Thursday, July 31, 2008

Butcher's Hill

This neighborhood is located in east Baltimore, on the northwest corner of Patterson Park. It is beautiful and the homes are well maintained. Many of the homes have been creatively restored yet modernized in a way that does not interfere with the architectural details of the homes. It is a residential neighborhood with its own park, Duncan Street Park. It also borders on Patterson Park, which is the largest park in downtown Baltimore and was designed by the designer of Central Park in New York. There are many cultural and social events in Patterson Park as well as athletic fields, tennis courts, an ice skating rink and a public pool.

There are 300 restaurants within a 2 mile radius of this neighborhood, but you don't have to leave the neighborhood at all to find one of the hippest restaurants in Charm City. Salt is located on the corner of E. Pratt St and S Collington St. It is stylish and the food is wonderful. The duck fat fries are worth the extra time you will need to spend at the gym to work off the calories. The service is also wonderful.

This neighborhood was named for the prosperous butchers that once lived there. The neighborhood was established in the mid 1800's with most of the homes being built between 1850 and 1920. The neighborhood consists mainly of row homes with a few single family homes. There are homes with rooftop decks and some with flower gardens. There is an active community association and there is also an annual house tour the 2nd Sunday in October.

The average sale price of a home in this neighborhood in 2007 was $302,988.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


This neighborhood is in the Northwest part of the city of Baltimore. It is a residential neighborhood bordered on the north by Liberty Heights on the south by Gwynns Falls Parkway, on the east by Tioga Parkway, and on the west by the railroad tracks. I was unsuccessful in finding one image of this neighborhood on the web. It appears to be a tiny neighborhood consisting of just a few streets. I can't even find a single real estate listing for this neighborhood. It is located just to the west of Mondawmin Mall and to the east of Hanlon Park.

The average sale of a home in this neighborhood for 2007 was $126,550.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Brooklyn is a neighborhood on the southernmost part of the city, bordered on the south by Anne Arundel County. Back in the day, if you moved to Brooklyn, you were moving to the suburbs. That is what my grandparents did when my mother was a little girl. They moved to a rowhome on 8th Street. That house still holds many dear childhood memories. It would be easy for me to fill a very large space in my blog about my personal memories, but that would not reflect this neighborhood accurately.

Brooklyn is bordered on the north by the Patapsco River, on the east by West Bay Avenue, on the south by Church Street and on the west by Potee Street and Anne Arundel County. There are two parks in this neighborhood, Farring Bay Brook Park and Garrett Park. From the latter you can get a good view of the downtown Baltimore skyline. There is a branch of the Enoch Pratt library and some other businesses along Patapsco Avenue. My grandmother, who never had a driver's license, would walk to the IGA all the time.

One of my favorite restaurants was in this neighborhood, the 4100 Club. This restaurant was a favorite hangout for Johnny Unitas and some of the other old Baltimore Colts. Johnny's hand print can still be seen on the sidewalk outside. The establishment recently changed hands though, and it just isn't the same. That is the way with the entire neighborhood. It's not the same. It was a nice little community with thriving businesses and a small town feel, it has changed hands.
The average sale price for a home in this neighborhood in 2007 was $106,695.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Visitor

I took my daughters to see The Visitor at The Charles Theater on Saturday night. Of course we had to be creative in getting past all the Artscape traffic and find parking, so we did miss the first few minutes of the film. I am just so glad that we didn't decide to skip it because we were late.

Richard Jenkins plays the main character here. I am not at all familiar with him or any other actor in the film. He was great at playing the ordinary man, the one you would walk past on the street and never think of again.

Last night I was thinking about the title of this movie. I remember when we used to visit people. When I lived or vacationed in upstate New York, it wasn't uncommon or impolite to drop in on people for a visit. Does no one do this anymore? Perhaps not, in a day when we pre-arrange "play dates" for our children instead of just sending them out in the neighborhood to play. I hope to be shot in the head before I ever hear myself making arrangements for a "play date", but I digress. Anyway, my point is that a visit is a short experience in someone else's life. That is what this movie is all about.

Walter is pretty much forced out of his comfort zone when his boss "asks" him to go to New York to present a paper. He goes very reluctantly. It seems like Walter is a basically good, normal guy with nothing to really look forward to but also nothing to complain about. He enters his Manhattan apartment only to find a young couple is renting it and has been for two months. The young couple have no place to go and Walter lets them stay while they find a place to go.

The young man, Tarek, plays an African drum and teaches Walter to play. They are becoming friends and you can see the older man waking from a long, self-induced coma. He is tapping out drumbeats without even thinking about it. He is relaxed and engaged.

I won't tell the rest, but it is wonderful. There are no special effects, no big star names, no standout score, this is just great acting. Everyone in this film is ordinary and beautiful. I loved it and both my daughters did too.

Go see it.

Baltimore Neighborhood

Broening Manor is the next stop on my alphabetical list of neighborhoods in Baltimore. Unfortunately, I can't really find anything interesting to write about this neighborhood. It seems there ar mostly residential rental units here. The neighborhood is located in east Baltimore between Broening Highway and Dundalk Ave. The average sale price of a home here in 2007 was $117,014.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

That's right, Joan Jett. I took my daughter to Artscape on Friday to see Joan Jett. I didn't tell her who we were going to see until we were parking the car. She was very excited, she had just discovered 80's music a few months ago and Joan Jett was her favorite because she had attitude. She was so excited, I found myself hoping that Joan Jett would still be good. I mean, you see these old rockers still hanging around and it is not always a pretty picture. Would she be fat? Could she still rock it? Would she have attitude.


I couldn't believe my eyes or my ears. I still have her music running through my mind. She ran out on stage wearing very low cut leather pants and the tiniest string bikini top possible. Her hair was still jet black and cut in her signature style. She strapped on her guitar and she started off with Bad Reputation. It was awesome. She is so impossibly thin. She sings every bit as well as she ever has. Her newer music was really good too. I loved her song called Riddles, which has alot to say about politicians and the way they talk to us. Her band, The Blackhearts, is really good. The lead guitarist was excellent. She went on for an hour and a half without slowing down one bit. The crowd was a mix of young and old and everyone was into the music, singing along pumping fists and even holding up a few lighters.

Artscape has been expended. You almost need the three days to really see everything. Next year, I think I will plan to spend alot more time there. They have greatly expanded the area for the DJ Culture stage, taking up an entire parking lot instead of jamming up the middle of the street. They now run the tents up part of North Charles Street too, including the Charles Theater.

Oh, and after seeing Joan, I am keeping my black hair. If Joan can rock it at almost 50, so can I.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Artscape 2008

If you have never been to Artscape, and you live in the Baltimore area, I don't even want to know you. Artscape is the largest free arts festival in the country. That's right, in the country. There is something for everyone. I mean everyone. Seriously.

If you like to eat, they have got you covered.

You want a beer? Got it. Only drink micro-brews? Got that too.

You want live music? Hell yeah.
Rock? Yes
Indie Rock? Yes, yes
Jazz? yes
orchestra? yes
Billie Holliday singing contest? Annual event.
DJ? You will find me at the DJ Culture stage.
Belly Dancing? Even got that

There are art cars. I can't explain it, you have to see it.

There are arts and crafts booths for kids.

There is art for sale.

There is a fashion show.

It is wonderful.

The only problem is, it is always one of the hottest weekends of the summer and this year will be no exception from what I saw of the forecast this morning. But the heat is a small price to pay.

I will be there tomorrow evening with my daughter. I am taking the day off tomorrow and going to get her from college so she doesn't have to miss it. We will be at the Saturn Stage tomorrow at 5 pm for The Oranges Band and will be back at that same stage at 8:30 for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

What more could you want for free?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Missing in Action

OK, so I owe you an explanation.

I have been pre-occupied.

I ran away and got married over the weekend!

I haven't been as motivated to write because of everything going on in my "real life". I am hoping things will settle down into somewhat of a routine and I will find my time and motivation to write.

Anyway, I am unsure just how much of my personal life I want to include here. I will tell you this, if you have never been to Chincoteague and/or Assateague Islands, you need to go.

We stayed at the Watson House. I don't even know where to begin in telling you that this place is so fabulous. The owners, Bob and Carol, make you feel instantly welcome. They go out of their way to make sure you are aware of everything there is to do and see on the island. They feed you so much that you will not need lunch even after a full day of paddling a canoe or trekking to the top of the Assateague lighthouse.
If you are at all interested in eloping to a quiet, romantic place like we did, contact Captain Spider. He has many suggestions on his website for locations. We found it easy and hassle-free to get a marriage license. There is no waiting period in Virginia, you can get the license and get married the same day. There is also no requirement for witnesses.
So now the task of blending families begins. I will be very busy painting bedrooms and moving furniture.
Hang in there, I won't be gone forever.