Every year on the first weekend of May, downtown Baltimore's streets bustle as tens of thousands of moviegoers visit local theaters to watch films shot, directed, and edited around the globe. The Maryland Film Festival, like a freakish hurdle sprinter, runs for five days and showcases about 50 feature films and 75 short pieces—ranging from documentaries to animations—many of which are presented by their respective filmmakers or celebrity guest hosts. Past hosts have included Ian MacKaye and Branford Marsalis, and legendary filmmaker John Waters regularly makes an appearance at the festival, hosting a feature film of his choice. Attendees may also stimulate and expand their sensory palates with special events that have included international flicks, three-dimensional movies, and vintage silent films synced to live music.
The Velleggia family first laid their roots in Little Italy in 1970, establishing a specialty grocery store where they began to sell a combination of imported and housemade Italian foods. Relying on time-tested traditions and natural ingredients, they continue their culinary venture in much the same manner today. The highlight at Casa di Pasta is the store's homemade and hand-cut pastas, from gnocchi and tortellini to 26 kinds of ravioli stuffed with the likes of butternut squash, lobster, or smoked mozzarella and mushroom. Premade pans of lasagna and frozen italian sausages round out the selection of homemade goods that customers can pick up for nightly dinners or to feed groups at parties. Coolers and shelves also brim with olive oils, vinegars, breads, sweets, and cheeses imported directly from the Old World.
Lauded by the Knot magazine in 2009 for its stylish nuptial bouquets, Rutland Beard Florist has enlisted creative designers to fashion floral arrangements since 1923. Nestled deep in the heart of the boutiques' fragrant mazes inspired by French flower markets, bouquets brimming with seasonal blooms, perennials, and tropical flora spill out of elegant vases and baskets. The nimble-fingered staffers also pile fresh fruit into gift baskets, and they assemble themed creations suitable for all occasions, such as anniversaries, birthdays, or a baby's first successful attempt at landing an airplane.
Scenic skylines and expansive harborside vistas entrance passengers on the Spirit of Norfolk as the triple-decker luxury cruise craft plies the tranquil waters of the Elizabeth River. Revelers can sip wine and take in the ocean breeze on the open-air upper deck or groove on dance floors in the two climate-controlled interior levels. Full-service bars and on-board buffets serve up plenty of drinks and mouthwatering food, and live DJs keep parties going strong with energetic tunes and a cappella versions of their favorite sea shanties.
Each suite at the Brookshire Suites contains a bedroom and a separate living room furnished with a sofa and oversized desk, providing you with all the amenities that come with the territory and none of the tigers that guard it. Along with fresh bathrobes, you can use a complimentary pass to work out in the nearby MAC Wellness Center, a world-class health club with more than 60 cardio stations, five pools (not stacked unvertically), four squash courts, a sauna, and a variety of yoga, Pilates, and spinning classes in six studios. Type-A guests who like to multi-task will enjoy full access to Brookshire Suites' business center, high-speed Internet, long-distance calling, and complimentary Bible and phonebook (don't mix them up). You'll also be steps away from Harborplace, home to many of Baltimore's finest waterfront restaurants, attractions, and hotspots. Come the dawn, you can load up at the Cloud Club's full breakfast buffet before heading home.
The inspiring trainers at each MetaBody location lead troops of workouteers in results-oriented workouts several times weekly. Sweat sessions utilize a variety of exercises and disciplines to produce full-body results in a supportive environment, ideal for beginners and hard-core core-hardeners alike. During any class, motivational instructors will use the instinctual distrust of routine to their advantage. Begin a day of litigating with a refreshing early-morning boot-camp session, or wind down by burning evidence and pounds with a late-evening yoga class. Muscles are kept guessing with new and challenging moves during each session, so participants never fall into a boring, ineffective routine, such as regular teeth brushing. In addition to the fitness classes, students receive a success guide to help prepare for imminent pound loss, a nutrition guide, and a $100 gift certificate for individual coaching. Because the pass sets a 5 or 10-class cap at any given location, roving fitness mavens can further shake up their workout regimens by vetting a series of classes or instructors that work best for them.