2020 has been an interesting year with lots of changes. Ocean City, Maryland has seen our share of negative impacts from COVID, but we have lots of creative business owners and visitors so the impact has been mitigated to some degree. Here is OceanCity.com’s list of what is out and what is in as we look back on 2020 and look forward to 2021.
OUT: eating indoors IN: outdoor dining
With COVID restrictions, lots of restaurants added outside dining options. The Town of Ocean City added picnic tables on the beach next to the famous Ocean City Boardwalk to give diners options. We LOVE the outdoor dining options that are now available and hope that Ocean City keeps this trend going. Check out the Shrimp Boat’s new expansion in West Ocean City.
OUT: parking IN: business expansion
This goes along with the outdoor dining trend, but we think it’s different enough to add to the list. Hopefully, the public transit will continue to expand and people can leave their cars parked at the hotel and take the bus to their favorite location or restaurant. Farmers Markets and Sidewalk Sales were big as the world got more creative and we think this is a trend worth keeping! Check out the Original Greene Turtle’s expanded seating.
OUT: riding IN: walking
Of course we are talking about Winterfest here. Because of COVID restrictions, the traditional tram rides through Winterfest of Lights were cancelled, but a more compact display of lights was illuminated and patrons could walk through Northside Park this year. Some people complained, but many liked the intimate and slower interaction with the lights.
OUT: drinking in bars IN: take-out alcohol
Governor Hogan acted quickly to prevent the spread of COVID in Maryland. He originally closed the bars and restaurants and when they reopened, he did not allow standing at bars. Many people took advantage of the changes in the laws governing alcohol to go. Tall Tales in Parsonsburg did a huge business in alcohol to go. Seacrets offered their favorite drinks to go as did many of our other favorite bars and restaurants. Of course, public drinking was not allowed, but a margarita, ready to drink complete with a straw was not a bad addition to our take-out dinner. Craft beer was always good too!
OUT: Crowded Beer Festivals IN: Seated & Virtual Beer Festivals!
Shore Craft Beer and the Ocean City Development Corporation always host some great beer festivals celebrating local craft brews each year, one in FeBREWary and one in October. The Love on Tap event on Leap Day 2020 was the last big public event in Ocean City before COVID struck. These groups got creative and hosted a seated outdoor event at Sunset Park in downtown Ocean City on the prettiest day of the year in late October. Also OUT are the beer fests of old where there was one event and you were done for the rest of the weekend. Now, we have wristbands where you can get discounts ALL weekend at businesses all over town.
OUT: Driving IN: Water Taxis (The OC Bay Hopper)
2020 was a year where lots of people decided that taking the water taxi was a great way to travel. The OC Bay Hopper had lots of trip options where social distancing was possible too. None more popular that the Shore Craft Beer Cruise. If you are looking for a new way to get outside safely, then look no farther than the OC Bay Hopper – and the sights are better too– dolphins, ponies on Assateague, Michael Jordan’s boat – Need we say more?!
OUT: The Zipper IN: The OC Big Wheel
Trimper’s made some changes this year. They added the huge Ferris wheel that can be seen from miles away. Unfortunately, we lost the Zipper and a couple of other rides, but the views of and from the new OC Big Wheel were spectacular!
What’s Always In?
Family Fun in Ocean City!
Ocean City delivers family fun and has for generations. Nothing can keep us down – including COVID. Our trips may be delayed. We may have to wear masks. We might have to stay seated to drink or eat. But we just won’t let the fun stop. Here’s a toast to all the wonderful visitors who chose to come to Ocean City or participate in our beauty virtually.