So, Holly’s closed.
After more than half a century, the multi-generational family business and regional culinary landmark served up their last piece of Eastern Shore fried chicken and their final chocolate milkshake this past Sunday.
Located in Grasonville along the Rt50/301 highway, about ten miles from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Holly’s Restaurant opened in 1955, three years after the bridge’s completion. For many of us around here, as well as for a multitude of folks who passed through over the decades, Holly’s has been a part of our whole lives.
Holly’s is now one of those places.
One of those places that used to be, but isn’t any more.
Carnabucci’s carryout, The Islander, Leonard Smith’s store, Fox’s five and dime stores, Bill’s Bargain Center, the Stuckey’s in Grasonville, Dezi’s, The Circle Restaurant, Tastee Freeze, Capt. Alex’s, Gil Dunn’s pharmacy, Ebb Tide, Grollman’s Hardware and Liquor, Bob’s Mini-mart, Anglers, Jinx’s, dozens of places, so many I have trouble recalling them all…and now Holly’s – all places that seemed like they’d always be there, and then one day ‘poof’, they disappear. Gone. Only existing in the flimsy tatters of our collective memory.
Some places are other places now, like how Hillside is Georgie’s now, and how Yachtsman Inn is now Café Sadu, and like how no matter what the sign outside that one place might ever say, it’ll always be No Place to me.
For me, Ram’s Head Shore House will always be, not even the Island Inn, but the Silver Dollar. That building has been there a long time, and before we ever even came along, it’d been called a bunch of different names.
It’s the Silver Dollar.
Throughout the generations that preceded us here on the Eastern Shore, landmarks came and went. A hundred years ago, the Love Point Hotel was one of the grandest of those Chesapeake Bay resorts that dominated regional tourism – until Ocean City boomed. That place in particular died a pitiful death.
My grandparents spent their money at community institutions I probably never heard of. General stores. Farm equipment dealerships. Beauty shops.
I bet when my parents were young and running around, there were hotspots that they could never imagine not being there.
And then they weren’t there.
It’s sad because it marks the passing of our time here.
Reminds us how fleeting life really is.
But it’s joyous, too.
Because I get it.
Because if I learned anything from those old Tuesday and Thursday nickel beer nights at Waterman’s Inn, I learned that it’s always a good idea to leave while somebody’s still gonna miss ya.
Photos Courtesies and thanks to: Mike Bedard (Holly’s closed), Marlene Meyers (Holly’s flooded), Mike Rosendale (Gil Dunn ad), The Ewings (The Circle), Will Clark (Anglers), Jane Coppage (The Islander), Kent Island Heritage Society (Love Point Hotel), and J. Eric Drummer (Holly’s ashtray)