By: Stef Foster, Columnist
This past weekend, I was lucky enough to go on a trip to Ocean City with Towson’s Surf Club.
From what I can tell, it seems that most Marylanders have been to Ocean City before. A lot of you may have visited for Senior Week, and many of you may have gone multiple times before and since then, perhaps even every summer since you were six!
Needless to say, there are many destinations like OC in Australia where families may own beach houses or simply go on holiday every summer until the kids are too old, and too cool to want to hang out with mum and dad for a week.
Obviously this is still the tail end of the off-season, so the beaches and boardwalks were tolerably populated rather than bursting at the seams.
As a ‘surf trip’, the intention was to surf, of course. However, the water was freezing like Antarctica, profanely icy and so inhospitably hypothermic that only the bravest (or craziest) among us dared attempt it. Although not without full body thermal wetsuits, hoods, boots and gloves.
Being the spoilt surfing brat that I am with the balmy curling waves of Australia to look forward to in about a month, I politely declined getting frostbite for the sake of a few messy choppers.
Happily, the excitement of the boardwalk thoroughly made up for the un-surfable ocean. I haven’t heard of the concept of a boardwalk before – I don’t think that they exist in Australia but I could be wrong. It was packed with a fun variety of cool tourist shops, souvenir stores, heaps of food outlets, amusement centers and attractions.
After about 200 meters (about 220 yards), I noticed the shops began repeating themselves with the same identical neon t-shirts, hoodies and sweats with in-your-face slogans and Ocean City bravado. I also saw drug rugs (a new phrase I learnt), beach jewelry and imitation designer brand sunglasses.
I got to try some of the famous boardwalk food; Thrasher’s delectable vinegar-drenched fries, Fisher’s popcorn in every flavor and Dumser’s super creamy ice cream.
On Saturday we visited the famous Assateague Island, home of the wild beach ponies. Let it be known that this was one of the major Maryland attractions promoted in the tourist brochures I read at the US embassy while waiting for my visa to be approved.
The romantic images of wild beach ponies galloping along the sand, manes and tails billowing in slow motion in the wind were somewhat overblown. We saw one haggard brown pony plodding along the edge of the road with a gaggle of neon-clad children with iPhones following behind it.
Overall, I loved OC and I was sad to leave.