Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oregon Ridge

To say I am not an athletic person would be a gross understatement.  I learned early on that sports were only fun if you had a chance of winning, and as a person with zero athletic prowess, sports were miserable for me.  I would sit on the sidelines at little league soccer games, praying my coach wouldn't put me in, so that I could continue to sit on the sidelines and eat orange slices.  Why the other kids even wanted to leave the oranges was always beyond me.  There are, however, physical pastimes I will partake in A) for my health and B) because I do enjoy them.  These include occasionally going to yoga, walking home for work/the farmer's market, and hiking.  If I can force myself to walk home from work at least three times during the week, I give myself a large pat on the back and then cook myself some bacon.

Having lived in the Blue Ridge, I have high hiking standards.  I expect panoramic views of valleys with only a farmhouse or a silo.  I expect at least a four mile hike up that includes some semblance of rock climbing.  It's almost as though, because I don't really exercise at all, that I want to push myself more when I hike.  When I moved to Baltimore, I assumed hiking was off my list of physical pastimes, and I would have to start counting taking the stairs up to my apartment as exercise (I definitely do this in the winter).

Today is a beautiful day.  It's about 73 degrees outsides, there are scattered clouds, and I couldn't spend it indoors.  At least not all of it.  After the market, I put some snacks and water in my daypack, and Bubba and I headed north on 83 to Oregon Ridge Park. I have no idea where we hiked or what trails we took.  I took one glimpse at the map that said the longest hike was 1.6 miles, and immediately decided we'd just wing it instead and get some more distance in.  This is a decision that was much better for me and far worse for a dog with tiny, stubby little legs.
Not pictured: my shooing the dog away from eating dirt.
Oregon Ridge was busy today, presumably on account of it being a perfect Sunday.  We ran into many a couple, family or solo hiker on the trails.  There were people on the beach at the lake, a million folks having picnics by the stage, and many dogs to intimidate Bubba through the entire place.  It was lovely, though.  The two overlooks we came across weren't quite as majestic as the ones in the Blue Ridge, but that is to be expected.  They were lovely in their own right.

True majesty is a basset hound.
These trails are not demanding.  I saw plenty of children on them, not remotely struggling.  Bubba maneuvered the trails fine - he just struggled with the distance I forced upon him.  Lesson of the day: when I hike without a dog, I move twice as fast.  We were still able to stop on the old ski slope and enjoy some sunshine, snacks and a book.

An eerily empty lake: the telltale sign that it's no longer summer. 
So if you're new to Bmore and itching for some nature beyond the concrete jungle, head north on 83 to Oregon Ridge.  Be sure to bring a picnic to enjoy by the lake, and a swimsuit, if it's that kind of weather.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Cone Collection

I've professed my love for art in the past. This afternoon, after picking up my weekly produce and happiness from the market and taking the dog to a park, I figured I'd go see the new exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art.  I love the BMA and was excited to see the Baker Artist Awards.  As expected, there were wonderful exhibits from local artists which once again verified my belief that Baltimore artists are equally as talented, if not more so, than artists in larger cities.  Today I am not here to regale you with tales of the wonders of the BMA, though.  The BMA is undergoing some serious renovations and will be reopening their Contemporary Wing in November, at which point I'll scope it out and bore you with details then.
Today, I am here to tell you about the Cone Collection at the BMA.  Sometimes a girl just needs to revel in Matisse, Picasso, Cezanne, Van Gogh and Rodin, and the Cone Collection allows me to do just that.  So, many thanks to the wealthy Cone sisters who decided that Baltimore should hold onto their collection so that "the spirit of appreciation for modern art in Baltimore became improved."  Because the BMA is free, it allows people like myself to go in multiple times a month for the sole purpose of staring at late 19th Century sculpture on a whim, and for that I am incredibly grateful.  

Please be sure to support the BMA, or any art institute, and not just for my own selfish motives.  The arts are one of the main reasons Baltimore is such a great place to live, and keeping the arts affordable/free means keeping it accessible to everyone.