(Sept. 20, 2013) The familiar sight, sound and smell of equine activity is likely to become a staple of the resort’s off-season, as the city council approved a request this week to continue with the horse-drawn carriage rides piloted last fall.
With the support of the city’s Public Works Department and the Ocean City Development Corporation, Randy Davis of R&B Ranch in Salisbury gained consent to again offer the attraction. Rides will be available this year starting Sept. 23, following the end of Sunfest, and will last through the spring.
“We had some very minor logistical issues last year, and we’ve resolved those,” Public Works Director Hal Adkins said.
Namely, Adkins said that he and Davis have agreed that the section of last year’s ride route on the Boardwalk “was a much better ride for those on board,” than the section of the route that went up Baltimore Avenue.
This year, the standard carriage route will again begin in the northwest corner of the Inlet Parking Lot, with passengers boarding in the area between Thrasher’s and the Worcester Street police substation and public restrooms. aHowever, instead of heading out to Baltimore Avenue, the carriage will head east in the tram lane, around the pier, and continue north up the concrete tram area of the boardwalk until 4th Street, where Davis will turn and head back via the same route.
“Basically, it keeps his alignment on the concrete lanes and off the Baltimore Avenue corridor where he was last year,” Adkins said.
Although Davis agreed to stick to the prescribed route for walk-up customers, there is nothing preventing him from taking his carriage on the streets if he chooses.
“In reality, he has every right to go down the street as he pleases,” Adkins said. “Under Maryland law, a carriage is a permitted vehicle. The State Highway Administration has no prohibition on him.”
Davis has taken the carriage in other areas of the resort’s downtown for special events like weddings, Adkins noted, without causing issues.
Davis will likely continue to offer a separate on-street downtown loop during the winter holidays, as he did last year. OCDC has offered carriage rides by Davis originating in Sunset Park as part of the “Light up Downtown” event that coincides with Winterfest.
“This is a nice off-season attraction for visitors and residents,” wrote OCDC Executive Director Glenn Irwin in a letter of support to the city.