Archived entries for Stuff to see, and things to do…

Living in Berlin MD 2012 – Some plusses and minuses viewed from West Street!

I’m pretty sure that Mike and I are responsible for this warmish winter!  Just before Christmas I abandoned my normally frugal habits and purchased a beautiful, designer winter coat; Mike purchased a pair of stout winter boots.  Neither of these ‘winter preparedness’ purchases has seen the light of day since delivery.  Aghhhh!  Do I rue these purchases – really, not at all!  Instead, we’ve all enjoyed a most unusual, warmish winter with far less spent in seasonal heating costs compared to the cold years.  A good thing!

Rather than begin the New Year with ‘resolutions’, I’ve chosen instead this year to have ‘intentions’.  For instance:  I’ve spent most every day in January intending to eliminate SPAM in my email inbox.  Each SPAM/Junk mail ‘should’ be accompanied by an ‘unsubscribe’ link to an unsubscribe ‘box’.  After weeks of clicking and carefully inserting my email address (one of several) in that box it looks as if I’m winning the battle.  An intention, carried out for which there is an almost immediate and ultimately, long-term reward in lessening daily frustrations!  Another plus!

I’ve been reading a lot about the ‘intentions’ of others too these days.  A quick read of the Minutes of the recent January 23rd Town of Berlin Maryland Mayor and Council meeting revealed a request from the Berlin Chamber of Commerce to be permitted to sell alcohol – beer and wine, at five Berlin annual events.  Of course these beverage refreshment sales are to take place within certain street boundaries.  What?  What are ‘we’ thinking?  Has it come to the point where a Town/Chamber sponsored, ‘family friendly’ event, lasting but several hours, street-side activity cannot be ‘enjoyed’ by the attendees without alcohol?   Are there not already several privately owned, bars and restaurants in Berlin who serve alcohol that no longer need the support and benefit that our events offer with increased crowds?  Are the Berlin Police to be asked to ignore individuals tottering to cars, post-event, preparing to take to the highways heading home?  Is it really fine that alcohol be readily available to event attendees but the traditional (and very popular) ‘Pig Races’ of Spring Celebration be discontinued due to concerns by the PETA folks?  Are we desperate for Chamber funding?  Are we hypocrites?  Are we nuts?

 

I’m no teetotaler – yet I believe this action puts the Town of Berlin MD upon the wrong path.  Ironically, shortly after the Octoberfest event I was conversing with two folks; one from Ocean City MD – one from Fenwick DE (who had attended Octoberfest and the Berlin Christmas Parade).  When asked where I was from – and answering, “Berlin” – each commented,  “Berlin is following Salisbury with the street event alcohol idea – a bad move” and further spoke about the high crime rate in Salisbury MD and that town’s deteriorating reputation.

 

I consider the Chamber’s intention a minus…with our Town crowing about substantially increased revenues due to our apportionment from nearby Casino Ocean Downs – perhaps  a few dollar could be siphoned off to what appears to be, our needy Chamber of Commerce?

 

BERLIN MD to “drop the Ball’ – again!

Despite being just two days before Christmas, during my weekly visit to the Berlin Farmers’ Market last Friday, much of the chatter seemed focused on the upcoming New Year’s Eve ‘Ball Drop’ here in Berlin.  The descriptive term, ‘wildly successful event’ was tossed about.  And, with the Town’s recent ordinance permitting alcohol to be consumed at designated street-side locations at our Town’s center, within view of the countdown, I’m betting that this year’s second annual celebration will be ‘wilder’ still.  It’s all in fun and only for a brief coulpa’ hours…we get to join in!

 

For those visiting from out of town, listed below are several suggestions for lodging – the first three within EASY walking distance of this second New Year’s Eve ‘wildly successful’ celebration in Historic Berlin, Maryland.  Don’t miss it!

 

The Atlantic Hotel – 2 North Main Street.  410-641-3589 –  http://atlantichotel.com

Holland House, Bed & Breakfast Inn – 5 Bay Street.  410-641-1956 – http://hollandhousebandb.com

Waystead Inn – 15 Harrison Avenue.  443-856-4755 – http://www.waysteadinn.com/

 

and a short drive away…

Merry Sherwood Plantation – 8909 Worcester Highway. 410-641-2112 – http://merrysherwood.com

(photo courtesy of Geren Mortensen, Sr.)

 

 

Casino – OCEAN DOWNS…has few arms!

Finding little going on around town recently – other than Super Bowl commercial chatter on FB, I decided to allow myself to be encouraged to visit the new Casino – Ocean Downs.  It was an interesting experience…though disappointing upon reflection.  I’m of the age where, having grown up in Baltimore County, summertime visits to Mago Vista Beach (Anne Arundel County) found me with a handful of nickels…anxiously looking forward to pulling the lever on the slot machines to be found there.  Ever hoping for three cherries, one dollar provided an afternoon’s entertainment along with the swimming with friends.

Casino – Ocean Downs…has no arms – levers (although someone has told since I am wrong)…and no bright cherries, bells, lemons or bars.  It turned out to be a huge, noisy room filled with row upon row of lever less, push-button machines with spinning electronic graphics.  There was a distinct absence of the well-remembered, satisfying jingle of coins and pulled lever, ‘clunk’ sounds.  No real dining – only a cafeteria style row of stainless shelves – offering not much.  No live entertainment other than the constant blips and bleeps from the electronic machines.  Only expressionless faces were to be seen – hunched over – some tethered by some sort of I.D. necklace do-dad to the machine in front.  It’s sure no Casino Royale with Sean Connery look-a-likes standing nearby – only folks in light green, sporty, knit shirts to assist.

And, why is it requested that you show your driver’s license to spend a few dollars…I was told it was necessary to obtain gifts and coupons in the mail!  Certainly not wanting to have my small, guilty secret, tallied by any and all public and private agencies, I refused!

Despite refusing the ID request thing, I was allowed to play my $10…and came away with $28.33 (such an odd amount?) and again with that aforementioned pervasive feeling of disappointment.  No matter how attractive the new venue, it seemed a small, sad copy of my concept of a ‘casino’ or FUN.

Ah, but all became clear last night at the regular meeting of the Berlin Maryland Mayor and Council when our Financial Director, Lynn Musgrave reported that the Town was setting up a new separate bank account into which Berlin’s share of the proceeds would be placed.  I suppose that our proximity to the Casino – Ocean Downs may be viewed as a benefit…however, I remain unconvinced!

DROP A STITCH? We all do…from time to time!

This past Tuesday evening found an eclectic group of women arriving, one by one, through the door into the cozy Berlin Coffee House on Jefferson Street in Downtown Historic Berlin Maryland.  Seems our host, Peggy Hagy had put out the word – the 2011 knitting group was now in session – interested needle workers welcome (men too, if you dare)!  Finding a seat among the comfortable sofas and settees scattered about, the evening began with everyone being offered a drink – coffee or tea served alongside a heaping mound of welcoming chatter.  The usual furtive looks came forth when projects were pulled from bags. (Peggy admitted she’s still working on last year’s scarf.  Hmm!) Beginners pulled out brightly colored, new yarns…ever hopeful of good result.  The more experienced had projects already begun – also hopeful of good result!  Soon, needles were clicking, and we got down to some serious knitting.  Time flew.  This most companionable evening concluded around 8pm.  Unfortunately, when I checked my project the next morning I found that I had ‘dropped a stitch’, many rows back…UG!  Being an obvious pattern, there was nothing to do but ‘rip it out‘ and begin again… a tedious chore.  Seems that’s pretty much what life is about anyway, right? Looking forward to next Tuesday!  Won’t you join us…?

There’s room for more…if you want to learn, share your skills or just want to spend an evening in most excellent company – drop by any Tuesday at 6pm – Berlin Coffee House, Berlin Maryland.  Peggy does ask for a donation of $2 to help cover costs – sadly, Berlin’s Commercial electric rates remain high.

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A Little Stumble (I dropped the ball) – then Berlin’s Great ‘First Step’!

It’s the first workweek of the New Year…and all eyes are looking forward.

Two thousand, eleven is already different.  As a life-long fan of calendars, with a tradition of purchasing far too many, this year I’ve limited myself to just two; a brainteaser, ‘puzzle a day’ calendar for Mike and a new ‘word a day’ for me.  Mike is a canny observer, and although sometimes hampered trying to express himself orally, he’s a wizard with anything that requires a little quiet contemplation.  By ‘little’ I mean the first time he was handed a Rubik’s Cube, he sat studying for a few minutes and then with a determined series of rapid rotations, had it solved.  I sat for three days twisting that infernal thing with no success.  On the other hand, I love words…their origin and meanings.  WARNING: Readers, be prepared as I try to use some of my new learning’s. –  So we’re good…and along with the half-dozen inspirational, perpetual calendars scattered around we are armed for most anything this year!

The ‘stumble’ mentioned above was my best intention to attend the first ever Berlin MD New Year’s Eve – Ball Drop party!  As Mike was heading to bed around 9, I was getting myself presentable for the evening – a little dressy.  My escort – a ten month old Kerry Blue pup named Lucy Brown, had been brushed…we were just waiting for 10:30 to head downtown to view the grand event.  Then I sat down…I awoke with a start ( a heap of rumpled clothing)– the clock showing 1:14am.  Yikes, and I had promised photos to someone…!  Fortunately a friend, Geren Mortensen Sr. had shot a series of really good, still photos, capturing the essence of that special evening.  Thanks Geren!  They are available on facebook under his profile for anyone who cares to look.  It was a ‘great first step’ for our Town, with many attending – and now another Berlin MD runaway HIT!

By the way, I don’t know about the rest of you in cyber land, but during the recent holidays I received quite a few notices in my inbox stating that there are ‘E-cards’ waiting to be opened.  A thank you to sender, however, the ‘E-card’ program is not Mac friendly and so I am unable to open and view…it’s the thought that counts, right?

Until…

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“…putting the ‘here’ in there.”

Over the past several weeks I’ve had some minutes to reflect on my continued good fortune to be living in this charming Eastern Shore town.  Life is life and things are pretty good around here – especially now that the gardens are showing green and some of our early crops are showing promise.  (Yesterday’s West Street ‘backyard’ event surely caused even greater joy; first egg was discovered, safely delivered from our new flock of four, 19-week-old Red Star hens.)

But I’m getting off track – recently, while reading an article in this month’s issue of Organic Gardening I saw this comment, ”…it’s the tight knit rural communities that put the ‘here’ in there; that make one place distinct from another and are the essence of regional character.” To my mind this charming thought speaks of this place – Berlin Maryland.  Certainly these days we each have our challenges – personal, economic, environmental even political; no one is untouched by today’s events both near and far.  Yet, I keep discovering an extraordinary strength, a resiliency, and certainly a willingness to pitch in and share among Berlin’s people…my neighbors, my friends.  Thanks to the many area folks who just keep on putting the ‘here’ in there.

To that end, this weekend our town will again throw open the doors to welcome visitors and share our ‘here’.

Spring Arts Night on Friday evening offers a new view of our Town talents – to mention but a few of the many; Pat Henry will ‘Officially’ open his new gallery and I saw that Gail Lewis has a mighty fine show prepared at Water’s Edge.

Saturday features the 3rd Annual Jazz & Blues Bash with daylong musical events planned for our Historic downtown streets.  Come on down…!

Berlin Home Grown into World Class…

The tiny Eastern Shore town of Berlin Maryland, though remaining ‘cozy’, continues to grow in stature every day…thanks in part to a group of five, active, home town artists.    These talented folks are our friends and neighbors, seen daily, living and working beside us.  We are truly grateful to you all for generously sharing your gifts…

Although always subjective, much real art is recognized through exhibition (and sales)…

This coming weekend, Ann Coates of Bishop’s Stock Fine Art, Fine Craft Gallery in Snow Hill is opening the Spring season with an exhibit of new work by Lynne Lockhart and Kirk McBride.  “During the past year both Lynne and Kirk received national recognition for their work – Lynne’s for her paintings of animals and Kirk for his skill at plein air painting.”  The show opens with a gallery reception on Friday, April 2nd, 5-8pm.  And, because the opening coincides with ‘First Friday’ down there – others venues shall be open.  Should be fun as the weather forecast is promising a real Spring weekend!

No one can say ‘Berlin Maryland’ without thinking about the art of Patrick Henry – I’d call Pat the Godfather of Painting here in town.  Over the past 20 years, his works – mostly depicting life within and around Berlin – have become classic and are always wonderful!  The huge mural inside the entrance of Atlantic General Hospital is Pat’s work.   And now, with the opening of Pat’s new gallery at 4 Bay Street, (across from Town Hall) his fine art may be seen and enjoyed every day!  We don’t have to wait…

Number four on our list of home grown town artists is Pete Cosby – by day, Pete’s a lawyer with an office in Ocean City, perhaps stealing the odd hour for his craft – but on nights and weekends Pete is often be found with brush in hand.   Pete’s work has come a long way in a short time.  I remember some early works – with an almost tooth-jarring, thalo/viridian green mix grabbing my attention.  His more recent works – marine in theme, are just plain terrific.  Thanks to Gail at the Water’s Edge Gallery, Pete’s newest works are frequently featured – and much loved!

Rounding out the home list is Marge Coyman – although not an native Berliner, Marge has become a strong, participating resident.  As a dedicated art teacher at the Salisbury School to our west, Marge still finds time to paint  (not often enough in my opinion) some wonderful works.  She’s done a couple of pastels – of simple vegetables – that I’ve coveted for a long, long time.  Yesterday, I found that these have been sold – but am promised that more will be available in the near future.  Marge – please do it!  Often Marge’s work may be seen at the j.j.fish gallery and studio on Main Street and at The Globe.

Certainly can’t list Berlin’s artists without mentioning additional locations within our town where their works (and the works of many other inspired folks) are frequently exhibited…

The Globe, 12 Broad Street – Jen’s got events and activities relating to the arts year round.  On Saturday, April 3rd coinciding with Berlin’s Spring Celebration, the Globe will sponsor an ‘event to benefit cancer treatment for friend and artist, Bill Rolig‘.

Worcester County Arts Council – located on Jefferson Street – exhibits from area artists year round with frequent special receptions.

And finally, a heartfelt thanks to all of the shops and businesses that foster and feature ‘art’ and crafts throughout the year…on Berlin’s regular ‘Second Friday’ walkabouts and on Berlin’s upcoming special Spring Arts night – this year – May 7th.

Note:  To the many other creative and talented folks who show and sell within this fine town – I apologize for neglecting to mention your name.  However, this one’s for the natives!
(Further…links to venues mentioned may be accessed by clicking on the name.)

No GHOST Town this…BERLIN hums!

Last Sunday, Mike and I traveled west – to the other side of our peninsula to Crisfield Maryland to chase some ghosts…!  Aptly named the Crisfield Ghost Tour, Mindie Burgoyne, author of the book, Haunted Eastern Shore, led a group of 51 intrepid (fearless) folks out for an afternoon of ghost hunting.  While visiting one of the potentially inhabited homes, Marquis Manor (now a bed and breakfast), I decided to forgo the indoor presentation and stayed outside.  This lovely old Victorian era home is located only steps from the Town’s main street, yet I was amazed by the complete quiet all around.  Literally, I was in the center of a once thriving port city once heralded as second only to Baltimore in activity – and today, one hundred years later, it was stone silent.  I experienced this rare occurrence with wonder.   Nary a birdcall, slamming door, child’s shout or car motor marred the perfect stillness.  Sadly, as most of us already know, Crisfield no longer bustles.  A quick trip to the Town Dock showed only a few boats silently moored there; most having ‘Smith Island Tour’ signs hanging about.  The main street showed few signs of life except for some restaurants; although a new Food Lion was seen to be in active construction beside the McDonalds in a former bank building.  The nearby town of Marion Station, once a famed, Eastern Shore supplier of strawberries to the nation, is now officially a ghost town.

Later Mindie (a Crisfield implant), and I spoke; she told me of her daily regimen of travel, logging double digit miles to most anywhere to supply the daily needs of her family; the nearest Walmart – 19 miles away.  Is this the price to be paid for that perfect silence?

That evening as we returned to our home here in Berlin Maryland, I noted again the familiar HUM of our town; traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular all around, I was comforted.  Certainly no ghost town this!

(Although we met no ghosts, this tour was great fun…we look forward to the next ‘Eastern Shore Ghost Tour’ from Great Blue Media!)

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Viral Networking – it’s communicable!

First, apologies for the bad pun!  Couldn’t help myself!

Tuesday morning’s free presentation in Snow Hill by Mindie Burgoyne from the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development went a long way to help me on that previously mentioned journey – learning to go from ‘Geezer to Geek’.   Ms. Burgoyne gave an inspiring talk citing examples of her own path; how the social media helped build and expand real life friendships and how from these friendships, developed many and varied social and professional opportunities.  Although an author – Haunted Eastern Shore, Mindie pointed out ways in which an expanded social network could benefit all of us.  From sharing nearly instantaneous photos of far away grandkids to receiving that much hoped for job opportunity to finding that long, lost ‘rich’ uncle – social media works!  And, best of all; it’s just plain fun!

Rumor has it that Berlin’s own Economic and Community Development guy, Michael Day is working to have Mindie come here to Berlin MD and spread the word. Watch for an announcement soon!  Don’t miss it.  Be ready to enrich you life with communication.

If you’d care to leave a comment, just double click on the title of this post.

Note:  The Berlin Lion’s Club is holding their famous, annual ‘whole hog’ sausage sale on February 6th beginning at 8 am!  You know where…at the Lion’s Den just south of Main Street on Rt. 113.

GEEZERS into GEEKS…via facebook!

For a few brief hours this afternoon I attended an enlightening presentation held at the  Art League of Ocean City…on the ‘social media revolution’.  The presenter was  Dr. Ira S. Wolfe.   Dr. Wolfe is the author of the book, “Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization. Wait a minute…what’s that you say…’what is social media revolution?’  Here’s a video that may help understand this concept…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8

Seems I’m a bit late to this party – time’s already made me a geezer, however the good news is that information is turning me into a geek.  Since joining facebook two weeks ago I’ve found that there are a lots of ‘already geeks’ – aka ‘friends’, right here in Berlin MD.  In the meantime, I’ve also reconnected with long lost schoolmates from all over…(what happened, they look old!) and made closer connections with my kids and their kids – the grands, who live far away!  Uh Oh, Grammy’s lookin’! Finally, I’ve found and leaned more about many of our local organizations and businesses – all on facebook.  Surely, there’s more to learn…and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.

Come on…there’s still time, join the party!

Note:  You may have noticed that this old blog has a new look…many thanks to my new friend, Rodrigo Galindez of Cordoba, Argentina.  This generous and brilliant young man is the web design artist who created this beautiful blog space – called Modern Clix, which is now available as a free upload.  There are more in the works…you may visit Rod at http://rodrigogalindez.com to learn more about graphic design, typography and web development – more of that fascinating geek stuff.



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