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Heading to Ocean City and Rehoboth beaches in the ’70s, the journey was half the fun

Heading to Ocean City and Rehoboth beaches in the ’70s, the journey was half the fun
Dolle's Candyland, its flagship location at 500 S. Atlantic Ave. in Ocean City is pictured above, has been serving treats since 1910. (Eric Maza / Baltimore Sun)

The draw span on the old Kent Narrows Bridge was the last obstacle on Route 50 to the Delaware and Maryland beaches in the 1970s. When the gates went down, and the bridge opened for a boater, the time needed to get to the ocean went on an agonizing hold.

After that, the Eastern Shore landmarks sailed by -- Holly’s Restaurant, the Queenstown Trailways bus stop, the Choptank bridge, Elmer’s market, Farmer Bill’s and the Rapa scrapple signs. After Kent Narrows, drivers could get pulled over at a speed trap at the Delaware State Line.

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The fields of soybeans and corn passed quickly, in the era before traffic congestion at outlet malls slowed the race to the boardwalk.

The summer resorts seemed not to change much from year to year. Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach both had -- and have -- Dolle’s saltwater taffy and popcorn businesses. The Candy Kitchen also serves customers with treats like sea foam and heavenly hash. The boardwalks had their obligatory miniature golf courses and rides, the Funlands and the Trimper’s Rides.

Also, Baltimore visitors encountered boardwalk food terminology not used in Charm City. In Rehoboth Beach, Louie’s Pizza offered a grinder -- a cold-cut sub sandwich that, before it was served, got placed in the pizza oven. The cheese melted slightly as the roll toasted. Even ice cream flavors changed on the Eastern Shore. While Baltimore people knew the chocolate-vanilla ice cream flavor as rocky fudge, it became rocky road -- or its peanut butter variant, moose tracks -- at the beach.

One piece never changed for beach-goers: needing Noxzema cream for sunburns.

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