Jody Arneson

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Ellicott City: Quaint and Small, There’s Something for Everyone

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From Mid-Atlantic Day Trips – For a town* that stretches barely a mile long, there’s an impressive array of things to do in Ellicott City. Booze it up in the bars, sit down for fine dining (preferably before you booze it up), spend an afternoon shopping the variety of boutiques that line Main Street, explore local rail history at the B&O Museum, take a walk on the old trolleycar trail to Catonsville, or go ghost hunting.I live near historic Main Street Ellicott City — a quaint old milltown main street lined with boutique and antique stores and some well-respected restaurants in old stone buildings.

    The Famously Wed and The Very Dead: Touring Green Mount Cemetery

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    From Mid-Atlantic Day Trips – Longtime readers of this blog know I love visiting cemeteries — especially the lovely “rural garden” or “garden park” cemeteries of the mid to late 1800s. So when I learned of historic Green Mount Cemetery, in northern Baltimore, I was excited.

    Green Mount Cemetery was established a the very beginning of the rural garden cemetery movement in the United States, and it is notable for being one of the earliest of the Victorian rural garden cemeteries in the United States. Designed to be outdoor galleries of art and architecture, these were destinations in and of themselves, whether you had a loved one buried there or not. I particularly enjoyed this cemetery because of some of the very lovely bronze sculptures situated throughout the cemetery. The sculptors include William Henry Rinehart (himself interred within the grounds), Hans Schuler, and J. Maxwell Miller.

    Mid-Atlantic Day Trips: Beach Combing at Calvert Cliffs State Park

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    It can be really fun to go fossil hunting — at least, it sounds fun to a 12 year old. It sounded fun to me too. That’s why an early summer Saturday found us on our way to Calvert Cliffs State Park. Calvert Cliffs State Park is unique among hiking opportunities in the region for its up-close views of the Calvert Cliffs from below, fossil hunting opportunities, and hiker-only access to the Chesapeake shoreline along a mile of sandy beach.

    The main feature of the park is the huge Miocene cliffs that dominate the waterfront. The cliffs and the shores below contain more than 600 species of fossils from the Miocene epoch, more than ten million years ago. These cliffs rise over the Bay over 100 feet and are slowly eroding at the rate of almost 3 feet per year, ensuring a constant supply of “new” fossils to discover. They were created over 10 million years ago when the Chesapeake Bay and most of southern Maryland were still a shallow sea. As the waters receded, the sea floor became exposed and what was to become fossils gathered at this point. The cliffs are the most extensive assemblage of Miocene fossils in the eastern United States.
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    More than 1,000 acres of this park are designated as wildlands; the park is allowing the landscape to return to its more natural state.

    MidAtlantic Day Trips: Scenic Vistas Along the Indian Head Trail

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    From MidAtlantic Day Trips – We would see amazing things if we could learn to be travelers in our own neighborhoods, Henry David Thoreau once said.

    Mid Atlantic Day Trips: Patapsco River Valley State Park, Part 2 – Everyone Can Help

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    From MidAtlantic Day Trips – Today’s post — Part 2 of yesterday’s post on Patapsco River Valley State Park — isn’t really about a day trip, but it is about activities my family and I participated in, on two separate days this spring. We decided to volunteer to help out in the park. It was certainly a different way to experience one of Maryland’s state parks. I’ve loved this park since I moved nearby, but now I also feel a sense of responsibility and ownership.

    Some 50 + volunteers cut the tree tubes from the trees, then gathered up all the used tubes.
    Here, the park is re-foresting former farmland.

    A few weeks ago, in part because of my rant about litter (in last week’s blog), I decided to stop complaining. I found my way to the park’s web site, where I signed up to become a volunteer. March 22 was the first volunteer opportunity. Our work that day was to remove tree jackets and choking vines from 10-year-old trees in Patapsco State Park land off Landing Road, near the Avalon area, which is quite close to my home. These jackets have been on the trees since they were planted a decade ago, and are now choking them, so off they come!

    MidAtlantic Day Trips: Patapsco River Valley State Park and A Rant, Part 1

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    From MidAtlantic Day Trips – The benefit to living near a state park like Patapsco Valley State Park is being able to grab a beagle or two and go for a walk in the woods whenever it’s convenient. I am very grateful to have, by chance, bought a home near a park that offers so much. Today’s blog is Part 1 of a two-part series. Tomorrow the Baltimore Fishbowl will run Part 2.

    Many a weekend morning we’ve leashed up the dogs and headed to the nearby Avalon/Orange Grove area, where the Bloede Dam creates a pleasing rumble.

    Ironically, the Bloede Dam is a bit of an eyesore, and even poses a drowning hazard, having caused several deaths over the past years.

    Patapsco Electric and Manufacturing of Ellicott City brought fame to the Patapsco River corridor in 1906 when it constructed the world’s first underwater hydroelectric plant. Named Bloede’s Dam after the company’s president, Victor Gustav Bloede, it was state of the art at the time, but only operated a couple decades and stopped providing power in 1924. Part of the reason why it became unfeasible to continue operations was the large amount of silt and debris ending up in the river from the denuded hillsides. Since then it’s served no function, and in fact, impedes the migration of some fish, and is therefore being considered for demolition.

    MidAtlantic Day Trips: The NCR Trail, Woodhall Wine Cellars, and Royal Rabbit Vineyards

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    Courtesy of Maryland
    Department of Natural Resources

    There is not much that wine doesn’t enhance. Is there any better way to round out a few hours biking on Maryland’s Northern Central Rail Trail (renamed the Torrey C Brown Rail Trail) than with a trip to two local wineries?

    The itinerary for this day trip — and it was a full day-long day trip — was bike riding the NCR trail in Parkton. My friend, Barb, and I figured we’d ride down to Monkton, a ride of just over 5 miles, (the trail headed north was covered with snow, ice, and slush), plus the stretch between Parkton and Monkton offers some of the loveliest views of the river that runs alongside. Afterward we’d head to Woodhall Winecellars for lunch at Patricia Stella’s “casual fine dining” restaurant and a wine tasting, in Parkton. We’d round out the day with a wine tasting at Royal Rabbit Vineyards, also in Parkton. We arrived at the trail around 9:30 a.m. and with the biking, lunch, and two wineries, ended up back in Ellicott City around 4 p.m. It was a full day indeed!

    MidAtlantic Day Trips: Three Wineries on a Spring Sunday

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    From MidAtlantic Day Trips – A warm March Sunday beckoned me out of my winter hideout, and what better way to do than to go visit a few wineries in the beautiful Maryland countryside?

    I’ve lived in my neighborhood for over a decade, but I’ve not been a good neighbor. I like my neighbors but I realized recently I hardly knew them. I thought an exploration of some wineries not too far from our homes would be a nice way to start fixing that, so I invited my neighbors to join me on this “day trip.” Two neighbors, Terrie and Paula, graciously agreed to join me.

    MidAtlantic Day Trips: Cookies are the Goal on the B&A Trail

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    B&A Map
    From Mid-Atlantic Day Trips – The recent warm weather in Maryland enticed me to try out my new bike. Since I hadn’t ridden a bike for 20 years, we decided to start with small goals: a comfortable 2.5 mile ride to — get this, a coffee shop along the scenic Baltimore & Annapolis Trail purported to sell the most delicious breakfast harvest cookies (sounds healthy, doesn’t it?) — and back.We started at convenient parking at Earleigh Heights (mile marker 7.0). The ranger’s station is located in a quaint old Victorian building that was built in 1889 as a store, post office, and, you guessed it, train station. It was run as a store until 1943, and then was a private residence. The county obtained the property in 1988 and restored the building in 1990.The B&A Trail runs for just over 13 miles between Glen Burnie and Annapolis, following the old Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad. Managed by Anne Arundel County Department of Parks and Recreation, the trail is associated with the Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC), a national organization advocating for transforming abandoned railroad rights of way into public trails. In fact, you can still see evidence of the old railroad along the trail. There are switch boxes, sections of track, and the railroad station at Earleigh Heights, which serves as the ranger’s station.

    MidAtlantic Day Trips: From the AVAM to the BMA – An Afternoon of Art

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    Courtesy of MidAtlantic Day Trips – Lynn is guest blogging for Mid-Atlantic Day Trips Blog this week. (Thanks Lynn!!)

    My son and I met Mid Atlantic Day Trip gal and her son at the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) in January. While she wisked her 11-year-old son through to maintain his interest, we opted to stroll through at a more leisurely pace. Afterward, we stopped to have lunch at the restaurant in AVAM, Mr. Rain’s Fun House (great art inside the restaurant and great locally sourced food!).

    Then my son, an art major at nearby Towson University, and I headed over to the Baltimore Museum of Art for the afternoon. He had been there for art class assignments but wanted to take some time and see the whole museum (or almost the whole museum, one wing is being renovated, reopening this fall). It had been many years since I had visited and I’d never gone with my son, so we went!

    The BMA’s $28 million renovation features new presentations of four outstanding collections; a dynamic learning and creativity center; two engaging entrances with improved visitor amenities; and much more. The first phase of the BMA’s multiyear renovation was completed in November 2012 with the reopening of the Contemporary Wing. The historic Merrick Entrance, the Dorothy McIlvain Scott American Wing, and the East Wing Lobby and Zamoiski Entrance will reopen this fall, coinciding with the Museum’s 100th celebration. The African and Asian art galleries and the learning and creativity center are scheduled to be completed by late spring 2015.

    One of the “must sees” there is Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker (one of 10 original monumental size casts in the United States). The museum also has outstanding mosaics from the lost city of Antioch (now known as Antakya) in Turkey and an Andy Warhol room too.

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