While studying flute performance and classical dance at the University of Wyoming, Michelle Shaw's endeavors were hampered by constant back pain. She sought relief through massage therapy and yoga, and this holistic care soon developed into a passion, inspiring her to attend the Baltimore School of Massage. She now helps others revel in muscle relief at Mount Vernon Wellness. Within a private treatment room overseen by a serene painting of Buddha, she eases sports- and work-related injuries, which are often caused by repetitive motion, poor posture, and pole-vaulting over cubicles. To treat these ailments, she draws on an array of modalities such as Swedish, deep-tissue, and reflexology massage. She also employs traditional Thai-massage techniques, which incorporate pressure-point therapy, energy work, and yoga-like stretching to regain bodily balance.
Housed in a grand townhouse, the Mount Vernon microbrewery offers patrons a carefully curated menu of imported sips, scotches, and brewed-on-site beers. For food, Chef Dave Newman keeps diners guessing with a menu that rotates with the four seasons practiced in the United States. For starters, try the house-made artichoke ravioli, glazed with Meyer lemon-infused butter and pistachio-mint pesto ($10). When you're ready to move on to more filling adventures, entrees include the inventive, crispy Utz-crusted cod with baby clams and smoky mountain bacon ($24), grilled shrimp with spring pea and mint risotto ($16), and grilled lamb loin ($28).
The clinks of wine and cocktail glasses echo in Sascha's 527 Cafe's decadent 19th-century townhouse, adorned with cascading red velvet curtains and ever-changing displays of artwork. Illuminated by flickering candles and prismatic glints from a crystal chandelier, shareable small plates introduce the menu's New American flavor with an emphasis on quality ingredients. Entrees include grilled and sautéed cuts of seafood, chicken, and steak, bathed with dynamic sauces and paired with wholesome produce. Patrons can whisper décor compliments into the ears of painted portraits residing on the eatery's walls, and then dig into a homemade dessert for a sweet jolt proven to be safer than drinking hot cocoa from a plugged-in toaster.
Maryland Wineries Association curates the abundant spread of wineries and vineyards that dot the state’s landscape, keeping tabs on the more than 400 wines they produce. Holders of the Maryland Wine Passport wind their way through the state’s six wine trails, tracking their progress as they taste vintages and take photos with their favorite vines. The site also keeps track of local wine news and upcoming winery events.
A newcomer to the city's pub scene, Alewife offers an extensive beer list and a meat-heavy lineup ideal for gorging before catching a show. Sip a sweet, hoppy Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA ($5.50) or a bourbon-cider cocktail ($10), while memorizing the menu, which features classic favorites with a twist. Entrees include the 11 oz. Smoke burger, a brioche bun stuffed with house-ground rib-eye, brisket, skirt and filet of beef, topped with fancy accoutrements such as chipotle aioli and served with a side of herbed duck-fat fries ($15). Or, hang a fang on the Kobe-beef hot dog, an upscale version of the American staple, slumbering on a soft pretzel roll and smothered in wild boar black-bean chili, smoked gouda, pickled red onions, mustard, and accompanied by herbed duck-fat fries ($12). Before slipping into a meat-induced coma, be sure to admire Alewife’s stained-glass windows, exposed pressed-tin ceiling, and wall of commemorative souvenir spoons, which represents every failed suitor the dish ever had.
For $10, oenophiles can enjoy a DIY wine tasting in a laid-back setting at Chesapeake Wine Company instead of spending the usual $20. With this Groupon, choose up to eight wines from a list of 25, or ask a server to choose for you, Pepsi-challenge style. Baltimore Magazine rated the Canton "bar-in-a-wine-shop" Best Wine Bar in 2007.