What happened to summer? It seems to have disappeared faster than a tub of Thrasher's fries.
Luckily, the weather is still summer-appropriate even though the kids are returning to school and yellow leaves are beginning to sprinkle the sidewalk. For now, we're giving fall the strong arm while we reminisce about our vacation by the shore.
Over the past few months, we've been taking a dip in the ocean scene and finding the best of the beach. Our Baltimore Sun bloggers have been checking out the coast from Rehoboth Beach, Del., to Ocean City and beyond.
We've found surfside breweries, workouts near the waves, fine dining, family hangouts on the boardwalk, paradise for your pooch and much, much more.
After our escapades, we don't want beach season to ever come to an end. But with Labor Day - the unofficial end of summer - hovering around the corner, the clock is running down. So without further ado, here's a look at some of our favorite beach highlights. We'll call it our "Best of the Beach" awards. There are no prizes, but what more could you want than a summer full of sand, sea and sky?
Best quirky place to eat: : Grove Market. It's probably the only restaurant in the Ocean City area where you have to wait weeks for a reservation. The decor is rustic but the food is upscale. You have to like unusual little places to eat here - the server recites the menu, and it's cash only.
Best family hangout: : Northside Park, Ocean City's largest park facility. The 58-acre complex, just two blocks from the ocean at 125th Street and the bay, has lighted softball, baseball and soccer fields and also features a fishing lagoon, a footbridge, two playgrounds, two piers, walking paths and a picnic area.
Best boardwalk snack: : Taffy, caramel corn, fries ... we can't decide. We'll need a sample of each.
Best dog beach that's not a beach: : Critter Beach, Rehoboth. This huge, well-stocked store has practically every dog toy known to man. Just the selection of water toys is worth a trip.