Blob’s Park is closing in less than one month. And I for one am going to miss its unique attributes. Where else could you go to get authentic German food, listen to live music, go waltzing across a dance floor and feel as if you’d stepped back in time to the 1960s?
In recent years, probably my husband Peter and I have not gone there nearly enough— but oh the memories!. A trip to Blobs Park, for many patrons means polka dancing. But there was so much else. I remember visiting Blobs for an evening of dinner and dancing in the 1990’s and marveling at the wide variety of patrons. There would be women with beehive hairdo’s, men with rolled up short sleeves and crew cuts and entire wedding parties and anniversary parties set up at the various long banquet tables. Men and women still spry in their 80’s would be doing the jitterbug and the Lindy hop. Often I’d see small children sitting at some tables earlier in the evening, ready to dance along with Mom and Dad or not waiting and making up dances of their own. On a Sunday afternoon there might be a band with an accordion playing a variety of German and Polish folk dances and lots of folks out on the dance floor who knew all the patterns and steps.
Max Blob, opened Blob’s Park in 1928 as a private gathering place (think Speakeasy) It opened to the public in 1933. He was known affectionately as “Onkle Max. “ In recent years Blobs has hosted Latin Bands, Country Music, and last Friday night it was a 1940s style Swing Band. Unfortunately, despite the good music, the hall has become increasingly empty.
But that’s not why they are closing.
December 2012 and January 2013, 29 acres of Blobs Park land was sold to the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. The plan is for a church and school to be built on the land but the current owner/manager Max Eggerl, who is a grandson of Max Blob, the original founder , thought he had a verbal agreement to keep occupying the Hall for a few more years. Evidently that is not to be. Blob’s Park will be closing at the end of the month. The last event at the hall that has seating for 1000 people, will be “Our Last Polka and will feature Mike Surratt and The Continentals on March 30th
In the last few remaining weeks that Blob’s Park remains open, make a pilgrimage and walk around the place. A bit of the spirit of “Onkle Max” still remains.
Blobs Park is located at the Intersection of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 1765 in Jessup, Maryland; just a short drive down the highway from the entrance to Fort Meade. As the western part of Anne Arundel County continues to grow in density, another little piece of history is lost.
The tire tracks and the “X” for an eye seem to be appropriate for the chicken now positioned in the former location of “Chicken of the Sea” which has evidently been driven over too many times by negligent motorists to make a comeback. The next time you take a walk in Annapolis’s Arts and Entertainment District, keep your eyes on the lookout for added chickens. This project, sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Arts Council, is designed to raise awareness of the arts and ultimately to help raise more funds to support the arts in our schools. It is probably not too soon to mark your calendar for the Walk in the Woods, an annual event that is co-sponsored by the Scenic Rivers Land Trust and the Anne Arundel Department of Recreation and Parks. Dogs on leashes are welcome after 10 a.m. and if you are looking for another dog walking opportunity attend the annual Walk for the Animals this weekend at Quiet Waters Park. Finally, if you haven’t visited my new Baltimore Girl Cooks by the Bay blog, check it out and sign up for an RSS feed. I’ll be posting delicious recipes and sharing colorful stories once a week.
It’s a challenge to find places with good music for dancing swing, latin, and ballroom if you happen to live in Annapolis and don’t want to drive all the way to Baltimore or Washington D.C. The good news is that I just rediscovered that Blob’s Park Bavarian Garden located in Jessup Maryland, has expanded their offerings beyond the polka to include more Swing Dance and just this past week Salsa/Latin night. I just happened to check their schedule and discovered that this past Friday (3/15) was the first Salsa/Latin night and went to check it out. The Rumba Club Band was playing and they were excellent. Nine musicians on drums, timbales, keyboard, trombone, flute, bass, and sax. There was plenty of room on the dance floor to try the rumba, cha cha, and merengue along with salsa dancing. When the band breaks there are free lessons. There were some excellent dancers to watch and there were others just learning (like me).
The cover charge for the night is $12 per person and can vary according to the night. DInner, snacks, plus drinks are available if you want to make a complete evening of it. The music begins at 8:00 p.m. The next two Thursdays will feature swing dancing and on Friday March 29th, playing will be the Bayside Big Band. Looking ahead, their next salsa night will take place on April 19th. The Rumba Club Band will be returning and I look forward to hearing them again. See you there!
the Scenic Rivers Land Trust is taking a hike at SERC ie the Smithsonian Evironmental Reserach Center in Edgewater. That’s the same trail I blogged about in January. Scenic Rivers Land Trust is a great organization and if you haven’t hiked the trail yet… you can join them at the Contee Watershed Trail at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater on Saturday, March 16th from 10 am to 11:30 am.
Stay and plant trees if you have time. The group has been invited by SERC to stay after the hike, or whenever it fits your schedule, for volunteer tree planting. SERC is seeking volunteers to plant an experimental forest called “BiodiversiTREE.”
A new trail has opened at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater. Titled the Contee Watershed Trail, I walked it the start of the new year for the first time with my son Chris, who works at SERC doing post doctoral research, plus husband Peter and daughter Alex.
The 1.6 mile trail takes you across fields and into a forested landscape down to Sellman Creek and back towards the ruins of the Contee Mansion. Once a grand home, the building primarily consists of two tall chimneys with three fireplaces each plus partial walls and foundation. Kept secure with scaffolding, the Contee Mansion once looked similar to the Paca House In Annapolis.
You can reach the new trail by driving down Contee Wharf Road, off of Muddy Creek Road. There is parking, composting restrooms, and a sign-in kiosk. Keep in mind this is a trail for humans on foot only. No dogs or dirt bikes are allowed as SERC is a wildlife refuge. The Contee Wharf trail is just one of many lovely trails on the SERC property. This month consider taking a winter hike. Spending some time in the brisk cold air make you really appreciate a warm cozy house! Visit the SERC website to learn more about their facilities.
We all know at least one really nice person, the kind of person who always thinks the best of everyone they meet and who always seems to think of the right things to say at the right time.
Last night the world lost one of the nicest people I’ve had the privilege to call my friend— Diane Fien Kelly. She waged a valiant battle against a virulent form of cancer and now her pain is over, but we who knew her are left with a large hole in our hearts.
Diane was a member of my book club, which I often write about. She will be sorely missed. A supporting player, she may not have always read everyone’s book selection, but was always asking for everyone’s recipes.(One of these days we probably should create a cookbook). Diane liked to laugh and her smile would light up her face. She was always the person in the room who wanted to listen to what everyone else had to say, rather than taking center stage. She always made you feel good about any project you told her about, offering supportive advice. In her professional career she worked in Special Education, which fit right in with her desire to help others who needed extra attention and understanding.
Even while undergoing chemo and radiation treatments, instead of feeling sorry for herself, she was still anxious to help others. Last fall while I was recovering from my broken back, Diane came to see me with a home cooked dinner and accompanied me on a walk around my neighborhood— apologizing that she didn’t have more time to spend with me. Who was helping who? As recently as two weeks ago, she still focused her strength on reaching out to friends sending thank you notes. I am inspired by her kindness.
We never got a chance to work out at the gym together. (I kept threatening to take her to my pilates class.) Fate sometime has a way of intervening. But the memory of Diane is very much alive in my mind and in her spirit I will remember her with a renewed dedication to fully appreciate every day as a gift and to learn by her example of small and large kindnesses.