I’m not originally from Maryland. Years ago, I moved to Baltimore to go to law school and never left. I didn’t plan to. I chose my school because I wanted to stay. So, even though I didn’t grow up in Baltimore — or even Maryland — I love it. I’ve talked a lot about my love of Maryland (“America in Miniature” – there’s something for everyone: the Appalachian Trail in western Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay, Ocean City and the Eastern Shore, urban areas like Annapolis and D.C., and the beautiful rolling countryside, farms, and rail trails of Baltimore County, where I live now) but I haven’t talked as much about Baltimore.

When I was younger, I went through a phase when every New Year’s resolution was “be a tourist in my own town.” It was kind of a cheat; it’s a fun, easy resolution. But it’s one I’d recommend no matter how long you’ve lived in your own home town, city, county, parish (whatever). For those of you that live in Maryland, below are three things that are A MUST if you haven’t already done them. All of these events will be over by mid-January 2015. For those of you that live elsewhere, come visit! And if you can’t, find some fun things to do in your own backyard and report back. 🙂

MAURICE SENDAK MEMORIAL EXHIBITION

Enoch Pratt Free Library

WHAT:

An exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Where the Wild Things Are by the late, great Maurice Sendak. The exhibit contains original artwork by the author/illustrator (including some first sketches) and a life-sized replica of Max’s bedroom.

WHEN:

Until December 31, 2014

WHERE:

Central Library
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, Maryland

MORE INFO:

Enoch Pratt Free Library
Enoch Pratt Free Library
Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
Maurice Sendak: The Memorial Exhibition — 50 Years, Works, Reasons
Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
Max’s Bed from
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET

Hampden

WHAT:

Named after the movie, “Miracle on 34th Street” is a block of rowhouses that go all out with lights and decorations for the holidays. A Baltimore tradition, rowhouses in this part of the city have been a beacon of brightness for 67 years now. Lots of people and places put up spectacular lights. What makes Miracle on 34th Street special is how uniquely Baltimore it feels. It’s a riot of color, personality, Christmas creches, interesting art, peace displays, Santa, and Mr. Boh (a local beer icon).

WHEN:

Until January 2, 2015

WHERE:

34th Street, between Chestnut and Keswick
Hamden
Baltimore, Maryland

MORE INFO:

Miracle on 34th Street, Hampden, Maryland
Miracle on 34th Street

HOLIDAY TRAIN GARDEN

The Shops at Kennilworth

WHAT:

Huge model train display built over the fountain in the middle of the mall. It has local stuff: Ravens Stadium, Fort McHenry, Clipper ships, row houses, and Camden Yards. AND tons of fun characters: R2-D2, Santa, and Yukon Cornelius; Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf. Kids (and adults!) can push a dozen buttons or more to make things move and light up.

WHEN:

Until January 9, 2015

WHERE:

The Shops at Kenilworth
800 Kenilworth Drive
Towson, Maryland

MORE INFO:

model trains, holidays, Christmas
Holiday Train Garden at Kennilworth Mall

Honorable Mention: Papermoon Diner

Remington

WHAT:

Quirky café in a local Baltimore neighborhood about twenty minutes north of the Inner Harbor. It’s also been called whimsical, eclectic, eccentric, and bohemian. Serves comfort food Baltimore style (i.e. lots of diverse stuff — they have bacon milkshakes for crying out loud 😀 ). The décor is funky. My photos don’t do it justice. Google “Papermoon” and take a look at the images. Not recommended for anyone with a manikin, doll, or PEZ phobia. Definitely recommended for anyone seeking a late afternoon brunch. We went at 3:00 p.m. I had three cups of coffee and a stack of vanilla custard French toast. I’d love to go back Christmas morning but, alas, we have other plans. 🙂

WHEN:

Closed on Tuesdays, but will be open well beyond mid-January 2015.

WHERE:

Paper Moon Diner
227 West 29th Street
Baltimore, Maryland

MORE INFO:

Paper Moon Diner
Paper Moon Diner
Paper Moon Diner
A Giant 3D I SPY Book

Whatever your plans are for the next week plus, whether you celebrate Christmas, another holiday, or none, I hope you have a very joyous end to 2014. Best wishes to each and every one of you!