Just not the same one.
Chauncey runs a surf and T-shirt shop in Ocean City, Md. But Janice Rhodes Elder moved to Rehoboth Beach, Del., to open her art and gift shop.
Their homes aren’t even 30 miles apart, but there’s a friendly lack of agreement between the two about which beach is better -- a low-key but heartfelt rivalry held by many beach-lovers and residents in the Delmarva Peninsula and beyond.
Talk to people in the two towns, and you’ll hear (mostly) polite criticisms ranging from the quality of coffee shops to the lack of driving skills at the “other” beach.
Being siblings, Rhodes and Elder do visit each other’s shops sometimes. They’ll brave the often-maddening drive down Coastal Highway/State Route 1 ,which can take FOR-EV-ER during beach season and is a notorious speed trap. Rhodes admires the quieter pace of his sister’s beach lifestyle; she appreciates the energy at his home beach.
But neither can imagine living anywhere else. (
Compare: The best of Ocean City and Rehoboth beaches
His sister calls him “Mr. OC,” and there’s truth to her teasing; Rhodes is one of the resort’s biggest boosters. He started out working at the Sunshine House Surf Shop, now closed but still fondly remembered by Ocean City’s surfing community. Opened by Rhodes family members in 1994, Chauncey’s Surf Shop is an iconic store on Coastal Highway near the start of the boardwalk. The surfing business in Ocean City is popular enough that the family opened another store about 16 blocks down the boardwalk, run by Chauncey’s brother Blair.
As a student at Good Counsel High School in Olney, Md., Chauncey headed to the beach for surfing and skateboarding at every opportunity -- often accompanied by some of his nine siblings. It remains a draw for high school and college students, especially around spring break and graduation time. Later in the summer, however, the boardwalk is filled with families who come to “OC” nearly every year.
Pat Kashak of Annapolis is one of those traditional visitors. Now retired, she’s been coming Ocean City for summer visits longer than she can remember, but long enough to have a collection of souvenir mood rings.
“And they still sell them,” she said with a laugh, while looking for seashells on the beach around 80th Street on a recent June morning.
What does she like about Ocean City? The convenient travel from her home, she said, and the abundance of hotel rooms with an ocean view.
She recommends visiting after Labor Day for a more peaceful vacation. And though she enjoys walking on the beach, “it is not the best place” to find sea treasures. “But I keep trying,” she said.
A couple of bird-watchers from Maryland strolling the beach recommended visiting Ocean City’s inlet, near 2nd Street, at the end of July to watch the migrating fowl. The octagon gazebos at 12848 Ocean Gateway also are recommended for birding and photography -- and it’s a good place to stash your car if you want to avoid Ocean City’s driving and parking congestion. The West Ocean City Park & Ride has free parking and a $1 shuttle that will take visitors through Ocean City’s main drag and outlet stores.