OceanGrove,NJ by Bonnie and Bill Neely

Warm Welcome in Victoriana for your real travel adventures Ocean Grove, New Jersey, is a quiet step back in time to the Victorian Era, a restorative reprieve just over an hour from Manhattan or Philadelphia.

The Melrose Bed & Breakfast is where I was lucky enough to stay. It is the only place I have ever stayed as a tourist and felt I should wirte a “thank you note” because of the hospitality. You’ll KNOW that you are the honored guest of owner Randy Bishop. The four-story Victorian mansion is one block from the ocean at 34 Seaview Avenue between (Beach and Central) and features grand porches on different levels to capture the ocean breezes and the relaxing atmosphere of the Victorian Era. Each of the ten guest-suites is comfortably modern with A/C units,ceiling fans, central heat, modern bathrooms, while still maintaining the Victorian integrity of the structure. The renovations were carefully done by the owners and each room is beautifully appointed with impeccable taste and care of detail, styled in unique theme decor. Mine was the safari suite with my own fully-equipped tiny kitchen! You can request a jacuzzi suite or fireplace also. There are several comfortable, homey parlours with over-stuffed pillows, music, TV, books, art, magazines, all just to make you feel at home and welcome. You’ll find freshly-baked cookies for your good-night treat. Breakfasts are sumptious and lovingly prepared by Randy himself and served in the lovely Victorian dining room.
Randy and a friend, who nostalgically remembered Ocean Grove from many visits in the days when cars were not allowed in town on the Sabbath, decided in 1995 to take early retirement from AT&T and city life and move here. They arrived in January and people told them they were crazy to go to a New Jersey beach town in the winter. But he remembers, “I figured if I could fall in love with a beach place in January I could love spending the rest of my life here! If I loved it there would be others who would too, and I have been proved right.” They were excited to be involved in the revival and restoration of the largest collection of intact Victorian buildings in the United States.
Call 1-800-378-9004 or (732) 774-5404 well ahead to reserve this most popular B & B. because guests return here year after year. The Melrose offers weekly rates all summer and is open year-round. Randy says, “My favorite time of year is September and October when flower gardens grow wild in a profusion of color, leaves are spectacular, the beach is quiet and the water calm. It’s just beautiful!” The warm and gracious host, welcomes his guests into his home and makes it a haven of peace and tranquility from the city stresses he himself escaped.
Captain Jack’s Restaurant at 68 Main Avenue is open Tuesday through Sundays for lunch and dinner and features delicious, fresh seafood. You’ll dine surrounded by the bright and inviting modern-impressionistic art of the extremely talented owner Jack Green, Jr. You’ll also find the 600 gallon aquarium relaxing while you dine. Call (732) 869-0770 for reservations.
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The beautifully renovated Main Avenue House is an impressive hotel which has been beautifully modernized, yet retains the Victorian charm of the three-story mansion and offers a private balcony and jacuzi in some rooms. There you’ll dine at Franco’s By the Sea with impeccable Italian/Mediterranian Cuisine and offers a delicious Sunday Brunch. You can also arrange a private, romantic dinner on the roof-top with your own sea view. The new Galleria is a boutique shop with many lovely gifts, some by local artisans. For more or call732-897-9200 or 732-897-9444
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The Starving Artist at Days (47 Olin Street on Auditorium Square) is a MUST with delicious daily homemade breakfast and lunch specials in an atmosphere of fun and friendly service by people who obviously love what they do! In January and February they feature a Dinner Cabaret (the innovation of Robert Jaffe, a performer himself) one night each week with a seating for 50 people. During the summer season the Victorian Garden is the setting for outdoor theater on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays with a seating for 75. These two events are so popular that reservations must be made about two months ahead. (You can e-mail StarvinOG@aol.com or call 732-988-1007) Days Ice Cream Parlour had its grand opening in 2001 on the 125th anniversary of Ice Cream at Days. The building is a Historic Landmark.

Manchester Inn Bed & Breakfast is a delightful B&B open all year one block from the ocean at 25 Ocean Pathway. The charming Victorian living room serves as Reception and the hallways and rooms feature most unique and beautiful hand-painted wall murals and decorations. You can tell that the inn and restaurant are the pride and joy of Clark Cate, Jr., who is your friendly host and a savvy on-sight manager. It is the only inn in Ocean Grove with a full service restaurant,
The Secret Garden. The food and service are excellent, and on Wednesday evenings you can enjoy the live music of the “Barn Burners,” a local Celtic jazz band. On Saturdays the restaurant features a pianist, and on Sundays it is light jazz. If you are in town on the second Friday in July and August, book far ahead for the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. Call (732) 775-0616 or The Sampler Inn Cafeteria and Restaurant is a must see if you are interested in needlework. Established in 1917, the walls are covered with an amazing collection of framed samplers dating to 1737! Stop in for a meal or dessert and take time to appreciate the “leisurely art of ladies.” It’s located at 28 Main Avenue (phone 732-775-1905)
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