Sitting here in the suburbs of Baltimore having just shoveled two feet of snow for two hours, I’m wishing for a summer beach vacation. Sunburn, sweat, babes in bikinis, sand all over everything – I want all of it.
The most popular beach destination for this part of the country – and for me – is Ocean City, Maryland. Over the decades we have all amassed a trove of tips, tricks and hacks for maximizing the pleasure of our favorite vacations. Here are some of mine.
Watch for the ridiculous and over-the-top. Ocean Gallery, Boardwalk, Ocean City, Maryland
It is difficult to capture the greatness of Ocean Gallery in mere words. If you have any interest in painted canvases, photography, history, popular culture or art in general then you will be entertained by stopping in here. The sheer volume of material within is stupefying. If a hyperactive caffeine-addicted crazy person art-lover exhibitionist wanted to create a business to feed his insatiable desires, and as a sideline to sell paintings and posters the result would be something like this. My personal monologue when perusing this store includes laughter, tears and many “wow”s and “holy mackerel”s. And sometimes I even manage to get beyond the first five feet of offerings. This is a special place.
Try something new. Old school jet skiing
Back in ’87 in the period that would be known as “The Braemar Years”, I had a notion that jet skiing would be a good idea, My friend, Karl, was agreeable so we found a rental place bayside and got to it. The photo contains some inaccuracies. First of all, I don’t recall any protective headgear. Second, the standing position is not correct. What I recall is lying prone with my head very close to the exhaust pipe breathing oil fumes from the idling engine. As I accelerated, my main effort involved keeping my head out of the violent jet of water while maintaining my grip on the lurching handle as I was dragged like a hooked mackerel at flank speed. I understood the goal to be achieving a standing position, and the technique involving a quick pulling and jumping maneuver. I tried this a few times, and I think some of the wipeouts were spectacular enough to be filmed by drivers on the Rt 90 bridge. By the end of the rental period I will say that my standing time per attempt had increased to several seconds. But by this time I had also swallowed most of Assawoman Bay. The good news is that I was almost immediately able to replace my shoulders in their sockets and even, with great difficulty, buckle the seat belt in my car. We still talk about this today.
Try the best of something. Kites at Kite Loft, Boardwalk, Ocean City, MD
Las Vegas is good at this. There you will find the alleged biggest, best, most expensive of pretty much anything that is. But Ocean City is no slouch at these claims. Rather than chafe against it, I suggest you embrace it. Why wouldn’t you want the best crab cake, the best roast beef sandwich, the best pizza? It might not be true, but it is up to you to determine. Did you know that the best crab soup on the East Coast is at Meding’s Seafood on Delaware Rt 1? They have a sign that says so. And truth be told, the soup is pretty good. Not as good as the long-departed Black Eyed Susan in Chestertown, but you can’t get that anymore. Soup is a fleeting thing. I implore you to find the best of everything in Ocean City. I will say the best kites are found at The Kite Loft, Boardwalk location.
Walk the boards, Ocean City Boardwalk, Maryland
Folks have been walking the Ocean City Boardwalk since the turn of the century. The previous one. At that time people dressed up in formal attire to see and be seen. Nowadays the attire is much more casual or scant, but seeing and being seen is still a thing. And the boardwalk is a great walking venue. There are shops, amusements, and every fast food imaginable. There are religious-themed, larger-than-life sand sculptures, T-shirts, hermit crabs, fries with vinegar and frozen custard. I can taste it now.
Ride the carousel: Trimper’s Carousel, Boardwalk, Ocean City, Maryland
If you reach back to your earliest memories you will find something like your mother standing next to you on a carousel because you were too small to ride by yourself. This is my memory, and I had mostly forgotten it until my son rode Trimper’s carousel. I stood next him eighteen years ago, too small to ride by himself. The carousel spun, the music played, the hand-carved horses, ostrich, rooster looked fabulous. I am lost in waves of warm memory and love. Riders range in age from about one to about seventy-five. This is one of the things that makes Ocean City unique and special. Ride it.