At second glance…

Ocean City, MD, my husband’s hometown and our marriage destination, occasionally gets a bad wrap, and sigh… I get it, but I don’t agree. Like judging Los Angeles for what’s seen on 90210 or a salad for the iceberg disaster served by a middle school lunchroom, there’s party vibe to Ocean City that often acts as the town’s extroverted poster-child. The blocks near the Route 50 Bridge entrance to the island are lined with carnival rides, crude-named restaurants, t-shirt shops and pulsing bars, which not-so-subtly reflect a tone of rampant drunkenness spiked with cotton candy-induced sugar highs. There’s a mindlessness and a bit of complicated swirling energy, more due to recklessness than crime. But layered throughout and standing firm, a quaint beauty refuses to be sipped away.

For example, my husband grew up in a home that rests on top of a shop within these blocks. I ask to drive by it each time we visit, peering up with awe at its light gray siding and quaint white trim. John’s upbringing was so captivating and vastly different from my own. I could listen for hours to the stories he tells about his childhood spent living in a vacation destination. One that lies vacant for 6 months, allowing local kids to rule the town, until hundreds of thousands of strangers flood in with their sense of unearned ownership. Yet, the town couldn’t survive without them, forming an intriguing yin-yang balance that explains the town’s palpable energy. Somehow the gritty and the quaint co-exist, dragging their feet, but ultimately tolerant of the role each plays, with neither budging an inch.

If a first-time visitor didn’t have the luxury of knowing a local, those intense blocks might form the whole of their opinion. Sad for them, because reverse to the underbelly of most, Ocean City’s other face reflects a humble confidence, shedding its party clothes for a pair of favorite jeans and maybe a soft white cotton tank. Deserving notice, the Ocean City beaches are wide and flat with generous amounts of soft sand, like light brown sugar, some of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen. Plus, the quaint town of Berlin, MD sits quietly 10 miles inland with its red brick buildings and crowded antique stores; John and I married there in his brother’s backyard. And just south lies a rustic island state park named Assateague, one of my favorite places on earth. Ocean City’s twin, separated by a nor’easter in 1933, the beaches on this island are also wide and spacious but with less tourists and more sand dunes. Small ponies run wild on the island and aren’t afraid to pick through beach-bags while the owners are taking a dip. Being a state park, the island’s natural beauty is preserved and the small entry fee seems to defer the party-goers. And lastly, there’s Ocean City’s bay-side, which reflects the evening sun with dancing crystals, swaying sea grass and solitude.

When I met John, I became a part of Ocean City, and I couldn’t be more proud.

While recently back east for our family vacation, John’s Aunt Daisy suggested I write a blog about the different types of sweeteners I often use. I liked the idea. Similar to Ocean City’s party side, refined white cane sugar, without further exploration, completely hogs the definition of sugar. A tragedy! Humble and responsible sweeteners, like maple sugar, maple crystals, sucanat or raw honey, get pushed aside, but they don’t fight. They patiently sit waiting for us to return with a bellyache after our refined sugar carnival ride.

So next week, we’ll take a second glance at sweeteners

xo – Organic Spark


  • ikeafreak

    Wow. Wow… not much more to say other than wow. You perfectly described the essence of Ocean City, so much so that your blog played like a movie in my head. I could feel the sand under my feet and see/smell the Assateague ponies! :)
    You are a gifted writer, Molly. It is a total pleasure reading your blog.

    Heather D.

    October 10, 2010
  • Anonymous

    damn Molly OC tourism bureau should take notice of this one. Thanks for being nice to the rolling sand island stopped in its tracks in 1933.

    October 11, 2010

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