Down the Ocean, Hun

It used to be that the Ocean City, MD season did not start until Memorial Day.  However, with the advent of the annual Spring Fest – usually held the first weekend in May, things get started a little earlier.

May in Maryland can be a little iffy, though.  One can never be very sure what the weather will be from one glorious May day to the next.    Rain and clouds with chilly temperatures dampened my desire to attend Spring Fest but the promise of 80 degrees and sunny skies prompted me to pack my bags and end east and what a fantastic weekend it was!

On our way down, we stopped at the outlet shops in Delaware to take advantage of no sales tax.    We worked up an appetite from all that shopping so we stopped at Big Fish Grill for a small lunch of tilapia fingers and fried calamari.  The fish fingers were ample and cooked perfectly – served with house made tartar sauce, they were a meal by themselves.  The calamari was served with a mustard sauce (yum) and marinara.  We shared our small plates which were enough to hold us until dinner.

I booked a suite at the Princess Royal for Saturday night.  When we arrived, we asked for a room “near the glass” (the wall of windows looking out toward the ocean) and were given an upgrade.   The young man and woman at the front desk were very friendly.  The room was spacious and clean, with a balcony overlooking the indoor pool.

Without wasting any more sunshine, we quickly changed into our swimsuits, followed the call of the surf and headed for the glistening sand.  The weather had been predicted to be variably cloudy with a chance of showers – I am glad the prediction was wrong.  The sky was clear and the sun was hot in the sky.

After a long walk down the beach, we splurged on rental chairs – the weather was so nice we wanted to spend more time on the beach.  Beach chairs now rent for $7 each while umbrellas go for $15 each per day.  I noted that both chairs and umbrellas were in very good condition – they may actually be new this year.

Unfortunately, the water was too frigid for my taste so we kept our toes warm in the sand but a number of brave souls ventured into the surf for a romp with the waves.  It was fun to watch the children dip their toes in the icy water and run screeching up the shoreline.

No trip to Ocean City would be complete without dinner at Lunas Cactus Cafe my favorite for many years now.  Ladies and gents, if you do not mind a short drive, Luna’s is the place for freshly prepared, unique Mexican seafood.  I had the sea bass with corn and onion salsa, and roasted red pepper sauce.  My husband had the grouper with shrimp and scallops covered in a crab sauce.  Neither of us had room for desert!

Following dinner, we drove to the inlet for an evening walk on the boards.  During peak season, the drive would turn most people off simply because of the traffic.  However, the crowds are light in May and so is the number of joy riders, so our trip took only a few minutes.

Sunset on the boards…

 

Trimpers Rides and Amusements was open with a few courageous young people on board.  The pier rides were also open but without much business.   I noted, however, that the tram was not in operation.

Thrasher’s Fries was sizzling, though and despite having just eaten a very satisfying dinner, I started salivating!  They smelled so good.  No matter how full one is the aroma of freshly burnished potatoes cooked crisp in peanut oil will make one hungry.

I skipped the fries and the Dole’s popcorn in favor of a stroll down the boards holding my husband’s hand the way we’ve done almost every year for 35 years now.  The brisk ocean air blowing in our hair and the fragrance of summers past and future was a sufficient night-cap for us.

In no hurry to return home, we took our time packing and checking out of the hotel the next morning.  When we eventually dropped our key at the desk, I noticed several families checking in.  Given the number of belongings they were carting, I guessed they were arriving for a week.  More evidence that the “season” is expanding and more people are recognizing the value they can receive in the shoulder months.

Our plan was to stop for breakfast before making the drive across the bay bridge.  The problem with that was it was mother’s day.  There were lines at every breakfast purveyor we passed.

When you have had a great a weekend as we, nothing can ruin your good mood, not even hunger!

Across the 50th Street bridge and into West Ocean City we ventured looking for breakfast.  As a last resort, we turned onto Route 611 thinking The Green Turtle might open for breakfast.  No such luck.  Ready to turn around, we spotted a small dinner ahead.

The Decatur Diner opened in 2010 with seating capacity of about 50 and has enjoyed immediate success (according to the waitress).  There were only two vacant tables when we arrived and a growing line by the time we left.

We both ordered a hearty breakfast of pancakes/French toast, eggs and sausage.  The food was served quickly and was very tasty.  Unfortunately, my eyes proved bigger than my belly so I was not able to clean my plate but it was not for want of trying.

I will add the Decatur Diner to my short list of little gems off the beaten path in Ocean City, Maryland.

The remainder of our drive home was delightful.  All form of pleasure craft dotted the waterways.  White sails floated across the bay on the gentle breeze that promised another wonderful summer down the ocean, hun.

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