A year ago, Ron and Barb Ferger left their Pasadena home for a weekend jaunt to Ocean City. The plan was to enjoy Summerfest, the resort's end-of-season festival.
Great fans of Ocean City, these two retired Anne Arundel County schoolteachers loved visiting the beach. (Barb Ferger remembers a recent year when her date book recorded a trip every month.)
However, Summerfest 2004 would prove to be an unforgettable visit. They were about to become shore residents after a spontaneous visit to a home for sale in South Ocean Pines.
"We said we'd never leave our house, unless we were by the water," Barb Ferger remembered. All the way home, she was unable to get the two-story Colonial on Manklin Creek out of her mind.
Less than a week later, she and her husband returned to South Ocean Pines with an offer acceptable to the owner. They, in turn, sold their Pasadena home in two days.
"We moved in here on November 20th, and I began hanging pictures for the New Year's party I had planned," Barb Ferger said with a laugh. "We know a lot of people down here."
The couple's $500,000 bought them a 3,500-square-foot home and garage on a landscaped lot adjoining a canal.
"The house was in pretty good shape," Ron Ferger said. "We thought we'd live in the house a while, then see what we would like to do [inside]."
Their expenditures over the past nine months were about $1,000 for exterior front door molding and two lantern-like outdoor light fixtures.
The house, which was built in 1989, is clad in gray vinyl in a yard graced by tall pine trees, rhododendrons and beds of bright begonias and impatiens. The home's center-front entrance has a large second-floor Palladian window above it; the front door is flanked by multi-paned windows.
A wide central hall runs the length of the house, separating the interior into quadrants that consist of living room and dining room in the front, with the kitchen and family room in back. A sunroom lies along the rear wall accessed by French doors opening off the kitchen.
The first floor's oak flooring has a textured effect, each thin plank having been cut with a beveled edge. The floor's rich patina, especially in the hall, is complemented by the warm tones of each room's oak and mahogany furniture.
"A gourmet cook designed this kitchen," Barb Ferger said, pointing out professional touches such as a large utensil rack over the island stove and a second sink.
White laminate cabinets and Corian countertops contrast with black appliances. A greenhouse window over the sink gives Barb Ferger the luxury of looking beyond the plants placed there to large pots of elephant-ear plants lining the back deck.
A red-brick fireplace dominates the Fergers' family room. Two large windows on either side of the fireplace showcase an unobstructed view of the creek and tree-lined shore.
A large bay window in the living room offers a view of the creek. A pair of tuxedo sofas upholstered in white and deep blue face each other, with an oriental carpet in shades of blue and tan between them.
Chinese-red paint covers the top half of the dining room's walls, while the lower half is wainscoting painted white and topped with a chair rail. Brass oriental symbols are hung on the walls. A walnut dining table is set for dinner, complete with gold-toned plates and a flower arrangement of black-eyed Susans.
Each of the five bedrooms on the home's second level serves a specific need for the couple. At the top of the staircase, the smallest room (but the one sporting the large Palladian window) is used as Barbara Ferger's sewing and craft room. Ron Ferger's mother, Wilma Ferger, who lives with the couple, enjoys a room with a skylight and octagonal window.
The couple has turned one room into a combination guest room and office, while a second, larger guest room is done in a Colonial decor. It is painted vivid blue and boasts a brass canopy bed and cherry furniture.
The master bedroom suite is painted light moss green. Beyond the room's double doors is an ivy-covered balcony. From here, the couple can look down at their yard or out at the canal, the creek and pine treetops.
The couple is content in their laid-back surroundings. And with house projects planned and the bustle of Ocean City five miles from their front door, they are never bored.