Earlier this year, Kara and I had talked about doing a weekend trip to NYC while I was back in Maryland this summer. We had so much fun 2 years ago, but really didn’t see a lot of what we wanted to. But eventually Kara was going to be in vacation with her family at the beach the same time I would be in Maryland. Then she came up with the brilliant idea to drive back to Annapolis with her son & daughter-in-law on Sunday, hang out with me on Monday, and then drive back to NC on Tuesday morning. She’s really good at finding obscure cheap travel rates, and found a $50 “Ohio Leisure Rate” one-way car rental.
Since Michele also lives in Annapolis, they drove to Crofton together on Monday to meet Heather and me for lunch. Afterwards, Kara and I made a quick pit-stop in Wegman’s. You know that “share a coke with” campaign that Coke is doing? Well clearly I’m never going to find my name. But I still look at all the bottles, just to see who else’s name I find.
So they have Noor, but I’ve heard people with very common names haven’t been able to find theirs anywhere. We saw a couple of other very unique names as well. Maybe whoever came up with the campaign just did the names of their friends.
Next stop was U of Maryland. I go over there every time I’m in town, but Kara hasn’t been there in a while. It was too hot to walk around, but really both of us did more than enough of that over the years. We thought about going to the football office to see the few people we still know there. But it’s easier to get into Fort Knox than the football offce these days, and I didn’t feel like messing with it. So we did a quick driving tour so I could show her all the new buildings and apartments and then we went to the union. Somehow I’ve never been to the dairy. Well maybe when I was little with my mom, but not since I started going to school there in ’90. So it was high time to check it out. It used to be in the welcome center on the edge of campus, but recently had been moved to the student union. Neither of us would try the Rockin Randy, and Kara refused to try the B1G. Kara got Fear the Turtle, and I got the Sapienza
Both were really good. Very creamy. And a pretty large serving size for just the single. I devoured mine in record time. Kara only ate about half of hers, but it was heavier from the fudge. Think this may need to be a treat whenever I’m in town.
Ice cream done, it was time to head to Baltimore. The plan was to hang out at the Harbor for a while, and then go to Ravens training camp practice that night. I was hoping to see Parker Graham, who had played O Line at OSU and had signed as a free agent with the Ravens earlier this spring.
Honestly, I never hung out in Baltimore that much. It’s a 30-40 minute drive from College Park, and at night after the bars close that’s not the safest thing. But I really love Baltimore. I actually worked for the Orioles for about 2 months while in college. But I only worked on game nights, and only until about the 4th inning. And I was stuck inside at the welcome desk. So I was probably spending more to drive there than I was making. The Harbor has lots of restaurants and is great for people watching; both Oriole Park and Ravens stadium are within walking distance; Little Italy is a few minutes away; and Fells Point has lots more bars and restaurants.
Our first stop was J Paul’s. It’s right on the Harbor, and there’s an outdoor bar and patio seating. We weren’t hungry, so we just sat at the bar for a drink. We decided to go local, and get a couple of drink specials. Can’t remember the exact names, but one was for the Ravens, and one for the Orioles
More than a little disappointing. My mimosa at brunch the day before had more alcohol. We then switched to the rail drink specials… not only were they 1/3 the price, they were strong. Lesson learned. But the view was great and we had a blast.
Eventually it was time to head to practice. When I hear training camp, I think a couple hundred people max, in a controlled setting. I knew it was in the stadium rather than their facility, but I still didn’t really think any different. Boy was I wrong… it was fan day. Open practice for everyone on the planet. 20,000 people. Face painting, pics with cheerleaders, autograph session with the players afterwards. The type of event I avoid like the plague. Since we were already there we stuck it out for a while, but never actually sat down. I refused to go way up high to the empty seats, so we just walked around and people watched. And it was extremely entertaining.
After about an hour we had enough, so we went to dinner (next post) and then headed back to my parents’ house. Next morning Kara had wanted to go to the Bagel Place on her way to the metro. But when we got there it was closed because of a power outage. Just our luck. So we hit Starbucks instead, and had a quick breakfast before I dropped her off.
Was this an NYC weekend? Of course not. But we definitely made the most of a short visit. And I can’t wait to do it all again soon.