Typically speaking, when most people think about Easter, they don’t necessarily think of vacationing at the beach, but if you were to ask my 12 year old son, it would be the first thing that pops into his mind. Probably because he doesn’t know any different. For his entire life we’ve spent our Easters here in Ocean City. From my son’s perspective this is not only normal, it’s his family’s tradition.
Despite the reality that my son clings to, the truth is spending Easter in Ocean City, is not something that we always did as a family. His older siblings had the much more traditional stay at home type of Holiday experiences when they were growing up, but once we made the leap to spending this weekend at the shore, we folded our mirrors in and never looked back. In fact, the common consensus in our household is that Easter is everyone’s favorite time to visit the resort. If you’re at all intrigued as to why my family views it this way, then continue to read below and I’ll do my best to show you Easter through the lens we’ve been looking through.
Normally we prefer hotels over condos. This is a whole other topic unto itself, and I’ll no doubt write about this in great detail sometime soon. For now though, lets just say that under normal conditions hotels fit our family’s needs slightly better. Easter weekend has always been one of the exceptions to this though, partially because when we first started doing this over a decade ago, we had all 5 kids with us, which meant space was a top priority. It’s one thing to stack people on top of one another in July, when you know everyone will be spending every waking second outside on the beach and boardwalk, but during early spring you never know what kind of weather you’ll encounter. Don’t get me wrong, I always cross my fingers and hope for good weather, and to be honest we’ve been very fortunate over the years, but I believe strongly on hedging my bets. This means getting a nice big condominium with plenty of room for the bunny to hide some eggs.
Now I realize that the holiday is practically right around the corner, and trying to find a place to rent for the weekend may seem a bit rushed, but keep in mind that you can use this to your advantage. My advice would be to by-pass the agents and brokerages and go straight to VRBO and other sights where the owners personally list their properties. The reason is simple, if they still have vacancies at this late hour you may be sitting in the catbird seat! Every year we pick a different condo unit and I’ve never paid sticker price yet. Now I’m not suggesting that you insult these owners with some ridiculous lowballs, but there’s nothing wrong with doing some fair negotiations. After all, we’re not talking about 4th of July week here, so you know there’s no shortage of options out there to stay. I once got us a stay in a two-story oceanfront penthouse for half of the asking price!
It seems like every year, there are more and more activities and events planned for this weekend. Over the years we’ve done a host of different things such as attend the Bonnet parade in Berlin, egg hunts on the beach in some rather cold windy conditions and many other fun adventures, but the one tried and true tradition of ours is attending the arts and crafts show at the convention center. The opportunity to take a little boy there to hunt for eggs may be what brought us there initially, but the unique displays and friendly vendors are what has kept us returning every year. Inevitably we walk out of there every year spending money on things we didn’t know existed, or even knew we had a need for them, but it’s still always a very enjoyable and enlightening experience every time.
Of course you know I didn’t rent those condos to try out their ovens by baking hams. Make no mistake, when we’re in ocean city we’re taking advantage of the virtual plethora of great restaurants. We’ve swapped out different places over the years, but typically you could expect to find us enjoying some fried oysters at Harborside Bar & Grille on Good Friday before we even unpack the car. Then we like to hit up Rosenfeld’s Jewish Delicatessen on 63rd street for a late breakfast/early lunch, everything there is the real deal, but the Papa Joe’s Ruben sandwich is in a league all of it’s own – no lunch meat here – with an 8 oz mix of house made pastrami & corned beef. As far as the holiday dinner goes, you’ll find no shortage of Easter buffets to choose from, and if that’s your thing by all means go for it, but as for me I’m not a fan of buffets. So there’s a good chance my family and I will be celebrating this holiday around a nice cozy table at the Drummers Cafe, located inside the historic Atlantic Hotel, located just five miles up the road from Ocean City in America’s Coolest Small Town of Berlin.
Life lessons are equal opportunity teaching experiences. Just as we’ve learned what to do this weekend, we’ve also learned the hard way as to what not to do… One thing in particular that I discovered is that buying Easter candy at home before you head to the beach can turn out to be rather disappointing. This is particularly true if you pack the the chocolate in a bag, and stack it on top of the luggage in direct line with the back window of your mini van. Yes, feel free to label me “Mr. Science” here, but believe me when I tell you that the hot sun is not a friend to chocolate bunnies, and I’ve done more than one experiment to prove my solar heat theory. I also discovered that placing the Easter baskets outside on the balcony the night before, gives the children a runny gooey Easter morning that they will never let you live down. Do yourself a huge favor and buy your candy once you safely arrive in town at Wockenfuss, the results will be much more positive in the long run – trust me. Happy Easter my friends!
The Ocean City Outsider.
This post was updated on March 9, 2017 for context. — Ed.