On Friday, August 10th, ninety-five interested, self-proclaimed historians gathered in the auditorium at Assateague Island Visitor Center to enjoy a presentation entitled “The Archeology of the Rackliffe House and South Point, Worcester County, MD: Shell Middens, Trading Posts, Colonial Plantations, British Raiders and Pirates!” Noted archeologist, Aaron Levinthal who currently serves on the board of Rackliffe House, spoke. Sounds heavy? Not so, enlightening and entertaining.
Mr. Levinthal, ever the scientist, began by discussing the early geologic eras and resultant climatic changes that formed our local landscape. As example, it’s believed that some early evidence of Assateague Indian habitation may now buried about 50 yards offshore – due to the earth’s climate extremes resulting in shoreline and ocean floor changes.
No matter, we do know from buried evidence that a stable Native American population – the Assateague Indians – mostly of the hunter-gatherer persuasion, peopled the early Sinepuxent Neck area. Fish and shellfish were plentiful as were nuts and berries. Though no found bones, it was suggested that even a mastodon or two might have roamed the Neck. However, shell middens – the collected refuse of many mollusk meals are to be found throughout the area. We learned of a log canoe recovered from the marshes near Trappe Creek – alas, quickly deteriorating in the air, no evidence remains.
Fast forward through to the Contact Period when Europeans landed on our shores. The Sinepuxent Neck and other surrounding areas became home to trading posts as populations began to move about. Homes began to pop up, at first constructed of wood and later brick. Today, up and down the Neck, several Colonial plantation period home sites may be found in varying states of condition. Williams Grove, Henry’s Grove, Fassitt House and Genezer are a few examples.
The most recent restoration of a period home is the Rackliffe House – located near the Assateague Island Visitors Center on Tom Patton Lane. Leading the challenge, Mr. Patton, a life-long area native and other interested volunteers, carefully brought a derelict structure to beauty and life once again. Digs throughout the property produced many interesting objects. Though no longer with us, we say thanks to Tom! Now open to the public two days each week, a visit to Rackliffe House (c. 1740) will take you back to a time before traffic snarls and cell phones.
The fascinating archeological history of the Sinepuxent Neck area (today more easily identified as Maryland’s Route #611 aka Stephen Decatur Highway in Berlin) continues to be a study in progress. One in which we hope you’ll take part.
With so much yet to discover – you’ll be glad you did!
You’ve looked at the calendar and already decided that you can’t stay away from your favorite family-friendly beach - Ocean City Maryland, this summer. After all, the family needs that vacation… Yet, having checked out the gasoline prices and considered the proposed Bay Bridge toll increase you may be thinking that your family week of FUN could be limited. NOT SO…Ocean City MD understands, and while there’s always lots to offer visitors; especially this season, the number of FREE activities has increased! The Town has put together a list of “100 FREE things to do in Ocean City MD this summer” (click here). A few of these great family focused activities are highlighted below.
FREE Movies on the Beach – Every Monday and Friday evening a movie is shown on the Beach at 27th Street with our 16′ projector. Bring a blanket and enjoy the night beside the ocean. Movies begin around 8:30 – 10:30 weather permitting. June 27th – August 12, 2011
More Movies on the Beach: The Princess Royale at 91st St. – July 7 – August 25, Thursday nights
The Carousel Hotel at 118th St. – June 15 – August 24, Wed. nights
Both will have movies beginning at approx. 8:30 p.m.
FREE Concerts on the Beach – feature music for the whole family, Wednesday evenings from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Division Street beach. Bring your beach chairs and/or blankets, and enjoy beautiful music in a beautiful setting July 13, 20; August 3, 10, 17, 24, 2011.
FREE - Fun activities at the Life-Saving Museum – learn some fun facts! Monday through Saturday at 10:30 a.m., at the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum (south end of the boardwalk). See feedings at the museum’s aquarium, learn about sharks, beach safety and knot-tying, to name a few.
FREE Family Beach Olympics – Each Tuesday evening at Beach and 27th St. we feature a variety of contests for all ages. Events include sand castle contests, tug-of-war, relays, games and more. Events are free and begin at 6:30 to 8:30 pm. (Children must be accompanied by parent or guardian.)
FREE Movies on the Beach Thursdays - Free movies on the beach for the family every Thursday night at 8:30 pm at the Princess Royale Hotel…Beach & 92nd Street.
FREE Sunset Party Nights - Tuesday nights in July and August. Watch the sun set over the Isle of Wight Bay from the perfect location in Ocean City. Event begins at 7 pm and runs to approximately 9 pm. Admission to the park is free, while beverages, including beer are available to purchase. Event held July 7, 14, and 28 – August 4, 11, 18 and 25. It is recommended that attendees bring their own seating.
FREE Bonfire & Story Hour on the Beach – Enjoy story hours; learn the history of Ocean City and some of the Town’s best-kept secrets! Thursdays – 9:oo pm – North Division St. & Beach.
FREE Sundaes in the Park – Grab a sandwich…bring your picnic basket…enjoy free entertainment with ice cream sundaes for sale! Family concert series – watch the sunset over the beautiful Assawoman Bay! Northside Park & Bay – 125th Street Bayside.
A complete listing of free events and activities happening in OC all summer long, check out the Ocean City Free-For-All website at – http://ococean.com/freeforall…
For more information visit http://ococean.com/events!
This weekend offers a real double-header for visitors and locals seeking area Annual Events. Beginning early on Friday, October 9th, the local roads began to rumble with the sounds of the 12th Annual ENDLESS SUMMER CRUISIN’ show. More than 1,500 customs, muscle cars, classics and more roll into Ocean City MD to brighten the inlet parking lot with their shining paint and glistening chrome. This four day custom auto extravaganza is a real delight to those of us who remember the cars of yesteryear. Wandering around the huge lot on a sunny afternoon it’s not difficult to find a car owner who won’t want to wax poetic on his auto – his proud creation. For more information on this and other area auto related shows visit the website at www.oceancitycarshows.com.
For our second event and a real change of pace, we may visit the Fiber (Some may ask – fiber? This is the textile type as opposed to the cereal type!) Fest, sponsored by the Julia A. Purnell Museum in Snow Hill Maryland – a short trip down Rt. 113 from Ocean City. Snow Hill is the seat of our Worcester County Government. And, it is a must see for any area visitor especially those with an eye to historic architecture – combined with rural charm. This year, due to the popularity of this event, the Fiber Fest has expanded to Sturgis Park along the lovely banks of the Pocomoke River. Displays, including some sources of the natural fibers – live alpacas and wooly sheep, are in abundance. All feature lovely examples of handmade textile art and craft. Many vendors willing to share their knowledge will be in attendance, some creating their lovely wares on the spot. To obtain further information about this and other museum events visit www.purnellmuseum.com.
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There seemed to be no limit to the atmosphere of good spirits (pardon the pun), despite the overcast skies, surrounding opening day for the 6th Annual Autumn WINE FESTIVAL this past weekend. Sponsored by Wicomico County Recreation, Parks & Tourism and sited at the Pemberton Historical Park in Salisbury MD this Fest is surely a hit! Nineteen MARYLAND wineries from all across the state proudly offered the results of intense viticulture – including champagne and port, to a very appreciative and discerning audience. A quick scan of the license tags in the parking lot showed festival attendees from all around the mid-Atlantic region. And why not? In addition to the fine wineries represented, the food court offered an additional fourteen vendors – presenting varied menus including oxtail stew, seared coconut shrimp, calamari and the ubiquitous Maryland favorite, oyster fritters. If this was not enough, the tents of over 30 craft vendors lined the festival perimeter – while seven distinctly different groups performed exceptional live music alternately on stage. There you have it – fine wines, great music, tempting foods and a little pre-holiday shopping – who could ask for more – surely something for everyone. This is a must-attend event for anyone looking for a very special fall weekend getaway. Next year (2009) this event is to be held on October 17th and 18th. Be sure and mark your calendars. And remember that Ocean City MD (30 minutes west) offers a wide variety of places to stay during your visit. For more information visit www.autumnwinefestival.org.
Each year thousands pass hurriedly, almost unknowingly, by the entrance to this little known park site at the traffic light on their way across the Rt. 90 Bridge to Ocean City MD. This area, almost an island is bordered on the west by the St. Martin’s Neck River, the remainder surrounded by the Assawoman and Isle of Wight bays. Termed a salt marsh island it provides an important greenway and is owned by the state of Maryland and Worcester County. The state portion of the island is a wildlife management area used for recreational boating, fishing and shell fishing by visitors from neighboring areas. The park portion, under the auspicious of Worcester County provides the very essence of the natural seashore. Upon entering and immediately looking to the right one sees the salt marsh – home to a large variety of shore birds…this day a large white heron. In the distance the shoreline of the community of Ocean Pines is revealed. Also located on the west side is a small sandy beach. Looking southward, the waters of the inland bays are visible along with those nearly always-present bay breezes…making this an ideal place to visit on a warm summer day to enjoy the quiet space. Following the road to the left along the natural shoreline, one quickly comes upon an open area which offers an entrance to a long, sturdy pier jutting straight out into the Isle of Wight Bay. The pier is ideal for strolling and offers an impressive view of the exciting Ocean City skyline complete with its many identifiable buildings. Picnic tables are provided. Spend an hour, spend the day the Isle of Wight Nature Park will impress you! Admission is free! Please remember the natural environment is Worcester County’s most valuable resource!
For more information on this and our other area parks visit the website at www.dnr.state.md.us/greenways/counties/worcester.html.
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During your stay you may want to check out the many activities offered to sports enthusiasts by the Ocean City Maryland Department of Recreation and Parks that the whole family may enjoy…keep fit and have fun!
* Basketball: Courts are located at 3rd St. & St. Louis Ave.; 94th St. at the Art Center; 125th St., Bayside (indoors); and, 61st St., Bayside.
* Racquetball: Two courts: 61st. St. & Coastal Hwy; One court: Gorman Avenue, Bayside.
* Tennis: Courts are located at: 2nd St., Bayside; 61st St., (Mallard Run); 94th St., Bayside; and 136th St, Bayside. For more information, or to reserve a tennis court, call 410-524-8377.
* Volleyball: Volleyball nets are set up along the beach during the summer. Open to everyone at no charge. Nets are available at 4th Street, 7th Street, 9th Street, 19th Street; two courts are south of the pier; and 8 courts at Dorchester Street. Courts are also located at 61st Street, Bayside.
Other sports facilities are available. Certain fees and restrictions may apply. Please call 410-250-0125 for details.
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To add to your vacation experience during your visit, the Ocean City the Department of Parks has provided the following list of area public parks. Included are playgrounds/tot lots for the kids and some great fishing spots. Grab your fishin’ pole, the kids and a sandwich…Enjoy! Beginning at the Inlet and traveling north…
* Inlet Park: Southernmost park with viewing binoculars and informative signs. Ocean City’s time capsule located here.
* St. Louis Park: 2nd & St. Louis Streets, tennis courts.
* Third Street Park: Basketball courts, ball field, skateboard bowl and half-pipe; playground equipment; area for fishing in bay.
* Sunset Park: 28th Street; Hopscotch courts, playground equipment.
* Convention Center Park: 40th Street Pier lighted for fishing
* Mallard Run Recreation Center: 61st Street. Lighted tennis courts, racquetball courts, shuffleboard courts, horseshoe pits.
* 94th Street Park: Bayside, next to Art League building. Tennis courts, tot lots, basketball court.
* Northside Park: 125th Street, Bayside. 58 acres with lighted ball fields, fishing lagoon, tot lots, picnic area, two piers, jogging and roller-blade paths, soccer fields, indoors gymnasium.
* Gorman Avenue Park: 136th Street Bayside. Tennis court, racquetball courts and play area.
* Fiesta Park: Off 141st Street. Wooded, with nature trails and picnic areas.
* North Surf Park: 142nd Street, playground.
We hope you enjoy your visit!
Perhaps you need a little break from the beach and boardwalk while visiting Ocean City Maryland; maybe a place to walk off those fries and fudge? The wise folks of the Ocean City Department of Recreation & Parks have thoughtfully met that need in the form of a lovely 58-acre complex named Northside Park, which is located beside the bay on 125th Street. With three lighted baseball fields, a lighted soccer field, a fishing lagoon with footbridge, two piers, several playgrounds, picnic areas and many walking/jogging paths this is it! The location is also home to the Department’s Administrative offices as well as a large building which houses a gymnasium and multipurpose sports arena. Sounds awesome. It is! On the morning we visited we watched as a dad helped his son tie on his roller skates…several groups of walkers and joggers pass by and a father and son unpack their fishing gear and head off in the direction of the fishing lagoon. There were many others…doing what one does in a park, relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. And, Northside Park offers much more – the facility hosts many types of cultural activities including the famed “Sundaes in the Park” where live concerts and special performances are held each Sunday during the season. Another exciting annual event is “Arts Alive”; a juried arts & crafts show sponsored by the Worcester County Arts Council. And, Northside is also home for the always favorite, the annual “Winterfest of Lights” which begins mid-November and runs through January 1st. Everything shows that there is so much more at Northside Park than first glance reveals – Come on out and enjoy…the fun is free!
For more information visit www.ococean.com/parks and click on Events or telephone 410-250-0125.