Summertime Staycation

June 26, 2014
BY Simone Ellin, Melissa Gerr, Heather Norris and Marc Shapiro
When being a tourist in your own city is the best vacation of all

Captain Isaac Emerson built the Bromo Seltzer clock tower, modeled after the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, in 1911 as a way to advertise his headache remedy of the same name. While it originally featured a rotating cobalt blue Bromo Seltzer bottle on top and rented offices below, it has since been converted by the city into a collection of artist studios open to the public and including access to the not-to-be-missed clock tower control room.

Baltimore’s Office of Promotion and the Arts offers visitors the chance to ride the original gated elevator, complete with a lever that controls the movement of the machine, to the top of tower. There they can venture up a short stair ladder to the clock control room. Once inside, visitors are surrounded by the four enormous 24-feet-in-diameter faces of the clock and can observe the huge metal gears as they tick away each minute.

On the way down, staff encourage taking the stairs so that guests can stop into the multitude of artist studios and chat with the occupants. From photographers to illustrators, painters and more, the building is full of more than 30 resident artists looking to share their work, in addition to sweeping views of Camden Yards and downtown. For more information, visit bromoseltzertower.com.

Being a tourist can work up an appetite and one of Eddie Roger’s preferred pastimes during the summer is visiting a farmers’ market. Almost every neighborhood hosts a weekly market of vegetables, flowers, fruits and even prepared foods. The sprawling Baltimore Farmers’ Market and Bazaar happens each Sunday from 7 a.m. to noon through Dec. 21, but if something smaller is preferred, the Druid Hill Farmers’ Market each Wednesday from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. through Sept. 24 is a bit more manageable in size. Visitors can participate in outdoor yoga or exercise classes and other activities in addition to shopping. Look for locally handmade goods such as scented soaps and jewelry as well as plants to grow on your own and of course farmers’ fresh offerings. Don’t forget to pick up veggies for the grill. For more information visit druidhillpark.org.

For a meatier grilling adventure, look to Baltimore’s first hometown barbecue sauce, launched by Baltimore Barbeque Company.

Co-founders Adam Rosenblatt and Don Fisher met through their children and a shared love of backyard barbecuing. After competing in a few barbecue contests together the pair decided to launch their own brand. From the packaging to the mixing of the ingredients, everything about Baltimore Barbeque Company’s product is local. One of the two flavors the company offers, the Chesapeake Style option, even boasts a kick of Old Bay, in true Maryland fashion.

“People around here seem to love barbecue,” said Rosenblatt. “It’s really a local pride thing.”

Few things pair better with barbecue than a nice cold beverage. Charm City Tribe Rabbi Jessy Gross suggested local libations at Union Craft Brewing outside of Hampden. The brewery, founded by locals Adam Benesch, Jon Zerivitz and Kevin Blodger, will celebrate its two-year anniversary on Aug. 9.

The brewery’s year-round beers include Duckpin, a pale ale; Balt, a German-style altbier; Blackwing, a lager; and the brewery’s newest beer, Anthem, a golden ale brewed in honor of the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key’s anthem. The brewery makes about two or three one-off beers each season and has produced about 25 beers so far.

“That’s a great way to experiment,” Benesch said. “A lot of times, we think about beers we want to drink.”

The brewery is set to undergo its third expansion, which will double the size of its taproom and include a dry storage area, which will open up room in the brewery for more tanks. Union Craft is set to brew 5,600 31-gallon barrels this year, more than double last year’s brew. Those barrels could fill more than 10,000 kegs, or about 80,000 cases. For more information, visit unioncraftbrewing.com.

Gallant also suggested touring Heavy Seas in southwest Baltimore, which boasts six year-round beers such as Loose Cannon and Pegged Leg and a variety of seasonal beers. Visit hsbeer.com. Also on Gallant’s list is Frederick’s Flying Dog Brewery, which offers a large variety of year-round and seasonal beers, each sporting original art by Ralph Steadman. For more information, visit flying dogbrewery.com.

sellin@jewishtimes.com
mgerr@jewishtimes.com
hnorris@jewishtimes.com
mshapiro@jewishtimes.com
Photos by David Stuck, Marc Shapiro and Melissa Gerr

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