Ocean Grove's main street is a far cry from Asbury Park just one mile north. Tree-shaded, crowded with visitors and family groups, it features largely Victorian buildings converted into gift stores, luncheonettes, and a few upscale restaurants which are all crowded. Parking immediately on the street is difficult but traffic is surprisingly light...more
Oceanfront at Ocean Grove is a sheer delight. The well-tended boardwalk is filled with strolling and jogging people, but there are no bicycles and no carts. Even better, no commercial activities are allowed on the boards - no amusement rides, arcades, food stands, t-shirt and souvenier stands - nothing. Visible from the boards are the many...more
Ocean Grove boasts the largest group of pure Victorian architecture in the United States, with the streets leading to the boardwalk and beach lined by great mansions. The town planners carefully made the streets nearer the ocean much wider than inland, favoring the more inland houses with the famed Jersey shore onshore breezes in the years before...more
Dr. James Thornley was a charter member of the Camp Meeting Association and favored building a house for services for children and junior members. After his death in 1892, Rev Stokes sponsored development of this small church in his honor. Even today, it still holds the famous Ocean Grove Children's Meetings as well as serving as a venue for small...more
Since Ocean Grove was founded as a summer revival center, housing was pretty much limited to tents surrounding the pulpit which would be expanded to the auditorium today. Plots were rented from the church with 99 year leases. At some point, wooden facades were constructed to face the church with the tent erected each spring and dismantled in the...more
The all-wooden Great Auditorium is the central feature of Ocean Grove. Built in 1894 it has a 6000 seat capacity and is the largest in central New Jersey. The summer revival programs are centered here but big name concerts are also a regular feature both popular and classical. The acoustics are said to be excellent. The pipe organ is one of the...more
34 Ocean Pathway, Ocean Grove, New Jersey, 07756, United States
Good for: Families
19 Broadway, Ocean Grove, New Jersey, 07756, United States
Good for: Couples
18 Heck Avenue, Ocean Grove, New Jersey, 07756, United States
Good for: Couples
This eclectic restaurant, advertised as a European bistro, occupies the first floor of the venerable Majestic Hotel in Ocean Grove. Bia is apparently Gaelic for food. The hotel has been remodelled as a rather expensive boutique hotel and this new restaurant fits into the mold with earth tone decor, sconces, candles, and a new hardwood floor. The menu is more eclectic than area-specific and features complex yet light cuisine with an emphasis on seafood. The dining area is relatively small, although there is an outside porch with additional tables. The young servers are knowledgeable and relatively efficient. And the food is superb, aggressively seasoned, with full without overbearing seasoning. Every item was perfect - the flavors exploded in our mouths.
Appetizers and salads are $8-12 and entrees run $20-30. Desserts are mostly below $10. Bia has no liquor license - BYOB.
Reservations are mandatory, particularly on nights when there are major concerts in the Great Auditorium. Parking is difficult, on street.
We had a superb meal here and highly recommend Bia for haute dining in the Asbury Park-Ocean Grove area.
Favorite Dish: For appetizers, we had Shrimp Tuscany - grilled shrimp wrapped in basil and prosciutto with a relish of tomato-black olives - remarkably tasty. Calamari was lightly fried and offered with a lime dipping sauce. A lump crabmeat and avocado appetizer with tomatos and bermuda onions was served in a citrusy vinaigrette sauce, also excellent and highly recommeded.
For entrees, the great star was marinated Asian tuna served over intensely flavored wasabi mashed potatoes ( these will clear out your sinuses in a hurry ) and bok choy, the tuna with a sesame ginger vinaigrette. Just as good - seared sea scallops perfectly done with lobster ravioli in a coconut cream sauce with a fruit-based salsa with at least mango and pineapple plus other flavors. I wish we could have sampled some of the complex and beautifully presented entrees at adjoining tables.
Luggage and bags:
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Shoes are optional - though you will need them to go into any restaurant.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: SUNSCREEN! Don't leave home without it.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: SUNSCREEN! Don't leave home without it.
Miscellaneous: SUNSCREEN! Don't leave home without it.
The Methodist Camp Association determines the mindset of this community even if policies have been liberalised over the last 23 years. The cross on the beach (image 1 ) says it all.
Most of the streets have religious names (image 2).
The police station occupies the parish house for the Thornley Chapel (image 3).
The centerpiece of the boardwalk is the pavilion used to this day for religious services on Sunday mornings and for other religious events and speakers during the week. It currently is a very controversial site - two resident lesbians have brought a major lawsuit demanding the right to marry in this pavilion being strenuously fought by the community in the courts (image 4). Appropriate signpost adorn the boardwalk ( image 5 ).