Here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, New Year’s Eve is celebrated in ways unique to our geographical region.
In Ocean City our holiday begins in late November with the creation of the annual, month long winter wonderland called Winterfest of Lights. Several acres of land beside our coastal bays are decorated with thousand of lights depicting anything Christmas. A miniature passenger train, upon which delighted children and equally delighted adults are transported through this forest of fondly, remembered images. In addition, at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve there is a huge fireworks display, which considering the location, is reflected over the calm waters. Carrying the celebration into the next day, many people choose to gather (and participate) in the annual Penguin Swim. The curious are then entertained as hundreds of intrepid, fun-loving people venture into the icy, north Atlantic – to say they did? Sponsored by a local hospital – Atlantic General, donations are accepted!
Next on our celebrating New Year’s Eve trek, though only three years old, is the Ball Drop in Berlin, MD – a short distance inland from Ocean City. Berlin is a small, but thriving historic town filled with little shops and trendy eateries. Crowds gather and swarm the Main Street in the downtown area in front of the well known, Atlantic Hotel awaiting that stroke of the clock – turning the calendar for another year. It’s a replica mini-Times Square evening that includes live musical performances. Throughout the town, area restaurants ‘fancy-up’, offering elegant, multi-course meals. This family fun event offers a taste of the big city life without the distant travel!
Finally, and most locally unique in celebrating the magic hour is the Muskrat Drop in Princess Anne – located in nearby Somerset County. Since it’s becoming more and more ‘proper’ to drop something local, this small town has chosen the muskrat! Located on the western edge of the Delmarva Peninsula, Princess Anne is surrounded by tidal marshland inhabited by this mammal. This event, which began in 2011, has entered its second year – when a stuffed muskrat named Marshall P. Muskrat is lowered from the top of a fire truck ladder as part of the town’s celebration.
Since time travel has not yet been perfected, you get to choose only one location in which to celebrate the New Year…though to be certain, you won’t be disappointed anywhere on the Eastern Shore!
As we turn calendar page of the calendar we are delighted to find the dog days of summer have finally passed. This new month of September signals the beginning of the incomparable ‘shoulder’ season here in Ocean City MD consisting of best beach weather; warm, sunny days and cozy cool evenings along with the best of our Annual Events. Won’t you come and join in the fun?
September 9th. FREE Shakespeare at the Beach – FREE SHAKESPEARE AT THE BEACH – ROMEO AND JULIET
Brown Box Theatre is returning to its home on the Eastern Shore with an exciting production of Romeo and Juliet. This year Brown Box expand the Free Shakespeare at the Beach tour to Downtown Berlin and Snow Hill as well as it previous locations in Ocean Pines, Rehoboth, and of course, Ocean City. Bring a beach chair or blanket and enjoy a FREE outdoor Shakespeare play.
Schedule of additional Plays:
September 7, 2012 7:30 pm – Sturgis Park, 300 River Street, Snow Hill
September 8, 2012 1 pm & 6:30 pm – Historic St. Martin’s Church, 11413 Worcester Hwy., Showell
September 9, 2012 1 pm & 6:30 pm – Sunset Park, South Division Street, Ocean City
September 12, 2012 6:30 pm – White Horse Park, Ocean Parkway, North Gate, Ocean Pines
September 13, 2012 6:30 pm – Indian River Lifesaving Station, 25039 Coastal Hwy, Rehoboth Beach,
September 14, 2012 6:30 pm – Friday Night Art Stroll on Main Street Downtown Berlin
September 13 – 16th - OC BIKEFEST. OC BikeFest will bring national entertainment and bands, stunt shows, bike builders, vendors, food and beverage to the Boardwalk, Ocean City Convention Center, Inlet & Jolly Roger Park . Admission: $15 Adults, $5 Children. Thursday 11 a.m. -8 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. -8 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. -8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. -5 p.m. For more information, please visit www.ocbikefest.com
September 20th – 23rd. SUNFEST, Ocean City’s most popular festival. Inlet Parking lot. Four days of fall fun; craft-filled tents, food vendors with plenty of popular entertainment. Admission to the Festival is FREE!
And, along with all of the activities at the Inlet lot, remember to drop by the beach between 1st and 6th Sts to view or participate in the Sunfest Kite Festival. Thursday – Sunday – 9am – 9pm! http://kiteloft.com
September 21st – 23rd – Berlin MD. Berlin Fiddler’s Convention. Three days of free, live, Bluegrass music on Main Street in Downtown Berlin. Music lovers of all ages travel from across the region to hear competitors vie for thousands in cash prizes. The event kicks off with a concert on Friday night, followed by an Acoustic Music Competition all day Saturday and closing with a free Bluegrass Gospel Jam on Sunday morning. For more information visit http://berlinchamber.org
September 23rd. Annual SAND CASTLE HOME TOUR. Throughout the Ocean City MD area. Art League of Ocean City’s popular event features a self-guided driving tour of 10 unique Ocean City area homes. For more information visit http://artleagueofoceancity.org
September 28th – 30th, GEM, MINERAL & JEWELRY SHOW. Convention Center (40th St. – Bayside). 14k, sterling silver jewelry, pearls, beads, loose stones, crystals & more. Classic and contemporary designs for show and sale. Admission. Fri., noon-7 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Barbara Haney, 804-746-7663.
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!
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! To Hold
“Gimme Five” Food Drive to Fight Hunger in
the Ocean City Area
Donate 5 cans of food and get a ticket to Ripley’s Ocean City Odditorium for only $5 from November 6-10
Ocean City, Md. (Oct. 6, 2011) - Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is launching a campaign to combat hunger in all the cities where it has Believe It or Not! Odditoriums. Ripley’s Gimme Five Food Drive will take place from Sunday, November 6 through Thursday, November 10.
Here’s how it works: guests who bring a donation of five non-perishable food items can get a ticket to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Ocean City Odditorium for just $5 (regular adult ticket price is $13.99). All the food collected will go to Diakonia.
“We’re in the business of ‘unbelievable’, and the number of families needing help putting food on the table is truly unbelievable,” said Jim Pattison Jr., President of Ripley Entertainment Inc. “That’s why we started this national effort to help food banks across the country.”
Facts on hunger in the Lower Shore:
Demand at the Diakonia food pantry has increased substantially over the last several months.
Diakonia is now distributing roughly 500 bags of groceries to needy families each month.
Many food bank clients say their children have to skip meals because there is not enough money for food.
Suggested donations include juice, soup, beans, tuna, cereal, canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, pasta, tomato sauce and baby food.
Ripley’s Ocean City Odditorium is located in the Pier Building on the Boardwalk. Hours are from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm with extended hours on weekends.
Ripley’s “Gimme Five” promotion may not be combined with any other offers. One discount ticket available for every 5 non-perishable food items donated.
GM, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Ocean City
615-646-7465 – office
615-496-5949 – cell
About Ripley Entertainment
Ripley Entertainment Inc. (www.ripleys.com), keepers of the venerable Ripley’s Believe It or Not! brand, is a global leader in location-based entertainment, entertaining more than 12 million annually at its 80-plus attractions in 11 countries. In addition to its 31 Believe It or Not!Odditoriums, the Orlando, Florida-based company has publishing, licensing and broadcast divisions, best-selling books and the popular syndicated cartoon strip, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, that still runs daily in 42 countries. Ripley Entertainment is a Jim Pattison Company, the third-largest privately held company in Canada.
After an anxious week listening to ominous news and weather reports detailing the increasing strength and direction of Hurricane Irene, the Mayor of Ocean City Maryland (an Oceanside island resort community), Rick Meehan wisely decided to err on the side of caution by announcing a three phase, all-out evacuation of our island beginning on Thursday, August 25th, 2011. Beginning with student workers and progressing to visitors, residents and business owners; all were to be banished with only identified, emergency workers remaining. It may be noted that 300 people, despite repeated pleas decided to stay put – having to submit the names of next of kin to the crews going door to door throughout the resort. With almost everyone out of the danger area, only property was then vulnerable to this large, threatening storm.
The Category 3 hurricane – named Irene, did indeed travel up the Atlantic Coastline, first making landfall in North Carolina on Friday– with Cape Hatteras receiving considerable wind and water damage. Fortunately, after bumping into the continental landmass, the storm decreased rapidly in strength to a Category 1 – yet still maintaining the potential for considerable destruction.
Having made reservations, I packed the car: my wife and I, along with our howling cat, Blackie, then headed inland to wait out the storm.
Beginning on Saturday morning the rain began to fall, accompanied by gusty breezes – later increasing to 30 – 35 mph winds with higher gusts by late evening and throughout Saturday night. Watching local live (on the scene), TV weather reports (some reporters must be adrenalin junkies!) from our hotel; we saw our Town’ beach covered with turbulent and rising water – waves and ‘sea foam’ rapidly nearing the famed Ocean City Maryland landmark Boardwalk. However, to our good fortune, the really damaging portion of Irene never landed on our local shores and by Sunday early morning the winds and waves had decreased giving way to mid-afternoon sunshine. At a Sunday, 9am Press Conference, Mayor Meehan spoke again, reporting no loss of life in our area and that our two access bridges would be reopened; residents and visitors would be allowed back on the island beginning at noon. It was time to return my bay-side home. To my delight, I found Irene had indeed come and gone having taken but a few boards of decking from my dock – surely a small price! Goodbye and good riddance Irene – you may keep the boards!
My sincere thanks go out to The Town of Ocean City Maryland and the Emergency Management Team. Great job!
Exciting and fun events and activities abound; more to see and do, within the Ocean City MD area throughout the year (a whole lot more than sandy beaches and Boardwalk)! Our surrounding small towns and villages – despite the calendar, continue to offer unique opportunities for experience and adventure.
This past weekend we decided to partake of another of these opportunities. The early advertising from the Snow Hill Chamber of Commerce said, “Oyster Fest”. Most anything touting these tasty, local shellfish can grab out attention. The town of Snow Hill is in itself unique, with lovely historic homes and churches. Settled over 300 years ago along the banks of the still vibrant, Pocomoke River, this town continues to serve as the County Seat of Worcester, MD.
Back to the Fest…though the weather was slightly overcast; my spirits were not. Arriving early at the Old Snow Hill Firehouse located on Greene Street, we noted several already occupied outdoors tables. And, upon entering and presenting our tickets…we immediately faced a crowd including several lines winding around the large serving area. So much for ‘early’! We quickly joined the longest line and found, far away at the other end, were the stars of the show – oysters served many ways; steamed, raw and single fried. Other offerings here included Oysters Malibu – pulled pork and slaw for the landlubber. While waiting, because we were two, I was able to sneak off to another serving station and procure two bowls of really luscious oyster stew prepared by the good folks of the Blue Dog Café. Flavorful and filled with nice sized oysters, this ‘sample’ helped to tide us over until it was our turn. Also, during our wait, we were enjoyed some live music being performed in one corner. Soon, after finding table space, we did full justice to these aforementioned items; now it was time to search for more! Heading over to another small serving area we passed what looked to be an old-fashioned shucking table manned by the owners of Bishop’s Stock, a local gallery of fine art, crafts and wine. However instead of oysters on ice…this was filled with an assortment of wines and a choice of interesting hard ciders. Ah yes, I remembered now that the wines were there to be sampled and ‘paired’ with several unique oyster presentations. No matter, I was soon off to the table sponsored by The Palette…(in my opinion, one of the finest eateries in our region) to see what Chef Phil Cropper had cooked up for the Fest. Not to be disappointed, this station served up huge and beautiful, freshly prepared, Oysters Rockefeller and Oysters Casino. Hands full again, I returned to our table – these delights too were quickly dispatched! With a final trip to the Blue Dog dessert bar to snag a couple of thick, moist, chewy Brownies we decided it was fully time to waddle back to our car completely satisfied and delighted to be able to participate in what was advertised to be the ‘first annual’ Snow Hill Chamber Oyster Fest.
If these happy attendees have anything to say – this fine, well-planned and organized fun event won’t be the last. I plan to mark my calendar now for next February…will you?
To enlarge any photo, just ‘click’!
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!
It does happen occasionally – that gray and cool-ish rainy day! However, a rainy day during the summertime while in Ocean City Maryland can be a welcome respite – offering that opportunity to see and do something other than lie in the sun or frolic in the surf! Our resort town and surrounds are filled with interesting and informative indoor activities to delight visitors of every age. First, there are the many local, small town museums, beginning with the famed and historic, Coast Guard Life-Saving Maritime Museum located at the inlet – south end of the Boardwalk, offering history. It’s a real ‘don’t miss’ for any visitor. And, then there’s the shopping…with the plethora of shops and stores on and surrounding the island, including the Ocean City Factory Outlets (including the White Marlin Mall), one may run out of time (or funds) very quickly. Also, combining history and shopping – there are the antiques shops, throughout southern Delaware (listed in the ‘Stormy Weather’ brochure available most anywhere) and over the bridge in Berlin – filled to overflowing with great-granny’s goodies, these shops elicit pleasant memories as well as curiosity of times past. Finally, there is dining, inclement weather seems to bring a more comfortable and leisurely pace while dining – more time to explore the fresh and diverse offerings from our local restaurants. Actually, any and all of the aforementioned activities may provide that more than welcome diversion until the sun shines again (as it ALWAYS does) here at the beach!
To enlarge any photo, just ‘click’!
Mark your calendars now to come celebrate the 2008 “Wine Fest at the Beach” in Ocean City Maryland on September 26th and 27th. The party will be held at the Inlet Park…where the Boardwalk Begins. Along with local and regional live music and quality arts and crafts vendors, this winefest will feature fine libations from wineries throughout the United States, Micro-brewed beers and real Delmarva and Chesapeake Bay Cuisine. Wine tasting sample coupons and a commemorative wine glass will be given with the General Admission ticket price of $23.00. Under the Designated Driver Program, to insure a safe time for everyone, designated drivers, though paying the regular admission price, will receive a special wristband that entitles them to free Pepsi Cola soft drinks all day and will also receive a complimentary commemorative wine glass upon arrival at the fest. To obtain a printable coupon good for $3.00 off the general admission price and more information on this fun event visit the website at www.winefest.com.
(Our thanks to Bill Swartwout for the terrific photos.)
Whether visiting or residing here, you and your pets will find that the area in and around Ocean City Maryland offers the entire spectrum of professional pet care services – see lists below – these are comparable to any large city. Additionally, we offer a listing of local pet friendly hotels for your convenience while traveling. Professional grooming and boarding services abound as well as some “best” veterinary services including a Pet’s ER (two locations) in nearby Salisbury (30 minutes), MD. We even have a new, “Do It Yourself Dog Wash” at the new Cat and Canine Comforts on Rt. 611 in West Ocean City for a quick clean up after a day’s romp playing Frisbee on nearby Assateague Island.PET FRIENDLY HOTELS – Barefoot Mailman – 1-800-395-3668, 35th Street & Ocean Clarion Resort – 1-800-638-2100, 101st Street & Ocean Marylander Hotel – 1-866-879-6130, 127th Street & Ocean OC Apartments – 410-289-4000, 6th Street & Bay Parrot Lagoon Key West – 1-866-641-5930, 4th Street & Bay Safari Motel – 1-800787-2183, 13th Street & Boardwalk Serene Hotel & Suites – 1-800-542-4444, 120th Street & Coastal Windjammer – 410-289-9409, 46th Street & Ocean BOARDING KENNELS – (grooming services available) Delmarva Pet Resort – 302-436-2275, Selbyville Dogtel Hotel – 410-213-8188, West Ocean City Heavenly Hound – 302 -436-2926, Selbyville Village Kennels – 410-352-5108, Bishopville Note: For in-home pet care… House Pawz – 302-381-6808, Fenwick Island (Pet Taxi Service available) Home Alone Petsitting – 302-436-4044, Fenwick Island VETERINARY SERVICES – Atlantic Veterinary Services, 410-629-1838 Berlin Animal Hospital, 410-641-1841 Ocean City Animal Hospital, 410-213-1170 VCA Delmarva Animal Hospital, 410-629-1800 Whaleyville Animal Hospital, 410-352-3311 And a Pet’s ER in Salisbury, 410-543-8400 (Emergency care).