This was the first trip to the beach where I was content to watch the sunrise from the balcony. Todd had gotten up and went down to the beach to take a few dozen photos and I snapped a few of him from my place on the balcony. When he finally turned to walk back, I waved at him like a hundred times hoping he’d take a photo of the hotel with tiny me. He did take ONE of the hotel and… it was a partial pic and I’M NOT IN IT. He said he didn’t see me.
We ate breakfast in the hotel and planned our next excursion to Berlin, Maryland – a twenty-five minute drive from Ocean City. Historical Berlin, voted “Coolest Small Town in America,” is charming and very walkable. It boasts “beautiful tree-lined streets” and over 60 shops, antique stores, art galleries and restaurants including a brewery and Mermaid Museum.
We parked the car on one of the side streets and strolled around, past the 100-year-old Globe Theater-turned-Globe-eatery with craft brews, cocktails, and live music. Again, timing and limited hours left some establishments closed to us on a weekday, including this one.
It was Tuesday and – again – not crowded at all. We were able to take pictures with virtually no one in them (always a plus). I love the architecture of old towns – there’s something comforting about it that I cannot explain. What drew me to Berlin – because there’s always a specific destination in mind for me – was the Greyhound Indie Bookstore. (The other, The Bathtub Races, also intrigued me but sadly it’s held in June so … next year!)*
If you know me well, you know my love of books and reading (and writing) and bookstores. Real bookstores, the ones where you can physically touch and smell books. I am especially fond of unique bookstores.
Anyway. The Greyhound Indie Bookstore & Fine Art Gallery, named for the owners’ love of Greyhounds and rescued racing Greyhounds. The shop is housed in an historical building built by owner Susan’s great-great grandfather in 1895. There are three rooms of nearly floor to ceiling mahogany bookshelves, hardwood floors, and walls painted in historical shades of deep red, moody colonial blue, and cheerful yellow in the Aesop’s Fables children’s room. Susan and husband Maury opened the bookshop in 2018 and are currently living out my dream.
Maury gave us a warm welcome and introduced himself and his wife Susan, who was seated at a large desk in the anteroom and smiling radiantly. He introduced us to the store with the backstory, proudly pointed out Susan’s self-published book, and a brief overview of the shelves. This turned out to one of my shy occasions. Sometimes my childhood shyness comes creeping back in situations where I feel like I’m center stage (for lack of a better way to describe it). And that’s what I have Todd for – the man who can keep visitors in our driveway for a forty-five-minute-long goodbye. Surely this is not the quiet, mysterious, dark-eyed boy I fell in love with at 17, is it?
I ended up buying Susan’s book (of COURSE I did), which she signed for me while Todd chatted with them, and another intriguing title, Confessions of a Bookseller, which I am currently reading and thoroughly inspired and entertained by. I am again reminded of a quote I reposted on Facebook: The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. ~ Walt Disney
We spent some time on the beach for the rest of the afternoon, me reading and Todd people watching and strolling along the water. Todd is NOT a sitter and relaxer. He is a busy DOER. We might liken us to yin and yang sometimes, and at others I call it extremely annoying because I can sit for hours doing absolutely nothing and he can’t.
I made dinner reservations for our last night at The Hobbit. The Hobbit is an OCMD institution that opened in 1977 and has had two major structure changes in the years since. The first (and last) time I ate there was in the late 90s (in its second iteration). I knew it was a favorite of my mom and aunt but I was not impressed. I was 28 years old and it felt stuffy and old. I didn’t love the menu. I have avoided it ever since. This year, however, as Todd and I embraced traditions and bucked others, I looked up the menu and I couldn’t look away.
This third edition of The Hobbit opened in 2008 and is located in the Rivendell condo complex (natch) – a building Todd and I have been so intrigued by for the last five years we have considered what we would have to do to own a condo there. It’s located at 81st and the Bay, so the views of the sunset are spectacular and – because the width of the island is not impossible – it is walking distance to the beach.
There was a storm brewing far off the coast and so the weather had turned quite breezy and the humidity had lifted significantly enough that seating on the “Porch” was comfortable and lovely – with the exception of wind gusts that required weighing down your napkin to prevent it from taking flight, as mine did twice. We ordered a bottle of wine and Stone, our middle-aged server, was wonderfully professional and attentive – a refreshing change from the indifference of the usual seasonal wait staff we seem to encounter everywhere else.
I had the macadamia-encrusted salmon filet served over coconut rice in a pool of red curry sauce. It was topped with a thai salad of spiralized cucumber and mint. OH MY GOD. It was so amazing I couldn’t speak. Todd had the catch of the day – Swordfish over a saute of jumbo lump crab, corn, bacon, and fresh veg with beurre blanc. Also speechless. My review – outstanding. Not to missed. (And maybe last time it was the company.)
The above post is exactly 1000 words.
Because of that, I have met my daily quota of 1000 words, if not for the novel, then at least for mind exercise. This is my check-in, Suzanne.
Berlin’s Bathtub Races appear to be held in June and anyone can enter. The page has a button to click on that says, “Register your bathtub here” and I can’t stop giggling.
Susan Ayres Wimbrow’s book is called My Life is Death and is autobiographical in nature while names have been changed. I have started it but have not yet finished it.
There is one 3-bedroom, 3-1/2 bath condo currently for sale at Rivendell for $849.9k. Covered parking and 1939 sq feet. Roughly $4,000 a month payments.