The Atlantic Hotel. The Atlantic Hotel first opened its doors in 1895, when the completion of the railroad brought an increase in travelers to the tiny Eastern Shore town of Berlin. ‘Drummers’ or traveling salesmen would arrive by train from Baltimore or DC to peddle goods around town. The hotel served as a hub of operations for these salesmen. With the bar operating as an office space, salesmen telegraphed, and later, phoned-in orders. It was principally a traveling salesman hotel. The hotel has always been the center of Berlin.
Over the past 120 years, the hotel has seen many changes, some resulting in a boom in business, with other changes proving to be detrimental. Nonetheless, the hotel persevered, well into the early 1980s. At that point, it was almost beyond restoring. The interior of the hotel was in complete disarray, leaving total demolition as a real possibility.
With determined local residents and business owners plans to restore the hotel started gaining traction. Ultimately, 10 families banded together to bring ideas of the hotel’s restoration to fruition. $1.5 million was poured into the restoration.
Celebrating a history of outstanding cuisine, gracious service, and upscale guest accommodations, the Atlantic Hotel offers guests an authentic Maryland experience deeply rooted in small town charm and Victorian-period style. The historic Drummer’s Café serves Lunch, Dinner and a full beverage Bar daily. The Atlantic Ballroom continues to offer elegant wedding, social and corporate service to the community as well as many state-wide events.
The Atlantic Hotel (circa 1895), one of Berlin’s historic treasures, is located in the center of the town’s Historic and Entertainment Districts. The hotel has been recently restored to its original Victorian era décor with 15 gracious and deluxe guest rooms, a large full service suite and a Gardner’s Cottage.
Stables were once part of the hotel’s services to guests. Mr. Horace Harmonson, builder and owner of the hotel, had a horse-drawn bus ready to meet incoming trains. The bus would carry passengers to the hotel. In addition to salesmen, the hotel was frequented by travelers on their way to the ocean, interested in hunting and fishing (guides were available) and those who simply delighted in good food. Nowadays, guests arrive to experience Ocean City and the beaches and wild horses of Assateague Island National Park.
Del Higgins is a contributing photographer from Palenville, New York.