Left DC: Rediscovering Ocean City
Perhaps you have been to Ocean City before, but have you truly been to Ocean City?
You must rediscover and reimagine this family-friendly place.
Ocean City is a popular beach town known for its lively boardwalk, sandy beaches, vibrant nightlife and family-friendly atmosphere. Yet, somehow, it hangs slightly below the travel radar for people outside of the Mid-Atlantic region. However, that won’t be the case for much longer. Why? Because you are going there soon and you are going to tell all of your friends. Got it? Good.
This was my second time visiting Ocean City, and with a proper itinerary I wasn’t caught off guard by only ordering a bucket of Thrashers French Fries (excellent, by the way) and walking on the boardwalk (see below).
So allow me to share my itinerary to Ocean City with you:
Hotel Check in– Hilton Oceanfront Suites
This is my recommended lodging for your stay. If available, book an oceanfront suite as it will rightly put you into the spirit that wrings through Ocean City as it’s all about that ocean breeze and that blue water. And if it’s not too hot, sleep with your door open so you can be rocked to sleep by a parade of waves just outside.
3200 Baltimore Ave, Ocean City, MD (410) 289-6444
Head to the Boardwalk
Stretching nearly 3 miles, this lively boardwalk features numerous shops, restaurants, amusement parks and arcades. It is a wonderful area to take a leisurely stroll to enjoy some delectable seafood along with superb views of the ocean. Spend some time wandering on down the stretch.
Be sure to grab French fries at Thrashers on the boardwalk as they have been chopping up taters and serving them piping hot with vinegar since 1929. Yes, they only serve fries and also yes, they only serve vinegar. Somehow, Thrashers has mastered this and, oddly enough, it pairs nicely with the potato.
Do not be frightened, as the vinegar may bring out your inner British side. You’ll know the vinegar and fries had an influence on you if you now spell the words “colour” and “humour” differently now.
Dinner at The Hobbit
Call and place reservations for this fine dining establishment. Once you arrive, you will realize that the Lord of The Rings round door is about as Lord of The Rings that it gets. No, you won’t be quizzed on your Hobbit trivia upon stepping up to the host stand. Don’t come dressed in costume, either – that’ll freak out patrons.
The restaurant’s backdrop of a wall of windows spying over Assawoman Bay is a romantic mood setter the moment you see it. As for the food, I am able to confirm that you may not have had a crab cake as delightful as The Hobbit’s, loaded with crab meat through and through. We did not taste any filler. To say that The Hobbit may have the best crab cakes in Maryland might be a bit of a shock, but I can say that if crab cakes were judged like liquor, then these are top shelf quality. Honorable mention: Lollipop Lamb chops, macadamia crusted salmon, short ribs.
Seacrets Distilling Company
This famous distillery features a state of the art production facility for rum, vodka, gin and whiskey. Seacrets also offers guided tours if you are interested in gaining insight into their processes, which is a unique outing I highly suggest. Plus, there is a tasting room where you can sample much of their creations until you pass outttttttxxxxccccccccccssssfffffffffffffffffffff………
<Seacrets gin bottle falls off table>
Sorry, passed out there for a moment. After you finish the tour, you can grab a tasty lunch and a drink at the restaurant. I am sure you will be ready for some nourishment at this point.
Find your way to the beach (shouldn’t be hard, it’s behind your hotel smarty) and make the best of the remains of the day until sunset. Beach reading is great, so I am going to shamelessly tell you to bring a copy of my book to the beach (google it) or you could bring a Judy Blume or James Patterson book. But I am definitely leaning more towards you reading my book on the beach.
Dinner at Liquid Assets
You might have leftovers from previous meals but you’re probably not going to eat them anyway so how about checking out Liquid Assets, a storefront selling wine and beer plus a restaurant with chef crafted meals that you already love, but with a twist.
Hiking at Life of the Marsh trail on Assateague Island National Seashore
If you get started early, you will have time enough to walk along the barrier island in search of not only beaches that look like they are straight from a fairy tale, but possibly even some of the wild horses that patrol the area. No one is incredibly sure of how the wild horses ended up here; some say the Spanish threw them overboard and they swam to safety while others say the Spanish simply abandoned them in these parts when they returned to Spain.
Nevertheless, don’t approach a wild horse even if it is for a selfie. The wild horses here hate social media (not one has Instagram) and they might even be so inclined to show you how much they dislike it if you test them. They will kick, charge, and bite. Pictures from a distance, please.
7206 National Seashore lane, Berlin, MD 21811
Head to Berlin, MD
USA Today calls this quirky gem of a town “America’s coolest small town”. There are plenty of reason to believe this. You will quickly take note of the rich history and vibrant culture of the community, with its well-preserved historic buildings creating a visually pleasing atmosphere. Not to forget, Berlin has been featured in movies such as “Runaway Bride” and “Tuck Everlasting”, so if you are a movie fan then there’s another reason to visit.
To me, Berlin seems like a place I could spend weeks basking in the environment of its culture and the merger of history under an umbrella of coolness. Mostly, I’d be concerned that I’d never go home if left to my own devices.
Walk to Island Creamery
I am weird because sometimes I enjoy desserts or sweets before a meal. And here in Berlin, because it’s so cool and funky, I thought I would funk myself up.
This serious ice cream is some of the best I have had in quite some time. It is apparent that they take their cream churning seriously. As I indulged in their butter pecan ice cream, I had poignant thoughts about who the head “Cream Churner” at Island Creamery is. Does he or she eat ice cream everyday? What’s their daily ice cream routine like? I took another bite. Questions I’ll never have answers to, I thought.
120 N Main St, Berlin, MD
Lunch at The Sterling Tavern
The Sterling Tavern is a cozy spot for the classics that you crave, all presented well. The chef team has certainly spent a good amount of time fine-tuning their bar fare in order to make it a cut above other bars/taverns.
Do yourself a favor and order the Redneck Charcuterie board (pretzels, bratwurst, the world’s greatest beer cheese) or at least make sure you order a side of the beer cheese with what ever you choose. You’re going to regret not beer cheesin’ it up if you don’t listen to me.
Windmill Creek Vineyard and Winery
Head to this beautiful Victorian farmhouse turned
winery and spend some time browsing their meticulously maintained grounds. The drive is not far away from downtown Berlin or Ocean City. This is the spot for photos so get ready to have your partner posing in every position imaginable (the horses of Assateague Island weren’t fine with this).
Order a flight of wine or a flight of beer. I was particularly fond of the in-house beer. Then, I just sort of wandered the house and sat in random rooms. Which is okay at Windmill Creek. It is actually encouraged to do so. Anyone else’s house and that’s a no-go.
11206 Worcester Highway, Berlin, MD
Today is leaving time so do yourself a favor and hit the beach behind the hotel for a few more hours before heading back to where you came from. Waving goodbye to a great getaway is always bittersweet. Until next time, Ocean City. Until next time.