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Ocean City

Weekend report

Our most recent trip began April 6 on a Wednesday. We had originally planned on going the following day, but we booked at the Spinnaker on 18th St and they had a special where when you book 2 nights, you get a third one free, so Wednesday it was.  We went to the office and were greeted by the nicest lady who was happy and helpful. I had requested highest floor and best ocean view possible. They gladly accommodated my request and put us on the top floor, second room back.  We could have had the first one but they were still installing new carpet in that one. The second one was fine. The rooms have all been updated with new carpeting, new paint, new bedding that included matresses and box springs, pillows, and all linens with wonderful down mattress pads and a down blanket that was so soft and warm, new drapes and the dining chairs have been reupholstered.  Very nice and clean and fresh. Once we were settled in, we took a quick walk on the boards and then got ready for dinner. One of the perks that came with booking at the Spinnaker was that we got to choose 4 gift certificates for places of our choice (they have a list).  So we chose $20 from Galaxy 66, $15 from BJ’s, $15 from Fresco’s, and a $10 card good for apparel from Purple Moose. And they also threw in a free breakfast for 2 at their newly opened cafe called Malia’s.

We planned on going to BJ’s Wed. night for a prime rib sandwich that was their special that night, but when we got there, they had a band and the place was packed.  So we headed for Galaxy 66.  Being a Wednesday in early April, we were the only ones dining there that night (the bar was full though).  I ordered the crab flatbread pizza, and hubby ordered the 1/2 honey chicken with dumplings. EXCELLENT on both counts. The pizza was wonderful with lots of crab and huge chunks of cheese and spinach and was served with a wasabi sauce on the side that was super hot, but perfect with the pizza.  The hubby thoroughly enjoyed his dinner as well and he’s very picky.  The chicken was two full legs and thighs served with grilled veggies and these deep fried apple dumplings that were crisp and tasty.  They also served us some kind of thick, crusty bread with seasoned oil.  It was outstanding and we ate every bite. Total bill was about $56, but with the $20 savings, we left paying a little over $40 with tip.

Thursday we headed over to Anthony’s on 17th St. for lunch and indulged in their wonderful sandwiches and fries. Hubby had the basic roast beef and I had a cheese steak to die for. And of course, their fries!! If you ever go there and there is just 2 of you…..don’t order more than 1 small fry.  You’ll waste your money because the servings are enormous!! I think I enjoyed that cheese steak more than anything I ate all weekend!

Time to head out and do some shopping and seeing what was new around town. We headed to west OC to do some outlet shopping and found some things changed at the outlets. Harry and Davids is gone and a couple other places, but most of the same stuff is there. I don’t know if the Bed, Bath, and Beyond is new but I’d never noticed it before. Very big store. From there it was across the street to the marina area and a stop at Snapdragons………..which was closed. So we headed out for Assateague and the ponies were very obliging this time. There were half a dozen or so just standing along side of the road before you go into the park.  They weren’t bothered by the cars at all and just looked at the silly people looking at them.  By then it was getting close to dinner time again, so back to the hotel to freshen up and this time we did go to BJ’s on 75th St. They were hosting a private party in the sunroom, so we sat at one of the elevated booths in the bar area which was nice because we could look out over the bay, and yet still see everything going on inside the restaurant, plus watch the tv’s and keno. I ordered the chicken and shrimp teriyaki and hubby ordered the 20oz T-bone special. I was expecting more of a chinese style teriyaki dinner, but was pleasantly surprised with what came. It was a grilled, filleted chicken breast and a skewer of large grilled shrimp, both basted with a honey teriyaki sauce served over wild rice.  It was excellent and I will definitely order that again.  Hubby’s steak was huge and done just right, served with a large baked potato and a salad.  Plus they gave us these in house made honey rolls with fresh butter.  I really would like the recipe for those rolls. Could have eaten just them alone! Total bill after the $15.00 discount and tip was about $42.00.

Friday we just stopped at McDonalds for lunch, then headed out for the boardwalk. I was surprised at how much was open. No rides  yet, but almost all of the shops were open and Fisher’s popcorn was up and running.  It was a cool and windy day, but the rain held off till later in the day. We also stopped at the Gold Coast Mall to check out Donald’s Duck Shoppe which is one of my favorites.  Then we headed north to Bethany and their boardwalk. We’d never taken the time in all the years of visiting OC to really check out Bethany, but it is very nice!  Much quieter and laid back than OC, but relaxing. We toured the boards and found a little store that was very deceiving from the outside.  It looked small, but it just went on, and on, and on, and on!  Something new and different around every corner!  There is also a small area that reminded me of the OC inlet shops at Bethany, only it is covered with a fiberglass roof that lets light in, but keeps the weather out. A very good idea OC!  (hint, hint)

Dinner Friday was the Bonfire. They were running a special price that night since it was their opening night for the weekend.  We make it a must stop to go to the Bonfire at least once each time we’re in OC, but I think we may look elsewhere for a buffet.  The last time we were there, we noticed that the quality of the food wasn’t what it had been and this time was no exception.  Their crab legs were dirty and rubbery and more on the par of Phillips than good legs.  The prime rib was still good, but their signature doughnuts were  awful. They were hard and had a strange taste to them like they were cooked in old oil.  So that was a disappointment.  Maybe we’ll have Horizon’s next time.

Saturday was the reason that we were in OC in April. Many of you know that I’m one of the Ocean City Insiders and that weekend was our semi annual get together.  We got up early and checked out, then went to Malia’s and had breakfast. What a charming place!  It’s all painted in bright Carribbean colors, even the tables, with flamingos and palm trees on the walls. The wait staff was friendly and easy going and the food was good and hot. The free menu was different than the regular menu and we were limited to the basics (eggs, pancakes, toast, juice), but it was definitel sufficient.  I did notice others ordering from the menu got things like french toast, creamed chipped beef, and huge belgian waffles. We enjoyed it.

We didn’t have to be at City Hall until 1, so we took a drive around town for a while and tried to kill time, but I needed a restroom, so we headed for the Holiday Inn on 67th St. We were given a complimentary room there for Saturday night and I stopped at the desk to inquire what time we could check in.  They were so accommodating and gave us our room right then.  It was only about noon.  And since we are platinum priority club members, they even upgraded us to direct oceanfront.  The room was updated and clean and very, very nice.  And we received a goodie bag from the hotel with bottled waters, chocolates and a granola bar. Once we got unpacked, we headed out for City Hall and our meeting.  Once again we were treated very well by the city. Once we concluded our meeting we all headed for Planet Maze and a round of Laser Tag.  If you’ve never done it……………DO&nb
sp;IT! What fun!  I’m almost 60 years old and I had a blast!  And I came in 1st place in our group! This is a great place. They not only accomodated us, but they were having two birthday parties at the same time and we never overlapped. Then we headed back to the hotel to freshen up before cocktail hour at Bombora. Bombora is the Phillips Beach Plaza’s new restaurant. It’s on 13th St on the Boardwalk. They have a new chef named Antonio Paz and his menu is AMAZING!  It’s a mix of  Asian and Latin flavors.We were treated to tastings of nearly the entire menu and all of their signature drinks, plus an open bar.  Our samplings were of the Ceviche trio, the grilled barbeque shrimp, tuna tartar, and much more that I can’t remember the names, but there wasn’t one thing that I didn’t want more of.  Everything was outstanding. And the drinks were all delicious! The elderberry mararita and the blueberry Bombora were my favorites! Till we left, we were so full that even though we were given dinner vouchers, we decided to skip dinner that night and save the voucher for later. We will definitely be dining at Bombora next month when we go back to OC.

Sunday morning we checked out of the hotel and headed for the Quality Inn and Suites on 33rd St. for a complimentary breakfast. We had stayed at this hotel a couple of times in the past and it was in need of updating and repair.  We found that this past winter that’s exactly what they did. The entire hotel was updated and fresh and remodeled.  Very nice. We enjoyed our breakfast in the restaurant (also updated). The atmosphere was bright and cheery and CLEAN!  And the food was very good. I had pancakes and bacon and the bacon was really, really good.  I dont’ know the brand but I liked it.  Everyone ordered something different.  Hubby had the creamed chip beef, someone had hot cakes with apples on top, someone had belgian waffles. Everything was good and hot. And the service was very good and attentive always refilling our coffee and waters.

After breakfast we were taken on a tour of the entire hotel.  What a difference from when we last stayed there. Much improved. Everything was repainted in new colors, new bedding, carpeting, new flat screen tv’s and draperies, and the bathrooms have been improved as well.  The whole hotel has such a nice atmosphere to it now.  And you can get any size room you might need from a small room to a suite.  There are two condos inside the hotel as well. Both are privately owned, but are rented out. We got to see the larger of the two and all I can say is O M G!!! If that’s how the uppercrust lives………sign me up!  5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, den, study, living room, dining room, kitchen, and  laundry room!  The ultimate in luxury in every room with gold fixtures and bidets in each bathroom. Whirlpool tubs and rainfall showers with all the jets in the walls.  And the views!!  WOW!  Bayside, oceanfront and beyond!  So for a little over $6000 a week, you too can enjoy! Unfortunately this is a bit beyond my means.

From there, we were loaded onto a bus and headed to the  Quality Inn on 54th St.  This is the one with the birds in the lobby. Rather than having a manager or associate give us a tour, we were handed keys to 3 rooms to go "look at".  It was okay.  We got the most kick out of the birds!

Then we got back on the bus and headed for the Clarion Fontainbleau on 101st St. We were greeted by the sales manger, Brigitte Walsh.  She took us on a tour of the entire hotel including conference rooms, ball rooms, sauna, exercise rooms, pool room and bar and they even have a "eucalyptus room" for your sinuses. I was in heaven!  This hotel, like the QI Suites, was remodeled over the winter including new sliding glass doors. Everything was very nice and tastefully done. This hotel would be the ideal place for a wedding or conference. They have rooms to accommodate small groups to weddings up to 600 people!  I would reccommend this hotel and the Quality Inn and Suites to anyone wanting a place that has everything and clean, updated rooms. 

We were finished after that, and had a long 6 hour drive ahead of us, so we headed for rte 50, stopped at the Wine Rack and filled up the tank, then stopped at the KFC/Taco Bell for a bite to eat and drove home.

Although the weather was cool all week, it was a welcome break from the long cold winter we’ve been having in western Pa.  It had actually snowed here the day before we left for OC. Now I can’t wait for Cruise In to be back in OC. 

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