"It puts Baltimore on an incredibly big stage. Now that my kids are older, they really love it. My wife goes with her girlfriend pack. She's into the hats - now she has a whole collection of hats. She brought a new friend in this year, and this friend didn't have a hat, so she let the lady, her friend, borrow one. Train was performing
and he goes over and takes this hat from the lady. I was out on the back stretch, and I really wanted to hear them play but I couldn't get there in time, but I see on the screen they're jumping around with this white hat. I think, boy, that's odd. That looks strangely familiar." 5201 Park Heights Ave | 410-542-9400 | pimlico.com
The thinnest house in America
Kim Hammond, veterinarian and international wildlife advocate
"Late at night, after midnight driving by Poe's grave, heading to Montgomery Street to see the thinnest house in America. It's labeled 'Little House' in stained glass over the door. It's all about the hidden treasure found in Baltimore. It's all around you, often camouflaged. Discovery of these by the light of a dark night stimulates conversations that blend history and imagination."
Country music at 1919 in Fells Point
Caleb Stine, Americana singer/songwriter
"That's Baltimore's honky-tonk. They're great folks. I love sneaking in there and playing. There's so much memorabilia on the walls, it's oozing out of the place. The memories abound. I've shown up sometimes and started jamming. [Country musician] Arty Hill plays there. They pretty much have country or country-ish music." 1919 Fleet St.| 410-276-9484
Being called hon, hon
Mitchell Wohlberg, rabbi, Beth Tfiloh Congregation
"I love being called 'Hon.' It makes you feel that you're part of a community and that we're all in this together trying to make this a better place in which to live."
Impromptu lacrosse in Roland Park
Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO, Fox Filmed Entertainment
"I love the reliable serendipity of taking a walk from my sister's house in Roland Park on any spring or summer late afternoon, almost certain to come upon a lacrosse game of some ilk in progress on one of the many surrounding fields of my youth. ... The sounds, the smells, the worn grass around the crease, and in an instant, I am not gone and living far away in L.A. with grown children of my own; I am young again, in my true home."
Breakfast Tacos in Fells Point
Aileen Gabbey, executive director of the Maryland SPCA
Tortilleria Sinaloa on Eastern Avenue is easy to miss, being so small, but it serves amazing food starting at 7 a.m. I'm an early bird. My husband and I buy our breakfast tacos and quesadillas and head to the water to have a leisurely weekend morning. 1716 Eastern Ave. | 410-276-3741 | tortilleria-sinaloa.com
Little Italy's Bocce Rollers
Robert McClintock, visual artist
"When we first moved here in 1995 and money was tight, my wife Sue and I had to be creative for our date nights. Back then and even now, one of our favorite cheap nights out is to go to Little Italy's Vaccaro's and pick up a huge pistachio gelato and go and sit and watch the Bocce Rollers at the Sons of Italy Bocce court. Yes, dinner in Little Italy is great, but a nice summer night under the lights in Little Italy watching the local talent is classic Baltimore."
Southern and Northern charms
Ethel Ennis, jazz singer
"As the first big Southern city with Northern sensibilities, Baltimore has always had the right pace for me to grow and learn how to lead a balanced life. I never liked the hectic, fast rhythms of some cities. Here in Baltimore, I can find peace, be inspired and continue to bloom where I was planted. Like many Baltimoreans, my favorite place is home, where I can relax with my husband, cook, play and listen to music. I guess I'm just an old-fashioned homesteader."
The Wine Source
Jed Dietz, director of the Maryland Film Festival
"One of the best beer and wine stores in America, with advice from Ian and Paul, who know growers and brewers, and actually travel with Robert Parker to taste first growth Bordeaux before bottling. In Baltimore? Yup." 3601 Elm Ave. | 410-467-7777 | the-wine-source.com
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
E. Albert Reece, dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine
"For me, music is a rare retreat from my hectic life as a medical school dean. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has provided me with a wonderful outlet for this passion. I try to make an escape to the symphony a regular part of my leisure time. The BSO is a critical piece of the cultural fabric of Baltimore, and we're fortunate to have it." 1212 Cathedral St. | 410-783-8000 | bsomusic.org
The Windup Space
Lafayette Gilchrist, jazz pianist