View from the hill!

View from the hill!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Being Europe??

You may be wondering where we disappeared to and why the heck we never finished our 100 things list. Well, this little thing called summer seemed to sneak up on us. Before we knew it our European vacation had arrived and we were whisked away from our 100 things list to Portugal and England. But we are back in action!

As nice as it is to get out of town in the summer, there is also plenty to do in Baltimore during June, July and August. Outdoor movies pop up across town from Federal Hill to Little Italy, the harbor becomes clustered with boat parties, Ram's Head heats up with free outdoor concerts, the music of the Counting Crows and Beach Boys echo across the harbor from Pier 6 and crowds fill Baltimore's newest summer craze- the Tiki Barge. Michelle and I plan to take part in all Baltimore's favorite summer activities and from now until labor day and we promise to fill you in all along the way!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Andy Nelson's Barbeque

It just isn't summer until you have had that perfect BBQ sandwich. Whether you prefer the pork, turkey or beef, you can't go wrong with Andy Nelson's.

The side dishes are as good as the sandwiches. The baked beans are delicious but spicy so watch out. The cornbread is a nice sweet way to end a spicy meal and the potato wedges are good too. Don't miss the wide variety of sauces (the yellow one is my favorite) that you can put on your sandwich or buy a whole bottle of.
Andy Nelson is a hometown hero who played for the Baltimore Colts from 1957-1963. For football fans there is some neat memorabilia hanging on the walls. After retiring from football, Andy and his wife started this popular BBQ spot in Cockeysville that has expanded recently to include outside seating.

The also offer catering and family size side dishes if you want to enjoy the food elsewhere.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Snowball




Nothing says summer in Baltimore like a stop to your favorite snowball stand. Our favorite is without a doubt Snoasis. Their location on Padonia Rd is easy to get to (they are apparently no longer located on Falls Rd).


The typical snowball stand has about a dozen flavors and thickly chopped ice. While when it it 90 degrees outside just about any snowball will do it is worth the trip to Timonium to get the best in town. They have about 50 flavors ranging from strawberry colada (my current favorite) to white russian and everything in between. They have traditional flavors but I highly recommend the premium flavors which are what set this stand apart from the rest. Make sure you don't forget the marshmallow when you order, that is what makes it a real Baltimore snowball! They also feature freshly squeezed lemonade and ice cream if you are not in the mood for a snowball.


While snowballs from any roadside stand are a Baltimore tradition, snoasis is the one that we have found that really seems to do it just right. They even have picnic tables with tikki style umbrellas to keep the sun off of you snowball as you are eating.

Down The Ocean, Hon!

For many Baltimoreans Memorial Day weekend is unofficial start to summer and what better way to celebrate than with a trip to the Ocean. The Ocean we are talking about here is Ocean City, Hon!

We have been going to Ocean City, Maryland since we were born. Like many Baltimore families, both of our Grandparents had condos at the beach so this was our annual family vacation. As we got older our parents started taking us on vacations to the Outer Banks, Caribbean and Europe but once a summer we would still take a trip down to Ocean City. Although you can't quite compare Ocean City to some of the world's best beaches that we have travelled to (Saint Tropez, Trunk Bay on St. John, Shoal Bay East in Anguilla, Santorini and the list goes on) but there is something special about Coastal Highway and those 146 streets filled with high rise condos that holds a special place in our hearts!
Emmy and I at our table in the bay!

We have to give credit to Laura, Laura and Alissa for saving this table all day long!

The scene at Seacrets Sunday of Memorial Day!

There are many classic Ocean City activities to do while at the beach, we selected just a few to highlight on this blog. For our family a trip to the beach would not be complete without a visit to Dumser's Dairyland. This old-fashion style ice cream parlor has been serving it's loyal customers since 1939. The tin ceilings, high back booth's and ice cream counter service compliment the delicious ice cream!

Grandmom enjoying her rootbeer float!


If you are looking for a party look no further than 49th Street and the Bay. Seacret's is definitely a place to visit at least once. I think I have about had my fill of the party on the bay, but I am glad I experienced it! In order to get one of the floating rafts or water tables you better get to Seacret's early- by about 11am. The crowd will come in throughout the day and by mid afternoon the bikini contests and DJ's will be in full swing. Hundreds of partiers gather along the bay with drinks such as the "Pain in the Ass" (a mix of frozen margarita and strawberry daiquiri) in hand. Seacret's is the perfect place to watch the big orange sun slowly drift into the bay, but be mistaken, the party at Seacrets does not stop when the sun goes down. With dozens of separate party rooms, stages and dance floors you really will feel like you are in a whole different world.

A trip to the beach would not be complete without at least one visit to Fisher's popcorn. Long before you get to this boardwalk staple you will smell the sweet buttery aroma of their famous popcorn. I usually make a stop to Fishers on my way home- the carmel goodness of this popcorn makes leaving the beach a little bit easier to handle. Another driving home staple- Dolle's saltwater taffy! Some may prefer Candy Kitchen, but to me Dolle's makes the best taffy in Ocean City. Since 1910 Dolle's has been making its salt water taffy on premise. You can find Dolle's both on the boardwalk and on 120th street.
There are a few other OC classic's that we will get to on our next trip to Ocean City, June 18th!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Lacrosse Town






Baltimore is certainly known for Lacrosse and this wekkend our hometown featured the best the country has to offer. M&T Bank stadium in downtown Baltimore hosted the NCAA lacrosse tournament this weekend. Fans turned out to see the Division I semi-finals on Saturday with a double header featuring Duke versus Virginia and Notre Dame versus Cornell. Sunday Featured the Division II finals with C.W. Post winning over Le Moyne and Tufts beating out the local team, Salisbury for the Division III championship.


Monday's game was the big one however. Duke edged out Notre Dame in sudden death overtime to win 6-5.


The whole weekend had the downtown area packed with fans from all over the country trying to stay cool on the summer like Memorial Day weekend.

The championships will be in town again next year, even if you are not a lacrosse fan it is well worth the trip downtown to see the action.



video

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Baltimore Bomb

Last Thursday night we had the nicest evening in Bawlmer. Our plan was to run from Tide Point to Fells Point then hop on the Harbor Connector (similar to the water taxi but a free version for city commuters) back to Tide Point for a picnic on the pier. When we got over to Fells Point we had missed the last Harbor Connector, which we now knows leaves at 6:55 on the dot!

The water taxi that we missed!
Tide Point Pier


Enjoying our picnic

This meant a longer run than we had expected but also meant that with the extra calories burned we could splurge on Baltimore Bomb Pie from Dangerously Delicious Pies! Once we got back to Tide Point we had great picnic with the sun setting over the harbor. Tide Point, home of Baltimore's own Under Armour, is a beautiful place for a picnic any time of day. They even have several groups of Adirondack chairs which make picnicing even more fun.

A gorgeous Bawlmer sunset.




After the sun set Michelle and I headed into Federal Hill for our first ever Baltimore Bomb Pie. This decedent pie is made from Baltimore's favorite cookie, the Berger cookie, which is melted down swirled into sweet vanilla chess filling. The Baltimore Bomb has quickly become Dangerously Delicious Pie's number one selling variety. Dangerously Delicious served both sweet and savory pies and although the steep price tag, $6 a slice, is worth every penny. Be sure to catch Dangerously Delicious owner, Rodney Henry on the June 16th episode of Food Network's Throw Down with Bobby Flay. Bobby will be challenging Rodney to a quiche-throw down with his famous Cowboy Quiche.





Sunday, May 16, 2010

Preakness




The third Saturday in May is a big day in Baltimore. Some of us get out our best dresses and biggest hats, others get sunscreen and clothes that can get muddy and we head to Pimlico for the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown: the 135th running of the Preakness.

Preakness has been raced in Baltimore since 1873. And it has been run at Pimlico consistently since 1909. While the popularity of horse racing has waned somewhat in the area in recent years, the Preakness is still a highlight of spring for many of us.

This year featured 12 contenders including the Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver. A close race ended with one of the other favorites, Looking At Lucky, crossing the finish line first.

The weather cooperated with sun and perfect temperatures. The ever changing scene at the infield featured bands OAR and the Zac Brown Band which brought a bigger crowd than last year. Although you still are not able to bring your own beer (this tradition was ended with much regret last year) they did offer a "mug club" for $20 all you can drink. The long lines did not deter the infield crowds from "getting their Preak on."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Black-Eyed Susan Day

Everyone knows about the Preakness but how many of you have experienced the day before the big day? Every year, the Friday before Preakness is a big drawl at Pimlico race track. This is the day to shine for the girl horses. The Black-Eyed Susan is like the Preakness but for three year old fillies.

It is a great chance to see Pimlico the way it is without 95,000 people cramed into every possible seat. This year the day was a fund-raiser for the Susan G Komen for the Cure foundation and featured 86 breast cancer survivors in the winners circle after the big race.

Next year, beat the crowd and head out to Preakness a day early for a great experience that will show you what the races are like every other day of the year.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Crab Derby

Preakness week is officially under way with lots of fun traditions taking place all week long. These include the Pee-Wee Preakness, 5k race, balloon launch, crab derby, Preakness parade, Black Eyed Susan Races and of course the day we have all been waiting for- Preakness.

I was able to stop by Lexington Market today at lunch time to catch some of the action at the Preakness Crab Derby. Although not quite as exciting as I imagine the horse races will be on Saturday, the crab derby was certainly entertaining! Folks lined up to watch local celebrities try to entice their Maryland Blue Crabs to take a few steps and cross their own finish line. With squirt bottles in hand, lively music and a fun emcee the crab derby was definitely a sight to be seen. Here are a few of my photos!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Flower Mart

For many Baltimoreans Flowermart signifies the official rite of spring. The annual event held in the heart of Mt. Vernon began in 1911 and was one of America's first Flowermarts. Originally created to supply city residents with easy access to gardening supplies and plants, the Flowermart still offers plenty of supplies to create the perfect city garden. Amidst the pots of geraniums, orchids and petunias you will also find booths offering a variety of food as well as arts and crafts for sale.

If you were at last weekend's Flowermart you are sure to have seen at least a few of the traditions that make this such a special weekend in Baltimore. Whether you got to see Bryn Mawr School students doing the traditional maypole dance or had a taste of the famous lemon sticks it was bound to be a great way to spend the first weekend in May!

Although Michelle and I were not able to make it to the event this year (we were in Sanibel Island, Florida!), it seems like Flowermart was a huge success once again. Mark your calendars now and be sure not to miss the 100th Anniversary year next May!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Kinetic Sculpture Race


If you found yourself driving through Baltimore City on Saturday next to a 14-foot high pink poodle on wheels, you might just have been caught in the midst of the 12th annual Kinetic Sculpture Race. Kinetic Sculptures are amphibious, human powered works of art custom built for this one of a kind race which traverses 15 miles throughout Baltimore City- through sand, mud, water and pavement. Each May, the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) hosts the East Coast Kinetic Sculpture Race Championship right here on the shore of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

I caught a glimpse of the action at the Canton Waterfront Park. I am not sure what stage of the race i witnessed, but there was plenty of action!

Here are a few pictures of my favorite sculptures:

People’s Choice and Pilot’s Choice: Go Ask Alice

2010 Grand Mediocre East Coast Champion: Candy Haus

The Spectators!
A sample of the official race rules:

A No.1. HOBART’S LAW OF KINETICS

Sculptures

must be human-powered! No pulling, pushing, paddling, or other propulsive method is allowed except by Official Pit Crew and Pilots (sometimes called Kinetinauts). Stored energy is allowed for non-propulsive purposes only. It is legal to get assistance from the natural power of water, wind, sun, and gravity and friendly extraterrestrials.


2D or not 2D. MOM’S HIGH ANXIETY RULE

Make sure you can get out of your Sculpture in an emergency. Each Pilot must have a quick exit path. In addition, life jackets must be worn while on the water! You will not be allowed to begin a water crossing unless you are wearing a life jacket.

8ball. 8%TOTAL BODY WETNESS RULE

Pilots are only allowed 8% total area of body/clothes wetness. The point here is to stay out of the Harbor waters. Therefore every effort should be made to keep bodies above the Harbor water line. Wear a good anti-perspirant. (penalty: 30 minutes)

Pickles and O's...the perfect combination


This weekend was a great one to be an O's fan! With a successful sweep of the Boston Red Sox these three wins were just what Baltimore needed to regain their hope in the Orioles. The weather worked in the O's favor as well, we could not have asked for better weather to be at Camden Yards.
In case you missed it on Twitter, I had the chance to meet Adam Jones at Friday's Druid Hill Y Family Center Revitalization and Block Party. I think meeting him and wearing my signed number 10 shirt might be what led to the 3 game wining streak! After meeting Adam, I put on my shirt and headed to Pickles for some pre-game fun. Friday evening games always bring out a huge crowd and this Friday at Pickles was no different. There is no better place to go for a pre-O's game Natty Boh than Pickles Pub!

Spoons for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or just coffee.



Whether you want to relax over a coffee and a muffin or are looking for a belly filling brunch Spoons is don't miss stop in Federal Hill. The iced coffee and iced chai tea are delicious and affordable for those of us who are accustomed to paying Starbucks prices. If you are in the mood for breakfast they have a wide selection from breakfast burritos to french toast. We had a breakfast sandwich, breakfast potatoes and a bagel with veggie cream cheese and recommend them all! There were also sandwiches and salads if you decide to stop in for lunch. Make a morning of it and stop in all the great shops in federal hill, we got some good deals at the little boutiques on cross street when we were done eating!



A great way to spend a Sunday morning







So today marked the first day of the Farmers Market under the JFX in Baltimore. While the fruit and veggies aren't really in yet there were still lots of great stands to check out. Potted plants, hanging baskets and herbs that are ready to go in the garden were available at many stands. There were a wide variety of crafts for sale as well. Just about every kind of food imaginable can be purchased from kettle corn to fresh seafood. There was also live music playing to keep you entertained while you ate or browsed the offerings. One of the most interesting stops is the smoothie stand where you get 50 cents off if you pedal a bike to make your own electricity to charge the blender. In the coming weeks there will be lots of farm fresh produce available so be sure to get down to the farmers market on a Sunday morning soon!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hampden Hon!









You can think of many ways to spend a free afternoon around Baltimore but one of the best is to stroll the avenue in Hampden. There are lots of funky little spots to grab a bite to eat or a drink but the shopping is what brought us to Hampden this week. Our first stop was Ma Petite Shoe where we checked out all of the latest spring shoe fashions. They have everything from funky sky high heels to comfort walking sandals. The bonus is that you can buy great chocolate to go with your new shoes.

After you are done picking out shoes you can stroll the antique shops. There are all sorts of interesting finds in all of the stores that line the avenue. Housewares, clothing and just about anything else you can think of can be found. We found some very interesting vintage 60's style shift dresses in one store and outside another were some very cool chairs that just needed some new fabric. If you are creative, crafty or just plain thrifty this is the shopping spot for you.












Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pier 6 Concert Pavillion



As you may know, the 2010 Pier 6 Summer Concert Series kicked off last night with a great performance by Ben Harper. A rather fitting 4/20 performance, there was no better place to listen to the concert than from Pier 5 (some may argue that actually being inside the Pavilion at Pier 6 might have been a bit of a better view...).

Pier 6 offers concerts all throughout the summer with acts including Kenny Loggins, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Hall & Oats, Peter Frampton and Earth, Wind and Fire. If you do not have tickets to the show I would highly recommended packing yourself a picnic and heading to the pier adjacent to the concert pavilion. Get there early to set up your chairs and blanket and stop by one of the Harbor East restaurants (Whole Foods, Glarus Chocolatier and Bin 604 provide the perfect combination) to pick up some snacks to enjoy during the concert.

Picnics on Pier 5!

Anna Marie and I enjoying our Whole Foods!


Daytime view of the pavilion

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sherwood Gardens

Tucked amidst the stately mansions of Guilford lies Sherwood Gardens. The gardens were created in the 1920's as a hobby of Mr. Sherwood. When he passed away in 1965 Mr. Sherwood bequeathed funds to continue the gardens for one year. After that first year the Guilford Association purchased the additional lots from the Sherwood estate and took responsibility for the gardens. Every year approximately 80,000 tulip bulbs are planted. In addition to the tulips there are brightly colored azaleas, flowing cherries, dogwoods and wisteria.

Although it varies from year to year, peak bloom is typically at the end of April/beginning of May. If you plan on visiting the gardens this year, you had better hurry, the tulips are at their peak as we speak!