Hotspots in Baltimore, MD
Filled with old tunnels and hanging bridges, waterfalls, hiking trails, and a river Patapsco State Park is the perfect afternoon destination when you are trying to diversify your workout routine. The hiking trails are a little more challenging than those you would encounter at other area parks, there are also many more miles of trails. Patapsco has over 170 miles of trails along the Patapsco River. In addition to hiking the trails in the wooded areas and mountains there are areas to play catch, a trail filled with waterfalls, and a swinging bridge that is just fun to run across!
Well known as one of the best sledding hills in the Baltimore Area, Oregon Ridge has much more to offer than just a great hill during the infrequent Baltimore snow falls. They have a wonderful nature center full of rangers who are knowledgeable about the park and would be happy to steer you in the right direction once you arrive at the park. You can choose from hiking, walking, and running on the trails, a stroll down by the stream, and enjoy one of Baltimore County's best kept secrets. The beach at Oregon Ridge is such a great secret that people who have grown up a few miles from Oregon Ridge did not know existed, originally a quarry it has been filled with spring water and is a great alternative than making that 3 hour drive to Ocean City, MD.
For the beer aficionado out there stop in to Max's Belgian Beer Fest. This year it runs from February 18-20 and they were able to secure discount rates at the Admiral Fell Inn and Marriott Courtyard Downtown. You can choose from over 120 Belgian beers on draft and 175 different varieties of bottled Belgian beer, you will get the full Belgian experience when you order from the special full menu featuring Belgian food. If you are not a beer lover have a chat with the bartender who will be able to suggest a couple choices that might appeal to you after finding out what your tastes are like. If you do not go in a Belgian beer fan you are sure to find some that will have you coming back to the Beer Fest next year.
A visit to the Chase Court website tells you everything you need to know about the venue -- in a business where many sites are stingy with web information (but generous with the suggestions that you contact them for a sales pitch), Chase Court is almost overwhelmingly informative. There are photos galore, usage suggestions for each area of the properly, money-saving ideas for couples on a tight budget, a list of the site's eco-friendly measures, a specific welcome for couples of every spirituality and sexuality, photos of Goth and Renaissance weddings and the list goes on. The owners are here to help. It's also a lovely 19th Century Gothic Revival building (originally a church parish house, now privately owned) with flexible rental options and classic backdrops to suit a variety of indoor and outdoor weddings. Rentals ensure exclusive access to the entire building and grounds. Rates start at $2,700.
One of the best things to do during the cold winter months is to stay warm, and one way of doing this is to take in a movie. The historic Senator Theatre in Baltimore will take you back to a time when going to the movies was a big event, when people dressed up and there was only one movie showing. When you walk into the lavish looking lobby you might feel underdressed, and when you walk into the theatre with a curtain covering the screen you will for a moment think you are at a play. This theatre is where you can go to experience the movies instead of just seeing a movie. Some other highlights include the delicious popcorn, huge screen, and great sound quality. The only downside is that there is only one screen therefore only one movie showing at a time.
The Engineers Club in Mount Vernon is exquisitely beautiful. The club's 19th Century Garrett Jacobs Mansion offers over 40 rooms, including a glass-enclosed courtyard, grand foyer, conservatory and elegant ballroom. There's dark wood, high ceilings, spiral staircase, a Tiffany glass dome, 16 fireplaces and over 100 windows. Only one event is scheduled per day, so the mansion is all yours on your special day. Onsite coordinators take care of the day completely, and the building, staff and food all earn rave reviews from former brides. Unfortunately, perfection never comes cheap. Rentals require a membership fee (you don't have to be an engineer) plus per-person dinner charges of over $100. If your budget is tight, consider Sunday brunch. The Engineers Club is an ideal place for a winter wedding, with Christmas decorations and lots of little white lights to offset a winter evening.
If you love watching the figure skaters every four years during the Winter Olympics then lace up your skates, or the skates you rented, and head down to the ice rink. One of the best ice rinks around is Patterson Park Ice Rink, this rink is in the historic Patterson Park in Baltimore City and offers an excellent view of the Inner Harbor. If the idea of snow and wind coming off the Bay,whipping in your face is less than appealing rest assured because the Ice Rink is enclosed. There is also a heated changing room and snack bar so you can warm up and change in comfort. So head down for public skate times or head down to take in a game of ice hockey or take part in a broomball game.
A cup of tea can really warm you up on a cold day and a tea house offers more tea selections than you can imagine, but if the idea of a tea house featuring an afternoon tea full with tea sandwiches doesn't sound like something you would enjoy then head over to Teavolve Cafe and Lounge. Here you can still get that huge variety of teas, they have over 48 loose white, green, black, and fruit blend teas for you to choose from. On Friday's and Saturday's you can enjoy live music and possibly one of the best features of this contemporary tea house is the menu that features items made from local produce and bakeries.
One great thing about Baltimore is that after about an hour in the car you are ready to hit the slopes. While Ski Liberty is no Vail it is a great place to have some fun, especially good for beginners because many of the trails are short. One of the best features is the snow tubing. Here you can tube down the huge hill or, if you have little ones, head over to the kiddie hill for kids between the ages of 2 and 4. For the snowboarder who wants to try their hand at freestlye, head on over to the freestyle area where you will be put into designated areas based on skill level and practice all your moves on rails and tabletops. If you are new to skiing no worries! Ski Liberty offers lessons and a great lodge where you can warm by the fire with a cup of Starbucks and a Belgian waffle topped with all your favorite toppings. A word to the wise, try to avoid going in the afternoons during the weekend and instead try to hit the slopes for an early morning trip or better yet enjoy the night ti
One great reason to visit Baltimore during the winter is to take advantage of restaurant week (January 21-30, 2011), with popular upscale chain restaurants like Ruth's Chris and local favorites like Blue Agave offering select three course meals for $35. Some restaurants offer a three course lunch for only $20 so you can eat great for a great price all day! This is an opportunity to try out some new restaurants that may be out of your price range or to visit some old favorites and just take advantage of the deal. If you do decide to eat at one of the participating restaurants be sure to make a reservation and leave early enough to allow yourself time to find parking if you are headed downtown.