Our day at the Ocean Grove Spring Flea (2016)

This past weekend we went to the always awesome Ocean Grove Spring Flea. It was sunny and the temp was right there on the threshold of warm and hot. And luckily it stayed on the warm side of that threshold for most of the day. As far as locations go for a flea market, it doesn't get much better than Ocean Grove. The town is right on the Atlantic and it's full of super cute victorian cottages and B & B's, plus there is a whole neighborhood of these tent houses like the ones you see in the above pic. 
Yeah, they're amazing. We always walk by very slowly and peek inside like creeps, and if I was even creepier I'd aim my camera inside so I could get some pics for you guys to see. ha! But in lieu of that just take my word for it that they're magical outside and in. Old iron beds, antique dressers, chandeliers...not exactly what you'd expect to find in a tent.

We've blogged about our trips to the OG Flea it a few times over the years. We missed last year since it was happening at the same time as the Country living Fair. But we blogged the previous year here. This year was great because my parents are down for the summer and my mom came to the flea market with us. 

Here's Aaron in front of the Great Auditorium. We blogged a bit of the history the year before last (and coincidentally we took a pic in nearly the exact same spot).  The illuminated cross atop the auditorium was a gift to the town from Woody Allen after filming the movie Stardust Memories, in which the Great Auditorium played the titular role of the Stardust Hotel. 

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that I am a sucker for vintage holiday collectibles, especially anything paper mache! Paper mache candy containers are my absolute fave! Within the first 5 minutes of shopping I stopped in my tracks when I saw these Jack o' lanterns. They were a bit out of my price range, but definitely pic worthy! ;) 

I was just talking about vintage lady head vases the other day on instagram! This happens to be my favorite style. I had a Business English teacher in High School named Mrs. Brown and she held onto the beehive hairdo well into the 90s. These gals always remind me of Mrs. Brown, and every time I think of her I recall just how crazy my Business English class was. My daily assignments consisted of things like organizing Mrs. Brown's wallet and checkbook, and cleaning the junk out of her giant pocketbook. So I'm thinking that the term "Business English" means "grown-up lady chores"?

Loved this antique child's pastry set! And it was in such great shape! 

I love that these vendors put together a mix of similar items all from different eras. 

This huge illuminated Santa was so cool, and not a style that you see too often. About an hour later we saw a woman walking through the flea with it under her arm! (I always want to give people a cheesy thumbs up when I see that they grabbed something I was into)
Anyway, I'm psyched that it has a new home and I wish I could see where she displays it! 

The flea market spans two big fields, it's always super crowded, and there is endless stuff to look through. 

We ran into our friend Mary, and she had some great stuff in her booth! This glass case was full of an assortment tiny treasures.

This little booklet grabbed Aaron's attention. It's like a pocket sized morality tale that was printed and distributed by a church group. Kind of R. Crumb-esque illustrations.

One of the things on our wish list for the day was a really big framed vintage seascape. This one hanging here was the size and style I was looking for, and the price was great. But it was just a bit too sepia for us. It was actually even more yellow looking in person, so we passed on it. 

How cute is this little Worcester Ware tea set? 

We saw a few of these antique iron Michelin man lawn ornaments. They had some hefty price tags! 

Aaron hits the brakes for books. I really didn't get any pics of the great Ocean Grove houses, but the town is just loaded with gingerbread cottages and huge old victorian bed & breakfasts. The flea extends from the Great Auditorium straight through to the ocean. And the to the left and right of grounds are two streets lined with amazing old B & Bs. You can see some in the background here. 

I love kitschy cute shell art! 

We buy from this gal every year! She makes the cutest dog treats! Look at these little pizzas! 

And burgers! 

I loved this strawberries sign! Years ago we used to paint TONS of vintage style signage, so this piece brought back memories. 
Ok, so I got home and was editing pics and putting together this post, and as I'm looking closely at this photo I notice something peeking out from behind the strawberries sign...
AHHH!! It looks like the top of a chocolate and vanilla swirl soft serve ice cream cone sign!! HOW DID I MISS THAT!!?? I was kicking myself! There's just so much to see, and so much going on. 
I'm thinking that just as I was checking out this booth a woman walked past pushing a stroller filled with 3 lil' weiner dogs! So of course I got side tracked...anyone would. 

I feel like if me and my little brother Walt went halfsies on a booth it would look a bit like this one. Of course the stuff in the foreground is my half, and the live edged tree slab tables in the back would be his. 

This face is ubiquitous on our part of the Jersey Shore. It's Tillie, the mascot of Asbury Park. A mural of Tillie adorned the old Palace Amusements building forever. 

This local artist was selling Tillie necklaces she made, and the details are perfect. 

Pickles on sticks! 

I think I snap a pic of  The Albatross Hotel  every single time I'm in town. And I'm certainly not alone in loving this building. If you were a fan of Boardwalk Empire you might remember Nucky Thompson living in the Albatross Hotel for a season or two. Only it wasn't exactly this building. The set designers had pretty much an exact replica built.

I just loved this sign! I bet it was originally a darker purple, but the sun made it the perfect shade of lavender. 

We were also looking for framed rose studies. This one was super pretty, but not exactly our colors. It was also priced super low! I hope it went to a good home.

Cute little boxed bow ties. 

Loved the little lavender wood bathroom set. And right alongside were these babies that were just so weird. I knew I could do some creative googling using their names...John, Mary, Alice, Irene and Peter.  

And here they are. They were part of the Renwal Hospital Nursery Set! I found an auction site where this set in it's original box went for over $400.00! Seeing them in this context might make them seem much less weird, but at the same time there is definitely a super creepy factor despite the pretty pastel tones. 
It goes without saying that I would love to own this set!   

And while we're on the subject of weird...this guy had a jar of dentures. He was a character too. I think he offered us a discount, but only if we tried some on for size! 
Also, when I saw these I instantly thought of Kaylah (The Dainty Squid)

Aaron and BOOKS! While I was looking at homemade bath bombs Aaron was talking with some ladies about the books they had for sale. They happened to have a 1968 first edition of one that he'd been wanting for a while, "The Studio" by John Gregory Dunne. Of course he started nerding out a bit and commenting on how this book is "one of the quintessential Hollywood books", and then the lady told him where it came from. It turns out that the producer of The Godfather has a home nearby and he recently got rid of a bunch of his old books. Right away Aaron was looking inside for notes or an inscription...he didn't find any. But he did notice some handwriting sorta embossed into the glossy cover. Someone had written an address on a piece of paper and used this book as the writing surface. So Aaron used his forensics expertise (held it up to the light above our kitchen table) and figured out the address. After googling he was disappointed to learn that it wasn't Pacino's pied-à-terre...just some industrial building near The Bronx...oh well.
And oh yeah, all of this nerdy fun only cost him 1 dollar! ha!

I love vintage porcelain animals. I was hoping to find a chihuahua, no luck. But this mama and kittens set was adorable! (there were also a couple super cute mice in there.) 

I LOVED this vintage sand pail! And loved that the vendor had this post card stuck inside! Matching pails! 
Also, the pink table and those bits of aqua def stopped me in my tracks. 

At the end of the day you see everyone walking back to their cars carrying their finds. Most likely blocks and blocks away, unless they got there at 6 am! We've done that in the past because parking is really tough sometimes. The streets are narrow and not many houses have driveways since they're little seaside cottages all crammed together.
 I snapped a pic of this cute couple with their stuff in front of the tent houses. I yelled: "Smile like you had a GREAT DAY!" 
It took them a second to register that I wasn't completely crazy. 

In the end we didn't buy a whole lot. These days we really have a pretty narrow wish list and kinda stick to it. But one thing on my list was vintage shell collections, specifically this type...specimens. The type that you'd buy at souvenir shops. They remind me of one of my favorite exhibits at the Museum of Natural History. "The Spectrum of Life" in the Hall of Biodiversity. You can see pics from that trip here

Ocean Grove holds the Big Flea 2 times a year! The next one is the Fall Flea and it's on September 10th! So if you are looking for a fun day trip or weekend getaway on the Jersey Shore, you might want to plan it around this! You can find more info on the town here

Ok, that was a little bit of trip to the OG Flea. We'll be back soon. Thanks so much again for reading! xo Jenny...and Aaron


  1. Replies
    1. Hey Barbara! Ohh thanks so so much for reading! :) xo

  2. Loved your post. I remember having the shell collection as a kid. I always wanted to poke a hole in the plastic and touch the shells. Haha, I forgot all about it. Thanks for the memory! Love your blog!

    1. Hi Mary! Thanks so much!! haha! Yeah... kids and wanting to poke holes in plastic. haha! I did that with those vintage cardboard houses! Which are now some of my favorite things! Thanks so much for reading! :) xo

  3. Loved being a part of your adventure! Thanks for sharing! xoxo

    1. Thanks SO much for reading! We really appreciate it! :) xo

  4. Looks like a great day and what great scenery as well. Tagging along was fun!

    1. Hey Laurie! Oh man you would LOVE the OG FLEA! One day!! You gotta! ;)

  5. Wow! I haven't gone to a good flea market in years! I would love to see all those candy colored victorians. :)

    1. Hey Laurie! You would love Ocean Grove! It's pretty darn magical! Thanks for popping in! xo

  6. I grew up in south jersey, and knew all about the ocean grove beach tents. however, i had absolutely no idea about the flea market!!! and those trips back to visit my family.... my sister now lives in north jersey, so I think a visit to this flea is in order!!!

    1. Hey Erica! Ohhh you should try to get to the Fall flea!! It's a GREAT time!! Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment! :) xo

  7. Jenny, you find some of the cutest things and then it gets me obsessed trying to find them!! Those nursery babies...I have never heard of Renwal before!! And I spotted a pink camper with a blue station wagon!!!! Ocean Grove has been added to my bucket list of places to visit! Glad yall had a fun day. Love

    1. Hi Becky!! Oh thanks!! Ha! I'm the same way!! If I see an antique or vintage collectible on a blog or a magazine I immediately start googling or looking on eBay! Oh mannn you and the ladies need to do a getaway here on the NJ Shore!! Ocean Grove would be a great home base for the trip!!! XO

  8. How fun! I miss flea markets like those!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. hi Julie!! yeah the OG Flea is pretty great! SO MANY vendors! And you cannot beat the location! Right on the Ocean! : )

  9. I was there! It's so big that of everything you pictured, the only thing I saw were the creepy babies! My mom and aunt were laughing and thinking my oldest aunt probably had some. I got so many good deals and you can't beat that sea breeze.

    1. Ohhh! haha! So you saw the babies too?! Yeah there really is SO much to see! Exactly why I missed that ice cream cone sign hiding behind the strawberries sign! Glad you found some great stuff! Thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to comment! :) xo

  10. Looks like y'all had a blast! Wish we could have been there too! ;)

  11. Great blog post, Jenny! I have to get myself to the OG Flea! Checked the date for the Fall Flea, and alas, we're going to a wedding that day. So I'll hope to bump into year a year from now at the June '17 Flea! Can't wait to do a post on it for my blog. I've done a couple on OG - love that place. Super sweet and quaint. Enjoy your summer!

  12. what a great flea market. the jersey shore is somewhere i really want to visit, i need to plan to come when the flea is happening!
    also, im in love with those tents!


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