Monday, June 27, 2011

STEPHEN DECATUR Hotel - Ocean City, MD

The old Stephen Decatur Hotel at 12th Street and the Boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland offered a terrific view for people-watching. The elegant hotel’s majestic front porch, shaded by enormous awnings, had comfy wooden rocking chairs for its guests. My father, who avoided sea water due to a painful ear condition, spent weekend afternoons rocking and watching all the tourists pass by. At dinner time he relished every minute of telling us the sights he saw while we, oblivious to the parade passing by, were swimming in the Atlantic Ocean .
In later years the old hotel served as a marker for some close family friends and me as they were lucky enough to own a charming cottage just down the street. Since the Stephen Decatur was higher than the neighboring hotels we could keep it in our view from the water on occasional days of strong riptides when we might easily be swept sideways down the beach. In recent years some have told me how sad they felt when this old Grande Dame of the boardwalk was torn down. But, no matter what, I can still hear her gigantic awnings flapping in the ocean breeze.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Baltimore Streetcars- The Overlea Loop

The Overlea Loop was the end of the line for many of Baltimore, Maryland’s streetcars until operation ceased 1963. Trusty Number 15 in my painting is about ready to pull into traffic on Belair Road and trolley across town to Walbrook Junction in Northwest Baltimore. I like this rest stop where passengers and motormen could relax and get a hotdog or a Seven-Up. It was probably a good place for men to gather to ride to work or talk about their ideas or accomplishments. Presently I cannot think of public places like this where you see men swapping stories or sharing advice. I guess they are on their computers like so many of us.