Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Got yer tree, Hon?

I figured I'd better get a post up here, 'lest you think we're hunkering down over the whole "Hon-troversy" !

We still need to get a Christmas tree and I'm thinking about going to Walther Gardens, because I do like to support the local business folks. We always go there for our spring and summer plants, and I imagine its hard to run a greenhouse in December, so ...

How about you? Do you have a tree? Are you ready for Christmas?

Meanwhile, it sounds like we might get some of that white stuff Sunday night or Monday, so be prepared -- which means more than beer/merlot and bread, right? It means put gas in the car, have fresh batteries on hand, know where your snow shovel is, and have enough food on hand to stay put for a couple of days.  One would think we'd all learned our lesson last year, but how quickly we forget!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hamilton's got the blues! (And that's a good thing!)

I do tend to stick to my routine (some may call it a "rut"), and therefore I have never eaten anything from "Chef Mac's Louisiana Cuisine". (Because I always think of the place only when I am already on my way in the door to Koco's!).  But I will definitely be giving it a try soon, because he's moved further north to the space previously used by The Parkside (and before that by the infamous Cameo!).

And while I will never lose my love for the Koco's cheeseburger and Blue Moon dinner, Chef Mac's might be a nice change of pace, given that he's offering a venue for music. According to Hamilton-Lauraville Mainstreet News, they're serving blues along with the Cajun BBQ sandwiches:
Chef Mac’s & All That Blues
4709 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 21214

December 10 & 11, 2010
Enjoy a Louisiana style buffet and blues party with

Clarence “Bluesman” Turner

Tickets - $20
Buffet begins 7 PM - BYOB
Show begins 8 PM

Call 410.319.6227 for information

Anyone going?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First Friday events (and more!)

The First Friday of December is always a busy time here in our neck of the woods. This year is no different. The season of celebration is officially on, with Hanukkah beginning today, Winter Solstice nearing, and Christmas on the horizon. So get ready, there are plenty of events just waiting for you to show up!

Lighting of the Washington Monument

Thursday December 2
5:00 pm
Mount Vernon Place

First Friday in Hamilton

Friday December 3

Hamilton Gallery: First Friday Unbelievably Cool Event!
5:00 pm
5502 Harford Road

Studio 55
open 'til 8 pm
5529 Harford Road

Charmed Life Studio
open 'til 8 pm
4505 Harford Road

And of course, Happy Hour Specials along the way. Stop in at
Hamilton Tavern
Los Amigos

For more on the events of the weekend (which includes a visit from a chubby man in a red suit), check out the Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street News.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bicycling in Baltimore: Will it get better?

I want to be excited by the news that Baltimore leaders are trying to make this a more attractive city to those who might be considering moving here, and I really want to get excited at the prospect of riding my bike around town to do errands and not get run off the road by angry motorists. The rest of the world includes bicycles in their transportation planning, because they have to. Do we have to wait until we are as congested as Vietnam or China, for example, before we decide that maybe bikes deserve to be on the road, too?

But some of the comments at the story in the Baltimore Sun, really have me wondering what is wrong with people. Bicycles should be banned? Cyclists should be Tased, maced, and clotheslined?

Baltimore City Council passes Cyclists' Bill of Rights

The most sensible comment I've heard in a long time is from the person who notes that motorists who complain that bicyclists don't obey the law are simply not aware of the majority of bicyclists who are doing just that. It's only the errant cyclist -- the one cuts you off/ runs a red light/ zooms past pedestrians on the sidewalk, etc., etc. -- that's the one who becomes your idea of a bicyclist. Most bicyclists are very safe because they are well aware of the huge disparity of weight between them and you, barreling down on them in your SUV. (Full disclosure here: I have an SUV as well as a bike.)

If you agree with me that there's too much traffic on the roads, think about how much it would help if some of those cars were replaced by bikes. I think it would make a tremendous impact. Here's what the City Council Resolution calls for:
  • equal access to city streets
  • greater involvement in planning by bicyclists
  • greater awareness of bicyclists' rights in accident cases
  • improved bike parking and mass transit access for bicycles
 I think we can live with that. What do you think?

image: Jean-Marie Hullot

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

You know the rules, hon ...

You can't complain if you don't vote!

Visit the Maryland State Board of Elections web site for info on where, when, and how.

Polling places are open in Maryland from 7 am to 8 pm.

image from yaquina

Monday, November 1, 2010

The vocal local

Now that Halloween is over, we're running head-on into the holiday season. You can tell because all the big box stores are telling us "Buy! Buy! Buy!" (Even eBay has a ribbon today that says "54 days.")

If you're like me, you're stuck in a position of "Gee, I'd like to help the economy by going shopping" and "Yikes! Did you see the BGE bill? How are we gonna pay that?!"

In other words, we're all watching our pennies these days. But it's important to see where our pennies are going as well as watching them leave our hands. Not to name any one specific big box store that I refuse to shop in (but it has a really creepy smiley face logo), but any time you can go local you help individuals directly -- rather than trying to rationalize that "well, big box store pays employees and perhaps they get a fair wage -- although they can't possibly afford health insurance" -- any time you can go local it's a good thing.

In fact, it helps the neighbors. It helps the neighborhood. It helps you.

Pick 3 local merchants and spend $50. More of that will stay in the neighborhood than if you shop big box. From The 3/50 Project:
For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online, and nothing comes home.

We are so lucky to have vibrant small businesses in our area. Let's help keep them alive this holiday season by shopping local. If you need some ideas of what's in the neighborhood, we've got a short list on the right side bar, but the Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street blog has a comprehensive list (on the left hand side).

In fact, the most exciting news of the week for me so far is that we're getting a bakery!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tricks and treats on the way this weekend

There's plenty of tricks & treats in store for this weekend, hon. The weather is predicted to be delightful (but perhaps a bit chilly for those more ... ahem ... "revealing" costumes). Some of the events happening up and down Harford Road this weekend include:

The Hall of Horrors
(hosted by the Harford Park Community Association)
Friday October 29, 7- 10 pm
Sunday October 31, 7-10 pm
Harford Park Community Association Building, 2522 Linwood Road
Admission: $5.00 Enter at your own risk

Boo Fest
(presented by Hamilton Lauraville Main Street)
Saturday, October 30 from 3-5 pm
5543 Harford Road (Mid Atlantic Center for Performing Arts)
Pet Costume Contest, Costume Parade, Trick or treating, and Music and Dancing!

A little further out of the neighborhood are these events:

Great Halloween Lantern Parade
(Patterson Creative Alliance)
3134 Eastern Avenue
October 30th : 3 p.m. - 9 p.m. (Parade lineup: 7 p.m.)

(Maryland Zoo in Baltimore)
2600 Madison Ave., Baltimore, MD, 21217-4474
October 29th : 10 a.m. - 4 pm
October 30th : 10 a.m. - 4 pm
October 31st : 10 a.m. - 4 pm
Admission: $10-$16

Do you have an event to list here? Let us know in the comments section and we'll spread the word.

image courtesy of vancouverfilmschool

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

You gonna eat that?

Ah, Fall! It seems we were just mowing and mowing and mowing, and now I expect any day to home from work and find the yard full of fallen maple leaves. I tried earlier to harvest some walnuts from the tree out back, but the project got a little interrupted mid-stream. I haven't given up on that project completely, but I hope you aren't expecting any cranberry walnut bread from this, because if I get one loaf's worth, guess who's eating it?

Meanwhile, others in Baltimore are harvesting fruits and writing about it:

Rotting crab-apples? The Baltimore Urban forager thinks that's a dirty shame

Monday, September 20, 2010

All Creatures Great and Small

We try to follow the rules of polite conversation around here at Harford Road, Hon, so in general we stay out of politics and religion. But there is the occasional exception, such as when we encourage you to get out and vote in the general election in November, and those kinds of civic duty tings.

And if you have a companion pet and you are so inclined, you should stop by the Blessing of the Animals:

Blessing of the Animals
Episcopal Church of the Messiah

5801 Harford Road

Sunday October 3rd at 3 p.m.

Monday, August 23, 2010


So we had a less than stellar experience the other night when we ordered delivery from a new (to us) place. It took an hour on a week night, and when we called to inquire about the status of the delivery, the woman who answered simply said "All the deliveries are gone" and hung up on us. Guess she doesn't like repeat customers, and we're happy to oblige.

Surely you have a favorite delivery place on those nights when you're just too beat to cook dinner. If you know of someplace that I didn't include on the poll, please let us know.

image by frankstoen

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

First Fridays in Hamilton

It's never too early to start planning for Friday, right? Well, somehow July has already flown by and it's already time for First Friday at the Hamilton Gallery. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I have not been in their new space yet -- quit bitchin' and start visitin', right? And if I didn't already have reservations that involve a fishing pole and some wiggly worms, I'd be there this Friday, because I love a good gallery opening!

But for those of you who will be around on Friday, consider stopping by. Here's the info from the Hamilton-Lauraville Mainstreet website:

The Hamilton Gallery Guest Artist Series
Presents Guest Artist Photographer
Tom Snyder

On exhibit until August 31

Friday, August 6, 2010
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Why? Because it's Hamilton, hon!

Yes, there were lots of cool craft vendors at the Hamilton Street Festival, such as the one selling the door draft snake eating a Barbie doll. There were also lots of bands like the 4 Footers, below. For a nice collection of photos from the day, check out commenter Trev's Flickr site.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hamilton Festival 2010 -- it's today, hon!

The Hamilton Festival may be the worst promoted festival on the planet, but then again, maybe that just goes with the understated attitude of this neighborhood in general -- Lauraville gets all the attention, and Hamiltonians are generally okay with that.

Yet, it would be nice to support this festival and maybe turn the spotlight up Harford Road just a bit to let people know that cool places like Hamilton Tavern and Clementine are actually in Hamilton, not Lauraville. Neighborhood associations up this end of Harford Road seem to move forward in fits and starts -- I've seen lots of progress and just as much backtracking in my mere 7 years here. And one of the reasons we started this blog was to keep our little identity alive by encouraging neighbors here in Westfield to communicate, albeit virtually.

But, I digress. My point is, the Hamilton Festival is TODAY people, and we should all go down to the intersection of Hamilton and Harford between 11 am and 8 pm today. I said it was terribly promoted, and I mean it. I have no idea about specifics, and didn't even remember it was today until I saw a #19 bus going down Glenmore this morning (because Harford Road will be closed off).

(click for slightly larger image)

Art, food, beer, crafts? What more do we need, people? It's a beautiful day, the humidity's low -- I'll be walking down there later this afternoon. Hope to see you there, hon!

Although there doesn't seem to be any one place to find out everything about the festival, the Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street site does have some tantalizing bits such as a map and list of the craft vendors, and a stage schedule listing the bands playing. C'mon. it'll be fun!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Walked up to Walther Gardens and bought a blood orange with marshmallow. Yum!
Baltimore snowball

Seems like only yesterday ...

We were trapped underneath 3 feet of snow! Ah the good 'ol days!

What are you doing to cope with the heat these days? Let's share our ideas here!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

New Local Meet Up Group

A new Meet Up group for people in their 20s and 30s in the Hamilton/Lauraville area just started up. Join and tell your friends!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Crop Circle Sighting in Hamilton

It's hard to believe we haven't posted anything before about this great local effort happening right along Harford Road, namely, the Hamilton Crop Circle. Their mission:
Provide fresh organic produce to local businesses, and integrate young people into the sustainable practices related to growing organic produce to promote a peaceful lifestyle.

Hard to argue with that, right? But maybe also hard to imagine how they might get it done. Well, these folks are nothing if not creative, and one of the coolest things have done is to start a rooftop garden at the Hamilton Tavern.

Yep, you read that right:

But this is just one of the many cool things they're doing. They're also working with several other Harford Road restaurants to collect food scraps for compost -- Chameleon Cafe, Zeke's Clementine -- and they donate food to Our Daily Bread, the largest food provider for those in need in the state of Maryland. Check out their blog, Hamilton Crop Circle, and consider sending them a buck or two if you can ...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Keep Your Cool and Have Fun Too!

Did you know that May is "Family Wellness Month"? Me neither! But what a great idea! So here's an item for next month's calendar, but you'd might as well put it down before your summer schedule fills up, right?

Come to Druid Hill Park on Saturday, June 5th from 1-4 p.m. for The Family Tree’s Keep Your Cool Family Fun Fair. Enjoy a fun FREE afternoon with your family - rides, games, food, entertainment, giveaways and information on how to have a safe and healthy summer as a family. For more information, go to our website at and click on events.

Check out the web site. Some pretty good stuff going on over there ....

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bike Bills on May 6!!

On Thursday, May 6, the Baltimore City Council will hold hearings about bike policy.

In other news, the spill in the Gulf could rival the Exxon-Valdeze spill in environmental devastation. The irony is that the rig was rented by BP, the most environmentally responsible of all oil companies.

Long story short: oil is dangerous; biking is good. Please contact your City Council Representative Robert Curran to encourage his support of any and all bike-friendly measures! It only takes a minute, and I don't know about you, but I'm sick to death of oil.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My 'Hood Rocks and My Bike Rolls!!

Man oh Man, does my neighborhood ROCK or what????
So, as you know, I’m a bike-commutin’ fiend, but regular readers of Salamander Points know how I took my stove apart and couldn’t put it back together until all the screws finally just disappeared and now I don’t feel like it’s on my to-do list anymore; I’m not mechanically inclined.

Thankfully, Beth’s DIY and NOGLI hosted a Bike Tune-Up event in her back yard! Friendly people from Velocipede were there, and they fixed my bike all up, including changing out my pedals, and all for free! Beth promises she’ll do this event again next spring, and I’m psyched!
If you see a yellow and blue blur ‘round town, it’s me on my newly-tuned bike!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Right turn on red -- after STOP

From Investigative Voice:
Right on red tickets net city millions

A word to the wise: I've seen workers doing something to the camera at Christopher and Harford. Not sure what they were up to, but it always pays to follow the law.

According to the story,
Thus one in every three drivers snagged with a $75 fine might be guilty of simply or slightly pausing or nosing out a foot too far, offenses that have netted the city roughly $3 million so far this year.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I filled out and returned my census form right away. I was disappointed to only receive the short form. Very anticlimactic. Did anyone get the long form?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


People! Please do not do this to your Census form!

I found this half of an envelope in the curb today while I was walking the dog, and it is distressing! The Census counts people. The numbers of people, the ages of people, the needs of people -- these things are decided based on the forms that are returned. Obviously someone in our neighborhood couldn't be bothered, so they simply ripped the envelope in half without even opening it up.

From today's Baltimore Sun:
State and census officials say they want to improve on [the overall state] percentage by focusing on Baltimore, which struggled to get its residents to return the forms. About 53 percent of city residents mailed back the questionnaire, the second-worst rate among similar-size cities in the country. Newark, N.J., had the worst participation rate, at 46 percent.

"We want everyone in Maryland to mail back the questionnaire," said Sylvia T. Ballinger, an officer with the Philadelphia Regional Census Center, which oversees Maryland. "For every 1 percent increase, we save about $85 million."

We can't really complain about lack of city services if we can't get an accurate picture of the city, can we? Data from the Census is used in planning for:
  • Hospitals
  • Job training centers
  • Schools
  • Senior centers
  • Bridges, tunnels and other-public works projects
  • Emergency services
So please, send in your form and encourage your neighbors to do so as well. It helps us all, Hon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What are you doing this Saturday night--3/13? Hopefully nothing, and hopefully you wanna rock out to some awesome live music and (the best) DJ spinning in Charm City. And hopefully you wanna support a good cause, too!

Come on down to the Open Hearts Ball at 2640 St. Paul Street: There'll be a raffle, food and drink, live music from the Bellevederes and DJ Jason Willet, and it's all to help out Heart's Place Homeless Shelter, which I've blogged on and volunteer at. Although not located in our neck of the woods, they provide services to homeless people all over the city. Unfortunately, Heart's Place didn't recieve an important grant this year, so it's eeking along each week with pennies gathered here and there.

The tickets are $15 at the door, but doing good while you're eating good, drinking good, and listening good is worth way more!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

I ♥ Zeke's!

Great news, coffee lovers -- Zeke's Coffee has opened a new retail space, where you will be able to buy your beans and a cup of coffee, too! (That's always seemed cruel and unusual torture in their roastery space -- you can smell the coffee and buy the beans, but not a cup of coffee!)

The news is made even better by the fact that the new store is in the space of the Grindon Cafe, which closed in late 2009. (Wish we could fill up some of the empty retail space up this end of Harford Road with places like Zeke's!)

So head on down to 4607 Harford Road, hon, and grab a cup of joe.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pitchers & catchers report tomorrow!

With Spring Training so close you can taste it, can Spring be far behind? Hang in there folks!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A public service announcement on behalf of people who walk

As Rr Salamander noted in her post yesterday, sidewalks are a real issue in a situation like the one we're in right now. We are due for 12-20 more inches of snow tonight, and here's what Glenmore Ave looks like on Tuesday afternoon:

What's missing from this picture? That's right, sidewalks!

Remember, the storm that dropped 26 inches on us here in Westfield happened on Friday and Saturday. And this is the mess that is still in the road! If you're a dedicated driver, you may not realize it, but Glenmore Ave. is a major pedestrian route for people who are going to catch the bus or to shop on Harford Road (which is in the direction of the picture above) or who are headed toward Belair Road, in the direction below:

Also notice that in this picture is the vehicle of your dedicated mail carrier. Please, please clear the walkway to your house for them. If they can't get to you, they will simply not deliver your mail.

So please shovel your sidewalk -- and if you have neighbors who are unable to shovel, please help them out. I've seen such wonderful community spirit in our neighborhood the past few days, but I've also seen stretches of sidewalk that are clear -- only to stop at one house that is not shoveled. That means people have to walk in the street, and that is dangerous. Shovel, people!

Monday, February 8, 2010

No plow here, Robert! But I did take time to check on the sidewalks in our 'hood. From what I saw, here’s my rule of thumb: If the business is open, the sidewalks are cleared. If they’re closed, it’s snowville.

Except for 2 exeptions. 2 businesses are open, with their parking lots in spring-like conditions, while their sidewalks groan under feet and feet of untouched snow, completely impassable. Any guesses?

If you guessed McDonald’s and Pep Boys, you’d be right. Those purveyors of the Americanistic symbols, cars and burgers. Yep. And it’s not the first time, neither. These multi-nationals have consistently communicated exactly what they think of our ‘hood: If you’re here to buy, you’re welcome. If you’re here to live, you're on your own.

I've blogged about it this week at Salamander Points: check it out, and stay safe, neighbors!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

No more snow! Please!

So, it's almost 5 pm on Sunday -- have you seen a plow yet?

Westfield? or Switzerland?

Here are a couple of shots from Robert:

If you have photos you'd like to share, send me an email. Thanks Robert!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Front Yard 02/06/10

Obama called it "snowmageddon" and I sort of have to agree! Hope you are all keeping warm!

Update: Snowpocolypse! SNOMG!
I'm jumping in here on Rachel's post with another photo from the neighborhood:

Send me your pictures and I'll post them here! Stay off the roads everyone!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Welcome to our blog world

One thing I have always loved about Hamilton and surrounding neighborhoods is how friendly everyone is. So I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that this friendliness extends to the blogosphere as well. Blogging is such an odd thing, after all. I can be writing to people from all over the globe, or to people across the street (I'm talking to you, Krazy Kat!). The friendliness of our neighborhoods has extended itself to the many emails I've gotten from fellow Hamiltonians. It turns out, we've got some pretty cool people living here.

I've always considered Harford Road Hon as our neighborhood blog, never as "my" blog. (I have one of those elsewhere, if you are interested.) That's why I keep putting out the call for anyone who is interested in contributing here to contact me at pookyshoehorn at gmail dot com, so I can set you up to post the occasional event or photo.

I am thrilled to be able to tell you about the following 2 new blogs that I've learned about this way:

eat harford road
You know how you always pass by certain restaurants on Harford Road and think "Hmmm. I wonder what that place is like?" Well, chrissy is making it her mission to stop at those places and write a review of what she finds. So far, she has stopped by several places I've wondered about (House of Kabob, Pita Pan) and others along the way. Check it out.

Salamander Points Blog
This is a great place to find out about all kinds of events going on in our area, as well as putting forth some great food for thought on ideas such as consumerism, sustainability, and much more (yes, food too -- we are a hungry bunch, aren't we?).

As the tagline says, "Carbon Sexy, Baby!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

TV-Free for Me

Dang, yo. Is it safe to admit that I don’t know who Taylor Swift is? I mean, I know she’s prolly just another stage name of Dawn Oregon’s or Hannah Montana’s or whatev, but I’m not really sure who that is neither. I hear she won a Grammy, but I got no TV, so I’m not sure.

Biggest question I get on being TV-free: How do I fill up my evenings?

Well, I don’t want to admit to my Buffy dvd collection (borrowed, but still…), so I usually veer away from that. It’s surprisingly easy to not mention vampire slayers if you don’t wanna go there. So instead I talk about lots of things in my 'hood, like the live music on Tuesdays at the Parkside open mic (holla!), or getting drinks with friends at Hamilton Tavern, or the Tuesday Clementine's Margaritas 'n tacos, or the neighborhood meetings....

I blogged about no TV this week at it out. Meanwhile, stop by tonight to hear the strummings and the hummings (Matt Beale a.k.a. Patient Zero, above) at the Parkside. Tuesday is the new Friday, and if you miss it, you're missing out!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fruit @ Tuesday Farmer's Market & carbon-sexy gear.

Hello from your friendly neighborhood blogger at! I'm relishing this chance to wax poetic on the 2 things I love about our ‘hood.

First, Hamilton = Fun
Harford Road is hoppin’, kids! From the farmers’ market to Hamilton Tavern, from our original fave Red Canoe to Tues night open-mic gatherings at the Parkside, stuff is going on, baby! Check out my Top Ten (+2) for 2009 list for more.

Plus also, Hamilton = Carbon-sexy
Urban lifestyles tend to be greener—especially in older cities like Baltimore. Average carbon footprint of city dwellers: 8.21 tons (still three to four times what’s sustainable, but 14% lower than non-city people).

“If you want to take good care of the environment, stay away from it and live in cities.” (Economix)

“Put simply, bigger cities enjoy economies of scale. In this sense, bigger is greener.” (Math and the City)

“The suburbs, for the most part, are toast. They have three possible outcomes in the twenty-first century: as slums, salvage yards, or ruins.” (How Should We Be Thinking About Urbanization?)

Unfortunately, it’s not enough just to inhabit a concrete rainforest. The fact is that we need to adopt a carbon diet, because 30 - 40% of US greenhouse gasses come from individual and household emissions. We also gotta be carbon-sexy by keeping our Salamander Points under 150. It helps to belong to a close-knit urban community (Holla, Hamilton!) where you can buy locally and drive less.

So keep the ‘hood happening, and challenge yourself to adopt carbon-sexy habits. It’s a win-win-win for you, Harford Road & the planet. And everyone loves a winner!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dixon Resigns

Is it too much to ask of Councilman Curran that he take his hat off when inside City Hall? Or perhaps even to wear business attire?