A vacation for a family visiting Ocean City in 1950 was much different than one experienced by their descendants today. There were no condominiums and few motels; most families stayed in the big hotels that lined the Boardwalk or rented an apartment in a privately owned dwelling along Baltimore Avenue or a side street.
There were few restaurants in those days as most meals were taken in the formal hotel dining rooms or family-style in the smaller boarding houses. Hotels such as the Atlantic, the Maryland Inn, the Royalton and the Commander were famous for their meals, and in addition to wonderful breakfasts, served four-course dinners with fresh seafood and vegetables from local farms. Since meals were included in the cost of a room, there was little need for a hotel guest to visit a restaurant.
The servers were mostly local college girls from the Eastern Shore with a few from Baltimore and the Washington, DC area. They received a small salary, room and board and tips. There were no J-1 foreign students from Eastern Europe, as this was the Cold War era.
The season began Memorial Day weekend ended the day after Labor Day. There were no car events, no Sunfest and no bike week in the 1950s. Ocean City shut down the day after Labor Day and everyone went home.
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Photo of Atlantic Hotel dining room staff circa 1950 courtesy Janet Molesworth Hough