Monday, August 22, 2016

Taking in What Baltimore Has to Offer....!

Timeless architecture at its best!

Someone you recognize?

Hello Luvs,

Hope your weekend was restful and joyous. Mine flew by like lightning. Trying to really focus on where I want to go with this blog and performance of my music dictates that I tackle something everyday. Trying to stay in the moment as much as possible (which can be challenging) helps to slow down a life that can quickly pass you by.
Never get enough of this....
This awaited us when we got
out of our car.

Many of my friends and family live where temperatures are extreme and dangerous. Getting out to do activities in open spaces can be hazardous. The hours between 10-2 are like a ghost town here at the pool (which is how it should be!). Sunscreen doesn't always do the trick. So, many either stay in or take part in activities that are at a location in which they'll have to pay. That is if they are lucky enough to have something fairly close.

Being in Pennsylvania we have seen almost 90 degree weather with a fair amount of rain. Because of this our priority yesterday was to try to find something that would be indoors and within a ninety minute drive. We decided on Baltimore, Maryland. Something educational was preferred. The Hubster checked out the site for the Walters Art Museum. Turns out that it is free! They are open from 10-5 on Sunday, so it gave us plenty of time to sleep in, have breakfast, and make the drive without having to worry about the museum closing. I threw together egg and cheese biscuits and we were on our way.

This lovely knocker was at the
entry to the stairs shown below.
If only I had one of these!
One thing we've found is that the traffic has not been too crazy. Maybe it is because we choose off days to do our activities. If you are a person who does not thrive in crowds it might suit you better also. We found free parking just down the street from the side entrance. I had a chance to see the main entrance while checking my umbrella in. They have self-check which I always like. It was good that I brought my umbrella because it rained cats, dogs, squirrels, and possums. Luckily we were inside the museum at the time, and it slowed up just enough for us to get to the car without being drenched.

These busts are renditions of
William and Henry Walters.
The stairs were smooth
along with the art
positioned at the top/
Now about the museum....! About two thirds of the art pieces housed inside the museum were bequeathed by Henry Walters upon his death. He stipulated that he wanted it to be 'enjoyed by the public'. Both Henry and his father William were art collectors, and what they amassed is impressive. There was so much to take in that the blog would be two full pages if I went into a detailed description of it all. However, I can tell you that the love of collecting was sparked in William while he was in Europe during the American Civil War. It ranges from Tiffany jewelry pieces to armor to statues/busts. To learn more about this amazing family (including William's daughter Jennie with wife Ellen) please click the links below.

William Thompson Walters:


Lalique beauty...
Thinking about visiting the museum click here to learn more:

There were two exhibits that I loved beyond words. The first was the very the armor room I mentioned above. There are impressive displays of full armor for both an adult and child/small adult(?), a mace, two-handed long swords, French fighting swords, crossbows, flintlocks, and more...! The second was a room that had jewelry made by Tiffany and RenĂ© Jules Lalique. I have included a few pictures of my favorites. All of them are substantial in size and equally breathtaking. 
Another Lalique masterpiece!

Could you imagine
wearing this eye catcher!?!?
Doing your homework before arriving at your destination (or at least your first day at the location you are visiting) allows you to live more like a local. We tend to lean toward free activities and/or performances. Local publications usually list special events (free or low cost) that the typical tourist would not come across. Another resource is reddit. The Hubster reaches out and asks for family and special occasion happenings near where we're going. If you do not reddit then Indy publications are your best bet. There is a section toward the back usually.
African Venus...STUNNING!
Wise words...right? know that we would not go to a city and not try out a recommended eatery. We chose Burger Bros. It had a $$ dollar sign, and has many positive reviews. The restaurant was fairly busy even at 3:00. We decided on a cheeseburger, two bacon cheeseburgers, ten wings with traditional sauce, and a large order of french fries to share between us. Baby Girl also got a mint shake, Baby Boy a bottled soda while the Hubster and I shared a small refillable fountain soda. So how did it stack up? Well, we had a bit of sticker shock. The bill came up to $48.25 (after tax). We usually try to keep our bill down to about $40 for a family of four. It was our splurge meal of the week, but it felt a little overpriced. The mint shake was green but tasted of vanilla with coloring added and called mint. The burgers were tasty and the wings had the perfect amount of kick (signaled by their orangish-red hue). However, the Hubster had one that tasted questionable. I should add that the fries were also delicious (very similar to Five Guys), however there was not quite enough to feed the four of us (we asked the counter person if it would when we ordered). We normally do not share a soda, and Baby Boy would usually get a shake also. It would have been another $10 if we did that! As for our ratings (1-10) for a place that is not full service would be 6.5 for taste/5.0 for value.
Located at the
main entrance

What do you think? Does that price seem reasonable? If you live in the Towson (where Olympic Champion Michael Phelps is from) area is this the typical price? As we venture through other areas during our road schooling I will be sharing places that are really budget conscious and leave you feeling good about the experience, or at the very least in your comfort zone. When they are not I will let you know that also. Of course everyone has their perspective and ideas regarding value. My opinion is usually based on feeding four on a single income.

Vanilla in color.
As the evening winded down we were treated with an unbelievably beautiful sky full of clouds. There were pink, grey, black, and blinding white ones that all seemed as if they were forward would with a lovely blue backdrop. I was snapping pictures like a crazy lady! Might have startled the family a few times!!!
You could tell by the color
that they would have kick!

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Baby Girl's cheeseburger....!

Til next time,

Dreams of cotton candy and neapolitan ice cream.....

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