« Books and words: a miscellany | Main | Say it ain't so, Jan Freeman »

Beach balcony book bourbon bliss*

Only accounts of other people’s dreams are more tedious than the accounts of other people’s vacations.

Consider yourselves warned.

I did walk upon the beach, getting my ankles wet. I did not hear the mermaids singing, each to each. (Never thought that they would sing to me.)

Apart from that, and a little shopping in Rehoboth Beach with Kathleen, and the time spent reading and gazing out on the water, it was about food and drink.

On the way to Ocean City, we stopped for lunch in Cambridge and discovered Coolahan Irish Pub, which will serve along with your pint of Smithwick’s an excellent plate of rockfish and chips, the rockfish succulent, the breading light, and greasiness absent.

In Ocean City proper, we discovered, at the recommendation of a friend, a quiet little restaurant called Jules in a shopping center at 118th Street. We lingered over dinner with that friend, and It was so good that we returned the following evening with another friend. The fried oysters were spicy, the salads were excellently composed, the duck marinated in soy sauce was tender and flavorful, and the salmon was the best I’ve ever had in a restaurant. It is not cheap, but neither is it ruinously expensive.

Kathleen found in the ladies’ a set of letters from schoolchildren thanking the proprietor for a visit to their class and following up with additional questions. Among them: “Why is it so cold in restaurants? My brother said that it’s to keep down the flies.”

We did go to J.R.’s for ribs, which were good enough to counterbalance the noise and the crowd and the table full of children spilling their drinks. “Get my rag; it’s right over there,” one waiter helpfully told a parent. (Jules is the place to which you will want to retreat after this more characteristic Ocean City dining experience.)

I wound up too full for frozen custard, a misjudgment I mean to correct the next time.

And the books: Karin Slaughter’s Blindsighted was a perfectly satisfactory murder mystery, and I’ve gotten a good start on Kathryn Fox’s Skin and Bone, which is shaping up nicely. I’m two-thirds of the way through The Forgotten Founding Father, Joshua Kendall’s biography of Noah Webster, of which you will see more here once I have finished it.

Full moon tonight, and I shall be sorry not to see it reflected on the water.


*This was the tweet I sent out after arriving at a friend’s condo in Ocean City, Maryland, for a brief stay.


Posted by John McIntyre at 2:31 PM | | Comments (1)


And actually, when you're on holiday [vacation, that is] food, however simple, seems to take on an ambrosial quality. I'm in Greece in a few weeks' time, on a small un-posh little island, and I know that a cucumber and tomato salad, with a glass of (how shall I put it? OK, "rustic") wine, sloshed over with high-quality olive oil (the salad, that is, not the wine) and with a hunk of that sawdust bread they make, will be heavenly. Especially with that astonishingly blue sea lapping up next to me.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
Baltimore Sun Facebook page

Most Recent Comments
Sign up for FREE local news alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local news text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Stay connected