Baltimore County Now
Michael L. Schneider, Community Outreach Liaison, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Park
This summer, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks is the “anti-bored” department of Baltimore County. Plenty to do, lots of smiles, a great source of vitamin D (sunshine) and huge doses of fun!
It really depends on what you want to do this summer – are you the type that loves to be on the trails? Maybe you’re the kind of person that wants to be out in the fields. Or maybe it’s camp? Are you the kind that loves to learn firsthand? Do you want to be on the water in your canoe or kayak? Do you love to gaze at the stars? Do you love music, wine tasting, trout fishing? Don’t mind getting a little dirty. Bugs don’t bug you. And, perhaps the beach, one much closer than “downyocean,” gets your motor running…
In other words, summer is a time to explore, enjoy and relish – right here at home in Baltimore County.
Where? Well, let’s start with some of our many parks…
Over at Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum this summer you can sit back and enjoy the “Jazz Concert Series” featuring three outstanding performances. Nature study more your thing? Then let our staff and volunteers share the excitement, beauty and serenity of birding, flowers, moss, trees, blue moons, snakes, hikes and astronomy. Scavenger Hunts, basket making, a Colonial Fair, science through the eyes and experiences of Benjamin Banneker himself are all a part of the fun this summer.
And then, there’s Oregon Ridge Park and Oregon Ridge Nature Center where you could do something different every day. At the Nature Center, you can a part of Jamberry Making, geocatching, picnicking under the stars, camping out, Mud Day (dirty fun!), blue moon night hiking, stream searching, butterfly talks, treasure hunts and so much more. Over at the other side of the park, there’s the ever popular Star Spangled Spectacular featuring the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and fireworks (July 3 and 4th); and the Hot August Music Festival (August 15). And there’s just so much more to do throughout your summer.
Robert E. Lee Park features a summer to remember. Serpentine Hiking (June 20); The Great American Campout (June 26); Nature Sculpture for Kids (July 25), Mud Day (can’t get away from that dirty fun!); Bark with a Park Ranger (August 15) – a “ruff” night hike with our Park Rangers; and Cricket Crawl Campfires, Fairies and Dragons and all other kinds of events and activities that are cool enough to keep you sweaty, wet, in your boots and in your canoes, on the water, on the trails and by the campfire. Too much to list in a blog, too much to miss even one moment.
At Cromwell Valley Park this summer there’s the makings of some delicious, dirty, buggy and fishy kind of fun. Guest speakers will talking about black bears, historic ships, backyard bees just to name a few discussions. Then, there’s program that are sure to pique your interest: Discovering Dragonflies, Fun with Ladybugs (who knew?!), Wild Edible Plant Pizza, Amazing Amphibians, Raspberry Round-up, Luminous Lighting Bugs. Those amazing folks over at Cromwell Valley Park don’t lack for imagination – or great topics. So much to do, you’ve got to give it a try.
Now at Marshy Point Nature Center they too, do their best to capture your attention and pull you in with some pretty amazing stuff. How about the likes of Full Strawberry Moon Canoe Trip, Edible Insects and the Pizza Pie, Aw Shucks and Sharks in the Bay? But the real draw to Marshy Point has simply got to be the beauty of the place. Trails, nature center, fishing on the dock, the neighboring ospreys, canoeing. There’s just too much to mention, but you’ll never come close to being bored!
The above list of locations and destinations are really just a start. Fishing at Loch Raven Fishing Center; Rocky Point Beach and Park where the swimming and relaxing are easy (not to mention the picnicking, playgrounds and sand volleyball!). And did you know there are actually over 200 parks of all sizes and types throughout our beautiful county? Go ahead, try this link to find a park close by your home.
There are beautiful hiking trails for the beginner through advanced hikers. Lots of folks aren’t even aware of the great Trail Finder feature on the County’s website – where you can search for a walking path or hiking trail near you.
Plus, check out this comprehensive listing of summer camps, playgrounds and programs for your campers this summer. The great thing is, there are affordable summer camp options throughout the County that offer convenient times and great supervision.
And you can’t forget your local recreation councils and offices. It is pretty certain that they have something special for your community this summer. Neighborhood events like fireworks, classes, sports and places for informal gathering and important and growing friendships.
So, there you have it, summer’s covered for you by your friends at Baltimore County Recreation and Parks. All you have to do is cover yourself with sunscreen and have a great time. Like we said, no boredom for your summer of 2015 – only great times!
Teri Rising, Historic Preservation Planner
Department of Planning
May is Preservation Month! Since 1973, this annual event organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides an opportunity for communities and organizations to showcase how they celebrate and save historic places all year long. Exploring Baltimore County’s historic spaces is a great way to highlight the efforts of those who have worked hard to preserve the places that matter for Baltimore County.
In 1981, the community of Glyndon became the first Baltimore County Historic District designated through the joint effort of residents, interested citizens and the Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission. Now there are eleven residential districts, each one set aside for the purpose of preserving, promoting and protecting the unique aspects of their neighborhood so they can tell a story about why they were created. With their carefully preserved architectural styles and distinctive features, Baltimore County’s Historic Districts offer residents a variety of beautiful and interesting places to live. From Emory Grove in Glyndon to the Town Hall in Relay, the preservation of the homes and buildings that characterize these districts, provide a sense of place and source of civic pride to those who work tirelessly to preserve their community.
Whether you are doing homework or paperwork, historic buildings offer unique spaces that provide creative inspiration to those who work there. All over Baltimore County historic buildings have been adaptively reused and rehabilitated to serve the needs of a new generation. Examples include the former Fullerton Police & Fire Station, adaptively reused for the 6th District office of the Baltimore County Council, and the original Baltimore County Jail in Towson, whose former cells now provide office space to businesses instead of law breakers. Baltimore County’s collection of historic schools, like the former Franklin Academy building in Reisterstown, now the Reisterstown branch of the Baltimore County Public Library, and the Carver School in East Towson, now the East Towson Carver Community Center, have been adaptively reused for the purpose of offering community services. Finding creative ways to use our historic buildings has helped enhance the artistic, cultural, and historical characteristics of our Baltimore County neighborhoods.
Baltimore County’s many historic parks provide interesting places for recreation and learning opportunities. They also serve as important places for communities to come together. Through the joint efforts of neighbors, community activists, and the Baltimore County Government, these parks have been thoughtfully set aside so citizens have a place to explore and discover Baltimore County history.
Visitors to the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum will learn about the life of Benjamin Banneker. Considered to be the first African American man of science, exhibits and artifacts provide additional information on his important historic contributions. At Cromwell Valley Park, visitors can follow trails that lead them to preserved farm buildings and remnants from our agricultural and industrial past. Maintaining these historic parks provide places that matter for generations to enjoy.
Michael L. Schneider, Community Outreach Liaison, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks
This summertime guarantee brought to you exclusively by the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks:
There will be no snow storms, snow flurries or snow squalls at all this summer on any Recreation and Parks sites and parks this summer. Guaranteed!
Wait, there’s more…
We will also guarantee fun and lots of great programs for families, kids and kids of all ages. We are calling this our “Hot times” summer package guarantee!
Here is a sampling of some of the hot times coming your way. Just the names of the programs should be enough to get your attention and participation…
Robert E. Lee Park –Growing up WILD, Beaver Night Hike, The Great American Campout, Natural Play, Bike Rodeo, Mud Day
Cromwell Valley Park – Animal Mothers; Art, Music, Poetry, Food, Wine and Classic Cars; Tin Can Gardening; “Reptiles by Day, Amphibians by Night;” the annual TALMAR Mother’s Day Plant Sale; Fairy Furniture; and you’re gonna love this one: “Eat Your Weedies” – sounds perfectly delicious!
Oregon Ridge Park – 4th of July BSO Star Spangled Spectacular/Fireworks
Throughout our County are “Summer Playgrounds” and camps, enthusiastically and well supervised with excitement, entertainment, socializing, and even some learning slipped in with all the fun. Here are just some of the camps:
Dragon Tao Karate Camp, Premier Basketball Camp; Boys Lax Camp; Step Up to Lax Camp; Camp Gymtastic; Al Bumbry Baseball Camp; Running Camp; Field Hockey Camp; Soccer Camp; Volleyball Camp; Camp New Horizons; Music, Nature, Drama, Art, Camp Chickadee, Around the Pond Summer Camp, Polar Pals, Grizzly Gang, Imagination Station, Muscular Mustangs, Creativity Camp, Gators Summer Camp, Blast Soccer Camp, camps for children and young adults with special needs. There’s really too much to list here, so, go to the Baltimore County Recreation and Parks homepage for a full listing of summer camps and playgrounds.
Keep in mind, that pretty much every one of our 40+ recreation centers offer programming throughout the summer with the above mentioned camps, activities and community events. Follow this link to our Recreation Councils and recreation offices to learn more about what is going on in your neighborhood.
Of course, there are over 200 small, medium, large and extra large- and all beautiful – parks, sites, waterfronts and fields. Imagine, so many great places to relax, picnic, exercise and simply to enjoy; many nearby your home.
For those that might be looking for something to do this summer, not as a participant, but more in line with earning those community service hours, or to have a summer job, there are some options for you, too. There are still some paying positions at Oregon Ridge Park (410-887-1818) and Rocky Point Park (410-887-2818) on the waterfront. There might still be some summer positions out there at our camps and recreation centers. Use this link to our Recreation Offices and ask if there is something to suit your skills and the needs of that office.
There you have it; a special summer guaranteed to be all you need it to be; well supervised, exciting, interesting and fun. And don’t forget, guaranteed to be snow free – though it may include a “sno-ball” from time to time!