Wednesday, August 10, 2011

MAYFLOWER HOTEL - Ocean City, MD

"Mayflower Hotel" oil on canvas (12" x 18") 2008

This big, friendly, brown-shingled hotel stood on the boardwalk at 12th St. in Ocean City, MD for all the years of my childhood. The cheerful gift shop on the ground floor called the Jo-Mar Driftwood and Gift Shop was a favorite stop during summer vacations. They sold pieced earrings which in the early 1960’s were considered very chic! According to a 1971 Ocean City Chamber of Commerce Guide, one could make a reservation at this “modern resort hotel” by dialing 289-7251 and speaking with Mr. or Mrs. J. T. Hopkins. The hotel also advertised “surf bathing direct from the hotel and bath house,” and “featured delicious southern style dishes” in their dining room. Mentioned here previously, as a teenager I was the  frequent guest of a dear family who spent summers in their cottage just one block west of the hotel. I can still smell the aromatic dinners cooking as we hungrily passed by the hotel’s back alley on our way home in  sandy, wet bathing suits.

7 comments:

  1. My family stayed here every summer from 1969 or 1970 through 1975 or maybe 1976. Once I was old enough to drive (76) I would go on my own.

    We would stay on the 3rd floor. I remember the ocean breeze at night and I don't remember the rooms having AC. The wooden slat doors to the hallway and the wonderful front porch,

    We had breakfast and dinner in the dining room and I remember we all got dressed up for meals. I remember the rental rafts and how they felt like sand paper on my skin and the sunburns I would get every summer. I brought home a hermit crab every year too.

    we all played slee-ball the whole week and came home with lamps and other nice prizes for out considerable and costly efforts. I liked the nickel machine on the floor in the arcade full of Marlboro cigarettes. How I learned to position the claw just so to get my prize. I was in my very early teens then and just starting to smoke so nickel packs of smokes were a huge windfall.

    I remember the trek down the boardwalk for the fries and the amusement park and rides. We always went the first week of August, my birthday week.

    I was sad when I learned the hotel had been sold and would become condos. I haven't been back since then but go to Rehoboth now instead.

    The Mayflower Hotel has a lot of fond memories from my youth and I will always remember my weeks there.

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  2. Thanks for posting your memories of this wonderful, old hotel and your holiday activities. You will be happy to know that Mrs. Hopkins, the owner, who passed away just a few years ago stayed in Ocean City the rest of her life. It was interesting to talk with her. She was very forthright with a little bit of eccentricity to hold your attention as she spun stories of Old Ocean City.

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  3. What a wonderful find discovering this page! I was a guest at the Mayflower from 1970 until 1988 when the storm that knocked it from it's foundation caused it to be sold and demolished. In 1989 (I think) when they were tearing it down, I drove down from York, PA to see it, and I was able to grab one of the cedar shake shingles that was the outside covering of the whole hotel. I still have it. I went there as a 16 year old with a bunch of friends, and never missed a summer there. I kept returning with more and more in tow, a girlfriend who became my wife, then my wife with my son, then my wife, son, and my wife's family...SO many incredible memories! I remember Jack bringing in fresh produce and meats from his farm, Patti who later married George, then their family increasing. I always wondered what became of them all after the Mayflower came down. Thanks so much for posting this! Blessings!
    Steve Newport, York, PA

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  4. It was my Aunt and Uncle that owned this hotel. I have extremely fond memories of my childhood spent visiting for the day with my Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Jack. We had a place in Rehoboth so we would drive to visit for the day and spend time on the beach and ride the rides. Aunt Evelyn would always take me down to the gift shop and tell me to pick out anything I wanted. We would dress up after our day at the beach to have dinner in the restaurant where the fried chicken was always on the menu for me even if it wasn't that evening. They were wonderful people and it was a beautiful hotel.

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  5. Here is a memory from Steve C who now resides in a southern, mid-west state. He attempted to post this charming story but was unable to make the connection...so I am posting his story here.

    "Thanks for your great site. I used to visit the Jo-Mar as a 6 and 7 year-old in 1965 and 1966 with my parents, their friends, and their kids on evening Boardwalk visits after a dinner at Phillip's or, perhaps, Captain Bunting's. The Jo-Mar's owners were friends and former neighbors of my mom's cousin in the Cedarcroft area of Baltimore. They liked to show us kids driftwood specimens, and I liked to buy packaged sea shells from their store for my collection. Thanks for including mention of the Jo-Mar in your post about the Mayflower; as an adult, I had often wondered where the Jo-Mar was located.

    My family (wife and kids) now live far from the sea. I miss the Ocean City of my youth, and appreciate the time you have taken to capture a bit of that for the rest of us."

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  6. My grandparents and several of their friends stayed at the Mayflower the second week of July from the early 70s to the mid 80s. Most years there were 3 generations of all of those families there

    The wait staff had to take orders without writing a thing down and even with tables of 8, 10 or more, rarely missed.

    Cocktail hour on the second floor balcony outside my grandparents room at 5 with everyone dressed after a long day riding the surf.

    Jacks cantaloupe just coming into season that week. Seeds always removed so no one could get his amazingly sweet melon.

    Watching the O's games on the one tv in the lobby with Chuck Thompson in the booth.

    The arcades just down the boards and the freedom to go play without your parents worrying where you were.

    What great childhood memories.

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  7. My parents spent a week-long vacation in Ocean City in August every year from when I was a little girl in the mid 1950s through my high school years in the late 1960s. We always stayed at the Mayflower Hotel. I remember Mrs. Hopkins at the front desk who greeted my parents as friends. We had breakfast each morning in the dining room and I remember Mom always getting a big slice of honeydew melon and in the early years I was able to get blueberries in cream, dusted with powdered sugar. During the day we rented an umbrella and enjoyed the beach. At the end of the afternoon, we went up the back stairs into upper floors of the hotel, and I remember them being scary because they were so steep and narrow. We always had a corner room so we could cool the room from the ocean breezes because there wasn't any air conditioning. We'd dress for dinner and I remember the tables were always set beautifully and there were printed menus. It was at the Mayflower that I tasted my first watermelon sweet pickles, as a waiter would come around with a condiment holder to all the tables. At night, we'd walk the boardwalk and if we went really, really far, we'd see the Laughing Lady. Every year I'd get a printed fortune from a fortune teller machine, and sometimes buy a live seahorse in a glass of water. It's probably illegal nowadays. When I was small, I don't remember Skee-ball, but the family played it most nights when I was older.

    My parents have recently passed, but I cherish the wonderful memories they gave me of our times at the Mayflower.

    Cathy Dahms (Greiner), Albuquerque, New Mexico

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