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Good Living

National Aquarium answers marine life SOS

Stepping inside the National Aquarium in Baltimore is like diving into the ocean depths: amazing creatures swim by your face inches away.     In the Blacktip Reef exhibit, you meet Calypso, perhaps the aquarium’s most famous resident, a 500-pound green turtle with only three flippers.

How an Angel Tree saved our first Christmas

Editor’s Note: Traditions return at holiday time to knit our pasts and present into a ­garment we wear comfortably into the future. At Bay Weekly we’ve made it a ­holiday tradition to tell you a story of how the season’s memories are ­celebrated in our extended family. This year, as Melissa Driscoll Krol takes her turn, you’ll feel your reward for any gift you’ve made under an Angel Tree.

Trains live on in more than our memories and our hearts

Trains are just another form of transportation to some folks, no more interesting or glamorous than the bus that takes you from long-term parking to the airport terminal.     But if you’re one of the countless train lovers, like me, read on to discover three local ways to bring to life your train fantasies.

And keep it open all winter long

It’s a great time of year to take up or enhance the hobby of bird feeding, especially since we can watch outdoor birds from the cozy warmth of the great indoors with hot drinks, field guides and binoculars. It’s good for the birds, too. When ice and snow cover everything in sight, providing food, water and grit (bits of sand, stone, or shell that birds need for digestion), may mean survival for our backyard birds.     How then to best serve the feathered ones? What kinds of foods and feeders? How to manage water? Who might show up?

For Rod ‘N’ Reel’s Chef Rudy, Thanksgiving is a piece of cake

From the first-time turkey roaster to the kitchen master, who among us can anticipate cooking the Thanksgiving dinner without a bit of a flutter?     Chef Rudy Volpe can.     The 54-year-old chef looks forward to serving 1,000 to 1,200 hungry eaters at Rod ‘N’ Reel’s Thanksgiving Day Buffet.     For a chef who’s worked 20-plus years in gaming, most recently at Maryland Live!, Rod ‘N’ Reel’s seven-hour buffet is, well, a piece of cake.

Final year for Festival of Trees

In the Festival of Trees, Calvert Hospice forged a link between their end-of-life mission and joy in the world.     For 27 years, on the day after Thanksgiving, Hospice volunteers have created a magical forest of Christmas trees adorned in whimsy and wonder.     “It’s a wonderful event that really kicks off the season and gets everyone in the spirit of the holidays,” says Hospice board president Gail Gibson.

The B&A Trail provides more than a smooth ride

The Baltimore-Annapolis Trail saved Tom Caraker’s life. In 2000, Type II diabetes and multiple strokes tormented the now 81-year-old, depriving him of feeling in his hands. Defying the doctor’s orders he dug a mountain bike out of his shed and went riding through Severna Park. Squeezing handbrakes brought back first tingling, then full feeling.

Bay beaches keep a record of natural as well as human history.

There’s history in them thar shards

Bay beaches keep record of history. Some of these bits are treasures.     Look and you may find not only sea-washed glass but also pieces of pottery from the China trade, bits of everyday ceramics from the early 1900s or clay pipes from the 1700s.     Learn to read the history of sea pottery this Saturday. Dr. Patricia Samford, director of the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, offers a free workshop from 1-4pm Aug. 1 at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum in St. Leonard (410-586-8501).

Our beautiful swimmers are starting to run

Dennis Doyle’s cautious Sporting Life report that crabbing finally “may be improving” is seconded by commercial crabbers, who are notorious pessimists. Better still, we’ve seen chicken-neckers pulling in crabs at local piers.     Chicken-necking for Chesapeake Bay blue crabs requires you spend a quiet morning or afternoon alongside the Bay or one of its rivers. It gives you the fun of catching wily crustaceans. Then you get to eat them.