ocean city

Summer Snapshots: Delaware and Maryland Beach Weekend, 2.0

I’m back from my long weekend on the Delaware/Maryland coast, and it was pretty much everything I wanted it to be: relaxing with tons of beach time with a few of my favorite people!

Mal, Peter, Paul and I rented a little bungalow in north Ocean City, a prime position close to all our favorite sandy spots—like the quiet beaches just a few blocks away. (The beaches farther south, near the boardwalk, are much more crowded.)
ocean city, md

The weather was chilly on our first afternoon, so we practically had the beach to ourselves. I was thrilled just to have my feet in the sand, once again.

sandy feet

We all ended up taking long afternoon naps—not a bad way to start a trip!

beach sleep

At sundown, everyone else ran sprints along the beach to warm up and get some exercise. I opted to stay on the blanket—only one vacation per year involves running, at least in my mind!

sunset sprints

The O.C. beach was so nice that we returned the following day. But after that, we decided to switch things up and go to Fenwick Island State Park, just over the border in Delaware. I’d forgotten how much I liked that beach. They only let in as many cars as can fit into the small lot.

walking to fenwick island

Which means that the beach never gets too crowded! Plus, the sand was soft and clean.

fenwick island

Also, unlike many other beaches along the east coast, there are no buildings or high rises adjacent to it. The view is just a little nicer that way, isn’t it?fenwick dunesOne of the reasons Mal, Peter, Paul and I travel so well together is that we all appreciate ridiculousness. That’s why we ended up at Seacrets, the spring break-esque beach bar, for a second year in a row. (Apologies about the slightly blurry pics—I took them through a waterproof bag.)
seacrets

We had a few drinks on the giant floats before the sun went down. Unlike last year, we didn’t end up dancing (and drinking) for eight hours.

mal and peter, seacrets heather, seacrets

Mal and I believe that you have to eat at two types of restaurants when you’re at the shore: an old school, red sauce, family-style Italian joint. And a blue crab place. (I know I’m stating the obvious with the latter!)

For this trip’s Italian, we went to Mancini’s, on Fenwick Island. They make an awesome marinara, whose scent hits you, upon walking in. I ordered the spaghetti and meatballs based on that, alone, and wasn’t disappointed. We ate in their small, outdoor area, which was much airier and brighter than the spartan indoor seating sections.

We also made two trips to Bethany Beach’s Blue Crab, our all-time favorite blue crab restaurant: once for the all-you-can-eat dinner, and a second time for our final lunch before heading back to NYC. During that last meal, I felt a little sad when I realized I was savoring my last crabs until next year. But it was a pretty perfect way to close the summer.

blue crabs

Seacrets

seacrets

If I were to put Seacrets on NY Mag‘s Approval Matrix, it would be all the way in bottom right corner: It’s extremely lowbrow. But also brilliant.

Seacrets is a “Jamaican”-style beach bar in Ocean City, MD. It reminds me a bit of Rick’s Cafe in Negril, plus Rehab in Vegas–but way higher on the ridiculous and skeevy scales. The main draw is that it’s spring break for adults. You can sit and drink in giant, multi-person floats or semi-submerged tables and stools, or just dance right in the middle of the bay. On a hot summer day, that’s a pretty enticing option. And that’s why the place is always hopping, mostlyВ with 20- and 30-somethings downing cheap drinks, but also with older folks who just want to cool off–and quaff cheap drinks, too. (The margaritas are just $4.50, if you can believe. And yes, you kind of need a drink or two before going into the water so you’re not thinking about how gross it must be.)

seacrets

Since it was sibling/ridiculousness weekend, Mal, Peter, Paul and I spent, um, a good chunk of Saturday there, chillin’ on the dock, then the floats. It was super hot, so it was the perfect way to spend the day–and check off another item on my MD bucket list!

heather and mal

peter, heather, mal, paul

В What’s you favorite summer beach bar?

Premature Nostalgia

Do you ever get nostalgic for things before they’re even over? When you’re having a great time but know that the moment is fleeting and you have to squeeze out every last bit of enjoyment from it? That’s how I felt this weekend.

Mal and Peter just have a few weeks left in Maryland. They’re beyond excited to move back to New York, as am I–it was quite an adjustment (and not always easy) to have them so far away. But I’m also a little sad to say goodbye to the area that’s been so much fun to visit on summer weekends. Mal and Peter are the best hosts and always up for taking guests around the little towns on Maryland and Delaware’s coasts. I’ve had so much fun spending time with them there that I’ve come to think of the place as my second summer home.

I’m especially going to miss the beaches. They’re much nicer than any near NYC. Despite the long rides to and from Maryland, I loved getting out of the city and spending lazy days at…

fenwick island
Fenwick Island, a Delaware state park with a pretty beach…

bethany beach

Bethany Beach, Delaware, a tiny, quintessential shore town where you can walk or bike down the street barefoot and in your bathing suit without anyone giving you a weird look. The beach is also has nice, white sand, and there’s a little boardwalk. Plus, our favorite blue crab joint is there.

Ocean City, MDAnd, of course, the Ocean City beach. The sand is a little coarser and there are usually more people than at Bethany or Fenwick (though not at 8 a.m., when I took this photo). But it’s less than 10 minutes from Mal and Peter’s place.

This weekend, Mal, Peter, Paul and I decided that we need to rent a beach house around Bethany for a few days next year. We all know we’ll need an annual MD/DE beach/crab fix going forward!

Are you having any premature summer nostalgia?

Maryland Bucket List

Ocean City Boardwalk

While I’m on the subject of bucket lists: This weekend, Mal and I were also talking about what we still want to do in Maryland before she and Peter move back to New York. Coming up with an NYC bucket list was hard. But I had an easier time conceiving a short list of things I wanted to do during my last few visits to the eastern shore:

  • Eat a slice of Smith Island cake, Maryland’s official dessert. How could you NOT want to attack a cake with 8 to 15 thin layers?! (I’d actually like to check out Smith Island, too, a tiny speck in the Chesapeake, but I’m not sure we’ll have time. That would have to be a trip in and of itself. And until we do that, I’ll settle for sampling its eponymous cake.)
  • Walk the length of the Ocean City boardwalk. We always go to the quieter beaches north of Ocean City, so I’ve only been there once–and didn’t see much of it. When I read an article a friend had recently written, I was surprised to learn that the OC boardwalk has a historic carousel. I had no idea!
  • Get drinks at Seacrets again.В Maybe one day I’ll grow up and not want to go to ridiculous spring break-esque bars. But until that day comes, I’m happy to sit and drink beer while bobbing in the water on giant, multi-person inflatable floats.
  • Pig out on all-you-can-eat blue crabs and hush puppies at Blue Crab, our favorite joint, every weekend I’m in MD.В Seriously.
  • See the wild ponies at Assateague…if there aren’t too many mosquitoes this time of year!

What’s on your summer bucket list?

Off to the O.C.!*

Ocean City

*Ocean City, that is. I’m en route to my summer shareВ Mal and Peter’s and looking forward to a long weekend at the beach! The weather forecast isВ finallyВ warm and sunny, so I’m hoping to spend all three days lounging on the sand and listening to the surf. I’m feeling a bit beach-deprived (especially since the weather in NYC has been so gloomy, lately), so I’m really looking forward to this!

How are you spending the holiday weekend?

A Pre-Season Saturday on the Shore

Ocean City Boardwalk

More beach pics! Several weeks ago, before it suddenly became summer, I felt like I needed a change of scenery, no matter how brief. So I decided it was time for another quick trip to my summer share in Maryland. My goal for the weekend (besides, of course, savoring the time with Mal and Peter) was to spend time on the beach and dip my feet in the ocean–no matter what the weather was like.

I didn’t get the warm, sunny weekend I was hoping for; the sky was grey and overcast. Still, Ocean City was well on its way out of hibernation. Restaurants and bike rental stands were open for business and groups of people ambled down the boardwalk.

Ocean City beachWe headed straight for the beach.

Ocean City beach

I accomplished my mission…

Toms

…and, in the process, dropped one shoe into the frigid ocean and frantically chased it down before a wave swept it out to sea. (So much for not getting my jeans wet!)

M&P, Ocean CityI would have stayed on the beach forever if it weren’t so cold. After about an hour, we brushed the sand off our feet and departed for warmer activities–namely, eating and outlet shoppingВ one state over in Rehoboth, Delaware.

The Blue Crab

On the drive up, we stopped for lunch at the Blue Crab in Bethany Beach. The restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside or inside–just wooden booths, checkeredВ linoleum floors and a few framed photos on blue walls. But our meal was fantastic.

Hush puppies

The hush puppies were В amazing–light and crispy on the outside and the ideal balance of sweet and savory. (1,000 times better than the ones we had at Hooper’s!)

Crabcake

I was tempted to get the all-you-can-eat crab feast that most of the patrons were indulging in, but decided against it since it was only lunch. Luckily, the crabcake I ordered was the best I’ve ever eaten. It wasn’t heavy, greasy or bready; it was just fresh jumbo crab, perfectly broiled and seasoned.

But next trip: definitely going for the big feast!