Mat About You's framing experts, whose work bedecks the walls of the Ritz Carlton, prepare everything from artwork to sports jerseys for eye-pleasing display. They pop pictures into ready-made frames or craft custom frames from their stock of molding to match patrons’ aesthetic sensibilities. Staffers also nestle keepsakes into 3D shadow boxes, help restore damaged photographs, and tap into museum-quality conservation techniques to preserve historic documents and sports memorabilia, such as the first tennis ball ever repurposed for a game of fetch.
Mat About You also boasts an on-site gallery stocked with potential frame fodder, such as original art, limited edition giclée reproductions, and open-edition prints. Customers can add extra pizzazz to their home decor thanks to the store's boutique collection, which brims with jewelry, furniture, pottery and ceramics, and garden adornments such as model solar systems to erect around sunflowers.
The American Visionary Art Museum devotes its space to original work by self-taught artists who honed their craft—often unintentionally—while operating on the outskirts of the formal art world. As temporary exhibitions explore a particular artist or theme in depth, the permanent collection displays thousands of powerful and often whimsical items, such as Wayne Kusy’s Lusitania, a detailed toothpick replica of the doomed vessel, or the haunting Applewood Figure, an emaciated sculpture said to wince whenever someone eats a piece of fruit. The museum spreads its arresting pieces throughout three historical buildings, including the expansive main building, which boasts a reflective mirrored-mosaic exterior and neighbors the Tall Sculpture Barn, an ex-whiskey warehouse fully equipped with 45-foot ceilings for large-scale projects. A wildflower garden—complete with meditation chapel—and a sculpture plaza featuring a 55-foot whirligig beckon visitors to the museum's outdoor space, where envious clouds shape themselves into crude versions of Pietà. Completing any trip, the museum's Sideshow gift shop stuffs shopping bags with an ever-rotating collection of eclectic artwork, jewelry, toys, and more.
The Baltimore Museum of Industry highlights the workers and small businesspeople whose contributions during the Industrial Revolution and beyond helped build the country’s framework. Visitors can take a gander at the museum’s 100,000-object collection—including an 1850s shipyard bell and an 1820s Acorn printing press—and romp through bygone eras, dropping by sites including the recently renovated 1865 Platt Oyster Cannery and a reproduction of the 1910 pharmacy where Noxzema was invented. Just beyond the interior walls lies the last operating steam tugboat in the nation, the coal-fired SS Baltimore, as well as the 1937 Mini-Mariner, a prototype for the WWII flying boat bomber, two pieces of aquatic history more inspirational than a sailor's duffle filled with Popeye quotes.
Featured in the Baltimore Sun, owner Tim McFadden teaches neophytes to design and shape seasonal blown-glass ornaments in hands-on workshops. Duos and quartets of apprentices assemble by a blazing forge to help inflate glass balloons that soon harden into icicle ornaments, pendants, or single-use snowball cores. One-of-a-kind pieces are available to take home the following day.
The Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards and the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum provide athletics addicts with a one-two punch of sporting history, using priceless artifacts and multimedia exhibits to illuminate the lives and deeds of some of America’s greatest athletic heroes. Visit the Sultan of Swat’s first home, also known as The House That Built Ruth, to view the bedroom in which he was born, relics such as his childhood catcher’s mitt, and exhibits touching on his professional accomplishments and personal life.
Recently featured in the Washington Times, Gertrude's is a salt-stained bastion of coastal cuisine, with a menu chock-full of Chesapeake classics. Chef and owner John Shields, a nationally acclaimed coastal-fare innovator, author, and crab whisperer, named the restaurant for his grandmother, Gertrude Cleary. Grandma Gertrude's traditional Baltimore crab cake recipe lives on at her namesake restaurant with a dinner order of Gertie's crab cakes ($20), which arrives dressed with a choice of eight sauces, including the Creole or three-mustard. It's served with a choice of sides such as apple and fennel coleslaw, hush puppies, or grilled rosemary potatoes. Other maritime entrees, such as the citrus barbecue shrimp ($24) and the Chesapeake rockfish imperial ($30), recognize each other from the Shark Week extras' green room and happily provide diners fishing for Bay fare authenticity with transcendent catches for immediate consumption. Also available are Gertie's seafood Creole ($24) and locally raised beef burgers ($10).