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.