Ocean City, Maryland Chronicle, Day 1: July 4, 2014
Miles across the New Jersey Turnpike bring us to the Delaware Memorial Bridge and the rural state highways of America’s first state. We wonder if the Tom-Tom has it right. Mira even says, with excitement, “I see ocean!”
Only what she sees isn’t the ocean. It’s an aqua-green roof on one of many farmhouses.
a Yukon eclipses
Our lagoon view
We finally see the canal that gives us hope. Crab houses bustle with tourists, testifying that we’re close. One turn, and we’re on coastal highway one. We soon cross into Maryland!
Ocean-view hotels twenty stories high flank us on our left. Strip-malls and restaurants pinch us on our right. Signs reading Higgins Crab house, Blue Ox Tavern, and Grotto’s Pizza fly by, along with the more familiar names of Dairy Queen and Duncan Donuts. All opportunities for us to part with our money.
Hurricane Arthur’s last clouds
Erroneous directions. A small check-in controversy. We survive them to settle into our one-bedroom condo. A white galley kitchen with a low breakfast bar opens to a living room, a quasi-open concept. The bedroom has a double-door entrance and a ceiling fan. A bathroom connects to the kitchen and the bedroom. Not Smuggs. But more than comfortable for a beach vacation.
so many guests inside
the indoor pool
We take a self-guided walking tour of the surrounding restaurants, ending up at my first choice, The Crabcake Factory on the corner of 120th and Coastal Highway. It’s so close to our condo that it’s on our way to the beach.
The flavor of my crab cake overwhelms me with its vibrant and luscious flavor. Buttery-rich, with that perfect Maryland crab texture.
The only spoiler to the evening was our older, white waitress’ treatment of the black couple from Philadelphia seated next to us. When he left his credit card out, she asked to see his identification.
still room for
We step onto the boardwalk at 26th street—a block from its northernmost end. It’s quiet. Ocean-view condos and mom-and-pop hotels line the boardwalk here. High tide, powered by Arthur’s passage, surges high and far up the beach.
wind and water
the rippling light
The first sign of commerce: The stowaway ice cream shop. We buy the summer-mandatory cones. Further ahead, more tourists window-shop the ever-growing number of Neon-signed souvenir shops. Pizzerias, bar-restaurants, tattoo/piercing parlors, sunglass huts, fry joints, and commercial hotels like Marriot, Holiday and Comfort Inn join the fray. Tram cars filled with tourist maneuver through the thickening throngs. By the time we reach the Jolly Rogers at the Pier, Mira can’t breathe. She’s too drained. We retreat up the boardwalk in a tram headed for 27th street.
launching from the beach