The Seascape, Ocean City’s first motel, opened its doors in 1954 and featured an oceanfront swimming pool until 1962. That year, ocean waves from a particularly fierce storm sent the pool crashing through the Ocean Room restaurant, permanently relocating it to the west side of the building.
While merry-go-rounds are commonly found on boardwalks and piers, the one located at Trimper’s Amusements has the distinction of being the country’s oldest continuously running carousel. One of the first attractions at Trimper’s, the Herschel-Spillman creation made its first melodious turns in 1912. Originally constructed in 1902, the wood carousel features two tiers of elaborately carved and painted animals.
Those looking to extend their day at the beach need look no further than local bar turned entertainment resort Seacrets. Originally opened as a modest Tiki bar in 1988, Seacrets features a floor made out of sand, complete with live palm trees that are trucked in from a Florida plantation each year. For those looking to enjoy a meal or drink without leaving the water, they have you covered as well with their highly coveted partially submerged tables and stools.
While Ocean City’s resorts and beachfront hotels were the vision of Isaac Coffin, who began receiving guests at his beachfront cottage in 1869, the original boardwalk came along several decades later. The creation of several oceanfront hotel owners looking to enhance their guests’ stay, the first walkway was a portable wood structure that was rolled up and stored on their porches during high tide. The first permanent boardwalk was erected in 1910 and eventually stretched five blocks before being wiped out by a storm in 1962. The current promenade spans two and a half miles, ending at 27th Street.
First constructed in 1860 and later modified in 1867, the Assateague Lighthouse remains an active navigational aid today. While the glow of its candle lantern and upgraded electric light have guided many a passing ship safely through this stretch of the Atlantic, the lighthouse unwittingly aided in the sinking of the Presidential yacht Dispatch in 1891. Charged with ferrying top government officials including Presidents Hayes, Garfield, Cleveland, Harrison and Arthur, the schooner rigged steamship washed up on the shoals after an unfortunate lieutenant mistook the shining beacon of the lighthouse and ventured off course. The wreckage of the sleek cursing vessel still lies on the ocean floor.
A fixture on Assateague and Chincoteague islands for centuries, two herds of wild horses trace their origins to seafaring legends. While some hold that early settlers originally released the ponies to forage on the islands, locals point to evidence that suggests the stallions were actually shipwrecked survivors from a sunken Spanish galleon. In spite of the lack of concrete evidence, the combination of reports that La Galga had sunk and the ponies’ appearance on the island shortly thereafter seems to give credence to these tales.
While known for having the greatest concentration of golf courses in Maryland (20 courses in the immediate area), Ocean City doesn’t leave miniature golf lovers standing at the clubhouse. With what may be the highest number of courses per square mile anywhere in the country, the town plays host to an extensive array of themed venues boasting unique holes that put the old windmill to shame. Test your putting skills at such elaborate courses as Lost Treasure Golf, following the expedition of Professor Duffer A. Hacker as you negotiate several multi-level sections and play through the skull or tackle the airplane over a cave obstacle.
Taking green building to the next level, artist Joseph Kro-Art Jr. founded Ocean Gallery World Center more than 40 years ago, constructing the façade of his “boardwalk landmark” using pieces of other buildings from all over the world. Home to everything from expensive works of art to a variety of posters, the gallery features the work of 1,600 artists and often plays host to celebrities, reality stars and local and national politicians. In addition to his gallery collection, Kro-Art has amassed an extensive car collection that includes a Batmobile constructed out of a 1972 Dodge.
Traveled Ocean City, Seacrets to the boardwalks? Head over to Washington D.C. for more history.