Apple Store in Towson to Move to Larger Space


Have you noticed that the Apple store in the Towson Town Center Mall is busting at the seams??

The scuttlebutt is the store is moving to the space in the mall that used to be inhabited by Martin + Osa, a casual clothing store, and the new space will be open by September, at the latest.

The space is located on the mall’s second floor near Tiffany, Burberry and Louis Vuitton.


Charles Street Runner Jogs His Commute and Inspires


Every weekday, I make the bleary-eyed drive down Charles Street to take my kids to school.  For years, one sight has made me curious: a shirtless runner heading south in bike shorts with a long braid down his back. Oh, and he’s always carrying a briefcase.

Last week, I got the nerve to stop and speak to this fit soul, shaming me from the comfort of my cozy car and grande soy latte.

He’s Theodore “Ted” Houk, M.D., an internist who runs 5.5 miles from his Lutherville home to his office in Towson. He gamely conducted a quick Q&A.

How many years have you been doing the run to work? I bicycled from 1992-6, and have been running since November 1996.

What health benefits have you noticed? I had gained weight with a shorter commute [from Lutherville] than the 13 mile circuit from Hampden (I lived there during residency training at Union Memorial), so I switched to running [from biking].  I also realized I couldn’t wimp out just because of weather. Patients tend to say “it’s too hot, it’s too cold,” 48 weeks a year, so I like to have them see me setting a good example. Biking had more of a wind chill, so running with less clothing was necessary for heat control.  At first, I was trying to prevent heart disease but even 20 minutes twice a day  is equivalent to an antidepressant. Beyond six miles, you’re guaranteed the runner’s high; people have run on broken displaced fractures with all the endorphins floating around.

Was biking too dangerous? I was never struck but a car came within six inches. Bad weather meant bad visibility, so I resolved to hunker down under a space blanket if caught in a downpour.  Now I am farther from traffic and running against it.

Ted laughs off the price of gas.

Where do you change for the office? Do you have a shower at work?  I just lock the door and strip. If it’s 78° out I’ll rub down with alcohol.  If I sweat, it’s clean because I’ve showered at home.  Motherly nurses have seen fit to take a sniff and pronounce me fine. Actually, one sniff of pheromones in male sweat make women calm and happy all day. Happy to provide them. As you can imagine, I’ve lost any sense of embarrassment years ago. Beyond nine miles anybody would have ammonia on his/her skin from normal metabolism so a rub down is de rigeur.

Do you only run from April to October? No, I made sure I ran eight miles in Snowmagedden to have bragging rights. It was almost a white-out. I took pictures and posted them on The Sun‘s website. The snow was driven horizontally and the deer left big holes in the snow where their legs couldn’t touch down to the ground. It really never gets colder than 10-17 F when I wear cotton, wool and windbreaker layers.

Have you had any reaction from the commuters along Charles Street?  People beep and wave, I wave back.  Sometimes people say they are inspired to exercise.

Is there a runner you spot every day on your travels in your neighborhood? Let us know in the comments.





Century-Old Bell Restored to Glory at Towson U


As far as noisemakers go, bells are beautiful but difficult. Take the century-old specimen that hung atop Stephens Hall at Towson University:  until last month, the school’s 39-inch diameter, 1200-plus pound bell was heavily corroded and rarely used. And no wonder —  it hadn’t been  moved since it was first installed in 1915.

For much of its life, the bell had the job as bells worldwide — ringing every hour on the hour. But with the advent of wristwatches and cell phones, that public timekeeping role became less essential. The neighbors started complaining about the noise. In the 1990s, the bell fell silent, rung only on special occasions.

But now that it’s been cleaned and restored by Maryland’s own McShane Bell Foundry, Towson might find some more use for the old guy. Not only did McShane restore the bell’s original golden patina; it also installed an electronic ringing system programmed with ring tones (in the old-fashioned sense) for celebratory, sad, and ordinary occasions. The school has promised to keep the bell to a strict 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. schedule, so as to not bother the neighbors.

Look at more before-and-after photos of the bell’s restoration on WBAL’s website here.

Towson University Copes With Two Student Deaths in One Day


Ryan Bailey was a 20-year old lacrosse player and accounting major from Seaford, New York; Tim Coyer was a 27-year old veteran who returned after two tours in Iraq hoping to get a degree in business administration. Both were juniors at Towson University, and both died on campus on Saturday, March 31 in two separate incidents.

Gestalt and Pepper: Hometown Girl Rebecca Murphy Gives Her Favorite Food Picks


Baltimore, I think I have found your biggest fan. Her name is Rebecca Murphy and she describes her devotion to the city as “bordering on the weird.”

“I love every last bit of it, I mean, I am still a die hard Orioles fan.”  Enough said.

Rebecca’s passion for the city is not all lip service either, she works as director of special projects in the Mayors’s office (“it means I can be doing a different job every day”) and counts being engaged in improving the city as one of her greatest joys.

When you get to know Rebecca it is easy to see where all that passion for her hometown comes from. Her Baltimore roots run deep. The mother of two and Bryn Mawr and Western alum is a fourth-generation Baltimorean (her father is acclaimed attorney Billy Murphy) with a rich family tradition, a tradition where food took center stage. “My grandmother would ‘bring it’ for family dinners every Sunday,” she says. So it’s no surprise that when Rebecca talks about her restaurant picks, her focus is simple: good food and good people.

Recreational Residential Real Estalking


Are you in market for a new home? Are you thinking of selling your house and need some price comparisons? Are you a house obsessed lookey-loo? Well, grab a Starbucks and power up the GPS. We have your Sunday afternoon covered with our picks of the best open houses this week. 


1107 Harriton Road

$ 740,00

4 br/2.5 ba

It’s all in the bones of this Poplar Hill Tudor. Sure, some surface updates are needed, but the existing decor is tasteful, so you could go at your own pace. What I can’t get over is the beauty of the elements that would never need changing: the gorgeous staircase, the quaint dormered ceilings and the deep windowsills. I would buy the house based on the panelled doors alone. A visit is sure to uncover more lovely architectural details. Visualize: Sitting with piles of wallpaper swatches — all the work here appears to be the fun kind.


605 Marwood Road

$ 339,000

4 br/1 ba

What in the name of “Calico Critters” is that darling front door about? From there, a step inside this Towson house is a bit of a let down. The decor is very dry. Those cozy bedrooms and lovely screened porch, however, lead me to think that it would be a snap for someone with a great eye to turn this place into a gem. A perfect starter home for a family with style. Visualize: Poring over your subscription to “Cottage Living.”


11702 Clairmoor Road


6br/5.5 ba 

It doesn’t come cheap but this Lutherville home has ridiculous “easy living” appeal.  No detail is overlooked in this immaculately maintained home. And while it is undeniably well done and attractive (the garish red bathroom a huge exception), I wonder if it’s just too 1999? The pillars seem a little dated to me. For close to $2 million, couldn’t you get the 2012 model? Best to look. Visualize: Checking in with the gardner before you head out to shop.

Fireworks! Parades! Fun! Today is the Fourth!

Roland Park Parade, 2011. Photo by Susan Dunn.


Fourth of July firework displays and parades abound today.  Take the time to get outdoors and enjoy your friends and neighbors.  (Take your mind off  the power outages and storm damage too!)

The list of firework displays below comes from the Office of the State Fire Marshal and includes the organizations that have received permits to display fireworks tonight and tomorrow night. Some of the firework displays are private — the country clubs, for sure — but if you can find a spot nearby, you can enjoy the spectacle, too.

If we have left out your neighborhood parade, please let us know at [email protected] and we will add it to the parade list.

Our team at Baltimore Fishbowl will be enjoying a relaxed work schedule tomorrow so we can spend the day with family and friends, too.

Happy 4th!

Fireworks – July 4

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor
401 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

Time: 9:30

Catonsville High School (rain date: July 7)
421 Bloomsbury Avenue, Catonsville 21228

Time: 9:15

Fullerton Park (rain date: July 5)
4304 Fullerton Avenue, Baltimore 21236

Time: 9:00

Grange Elementary School (rain date: July 6)
2000 Church Road, Dundalk 21222

Time: 9:15

Greenspring Valley Hunt Club (rain date: July 5)
30 Greenspring Valley Road, 21117

Time: 9:00

Loch Raven Tech Academy (rain date: July 5)
8101 LaSalle Road, Baltimore 21286

Time: 9:15

Oregon Ridge Park (rain date: July 5)
13401 Beaver Dam Road, Cockeysville 21030

Time: 9:45


What $350,000 Buys in Baltimore


So what does $350,000 buy you in Baltimore? Well, it depends where you’re looking. We chose seven of our favorite neighborhoods and a $350,000 ballpark – a respectable, but not luxurious amount to play with.  If a house is listed higher than $350,000, it means we think you could make an offer. The ‘Zestimate,’ as most of you will know, is the Zillow real estate website’s take on what a house is really worth.  This is what we found:

Mt. Washington  – median listing price: $295,000

Ahhh ….the charm of village life –cafes, bars, cute shops, Whole Foods, (a pottery studio!) — together with rolling hills and generous wooded lots. Mt. Washington has a lot of diversity for a high-end suburban-feeling neighborhood. Maybe it’s the super public school or maybe it’s the easy access to the light rail stop, but that diversity is a big selling point when it comes to raising a family. It takes a village… 

5911 Bonnie View Drive, 21209

Price: $350,000

Zestimate: $404,000

3,090 sq. ft.

.62 acre lot

Built: 1967


Architectually intriguing with a ‘60’s vibe, a classic modernist house in the woods. 5 bedrooms and 3 baths, with custom cabinetry, built-ins, and shelving throughout. Wood burning fireplace, hardwood floors. Walls of glass overlook a  private wooded (re:low maintenance) lot.  Pretty cool. Near Mt. Washington Village.


Hampden – median listing price $169,600

Trendy Hampden, with its blue collar attitude and relatively inexpensive real estate, is a mecca for artists and hipsters. The kitschy storefronts on it’s bustling Avenue (36th Street) reflect this, but look a little closer and you’ll find some seriously good food, wine and fun shopping. This is Baltimore’s fastest-growing retail district. Your public elementary school here is five star Medfield, and it’s just minutes to Wyman and Druid Hill parks.

3669 Ash Street, 21211

Price: $205,000 (with $$$ to spare – this place could be a little dream home)

Zestimate: $179,000

1,853 sq. ft.

.07 acre lot

Built in 1880


Lovely stone mill house with charm to spare, situated on a quiet hillside street. House has been completely renovated within the past 10 years and is technically in move-in condition, but has potential for much more. 3 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths. Large kitchen and master suite with attached full bath. Wood floors and tons of closet space, unusual for an older home.  Downstairs mudroom. Walk over to the Avenue, or up to the light rail and Woodberry Kitchen.


Federal Hill — median listing price $325,600

‘Historically hip’ and ‘eternally stylish’ according to Baltimore Magazine’s Neighborhood Guide, Federal Hill has more history than you can shake a stick at, from the Hill to the Cross Street Market. Cobblestone streets and period homes are a visual treat, and so are views across the Inner Harbor and Federal Hill Park. There is a real neighborhood feeling here, with book clubs, dog walking groups and life-long residents. But there’s new energy and spark in the eclectic art and ongoing events at the American Visionary Art Museum and the culinary delights of Light Street. Federal Hill in 2011 is pure urban joy. 

208 East Cross Street

Price: $399,000

Zestimate: $278,500

1,285 sq. ft.

small courtyard garden 

Built: 1920


A Federal style attached row house, with a bright and sunny aspect, in historic Federal Hill. Three bedrooms and two baths over four stories, and a three level atrium. It’s the flood of light and generous room size that distinguishes this house, with landscaped courtyard, full basement with great storage and nice, updated features. Walk to downtown Baltimore, Orioles Park, light rail and MARC train to DC.


Patterson Park – median listing price $109,900

A little more gritty than Federal Hill, and way more ethnically diverse, Patterson Park is tucked between Canton and Johns Hopkins Hospital, a former landing-point for generations of Eastern European immigrants. But real-estate here is well priced, and the wide-open space of Patterson Park (155 acres in the heart of the city, with ice rink and swimming pool) is all yours. Patterson Park was recently included in Southern Living’s list of 10 Best Comeback Neighborhoods, and is home to several popular restaurants, including Salt.

8 Milton Avenue North, 21224

Price: $369,000

Zestimate: none available 

1,960 sq. ft.

no lot: but Patterson Park is your front yard …

Built: 1920



Right on the park, this 3 bedroom townhouse has 3 full baths and a deluxe master bedroom suite with balcony and views. A total recent rehab has left it still with plenty of charm, plus custom finishes, modern appliances, hardwood floors, granite countertops and finished family room. Maybe not a ‘forever’ house, but great for a young Hopkins doc.

Private parking, too.


Harbor East – median listing price $418,000

Harbor East is not a neighborhood in the traditional sense, but it is home to some of the best Baltimore has to offer. Centered around several luxurious waterfront condominiums, it’s all here — sushi and shoes, Charleston and Whole Foods, Landmark Cinema, South Moon Under and an ever-changing landscape of pop-up shops. For the young, or not-so-young Baltimore urban professional, this is as close as it gets to Manhattan.

250 President Street #602, 21202

Price: $375,000

Zestimate: $315,000

1858 sq. ft.

Built: 1988



Inner Harbor high-rise living, complete with the amenities of fitness center, indoor pool, parking and a 24 hour front desk. This 2 bedroom, 2 bath, open-plan condo has wood floors, a fireplace, granite countertops and modern kitchen, as well as storage room and a stunning balcony. 250 President Street is in the heart of the Harbor, Little Italy, Fells Point and all the excitement of the city.


Rodgers Forge – median listing price $210,000

Exactly 9.5 miles from the towers of the Inner Harbor, leafy Rodgers Forge might be the next stop for that now married-with-kids urban professional. On offer are great public schools, a communal children’s playground known as the Tot Lot, and the quiet, intergenerational aspect of a long-established neighborhood. There’s no fine dining in these parts, but the comforts of Bill Bateman’s, Chipotle and Panera await on nearby York Road. Real estate values here tend to climb slowly and steadily, and the houses’ solid curb appeal will convince your parents you’ve finally grown up.

416 Hopkins Road, 21212

Price: $349,000

Zestimate: $315,000

2,310 sq. ft.

.05 acre lot

Built: 1935


A well maintained Tudor-style townhouse with an impressive stone exterior, a nice brick patio in the back and a detached garage. It has 4 bedrooms and 2 full baths, as well as a finished third floor. Your dad will say ‘they don’t build ‘em like this anymore’ noting the solid paneled doors, nice hardware and gleaming hardwood floors.. The windows have been recently replaced. Ditto the roof, and the kitchen has been nicely renovated – so you should be good for the next 50 years or so. 


Bolton Hill – median listing price $298,700

Less historic, but more swank than the downtown city neighborhoods, Bolton Hill is rich in aesthetics — church steeples, marble staircases, huge trees – and stylish art students from nearby MICA. It’s a small collection of architectural gems, urban mansions and townhouses – very congenial, if a little short on street life. The expanding presence of MICA seems to be changing that, and there are a good handful of coffee and sandwich shops, but for now you still need a car to get your groceries. Five hundred dollars buys a resident membership in the Bolton Swim and Tennis Club, a huge draw for families with kids. 

1615 Park Avenue #2,  21217

Price: $369,000

Zestimate: $288,000

2,188 sq. ft.

Built in 1903



Huge! The condo takes up the entire second floor of one of Baltimore’s finest old turn-of-the-century mansions (think Mary Tyler Moore). This is living on a grand and elegant scale, with high ceilings and oversized windows that look out onto Park Avenue gardens and fountain. Hardwood floors, two wood-burning fireplaces (never mind how you get the wood up there) and deep ceiling moldings are some of the historic details. There’s a chef’s kitchen with a big granite island for nights when you can’t face the two minute walk to b bistro as well as 2 good size bedrooms and 2 full baths –all new and in top condition.