Readers ask the queen to try some down-home activities


May 13, 1991|By Jean Marbella

A caption in yesterday's Today section failed to identify several people in a picture taken at Bo Brooks restaurant. Pictured are (left to right):Karen Andrews, Bernie, Karen and Kristen Palacky, and Nancy Beall.

The Sun regrets the error.

How many (yawn) state dinners, (zzzzzzzz) private tours and (wake me up when it's over) protocol-perfect events can one woman take? Like, give the queen a break already!

Just because you're the queen of England doesn't mean you don't ever want to crack open a mess of crabs, bowl a few frames, let loose at Hammerjacks or just take a load off your sensibly clad feet on some white marble steps.


So welcome to Baltimore, hon, and just in case you want to veer off the beaten and official track when you come to town on Wednesday to see the Orioles game, some 400 Sun readers offered suggestions on where to go.

Many of the readers, responding to a Sundial call-in survey on where to take Queen Elizabeth II during her visit here, came up with the usual suspects, the Harborplace-National Aquarium-Phillips gauntlet that everyone runs their own out-of-town visitors through. But others suggested less traveled yet equally inviting spots.

Like, did you know:

* There's a drug store in Westminster where you can still get a 5-cent Coke?

"Every once in a while, you find something that never changes," said Cindy Rutzenbeck,36, who has worked at Schmitt's Rexall Drugs on Main Street for 21 years. She invites the queen to take a spin on one of the stools at the store's marble-fronted fountain and enjoy everyone's favorite after-school treat -- served cold. "They don't have a lot of ice in England," she recalled from her visit there.

* There's a school in Brooklandville with a replica of England's own Warwick Castle?

The once-private home, now a part of the Maryvale Preparatory School for Girls has a great hall, leaded glass, valley-view terrace complete with sundial and English boxwood trees on its grounds, said Sister Mary Lenahan, plant manager of the school.

"We thought if she came here, we'd find a horse and buggy to take her around," she bribed.

* And there are dozens of Marylanders willing to open up their homes to a stranger provided that stranger is the queen of England?

"I would take her to my house so she could see what a mess it is, and I'd take her to Ocean City 'cause that's one of the cooler

places in Maryland . . . and to my school because it's the best school in Maryland, Deerpark Middle, and then to my softball practice. Well, gotta go," one youngster rather breathlessly suggested.

In fact, the queen could spend months here and not run out of invitations -- everyone from a second-grade class to a Johns Hopkins fraternity to several senior citizen centers invited her to drop in. Not to mention the others who wanted to take her out to dinner (at Marconi's, Haussner's and Little Italy among other spots), or the museums (especially the new Hackerman House) or farther afield (Annapolis and the Eastern Shore).

The queen would return to England with some never-forget-us souvenirs as well: a personalized bowling ball, some new duds from C-Mart or K mart, toys for her grandchildren and, oh my, a tattoo from The Block.

Not to mention a lot of Old Bay Seasoning under her fingernails -- seems like everyone wants to smash some crabs with Her Majesty, either at popular crab houses like Bo Brooks, Obrycki's and Gunning's, less widely known neighborhood places or a newspaper-covered table in someone's backyard.

"When I first came to Baltimore two years ago, I was taken to Bo Brooks and I never forgot it," said Towson resident Karen Andrews, 32, of the Belair Road landmark. "I'd never had crabs with Old Bay before, and I'm certain the queen never has either."

Other callers suggested more royal treatment for the queen.

If she gives him a day or two of notice, Gil Schlossberg-Cohen can get some of his musical friends and neighbors together for a classical concert at his 141-year-old home on West Mount Vernon Place next door to the Hackerman House and down the block from the Peabody Conservatory.

"I just had the piano tuned," he said, "and we can have a nice little buffet and seat about 40 people here. It's the most beautiful area I've ever seen, and I think the queen would love to see it."

For all the high-style offerings many readers suggested -- the genteel Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton getting numerous mentions -- others thought the queen might need a break from all the fuss and fancy of a dignitary's travels.

"I would bring her home and sit down and have tea and talk about children and grandchildren because she is in the limelight so much I think she might enjoy sitting down and talking to a woman her own age," one kind reader offered.

Another caller would "start with a little dinner, kick back and relax with some crabs . . . then some bowling in Glen Burnie, where I'd have a ball made with 'QUEEN-E' on it."

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