A Day in DC

Baltimore is a cultural hub filled with things to do and see. But, what’s also great about this city is location, location, location. Philly is a short drive, New York City is a bus ride away, and our nation’s capital is a little down the road. So, if you ever want to explore another city’s hustle and bustle there are many options!

This week, I crossed DC off my to do list. I have been to the city a few times before, but not as often as I have hoped while living in Baltimore. So, taking advantage of a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, a friend and I took a day to explore.

While we strolled around the monuments my friend had the great idea to ride bikes to our next destination; the Newseum. We found the closest bike share which is located all around the city and pedaled our way down the streets of DC. In no time we were at the Newseum which has an amazing collection of news and journalism. As a journalism student, I was in awe of what filled the walls of the gallery and could have stayed the entire afternoon!

But, back on the bikes we went. Our next stop was Dupont circle where we walked around and did a little window shopping. After working up an appetite we grabbed a quick bite to eat and made our way back on the Metro to head home.

We only scratched the surface of what DC has to offer. The city is filled with art, music, and museums that can keep you busy for days. So if the weather keeps us on our toes like it has, take advantage of the next sunny day and explore!

*Bolt Bus and Mega Bus offer cheap tickets to some great cities.

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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….

Shuttle Spotlight: Walters Art Museum


When we talk to students at different schools throughout the year, the biggest question we get is “What is there to do in this city?”  Usually, I respond back with “Well, what interests you?”  At that point, I usually (not all the time) I get that deer in the headlights look, because we’re human – we’re interested in different things and open to new opportunities.  Baltimore is a great college town with plenty of attractions and activities to participate in and the Baltimore Collegetown Shuttle can definitely get to you a lot of places around town.

So here’s the deal:  A couple times a week, we’re going to post a little something called the Shuttle Spotlight (queue disco ball drop), which will basically highlight an event and/or attraction you can visit using the Collegetown Shuttle and other transportation options.  We want you have a great on-campus experience, but branching out is just as important, and we can totally help with that!

To kick this off, we’re going to shine the spotlight (queue bright lights and drumroll) on the Walters Art Museum’s College and Arts Community Night to be held on Thursday, September 22 between 6 to 9 PM.  There will be some commentary from the curator, light refreshments and drinks, an LED hula hoop dance (no typo here, seriously LED hula hoop dance!), and some dancing.  The staff does an excellent job of putting this event together every year and it’s definitely a must see.  Of course, don’t just redeem your one-time pass to the Walters and fuhgetta about it – there are rotating exhibits all year round!

Now, how do you get there?  Simple!  Take the Collegetown Shuttle – blue or red route – to Penn Station, hop off, then transfer onto the Charm City Circulator’s purple route.  The Charm City Circulator is a free bus as well, so don’t worry about shelling out some coins for the bus – we got you covered!  Ride the bus all the way down to Centre St and walk a few blocks west directly to the main entrance of the Walters.  Show your student ID and you are golden!

For more information on this event and anything related to this gem of a museum we are proud to have in Baltimore, visit http://www.thewalters.org.

For now, this is Ankur..

Signing off!

The Charm City Circulator holds true to its name!

This past weekend was the perfect opportunity to experience the awesomeness of Camden Yards!  Not only is it a beautiful ballpark, but the O’s swept the Sox for the first time since the Clinton adminstration!  And if you’ve been keeping with the disastrous April the O’s have been having lately, you know this was a much needed win!  Now that I live downtown, I have the opportunity to walk to different neighborhoods and attractions such as Camden Yards.  Why pay to park my 4 wheels when I got two legs, right?

Anyways on my way home, I started walking home on Pratt St with a flood of O’s fans who were super ecstatic about the much needed and deserved victory, and then I thought to myself, I could take the Charm City Circulator home!  The Charm City Circulator, herein referred to as CCC, has been around for a few months now and I still haven’t had the chance to ride it.  I’ve been talking about it, promoting it, advocating for it, but never officially stepped on the bus. 

I picked up the CCC from the stop in front of the Convention Center and it was definitely a short wait.  The Nextbus system that’s at every stop tells you when the bus is scheduled to arrive at that particular stop, which is perfect, so you don’t get overly ansy.  In general, you won’t wait more than 10 to 12 minutes for a bus, so they are definitely making great headways!  When I stepped on the bus, I was nicely greeted by the driver who was sporting a bright orange shirt (which perfectly goes with the branding and the logo!).  The buses are beautiful, well-maintained, and did I mention these are hybrid buses?!  It’s fabulous!  The bus runs on fuel when it’s going at a certain speed, and then when the driver hits the brake, the hybrid systems kicks into gear – pretty awesome!

The orange route, which is the only one of three currently in operation goes from Hollins Market to Harbor East.  The drive through Harbor East was absolutely beautiful and pleasant.  It was great to see people out and about and experiencing all the great attractions, restaurants, and really just experiencing Baltimore.  The CCC is honestly a great addition to Baltimore and it’s really what we need so we can be a cleaner, greener Baltimore and to promote the use of public transportation in this area.  I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while working at Collegetown is that a shuttle bus is more than a bus and it’s more than just a vehicle for people to get around in – there’s also an economic development side to it.  Access to reliable public transportation attracts great businesses, encourages competition, raises property values, and raises a city’s visibility, which all lead to economic growth.

The CCC has already had well over 100,000 passengers ride the bus in a few short months.  I can’t imagine the impact the purple and green routes are going to have – I’m looking forward to it!

For more details on the Charm City Circulator and how to use it, please visit www.charmcitycirculator.com

For now, this is Ankur….