Frederick County residents Donna Easterday and Gary Morris participate in filming for the HGTV show "Island Life" from Oct. 1-3, 2018 as they searched for a bayfront home in Ocean City.

(June 7, 2019) Fredrick County residents Donna Easterday and Gary Morris drew the attention of HGTV’s “Island Life” show as they scoured Ocean City in search of a second home. 

The couple had been working with Realtor Billy Barr, of the Mark Fritschle Group, for more than a year in their quest to find a place in the resort area. 

Barr had appeared previously on an HGTV show and was asked by producers if he had any clients interested in being highlighted on “Island Life.” 

Easterday said filming for the show took place Oct. 1-3, 2018. In the episode, “Boats, Brews, and Bay Views in Ocean City, MD,” they were shown a handful of properties and participated in several activities, including riding bicycles and making beer at Backshore Brewing Company on the Boardwalk.

“It was a fun, but kind of exhausting experience,” Easterday said.

Along with her husband, Easterday said her mother, Wanda, and Gary’s dog, Simon, also participated in filming with roughly 10 to 15 crew members.

“It was just a fascinating experience to see how everybody worked so efficiently together to pull a show together in three days,” she said.

As for their dream bayfront home, several items topped their wish list, including a stellar view, proximity to the Boardwalk and recreational water activities.

“We wanted to be close to everything that Ocean City has to offer, but we didn’t want to be so close where we felt we were on top of other people,” Easterday said.

For Easterday, visiting Ocean City was an annual family tradition when she was a child. The town is “a special place to us,” she said, and she has kept that tradition alive with her husband. 

“Gary is from West Virginia originally, [but he] kind of came down to Ocean City with me, and he grew to enjoy it,” Easterday said.

Easterday said they bought a home in Ocean City in 2006, which they sold last month, as they were looking for something different to fit that growing wish list.


The couple decided to renovate the home that they purchased.

The homes she was shown for the show were in the downtown area, north Ocean City and West Ocean City. However, they ended up going in a different direction, purchasing a three-bedroom, two-bathroom townhome off Bayshore Drive.

“When we bought it, we knew we were going to have to do a complete renovation,” Easterday said.

They spent the winter working to make the place fit their taste by changing the kitchen, lighting, floors, fireplaces, sliding doors and adding a bathroom. 

Easterday watched the episode with some friends last Tuesday evening and said she was pleased with the overall experience.

“It’s just strange seeing ourselves on television,” she said. “However, we are told that due to the success of the initial airing, it will be re-aired.”

The show aired on May 12 on HGTV, but she said the show’s sixth episode of the 16th season will possibly be re-aired in “late June or early July.” The exact air date is unclear.

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