Warm Up In a Baltimore Museum this Winter!

As the weather gets colder, it can be difficult to find fun, indoor activities to pass the time! Have you ever considered visiting a museum in Charm City? The variety is unbelievable – everything from a railroad to a tattoo museum, and many are free or cheap for students.

Walters Art Museum

The collection at the Walters Art Museum is an overview of world art from pre-dynastic Egypt to 20th-century Europe, including Greek sculpture and Roman sarcophagi, medieval ivories and Old Master paintings.

On October 26, a free installation called Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story, opened in honor of the Walters’s 80th anniversary as a public institution, and takes visitors on a journey through the extraordinary gift given by Henry Walters to Baltimore.

Hours of Operation: Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Address: 600 N. Charles St, Baltimore, Md., 21201

Admission: Free

Phone: 410-547-9000

Website: www.thewalters.org

Baltimore Museum of Art

The BMA is celebrating 100 years this November! On Nov. 15, the museum will host an 100th Anniversary Gala, and the public grand opening will be on Nov. 23, a free and festive day filled with storytelling, musical performances, food trucks, and in-gallery conversations with museum educators!

Hours of Operation: Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., closed on Mondays and Tuesdays

Address: 10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore, Md, 21218

Admission: Free

Phone: 443-573-1700
Website:
www.artbma.org

American Visionary Art Museum

AVAM’s art is visionary, meaning self-taught individuals that typically don’t have formal training produce it from their own creative visions. AVAM believes their artwork is different from “folk art” (typical museum art) because it is spontaneous and individualized.

The current exhibition on display is The Visionary Experience: Saint Francis to Finster, which features a centennial celebration of American artist, Rev. Howard Finster. The museum also just installed a huge outdoor mosaic.

Don’t miss: Sideshow shop, the museum’s gift shop full of funny, bizarre and trendy books, jewelry, and other items!

Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., closed Mondays

Address: 800 Key Hwy, Baltimore, Md., 21230

Admission: $9.95 for college students, $15.95 for adults

Phone: 410-244-1900

Website: http://www.avam.org

Baltimore Museum of Industry

Founded in 1981, the BMI features exhibits focused on the industrial and technological heritage of the Baltimore region for the public by highlighting the stories of Maryland’s industries and the people who worked to create them.

On November 7, the Baltimore Shops exhibit opens, which examines the impact left by 19th century markets, downtown department stores, and today’s independent merchants. It will be opened until March 8, 2015.

On December 4, beer lovers rejoice. From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Hugh Sisson of Heavy Seas Brewery will lead a beer tasting. Learn about the brewing process and the history of Baltimore beer while enjoying a local beer and a food pairing provided by Kloby’s Smokehouse.

Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., closed on Mondays

Address: 1415 Key Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21230

Admission: $7 for students, $12 for adults

Phone: (410) 727-4808

Website: www.thebmi.org

Baltimore Tattoo Museum

While BTM displays exhibits of traditional electric tattooing in America, the museum is also a fully functioning tattoo studio.

Some of the exhibits include Carol Nightingale, Stoney St. Clair, Doc Webb, and Carney.

Hours of Operation: Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Address: 1534 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21231

Admission: Free

Phone: (410) 522-5800

Website: www.baltimoretattoomuseum.net

B&O Railroad Museum

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum is the oldest, most comprehensive American railroad collection in the world. The 40-acre site is always changing exhibits and collections.

Starting on November 22, the B&O Magical Holiday Express begins, with six festive weekends filled with activities. The museum also has a Community Giving Train, a celebration that helps local charities who help those in need this season, like Toys for Tots, Maryland Food Bank ad Maryland Book Bank.

Hours of Operation: Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Address: 901 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21223

Admission: $18 for adults

Phone: (410) 752-2490

Website: www.borail.org

Maryland Science Center

The MSC provides scientific exhibits for people of any age wanting to learn, including: the Maryland blue crab, Newton’s Alley, Life Beyond Earth, and Dinosaur Mysteries. The center also features the Davis Planetarium, a dark dome filled with thousands of stars and planets for space lovers.

Currently, the IMAX theater has a mix of films, such as Flight of the Butterflies 3D, Forces of Nature, Star-Spangled Banner: Anthem of Liberty, Penguins 3D, The Human Body, and more.

Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on Mondays

Address: 601 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21230

Admission: $18.95 for an adult with exhibit halls, planetarium and demo stage. $22.95 with one IMAX film

Phone: (410) 685-5225

Website: www.mdsci.org

Emily Dutt, Marketing Intern

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Shuttle Spotlight: Annual Lighting of the Washington Monument

Thanksgiving dinners, Black Friday deals, holiday music constantly running on your Pandora are just a few subtle reminders that the holiday season is in full swing!  The weather may not be best, but one of my favorite things about the holidays is celebrating traditions – cooking great recipes, spending time with family and friends, decorating, etc.

Baltimore definitely embraces the power of tradition through many events – one of which is the lighting of the Washington Monument, an event put on by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and Arts.  In the past, there have been performances from our amazing and talented students from the Peabody Conservatory, some kind words from our Mayor, a fireworks show, and of course the key and most important component, the official lighting of the Washington Monument.

Clear your calendars on December 1 and head down to Mount Vernon Place (600-700 block of Charles St) and be part of an annual Baltimore tradition.  The program officially starts at 5:30 PM, with the official lighting slated to occur at around 7:45 PM.

How do you get there – easy peasy!  Take the Collegetown Shuttle to Penn Station and transfer onto the Charm City Circulator’s Purple Route and take it down to stop #314.

Check out some of my pictures from years past.  Hope to see you there this year!

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For now, this is Ankur….

Signing off!

Shuttle Spotlight: Freefall Baltimore

The leaves are changing colors, it’s getting a little cooler, and professors are piling on the projects, quizzes, and homework, BUT one thing doesn’t change:  we ALL need a little escape every now and again to add a little spice to our lives.   The best part is, you can find lots of activities to participate in at minimal or no cost to you.  Every October,  the Baltimore Office of Promotion and Arts (BOPA) brings you Freefall Baltimore!  It’s a month long calendar of activities designed to increase access and interest to the arts and cultural attractions we have in Charm City!

We may be approaching the end of the month and thinking about Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and how to ring in 2012 with a bang (Lightbulb:  future blog posting!), but I highly recommend adding some of these destinations to your Baltimore Bucket List (Yes, there is such a thing).  I’ve had stellar experiences at destinations such as the Windup Space, CenterStage, American Visionary Art Museum, Walters Art Museum, and Reginald F. Lewis Museum (just to name a few).

If I could choose one event to attend in the last few days of Freefall Baltimore, I would go for the ballroom dancing classes at Johns Hopkins University ROTC Building at the intersection of 39th and University Parkway taking place this Friday at 8 PM.  Live out your Dancing with the Stars fantasy (wait is that only me?) and learn how to rumba, waltz, and tango and above all step out of your comfort zone.  I can even minimize my gas and parking costs by taking the Collegetown Shuttle to the JHU stop and walk a few blocks north on Charles St and west on University Parkway.

If dancing isn’t your thing, don’t worry about it.  Visit http://www.freefallbaltimore.com and find something that gets you excited.

For now, this is Ankur….

Signing off….

Date Night – Desert Cafe style

One of my favorite neighborhoods in all of Baltimore – county or city – is Mt. Washington.  There’s a Whole Foods there, beautiful houses, it’s family friendly, accessible to downtown by highway or light rail and not to mention Taharka Brothers which is seriously the best ice cream you will find in Baltimore (Don’t get me started on ice cream, cuz I love ice cream any time of the year…even on a frigid Baltimore night!).  Above all, there’s a great little area tucked away off Falls Rd called Mt. Washington Village.  Mt. Washington Village, for a small area, features a robust selection of restaurants such as Mt. Washington Tavern, Crepe du Jour, and Desert Cafe.

I feel a successful restaurant needs a hook, that draw, that promise/premise in order to stand out in the crowd – Desert Cafe’s is definiitely their arrays of fresh hummus made on a daily basis.  My friend and I decided step outside our comfort zones and check out the hype about this locally owned gem of a restaurant.  I read some reviews before our date and one of the common threads I found was that the place is small.  As we were waiting for our table, I scoped out venue and yup, it was small.  The main floor had 10-12 tables tops.  In addition to the main floor, they had an upstairs area which I didn’t get an opportunity to check out, but I believe that area is used primarily for larger parties.   

My friend LOVES hummus (and i mean LOVE!), so it was only fitting that we ordered the hummus appetizer platter.  It was a delicious hummus trifecta with plain, thai fire, and chocolate.  Yeah the chocolate didn’t look or taste too hot, but the other two were a delight.  While my hummus connoissuer dinner companion chowed down her hummus and warm pita, I had dolmas (grape leaves), a mediterranean favorite.  The first course was definitely a hit with the exception of chocolate hummus, so we were definitely stoked for the second.  It was definitely difficult making a choice from their vegetarian/meat friendly and affordable menu, but in the end we both selected gyros.  Portion size was definitely appropriate, food tasted fresh, homemade with a modern twist, and of course satisfying.  Only complaint:  the tzatiki sauce was more mayo based than cream based.  I love mayo, but that was a little bit of an overkill for me. 

The coolest thing about the whole experience was finding out the restaurant was started by a Towson alum Blake Wollman.  He’s definitely got a good thing going and I highly encourage you to check the space out.  A few more tips:  Keep room for dessert.  Go on Saturday nights where they have bellydancing.

Check out the various hummus selections on their website and maybe one of them, most likely more, will get your tastebuds tingling:  http://www.thedesertcafe.com/index.html

For now, this is Ankur

Signing off….

Blue Agave…In the words of Shania Twain..”That don’t impress me much “

Hello! 

Yup, I brought in a country reference into a blog posting…haha…check that off my bucket list!  Just kidding!

Let’s talk about Blue Agave, shall we?  Blue Agave is a restaurant located in Federal Hill in the historic McHenry Theater Building about a block away from the Cross Street Market.  Location wise, it’s a sure fire hit.  I mean it’s in the heart of Federal Hill (not too far off from the Harbor) accessible by Water Taxi, Charm City Circulator, or your two feet.  I live in Little Italy and it was really nice weather, so my buddy and I decided to walk it to Fed Hill.  Regardless, I was looking forward to the whole experience because I’ve heard positive things about the venue.

My buddy and I were greeted warmly by the hostess and directed to sit at the bar for a minute while our table was getting setup for us and the other members in our party.  While we were at the bar, I was scoping out the drink selection and they have some pretty cool concoctions worth checking out.  I abstained from the drink menu that night and a few minutes later, we were directed to our table.  Shortly thereafter, my buddy pointed to the exposed brick wall I sat in front of; he wasn’t pointing out how the exposed brick added to the vibe of the place, rather, he pointed out the massive cockroach on it….ICK!  We immediately pointed it out to one of the servers and they said they would address it.  Yeah, it wasn’t…double ICK!  I know stuff like that happens in restaurants – I m a reasonable guy – but it wasn’t ideal for a first experience in a restaurant that I’ve been anxiously waiting to try!  It sent chills down my spine for not so good reasons!

We were a party of six:  three of us ordered this vegetarian burrito, two of us ordered a vegetarian burrito, and my good buddy stood alone and ordered a grilled veggie burrito with pesto.  The chicken enchiladas were well-received and oddly enough, so was the grilled veggie burrito with pesto, however, the rest of us….yeah not so much!  When I go to a restaurant, I expect food that I really can’t make myself and/or has some kind of unique flavor profile that keeps me coming back for more.  This burrito lacked both.  Don’t get me wrong, the portion size was there and it was accompanied by rice and black beans, but I didn’t need to drop the $15 on my dish that I could have gotten at Chipotle for $6.50. 

Now question is, would I go back? Absolutely.  I would definitely try something new, because it is possible that I just picked the wrong dish.  I kind of have to go back anyways because I ordered a Groupon for it a while back…haha!  For me, still the best authentic Mexican food I’ve had in Baltimore is Miguel’s Baltimore.  A little hard to get to via public transportation because it’s in South Baltimore, but definitely worth the trip if you can make it.   

Concluding thoughts:
Pros:  Ambiance, Location
Cons:  Price, Quality of Dishes
Other:  Be aware that first basket of chips is on the house, anything beyond that, it’s on you!   Demographic wise – the restaurant is good for all: couples, young professionals, families.  

For now, this is Ankur…

Signing off!

Bagby Pizza is a big deal!

Hello!

It’s definitely been way too long since we chatted about happenings in Baltimore, so let’s get right into it!

This weekend, the weather was absolutely beautiful, and it truly felt like summertime in Baltimore.  I was  walking through the Harbor by the Aquarium and World Trade Center and I saw a slew of people patronizing restaurants, hanging out and about, running, waiting to board the new Seadog Cruises…plain and simple….it was gorgeous!

Nothing like a beautiful Saturday to inspire me to get my head out of the books and get some pizza at a popular place in Baltimore, The Bagby Pizza Company.  I live in Little Italy, which is only a hop, skip, and a jump away.  I always pass it saying I will try it someday and end up going to Taco Fiesta or some place in Fell’s.  That day, I was determined to break the  pattern and go for it!

Bagby Pizza Company is located off Fleet and Exeter Streets right across the Whole Foods in Harbor East.  In terms of location, it’s definitely perfect and attracts the workforce crowd, tourists, and locals in the surrounding neighborhood.  The restaurant is located in the Bagby Furniture Company Building which has a lot of historical significance – the building was constructed between 1902 and 1907 and it housed the furniture company for quite some time.  The building was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.  With the recent growth and development in Harbor East, the Bagby building has been rejuvenated with new tenants such as Vino Rosina, Bikram Yoga, and other businesses.

When you walk inside the restaurant, I was definitely impressed with the size and outdoor patio; the decor has a very neutral setting with wood flooring with a rustic, classic Italian kind of vibe.  When you walk in, you go straight to the register, place your order, and seat yourself.   In terms of menu selection, they definitely a wide variety of selections with great salads, sandwiches, soups, and of course pizzas.  My girlfriend and I ordered the Chicken Pesto pizza (minus the chicken…haha)  and a side of greek salad.  The ingredients used in their food are definitely fresh and you get the full flavor explosion in your mouth.  The pizza was also thin crust style, which I’m also a huge fan of!

After talking to a lot of my food enthusiastic friends, a common thing I’ve heard is that it’s hard to find good pizza here in Baltimore.  I partially disagree with that comment.  We’re definitely not New York and nor are we trying to be, but at the same time, you’ve got some solid options here such as Iggie’s, Matthew’s, Angelo’s and for sure Bagby Pizza Company.

Overall, I like the semi-casual setting, simple concept menu, and fresh ingredients in their food.  Since I am in school mode, let’s assign this place a grade…hmm…B+.

As a person trying to target the student population, I urge you the students in Baltimore to branch out and try something new…chain places can’t compare to the local hotspots in the area.  I’ve heard multiple say that for a mid-sized metropolitan area, Baltimore has some pretty amazing food options.

Get your taste buds excited before you head down there…check out their website:  http://bagbypizza.com/

For now, this is Ankur…

Signing off….

Getting a card for the Enoch Pratt Library

So now that I’ve transitioned to Baltimore City and am living life as a full-fledged city resident, it was only time for me to get my card for the Enoch Pratt Library.  While working at Collegetown, I”ve heard lots of events happening about the library and driven past the numerous branches, but never stepped inside.    Well, that all changed last Friday!  I got out of work early and had some time before the Central Branch on Cathedral St was going to shut down, so I thought I’d rush over and sign up for a library card and do a little exploring.

As soon as I walked in the branch, I was just in awe of how beautiful the library was.  The architecture of the building was in true Baltimore form – it had a historical style, but with a modern feel to it.  Honestly, it just feels like you enter this portal of knowledge and you just want to grab anything you can find and start learning new things.  The staff member who helped me sign up for my library card was  extremely courteous and super helpful in helping me navigate the branch.

In addition to checking out books, you can check out CDs for free, DVDs and VHS for a nominal price, experience Free Wi-Fi, and get 5 free printouts per day at the library.  Enoch Pratt Library even has a relationship with the Baltimore County Public Library system.  Let’s say you checked out a book at one of the county branches and you need to return it ASAP.   If the Enoch Pratt Library branch is a little closer to you, then you can surely return the book at one of their numerous branches.  They told me that they do shipments between the county and city branches several times a day – I’m pretty impressed!

In addition to having a great facility and great materials to check out, they have events going on throughout the year.  I remember during the “Year of the Poe”  they had events pretty much on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.  Last week I went to the Charles Theater and I saw a flyer on their desk for “Films at the Pratt”.   I was really excited to see they are playing “The Hangover”  on March 20th at 7:30 PM at the Central Branch (ahem, ahem….yes I know shameless plug!).

So “branch” out (haha… PUN INTENDED!) and stop in to see what the Enoch Pratt Library has to offer you.  I have the luxury of working from home once a week and I usually head on over to Barnes and Noble or Panera, but I think the Enoch Pratt might be my new working spot!

For more information about the Enoch Pratt Library and all its glory, visit www.prattlibrary.org.

That’s all for now…until next time…this is Ankur…

Signing off!