Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Crane Spotting from the Tiki Barge

Hi! I just wanted to share two photos of development in downtown Baltimore with you before they quickly become outdated. I took these from South Baltimore's Tiki Barge (a great place to spend a laid-back, sunny afternoon). On the left, you can see the vertical expansion of the Four Seasons Hotel, which will house high-end condos. Residents will have access to the hotel's sophisticated amenities, including the gorgeous infinity pool, and live in quiet luxury amidst of the swank action that defines Harbor East. On the right, you can see the Exelon headquarters taking shape on the Harbor Point peninsula.

This shot of Exelon's headquarters incorporates the eight story Morgan Stanley building, the first building constructed on Harbor Point. Ultimately, the 27 acres that comprise Harbor Point will include over three million square feet of residential, office and retail space and a nine acre public park. Baltimore's famed waterfront promenade will encircle the development, expanding public access to the water. Runners, bicyclists and pedestrians look forward to adding this path and its views to their routes, just as photographers and dreamers will undoubtedly be drawn to the new vantage point as a place to frame the perfect photo or simply watch the world go by.

Monday, July 13, 2015

New(ish) Photos of the Rotunda and its Neighbors

In an earlier post, I shared photos of the Rotunda redevelopment site in its early stages. Since then, the developers have made significant progress on this residential/retail/office project in Baltimore's Hampden neighborhood. This photo shows the residences on the west side of the property, abutting Elm Avenue. The "Icon" will feature 379 luxury apartments, many with spectacular views of the Baltimore skyline.
Here, you can see the new construction (on the right) juxtaposed with the existing building (on the left). The project will include a grocery store and luxury dinner-and-a-movie concept CineBistro, among other shops and amenities.
Since no conversation about a development project is complete without some understanding of the surrounding neighborhood, I thought I would take the opportunity to show you some of the lovely homes in the Hampden and Wyman Park neighborhoods to the east of the Rotunda. These spacious row homes are filled with character inside, as well as avid gardeners, such as this woman I caught taking a short break.

I've seen these "Little Free Libraries" throughout Baltimore, but this is the first time I've seen a separate "Kid's Library." I like the creativity and friendliness of this gesture.

Good night from the flag-studded streets of Baltimore City!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Crane Spotting in Charles Village

Beatty Development Group and Armada Hoffler broke ground in late March on 3200 St. Paul Street, a 157-unit apartment building in Charles Village, which will provide new housing options for Johns Hopkins University students. Residents only have to stroll one block to reach Hopkins' Homewood Campus.
In this photo, taken in late March, you can see more of the site. In addition to having easy access to campus, residents will live within walking distance of the year-round 32nd Street Farmer's Market and popular restaurants such as Carma's Cafe and the vegan and vegetarian One World Cafe. No excuses not to eat healthy meals, kids!
CVS Pharmacy will anchor the ground floor retail space of the new building, complementing popular businesses in the community including the Barnes & Noble's Hopkins book store, pictured here, the recently opened Insomnia Cookies ...
... and Charles Village mainstay, Eddie's Market.This relatively small market stocks everything you could possibly need from a grocery store and makes delicious sandwiches, too.

Even in colder weather, "The Chillage," as a former co-worker of mine used to call his neighborhood, bustles. The new development will bring even more energy to this north central Baltimore neighborhood.

Good night from Charles Village!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fall for the Fell's Point Farmers Market

Okay, this is a ridiculously tardy post, considering I took these pictures last fall! I have no idea what took me so long to share them with you, since they showcase one of my absolute favorite spots in Baltimore, Fells Point, and a cherished pastime, browsing farmer's markets.

The Fells Point Farmers Market market kicked off its fifth season this past May, and the Saturday morning festivities take place on Broadway Square, right in the heart of Fell's Point, complete with a water view and a parade of people and dogs to watch.

At the market, I discovered a locally-made product from Annapolis-based Eco-Armour. Though this picture depicts the company's popular botanical shaving foam, I purchased their serum, a nourishing moisturizer, and fell in love. Eco-Armour, a finalist in Martha Stewart's 2014 American Made competition, exclusively uses natural ingredients in their products, which include skin care, aromatherapy and even insect repellent.
I also became acquainted with Charm City Meadworks through the Fell's Point Farmers Market, clearly one of the finest local business incubators around. Charm City Meadworks operates out of South Baltimore's Curtis Bay neighborhood, and they get their honey - in case you do not know, as I did not, mead is wine made from honey - from Lancaster, PA. Many restaurants, such as Clementine in Hamilton and Liam Flynn's in Station North, and stores, such as The Wine Source in Hampden and Wells Discount Liquors in Govanstowne, all carry their products.
Naturally, every market has great jewelry vendors. I cannot stop at all of them because I have a tendency to buy earrings everywhere I go. I cannot help myself - there are so many talented artists out there!
Now I remember why I didn't publish this post previously - I did not have any pictures of the produce at the market, which is, after all, a key feature of any farmer's market. Nevertheless, in lieu of a picture of the vendors' beautiful and bountiful fruits and veggies, I will leave you with a picture of the heart of Fell's Point, the intersection of Thames Street, Broadway and Broadway Square. What a great neighborhood.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Mighty Pig(town)

Have you been to the Pigtown Main Street recently? Sure, Pigtown is super-convenient, with unbeatable access to I-95 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, downtown Baltimore, the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, University of Maryland BioPark, Camden Yards and the Ravens Stadium, but Pigtown itself has much to offer.

First and foremost, Pigtown boasts an impressive business mix, particularly when considering its relatively small size. 
Ladies searching for that special something to wear to a wedding, graduation, or make-or-break business meeting will want to familiarize themselves with 2Chic Boutique, an upscale women's clothing boutique featuring new and gently used designer items. This place is a goldmine!
Just a block away, Afro Fashion and Art also sells clothing, in this case imported directly from several West African countries, such as Senegal and Mali, and for both men and women.
Colorful dresses adorn the mannequins at Afro Fashion, where customers can also purchase jewelry, shoes, drums, art and other items.
Pigtown's unique culinary options include Ebenezer Ethiopian Cuisine and Charm City Wings and Waffles, recently named one of the top 60 soul food restaurants in America by Tea & Breakfast.

This charming block features Spiritas, an upscale beer, wine and spirits store, Cafe Jovial, a welcoming coffee and sandwich spot, and the Dominican hair salon.
Of course, if you've read my previous blog post about Tasty Creations Bakery, you already know about this Pigtown treasure.
One of the most unique spots in all of Baltimore for entertainment, Pigtown's Mobtown Ballroom, located in a historic church, hosts social swing and lindy hop dances, dance classes - from jazz to belly dancing to aerial dance - art shows and live music.The Mobtown Ballroom hops almost every night of the week throughout the year. 
Pigtown's housing stock ranges from the traditional row homes, pictured here ...
... to the newly constructed homes of Camden Crossing.
Very few main streets boast their very own sculpture garden, but Pigtown does! Though private, this sculpture garden is easily visible from the sidewalk and showcases the work of internationally renowned sculptor Rodney Carroll, whose designs grace buildings, plazas and cultural institutions such as the d'Art Center in Norfolk, VA, the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Speaking of art, the people of Pigtown express pride in their neighborhood in many ways, from whimsical pig-themed murals and creative logos and t-shirts to the annual Pigtown Festival, which features live pig races, and a "Bloom the Boulevard" gardening day.
Goodbye from Pigtown!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Tasty Creations ... Quite the Understatement!

I have found the mother lode, and it is in Pigtown. 

For years, I have purchased "chocolate tops" at grocery stores and delis around the region, always considering them an extra special treat. Now, thanks to a recent visit to the Pigtown Main Street, I know the source of these perfect confections: Tasty Creations Bakery. After the visit, I had a spring in my step and a smile in my heart!

As you can see, the name "chocolate top" is very appropriate.

Tasty Creations supplies many of the region's best restaurants, delicatessens, and grocery stores, such as Eddie's of Roland Park, Attman's and Lenny's, with these and other cookies, pastries and cakes. Farther afield, you can find Tasty Creations' treats in places like Silver Spring's Parkway Deli & Restaurant and Rockville's Ize's Deli and Bagelry. Their Hamentashen (pictured above) is particularly popular.

The good people at Tasty Creations also just made it easier for companies to order platters, cakes, fruit and Zeke's Coffee - another Baltimore favorite - on-line by joining Foodify. Cannoli would certainly improve staff meetings.
Though Tasty Creations functions primarily a wholesale and catering operation, customers can also just pop in the shop to fulfill their craving. Danish anyone?
They also help Baltimoreans celebrate special occasions with cakes.
Though hard at work, the Tasty Creations employees graciously welcomed me into their business, and I could tell how much they like bringing joy to their customers through mouthwatering and affordable sweets. Perhaps that spring in my step and smile in my heart had a little to do with this, too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

More than ever, we love Baltimore

From the title of my blog, 'Baltimore You Are Marvelous,' readers of my words and viewers of my pictures understand that I am fiercely loyal to my city - Baltimore. And I am not alone. The people I know, and thousands of others I do not have the pleasure of knowing, also are fiercely loyal to the city they love.  Whether the city is riding a wave of optimism because of the thriving arts scene in Station North, businesses sprouting from the creativity of its residents, the reuse of old mill buildings, or the successful bicentennial celebration of the end of the War of 1812, they love it and will continue to support it as we all struggle to figure out how to make things right when confronting the reality that many of Baltimore's residents have not shared in recent positive changes. (Photo shows the American Visionary Art Museum)
The people who build their lives either wholly or in part within its borders - the people who live, work, go to school, open businesses, create art, play sports, restore buildings, walk through parks, sit on stoops - are the lifeblood of this city. They have a shared history, a common present, and intertwined hopes for the future. The people I know want Baltimore to be a place where all residents can thrive. (Photo shows the Tuesday Market in Hamilton/Lauraville)
This city is filled with loving, determined and talented people from all walks of life, and as I write this, they are participating in peaceful marches, opening the doors to their shops, supporting local businesses, sweeping streets, hosting arts and crafts hours and providing meals for children while school is closed, providing meals for first responders, and planting flowers. People far more eloquent than I have expressed their love and hope for Baltimore in recent days. I just wanted to add my two cents. (Photo of Patterson Park, Courtesy of Diana Sugg)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tulips and Togetherness at Sherwood Gardens

Last year, I visited Guilford's Sherwood Gardens a week too early to capture the tulips in bloom, and I promised myself I'd time my visit better this year. Today's visit did not disappoint! The only thing I liked better than the tulips was seeing so many people enjoying the day with the simplest of pleasures ... spending time with friends and family. I did not see a single cell phone or mobile device.

Instead, I saw people park their bikes and have a picnic ...
... climb trees ...
... play a friendly game ...

... sit and watch the world go by ...

Walk their canine companions and, in the case of the woman here, literally stop to smell the flowers ...

... go for a stroll ... kick a ball ...

... or just spend some quality time together.
Goodnight from Sherwood Gardens!