Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Disorganized R Us!

I've been having a little trouble getting back into the swing of things since getting home from Massachusetts late Sunday night.  I know for a fact that I am not making the best use of my time and yet, I can't seem to help myself.  I just want to sit mindlessly in front of the computer playing Farkle and Lexulous on Facebook or curl up on the couch and watch bad movies or DVR'd TV shows that have been waiting patiently in the queue.

There's probably really nothing wrong with that except that I have a ton of pictures I should be editing as well as a few posts to write about this past weekend, a few posts that I still want to write about Baltimore, other assorted posts that I want to write, blogging friends that I need to pay a visit to, and never mind the housework that has piled up!  I'm sure Jamie would love it if I'd help her clean up and organize Amanda's stuff a little bit so she could feel more settled into her new room but the best I've done so far is go to the Home Depot to buy a few more boxes and storage bins.

Sheesh ... and I call myself a Virgo!  I should be ashamed of my formerly immaculate and organized self!

On a positive note, I did get Jamie over to the hair salon today so that she could get her hair cut - something she has been asking me about since last week.  It's kind of funny that one of the first things that both she and Amanda did when they no longer lived with their father was request new hair styles which just goes to prove that they really are sisters whether they want to admit it or not!

I think her new cut looks great and the stylist assured her that it's very easy to get that spiky look in the back with very little effort. There's plenty of styling product left around the house that Amanda didn't pack off to college with her that she can use so we should be all set there and Lisa - bless her heart! - sent Jamie a box of make-up and jewelry and things yesterday that she absolutely loves so she's good in the "trendy" department, too. Now if I could just get motivated enough to help her straighten out her "new" room ... maybe tomorrow??

Oh, and is it just me or does Jamie look a bit like Sarah Palin in the picture with her hands up?  I mean, maybe it was just the moose antlers she was making over her head or maybe it's her glasses or maybe it's just that I need to wear my glasses more often or maybe I'm just crazy- always a distinct possibility!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Monday Moment

Whew!  What a weekend but Amanda is apparently happily ensconced in her new college home, Jamie is happily moving her things into Amanda's old room, Tesla is happily napping in his favorite spot, and - believe it or not - I'm happily off to work for the next 16 hours!  Sometimes being at work gives me a chance to regroup and even, dare I say it?, relax a tiny bit - especially when I've had a busy weekend like this past one.

Pictures and stuff later on; this post is really just to say hi and to thank you all for the support and love that you've shown to myself, Amanda, and Jamie.  It has neither gone unnoticed or unappreciated!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

She's Leaving Home (Bye Bye)

There were times when I never thought this day would get here and there were times when I thought this day was getting here way too fast.

Amanda is leaving for college today - or more accurately - I am dropping Amanda off at college in Massachusetts today with the help of my good friend Andrew who volunteered to pile her belongings into the back of his pick-up truck and deliver them to her new residence.  Andrew, bless his heart, knows I have a bad back that prevents me from going too overboard on hauling boxes, etc. and with Amanda moving into an actual house and not a dormitory, there are more boxes than one normally has when going off to college. As the song says, "I get by with a little help from my friends" and Andrew is indeed one of the best friends a gal could have.

Once his truck is unloaded, Andrew will wave good-bye as he heads back to Connecticut while I'll be sticking around Montserrat for lunch on the Beverly Common followed by Parents' Orientation.  At 2:00 all family and friends will bid their college freshmen farewell as the newly-minted frosh embark on the first part of their college adventures.  From the sounds of their Orientation Weekend, it's going to be a lot of fun in between all of the getting your bearings and making new friends and getting settled into your residence houses and familiarizing yourself with a new community.

I've got no doubt that Amanda will do just fine especially considering all the freshman will be planning, designing, and attending the "Second Night Semi-Strange Formal" on Sunday and Amanda has 'semi-strange' down to a science!  In spite of her nerves and trepidation, I think she'll find she fits right in as she realizes her dream of attending art college.  It's a big step but a step that I think she'll be successful at.

As for me, I've never sent a kid off to college before so this is all new territory for me.  I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be releasing a sigh or two of relief as I put Beverly in my rearview mirror but I also get the sneaky feeling that in spite of my protestations that it ain't gonna happen, I'll probably be wiping away a tear or two also.  The last few weeks have been incredibly stressful for both of us and even though I know for a fact I can use a break from the kid, I'm still going to miss her.  Just don't tell her I told you that as I've been telling her for the past few months that I've been counting down the days until she goes - I just never really said why.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Five on Friday - The EP Version

For this week's Five on Friday meme created by Travis, I asked Amanda if she'd like to give me five more videos being that she's off to college tomorrow and in order for me to get further choices from her, I'm going to have to nag her via email or text being that she won't be here for me to do it in person!  Of course, I'll Jamie here so I can always get some of her picks but for now, it seemed appropriate to give Amanda one more round as sort of a "send off".

Rather than giving me five assorted songs, Amanda chose what she could find on YouTube for her favorite alternative-rock band Ludo's EP Broken Bride.  The EP is a rock opera concept and the five songs tell the story of The Traveler, a man who loses his love in a tragic accident and 15 years later finally manages to complete the time machine he's been building in order to go back and save her.  Of course, things don't exactly go as planned and The Traveler ends up back in the Jurassic Period before he rockets forward to the Apocalypse before finally getting to the point in time where he needs to be when his wife gets into the car for her fateful drive.

Per Amanda, don't watch the last three videos but just listen to the music as all she could find were Final Fantasy versions of the songs on YouTube.  The first two are versions with the lyrics.  I've listened to the EP numerous times while in the car - and around the house - and it's really not that bad; matter of fact, the last song has managed to put a lump in my throat from time to time but don't tell anyone I told you that - I don't want to blow my "tough" image!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010


I may not be around the Blogosphere much this week for several reasons - the first and foremost being that I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed out on several personal levels which has left me feeling nothing but 'blah'. It doesn't help that I am an August allergy sufferer and they have kicked in full force this past week leaving me feeling blah with a side of sneezy, itchy, and a constant headache.

I would love to spend the week in bed with the covers over my head but this is also Amanda's final week before college so there's a lot to do. I just have no ambition to do it. Figures, huh?

Anyhow, like Ahnold "I'll be bach" - I'm just not sure when.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Five on Friday - More Movie Music

It appears that I am running a bit late for my Five on Friday post but - as is the story of my life lately - there's lots to do and seemingly little time to do it!  Well, okay truth be told, today's excuse is that I'm switching over to Direct TV later on today and while waiting for the technician to come over to do the installation I figured I had best watch the four TV episodes I had recorded on my Comcast DVR before it got disconnected. Probably a lousy excuse but I didn't want to miss the two episodes of Burn Notice, one of The Closer, and other one of Flashpoint that I had saved!  I really don't watch much TV but those three are my favorites when Doctor Who is no longer in season.

Anyhow, all excuses aside, this week I decided to grab some of my favorite movie music along with one song from a video game that I think is pretty cool, too.  Amanda has introduced me to a lot of music used on video games that is really, really good so never discount them as an awesome source of music!  For this week I grabbed the two pieces of music from Inception that I could find on Playlist.com - one by my favorite composer Hans Zimmer and the other by Zack Hemsey; there's a piece from Shutter Island by Max Richter; Mombasa Suite 6:41 is from Halo 2 (a game I will never ever play but which has great music); and from Watchmen a piece by Vitaliy Zavadskyy.

I hope you enjoy this week's choices and if you get a chance, please stop by Trav's Thoughts and check out the other participants in his Five on Friday meme. Heck, you might even want to join in one of these days!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

Mount Vernon District - Baltimore
I've got plenty more pictures to post from Baltimore but they're going to have to keep for awhile longer - along with those of Fort Adams - as the next couple days are sure to be busy.  Oh heck, the next couple of weeks are sure to be busy but I don't want to panic myself so will stick with the concept of just "the next couple of days" for now.

First and foremost, Jamie has arrived safely back in New England and is happily ensconced over in her brother's house in Rhode Island until after the end of the month.  My fears of her getting lost in the Philadelphia airport were for naught as when she went to check in for her flight in Tampa they asked her if she'd like to arrive in Providence earlier and take a flight through Washington DC instead.  She said that she would and for that, she ended up flying FIRST CLASS into Providence and arrived at 11:24 rather than 2:29.  I guess you can't beat that with a stick!  Luckily her brother was able to get out of work early and meet her at the airport when she arrived.

I'm meeting my good friend Rhonda for our once-a-month luncheon later today and then after that I hope to get over to Rhode Island to visit with Jamie for a bit and take stock of what she did - and didn't - bring up from Florida with her.  My son says she had one suitcase with basically just crap in it so it seems that we are starting over from scratch with her.  Why am I not surprised?  The same thing seemed to happen to Amanda back in October of 2005 if I remember correctly. Grrrr ...

Wednesday will find myself, Amanda, and our friend Paula heading down to New York City to attend a taping of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire followed by yet another attempt to pass the quiz to get into the contestant pool.  Fourth time's charm, maybe?  This time, though, Amanda is also old enough to take the test so maybe she'll have better luck than I and then she could get on the show and make enough to pay for the next three years of college on her own!   A mom can dream, can't she?

I've not decided whether to drive into the city yet or drive part-way and then take the Metro North Railroad the rest of the way in.  Right now I'm leaning towards driving as it would be a lot more economical plus it would give us more time to do a couple other things while we were in Manhattan.  I guess I'll need to make up my mind soon or just play it by ear come Wednesday morning.

Baltimore School for the Arts
This coming Saturday evening after putting in some overtime at work, I'll be heading over to Hope Valley, Rhode Island (which is right down the road from Wyoming, Rhode Island where my son lives) to take some family portraits for one of the ladies I work with along with her son's Senior Class pictures.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that I do a good job!  Following the family photo-shoot the girls and I will be hanging out for a cookout which sounds like fun and means I don't have to worry about what's for dinner!  Before coming back to Connecticut I'll drop Jamie back off at Michael's house as things are going to be real busy around here the following week.

Next week is going to come up and go by probably way too quickly as I poke and prod Amanda to get the rest of her things together for college as she'll be going up for Orientation Weekend on the 29th.  I was a bit concerned whether or not my car was going to be big enough to fit all of the things she needs to take up with her but I need not worry as my good friend and handyman, Andrew, has offered to help us move her things up there being that he has a truck and because "that's what friends are for".  The guy is a true gem, he really is!

Following the probably-not-tearful-but-perhaps-wistful parting at Montserrat I'm going to be heading towards Tewksbury to meet up with my cruise cabin companion and blogging buddy Barb who will be here in the nawth visiting her Sisterdears.   But I won't be doing that before I swing by Lexington/Concord in search of a few pictures near Minute Man Park.  I've got my fingers crossed for good weather which would be a first as every time I've gone up to Montserrat it's been rainy and I've had to skip going to Concord.

Anyhow, that's it for now, I'm not sure how much I'll be around the blogosphere between now and the end of the month but I'll do my best to pop in here and there so I don't get too far behind and lose track of everyone!  With any luck, I can squeeze in another Baltimore post or two also - ya never know!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back to Baltimore, Part 6: The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum

Amanda, Darci, & I at Poe's House

My tour of the Poe House has been moved and can now be found at The Edgar Allan Poe House in Baltimore at The Distracted Wanderer. Hope you'll head over there to take a walk through with me! 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday Stuff

Random Baltimore ChurchI have no idea what church this is in Baltimore, it's just one that I saw while sitting at a stoplight while on my way to someplace and I snapped a quick picture of it.  I could probably drive around Baltimore for days just taking pictures of steeples and spires and still not get them all!

Last night just before midnight Amanda and I drove up to the top of Plain Hill Road here in Norwich to find a dark place to watch a bit of the meteor shower.  We saw a few but I think we saw more planes; apparently Norwich is directly underneath a very busy flight pattern!

In an unexpected turn of events, Jamie will be flying up this way on Monday rather than after the end of the month as I had expressly desired.  Rather than come here and deal with the whole drama of Amanda's last two weeks before college, she's going to stay with my son and daughter-in-law at their home in Rhode Island until after August 28th.

I am eternally grateful to Mike and Laura for not just taking Jamie in but also for being able to pick her up at the airport in Providence as my ex booked her on a flight without consulting with me first as to my availability to pick her up and she's flying in smack in the middle of my 16-hour shift on Monday.

I could do a lot more mumbling and grumbling about the whole thing but he reads my blog and I've already been accused of bad-mouthing him all the time and telling untruths so I'm not going to say another thing about it other than I hope Jamie has a safe flight, manages to find her connecting flight in Philadelphia, and doesn't get too bored waiting there for 3 hours.  And yes, I'm biting my tongue!

On a completely different note, I'm going to ask all of you for prayers and good thoughts & wishes for my blogging and real-life friend Callie Ann who has been in the hospital for what was supposed to be a short stay but which has turned into a lot longer and a lot more complicated stay.  She originally went in for pneumonia but ended up being put on a ventilator and now her kidneys are failing, too.  Her friends have been keeping us updated on Facebook but it hasn't been good news so far so I'd appreciate if you'd all send up a prayer or a good thought or whatever it is that you do when folks are in need because Callie Ann could use them all.  She's a true nut and a wonderful gal and I'm real worried about her.

My cousin and I had a nice trip over to Newport, Rhode Island yesterday to check out Fort Adams (which I thought had more of a Civil War history but was wrong about).  I've got lots of pictures - as if I didn't! - and will get around to doing a post one of these days once I finish up Baltimore - which may take awhile at the rate I'm going!

That was my first trip to Newport and honestly, I wasn't all that impressed but that's probably because I'm just not into places that are crammed with tourists.  I think if I ever go over again I'd like to do so during the off-season.  I wonder if this means I'm turning into an unsociable curmudgeon?

Tonight I'm planning on being quite sociable as Amanda and I have been invited up to my friend and much-appreciated handyman Andrew's house for a cook-out.  He's doing chicken, squash, and corn on the grill and that sounds delicious!  Amanda doesn't like squash or corn but that's okay - I'll eat her share!  Hmm, I wonder if I can talk him into letting me try one of the Yuengling ales I brought back up from Baltimore for him??

I hope everyone has a nice Saturday wherever you are and whatever you're doing!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Five on Friday - Amanda's Choice Videos

Happy Friday the 13th to you and welcome to another version of Travis' Five on Friday meme wherein I turned the controls over to Amanda.  I'm taking a bit of a break on my Baltimore posts and am off on a semi-local roadtrip today with my cousin Amy to Newport, Rhode Island.  We're going in search of Fort Adams - an old Civil War fort that I've been meaning to get to for over a year now - and as such I asked Amanda yesterday to choose five of her favorite videos for this week's post.  She very happily obliged as she loves sharing her favorite music as much as we all do - though being a teenager, her favorite music can be a bit "different" from time to time!  Three of these songs I've heard on a very constant basis but as for videos #1 and #4 - they were both new to me, too.

Don't forget to swing by Trav's Thoughts and check out more of the Five on Friday participants then be sure to have yourself a very lucky day!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to Baltimore, Part 5: The Hotel Brexton

Yesterday I posted the following picture and asked everyone to leave me their guesses as to what they thought it was. Everyone was pretty spot-on about it being a spiral staircase but most seemed to think that it was a spiral staircase in a lighthouse which is a good guess but not quite right. Granted, I did play around with the picture a little bit ...


To find out what the real answer is and to get a tour of one of Baltimore's best boutique hotels click here to read the whole story complete with the original picture at The Distracted Wandererer, my travel blog.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Not Quite Wordless Wednesday


I would be willing to bet that there are a couple of you who can tell me what this picture is of so while I'm editing pictures and working on my next post of Baltimore go ahead and tell me what you think it is.  No prizes for being right, though - sorry!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back to Baltimore, Part 4: The Parks of Mount Vernon Place

Now that I've covered the Washington Monument, the architecture of the buildings in the vicinity, and the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church it's finally time to move on to the park squares that surround the monument in the shape of a Greek cross. I thought perhaps an aerial view might give you a better understanding of what I'm talking about but not having had access to an aerial balloon which would have been the best method to get a good picture, I used one from Google Maps.

This picture was taken from the direction of downtown Baltimore and the Inner Harbor heading north; the Mount Vernon UMC, which sits on the northeast corner, can be easily spotted and serves as a good indicator of direction.  Truth be told, were I a smarter woman, I would have looked at this aerial map before I went to Baltimore but live and learn I guess!

Colonel Howard
Anyhow all lamenting aside, as previously noted, Colonel John Eager Howard died in 1827, two years before the completion of the Washington Monument which stands on land he gave to the City of Baltimore.  Following the death of the former Governor of Maryland, his heirs laid out the four park squares surrounding the Monument in the form of a Greek Cross. The squares running north and south from the Monument are named Washington Place and those laid out to the east and west are named Mount Vernon Place.  If you ever decide to go to Baltimore and check out the area yourself, type either of those streets into your GPS unit and you'll have no problems getting there.

As mentioned in previous posts, in the 1840s the City of Baltimore really began to boom and the town started to grow out towards the Monument which stands on the highest point in the city.  Colonel Howard's family sold lots bordering the four parks to some of the city's most prominent families who in turn built some of the most elegant townhouses to be found in Baltimore. As the fashion of the day changed, so did the landscape of the parks. At one time trees were allowed to grow tall but then they were cut down as they marred the view and until the 1890s the grass plots were enclosed within fences.

Byre Sculpture Collage
Each separate park at Mount Vernon Place holds its own statues and fountains - some are sculptures by famed French goldsmith-turned-sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye (donated to the city by collector William Walters) and others are statues to famed Maryland historical figures like Colonel John Eager Howard and Chief Justice Roger B. Taney who was the first-ever Catholic to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court. Unfortunately, what Chief Justice Taney is best known for is delivering the majority opinion in the Dred Scott case. Not a great legacy to be sure! In addition to those statues, a likeness of George Peabody reposes comfortably in the park in his chair across from The Peabody Institute.

Reposing in the Park
A couple of the fountains weren't in operation and I even missed an entire statue dedicated to Severn Teackle Wallis, a prominent Baltimore attorney and political reformer of the late 19th century whose statue stands in East Mount Vernon Place.   I guess this is why I will never get a job as a travel writer - I miss things!

Lafayette & The Peabody Institute
The last major piece of sculpture that was added to the parks stands at the northern end of South Washington Place and is the equestrian statue of Lafayette which was dedicated on September 26,1924 to the memory of the fallen American and French comrades of World War I. Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette was a general in the American Revolutionary War and a leader of the Garde Nationale during the French Revolution. On the anniversary of Lafayette's birthday, the 16-foot tall bronze monument sculpted by Andrew O'Connor Jr, an American-Irish sculptor born in Worcester, Massachusetts, was dedicated atop a 20-foot tall Cockeysville marble base. Oh - and just in case you're curious - Cockeysville marble is a building stone quarried in Baltimore County, Maryland which is a metamorphic rock of Precambrian age, about 600 million years old. Originally a limestone, it was transformed by heat and pressure into marble.

As per my want, I took an awful lot of pictures (i.e. way too many!) of the area both while I was there around noon and again later in the evening when I walked back over from my hotel to catch a bus.  As such, I've put them together into a slideshow to share with you.  Some of the pictures have captions that seem to get in the way and the picture quality isn't all that great so if you'd like to get a better look, feel free to click on over to my Mount Vernon Place set over on Flickr. I apologize for the redundancy but sometimes I just find it way too hard to pick only one picture to share!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back to Baltimore, Part 3: The Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church

Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
In Saturday's post about the architecture of Mount Vernon Place, I briefly mentioned the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church which sits just northeast of the Washington Monument at 2-10 East Mount Vernon Place. The church is a prime example of Norman-Gothic style architecture and is only one of three Gothic buildings in all of Baltimore.  Alas, I still need to figure out where the other two are!

Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
The church was built on the outskirts of the city on land that originally was the site of the mansion of Charles Howard, son of Colonel John Eager Howard, who had erected the first residence on the square circa 1830. Charles Howard married Elizabeth Phoebe Kay whose father was Francis Scott Key - author of our national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner". On January 11th, 1843, while visiting his daughter at her house, her father died of pleurisy and was later interred in the Howard family vault (though his body has since been moved to his family plot in Frederick, Maryland) . The Baltimore Chpater of the Daughters of the American Revolution, afixed a plaque observing Francis Scott Key's death on the southern outside church wall, marking the church as a highlighted location on the National Historic Register which it was added to in October of 1971.

Plaque outside of the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
Conceived as a "Cathedral of Methodism", the church was constructed between 1870 and 1872 with completion on November 12th of that year.  The cost of the structure including the land, building, and furnishings was $400,000 - not a small sum back in post-Civil War times.  The church has three spires with the tallest being on the southwest corner.  At the time of construction, it was stipulated that the tallest spire had to be shorter than the 178-foot height of the Washington Monument that the church sits kitty-corner from.

Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
The building was constructed of six of different types of stone including now rare green serpentine marble from Baltimore County and buff and red sandstone trim. Its extraordinary color comes from the green serpentine marble which is reportedly quite exceptional when it gets wet. Not having any rain while we were in Baltimore I didn't get to see that but I did see the church in both the broad light of noon and again in the fading twilight of evening and it looked spectacular both times.

Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
Unfortunately, neither the buff or red sandstone wears well so major repairs and replacements of individual pieces were made in 1932 and again in 1978 but I think that simply adds to the unique character and grandeur of the building.

Doors of the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church

Asbury HouseAs I was walking around outside taking pictures of the impressive structure, a gentleman sitting on the side steps told me that if I went into the church offices next door that I would be able to tour the inside of the church which I decided sounded like a grand idea!  I went next door to what is known as the Asbury House which is designed in the Italianate Renaissance style and was built in 1950 for one of Baltimore's leading German merchants, Albert Schumacher.

Asbury House is one of the few early-Victorian era homes left in Baltimore that hasn't been broken up into apartments and was purchased by the church in 1957 to be used as offices and meeting space. The mansion is named for Francis Asbury (1745-1816) who was the first bishop of the Methodist Church in America. The house has a gorgeous spiral staircase that leads up to an equally gorgeous library on the second floor of the house which has very elaborate carvings as well as a ceiling painting that is a replica of Guido Remi's "Aurora". Even though I went up there I didn't take any pictures though in retrospect, I can't figure out why not!  "Duh" moment, I guess!

Interior of the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
My guide led me into the interior of the church and graciously turned on the lights for me so that I could take some pictures of the beautiful worship space which contained many beautiful stained glass windows including a Connick cross above the pulpit which replicates a sister cross at Notre Dame.

Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
In 1870 the trustees purchased an organ for their new church that used water power to "raise the wind" and was the fourth largest of its kind in the United States. Since then it has been replaced with a state-of-the-art M.P. Moller organ which has a total of 3,827 pipes. Can you imagine being able to play something like that or how gorgeous it must sound?

Pipe Organ at the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church

Interior of the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
The sanctuary sits 900 people though my guide told me that the average Sunday service nowadays is about 90 parishioners. She said that part of the problem is that there is very limited parking in the area which makes it difficult for the congregates. The American walnut pews were all hand-carved by just one gentleman - work that took him seven years to complete but was obviously lovingly done.

As you can see, there are large hand fans located in the pews which are for the comfort of parishioners on hot summer Sundays.  While I was there it was a bit stuffy inside the church and even though I didn't look around to be certain, I'm going to guess that there is no air-conditioning in the building - which would make complete and total sense as obviously it was unheard of at the time of its construction.  I'm pretty sure that buildings on the National Historic Register have to stay as original as possible also so I rather doubt anyone would have tried to put air-conditioning in.

Interior of the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
Behind the sanctuary itself is located the much smaller and intimate Bosley Chapel which was named in memory young Sidney Bosley, the son of a former pastor of the church, who died in a tragic train accident at the age of 12. Accordingly, the stained glass windows depict the 12-year old David and Jesus.

Windows of Bosley Chapel
The church worker who gave me my tour told me that the church is also home to Carpenter's Kitchen which provides meals for approximately 400 hungry people every single Saturday regardless of the weather or if it's a holiday.  Having been approached by quite a few people for hand-outs while I was in the area, I can see where that's a program that must be very well appreciated in Baltimore and I was more than happy to leave a small contribution in thanks for my chance to view the beautiful sanctuary of the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church.

Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church

Sunday, August 8, 2010

From the Email Bag

Oh dear, it appears that I've died and someone is trying to cash in on my 'estate'!  Whatever shall I do??
"Attention; Beneficiary,
My names are INSPECTOR WALMSLEY GEOFFREY ROBERT from METROPOLITAN POLICE UK, there is presently a counter claims on your funds by one MR.JOHN LEWIS, who is presently trying to make us believe that you are dead and even explained that you entered into an agreement with him before your death, to help you in receiving your fund US$ 2,000,000.00 So here comes the big question.
Did you sign any Deed of Assignment in favor of ( JOHN LEWIS ),He further claimed that you died on the 24/06/2006 and you have been buried , thereby making him the current beneficiary with his following account details:

AC/NUMBER: 6503809428
B/NAME:Bank Of American ( B.O.A )

We shall proceed to issue all payments details to the said Mr. john lewis, if we do not hear from you within the next two working days from today.


Email: ukpolice@believeinliberty.com"

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Back to Baltimore, Part 2: The Architecture of Mount Vernon Place

As I mentioned in yesterday's post about the Baltimore Washington Monument, this next post is going to be about the area around the monument which is referred to as Mount Vernon Place. Technically there are two distinct areas that branch out from the circle that surrounds the monument and form a Greek cross. The squares to the east and west are called Mount Vernon Place, while the north and south squares comprise Washington Place; however, it seems that most people lump the two areas together and for the sake of argument call the entire area Mount Vernon Place - which is what I'm going to do!

The Mount Vernon District of Baltimore in the evening
As I mentioned yesterday, when the townspeople of Baltimore decided they wanted to erect a monument for George Washington the initial idea was to build it closer to town but due to a fear that the massive structure would collapse on neighboring houses, the monument was constructed on land located outside of the town itself in an area known as Howard's Woods. The land on which the monument was to sit, as well as surrounding property for the building of parks, was donated by Colonel John Eager Howard who had served under Washington when both fought in the American Revolution.  A favorite native son of Baltimore, John Howard was the fifth Governor of Maryland as well as holding the title of State Senator from 1796 to 1803.  Colonel Eager was born and died at the family's palatial estate in Baltimore known as "Belvidere" and it was part of that estate that eventually became the Mount Vernon section of Baltimore.

Colonel John Howard Eager statue
After Colonel Howard died in 1827, just two years before the completion of the Washington Monument, his heirs sold lots that bordered the parks and monument.  Baltimore was the fastest growing city in America during the first few decades of the 19th century and by the 1840s some of the city's most gracious townhomes had been built in the lots around the monument by some of the city's most prominent families.

Colonel John Howard Eager
Unfortunately, I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked when it comes to the beautiful homes around Mount Vernon Place as I was too busy looking at the parks themselves and the sculptures there. It wasn't until I got home and started doing research that I realized that I had been in the presence of some very grand homes of some very grand people which I guess means another trip down to Baltimore will be in order one of these days! Perhaps if/when Claire ever gets her cheeky ginger-topped self back over to this side of the Atlantic I can talk her into a jaunt down there!

The Hackerman House
At any rate, I did get pictures of The Hackerman House which is the second oldest house on the square built between 1849 and 1851. The home was originally known as the Thomas-Jencks-Gladding House which was designed using the Italian Renaissance features then in fashion. The house was built for John Hanson Thomas, a descendent of John Hanson, President of the Congress under the Articles of Confederation. At the time of its construction the house was described as "one of the most elegant and princely specimens of architectural taste and mechanical skill."  It may not look all that grand from the outside but I've heard that the interior is just gorgeous.  Unfortunately, it wasn't open while I was there so I'm going to have to take the word of everything I've read!

Hackerman House
The house changed hands several more times before Mr. and Mrs. Willard Hackerman presented the house to the City of Baltimore in 1984 and in 1991 it was remodeled for museum use and now houses the famed Asian art collection of the Walters Art Gallery which is just around the corner from the Hackerman House. The gallery, modeled on the University of Genoa's University Palace, holds the tremendous art collection that was amassed by William and Henry Walters in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and given to the people of Baltimore on Henry Walters death in 1931.

The Walters Art Gallery
Across Charles Street from the Hackerman House stands the original building of The Peabody Institute - the oldest continuously active music conservatory in the United States - which was built between 1858 and 1862 but not dedicated until after the Civil War in 1866.

The Peabody Institute
 In 1857 George Peabody, an entrepreneur and philanthropist originally from South Danvers, Massachusetts, wrote to 25 leading Baltimore citizens outlining a specific proposal to create a cultural institution in Baltimore. When his gracious offer was accepted, he insisted that it be built on this site which was one of the most expensive and prominent locations in the city. The building was designed in the Renaissance Revival style and it's most most impressive feature is its large central reading room which rises to the full height of the building under a skylight, with six stories of alcoves giving room for 300,000 volumes. Another building I gotta into one of these days!

Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
Directly across the street from the Peabody Institute on the northeast corner of Mount Vernon Place sits the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church but I'm not going to say anything more than that in this post as I've got a full post on the church alone and you're just going to have to come back for that one!  Claire isn't the only one who can be cheeky!

The Washington Apartments
In addition to the other beautiful buildings surrounding the Washington Monument , North Washington Place hosts two large apartment houses, the Washington Apartments built in 1906 in the Beaux Arts style and the Stafford Apartments (originally Hotel) which was built in 1894.  At the northwest corner of Washington Place stands the Graham-Hughes House, a grand 1895 example of a French chateau-style townhouse.

Northwest Corner Mount Vernon Place
In addition to all of the lovely buildings and examples of gorgeous architecture that line the streets around the Washington Monument there are four parks but I think we're covered enough for one post.  After all, I don't want to overload you with too much history just in case there's a quiz later!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Back to Baltimore, Part 1: The Baltimore Washington Monument

Lafayette & Washington Monuments

This beautiful tribute to our Nation's first President predates the one in Washington DC by 55 years. You can learn all about it by following this link - Baltimore's Washington Monument - to my travel blog.