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.

FirstFridays

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?

CaminaWineInfo

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

 

Basement Party

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This was supposed to be the  calm before all of the holiday themed posts.  We’re way past the point of no return.  And I’m glad.  We got nearly two months of this and it’ll fly by.  So this is all about embracing community, the ones you love, whether it be your friends, family, your pets, or all of the above.  And we’re going to get all of the above and so much more.

Highlandtown is a a part of Baltimore that is near and dear to me.  In a previous life I actually did leave here.  But at the time it was just on the verge into becoming the flourishing and thriving neighborhood it has become today.  And it seems like they’ve only just scratched the surface.

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I’ve been a sucker and lover for festivals, community events, and neighborhood block parties for as long as I can remember.  So it comes to my surprise that it took me this long to fully partake in their annual Basement Bar Tour.  And what a beautiful congregation of people it has become.

In previous incarnations I only was able to make it to the tail end and only make a couple of the houses and the post party celebration at DiPasquales.  Oh how I love DiPasquales.  I wrote about them once.  You can read that here.

But before I go on any more tangents, lets focus on the topic at hand.  The basement tour was genuine and loaded with soul.

We all put down a relatively cheap $20 to participate in the tour and all the houses (not so much basements anymore) welcomed us with open arms.

Many had snacks, comfort food, beer, mixed drinks, and of course wine.   Yes I need to talk about wine. That’s important to this post and to the integrity of this blog.    Most important of all, there were friendly faces and friendly conversations with everyone.

I got to reconnect with friends I haven’t seen in a while.  I got to bond with friends in a way that I ordinarily wouldn’t if we were at a crowded bar or party.  Not that either is right or wrong.  But there is something that much more authentic about a neighborhood of friends all gathering for the same reason.   What it led to me is what is symbolic of what the holidays and what the true meaning of life is all about.  I don’t know the exact words as to what life is all about.  But the terms good, community, friendship, and family come to mind.

I’ll leave most of the houses to your imagination.  Many of my experiences on this day are for my and my friends’ internal memories.   But of course one house did that stand out that’s worth sharing…

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It’s never too soon for Mulled wine.  Well it may taste funnier in the normal months but I think you catch my drift.  But if not than that’s cool too.

This was house number, (hmm.. I forgot) on the tour.   My friends and I were already in a good place based on the last few residencies.  I kept wondering what surprises each house would bring next.   At this house we got macaroni and cheese, chili, and pulled chicken.

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Just when you think you’ve seen it all we get  fresh baked cookies and that mulled wine. Oh my goodness.  The host kept having to refill because it was going so fast.

He went over the recipe as he was replenishing the wine, but it has completely escaped my memory.  That’s my fault and I take full responsibility for not being able to share that with you.   I even saw the gentleman later on and thanked him for making such an awesome concoction.  And of course I once again forgot to ask him what it contained.

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It’s safe to assume the Bota Box wine was used, since you can see it in some of these photos.  And it was neighbors to that amazing contraption making the mull.  I’m savoring some right now.

Which leads me to say I want to make some mulled wine.   And I fully believe the possibilities on how to make it are endless.  It’s to your discretion.  The wine is readily available to you.  All we have to do is throw in some fruit, spices, and anything else palpable till your hearts content.

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This made my day and we were only around the halfway point.  Four hours plus flew by. And with any fun event time doesn’t stand still.  It accelerates at a scorching pace.  And I fully intend to do my best to slow some of it down and appreciate all the moments.  Not everything will be captured in my blogs but I’ll do my best to share some of the best.  The Basement Bar Tour is some of that best.

In the spirit of community I’d like to promote some of the local businesses in the neighborhood.  Some I’m proud to say are great friends of mine.  Some I’m proud to say I support on at least a semi-regular basis.  If you’re in and around the area, definitely check them out before the holidays and the year is out.  And this will be edited to add more over time, so my humblest of apologies if I leave anyone out.  That is not my intent.

Links will be listed where available :

Peak Performance Training

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RoofTop Hot – Urban Farm & Sustainability Services

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Highlandtown Gallery/Magnolia Designs/Night Owl Gallery

Rust-N-Shine

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Y:Art

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DiPasquales

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A huge thanks to all the houses that welcomed us in and seemed genuine happy to be a part of this.  And to DiPasquale’s for an amazing celebration by the fire, at the end.  And of course the Highlandtown Community Association.

I’m ready for the holidays.  Oh wait, they’re already here!

More cheer to come,

Ideen