by Meaghan Poulin
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
When planning your trip to Ocean City, MD it seems that everyone and their brother has an opinion about which event is best to check out, what hotel you should rest your head in, or where you should grab your Happy Hour drink. However, one thing many of you may not have heard about is an amazing group of individuals who can say without a doubt that they are the experts on Ocean City, MD. Who is this group you may ask?! None other than our own OC Insiders!
Last year a friendly face checked into my hotel, The Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites, her name was Darlene (aka Momoo on TripAdvisor and Z06RL on the oceancity.com forums). I knew I recognized her name, but it was not until she told me she was an OC Insider that all the bells and whistles went off in my head. Oh MAN! I better mind my p's and q's and get this lady a chocolate strawberry tray immediately, this is exactly who we need to write about OUR hotel. Everyone will listen!
Darlene is probably laughing right now and wondering where in the World that strawberry tray disappeared to. In reality, she has become a sweet friend and I truly enjoy her following on the Holiday Inn Suite's Facebook page. She was my inspiration for writing about the OC Insiders, in the first place.
Let's break down the OC Insiders. All volunteers! Yes, can you believe it, 100% of their time is on a volunteer basis. They must REALLY love Ocean City, MD! Darlene says, “We suggest hotels, restaurants, activities, realtors and just answer general questions that people ask at ococean.com/insiders. We will offer advice on where to find deals and coupons and suggest places that many people don't know about or aren't familiar with.”
Some of the participants in OC Insiders are invited to join by the Town of Ocean City and others became participants via an open invitation. They tend to answer about 30-50 questions a week directly related to Ocean City, MD, all depending on the season and the amount of traffic the forums are receiving.
One of the questions I asked Darlene was, what was the defining moment that made you fall in “love” with OCMD? Darlene remembers back to 1992 when she had packed up her husband and 2 kids and began her first ever 7 hour trek to Ocean City. She said,
“I think I fell in love the first time we drove across the bridge on Route 90 coming across the bay and I saw the OC skyline. It was just so beautiful. Then when I walked across the sand for the first time and saw the ocean, I was hooked.”
Little did she know then, that she would be making the 7 hour drive 5-7 times a YEAR, for this new found love!
Darlene always gets her engine revved by attending the Cruisin' OC event in May, she's made an appearance for the past 16 years! She also truly loves the OC Air Show, the Corvette Weekend, all the numerous craft shows at the Convention Center and Winefest! Speaking of refreshing beverages, she said stopping in at De Lazy Lizard is on her priority list for Happy Hour! “De Lazy Lizard's Watermelon Crush!!! Oh my, that's hard to beat!,” Darlene exclaimed.
Keeping with their giving spirit, the OC Insiders also enjoy giving BACK to our beautiful city! They got together and purchased a brick for the Firefighter's Memorial on the boardwalk, and next weekend (weather permitting) they are planning a trip to clean up any trash around the Northside Park marsh. Always looking out for Ocean City!
I'll end this blog post with a word of advice from Darlene on planning your next vacation. “Relax! Ocean City is safe and friendly and not so big that you'll get lost. You'll never see or experience everything in 2 days or even one trip. Ask questions and send for the free visitor guides you can get from the visitors guide and vacation guide. These are so helpful in planning a vacation. Finally of course, ask the Insiders for advice!”