Breaking Up the Drive to Ocean City
I don’t know about you, but when I drive over the bay bridge on my way to Ocean City, I feel all my stress fall away. There’s something about the eastern shore – the laid back pace, the sprawling farm land, the water – that calms me. Unfortunately, getting there can be a real bear and most of the time crossing the bridge is an accomplishment in and of itself. Beach traffic sucks. So to celebrate I usually need a drink and there are plenty of places for that along the way.
(Where do you stop on your way to the beach? Have any suggestions? Discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
Just Over the Bridge You can take the first exit east of the bridge to reach Kentmorr Marina, located about ten minutes south of route 50 where Kentmorr Restaurant is situated right along side the marina, giving you a front row seat to the boats coming and going. Nearby is Dirty Dave’s Tiki Bar, located on a sandy bayside beach. It would be great place to catch a sunset. And even though it would make a great stop on the way to the beach, Dirty Dave’s is a destination in its own right, especially for those days where the weather’s great and you’ve got nothing to do. Heading east, Kent Narrows has around ten or so bar/restaurants to choose from and one of my favorites is the laid back Big Owl Tiki Bar, situated on a pier stretching over the water, offering good pub food and drink specials. The Jetty and Red Eye Dock Bar offer the same kind of atmosphere and if you want something a little more fancy, Annie’s Steak and Seafood is highly recommended.
To 50 or Not to 50?
There are two kinds of people who go to the beach – those who take Route 50 and those who take Route 404. The decision largely depends on where you’re staying, and people who stay north of OC tend to take 404, which is shorter, but has a few merging areas that can get clogged up and it’s one lane for most of way, resulting in what can be a longer drive.Taking Route 50 is longer, distance-wise, but has more lanes, and more traffic lights. However, Route 50 does give you more food choices than 404. More on 404 later. For now, we’re sticking with Route 50.
Easton First up is Easton, a charming landlocked town that offers several excellent dining options. In downtown Easton, there’s Out of the Fire, offering pizza, mussels, lamb and steak. Staying with upscale dining there’s Bartlett Pear Inn offering a dining experience reminiscent of D.C. For mid-level dining, Brasserie Brightwell offers fresh seafood in a rustic atmosphere and Victory Garden Café, which is located outside of downtown Easton but is well worth the diversion, has upscale pub food with an Asian twist. And if you just want a quick stop that isn’t a fast food chain, check out Roberto’s Pizza located on the Easton Parkway bypass. If you happen to be driving through Easton on a Saturday between the hours between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. there’s the Easton Farmer’s Market in the parking lot on North Harrison Street. Across the street there’s the Piazza Italian Market offering gourmet meats and cheese, as well as other cooking necessities you may want to take with you.
Cambridge Further south on Route 50 is Cambridge, which also has a good selection of restaurants, including The High Spot,which was recently featured on a “best burgers in Maryland” list. Stoked specializes in wood fired pizza, wings, pasta and sandwiches. Jimmy and Sook’s is focused on seafood and Rock Lobstah does – you guessed it – lobster rolls. Meanwhile, Don Chuy’s Taqueria is a no frills Mexican joint with quality food. RAR Brewery calls Cambridge home, and their tasting room & restaurant has sushi, crab pizza and shuffleboard. Just south of Cambridge is Layton’s Chance Winery offering very approachable sweet and summer-themed wines.
Salisbury Next up is Salisbury, home of Evolution Brewery, and their Public House Restaurant featuring EVO beer and a huge menu including burgers, charcuterie & cheese. For fast food lovers, check out The Cook Out, a North Carolina fast food chain that has made its way up north and planted a location near Salisbury State University. Their combo meals giving you a burger and two sides of which can include chicken nuggets, corn dog, quesadilla, hush puppies, coleslaw or fries. Then there’s the milkshake menu, consisting of over 30 options. Located south of Salisbury, but worth the trip, is Bordeleau Winery. Their wines are among the best in Maryland including a great buttery Chardonnay. The property backs up to the winding Wicomico Creek making for a relaxing tasting experience. Route 404 For those of you taking Route 404, your options are more limited, but there are some gems to be found a long the way. Denton offers up Market Street Public House, serving up everything from fish and chips to tacos. Further down 404 close to Bridgeville, DE is Vanderwende Farm Creamery, which has, hands down the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Many people must feel the same, since the lines can snake around the store and the parking lot stays packed with cars.