Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ocean City Beach Lights Spectacular - Summer of Thanks, 2012

Ocean City Beach Lights Spectacular - Summer of Thanks
Check out the laser show in Ocean City every Sunday night, through September 2. Shows are at 9:30. 10:00, and 10:30 at North Division Street. A combination fireworks and laser show will be held on September 2. But you don't have to wait that long to see fireworks. Just be on the boardwalk on a Tuesday night (except July 3). 4th of July fireworks spectacular will be held on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.

Thank you, Ocean City for a summer of lights!


You will see this sphere on the beach just before dusk. Best area for viewing: directly in front of sphere.


Salisbury Jaycees Soft Shell Metric Century, 2012

Salisbury Jaycees Soft Shell Metric Century, 2012
I was lucky enough to capture a couple of riders in Saturday's Soft Shell Metric.  Makes me want to dust off my bike. 

Thanks, Salisbury Jaycees and riders. Sorry I was not able to cover the event this year. I was on my way out of town.

Maryland is a great place for biking!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

1800's Festival in Fairmount, 2012

 1800's Festival in Fairmount, 2012
Miss the festival? There is always next year. They have the best strawberry shortcake. 

Festival is held the first Saturday before Memorial Day. Proceeds go towards the upkeep of the historic Fairmount Academy.

Fried oysters are a favorite, as are the boardwalk-style fries:

Something for everyone in the way of food...

soft shell crab sandwiches are always a hit.

Antique cars are usually on hand, and make a perfect addition to the event. 

Wandering around, checking out items for sale, is always fun. There are activities for children as well as musical events, and always a spelling bee, but I had to travel on.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day flag in Ocean City, Maryland, 2012

Memorial Day Flag displayed at Ocean City, Maryland, 2012
Thanks to everyone who came out not only to participate but to enjoy the unfurling of a 150 pound American flag on the beach at Ocean City. It was hot, but those who held up the flag for some 40 minutes, had no complaints. Remembrance has no time limits.

The flag is carefully folded inside a van...

A worker (shown in red shirt) with Holiday Bowl gives instructions to volunteers.  Ocean City provided the flag display as part of the Memorial Day weekend program. Shown right, a volunteer proudly shows his USMC spirit as he prepares to help carry the flag.

 No shortage of volunteers...

 Volunteers proudly pitch in...

This flag weighs 150 pounds.

I had to make a decision to run back to my room several blocks down for the unfurling or stick with the flag on the ground. I opted to run the distance and made it just it time.

Van Gogh would have loved this road

Van Gogh Road
filtered photo

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ocean City, Maryland Summer of Fun

 Ocean City, Maryland Summer of Fun
Ocean City is rolling out a new laser show beginning today, May 28. I have a front row seat in an ocean-view room. I love laser shows. I remember growing up watching the laser show on Stone Mountain. It was totally awesome. I have not seen a laser show since leaving Georgia, so I am looking forward to seeing what Ocean City will be offering visitors during its Summer of Thanks package.

If you can't get to Ocean City tonight, you have all summer to make a date. There is a reason why they call it the Summer of Thanks. Dates below. Don't forget the fireworks, every Tuesday. I love fireworks too!

Laser show on Sundays; fireworks on Tuesdays. Don't mix them up, but do try do get them both into your vacation package.

For more information call 410-798-6304. Both events are all part of the Ocean City Maryland Summer of Thanks.

Summer Schedule

OC Beach Lights Spectacular

Shows will be Sunday nights on the beach at North Division Street (9:30pm, 10:00pm and 10:30pm)
May 27
June 3, 10, 17 and 24
July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
August 5, 12, 19, 26
September 2 (this will be the final night of shows and will be combined with fireworks)

Beach Fireworks

Show will be Tuesday nights on the beach at North Division Street (10:00pm)
May 29
June 5, 12, 19, 26
July 10, 17, 24, 31
*there will be no fireworks Tuesday July 3rd in preparation for the July 4th Fireworks
August 7, 14, 21, 28
September 2 (this will be the last fireworks show and will be held on Sunday in combination with the Beach Lights Show)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend, 2012

Memorial Day weekend 2012
Relax. Enjoy. Reflect. Remember.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wachapreague, Virginia: Flounder Capital of the World

Wachapreague, Virginia: Flounder Capital of the World, Fireman's Carnival

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    The wind stirred up the water around the Foxy Lady. She bobbed restlessly outside the Island House Restaurant in the white-capped waves that thrashed about her hull, anxious for the next sunrise. For the Foxy Lady, and other charter boats like her that dot the inlet around Wachapreague, Virginia, a sleepy town located off the beaten path on the lower Eastern Shore, another day means another party of fishermen eager to catch prized flounder,  or an abundance of other trophy fish in season.

The  Island House Restaurant can seat 200 people.

The restaurant is located on the water. Reservation are recommended if you want to be assured of a window table.

Remember this mystery photo from yesterday? Now you know the location. Fancy dress not required.

    Wachapreague bills itself as the "Little City by the Sea" and, most importantly, "Flounder Capitol of the World."  In businesses around town, photos of man-and-big-fish, adorn bulletin boards and walls, attesting to Wachapreague’s claim.

    One cannot deny the air of fishiness about the town, not in smell, nothing in the air but the ocean breeze floating in from the inlet. Everywhere you go men, women, children and boats are in some stage of preparing to come and go; men sit around tables in bait shops, lean back in plastic chairs outside their motel rooms, and stop and chat on the streets, and like the road that always leads home, sitting and chatting in Wachapreague always leads to fish stories. Real ones.

    Wachapreague, a town of a little over 200 permanent residents, is situated only 6 miles from the ocean and enjoys some of the last undeveloped and unspoiled wetlands and barrier islands in the mid-Atlantic States. It's a haven not only for fishermen, but for nature lovers. And of course, for those who just want to kick back and breathe in the fresh air.

    Sipping on a beer at the Island House Restaurant, a marvel of a place considering the size of the town, I was diverted from the hypnotizing rocking of the Foxy Lady by the the arrival of the Scorpio, another charter boat. My dinner had also arrived. 

 Local picked asparagus is dressed with roasted peppers and blue cheese.

    All the walking about the town had made me hungry. I had ordered an interesting appetizer consisting of fresh local asparagus, roasted tomatoes, and blue cheese. Another appetizer followed. I can't pass up a dozen steamed clams, especially when they are local-caught, and though I passed on the rock fish that was in season, I went with local caught and picked crab; a crab cake sandwich to be exact.

    I had over-spent my calories on the butter sauce on the clams, so I figured why not go for dessert? Chocolate bread pudding with a yummy warm sauce was suggested. Not wanting to feel too guilty about eating so much, I had the waitress pack it for me. I had walked to the restaurant from my room at the Wachapreague Inn, so I figured I could walk off a few calories before digging into dessert. Since it was hot, I did not wait long to dive in, so much to the point that I forgot to take a photo of it! It was a divine.

    Though I make no claims as a food reviewer (something I feel best left to epicures who write reviews for big-name newspapers and magazines), I can say that I was quite pleased with my meal, as was I with the service.

    My day at Wachapreague had been a relaxing one with no particular thing in mind that I had wanted to photograph. But my background in the newspaper business is always with me, and like a little voice it’s always telling me to, “look for the story.”

    The surface of something only tells you what it wants you to know. Sure, it was easy to see that Wachapreague is a fishing town. I could have shot a few boats and signs and hauled myself back to Crisfield. Instead, I looked a little deeper. My findings were interesting.

    Let me back up here and say the first thing I shot after the "Welcome" sign was a woman in the middle of the street talking to a crabber who was hauling his day’s bounty, a truck-bed full of crabs in baskets, to a cooler. Another truck had stopped to join in on the chat. 

Being from a small town, I know it is considered rude to hurry people who are talking in the street (seriously), so I got out my telephoto lens, took a few shots, and when the truck pulled away, I asked the lady where I could find a good place to stay. She told me to follow her, and as luck would have it, she was the owner of the Wachapreague Inn, a tidy, neat little motel located directly across from the water. This week will mark her and her husband’s 4th year as owners.

    I liked the quaintness of the motel, a throwback in time, or so it seemed to me, when a family could get in their big two-toned Buick (that’s what we had – blue and white) and hit the highway for Florida or New Mexico (that’s where we always went), stopping along the way and staying in family-run motels just like this one. No need for fancy-this or fancy-that, just clean rooms and "Glad-you-came" service.

 The Wachpreague Inn is owned by Chris and Nikki Wardius. Phone:757.787.2105

Spacious lobby that offers morning coffee, sweets, and fruit for breakfast.

 My room came with frig and microwave.

You will see this mural on the Wachapreague Inn. The present inn was built as an overflow for the pictured inn that used to sit on the spot where the gazebo now sits.

    After I secured my small travel bag in my room and dug out my camera gear, I hit the main things around town: boats, water, people; and then I photographed other subjects that happened into my sight like a barely-there barn, some crab pots, a cute mom and pop travel-trailer park, the town’s new gazebo, the Coast Guard Station, and my favorite, a sleeping carnival. 

 I filtered this photo of the barn. Plenty of things to busy a photographer in Wachapreague.

 I love this adorable little travel trailer.

 One could not ask for a better view.

 The gazebo is a newer addition to the town, perfectly located by the water.

On a Friday morning, I caught the mayor of Wachpreague laying brick at the new gazebo. Some towns don't whine about budget cuts; they roll up their sleeves...

 Wachapreague Coast Guardsmen were happy to take a moment to pose for the camera.

They don't just sit around and look pretty.  Here, they are off on a patrol. Photo taken from deck of Island House Restaurant.

You gotta love the name.

Nice landscape for scooters...

or walking...

 or biking...

    The carnival, situated directly across from the water, was packed up, turned off, and shut down. I knew there had to be life somewhere, so I proceeded to photograph bits and pieces that were peeking out at me. As I was shooting, I could almost smell the cotton candy and popcorn and hear the laughter of children as they spun around in glee on the rides. 

From atop Ferris wheel you can look out over inlet.

    I could hear the popping of balloons as they were pierced with needle-sharp darts and the snap of the rifles as they let loose their terror on cardboard ducks. I imagined the whole place lit up against a glorious summer night sky, a million starry diamonds competing with candy colored lights. Oh yes, there were many memories there. But would there be more? Could this be the Brigadoon of carnivals?

    Though the mythical town of Brigadoon appears for one day every one-hundred years, I soon found out that the carnival appeared once a year – in “real” form, not for a day, weekend, or week, like so many other carnivals, but for four days a week for eight weeks. And who is responsible for the magic of the night for those eight-weeks?  The Wachapreague Volunteer Fire Company.
    The Wachapreague Fireman’s Carnival is the fire company’s annual fund-raiser; this year will mark their 60th year. For those travelers who will be in the area, dates are June 10 – July 14, 2012, 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. See flyer with events at end of post.

    After I left the carnival grounds I talked to a few locals, waved at a few dozen more who had waved at me, chatted with the lady at the USPS about their rustic boxes that took me back some years, met 2 charter boat captains, photographed a few businesses, rode out of town about a mile where I found a log cabin, and then drove back to town where I checked out the side-streets.

 It only takes one person to run this post office.

 A charter boat captain comes in for a package.

    I find that people who go on vacation tend to look at only one or two things, or either they rely or touristy maps to get them around. I say if you want to get the feel of a town talk to the locals and check out the side streets. Always go “out” of the town to see how the locals are doing. It’s pretty easy to tell when a town has pride and when its residents are happy simply by getting out of the glitzy part of town, not that I would call Wachapreague a “glitzy” town.  It’s a happy town, however. And a prideful town.

William and Mary Virginia Institute of Marine Science is framed by a tree. A new building is underway directly across from the present one.

    The first thing that I noticed about the streets off the main drag was that many were lined with beautiful old-growth trees whose branches framed the historic houses in various shades of delicate leafy green lace. At one point I thought I was in the Deep South. I live on the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland where it sometimes seems that a massive earth mover cut a huge swath of trees with no regard to aesthetics. Wachapreague knew better, and let flourish trees like oak and pecan.

    I also noticed something else about the homes surrounding the town. There weren't many for sale. You can tell a lot about the contentment of the citizens in a town from the amount of houses for sale, or not for sale. 

    In this economy, people have been dumping not only their homes but their vacation homes, and there are a lot of vacation homes in Wachapreague. Good luck finding one. The people of this fishing town are holding onto to their prizes - and rightfully so. From the little mom and pop vacation travel trailers to the stunning Victorian homes, there is a pride that seems to meet you at the “Welcome” sign and stay with you until you leave. 

    I'm glad I stopped at Wachapreague, about as Americana as a town of 200 full-time residents can get.  From biking to birding to kayaking, there is something for everyone who wants to vacation in a style I like to call, “Simple.” 

    Wachapreague is all boxed up for you in pretty vacation-themed paper. Inside, you will find clean, family fun, and you don’t even need a blue and white 1950’s Buick to get there, though you would be perfectly in style if you drove into town in one.

    With the Fireman’s Carnival opening in June, I'll be going back soon. I'm a sucker for the magic of the night. And for good food, and Deep-South-looking- tree-lined streets, and motels like they used to be, and good old-fashioned people. And even if you aren't a sappy romantic like me, if you enjoy fishing, you’ll be doing yourself a great disservice if you don’t cast a rod in Wachapreague. After all, they are the “Flounder Capitol of the World!”

More photos:

You can grab a beer or breakfast here. It used to be the general store.

Rentals. No gear? They rent it all. Don't know anything about boats? Check with a charter captain.

The deck at the Island House: call 757.787.4242 for reservations.

I could live here for a season.

For more info check out the Wachapreague web site

Fireman's Carnival Schedule: