I Heart First Fridays

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Highlandtown is what I now consider the most homey part of Baltimore.  It’s the one neighborhood that is experiencing a renaissance, but still feels like a neighborhood with a community, local businesses, local flavor, and now an inspired art scene.

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The Highlandtown First Friday Art Walk, which began in June, and is going through the rest of the year has eagerly become an event myself and many others look forward too.

My first time experiencing this was back in July, and it just felt like old times.  And what I exactly mean by old times?  While so much around us has begun to look cookie cutter and all too pedestrian, this neighborhood is keeping it beautiful.  With art galleries, shoppes, local businesses, local foodie spots, and so much more popping up in the most charming of fashions, Highlandtown is doing it right.  And keep on doing it please.  It’s the most welcoming of feelings.

I don’t even know how to exactly describe it, other than it’s of the most authentic and really Baltimore feeling places you want to visit.   With friendly faces, familiar faces and new ones, beautiful art, beautiful people, plenty of food and drink, and live musicians inside and out, you’ve got a winning combination all around.

I’ve missed the past couple of month due to life happening, but I’ve made it a goal to make it through to the rest of the year, and with the holidays looming.

My good friends from Peak Peformance have taken advantage of this fantastic monthly event, with a happy hour with great food, vino, live music, and now a resident artist.

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I missed it last month but Mowgli Art has made an impression that’s going to be hard to forget.  I’m a member of Peak, so I’m fortunate to admire this art on a regular basis.  ANd this month was no exception.  It’s just getting bigger.  The crowd was consistent and it was busy.

And my friend Melissa, who also works at Peak, got a chance to sell some of her great jewelry.

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After all this, is there a wine involved?  But of course.  Plenty of food and drink was provided but I discovered a charming little bottle that fits in with the fall season, if not art itself.

The 2016 Camina Tempranillo is a simple wine with little if any thrills.  And for now that’s just the way I wanted it.  I was immediately drawn to the label with its beautiful depiction of leaves, animals, and charming as all heck symbols.  The color and images just yell fall don’t they?

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It’s a wine heavy on berry aromas of cherry, blackberry, and other fruits.  The notes mention hints of almond and hazelnut.  It’s an easy to drink wine that you don’t have to think much about it.  It’s a good wine but it’s not going to blow anyone away.  And with a price averaging under $10, there’s no need for too many complaints.  But I wouldn’t spend that much more on it.

A big thanks to Peak Performance for this amazing spread of meats, cheeses, and vegetables, provided by Ceriello Fine Foods (locations can be found here), which I’ve written about in the past, and is deserving of all the praise and lauding in the world.

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The vibe at art events just tends to feel different and more welcoming.   I don’t know much about art but I know it makes people feel good.  It evokes different emotions and brings about a different type of conversation that you may not ordinarily get a typical bar.  This is better than the bar, and sets the bar on a different way to enjoy a Friday night or night out in general.

This blog is going to be as picture heavy as it gets.  It may be the most photos I’ve ever inserted in a blog, so I hope you enjoy that.

I want to thank Beth-Ann Wilson from Night Owl Gallery (pictures above) and Felicia from Highlandtown Gallery-Magnolia Designs (pictures below) for being so inviting, and making this a fun night out, that really makes Baltimore, Charm City.

There were some folks playing live music on the walk to and from various stops, which made us stop and appreciate what we were witnessing.

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Back in July, there was a live jazz band performing and the Highlandtown Art Gallery.  You’ll never know what to expect at this thing.  The unpredictability while still becoming familiar with the galleries makes this a truly harmonious and heartwarming event.

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November 3rd, will be here before you know it, and will be the next installment of the Art Walk.   If the stars alight, this might be revisited again for the blog.

Here are my past Highlandtown related posts.

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In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the photos, and hope you’re either experiencing or will be experiencing some awesome art yourself.

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Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

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Free Spirit

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I love art, especially when it’s near my backyard.  Baltimore has plenty of galleries and museums at little to no cost to you, for your viewing pleasure.  How many of us take advantage of this?  I can say with most certainty,  I don’t give myself the opportunity to expose myself to more art and more culture than I really should.

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The Alchemy of Art embodies what a passion and love for your craft is truly all about.  The owner, Sheridan Costa, has made this one of the places to be in Fells Point, and Baltimore for that matter.  Best of all, it’s free to attend.  What else is best?  Well there’s lots of arts, lots of crafts, and lots of gems that fit just about everyone’s budget.

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And you know what else is cool?  They throw lots of charming parties and events.  And these are some of the most authentic and laid back parties I’ve attended in the city. There’s a great mix of people from all walks of life.  And when we’re under this roof, we’re all here for the same reason, to appreciate art and to appreciate one another’s company.

Good parties usually means good food.  And good food segues into good wine, and vice versa.

The longstanding sentiment for me with The Alchemy and anywhere that throws a soiree is to try to bring something.  Never come empty handed.  Luckily, there is a wine and spirits shop caddy-corner to the gallery.

It’s now become tradition for my friends and I to find affordable bottles of wine for purchase and take that short walk to gallery.  If we run out, it’s just seconds away. And the store has extended hours compared to most shoppes, so we have no excuses!

Last Thursday was special.  It was Alchemy’s third anniversary party.   Time is flying.  I don’t know how long I’ve been fortunate enough to visit.  It hasn’t been the entire three years, but it’s been a significant part.   And the gallery is getting better by the year, and better by each visit.

We were told there would be loads of cupcakes and foods.  So vino is necessary.  This time I was feeling sentimental (that tends to be every week) and wanted a wine with animals on the label.  For no reason, other than I love animals and animals on a wine label.  Yes, chickens!

The 2015 Vintage from La Vieille Ferme Rouge fits the bill as am everyday wine, for so many reasons.   First of all, the price I was able to find it at was $9.00.  That’s a no-brainer.  You see a bottle like this at this rate, you grab it, you bring it to a party and everyone will love you.  Actually if you were invited someone must love you anyways to some extent, so the wine will be an added bonus.

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This Rhone Blend has some spice and some kick to it. There’s something dark about it. It’s almost akin to eating a piece of dark chocolate.  Well in that similar vein, there were plenty of cupcakes at this party, so hopefully someone got to sip this wine with a chocolate or another enticing cupcake.   My wine never had a chance.  It was decimated in minutes.

Even though I didn’t harvest the grapes, or be involved in the fermentation or bottling process, it feels good when other friends and folks finish what you brought to a party.  A little piece of me feels alright.

This wine will resonate.  It has this distinct taste that separates itself from similar red and Rhone blends you would find at bargain prices.  It’s a bitter taste but it’s a good one. There’s nothing extraordinary or life changing about this wine, but it brings much to the table, aside from the price.

And I’ve seen this wine everywhere.   And as low as $7.00.   So if any of you are interested, it’s a standard label that might be at your neighborhood store.

Here are the tasting notes.  And even some more over here.

I look forward to their next party.   There’s a good vibe, with good people, and plenty of awesome things on display and for purchase.  I’ve included pictures throughout this post.

If you’re interested in learning more, the Alchemy of Art’s contact info can be found here.

They throw a good party near the holidays, so hopefully this will be revisited. And they deserve multiple visits.

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Support art and support local.  Yes!

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