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.
“Pimlico is more than a dirt track bound by four streets,” explained then-Maryland Club president Alfred G. Vanderbilt 50 years ago. Vanderbilt was referring to Pimlico’s status as an “American institution,” a title it has earned as the country’s second oldest racetrack. Founded in 1870, Pimlico has weathered everything from World War II to the day steeds skipped work en masse to see Seabiscuit, and remains a popular destination to this day as host to the US Triple Crown’s second leg, the Preakness Stakes. In its four-star Terrace dining room, patrons dine on buffet breakfasts and lunches as they view thoroughbreds galloping to the finish line. Meanwhile, the screens in the venue’s Sports Palace project simulcasts of offsite races, and the patrons seated in the Jockey Club enjoy especially clear views of the competing horses without having to glue equine portraits to the insides of their sunglasses.
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.
Twin brothers and Parkville Lanes co-owners Edward and Brian Foreman have given sphere slingers a home for classic duckpin-style bowling since 1986 with 26 gleaming lanes. While the rules of duckpin bowling are similar to those of the traditional 10-pin game, bowlers play duckpin with softball-size bowling balls that lack treacherous finger traps, which they hurl at shorter, squatter pins with three throws per turn. Between turns, patrons can refresh at the snack bar, where steaming slices of pizza are chased with sips of brews and wine. Perfect for family-fun nights and dates with retired wrecking balls, Parkville Lanes can also accommodate larger parties for birthdays, wedding receptions, and bowling leagues.
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).