Druid Hill

A Little Explosion to Start Your Day


“Hey Baltimore, WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT??!!!,” one of my Facebook friends wrote yesterday morning. Other folks quickly chimed in about the huge boom and subsequent heavy rumbling that shook the Woodberry/Druid Hill/Hampden region; guesses included a meth lab explosion, a truck that had flipped over and was being dragged down a hill,  or”something huge falling off a cliff.” But rest easy, Baltimore — that explosion was on purpose.

Sex at the Zoo (yes, really) for Valentine’s Day


Sex at the Zoo

catch of the day fish (2)We’re filing this one under “only in Baltimore…” But also, we want in. Tired of the same old flowers, chocolates, dinner-and-maybe-a-show-or-a-movie thing for Valentine’s Day? Does the human race’s record on stable, committed relationships depress you? Looking to bring back some of the animal passion that you’re sure your relationship had at some point? Or do you just want confirmation that bodies and biology are gross and we’re all just pre-programmed skin-covered bags of hormones? Well, the Maryland Zoo has just the thing for you and that special someone with whom you share these idiosyncrasies. Cancel the flower delivery and make reservations now for “Sex at the Zoo: A Special Adults Only Event.”

Happy Birthday, Rawlings Conservatory



Happy 125th birthday, Rawlings Conservatory. Your full name is a mouthful: The Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens of Baltimore! It’s almost as long as your distinguished history.

Far more than 125 panes of glass adorn your Victorian majesty. You are the second oldest “glass palace” in America. You are the last of five that once graced Baltimore’s well-known parks. Quite a distinction.

Breakfast with Polar Bears


Breakfast with Polar Bears at the Maryland Zoo

Hibernation season is coming. And it’s not just for bears, chipmunks and bats (yes, bats hibernate). Us humans also need to take a few months to slow down, curl up, and spend as much time as possible in fuzzy slippers and fluffy robes. It’s nature’s way. Some of us have no problem embracing our animal selves. We happily chow down on mashed potatoes and thick hot chocolate as stores for the coming winter. We fall asleep earlier and earlier—why not? It’s dark out. But some of us need a little re-education in the animal instinct department. And living in the city, it can be difficult to get your daily dose of animal behavior observation.

The Maryland Zoo understands. That’s why they’ve put together a special event for this Saturday. IT’s Breakfast with the polar bears! The event includes a hot, catered breakfast inside the zoo’s historic Mansion House, photo ops with animal ambassadors, and education stations where you can learn more about the polar bears! After breakfast, venture down to Polar Bear Watch (via tram), where you’ll hear a zookeeper chat.  Finally, you can ask the polar bears questions and watch as the bears receive their morning enrichment—a good study for those who’ve become too good at using forks and chewing with their mouths closed. Tickets are limited, and the event will sell out, so please make reservations early. Be sure to dress warmly. Tickets include zoo admission, so after breakfast you can spend the day touring the rest of zoo—or you just go home and practice what you’ve learned.

Breakfast with Polar Bears takes place at the Maryland Zoo on Saturday, November 10th from 8:30am-10am. Tickets are: $55/Members, $65/Non-members and FREE for Under 2 years old(*But still require a ticket). For more information, or to reserve tickets, visit www.marylandzoo.org

Soup-N-Walk Series at the Arboretum


Soup-N-Walk Series at the Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore

Apologies to our readers if it seems that Catch of the Day is really pushing the whole, go-outside-and-enjoy-the-fall thing.  If it’s not one pumpkin patch we’re crazy about it’s another. But we can’t help it. Fall is so full of outdoorsy opportunities, and so many of them come with corresponding foods and fashions. What’s not to love? Take for example, The Cylburn Arboretum’s Soup-N-Walk Series.

Each educational walk is led by a Cylburn naturalist. It’s a perfect way to discover the gardens and woodland trails at Cylburn. Following the walk, a lunch of soup and salad will be served in the Cylburn mansion (lunch in a mansion!) prepared by Chef Nona from Atwaters. As though this weren’t enough, Chef Nona will share with the group her soup-making secrets (which we would say are probably worth the price of admission alone), as well as the nutritional benefits of using local ingredients.  The remaining walks are Nature’s Palette—Cylburn Color, Thursday, October 25 and Tree Identification Sunday, November 11. Each walk begins at 11 a.m.  The fee for each walk is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. If you need special accommodations, please call two weeks in advance.

To register for a walk, call the Cylburn Office at 410-367-2217 x 104 to reserve a spot. Payment is due at the time of registration. The event does sell out, so please RSVP early.

Scenes from Dance Walk at Druid Hill Park: Try It Tomorrow at 10 a.m.


On Tuesday morning at 10, six dance walkers met at the northeast side of the Druid Hill reservoir. It was a gray day and chilly. We acted shy at first. But one arm in the air led to another. Guided by roller-derby veteran Jannel Cannady on skates, we walked fast and laughed for a few hundred feet then we stopped laughing and dance-walked. A couple taking a stroll called out to us with big smiles,  “Are you doing aerobics or walking or what?” And we relaxed more. We ran up the grassy hill and danced before the enormous Wallace Monument. Yeah, the scene turned immature and pretty dorky. And it became big fun for 40 minutes, the time it took us to complete one hip-shaking 1.5-mile circuit around the rippling water.

Windy weather and public embarrassment weren’t our only obstacles Tuesday. Technology, too. Steven Tappe, a nurse at the University of Maryland Medical Center, brought his phone that streams a radio app, but the music — everything from slow Steve Winwood to random calypso – came and went. (Tomorrow, at the next official Dance Walk party at 10 a.m. a boom-box is scheduled to attend.) But as we dance-walked on, we all talked some. And the lack of music wasn’t a tragedy.

Baltimore Fishbowl contributor Michael Yockel (below, left), a former music critic, and Steve (below, right) danced for one long stretch of lane as if they heard fast-pumping music.

Leave Your Snark in the Car, Baltimore: “Dance Walk” Starts Tomorrow


Charlotte Hayes Murray, owner of Charlotte Elliott and the Bookstore Next Door in Hampden, caught the “Dance Walk” YouTube video floating around Facebook — in which LXTV NBC reporter Ben Aaron boogies Fifth Avenue to pumping music, mirroring an anonymous disco-dancing man, eventually getting packs of random strangers involved in the dorky/euphoric act — and immediately forwarded the footage to other Hampden-based friends and shop owners.

Hays Murray and her friends challenged more friends to meet at the Druid Park Reservoir and dance one circuit together. The first Dance Walk event in Baltimore’s history happened last rainy Tuesday.

“I sent [the video] to Angela Grube (owner of 9th Life) and showed it to my friend Jannel Cannady, and we were all enthused,” Hays Murray says. “We had been talking about dieting and weight loss and how boring it was to work out. This sounded like something we could totally do and stick to, and Druid Park Reservoir seemed like a perfect place to do it. I am sure there are plenty of groove master dance walkers in Charm City, just like the groove master guru in the video, but to my knowledge this is the first [official] group Dance Walking Team.”

Ciclovia, How I do Love Thee

The author on her bike at ciclovia. Photo by Anne Stuzin.


Ciclovia, (pronounced: seek-low-VEE-uh) how I do love thee! You are one of the most fun events that take place in Baltimore all year, and you take place just feet from my door.

I do not have to get in car to reach you, ciclovia. In fact, I MUST not get in a car to reach you. Cars are not allowed on your streets, ciclovia.  Feet, bikes, trikes, scooters, skates, unicycles, wagons only are allowed. No motorized vehicles of any sort for you, ciclovia. You are clean and green.

Photo by Sally Foster.

And this spring, ciclovia, you take place on a Saturday, NOT on a Sunday:  Saturday, May 5, from noon to 4 p.m.  What a civilized hour.