By Jennifer Sabini Evans
Picture this: you, relaxing on the beach with a favorite book. Or maybe you’re perched on a beloved porch swing or hotel balcony, sipping a drink, reading a juicy novel as the sun sets over the bay. Whatever the setting, we could all use a transportive page-turner now and again, especially when on vacation. But where can you find that romance you can toss in your canvas tote before a much needed beach walk, or that young adult favorite to read poolside? I've hand-selected five of the top local destinations for book lovers so you can satisfy your passion for reading. Ocean City is home to a host of exceptional spots that bibliophiles will enjoy.
Even on vacation I can't resist hunting down a bookstore! Down Under Books hides below the Lankford Hotel at 8th Street on the Ocean City Boardwalk. If you're looking for inexpensive beach reads, this is the place for you. They carry a large selection of used books from around the area.
Shelves sit overflowing with your favorite romances, fictions and mysteries written by your favorite authors. Those seeking an underground adventure for uncommon finds will find this as a top destination for literary enthusiasts. There is something intoxicating about the smell of all those books.
Among the seaside condominiums and coastal cottages that Ocean City is known for something else noteworthy can be found: miniature enclosed bookcases outside homes housing books. Little Free Libraries are starting to spring up in the cutest of neighborhoods. With close to 10 book exchange locations in neighborhoods throughout Ocean City, visitors looking for something new to read need only walk a few blocks to a Little Free Library to check out that day’s finds.
Since the little libraries are frequented often, their collections are constantly changing, with readers welcome to take or leave a book at any time. Children’s books, classic novels, bestselling fiction, you name it: they can all be found on any given day at one of Ocean City's small-scale open-air libraries.
The Buzzed Word is a combination bookstore, retail wine store, and wine bar, selling general-interest books with a focus on diverse voices in various genres. Owned and operated by Mickie Meinhardt, a writer, wine-r, and Ocean City native, she began The Buzzed Word in 2019 as an Instagram series pairing books and wines. Her series evolved into "Books & Bottles", a live event series in New York and Washington, DC, and later into a Zoom book-and-wine club that featured author appearances and winemaker talks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout its evolution, Meinhardt wanted to bring all she loved about wine and books to Ocean City, MD.
Literature fans looking for an extraordinary journey through stories and beautifully made wines from small producers around the world will find it at this top destination. Meinhardt has created a space for discovery, exploration, & inspiration. They are open every day for retail and drinks, with tasting classes and other fun events always on the calendar.
The Ocean City Worcester County Library offers an extensive selection of books and other materials, a robust catalog of digital content, and an impressive slate of programming for all ages that includes computer games, toys, puzzles, board games and coloring. From classic novels and beloved children's books to current best sellers and young adult series, the library's catalog includes thousands of books, as well as audio books, magazines, newspapers and movies.
Whether book lovers are looking for the perfect beach read or movie to salvage a rainy day, the library offers a range of options to enhance any vacation. Anyone who lives, works, goes to school or owns property in Worcester County is eligible for a free library card. Maryland residents with acceptable ID are also eligible for a free Worcester County Library card. Non-Maryland residents can obtain a library card for an annual fee of $10.
Conveniently located on Main Street, in the charming historic town of Berlin, Maryland, 15 minutes outside of downtown Ocean City, lies Greyhound an Indie Bookstore. In 2018, the independent bookstore opened inside the historic Ayres building, which has been in owner Susan Ayres Wimbrow's family since 1895. Anchored by the Atlantic Hotel, many of the city's downtown buildings served as filming locations for Julia Roberts and Richard Gere's romantic comedy "Runaway Bride" in 1999.
Inside their small, three room shop you will find best sellers, indie authors and artwork from local painters. If you stay long enough, as many do when visiting the shop, you might run into the local creatives. The independent bookstore hosts frequent author signings and is a hub for local authors, like herself. Wimbrow enjoys perusing the aisles and getting to know the people who enter her shop as she helps them find a new book.