Ice on the Middle Patuxent River



Winter 2010 visit

Last updated January 2, 2011



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Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six

My parents have visited me in Maryland quite a few times now. But this time was special. In December 2009, Norma and I bought a house in Savage. They had not yet seen it. They had also never been to Maryland in the winter. It was time for both.

Day One, Thursday, December 16, 2010

My folks flew into Baltimore Washington International (BWI) Airport that night. Norma was still working so I went to pick them up by myself. We recently got some snow and I was concerned that their flight might be delayed but the Southwest Airlines website said they would arrive on time...and they did. No problems with luggage either. That's why we like flying Southwest.

Norma cooked a nice ham and rice dinner. I gave them a tour of the house. We stayed up late, talking.

Day Two, Friday, December 17, 2010

Home tour
Our cat, Asha, came out to say good morning first photo.

Norma and I gave my parents a tour of the property and the garage (second photo). The garage is my favorite part of the property since it is where I store my boats, exercise, and tinker.

I showed them my solar panels which were covered in snow. There was only about 2 inches of snow on the ground. Walking was not difficult and the place had a wintery look so we had the best of both. See Dad and me in the front yard in the third photo.

Patuxent Branch Trail
We all went on a walk. I took them on my running route, which includes the Patuxent Branch Trail (see first photo). We saw about 4 deer (see second photo) near Savage Park (see third and fourth photos). I pointed out the home of the first mill owner (Savage Mill Manor) and the homes of his workers on Baltimore Street.

Then we toured Savage Mill and saw all their Christmas decor (see fifth photo).

Leaving the mill, Norma and I showed them the historic Bollman Truss Bridge. See sixth photo.

After working up an appetite, we stopped in for a bite to eat at Ma's Kettle. Norma went home to tend to some things while I took my folks to the Savage Cemetery, behind Countryside Fellowship Church. We saw tombstones of prominent local families: Baldwin, Dorsey, and Linthicum. See seventh photo.

That night we played games. I grew up playing many games such as Scrabble, chess, and Monopoly. But tonight we played Bananagrams and "Blokus." I dominated Bananagrams (as usual) and Dad did quite well in Blokus. But by the end of the night, I was starting to understand the strategy of Blokus much better.

Day Three, Saturday, December 18, 2010

Botanic Gardens
The three of us met Joyce and Hazel (Norma's sister and mother) in Washington D.C. at the Botanic Gardens. There was lots of parking but it was for official use only so we took what we could find (which wasn't much) elsewhere. The parking meters charged 25 cents for 7.5 minutes! At least it was free to get into the gardens.

There were some fantastic displays at the Gardens including a special one with miniature famous buildings made out of plant materials.
  • First photo: Japanese castle
  • Second photo: Taj Mahal?
  • Third photo: Capitol Building
  • Fourth photo: Building with columns
  • Fifth photo: Something with a stone foundation
  • Sixth photo: Great Wall of China
  • Seventh photo: Another view of the Japanese castle

  • We saw Marty who we often see at hiking events. Mom actually got him in a photo...a rare occurrence. Few people can claim that they have photographed Marty.

    Of course, in addition to the building miniatures, we also saw several interesting and beautiful plants.
  • Eighth photo: Passion flowers on water
  • Ninth photo: Norma with red flowers
  • Tenth photo: Hazel in front of poinsettia flowers
  • Eleventh photo: Me with purple flowers
  • Twelfth photo: Hand grenade plant

  • Naturally, there were also several group photos.
  • Thirteenth photo: Dad and Hazel
  • Fourteenth photo: Dad, me, Norma, Joyce, and Hazel
  • Fifteenth photo: Dad, Joyce, Mom, Hazel, and me
  • Sixteenth photo: Hazel and Dad try to figure out what that thing is
  • Seventeenth photo: Joyce and Dad by Spanish Moss

  • All the plants looked so healthy. I wonder if they go through some quarantine process before being introduced. The next time you are at the gardens, try to find a bug. I think I saw only one...a small flying insect.

    Norman Rockwell
    Next, we walked to the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I love how each picture tells a story. Unlike so many old European paintings that depict nobility and upper-class elitism, the Rockwell drawings show what was then life of the average American. My company was a proud corporate sponsor.

    Art of Gaman
    Then, we toured The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps at the Sackler Gallery. There were several works from the internment camps that my folks were put in, but they didn't see names of anyone they knew.

    National Christmas Tree
    We walked by the White House and saw the National Christmas Tree along with several smaller trees from each state. See the national tree with the White House in the background in the first photo. There were several toy trains racing around the big tree. See second photo.

    There was a huge yule tide log burning and giving off LOTS of heat. It was a good place to stand near on a cold day.

    I was surprised to see a nativity scene. There were no representations from non-Christian religions.

    Before leaving the area, we posed for one last photo. See third photo.

    Continuing onward, we stopped for a nice German dinner at Cafe Mozart. A piano player was there, providing live entertainment.

    Our vehicles were parked at the garage in Chinatown near where Norma works so we headed back there. In this underground facility, a Christmas gift was given from Norma's family to mine. It was a glass framed hand-sewn picture of a house made by Hazel. See first photo. Needless to say, my parents were very impressed. See second photo.

    More games
    That night, I introduced them to Rush Hour and Tangoes, two problem solving games. They liked Rush Hour.

    It was a long but fun-filled day. Norma organized the whole thing and she did a great job of it.

    Day Four, Sunday, December 19, 2010

    Savage Mill Trail
    After such a busy day yesterday, it was good to sleep in and take it easy. But for Asha, it was just another normal, lazy day. See first photo

    With some snow still covering the ground and food becoming scarce, the birds found Norma's birdfeeder to be an oasis. See second photo.

    With the midday sun as overhead as it was going to get, we took a drive out to the Savage Mill Trail. It was great to walk on it while there was still snow on the ground. Much of the Little Patuxent River was frozen and it was neat to see the water flowing over the ice.
  • Third photo: Me standing next to the frozen Little Patuxent (Pax) River
  • Fourth photo: Water flowing under ice
  • Fifth photo: The whitewater section of the river. Today it was white because of ice and snow

  • Wincopin Trail
    Next, we drove out to the Wincopin Trail where we walked about 2 more miles on the green/blue trail loop that took us to where the Middle and Little Patuxent Rivers merge.
  • First photo: A happy couple on the trail
  • Second photo: Parents walking uphill
  • Third photo: The icy Middle Patuxent River
  • Fourth photo: A break in the snow made it easy to follow the trail
  • Fifth photo: Dad, Norma, and me near where Norma and I found so many salamander eggs in the spring
  • Sixth photo: Another view of the icy river
  • Seventh photo: Norma looking for the perfect photo
  • Eighth photo: Sunset
  • Ninth photo: A snow covered path marked this trail
  • Tenth photo: Sunset lighting
  • Eleventh photo: Dad and me on the ridgeline
  • Twelfth photo: Still happy

  • At the southernmost part of the trail, we could look across the Little Pax and see where we walked, just a few hours prior.

    There were a few birds out but not much else in terms of wildlife. We were hoping to see more deer but saw none.

    There were lots of plants ready to drop seeds. Some of the seeds looked like black pepper.

    Later that night, my good friend and former landlady, Jenn, took time out of her busy schedule to pay us a visit. See first and second photos. We went to the Rams Head Tavern for dinner (see third photo) then to Columbia where we drove the Symphony of Lights, a Christmas light display where the profits are donated to charity. See fourth photo.

    Day Five, Monday, December 20, 2010

    Norma, my parents, and I went to Federal Hill in Baltimore where we did a historic walking tour. It was very cold. In terms of temperature, it wasn't too bad, but the wind was stronger than in previous days.

    We stopped at Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church which was established in 1836. We got a personalized tour of the place which runs a weekly soup kitchen to help feed the homeless.

    Walking around the area, we saw numerous other historic buildings that reflected life from the 1800s in Baltimore. While Washington D.C. has more of a governmental feel, Baltimore is more of a typical old port city with an industrial background.

    For lunch, we ate at Trattoria Annamaria, an Italian deli.

    That night, we played Blokus. Having gained a better understanding of the strategy, I won quite a few games though Norma was the only one to use all her tiles, which is quite an impressive feat.

    It was an easy, relaxing day and good way to spend my parents' last full day in town. We considered going to walk around some public gardens but it was just too cold to spend more time outside.

    Day Six, Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    We were up before dawn. My parents said farewell to Norma then I drove them to BWI for their flight home. They got home as smoothly as they made it in.

    Norma and I were all pleased with their visit and hope there will be many more.

    The day after they left, I ordered Blokus and Rush Hour for my parents to help keep their minds active. Plus, it will give them a chance to develop their Blokus skills for their next visit.