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Ocean City

Catching the last light at the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is a little-known fishing spot and kayak destination in West Ocean City. Tucked in just before the eastbound span of the Route 90 Bridge, this state park is a great stop for a quiet(ish) afternoon or evening. Although I’ve heard of it, I never really took the time to explore it and wouldn’t have if I hadn’t seen the sun setting over the Assawoman Bay and wanted to get a photo.

Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight fishing pier extends way out through the marsh into the Assawoman Bay.

Although I’ve been taking photos as part of my writing for more than a decade, there still are some lessons I keep learning the hard way. I always forget that the sun goes down faster when you’re trying to get a photograph than it does when you’re not. As I cruised across the bridge I thought I had plenty of time, but by the time I parked and trotted to the pier entrance, the sun itself was gone, though there still was plenty of light.

Views of Ocean City Maryland

Isle of Wight marsh
The view of Ocean City over the Isle of Wight marsh at sunset can be pretty spectacular.

There isn’t much of a parking area at the park, which is a good thing. The place is, after all, a refuge more than it is a parking lot. There was ample space, fewer than 100 yards from the pier. A red sign said no swimming, diving or ice skating, which always amuses me. Although I don’t know many people who list Ocean City as one of their top ice skating destinations, wherever the bays are shallow and liable to freeze you will find the “No Skating” directive.

Ocean City over the marsh
The marsh at twilight has a surreal color.

Choosing a destination for photography

Even as I passed the marsh and realized I was losing the light, I also understood that the odds were there would be another autumn sunset before too long. As it turned out, it was just as well that I had missed the sunset, because now I had to try a little harder to find interesting angles and perspectives. If I had caught the sunset I would have packed it in a little quicker and missed things like the reflection of the marsh upon itself once most of the light was gone.

reflection of the isle of wight marsh
West Ocean City looks spectacular at sunset, especially in the quiet autumn.

It is funny how sometimes you choose a destination for one thing and discover it was something you needed for a different photo entirely. Finding great places to get unique Photos in Ocean City can be a combination of know-how and dumb luck. Even though I knew this was here, I never appreciated how remote it felt, given its proximity to Route 90.

Isle of wight tree stand
This tree stand is one of the first things you see as you pull off the highway.

I took this final photo from my car window before pulling up to the red light at St. Martins Neck Road and Route 90. I could hear the cars passing and see the traffic light change through my windshield but from the driver’s side window it looked as if I were in the middle of nowhere, which is kind of the appeal of knocking around the lesser-known parts of Ocean City in the fall.

Tony Russo
Tony Russohttp://Ossurynot.com
Tony Russo has worked as a print and digital journalist for the better part of the 21st century, writing for and editing regional weeklies and dailies before joining the team that produces OceanCity.com and ShoreCraftBeer.com among other destination websites. In addition to having documented everything from zoning changes to art movements on the Delmarva Peninsula, Tony has written two books on beer for the History Press. Eastern Shore Beer was published in 2014 and Delaware Beer in 2016. He lives in Delmar, Md. with his wife Kelly and the only of his four daughters who hasn't moved out. Together they keep their two dogs comfortable.

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  1. My husband and I visited this spot earlier this month. It brought back childhood memories. Before there was a Rt. 90 bridge, I caught a huge flounder in these waters. My uncle kept his minnie traps and crab pots in this area so when I stayed with them (they had a trailer at 52nd St.) we made daily trips to check the traps and pots. I saw my first fiddler crab on the shore here. I pulled a lot of clams out of the sandy bottom. I remember when the skyline from their place began to change as the bridge construction got under way. I wonder how many other kids will remember this kind of Ocean City? For most it will be the ocean, the amusements, the boardwalk, miniature golf, ice cream now. But for me, and I’m sure many others, my memories are fishing, clamming, crabbing, and swimming in the bay waters before there was a Rt. 90 bridge.


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