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.


  1. It's July 20th. On this date in 1969, I watched the first Moon landing at the Stephen Decatur.

    Walking through the lobby late at night, most people weren't paying attention to the television. A grainy and warbly black and white picture showed the two astronauts working. Really more like a 1960's or 50's space movie than THE story of the millenium.

    In my teens, I think I was pursuing some kind of cool as I sat there smoking a cigar. But even the overwhelming power of an ego driven, testosterone torn teenager was diminished next to what was transpiring way over my head.

    If I was still long enough, I could probably describe the lobby perfectly.

    And today is the end of the space shuttle...

    AND, that's a fabulous painting.

    George Cleveland

  2. It is fun to remember how we never thought about television when vacationing in OC...I think the only channel they received was a Salisbury station... and what a great memory to have on the anniversary of the moon landing.