I finally made it to the boardwalk last night and it was really crowded.
When I started coming to Ocean City thirty years ago with my girlfriend, the boardwalk was always a wonderland of t-shirts and other paraphernalia that I had to have. We would spend most of the day on the beach and after a shower, beeline it to the boardwalk for all the great things we needed to eat and buy.
Years later, we experienced it again through our children. Belly boards, t-shirts, bubbles, face painting, amusement rides, and hermit crabs. (Yes, hermit crabs. Thanks to the children, several hermit crabs had considerably shortened lifespans, enough said.) Now ear piercing, henna tattoos, and expensive jewelry are things on their 'want list'.
The boardwalk doesn't hold the same magic, but it is still magical. It's just different. I still like the rides, read all the t-shirts, eat some of the snacks, and watch all the people doing what people do. The only t-shirts I buy anymore are the ones that say Ocean City and are on the discount rack (which you might have noticed if you've spent any time around me). But I still love the boardwalk, and probably always will.
We'll be leaving OC tonight for another year.