Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Thanks for coming and have a safe trip home!

It's been a pleasure to host you all here in Charm City. We hope you enjoyed your stay. Have a safe trip home and we'll see you in Denver.

Christina,
SLA MD Blog Coordinator

Friday, June 09, 2006

Personal Safety in Baltimore

We have gotten several questions about personal safety in Baltimore.

Baltimore is a big city. Like all other big cities, there are better parts and worse parts. The Inner Harbor area is fairly safe, but there are some common sense precautions everyone should take.
  • Try not to walk alone at night. Try to go in groups.
  • Be vigilant of your surroundings.
  • Do not carry tons of cash with you.
  • If you drive
    • lock your car as soon as you get in and keep the door locked
    • place your valuables including computers, checkbooks, mp3 players out of sight
    • lock your car when you leave it
    • look around your car before you get in when you come back
  • Bring a cell phone
Don't let this scare you. You should be doing this anyway (Thanks, Mom!).

Honfest this Saturday, June 10

Culture Alert: Honfest on Saturday, June 10

Baltimore Remains a Beehive of Kitsch Glam
By Ellen Ryan
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, June 7, 2006; Page C02

You will need a free Post password to access this article about the upcoming Honfest. If you have some free time on Saturday it might be worth your while to go out to the Hampden section of Baltimore and see the riotous getups that people put on. They really get in the spirit of the "hons" of Baltimore.

Immortalized by John Waters in his hit musical Hairspray, here's a line from the article. "Saturday, the hon factor will go off the charts with the annual return of HonFest to the streets of Hampden, the most Hon-tense of Baltimore neighborhoods. Some 20,000 revelers are expected to celebrate the mystique of the kind of fun, sassy, melting-pot woman we imagine keeping a kitsch-filled house shaded by aluminum awnings."

Thanks to Chapter President Linda Hutchinson for this tip.
Susan Fingerman

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Can't say this enough: DO NOT TAKE THE WILSON BRIDGE THIS WEEKEND! (June 9-12)

Sorry for the yelling! Please, if you're planning on coming up I-95 from the south any time between Friday and Monday, go around the DC beltway to the west. John Adams provided instructions at the link above. The Wilson Bridge is undergoing construction and there will be back-ups miles long. This press release (pdf) has more information.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Wireless at the Conference

Seen on a Division List -

In the Baltimore Convention Center, Attendees can access wireless internet using their WiFi Internet Café service at the Starbucks located in the Pratt Street Lobby entrance. In addition, they will also have access at the Main and Outdoor Terrace locations on the 300 Level.

FYI...Exhibitors can access wireless internet service in all the Exhibits Halls and the 300 Level meeting rooms. The prices vary, and attendees must provide valid credit card information to access the WiFi Internet Café.

Please understand that SLA HQ is not offering free service.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Local Yoga

Yoga Near the Convention Center

In answer to a recent request, I checked with my local Yoga "maven" and got this reply.

"The best place for Yoga near the convention center is the Fitness Center at the Harbor Court Hotel (550 Light St). The drop-in fee is $5 for Yoga class only. (to use the full fitness center the charge is $10 and includes the Yoga class).

Schedule:
Sat 10th 8-9 a.m.
Monday 12th 6-7 a.m.
Tues 13th 7-8 a.m. and 6-7 p.m.
Wed 14th 6:30-7:30 a.m. and 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Thurs 15th 7-8 a.m. and 6:30-7:30 p.m.

The Fitness Center is located on the 7th floor and there are lockers available.

There are also Yoga classes at the HarborView condos' fitness center. That would be a taxi ride away. The address is 100 Harbor View Drive, 410-752-3488.


Happy Relaxation. Namaste.
Susan Fingerman

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Dine Arounds - Come Join Us!

There are still spaces available for anyone that would like to join the MD SLA Chapter Hosts for the Tuesday, June 13th dine-around (6:30 pm to 8:30 pm - meet in Hyatt Lobby @ 6:15 pm).

If you are interested in joining us you can either email me now at ksweeney@semmes.com with your restaurant selection or you can sign up at the MD Chapter's hospitality booth at the Conference. The restaurant selections at this point are Burke's, Tir Na Nog and Uncle Lees. All the restaurants are reasonably priced for the area. You can also email me if you have any questions regarding this event.

Friday, May 26, 2006

More on parking from Kevin

Kevin V. drives to Baltimore everyday for work and has a lot of experience. He offers this advice to those of us driving in:
Parking in Baltimore is an interesting challenge on a number of levels.
First, let me observe that the map provided here is a bit misleading.
One-way streets are more pervasive in the downtown area than your map suggests.

For the sake of context let me outline:
First the East-West bits-
The important parts: Pratt is one-way going East from at least Route 1(far more westerly than you want to think about going)to at least Patterson Park (quite interesting but far more east than you want to consider unless you're going to Greektown); Lombard is one-way going west with the same parameters as Pratt. Baltimore - Eastward, Fayette - westward, after that comes Route 40/Franklin Street which is another story altogether and then you are too far for practical purposes.

North South-
From 395 moving east: 395/Howard is two-way up to Lombard and then one-way north. Park (the next one west and not well marked on your map) goes south, Charles goes north, Light goes south, Calvert - north, south is, I believe, two-way, Gay street - north, after that is President street which is an esplanade. Moving east: Eutaw is two-way, Paca goes north, Greene goes south.

OK, with this grid lets talk about the specifics...the garages first- All day rates at the hotels average $15/day. Elsewhere the average is $10-$12 for the garages and lots. Mariner Arena parking (just north of lombard and Howard) is at the lower price range and is handy coming in.
The walk to the convention site isn't too bad. The spot just before it (just south of Lombard and Howard) is a bit more expensive, but easier to get into and out of. On Baltimore just east of Howard and on the north side is another garage (shown only as a "P" above the arena on the map). I park there most so there is my bias. $10/day and the walk is about the same as the arena. Turning on Pratt and then on Charles brings one to the Hopkins/Federal offices area. Just left on Lombard or just north of lombard on the left will both get one to this garage. They charge $15 - hey it's the feds...The good part is that the exit-also on lombard-will help with the leaving-the-city part. Further up Charles is Charles center parking. Usually some there, but getting there is slow.

The IBM garage is available, but also at the higher end. To get there - go further on Pratt to South (where the convention is centered), turn left, go to Lombard, turn left and go back to Light. Turn left and it is immediately on the left. Advantage here is that it is close. Continuing on Pratt to Market, turning left brings on to two more: left on Lombard to the Baltimore Community College area or further up to Cider and left to the Power Plant parking. Both of these are fairly close to the site and less favored by commuters and non-college folks. At the outer eastern edge for practicality is the parking garage near Pratt and President street. There is also lots of parking at the foot of President street, but that is a little far unless really pressed.

Lots: My experience is that the lot across from the hotel is mostly full, but is always fun to try. Heh. The Lots by Camden yards often have spaces, but getting longer term coverage (like for the day) can be a bit tricky. Also, if there is a ball game run while you can still save yourself.

I should mention the area from the Convention center south: The parking garage and Lot (yes, there are two) just off Conway are possibilities. Conway is an esplanade running right from 395/Howard as one is coming in (the west lane is just on the other side). Heavy commuter traffic here means plan your turn ahead if you wish to try this one. Continuing on Conway and turning on Light street will take one south and to a couple more garages and lots. The walk is very nice. If you decide to try this and change your mind you can always right on Lee or Hughes, go to Charles, turn right and head back into town.

This is a longish posting, I know, but it is intel you need for dealing with parking in this town.

I haven't really responded to the "recommend or warn" part. Parking, itself, is largely what one can find and how much one wants to pay. Traffic in Baltimore deserves a warn. The one way streets are infuriating at times around the usual commute schedule. I guess I would recommend being willing to walk a bit with respect to parking choices.

Your options, in general, increase and the relative price decreases with distance from the harbor. Even the parking near the courthouse area on South is not too bad in this respect. If one really doesn't mind the walk there is lots of cheap parking around Lexington Market (the eutaw/paca/lexington area) but the section of town is a little 'rough'. Also lots of parking around Enoch Pratt Library - but that too pushes the distance so I guess I'd suggest hesitation there. Downtown Baltimore pretty much empties out by about 7PM....

OK, that is probably enough. There is/will be parking spaces (that's why you will see lots of signs in Baltimore saying "Believe"). You now have enough information to search knowledgeably and with some hope of success.

Good luck to us all.

Kevin

Update: Sally R. has some additions to Kevin's comments:
I just read Kevin's recommendations on parking. They are quite good, and generally I would agree.

However, I would add that the one-way streets alternate directions north-south and east-west. So that Lombard is one-way west, but the street one block north, Baltimore St., and one block south, Pratt St., are each one-way east. This was done purposely, to make it easy to "drive around the block," which you can do a lot, looking for parking. Public transportation in the area around the Inner Harbor / Convention Center area is quite good. If you are coming from the south (Anne Arundel, Montgomery or PG County or DC) or the north (northern Baltimore County, Carroll County, York / Harrisburg / Hershey PA), you might consider parking in one of the Light Rail stations (south - North Linthicum or Cromwell Station) (north - Hunt Valley Towne Center is about 1/4 mile east of I-83 and Shawan Road) and taking the light rail into Downtown Baltimore. There is a light rail stop at the west side of the Convention Center and the fare is about $3.50 for a full day pass. Monday - Saturday it runs from 6am to 11pm. Parking at most of the stations in the suburbs is free and quite safe. Schedule and map of the stations may be found at http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/lightrail/schedule/.

Also, folks should be wary of where they might consider all-day parking. Try to stay in the Inner Harbor / Convention Center area. There are some sections of downtown Baltimore, not too far from the Inner Harbor, which are usually quite safe by day, but not too great, especially for the feminine gender, after dusk. I would avoid parking in those areas if you are going to be returning to your car after dark. Specifically, the area around the Lexington market.

Sally

Thursday, May 25, 2006

New Mexican Restaurant

For an inexpensive lunch you might want to check out "The California Tortilla" that has just opened at the corner of Howard and Pratt Streets across the street from the convention center. You can check out their menu in advance at http://www.californiatortilla.com If you sign up for their newsletter you will receive a coupon for a free taco.

Jazz & Blues Festival

Sunday, June 11th there will be a jazz & blues festival within walking distance of the Convention Center. The event will feature at least 15 of Baltimore's live jazz and blues bands. Over 75 vendors are scheduled to appear offering arts and antiques, as well as food and libations from local restaurants. 11 am to 7 pm. S. Charles St at E. Cross St. on both sides of Cross Street Market. Admission is free.

Parking

See also:
http://sla-maryland.blogspot.com/2006/02/kevin-answers-question-whats-it-like.html

There is no official parking for conference attendees. The Convention Center has a web page with some links to resources: http://www.bccenter.org/about/parking.html . (nb: the "godowntownBaltimore" site does not work in Firefox, use the link below to go directly to the map)

Expect to pay ~$10 a day
In a nutshell, use this map to see where lots and garages are: http://www.bccenter.org/about/dt_map_web.htm

Update: I should have mentioned that this information is also available in our pdf guide, downloadable at: http://www.sla.org/chapter/cmd/Baltguide.pdf

Mmmmm Candy...

We'll be handing out this fabulous local candy at the booth.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

It's a big building -- where will we be in the convention center?

The SLA Maryland Booth will be in the Pratt Street Lobby area (http://bccenter.org/flash/300static.gif , note: north is *down* on this map) .

See this birds eye view of the convention center:


My Windows Live Local collection

1 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201, United States

Sites for Civil War Buffs

If you are renting a car and have a little time, there are quite a few Civil War Battle Sites within easy driving distance from Baltimore. The best web pages to find out more are:
  • Civil War Traveler http://www.civilwar-va.com/index.html
  • National Park Service sites including:
    • http://www.nps.gov/frsp/nonnps.htm (Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg in Virginia)
    • http://www.nps.gov/gett/home.htm (Gettysburg in Pennsylvania)
    • http://www.nps.gov/anti/ (Antietam in Maryland)
    • http://www.nps.gov/mana/home.htm (Manassas or Bull Run in Virginia)
See, in particular, this map: http://www.civilwar-va.com/about/maps/VA-MDmapside.pdf (2MB pdf)

Please note that there are now entrance fees for many National Park Service sites.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Walk Into History

I discovered this "newly enhanced" Heritage Walk in the Thursday May 4th LIVE section of the Baltimore Sun. If this is anything like the Boston Freedom Trail it should be worth doing.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Flag Day Events

June 14 is Flag Day and there is no better place to celebrate it than Fort McHenry. Fort McHenry's summer hours (June 3 through September 4, 2006) are 8am-8pm for the park and 8am-7:45pm for the star fort.

From the special events calendar (http://www.nps.gov/fomc/pphtml/eventdetail21350.html)
Fort McHenry Guard - Defenders Return to the Fort
Summer Weekends - Beginning June 3-4, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Experience the daily life of the War of 1812 soldier, sailor and citizen through presentations by the Fort McHenry Guard. Dressed in replica clothing of the early Nineteenth Century, the Guard conducts drills, barracks activities, artillery and musket firing demonstrations, civilian activities, and children's programs.

Flag Day - Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance
Wednesday, June 14, 6:30 p.m.
An event sponsored by the National Flag Day Foundation to foster patriotism. This annual event encourages citizens all over the United States to pause at 7:00 p.m. (EDT) and say the Pledge of Allegiance. A concert of patriotic music and fireworks follows.
Unfortunately, this park now has an entry fee:
Individual - Adult (16 or older)
Fees: $5.00 - 7 Days
Details: Entrance fee to the historic fort is $5.00 for adults 16 and over. Children 15 and under are admitted free of charge.

Update: Perhaps it's a good idea to mention what Flag Day is? It commemorates the resolution in the Continental Congress, June 14, 1777:
Resolved, that the Flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.
See the page in the Journals of the Continental Congress. A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation, 1774-1875 from the Library of Congress. The June 14 "Today in History" page from LOC has more.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

More Trivia: Who was the despot?

Maryland's state song is Maryland, My Maryland (sung to the tune of "O, Tannenbaum").

The lyrics are from a poem by James Ryder Randall. The first stanza is :

The despot's heel is on thy shore,
Maryland!
His torch is at thy temple door,
Maryland!
Avenge the patriotic gore
That flecked the streets of Baltimore,
And be the battle queen of yore,
Maryland! My Maryland!


So who was the despot in the song?

Update: Answer: The Union! Maryland was a border state, with the northern boundary defined by the Mason-Dixon line. It is truly "American in Miniature" with beaches, rural farmland, big cities and suburbs, and mountains. In the Civil War, troops were sent to both sides. Today, Maryland is a blue state, but only Baltimore and 3 of the 23 counties consistently vote blue. The remainder vote red, but are far less populous.

Here's a quote from the Maryland Manual about the state song:
"Maryland, My Maryland" was adopted as the State song in 1939 (Chapter 451, Acts of 1939; Code State Government Article, sec. 13-307).

The nine-stanza poem, "Maryland, My Maryland," was written by James Ryder Randall in April 1861. A native of Maryland, Randall was teaching in Louisiana in the early days of the Civil War, and he was outraged at the news of Union troops being marched through Baltimore. The poem articulated Randall's Confederate sympathies. Set to the traditional tune of "Lauriger Horatius" ("O, Tannenbaum"), the song achieved wide popularity in Maryland and throughout the South.

B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore

Thomas H. writes to tell us about some really cool events scheduled at the B&O (Baltimore & Ohio) Railroad Museum.

The B&O Train Museum in Baltimore is at 901 West Pratt St., about 6 blocks west of the U Maryland Med Center. Admission is $14 adult, $12 over 60. Saturday 10 June there are special events:

Turntable Demonstrations
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Demonstration begins at 11:30 a.m.
Ever wonder how the Museum moves locomotives and cars in and out of the
1884 Roundhouse? Watch Museum staff use the turntable to move an
historic railcar. Free train rides included in the price of admission.

To see a working turntable is rare. Thomas

Speaking Bawlmerese, Hons!

Timonium-raised Michael L. writes us to suggest we help visitors get along in Bawlmerese (speaking like a Baltimorean). Like when ya go down t'harber, hon, n git sum natty boh...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Convenience stores, fast food... How do I save money?

We received the question: are there convenience stores, supermarkets, fast food restaurants, sandwich shops, or other such places within a few blocks of the Convention Center?

Debbie B. answered:
There are plenty of carry-outs, delis, fast food and even street food vendors very reasonably priced all around the convention center.

Christina adds:
Also, take a look at the restaurant section in the print guide -- it has a handy scale from $ to $$$$ so you know before you go what you're in for.

Lexington Market might be your best friend -- inexpensive, quick-cooked hot meals, doughnuts, fresh fruits for snacks... not too much ambiance, though. (Monday-Saturday, from 8:30 am to 6pm, see mapped on Wayfaring)

There are also CVS and Rite Aid pharmacies near by.

Which restaurants offer a view of the water?

We received a request asking which reception locations and restaurants have a view of the water.... that's a tough question, but Debbie B. took a shot:
Regarding dining on the water...there are SO many options...too many to list. There are 3 pavillions that border the Inner Harbor. The Light St and Pratt St Pavillions offer many outside and/or water view dining options. They range from very upscale seafood and steak house restaurants to more clubby/bistro offerings to carry out options. It can be great fun to grab something from one of the vendors or carry out restaurants and seat on one of the many benches directly on the piers of the Harbor.
Another option and a great example of local flavor is Fells Point...very close to the Harbor. It offers many bars, bistros and cafes most with outdoor seating and many are on the inlet of Fells Point. It's a trendy and busy locals hangout especially on the weekends. There are also some restaurants there that can offer great brunch options as well.
The following website is an excellent interactive guide to the Inner Harbor and all of the surrounding areas....www.baltimore.to
To that, I add that if you map in Windows Live Local, and zoom in, and then click on "birds eye view" you can get a 3-D view. So you can tell, for example, that a hotel that is 3 blocks away from the water still has a water view from the rooftop restaurant.

Side Trips: Washington, D.C.

Can't wait until 2009? Deb B. provides this information on side trips to D.C.

Day Trips to Washington, DC from the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore, MD

During the weekdays the primary options for traveling from Baltimore to Washington, DC include rental car and Marc train to the Washington Metro System. The Marc train can be boarded at 1 of 3 stations: Penn Station (using the Penn line), Camden Yards Station (directly across from the Convention Center using the Camden line or BWI (Penn Line). During rush hour the trains run approximately every 30 mins, after 9am and before 4:00 pm they run approximately every hour. To view the complete schedules for all Marc Train lines visit www.mtamaryland.com. One can take the train, depending on the line chosen, directly into Union Station in Washington DC or to New Carrollton, Maryland. At both locations the Metro can then be caught to many points all over DC and some of the outlying suburbs. While this would be the most convenient method for conference visitors to get into DC let me, again STRESS, that this option is only available on the weekdays and primarily during rush hours. If you suspect your stay in the City will keep you there into the evening be sure to verify the departure of the last Marc Train back to Baltimore.

After checking with the conference hotels, all of them have said the concierge or the front desk staff can assist guests with arranging for a rental car be it for a day or the duration of stay. This is just about the only way to travel from Baltimore to Washington, DC on the weekends. There is a fairly straight and pleasant route to take using US Route 295, also known as the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Conveniently RT 295 can be accessed right out of the Inner Harbor area and in a short 45 miles one will find themselves approaching the city line of Washington, DC. The signage pointing visitors to the Downtown area of Washington are fairly well marked, but always a good idea to have a map or a set of directions with you. There is street parking around the National Mall and Museum area, but be sure to read the signs carefully to avoid tickets and towing, especially during the weekdays.

If driving, I would urge visitors to plan their departure from Baltimore after 9:30am, if a weekday, to avoid the standard rush hour commute between the 2 cities. Likewise, plan your travel back prior to 3:00 pm or after 6:30-7pm in the evening. The BW Parkway is a major commuter route and extensive delays can be expected if traveling it during the work week.

An alternative to driving all the way into DC would be to drive to one of the suburban Metro stops, such as New Carrollton or Greenbelt. Paid parking is available and the Metro trains run continually in 10-20 minute intervals from 5am on the weekdays and 7am on the weekends until midnight Sunday thru Thursdays and 3am on Friday and Saturday nights. To map out a route from any Metro stop to any destination in the DC area visit the Metro website at www.wmata.com. The Metro system is very safe, unbelievably clean and the most efficient method of getting around DC. There are stops very near every major tourist attraction. The rates are very reasonable, but are higher during rush hour when the trains do run more frequently. One hint: if parking in a Metro lot be sure to purchase a Smartrip card at the beginning of your journey (machines can be found inside the stations) and be sure to add enough value to the card to cover your Metro fares and your parking as you can NOT pay and leave the parking lot without the Smartrip card.

Traveling to RFK Stadium to see the Washington Nationals Play Baseball

The Washington Nationals will have an extended home stand during the conference time, unlike the Baltimore Orioles. They will play the Philadelphia Phillies on June 10 (1:20pm) and 11 (1:05pm) and the Colorado Rockies on June 12-14 (all start times are 7:05). Just as an aside, there is a special give-away on Saturday, June 10…a Chad Cordero Bobblehead doll!

For the week day and weekend games the modes of transportation would include driving into the Stadium and parking in one of their paid parking lots or driving to one of the suburban Metro stops and taking the Metro into the Stadium Metro Station which is on the Orange/Blue line and is a direct shot from the New Carrollton Metro stop. Drive, park, hop the train and be in your seat at RFK Stadium in about an hour.

While travel suggestions for the weekday games remain the same, be very careful to keep track of time. Should the game run into extra innings you could run the chance of missing the last Metro train if that was the mode of transportation you chose to use. Remember the Metro system closes down at midnight during the week.

To learn more about the Nationals, now in their 2nd year of play, and/or RFK Stadium visit www.washington.nationals.mlb.com

Need up-to-date or even "real-time" travel status?

ResourceShelf has a new section on real-time information. Two of the first set of resources might be very helpful for SLA travelers. The following is a direct quote from ResourceShelf:

+++ FlightAware
One of a number of tools to track planes (both commercial and private) as they travel across Canadian and U.S. airspace. It's also possible (although sometimes unreliable) to track international flights either coming or going from the U.S or Canada. Many similar services exist (expect coverage of them soon). We like FlightAware because:
+ Track my tail number, airline/flight #, or airport
+ See all flights coming/going from a specific airport
+ If you register (free and easy) pages will autorefresh
+ Archive of past flight info
+ Near real-time location info (example)

+++ Amtrak Real-Time Train Status

Collecting Vinyl Records?

M.K.O. a local music expert provides this advice:

Classic rock, DJ dance type stuff, hip-hop, punk, gothic, collectables, assorted used, etc:
Record & Tape Traders
3003 N. Charles St.
Charles Village

Punk, gothic, avante garde:
Reptilian Records
403 S. Broadway
Fells Point

Assorted new and used:
Sound Garden
1616 Thames St.
Fells Point

Classic rock (just used & some collectables I think):
Joe's Record Paradise
5001 Harford Rd.

Classical:
An Die Musik
407 N. Charles St.

Hope that helps. There used to be a good shop for DJ type vinyl (dance, techno, etc) in Fells Point but I don't see the listing for it anymore and can't remember what it was called. All of these, except Joe's Record Paradise, are a short cab ride from the Inner Harbor.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

It's here! The Quoth the Raven ... Baltimore PRINT guide

Quoth the Raven... Baltimore, the print guide, is now available on the SLA Maryland Chapter Baltimore web page. It's full of helpful information on getting here, eating here, and sightseeing here. The URL is: http://www.sla.org/chapter/cmd/Baltguide.pdf (free Adobe Acrobat reader required, fairly large file, but worth it).



Taking the bus, taking the train?

We have some people coming into Baltimore via Amtrak or via Greyhound who needed to know about getting from the station to the Convention Center area. Uta H. provides some helpful advice:
I just took Greyhound last weekend back from NY to Baltimore. My advice on getting from the either the Baltimore Travel Plaza (first Baltimore stop) or the Baltimore Greyhound Station to the convention area is to call a cab. The actual GH station is located in quite a remote area south of the football stadium and has VERY limited bus service.

I've not yet travelled on Amtrack in or out of Baltimore. But since Amtrack runs to Penn Station, one could take the light rail from Penn Station to the UNIV. OF BALTIMORE/ MT. ROYAL stop, swith trains and continue on down to the Convention Center stop (http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/lightrail/schedule/)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Two from the Boston Globe

Thanks to Betty Edwards of the Boston Chapter for two Boston Globe articles. These reinforce some of our Maryland Chapter recommendations forthcoming in the "Quoth the Raven..Baltimore" guide.

As with the NY Times article, you'll need archival access 7 days after these were published.

A read on Baltimore
A literary trailworth the legwork
By Kathy Shorr, Globe Correspondent May 3, 2006
http://www.boston.com/travel/articles/2006/05/03/a_read_on_baltimore/?mod

Baltimore itinerary
May 3, 2006
http://www.boston.com/travel/articles/2006/05/03/baltimore_itinerary/?mod

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A little trouble with the feed... all fixed now

If you tried to subscribe to the feed in the last week, you may have received an error. A code inadvertently cut and pasted from a Word document broke the feed.

It should be working now. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Please contact us at SLA.Maryland@gmail.com if you have any problems.

Thanks DL for the heads up!

Baltimore Trivia: Baltimore Basilica

Where, specifically, is the Baltimore Basilica, first great metropolitan Cathedral constructed in America after the adoption of the Constitution, located?

Updated (answer): Cathedral Street, directly across from the Enoch Pratt Free Library. It's undergoing extensive renovations right now. It will celebrate it's 200th anniversary in November. Unfortunately, it will be closed to visitors this summer for the extensive work.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

More for the SLA Knitters

Knitter's Review just published an article with reviews of Baltimore area local yarn shops. It includes pictures and contact information.

Amy Gavin Glasgow. "On the Road: Yarn Shops in the Baltimore Region." http://knittersreview.com/article_yarn_shop.asp?article=/review/profile/060427_a.asp (accessed 4/27/2006).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Baltimore B&Bs?

We've received questions about local Bed & Breakfast Inns and this is how we answered:

We started with this list online:
http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/baltimore-maryland.html

And these are the experiences we've heard about:
-"One of my colleagues at work has personal experience with one of the B&B's listed---the Wayside Inn in Ellicott City. She has stayed there twice and thinks it is a great place."
-"While I haven't stayed in either, I get the sense that both Celie's Waterfront and Scarborough Fair are nice B&B's. I have been to Gramercy Mansion--it's beautiful (and a great spot for a wedding), but a good 25-minute ride from downtown. Abacrombie in Mt Vernon seems
very nice and I would imagine the others in this neighborhood are nice as well (4 East Madison, Aunt Rebecca's, Glenda's). The others around the Fell's Point area are Ann Street and Inn at 2920. "
-Also, Federal Hill is a nice place to visit and is fairly close the convention center, but we have no direct experience with the B&Bs listed there

Baltimore trivia: The Duchess of Windsor

Contributed by Cheryl D.

What was the name of the Baltimore-born and raised Duchess of Windsor?

And

What is the name of the building in Mount Vernon[the area of Baltimore - ed. where the Duke and Duchess of Windsor would stay when visiting Baltimore?


Update 5/2/06: Answers
Wallis Warfield Simpson
the Belvedere

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Side trips: Maryland's Eastern Shore

SIDE TRIPS TO MARYLAND’S EASTERN SHORE

Contributed by Cathy Jordan

Life on Maryland’s Eastern Shore ranges from active rural farms to manufacturing plants to the beaches at Ocean City and the ponies at Assateague Island State Park. Separated from the rest of Maryland (except at the north end) by the Chesapeake Bay, this peninsula has much to see and do. To get here, follow the directions to get to Annapolis (see the entry for Annapolis on this blog), but instead of getting off Route 50, stay on Route 50 crossing the 4.5 mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge (toll).


Here are a few places to check out on the western part of the Eastern Shore:


EASTON (located just off Route 50)

This small, historic town (founded in 1711) has been named the “8th Best Small Town in America”. It has many great examples of colonial and Victorian architecture, unique shopping, and fine restaurants. One way to see Easton is to take their self-guided walking tour – you will see such historic buildings as Christ Church (built 1840-44) (www.dioceseofeaston.org/christ.html), the Third Haven Friends Meeting House (this Quaker church was built in 1682, and is considered to be the oldest documented building in Maryland) (www.thirdhaven.org/index2.html), the Talbot County Courthouse (originally built in 1712) (www.courts.state.md.us.clerks/talbot/historiccths.html), the James Neall House (1810) and the Joseph Neall House (1795).


Restaurants to try out are:

Inn at Easton 28 S. Harrison (www.innateaston.com)

Mason’s 22 S. Harrison (a restaurant and gourmet deli)

Restaurant Columbia 28 S. Washington (located in a 1795 house)

Legal Spirits Tavern 42 E. Dover St. (“a must stop for the soup”, “the local’s favorite”)

Chez LaFitte 13 S. Washington (a cafe and piano bar) – they have psychic readings on Sunday evenings. (www.chezlafitte.com)

Bed & Breakfasts:

Bishop’s House Bed & Breakfast, 214 Goldsborough St. This is an 1880 Victorian home; 2-night minimum required. www.bishopshouse.com

Chaffinch House 132 S. Harrison St. This is an 1893 Queen Anne Victorian. www.chaffinchhouse.com

Inn at Easton 28 S. Harrison. Restaurant and Inn. www.innateaston.com

Unique shopping opportunities abound! In addition to many antique shops, the choices include the Wood Duck Shoppe & Gallery (waterfowl decoys, carvings, etc.), Yarns (yarn and needlecraft), M. Randall & Co. (sweaters), and Crackerjacks (unique toys & games for all ages).

ST. MICHAEL’S

Turn off Route 50 just prior to reaching the main part of Easton onto Route 33 and you’ll come to this quaint (and very popular), waterfront village along the Miles River. This town was founded in 1631 and held off the British during the War of 1812 by devising a blackout in the town. James Michener lived here while he was writing his novel, Chesapeake.


St. Michael’s also has a self-guided walking tour – among the sites you will see are St. Mary’s Square (founded in 1778), the Cannonball House (the only house struck in St. Michael’s in the War of 1812), Christ Episcopal Church (the original building went up in 1677), and many historic homes.


One of the main attractions in St. Michael’s is the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (at the end of Mill Street). The museum has 10 exhibit buildings, the historic Hooper Strait Lighthouse (yes, you can climb all over it), and a working boat yard. It is open from 10AM-6PM daily and costs $10. (www.cbmm.org) You may also want to consider a boat ride on the Miles River – Patriot Cruises (berthed at the Maritime Museum) offers 60 minute or 90 minute narrated tours – you may see waterfront mansions, osprey nests, and more. (www.patriotcruises.com)


Restaurants to try:

The Crab Claw – very popular restaurant on the waterfront. It has both indoor and outdoor seating, but is well known for their “table full of crabs to crack open”! Located at the end of Mill Street near the Maritime Museum. (www.thecrabclaw.com)

Town Dock Restaurant (125 Mulberry St.) – this is also a waterfront restaurant a bit more upscale than the Crab Claw. (www.town-dock.com)

Bistro St. Michael’s, “a re-creation of a classic French bistro” (403 S. Talbot – the main street through town). (www.bistrostmichaels.com)

Bed &Breakfasts:

Cherry Street Inn , 103 Cherry Street (www.cherrystreetinn.com)

The Snuggery, 203 Cherry St.. Original log house was built in 1665; logs recently revealed in a renovation.

Wades Point Inn on the Bay, Wades Point Road. Waterfront inn on the road to Tilghman Island. (www.wadespointinn.com)

Shops in St. Michael’s include:

A Wish Called Wanda (110 N. Talbot) has handcrafted Blue Crab pottery, jewelry & giftware,

Flamingo Flats (100 Talbot) is a specialty food store,

Sign O’the Whale (108 S. Talbot) has an unusual selection of tableware, garden & kitchen items, and Harbor Sweet chocolates; one of my favorite stores!,

Simpatico (104 Railroad Ave) has Italian ceramics, linens, etc.,

Mind’s Eye Gallery (205 S Talbot) has handcrafted items from over 200 artisans – another of my favorite stores!

TILGHMAN ISLAND

Tilghman Island, 12 miles South of St. Michael’s on Route 33, is separated from the mainland by Knapps Narrows and is accessed by drawbridge. This working watermen’s village, surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay, is home to the last commercial sailing fleet in North America – the skipjacks. The skipjacks are on display at Dogwood Harbor. Tilghman Island was founded as a land grant in 1659 – it was then called Great Choptank Island, and is only 3 square miles. There are several historic homes here as well as the historic St. John’s Chapel, built in 1891.

There are 2 boat tours you may be interested in taking:

Skipjack Tours (www.skipjack.org) provides a 2 hour cruise on the working skipjack, the Rebecca T. Ruark,

Lighthouse Cruise Tours (www.chesapeakelights.com) – this company has 3 Chesapeake Bay lighthouse tours, all leaving from Dogwood Harbor on Tilghman Island – they include 10 lighthouses, 5 lighthouses, and a sunset cruise with 2 lighthouses.

Restaurants to try:

Bridge Restaurant, 6136 Tilghman Island Road – waterfront (www.bridge-restaurant.com)

Harrison’s Chesapeake House Country Inn, 21555 Chesapeake House Drive (this is also a B&B) (www.chesapeakehouse.com/inn.htm)

Tilghman Island Inn, 21384 Coopertown Road – waterfront. (www.tilghmanislandinn.com)


Bed & Breakfasts:

Black Walnut Point Inn, Black Walnut Point Road (www.blackwalnutpoint.com)

Sinclair House Bed & Breakfast, 5718 Black Walnut Point Rd, (www.sinclairhouse.biz)

Lazyjack Inn, 6907 Tilghman Island Road (www.lazyjackinn.com)

OXFORD

Oxford, Maryland, founded in 1683, is on the Tred Avon River near the Choptank River where it enters the Chesapeake Bay. Oxford today is still a watermen’s town, but is enjoying a new resurgence based on tourism and leisure activities. Its quiet charm, fresh air, summer breezes, and clean water provide a haven from the hustle and bustle of city life for boaters, weekend visitors, and summer residents. Homes proudly display when they were built. Walk along The Strand, a waterfront walkway, or have a picnic at Town Park.

Some things to see or do:

Oxford Custom House (next to the ferry landing) is a replica of the original that served during colonial times. Open on weekends.

Oxford Museum (100 S. Morris St) contains arrowheads, duck carvings, ancient ship logs, lighthouse lamps, a 1950s ice cream parlor, and gift shop. (www.oxfordmuseum.org)

Cutts & Case Shipyard (306 S. Tilghman) – this company makes wooden boats the old-fashioned way and offers tours of their shipyard. (www.cuttsandcase.com)

Channel Charters offers historical cruises on the Satisfaction; the cruises highlight the town’s history, celebrated citizens, and notable structures.

Restaurants to try:

Latitude 38 (26342 Oxford Rd) – highly recommended (www.latitude38.org)

Oxford Market & Deli (203 S. Morris) – home of the Oxford pies.

Robert Morris Inn, (310 N. Morris), built in 1710. This is highly recommended by one of my coworkers.


Shops –

Americana Antiques (111 S. Morris) includes wood-carved carousel horses

Oxford Mews (105 S. Morris) is like an old general store; it carries “necessities, gifts, and non-essentials”

Pope’s Treasures (506 S. Morris) carries local artwork and nautical gifts.

Bed & Breakfasts –

Oxford Inn (506 S. Morris) , built in 1900, has harbor views. (www.oxfordmd.com/oxfordinn)

The Nichols House (217 N. Morris) has a private cottage and Victorian garden (www.nicholshouseoxford.com)

The Combsberry (4837 Evergreen Rd) is in the style of an English country mansion; built in the 1730s. (www.combsberry.net)

Ruffled Duck Inn (110 N. Morris) is a Victorian B&B (www.ruffledduckinn.com)


To get to this small town, turn left off Route 33 (on your way to St. Michael’s) onto Bellevue Road. At the end, you will reach the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry, which crosses the Tred Avon River from Bellevue to Oxford. This is the oldest continuously operating ferry in the United States, starting in 1683; the route is ¾ mile and takes 10 minutes one-way, hold 9 cars plus walk-on passengers. (www.oxfordbellevueferry.com).



Updated 5/2/06: The original text had codes copied from wordprocessing software that broke the feed. Formatting removed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

NYT Article on Baltimore for Kids

Thank you to Elana Broch of Princeton University for pointing out this excellent article on Baltimore for Kids. The article is dated April 16, and so is available for free registration at the site, until Sunday, April 23.

For those of you who have access to the New York Times through other means, here is the citation:

Weekend With the Kids
Sports, Science and Fun on and Around the Water in Baltimore
By SUSAN O'KEEFE
Published: April 16, 2006 (in the Travel section)

It's a great article.

By the way, if you have the opportunity to take the "Taking the Sting out of Statistics" workshop at the conference on Monday with Elana, do it. She's terrific. She's also speaking at two other sessions, and she is an excellent presenter.

Baltimore Trivia: "Homicide: Life on the Street"

Contributed by Cheryl D.


What was the name of the coffee shop in Fell’s Point where “Homicide” detectives got their daily caffeine?





Update: Answer: the Daily Grind

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Side trips: Annapolis

This is the first in a series providing information on interesting side trips from the conference, enjoy!- ed.

ANNAPOLIS
Contributed by Cathy Jordan

Just 30 miles South of Baltimore, this historic state capital, situated on the Severn River and the Chesapeake Bay, has wonderful restaurants and shops along Main Street, Maryland Avenue, and the City Dock (the harbor).

You MUST visit the United States Naval Academy (www.usna.edu) – it is open to the public from 9AM-5PM with picture ID (there is a free parking lot just as you enter; you cannot drive on the grounds). Visit the Academy Chapel with its famous copper dome and stained glass windows; the lower level of the Chapel also holds the remains of John Paul Jones. The campus is wonderful to walk through with lots of trees, wide walkways, and water views of the Severn River. On the bluff across the river from the Naval Academy (take the Old Severn River Bridge(also called the Academy Bridge) on Route 450), you will find a wonderful monument to the Maryland soldiers who died in WWII – well worth the visit!

Annapolis is also known for St. John’s College (across the street from the Naval Academy), which is known for its distinctive Great Books curriculum (www.sjca.edu/asp/home.aspx).


Some restaurants/music venues include Rams Head Tavern/Fordham Brewing Co. (33 West St), Galway Bay Irish Restaurant & Pub (63 Maryland Avenue), the Treaty of Paris Restaurant/King of France Tavern (58 State Circle - I’m told it has a great Sunday brunch), Aromi D’Italia Annapolis (8 Dock St), Carrol’s Creek Cafe (410 Severn Ave, Eastport – just a short walk from City Dock), Lemongrass (167 West St -Thai), and Les Folies Brassiere (2552 Riva Rd – French Regional Cuisine, need a car to get to)..

Some of the shops you will find are Annapolis Pottery, a working pottery (58 State Circle), Avoca Handweavers, Irish clothing & gifts (141 Main St. www.avoca.ie.), Paws Pet Boutique (64 State Circle, www.pawsannapolis.com), Plat du Jour, items for your home imported from Europe – owned by a former librarian (220 Main St – www.platdujour.net), and Stevens Hardware – here since 1880, it carries brassware and other gifts in addition to hardware items (142 Dock St.).

In case you decide to stay a day or two, Annapolis has many bed & breakfasts, many in historic homes. Here are a few:
Annapolis Inn, 144 Prince George St., www.annapolisinn.com
Annapolis Royal Folly, 65 College Ave, www.royalfolly.com
Ark & Dove Bed & Breakfast, 149 Prince George St.
Scotlaur Inn, 165 Main St. (Located above the Chick & Ruth’s Delly) www.chickandruths.com


You may wish to take advantage of some boat or land tours as well – here are some to consider:
Spa Creek Tour (40 minutes) tours the residential areas of Old Annapolis and along the banks of the Naval Academy. Cost $10.00
Annapolis Harbor and Naval Academy Tour (40 minutes) tours the historic Annapolis harbor, the banks of the Naval Academy and the scenic Severn River/Bay Bridge. Cost $10.00.
Scenic Severn River Cruise (90 minutes) takes you on a 6-mile cruise along the Severn River. Cost $18.00.
Chesapeake Bay Bridges Cruise (90 minutes) gives you a breathtaking panoramic view of the Chesapeake Bay bridges that link Maryland’s Eastern and Western shores.
Cost $18.00.
Thomas Point Lighthouse Cruise (90 minutes) takes you out to this lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay; it is a National Historic Landmark, built in 1875. Cost $18.00.
WEBSITE for above tours: www.watermarkcruises.com.
Discover Annapolis tour (1 hour) is a trolley tour that takes you through the charming streets of Old Annapolis. You will see colonial and Victorian mansions, sailboats, the State House, the City Dock, the Naval Academy and more! Cost is $15.00. If you happen to be a resident of Anne Arundel County, show your ID and the tour is FREE!
WEBSITE for this tour: www.discover-annapolis.com/publictours/index.html.


Are you interested in an archeological dig? If so, you should head to Historic London Town. This active dig, historic homes and 8 acre woodland garden is located in Edgewater MD just 15 minutes south of downtown Annapolis; there is also a gorgeous water view of the South River. Cost is $7.00, or $4.00 for just the house or garden tour.

WEBSITES:
www.ci.annapolis.md.us
www.discover-annapolis.com
www.visit-annapolis.org
www.marylandave.com (shopping and restaurants on Maryland Avenue)


DIRECTIONS:

Now you ask, how do I get to Annapolis from Baltimore?
Take I95 South to I695 (Baltimore Beltway) to Exit 4 (I97-S). I97 ends at State Route 50 – take Route 50 EAST to Exit 24 (Rowe Blvd), turn RIGHT and follow the signs.

updated for formatting - ckp

Monday, April 10, 2006

Baltimore Trivia: Patterson Park and the War of 1812

Contributed by Cheryl D.

What is the name of the hill in Patterson Park where American troops held off the British in the War of 1812?

AND

Other than cannons, what architecture sits on that same hill?

(Bonus Question: what Quoth the Raven blogger was married across the street from Patterson Park? -ed.)

Answers in the comments, please. We'll update this post with the answer.


Update: Answers
The hill is Hampstead Hill and there's a really cool Pagoda. The bonus question you have to figure out for yourself!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Bookstore Recommentation: American Institute of Architects, Baltimore Chapter Bookstore

Contributed by Anna Cole.

There's a small bookstore at the American Institute of Architects, Baltimore Chapter office at 11 1/2 West Chase Street. It's accessible by bus due north on Charles Street. Not far from downtown. It has a selection of books about Baltimore history and architecture and walking tours and Maryland history too. Also pretty note cards.

It's marked on the Wayfaring Map

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Looking for a good LYS?

To many of you, the abbreviation LYS might not mean anything -- but for knitters and crocheters, it may be the first thing you look for in a new city. In Baltimore, the LYSes are mostly in the suburbs, but there is a very nice one in the Fells Point area. To the north of the city, there are yarn shops in Reisterstown. To the south, there are yarn shops in Catonsville and Ellicott City. Ellicott City also makes a very nice side trip, especially if you're into antiques. You'll probably need a rental car for any of these but the one in Fells Point. Follow this link to a map of LYS around Baltimore (or type in this shortened version: http://tinyurl.com/mxa57). Please note: map point H, in Laurel, is no longer open.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Proposing the tag for the Annual Conference

I'm not sure if anyone really has the say on this. Jill proposes and that sounds good to me. Let's go with sla2006 (lowercase!).

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Side Trip to DC?

We've had a couple of questions from people who want to take side trips to D.C. or the D.C. area (~35 miles from Baltimore). We're gathering details, checking facts, mapping routes... and will post soon!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

How about a tour of the Pratt?

Cheryl provided a great overview of the Enoch Pratt Library . Doesn't that make you want to visit? Luckily, the Maryland Chapter of SLA has organized a tour.

Linda H e-mailed me the information that's also available in the personal planner:

Enoch Pratt Library Tour
Thurs June 15, 2006
9:45am to 12pm

Take a tour of the Enoch Pratt Free Library Central Library/State Library Resource Center. Participants will be introduced to the unusual role that Pratt plays as public library, state library agency, and as an accessible research level collection to serious library users. The tour will focus on departments that provide a unique role to customers from all age groups across Maryland and a "behind the scenes" look at the treasures one will find in the Pratt collections. In addition, the beautiful and important architectural appointments of the magnificent Central Building and the new Annex will be noted and discussed. The cost of the tour covers round trip bus transportation to and from the library. A continental breakfast will also be provided. Lunch not included. Bus starts boarding at 9:30 am at the Baltimore Convention Center, Pratt St entrance, departing at 9:45 am. To purchase tickets, complete a Tour registration form found on the Conference website.

Speakers:
Jeff Korman, Manager, Maryland Collection, Enoch Pratt Free Library
Wesley Williams, Chief, Central Library/State Library Resource Center, Enoch Pratt Free Library

Monday, March 20, 2006

Enoch Pratt Central Library

The central Enoch Pratt Free Library/State Library Resource Center, approximately 6 blocks north of the Convention Center in Baltimore, was built in 1932 and takes up the entire 400 block of Cathedral Street from Mulberry to Franklin. Coming into the grand, 3-story central hall from the main entrance, you should see a couple of smiling faces at the General Information desk in the center of the hall. They will be able to direct you to the area of your interest: poetry; Marylandia; military history; or the goldfish pond in the Children's Dept (to name a few).
If you ask nicely, you might be able to get a tour of the stacks. There are real treasures in this building that hardly anyone gets to see. You might have heard about the lock of Poe's hair, but did you know that we have the original contest-winning poem submitted by Tupac Shakur?
"Hey citizens of Baltimore the Enoch Pratt Library/ is an open door to life and pleasures of all kind/ for people of our world to develop our minds."
Don't hold your breath about seeing it, though. I've been here over 6 years and still haven't seen it in person!



Friday, March 17, 2006

Looking for Lunch?

Greg Gershman, the Blogdigger guy, recommends this list to find places to each lunch and people who will meet you there to eat. Not all of these are downtown, so take a peek at the map.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Baltimore Trivia: Who is this guy and where can you see him?

This is kind of a mean looking picture of the guy who's normally pretty friendly. He's on the side of a building in Baltimore and still on the label of the product.

If you think you know who he is (and you're not a member of the SLA-Maryland chapter) leave a note in the comments section!

I'll reveal who he is in a couple of weeks if no one knows.

Update: Photo courtesy of a local newspaper site. I'm not going to give it away, though ;)

Update: Natty Boh is indeed correct! For those of you all not from around here, that means National Bohemian beer. Although no longer brewed in Baltimore it is a symbol of the city. This guy sits on Brewers Hill on top of the 11-story Natty Boh Tower.

For more see: JOHN WOESTENDIEK (2006, March 11). With a wink, Mr. Boh selling more than beer :[FINAL Edition]. The Sun, p. 1A. Retrieved April 10, 2006, from The Sun, Baltimore (Special) database. (Document ID: 1001590131). (free preview, or get from a Maryland library)