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!
October always brings fine Fall weather; warm, sunny days with cool, cozy evenings and the best ocean water temps! Surfers may be seen everywhere along the beach here in Ocean City MD attempting to ‘catch’ the perfect wave! For landlubbers there are many activities including the ever welcomed – RESTAURANT WEEK, where one may sample the very best offerings from our area’s finest restaurants at reduced prices for TWO full weeks! Below is a highlight of what’s in store for October 2011!
October 1st & 2nd – WINEFEST ON THE BEACH, Inlet Parking Lot. Wineries from across the Mid-Atlantic region as well as micro-brew beer. Arts & Crafts, live music, food available & more. Admission. For more information contact Christina Nokes at 410-280-3306.
October 1st – HARBOR DAY AT THE DOCKS – A WATERFRONT HERITAGE FESTIVAL, Ocean City Commercial Harbor in West Ocean City. Join us for a maritime heritage festival on the docs in the commercial fishing harbor. Seafood cooking demonstrations, fish cleaning techniques, local food available, live entertainment and much more. FREE ADMISSION; great event for the entire family. Visit http://ocharborday.com for more information.
October 1st & 2nd – OCEAN CITY COIN 7 CURRENCY SHOW, Convention Center. Thirty or more coin & currency dealers buying & selling, plus free appraisals and FREE ADMISSION. Phone Carl Ostiguy at 443-623-7025 for more information.
October 1st & 2nd – CHESAPEAKE CELTIC FESTIVAL, Furnace Town Living Heritage Museum in Snow Hill MD. Celebrating the history & culture of all Celtic nations – Ireland, Scotland, Whales, Isle of Man, Cornwall, Brittany (France), Galicia and Astanas (Spain). Music, dancing, art, storytelling, athletics, martial arts, crafts, lifestyle recreation, dogs, sheep herding & more. ADMISSION. For more information, contact Jeanne du Nord – 410-651-0757.
October 2nd thru 16th – OCEAN CITY RESTAURANT WEEK, City-Wide. TWO WEEKS! Sample the culinary delights that Ocean City has to offer. Participating restaurants offer fixed-price menus with two and three-course meals. No tickets or passes required, but reservations are appreciated. For more information visit http://oceancityrestaurantweek.com
October 6th, 7th & 8th – ENDLESS SUMMER CRUISIN’, Inlet Parking Lot. Hot rod car show features more than 1,500 hot rods, customs, muscle cars, street machines, classics & more. Live entertainment, manufacturers’ midway, boardwalk parades & special attractions. ADMISSION. For more information visit http://enlesssummercruisin.com
October 7th – FAMILY CAMPFIRE ON THE BEACH, 130th St. on the Beach. Bring your family for a night of fun with a good, old-fashioned campfire. entertainment, storytelling, music & refreshments. S’mores & hot chocolate offered. Bring your beach blankets, warm clothes and the whole family for a night out on the beach. Phone Linda Brittingham at 410-250-0125 for more information.
October 7th & 8th – 32ND ANNUAL MID-ATLANTIC SURF FISHING TOURNAMENT, Beach from 20th – 120th Sts. Sponsored by the Ocean City Surf Angles. Approximately 100 six=person teams participate each year. Prizes and trophies are awarded. For more information and an invitation packet, contact Scott Wallace at 410-213-0646.
October 8th – FALL CAR CRUISE, Main Street in Berlin MD. Classic cars cruise the streets of Historic Berlin Maryland. With music in the streets and local shops in theme, thousands of visitors come to see the classic cars from the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s roar up and down the streets of this lovely Eastern Shore town. For more information visit http://berlinchamber.org or phone Olive Mayer at 410-641-4775.
October 14th & 15th – CORVETTE WEEKEND, Inlet, Boardwalk & Town-wide. Hosted by the Free State Corvette Club, this is a great event for corvette enthusiasts & owners. Car shows, road rallies, a boardwalk parade and other related activities raise money for Spina Bifida Association of MD and other charities. For more information call 410-590-5630.
October 14th & 15th – OKTOBERFEST & OKTOBERFEST ART & CRAFT FAIR, Convention Center; 40th St. & Bay. Two full days of continuous entertainment – with over 50 exhibitors displaying holiday items, gifts and wearable art, hand blown beer growlers, sports memorabilia, fine art, photography, bath & beauty products, candles, home decor and MORE! A Bavarian Bandstand, dance contests, a Knockwurst Eating Contest…and more. ADMISSION includes Craft Show. Contact Mike Wicklein or Starr George at 410-213-8090 for more information.
October 22nd – BREWS ON THE BEACH, CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL, Hooper’s Crab House, West Ocean City. Sample over 90 beers. Live entertainment! Noon til 5pm at Hooper’s Crab House in West Ocean City. For more information, visit http://hooperscrabhouse.com
October 27th – JULIA A. PURNELL’S BIRTHDAY PARTY, Julia A. Purnell Museum, Snow Hill, MD. Our gift to you…free admission and birthday cake! More information contact Claire Otterbein at 410-632-0515.
October 29th & 30th – HALLOWEEN FAMILY FUN, Ocean City Boardwalk. A ‘Spook-tacular’ even for the whole family. Boardwalk costume parade, family events and more. Details coming soon. Visit http://oceancity.org.
October 29th – SEASIDE 10 MILER/5K RACE, Ocean City Inlet Parking Lot. Start at the Inlet and run the length of the Boardwalk and then hop on Coastal Hgwy up to 72nd Street and back the same route to the finish line – 3 hr. time limit. Walkers welcome but anyone who cannot finish the race within the alloted timeframe will not receive an official time. For more information and registration, contact Chris Keibe at 443-497-4324 or Charlie McClure at 443-370-9202.
October 29th – SWING FOR YOUTH GOLF OPEN, Eagles landing Golf Course. Four-player Florida scramble at Eagles Landing Golf Course with best two balls out of four. Each participant will receive cart and greens fees, gift certificate to golf shop, sleeve of Titleist Pro VI balls, raffle tickets and mulligans. For registration and information contact Bob Croll at 410-213-7277.
October 30th – HALLOWEEN SPOOK-OUT PARTY, Northside Park, 125th & Bay. Participants of all ages can have a howling good time with events that include carnival games, arts & crafts, hayrides, snacks and muc more. Costume contests scheduled throughout the event. For more information call Chris Clarke at 410-250-0125.
For more information on any and all October 2011 events and activities visit http://ocean-city.com/calendar/#2011_10
Click this link to see the final results of the 38th Annual White Marlin Tournament in Ocean City Maryland… http://www.whitemarlinopen.com/leaders/
The 38th Annual White Marlin Tournament begins today through Friday, August 12th here in Ocean City Maryland. This annual event is billed as ‘The World’s Largest Billfish Tournament’. Each evening, beginning around 4pm the weigh station, located at Harbor Island, becomes the focal point for many hundreds of fishermen and onlookers as the days’ catch is weighed and measured. With the 2011 prize money expected to reach $2,200,000, this fishing contest is considered a Premier Event on the East Coast. Nearly 250 boats are scheduled to participate and is open to everyone just by registering. From the predawn race to the canyons (located many miles off the Ocean City coast) to the parade of ships (many bearing colorful flags of fish caught), returning triumphant through the inlet and up the bay, in the evening, each successive tournament day proves more exciting! The Awards Ceremony will be held, as tradition, at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel (101st St. and Oceanfront) on Saturday, August 13th beginning at 4. Come, join in the festivities, see the many reasons why Ocean City MD has been proclaimed the White Marlin Capital of the World!
For more information visit the official ‘Open’ website at http://www.whitemarlinopen.com You may also check for updated results…under ‘Scoring’ on the website!
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As part of the Town of Ocean City summertime FREE entertainment program, interesting and educational daily lectures are offered outdoors at the foot of the Boardwalk in front of the OC Life-Saving Station Museum by the inlet on Division Street. It was Thursday – so it must be SHARKS! Arriving just minutes before the program began, we were delighted to see so many already seated; parents with children, grandparents with grandchildren along with lots of just interested, unaccompanied adults! The fact and fun-filled program began with pictures of the many species of these ancient aquatic denizens! For instance, did you know that sharks have inhabited our oceans for over 400 million years? And, that sharks have a sand papery skin and cartilage skeleton vs. the scales and bones of most fish? That the average shark over the course of its life may have as many as 30,000 teeth? As the talk progressed samples of sharkskin and teeth were passed around allowing for real hands-on experience. Impressive throughout the presentation was the participation of the more ‘junior’ members of the audience – youngsters reeling off the Latin names for many of the species identified by the tooth filled jaws displayed by our very knowledgeable presenter this day.
The location of this activity is interesting also – the tall tower of the Life-Saving station has recently been ‘freshened’. Too, once inside the Museum there are many displays offering a terrific overview of Ocean City – both then and now – with exhibits of shipwrecks and beachwear. There are also mermaid displays, sands from around the world, aquarium room & Davy Jones’ locker.
These programs are not to be missed – and are presented each Monday through Saturday beginning at 10:30 am. The topics vary daily and include beach safety, aquarium feeding, knot tying and all about SHARKS!
For more information about this fine, local Museum you may visit the website at
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A program sponsored by the JOSHUA M. FREEMAN FOUNDATION, the FREEMAN STAGE at BAYSIDE offers a myriad of enjoyable summertime events for anyone looking to spend a pleasant evening outdoors here in the Ocean City Maryland area. Located just a skip and hop over the Maryland (north Ocean City)-Delaware line at the intersection of Route 54 and Rt. 20 in the new Bayside Community. The performance packed calendar, running from Memorial Day through October, makes available to the general public such things as live concerts, plays, lectures, art shows, camps and activities for kids, etc. The majority of the performances at The Freeman Stage are FREE to the public and do not require a ticket for entry. Convenient parking is available. At present the lovely stage is situated in a pastoral setting beside a lake. Lawn seating, even for the few-ticketed events is still first come, first served. It is recommended that you arrive early and bring a lawn chair or blanket!
Last Thursday evening we visited the Freeman Stage during the staging of ‘Raggedy Ann & Andy’, a story which captures the imagination of young and old alike. It was terrific! On Saturday evening, personally unable to attend, our friends gave rave reviews to a live performance of the famed Delaware Symphony Orchestra. And, we see by the calendar that an Art & Jazz Festival is in the offing. Can’t wait!
Speaking of calendars – a quick visit to the Freeman Stage website at www.freemanstage.org will surly assist anyone looking for a dose of enjoyable summertime culture set in the glorious outdoors here at the beach!
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It’s here again! The 22nd Annual Ocean City MD Tuna Tournament is going on this weekend; and one doesn’t have to be an angler or even a tournament participant to be caught up in the excitement of this event. Held at the new and truly magnificent Ocean City Fishing Center located at the eastbound gateway to the Harry Kelly Memorial Bridge onto the island one can just look around to understand and appreciate what all of the hoopla is about. From the early dawn (5:00 am) departures of the big boats with crews aboard anxious to be at the fishing grounds to the late afternoon glide into the area dock to have their catch weighed and displayed its all geared to catching the big fish! With over 100 boat entries and prize money now grown to $600K+ dollars the Tuna Tournament is a big contest. For three days each year, visitors and locals alike may become part of this happening…park in the large lots which are adjacent to the Fishing Center, stroll the pier and admire the variety of beautiful charter boats with the myriad of clever names, see the captains and mates provision and then later return and off-load the catch. And, you may step up to the covered outdoor bar named Mickey Fin’s directly overlooking the weigh station to enjoy a cold beverage. Actually, you don’t need the excuse of a tournament to enjoy this exciting Ocean City Maryland outdoor sports adventure – fishing the Atlantic. Most any day from early spring through late fall you can find someone always looking for the big catch but this tournament brings it all together! Stop by tonight!
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For several consecutive weekends over the past Christmas holidays, the public was invited to view the further achievements of the membership of the Corddrey Company Crossing operating model railroad located in Snow Hill Maryland. The huge model railroad is housed on the entire second floor of the Pocomoke River Canoe Company. And, although we are unable to reach them today we are betting that visitors to the area are able to experience this fantastic display often in the summertime – whenever the Canoe Company is open. First, the model railroad – for anyone who has enjoyed this as a hobby as a child or an adult – this is definitely worth a visit! Five or more tracks allow trains to continuously travel the circumference of the room…through a model town resembling the nearly 300-year-old village of Snow Hill. Many scenes contain the replicates of past and present buildings as well as water features similar to the still-present, famed Pocomoke River, upon the banks of which this historic town was originally built. The only discordant note were some mountains – as anyone from the Eastern Shore knows – we have no mountains only sand dunes at the beach! Nevertheless, this town in miniature is a must-see for both young and old!
On the first floor, the building houses the Pocomoke River Canoe Co. This exciting business offers Old Town Canoe & Kayak Sales, canoe and kayak rentals, group trips, self-guided adventures, portage service and much, much more. If you elect to rent a canoe here, during your river trip you may chose to fish and while doing so may cheerfully discover some of the ever-present wildlife such as playful otters and shy turtles. Bird watching is also a very popular pastime, a large variety of our avian friends are everywhere under the canopy of foliage along the river. Herons and egrets are plentiful and the occasional bald eagle may be seen.
For a day long double treat don’t miss the Corddrey Company Crossing operating model railroad and the Pocomoke River Canoe Co. in Snow Hill just a short trip south on Rt. 113 – during your summertime visit to Ocean City Maryland.
For more information and open hours telephone 410-632-3971.
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One cannot help but grin when hearing about the World Championship Punkin’ Chunkin’ competition. Right up the road, north about 40 minutes from Ocean City Maryland in the neighboring state of Delaware, for three days each fall the world wide contest for “chunkin (launching) punkins” is held – this icon of fun activities is in its 23rd consecutive incarnation. Homemade “launchers” and air cannons of every size (mostly HUGE) and description (some strange) – along with their enthusiastic pit crews, from all over the United States (some trucked in and some brought by rail) gather to vie for the dubious honor of seeing who/what can hurl a pumpkin the furthest! The goal is one mile – which has not yet been reached! However, according to the stats (4,400+ feet) – we’re coming close! This increasingly popular, really fun event is now commemorated in a book and in a movie, which has been shown on TV, and both are available for purchase at vendor stands throughout the huge midway. Speaking of which, along the near mile long midway, a tremendous variety of fun foods are available to entice and energize both viewers and participants in this mighty event. To complete the carnival like atmosphere there are rides including a giant Ferris wheel that allows you to get a bird’s eye view of all activities. For evening entertainment there are “headliner” musical groups in concert, live. (Tickets are additional). This year the Charlie Daniels Band and Randy Owens topped the list.
For a really fun, fall activity, be sure to add this one to your list – you’ll be glad you did. For more information visit the website at www.punkinchunkin.com
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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One exciting portion of the list of seemingly endless events offered during the increasingly popular Delmarva Birding Weekend occurs here in our own backyard – the Shore Bird Explorer Cruise. Check-in and boarding one of the two very full, yet still comfortable pontoon boats on a mild and sunny afternoon at the Talbot Street pier here in Ocean City MD was easy. Easier yet was the almost immediate “spotting” of the birds. Our tour boats – appropriately named the Assateague Explorer(s) headed north under the Rt. 50 bridge for a glimpse of the wildfowl resting (we’re right smack dab on the Atlantic Flyway) and nesting on Skimmer Island…that little but growing spit of sand viewed just north of the bridge. All manner of waterfowl and shore birds live in our area including some rarely ever seen species once believed to be gone from the Maryland coastal region. We turned and continued our journey southward along the inlet down alongside the north shore of Assateague Island. While underway all it took was a shout from one of the guides and all eighty pairs of binoculars turned toward the marsh… and in one quick second those fortunate enough to possess what looked to be a small camera with a 20” lens began clicking away… Our guide identified the mating pair – in a most reverent tone – of a species currently unknown to Maryland waters. Other names of birds, once unfamiliar began to resound – oystercatchers, cormorants (double crested), black-backed gulls, loons, ospreys, rails and royal terns – even the elusive piping plover. Throughout the too short, 2 hour trip excitement reigned! Upon returning to the dock everyone was invited to a little reception – a time to compare notes – at the Angler Restaurant. All attendees had fun, some by adding to his or her “life list” – others just enjoying anew what we who live in the area daily take for granted – enjoying this very special region in which we live, our own backyard!
For further information about all area “birding” related activities year round visit the website at www.delmarvabirdingweekend.org.
Note: To enlarge any photo, just “click”. My apologies for not using one of those ‘oh so cool’ cameras with the l o n g telephoto lens. Maybe next year!