Why worry about travel, hotels and the costs associated with extravagant plans? Instead, find more hours in your summer days and more fun in the sun by hanging in nearby Mt. Washington and Baltimore.
Discover Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore’s premier destination for horticulture and environmental education.
Picnic on the grounds, stroll through the gardens, bird watch on the woodland nature trails, pay a visit to the historic mansion, and stop in at the nature museum.
Enjoy its Summer Jazz Series: Cylburn Sounds-Jazz in the Park, from 6-8 p.m. on July 13 and 27. Bring your own chair and picnic dinner.
The entrance to Cylburn is on Greenspring Avenue just south of Northern Parkway. Check their website for more programs or to become a member.
Or, explore Mt. Washington Arboretum, one of Baltimore’s best-kept secrets.
This tiny, one-acre gem of intense gardens is a public green space intended for contemplation and spiritual renewal. The showcase for native plants includes a pond with a waterfall, pergolas, handmade “art” benches, interpretive signs, a whimsical entrance archway crafted with tiles made by children from Mt. Washington Elementary School, and magical paths that wind through the arboretum.
The garden is maintained as a labor of love by a few dedicated volunteers. Find it at Lochlea Road at Kelly Avenue.
This arboretum is literally half a block from downtown Mt. Washington. Pick up a sandwich for an impromptu picnic in the garden, browse the shops, stop in at a café, or pop into Baltimore Clayworks after you visit the arboretum.
Looking for something different? Once you're in Mt. Washington, cross the Kelly Avenue Bridge and make a left on Falls Road (going north). There you can pick up lunch at the Haute Dog, parked next to Bonjour Bakery at 6070 Falls Road. Piggybacking on Baltimore’s food truck trend, this gourmet hotdog cart even offers a great vegetarian dog, along with homemade tomato relish or savory bacon onion jam. Hours vary.
After you turn left on Falls Road, turn left again at the first light and enter the self-contained retail community of Mt. Washington Mill, strung out along the Jones Falls. The location offers an opportunity to make your food purchases and then dine al fresco, perched on a 19th century stone wall that runs along the river.
Just before you come to Whole Foods’ driveway on the right, look for a diminutive, stand-alone building that houses the retail outlet for Charm City Cupcakes (1340 Smith Avenue)—when they sell out, they’re done, so get there early! Across from Whole Foods are a few other notable businesses, including Taharka Brothers Ice Cream, where you can order the addictive salty caramel flavored frozen treat, and Dogma, the pet boutique for cats and dogs at 1340 G Smith Ave.
On Wednesdays, Whole Foods hosts a farmers market from 3:30-6:30 p.m., where shoppers can meet local farmers and profits go directly to the growers.
If you want to cool off after all that shopping, the entrance to Meadowbrook Aquatic Center, the home training facility for Olympian Michael Phelps, is on your left as you are driving into the Mill (5700 Cottonworth Avenue). Summer memberships are available, or you can pay monthly. There is also a U. S. Post Office next to Meadowbrook, so you can take care take care of your mail at the same time.
If you need some exercise after your retail therapy and spiritual contemplation, head five minutes due north to Meadowood Regional Park. Located at the corner of Falls Road and Greenspring Valley Road, the park is a mecca for walkers, joggers, bikers, roller bladers and dog owners. A one-mile, paved network of paths winds through a rolling landscape that provides scenic view sheds and panoramic vistas. This is a park on steroids, with six athletic fields, a playground for the kids, and three pavilions available for private and corporate functions.