50 great things you can do this summer for under 10 bucks (including a bunch of freebies)

July 09, 1995|By Kathryn Higham

It takes only a few postcards from exotic locales to make a perfectly content human being whine, "Boy, what am I going to do this summer?"

Sound familiar?

Perhaps, like me, you have no plans to jet off to the south of France, to quaff red wine and nibble cured olives, as my friends are going to do. Or to cruise around the Hawaiian Islands, practicing the hula along the way, as my sister will be doing this summer.

Money a little tight? Not to worry. We've found lots of great things you can do this summer in and around Baltimore, and within driving distance of the city. All for under 10 bucks. Some places you may not have heard of before; others are old favorites that are worth revisiting.

Keep in mind that our under-$10 limit applies to admission charges only. In some cases, you'll have to factor in transportation, meals and other costs. For instance, you might pay $5 to get into a festival -- and three times as much when you add in gas, highway tolls, a gyro and lemonade, a roller coaster ride, a couple of games at the water-balloon arcade and a Bromo Seltzer.

Still, the cost of the event itself is a great bargain. And who knows? If you start saving now, maybe by next summer you'll be able to afford a trip to France or Hawaii.

IN AND AROUND BALTIMORE

1. PICK UP A PADDLE -- Take a park-sponsored canoe trip. Canoes and guides are provided and costs range from $2-$8 per person. (Patapsco Valley State Park, 410-461-5005; Gunpowder Falls State Park, 410-592-2897)

2. SPEND A RAINY DAY WITH POE -- Turn a dreary summer Saturday into a tribute to Edgar Allan Poe, who lived briefly, died and is buried in Baltimore. Start at the Poe House at 203 Amity St., which was scheduled to reopen early this month after renovations ($3, $1 ages 12 and under, 410-396-7932). Then head over to the Westminster Burying Ground, Poe's final resting place. You can stroll through the cemetery on your own, or call ahead for a tour of the catacombs, scheduled the first and third weekend of every month, April through November. ($4, 410-706-2070)

3. CUT FLOWERS -- You can buy an armload of flowers and herbs for under $10 during Harvest Days at Stillridge Herb Farm in Woodstock. In July, the 3-acre farm is at its most colorful, as 60,000 everlasting flowers come into bloom. Sunflowers are new this year. (410-465-8348)

4. KEEP THE KIDS BUSY -- The kids are home and you're running out of ideas to keep them busy. Take them to Rash Field for Kid's Stuff on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10:30 in July. They'll be entertained with everything from puppet shows to hands-on nature demonstrations. (free, 410-837-4636)

5. SWING YOUR PARTNER -- Sashay over to Lovely Lane Methodist Church on St. Paul Street for the Baltimore Folk Music Society's American contra and square dance on Wednesday nights. Dances are held every week from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., but if your dos-a-dos is just so-so, go on the second or fourth Wednesday of the month for a dance workshop at 7:30 p.m. No partner is needed. Call the group's hot line at (410) 366-0808 to find out who's calling the music. ($7, members $5)

6. LEARN TO COMPOST -- Turn your coffee grinds into "black gold" by setting up a backyard compost bin. Your soil (and the environment) will thank you. Contact the Home and Garden Information Center, University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service at (800) 342-2507, or call your county Extension Service office and request leaflet No. 245, Home Composting.

7. GET FESTIVE IN CYBERSPACE -- Did you miss the Smithsonian Institution's Festival of American Folk Life that ended on July 4? If you're literate in cyberspeak, don't despair. Explore the festival on the World Wide Web at: http://www.si.edu/organiza/offices/folklife/fest95.htm. You'll find pictures and descriptions of what happened at the annual celebration, which this year featured Cape Verde, the Czech Republic, American Indian women and Russian music. Just remember to keep the call under $10. (Smithsonian information: 202-357-2700)

8. SEE WHAT'S NEW AT THE ZOO -- A spotted leopard born this spring is the newest inhabitant of the Baltimore Zoo. But not for long. In August, six chimpanzees will make their debut at the grand opening of the Chimpanzee Forest, which marks the completion of the zoo's Africa section. ($7.50, $4 seniors and children over 2, 410-366-5466)

9. GET A BOOK SIGNED -- When you're turning pages poolside this summer, won't you feel better knowing the book has been signed especially for you? Free book-signing appearances include mystery writer Carolyn Hart at Mystery Loves Company, in Fells Point, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 18, (410-276-6708); and singer Judy Collins, who will sing and talk about her foray into fiction at Bibelot in Pikesville at 1 p.m. July 29. (410-653-6933)

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