient homes, businesses, and streetscapes.
The proceeds from this annual past auction benefited the HSOG. Kravetz Auctions, Toms River, New Jersey managed this annual event. Kravetz are skilled auctioneers known for keeping auctions lively, so attendees could expect an exciting, fast-moving event. The auction included antiques, collectibles, and a wide array of rare Ocean Grove memorabilia. Some items for auction were on view in the main window of the HSOG Museum.
In the past, items auctioned included:
- A mirror from the old North End bath house etched with an advertisement for the former Homestead Restaurant on the Ocean Grove boardwalk.
- An “Admission 50 cents” sign from the old Strand Movie Theater.
- A souvenir “Ocean Grove” ruby flash glassware from the 1890s.
- Salvaged gingerbread trim from an Ocean Grove tent.
- 19th century printing blocks used for Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Annual Reports.
- Vintage dishware from the North End Hotel, and much more.
In the past, this event included the auction of experience packages with the highest bidders vying for unique opportunities. Past experiences included:
- VIP 4th of July Parade Package – Five lucky people enjoyed the view of the Ocean Grove July 4th Parade from the shady raised porch of historic Centennial Cottage, enjoying a superior view, comfortable porch rockers, and refreshments.
- VIP 4th of July at Day’s Ice Cream Package – After the fireworks, the line at Day’s stretches around the block. The winner of this auction and three guests won front-of-the-line privilege and enjoyed their treats at a reserved table on the dining porch.
- VIP Dinner at the Tali Esen Morgan House – Four people had the privilege of dining inside this private residence with a tour by the homeowners. This circa 1900 house is one of Ocean Grove’s most splendid Victorian homes and, as part of its history, hosted notables from Enrico Caruso to Helen Hayes.