Thoughts From The Publishers Desk

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The recent AOL Travel list of top 10 “East Coast Family Vacations under $250” proves a point I have been trying to make for years. Ocean City has a reputation for being an expensive vacation destination. Whether it’s accurate or not, all folks in tourism understand this perception is out there among the visiting public. Efforts are underway to combat the image. As is the case with any place, I believe Ocean City can be an affordable place to vacation or it can be expensive. It’s all up to individual choice, desires and habits. Stay in an oceanfront hotel for four nights, including the weekend, and splurge at upscale restaurants each of those nights and it’s going to come with a price. However, if you stay at an oceanside or bayside hotel during the week and choose other less pricey food options, you are looking at a much more reasonable and competitive price tag. The AOL Travel study based its finding on a typical day with a family of four and suggested breakfast at Layton’s ($33), lodging at the Fenwick Inn during the week day ($99), dinner at the Dough Roller ($56), two wristbands at Trimper’s ($44) and transportation on the bus ($8). It was estimated to cost approximately $240 per day.

The political season has begun in Ocean City with Councilwoman Mary Knight becoming the first incumbent to file for re-election. The town’s election will be held in October. Other colleagues up for re-election include Mayor Rick Meehan, whose seat is up every two years, and Council members Jim Hall, Jay Hancock and Nancy Howard. Interested candidates have another month to file before the deadline, and traditionally most aspiring politicians wait till after Labor Day before announcing their intentions. Local resident Sean Rox bucked that trend, filing months ago. It’s unknown how many candidates will file, but sources indicate at least a couple familiar faces to the local political arena will be seeking seats in the Oct. 21 election. It’s worth noting after they were re-elected in 2004 both Howard and Hall said this term would be their last.

Unfortunately, some businesses aim to rip people off, and I experienced this first hand last weekend. There’s no need to mention the business here, but this really got under my skin and a little venting is in order. After purchasing a bushel of large crabs ($195) and a few hammers (95 cents each), I asked the clerk for some of the brown paper to cover the picnic tables. She said I would have to pay for it. It was something like $2 for a small amount of feet. To cover two picnic tables, I would have needed to spend about $10 on the paper. At most seafood stores, this is something they give carryout customers without any charge. For example, at Crabs To Go, an outlet I frequent often, they have a roll of the heavy-duty brown paper by the door for customers to utilize. At this other business I tried last weekend, the clerk simply motioned to a rack of newspapers (yes this one included) and said those are free and I was welcome to use as many of those as I wanted. For obvious reasons, that rubbed me the wrong way, but to charge for paper seems excessive and an obvious attempt to gouge the customer.

In other news, and I admit I had to “Google” who these folks were, musicians Rihanna and Chris Brown were in Ocean City last month. I heard they frequented Fager’s Island and Seacrets while in town as well as other spots. Additionally, it appears they got a first-hand look at Assawoman Bay as well because a photo was featured in a recent issue of People magazine aboard a couple personal watercrafts and Ocean City was prominently mentioned.

Along the same lines of national media attention, Salisbury, Md. was spotlighted in the September National Geographic Adventure issue. The mention here was a little surprising because it was included in a listing of “The Fifty Next Great Adventure Towns.” Salisbury was included in the East region’s list with Boston, State College, Pa., Blue Hill, Maine, Avalon, N.J. and Lenoir, N.C. The blurb read, “Biking a century, catching a minor-league baseball game, picking apart a plate full of blue crabs – it’s all in an afternoon’s work. Set on Maryland’s eastern shore, Salisbury is home to DLITE, an alliance that protects the peninsula for hiking, cycling and crabbing and provides green-collar jobs. Population: 27,172. Median home price: $192,400.”

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