Beach Weekend

It seemed like GG and I had just gotten home from Maine, and then I turned around and went away again last weekend with my Brothers and college friends, Lina and Brandon. We had been planning this trip for a few months, it just worked out that it was a week after I got home from my other vacation! Brandon is getting divorced (yes, we were just at his wedding last year), so he’s been doing a lot of social stuff, getting out of the house, etc. We’re seeing him at least twice more next month for various activities he’s planned. So he’s a lot of fun now :o) Lina and I are both married of course, but neither of our husbands was able to come with us. So it was an interesting combination at the beach.

Brandon picked up Lina after work on Thursday and they drove out to my house. Meanwhile, I was frantically cleaning everything because Brandon is allergic to cats (I didn’t know this the last time he came over, whoops). GG helped me clean, which was great. They were going to spend the night so we could leave early Friday morning, so I was washing sheets and stuff to get ready. Then… the washing machine broke. Ugh! It was in the middle of the rinse/spin cycle, luckily, so at least everything was clean, but it was all soaking wet! I hung stuff outside and had things in the dryer for the rest of the night. Thank goodness we have an extended warranty, so I was able to call and someone will be coming tomorrow to fix the machine!

So Brandon and Lina got to my house, I was still all flustered and in the middle of cleaning and making beds and hadn’t even packed yet… But I got it all done, and we hung out and semi-watched the Eagles game (Michael Vick’s debut – ugh), and had Chinese food for dinner. And GG drank rum and Cokes and entertained us.

Friday morning we were up early and on the road around 7 AM. We made really great time and were in Ocean City, MD around 10 AM! It had been really gray and drizzly the whole way down, and the whole weekend forecast wasn’t looking that great, so we were thinking we might not even get onto the beach. But it was actually looking pretty nice when we got there. Of course, we couldn’t check in to the hotel that early, but they did let Lina and I use an empty room to change into our bathing suits, which was awesome of them! (It was the Crystal Beach Hotel, and they were really great, I have no complaints about anything except that the TV remote didn’t work…)

So we left most of our stuff in the car and headed out to the beach! I should mention… I hate the beach. I hate being hot and sweaty and sticky from sunscreen and getting sand everywhere. The ocean itself kind of squicks me out. And now there’s that whole thing about getting E. coli from sand..? But I did okay. We actually stayed out there for several hours, reading, napping, and occasionally popping into the ocean to cool off. The weather alternated between blinding sunlight and gray cloudiness, with a pretty strong breeze the whole time. But it was nice. At one point Brandon went back up to the hotel to check in, and he got a cart and brought all our things to the room! (He was even able to match up everyone’s suitcase/purse/pile of clothes, etc. and stack them all together.) When he came back to the beach, he brought the giant tub of cheese balls I’d packed with our snacks, which became our lunch.

After a while I thought I at least would go in, and Lina and Brandon agreed that it would be a good time to head up. So we dropped our beach stuff off in the room, then sat by the pool for a little bit. I went back first to get showered and changed, and Lina and Brandon came in just as I was finishing up getting dressed, which worked out well. Then they got cleaned up and we all went out to dinner. As you may know, I don’t eat seafood (man, I’m a lot of fun to bring on a beach trip, huh?), but they both wanted to go to the Phillip’s buffet, and I’d never been, so off we went. We were early enough to get the early-bird discount. There were not a ton of non-seafood options there, and apparently the seafood itself wasn’t all that amazing. It was also very crowded (and this was early). So, not something I need to return to. But it was fun.

After dinner, we walked out on the boardwalk, checked out some shops, ate some Polish Water Ice, you know, the usual. I have to mention these crazy chairs that are now outside every Candy Kitchen in OCMD (yes, all 9000 of them). The first time I saw them, I made this hand cupping motion and said in a weird voice, “Let me gently cradle your butt.” Then that was all I could think of every time I saw them. I got a picture of Lina getting her butt gently cradled.

We were so tired from getting up early and being outside all day that we pretty much forced ourselves to stay up until 9:30, just because it seemed unreasonable to go to bed any earlier. I fell asleep first but Brandon and Lina soon followed. The next morning, I woke up around 6 AM, but made myself keep going back to sleep until 8 AM, when Lina and Brandon started waking up, too.

It was not looking so great outside – it must have just stopped raining, because everything was soaking wet and dripping, and the sky was full of big gray clouds. There wasn’t anyone on the beach (maybe a couple people walking), and the waves were pretty huge. So we took our time getting ready, and then we went to this museum/shop called The Pirates Plunder. I’d seen it as we were driving to the hotel the day before, and all being Pi-rates ourselves we were interested. It was a really neat place! There was a theater upstairs where they were showing some sort of movie about Blackbeard, and downstairs was this really nice little museum with lots of information on all sorts of pirate stuff. It was really informative! Of course, there were places for random photo ops, and then there was a good-sized gift shop with all kinds of piratey things.

We then went to lunch at a place called Fish Tales, which only Lina had been to before. This restaurant really had something for everyone. If you have a boat, you could pull right up to the dock. There was a little play area for kids. There’s seats right along the dock, that are like big chairs with a little table between them. There’s indoor seating and a bar, or outdoor seating in a big sand pit. And there’s hammock chairs in a little area for adults only (e.g. no kids spinning around on the chairs!). It’s very colorful and cute.

Back at the hotel, we decided that the sky was too cloudy and the water too choppy to drag everything out to the beach, but we would sit by the pool if there weren’t a lot of screaming kids. Lina and I did sit by the pool for a while, but Brandon went down to the beach just for a little bit. Shortly after he got back, Lina took one of our keys and went into the room to nap. Later on, when Brandon and I wanted to go in, we realized that neither of us had the other key. Knocking on the door didn’t wake Lina, so he went to the front desk and got someone to let us in.

When we were all changed, we went out to play mini golf! Brandon kept saying how awesome he was, but actually Lina beat him by a lot! I was just proud of myself for being a couple strokes under par. (I don’t know what happened – I was doing well in the beginning, then I just lost my ability to hit the ball with the flat part of the club!) After the game, we browsed a brochure of restaurants to pick our dinner location, and decided on Harpoon Hanna’s, which looked to be at the very northern tip of Ocean City. Turns out it’s actually in Delaware. So we took the OC bus all the way to the end of the line, then walked (for a while) through this residential area, until we came to the restaurant, which is on the bay. Dinner was nice. We sat outside on a covered deck, and there was some live music playing around the corner at the outdoor bar. We took a slightly different route walking back to the OC bus depot, and ended up walking past the Fenwick Island Lighthouse, which is just in the middle of a neighborhood!

We decided to take the bus all the way back down to the Inlet depot, the entire length of the line, which I’d never done before. That was a funny ride. The ceiling was leaking, so some seats were wet and it was funny to watch people sit down without looking first. It was only about 8 PM, so not a lot of drunk people yet, but the ones that were there were amusing. (A lady next to us apologized to another passenger from Russia for the US, “especially the George Bush years.”)

At the end of the line, we got out and headed up the boardwalk to our hotel – stopping for snacks along the way. There were a lot of performers out on the boardwalk, and it seemed like an organized thing. Both Friday and Saturday there were people (some in clown costumes, some dressed normally) making balloon animals. Saturday night there were also people in costumes like Spiderman, a couple Star Wars characters, and SpongeBob. Brandon agreed to have his picture taken with SpongeBob, so we gave him a dollar (to tip the performer), and Brandon went running up with his arms out, yelling “SpongeBob!” Well, we got a good shot out of it.

Something new on the boardwalk this summer was deep fried Twinkies and Oreos. I would really like to try a deep fried chocolate bar, but I didn’t see any of those anywhere. However, Brandon kept saying he wanted a Twinkie, so on the way back to the hotel he stopped at one of the shops and got one, plus a plate of five Oreos! I tried one of the Oreos, and it was really good, but I don’t think I could’ve eaten five of them! Back in the room, we read and watched a little TV, then went to bed at a reasonable 11 PM.

We got all packed up on Sunday morning and checked out of the hotel around 10 AM. Then we drove down to the big parking lot at the end of the boardwalk and walked up the boardwalk one last time to eat some things we hadn’t gotten yet (such as Thrashers French Fries and The Wrapper [I am pretty sure I’ve eaten at least one Wrapper every year since they opened]). Brandon really wanted ketchup for his fries, so the day before he went to a convenience store and bought a bottle. Before we got out of the car he squirted a bunch into a plastic cup, and then he carried it around with him for a while until we got our fries.

After all that eating (!), we headed north. Thanks to the good directions from GG, we got home much earlier than expected. (It was also good that we didn’t hit any traffic in the usual spots, like around Dover AFB.) Lina stayed at my house because Steve had been out this way for the weekend visiting his friends, so he picked her up on his way home. At least I didn’t have to do any laundry when I got home! It was a really fun weekend, and I was glad to spend some time with my Brothers!

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