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Retiring to the beach: Ocean City Stories

Bob and Cindy Plympton have been regulars at the Fenwick Inn for the better part of a decade, and in Ocean City generally for the better part of three. Cindy grew up in Annapolis and Bob in Bladensburg, but the couple was drawn to vacationing in Ocean City from the first; North Ocean City in particular.

Cindy said that they liked what she called the slower pace of the higher street numbers. It is the same ocean, clearly and essentially the same beach, but it is less frenetic in North Ocean City than it is closer to the Inlet. In the Summertime, the beach is plenty crowded without being suffocatingly so. In the winter, it is as if you own the entire place some days, especially during the week.

The Plymptons particularly liked that the Fenwick Inn was always so friendly and accommodating. They got to know the staff and the staff looked out for them. The Plympton’s never purchased a time-share, preferring to be able to come to the hotel whenever they wanted and to stay for as long or short a time as they pleased. They visited, if not monthly, certainly quarterly, stretching long weekends and taking advantage of mid-week specials all during the last 25 years. It proved to be the right choice, because this year they decided to make their vacation permanent and purchase a home in Selbyville.

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The decision came for what might be considered their lucky anniversary. The couple shares a birthday, January 26. They were married on that same day, and this year they will celebrate 26 years of marriage on January 26. Bob and Cindy have earned their place. They really were looking forward to retiring to the beach and moving in.

For their last trip before the closing, they spent a final weekend at the Fenwick Inn because they were to meet with their realtor. Cindy cultivated a lot of houseplants during the quarter century she and Bob lived on the western shore and the moving company wouldn’t take them. The person who helped them find their new home was happy to put up Cindy’s plants for the week or two it took them to get moved in and settled. That is the kind of general attitude, Cindy said, that attracted them to the area.

From the hotel to the real estate agent, everyone seemed to like having them. Part of it, of course, is they are nice, fun people, but there’s also a general welcoming attitude that is part and parcel with being hosts all the time.

It is the one aspect of living and working in Ocean City that it is easiest to forget is that many of the people here are used to being hosts. Even those of us not in the hospitality industry regularly are asked for directions or visited by out of town friends who want to spend a few days at the beach. Even when it’s tough, many of us try and remember it is t a privilege to live and work here, which is something the Plymptons are about to discover for themselves.

This story was updated Dec. 5, 2016 – Ed.

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. Is Tony Russo doing a series of stories about “Retiring to the Beach?” If so, my husband and I have a story that may be of interest. Had lived in PA, California, Fenwick for several years, moved to FL, now live in Charlotte, NC, and just purchased a place in North Ocean City last month as a second home until we can retire there.


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