Ocean Grove, NJ’s annual Chocolate Lovers’ Festival is coming up and Tiny Tours will be leading a special edition of our walking tour “A Stroll Down 19th Century Main Avenue” with bonus “sweet stops”! Tour takes place Sunday, March 12th at 11:00 AM. Meets in front of Burbelmaier’s, 69 Main Avenue. Reservations required. Tickets $15. Reserve your spot here or call (732) 305-8677.
If you were visiting Ocean Grove in the 19th century, chances are Main Avenue would be the first thing you’d see. What would it look like? On this relaxed walk along Ocean Grove’s main thoroughfare, discover what early travelers noticed and wrote about Ocean Grove, hear stories about some of the town’s early merchants, and learn the surprising reasons why many people came to Ocean Grove in the Victorian era. Along the way, take in beautiful examples of the Victorian architecture of homes, shops and offices. This special edition tour runs approximately 75 minutes.
Tickets $15. Reserve your spot here or call (732) 305-8677.
I attended a unique event at the Monmouth County Historical Association in Freehold, New Jersey. It was called “A Peek Under the Petticoat” and it allowed a small group of historical fashion enthusiasts to watch and even assist guest curator Bernadette Rogoff in the dressing of a mannequin in an 1868 dress.
The dress belonged to Julia Norton Hartshorne, a lively woman who died tragically at the age of 30, most likely from smallpox. The mannequin is part of the museum’s current exhibition, Hartshorne: Eight Generations and Their Highlands Estate Called Portland.
It was time for Julia to change her outfit, so the Historical Association held another “Peek” event. This time, attendees got a demonstration in how to properly wrap and store an antique garment and got a sneak peek at the next two dresses Julia will wear in the coming months.
At this “Peek” Julia changed into a stunning electric blue and black striped dress that is in remarkably good condition. Julia had a new wardrobe made in 1868 but fell sick soon after. It’s likely that she never got to wear the striped dress in public. After she died, her husband packed away her wardrobe in storage chests where it remained for generations. As a result, this dress still provides the stunning visual impact it would have in 1868.
The Association says it will be having at least two more “Peek” events, offering you the opportunity to see Julia dressed in springtime silk lavender or a gauzy summer eggshell gown with a floral print (see photos).
Meanwhile, you can see Julia in her electric blue glory at the Hartshorne exhibition. The museum is located at 70 Court Street in Freehold, NJ. For more information, give them a buzz at 732-462-1466.
I’d love to see you on Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 1:00 PM for a 6-course high tea at the Lillagaard Hotel in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. I’ll be doing a presentation on “Christmas Shopping in 19th Century Ocean Grove”. Plus, guests will enjoy a tour of the hotel. The event is part of the Victorian Holiday Festival presented by the Ocean Grove Chamber of Commerce. Tickets are $40. Call the Lillagaard to purchase at (732) 988-1216. Let’s get merry!
This past Saturday there were no walking tours in Ocean Grove, because we took a delightful bunch of ladies and gentlemen to the Merchant’s House Museum in New York on the Victorian Party Bus instead! A wonderful time was had by all. Here are some photos:
Wondering what you should wear on the Victorian Tea Party Bus? You’re not required to dress in 19th century-inspired finery, but it’s definitely encouraged.
Consider coming to Ocean Grove early on the day of the trip. There are several shops in town that can provide you with a touch of Victorian flair. Look below to see what goodies I found right here in town.
At the April Cornell store at 70 Main Avenue, you can buy a fancy collar or cuffs that automatically “Victorianize” whatever you’re already wearing.
Sounds racy, doesn’t it? Well, my heart did race, because I had a rare opportunity to watch a mannequin being dressed layer-by-layer in beautifully surviving clothes from 1869. I got to do what I never get to do in places like the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, or downstairs in the Costume Institute galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or at the lovely Fashion Museum in Bath, England: I got to look at the garments close up. It interested me as both a history buff and a sewing enthusiast. I got to scrutinize the stitching, study the embroidery, and recognize the ultra-fine red-on-blue pinstripe in a dress silk that from a safe museum patron’s distance would appear to be flat navy.
Photo by Marianne Sweet
The “experiment” was in opening up the dressing of the mannequin to a small audience of ten. The announcement from the museum landed in my inbox at about 6:00 AM. By 6:20, I was registered.What was the occasion, you may wonder? Joseph Hammond, Curator of Museum Collections, called the event “an experiment”. Preparations were underway for their forthcoming exhibition, Hartshorne: Eight Generations and Their Highlands Estate Called Portland. Among the objects to appear in the exhibition is a mannequin representing Julia Norton Hartshorne, a lively woman who died tragically at the age of 30, most likely from smallpox. Her complete wardrobe from the time of her death has been well-preserved by her descendants, giving the Monmouth County Historical Association the ability to dress “Julia” in her own clothing, from petticoats to bonnet (the latter still bearing its tag from a Paris boutique!).
We, the lucky audience, got to witness the dressing of Julia by guest curator Bernadette Rogoff who is an expert in the care and display of antique textiles and who “loves this stuff”. Some attendees even got to assist Rogoff. She was generous with her time and know-how and answered, oh, about a billion questions with grace and enthusiasm.
Hammond chuckled when I said “You should do this every month.” Hey, who’s kidding?
Interested in the Hartshorne exhibition? A preview reception to celebrate the opening will be held on Thursday, October 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The reception is open to the public at no charge and refreshments will be served. The exhibition runs from October 7, 2016 through April 29, 2017. The museum is located at 70 Court Street in Freehold, NJ. For more information, give them a buzz at 732-462-1466.
THE BUS. A LUXURY BUS WITH RESTROOM FACILITIES WILL PICK UP TRAVELERS FROM FIREMAN’S PARK IN BEAUTIFUL OCEAN GROVE, NEW JERSEY ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2016. (BY THE WAY, OCEAN GROVE HAS THE HIGHEST CONCENTRATION OF VICTORIAN ARCHITECTURE IN THE STATE! YOU MAY WANT TO COME EARLY AND ENJOY A STROLL. YOU CAN ALSO BOOK A WALKING TOUR WITH ME.)
DEPARTURE. BUS DEPARTS PROMPTLY AT 12:00 PM.
THE DESTINATION. THE STUNNING MERCHANT’S HOUSE MUSEUM IN NEW YORK CITY. CONSIDERED ONE OF THE FINEST SURVIVING EXAMPLES OF DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE FROM THE PERIOD, THE 1832 LATE-FEDERAL AND GREEK REVIVAL MERCHANT’S HOUSE IS A DESIGNATED LANDMARK ON THE FEDERAL, STATE, AND CITY LEVEL. IT IS FURNISHED WITH OVER 3,000 ITEMS COMPRISING THE POSSESSIONS OF THE TREDWELLS, THE WEALTHY MERCHANT-CLASS FAMILY WHO LIVED IN THE HOUSE FROM 1835 TO 1933. OUR GROUP WILL ENJOY A GUIDED TOUR.
DINING. ON THE BUS YOU WILL ENJOY A 19TH CENTURY STYLE SAVORY PIE LUNCH CATERED BY BURBELMAIER’S OF OCEAN GROVE WITH YOUR CHOICE OF HOT OR COLD TEA, OR WATER. VEGETARIAN AND GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE.
ON-BOARD ENTERTAINMENT. ALSO ON THE RIDE WE WILL VIEW A FILM THAT SOME SAY WAS INSPIRED BY THE 19TH CENTURY LOVE STORY OF GERTRUDE TREDWELL WHO LIVED IN THE MERCHANT’S HOUSE. [ACTUALLY, THE FILM WAS INSPIRED BY THE HENRY JAMES NOVEL WASHINGTON SQUARE WHICH IN TURN INSPIRED A STAGE PLAY AND THEN TWO FILM VERSIONS: THE HEIRESS (1949) AND WASHINGTON SQUARE(1997).] WHICH ONE WILL WE WATCH? YOU GET TO VOTE WHEN YOU MAKE YOUR RESERVATION. MAJORITY RULES!
DRESS CODE. Please wear whatever makes you comfortable. However, if you’re like me, you’ll look for any excuse to dress in Victorian vogue. So please — feel free to join me in wearing your favorite 19th century duds! Whether you go all-out or just wear a single vintage or Victorian-inspired piece (a hat, perhaps? gloves? button-up boots?) your participation will make our trip extra special. Plus, the Merchant’s House Museum will allow us extra time after our tour to take photos in the glorious parlor.
RETURN TRIP. WE WILL RETURN TO FIREMAN’S PARK IN OCEAN GROVE AT APPROXIMATELY 6:00 PM. WE WILL ENJOY DESSERT ON THE RIDE HOME.
ACCESSIBILITY. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE MERCHANT’S HOUSE MUSEUM DOES NOT HAVE AN ELEVATOR. THE TOUR INVOLVES CLIMBING SEVERAL SETS OF STAIRS.
Ready to Go? Click here to reserve your spot. $119 ticket includes lunch, dessert, museum tour and round-trip bus transportation between Ocean Grove and New York.
Life’s too short not to have little adventures that make our hearts sing! I hope you’ll join me for history, beauty, fun and friendship on Saturday, November 5, 2016.
Founded in 1869 as a Methodist camp meeting site, Ocean Grove has the highest concentration of Victorian architecture in the state of New Jersey.
On this tour, learn about the ways early visitors and residents of Ocean Grove had FUN!
Now I realize some folks might be thinking, Was it actually possible to havefun in early Ocean Grove? And if you’re thinking that, it’s probably because you know about Ocean Grove’s long history of straight-laced rules and regulations. But I can assure you, there’s always been fun to be had in Ocean Grove — it’s just good, clean fun.
This is a guided walking tour that lasts approximately 60 minutes. Tickets are $12 per person plus tax & fees. Material appropriate for all ages. Your guide is Kim Brittingham, history enthusiast and host of the video series Curiosities of Ocean Grove.
I hope you’ll join me for a free presentation, “A History of Day’s Ice Cream” on Monday, June 27, 2016, 7:00 PM at Francis Asbury Manor in Ocean Grove, NJ. Day’s ice cream will be served to all! – Kim Brittingham