The Ocean Grove Flea by the Sea

Every year me and Aaron try to get to the big Flea by the Sea in Ocean Grove, NJ. I think the two of us have been going to the Ocean Grove flea market for at least 16 or 17 years. It's massive, it's right on the ocean in a beautiful little town that's chock full amazing Victorian homes and cottages, and it's nearby. And this year we were lucky enough to have amazing weather. Pretty much 70 degrees on the button with tons of sunshine and cool ocean breezes. Since it's such a pleasant, quick, and easy ride we decided to take the train down to Asbury Park, which is literally a stone's throw away from Ocean Grove (if you're the type to throw stones at friendly neighboring towns)
Ocean Grove is a tiny little less than a square mile...and the flea market draws so many people that parking your car is near impossible. So taking the train quashed any parking worries. We got there fairly early...a little before our iced coffees and scones, and hit the market.

The market is set up on the gigantic sprawling lawn that's in front of The Great Auditorium...and if you guessed that the giant building behind Aaron is The Great Auditorium you'd be correct. Fun fact: that giant cross on top was a gift from Woody Allen. He filmed Stardust Memories in Ocean Grove and The Great Auditorium's exterior was used to represent The Stardust Hotel. The old cross was in disrepair, so after they wrapped on the film Woody gave the town a new cross as a thank you gift.

The Great Auditorium as The Stardust Hotel.

There are all types of vendors there, and current trends definitely influence what the vendors are selling. I definitely noticed a lot more small things and not as much furniture. I can remember when chippy paint cottagey furniture was could find a TON for cheap. 
I had to grab a pic of this incredible headboard. When I see a piece like this I imagine it painted...maybe in the perfect pale vintage aqua with a great "dirt wash"...or possibly a matte finish grey or black. Then pair it with some old school Ralph Lauren bedding with big florals and bits of classic Ralph leopard print. I can see it in a room with a big chippy original paint armoire. Yeah, sometimes just dreaming the stuff up is plenty...and it's free! :)

I brake for old chippy medicine cabinets. I love love love them! I want them all! 

We don't collect clown stuff, but we loved the look and color of these. These two pieces were the only things left of an arcade in Seaside Heights after it was hit by hurricane Sandy. They were floating in a left over tide pool. If we had more space I think we could make them fit in with our vintage jersey shore themed bathroom

I had my eye on lots of vintage kitchen implements and utensils. I saw so many there. Finding what you want is easy...your eye instantly goes to the colored handles. I loved seeing this soda crate brimming with miscellaneous utensils, though none of these are my deal...I'm into pale aqua, pink, black, cream, or white.

I'm always looking for old crates and rustic pieces to mix in with our sweet pastels here at home. 

This crew totally cracked us up. That farmer dude in the mix?? He's got such youthful features, so I'm thinking he prematurely greyed fighting against GMOs encroaching upon his crops. 

This sign was GREAT! It was aluminum I believe, and as you can see...super faded! If only it was more of an aqua I woulda died! I hope someone bought it!

Ok, so there really wasn't anything I died over at the flea....except this piece. From twenty feet away it had my heart. This booth belonged to a guy named Steve and he made this piece himself. It's constructed of old stuff...chippy white wooden shelves, and the backing and top/roof was galvanized metal. I am a total sucker for house shaped items! I saw this and envisioned my collections perfectly displayed on the shelves...probably against the back wall of our living room. But...we came to the flea market on a train...and, truth be told, I just really didn't have that much money to throw around. But I did get Steve's info and he said he'd be into making another in the near future!

What's great about going to the OG flea is that we always run into our Jersey peeps. Here we are with two of our faves in the art community...Laura Mchugh and Suze Weinberg. Off camera are the handsome husbands John and the Lenster. We love that we can run into Suze in Jersey, or at Art is You inConnecticut, and even in California at CHA. Suze is ever present and ever cheerful. And Laura is one of the sweetest and most positive gals we know! We drove with her and some friends to the Country Living fair over the winter. Yesterday she was a vision in lavender! She even had a bit of purple in her hair! And yes...Suze is known for flashy footwear! 

We also brake for vintage portraits of kids. This little gal was cute...the color pink was perfect...but honestly, she's maybe just not creepy enough for us. A smidge more of creepiness added to her cuteness woulda sealed the deal for us.

We just had to pick up this big old "tractor wrench" for my brother Walt. It'll look great hanging in his shop. 

I wanted to offer this naked baby in a box some of my sun block. I forgot to apply at home so I bought some spray on 45 spf right there at the flea market for 4 bucks. Yes, I am white as can be and I plan on staying that way. 

Loved this sign. And it wasn't for sale...this was the actual sign for the Lemonade stand. Classic! 

Ohhh the sweet scent of kettle corn mingling with the ocean air...theres nothing like it! 

And wow, the beach was perfect! Clear skies, crystal clear breakers, and warm but with the most perfect breeze. 

So if you look closely at this pic you can get an idea of how HUGE the flea market is. I took this pic from the boardwalk and the flea market extends all the way to The Great Auditorium, which looks like a tiny speck in the distance.  

Here are some of the famous Ocean Grove tent houses. I've blogged them before. They pop them up in the summer. They're the jewel of Ocean Grove and have been in families for generations. 

Just beyond cute! And they all have their own personality. 

I had to take a pic with the Ocean Grove sign. The front of the sign says Ocean Grove, and this is the back of the sign which is visible as you leave town. I remember first finding Ocean Grove over 20 years ago...we were shocked to find a town filled with gingerbread cottages, a ton of Victorian bed & breakfasts, cute shops...and it being that proverbial stone's throw away from urban Asbury Park. And this sign just made it even more surreal. You don't see this sort of thing in Jersey much. The kind hearted folksy village thing seems more southern to me. 

There is a foot bridge between Ocean Grove and Asbury Park...and get this...there is a sign that states that the gate is locked from midnight to 5 am! It's sorta like a throwback to when the whole town was gated on Sunday for the blue laws so that there was no driving, etc...on Sundays.
So we walked the foot bridge back over to Asbury to grab something to eat, check out some shops and say hi to friends. It was such a great time. We'll be going back to Asbury soon and we'll devote an entire blog post. It's an amazing town that had it's revival fairly recently, and it's getting better by the day. 

So when we got home we unpacked our little purchases from the day. We grabbed some old bottles which normally go for anywhere from 4.00 to 12.00 in most antique shops or ebay. These were 1.00 each. And the cute vintage cream cheese crate we got for only 5.00. And I love the adorable old Ball jelly jar with zinc lid. 

I love it! I figured we could use it to hold sea salt or sprinkles! 

And we are suckers for any vintage crow/raven related items. This is a page from an old target practice book from Sears. I'm thinking maybe it came with a BB gun? I'm glad we got the page unused...maybe since the kid never practiced many crows were saved. We bought a few other things in Asbury Park that I may share another day.

It was such a fun day. We got the 5:45 train home and met some sweet ladies who also attended the flea market and were riding home to Jersey City. We all chatted about what we bought, what we saw, the things we collect. And there was a guy with a keyboard on the train...he was dressed like Fab Five Freddy pretty much...sunglasses, hat, tie...and he was playing the keyboard, a full size keyboard, at full volume...every breakdance hit from the early 80's and then some. It was a full-on dance party on the train. What a great capper to the perfect day.

Thanks again for reading! Back soon!
xo, Jenny & Aaron  


  1. The rows of striped awnings kills me!!! It looks like a dream, the whole thing - auditorium, flea market, cottages, the beach! I LOVE those clown plaques, and the pink lamps, and the portrait of the little girl. I must get to the NJ shore ASAP. God be with you until we meet for the first time!

    1. We thought of you every step of the way. You would love Ocean Grove. We have to do Jersey together. Our area first, and then a cruise down to Wildwood to our all time favorite, The Caribbean Motel: You will love so so much of the Jersey Shore.

  2. almost made me feel like i was there. i think i would have had to bring home some of those dolls! thanks for 'taking us along'. xo, frannie

  3. What an amazing spot! Love, love, love the clowns!!!!

  4. Dang it.... I wish I would of known, I would of ventured that direction this weekend. It looks incredible. Is it only once a year? Would you recommend visiting Ocean Grove even if the flea market isn't going on? Thanks for your input.

    1. The Flea happens twice a year! And YES!! We'd totally recommend visiting Ocean Grove any time! Here is a link to the town site!

  5. I need the wood small crate little sections leaning on that fabulous hopuse you will own one day! lol I am looking for something like that to hold my miniature perfume bottles. Looks like a grand time. I love it there too. Do they only have 1 a year there? Grace xoox

  6. This looks amazing! I definitely need to visit this wonderful town soon c:

  7. What fun! Love that house bookshelf! Love that lemonade sign, too! I totally would've wanted to buy that! And the Dolly Madison sign was awesome, too!
    Michelle xoxo

  8. Man! That sounds like crazy fun!
    But those tent houses REALLY sealed the deal!
    I desperately need to visit the north east!

  9. Ocean Grove is such an amazing place! I've only managed to make it to the flea market once but still dream of getting back one day. Thanks for sharing your pictures!

  10. Wow - Ocean Grove looks fantastic. I would definitely have spent so much money! That wooden bed head looks gorgeous!


  11. I love seeing the different flea markets people go to. I spotted items I would like to bring home .
    Thanks for the good pictures


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for reading! We absolutely love to hear from you please leave a comment if you'd like, or if you have any questions for us about a recipe, project, art supply , paint color, etc. Don't panic if your comment doesn't appear right away...we moderate all comments to avoid getting tons of spam. Thanks again!!
xo Jenny & Aaron

Popular Posts