Renovation work to Mercy’s emergency department waiting area will begin Monday, Oct. 23.
During renovation, the existing emergency department patient drop-off entrance will be closed and the waiting area space will be reduced. Patients and family members are encouraged to use the co-worker entrance just a few feet east of the existing emergency department entrance.
Mercy will provide complimentary valet parking for emergency department patients in front of the existing co-worker entrance and additional directional signage will be installed to assist with wayfinding. Emergency department staff as well as security will help patients and families locate entrances and registration.
“Patients who come to our emergency department often have a heightened sense of anxiety and fear,” said John Lampert, Mercy vice president of operations. “In order to help create a sense of comfort, we are installing new flooring, paint and furniture, plus elements of nature and expressions of Mercy’s faith throughout the space.”
Renovations are expected to be complete in early December.
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

The Santa Market, Benefiting The Alzheimer’s Association
The Santa Market started eight years ago with it’s first craft show that included eighteen vendors. On Nov. 18th this year, The Santa Market will be hosting over 110 vendors, face painting, food trucks and a real Santa for pictures with the kids. Admission is free and the first 1,000 people will receive a swag bag full of goodies donated by the vendors and sponsors for The Santa Market.. Last year alone, The Santa Market raised over $17,000 for The Alzheimer’s Association. This year the goal is even more to help find a cure for this horrible desease that affects so many. The event will take place at the The Edmond Community Center, 28 E. Main in Edmond. For more info:

Date/ Day/ Location/ Time/ Registration #/ Instructor

Nov 2/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Varacchi Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
Nov 3/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 297-1455/ Palinsky Will Rogers Senior Center – 3501 Pat Murphy Dr.
Nov 3/ Friday/ Okla. City/8:30 am – 3:30 pm/ 721-2466/ Kruck Baptist Village – 9700 Mashburn Blvd.
Nov 4/ Saturday/ Chandler/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 258-5002/ Brase Thompson Insurance – 121 W. 10th St.
Nov 7/ Tuesday/ Norman/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 307-3176/ Palinsky Norman Regional Hospital – 901 N. Porter
Nov 8/ Wednesday/ Warr Acres/8:30 am – 3 pm/ 789-9892/ Kruck Warr Acres Community Center – 4301 N. Ann Arbor Ave.
Nov 10/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards S. W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
Nov 15/ Tuesday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky —date change Rose State College – 6191 Tinker Diaognal
Nov 15/ Tuesday/ Edmond/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 340-1975/ Harms Touchmark – 2801 Shortgrass
Dec 8/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards S.W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10

The prices for the classes are: $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to:

The Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star presented the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation with a check totaling $10,175 at its annual conference on Sunday.
The donation will fund OMRF research on cancer and other diseases, such as lupus, heart disease and multiple sclerosis. With this donation, the Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star has now donated a total of $331,058 to OMRF research since 2002, when it selected OMRF as its charitable beneficiary.
The donation was presented at the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple in Guthrie.
Eastern Star members support OMRF through individual donations made at chapter meetings statewide, including marches and various donations made in memory of loved ones. Overall, 47 additional chapters have also made individual gifts to the foundation.
OMRF Vice President of Development Penny Voss described the Oklahoma Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star as the definition of philanthropy.
“The long-time support from the members of the Oklahoma Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star has a huge impact on OMRF,” she said. “Each year their gifts go directly to our scientists to help in their quest for new treatments and cures for diseases that affect all of us. We are truly grateful to every member for their belief in our mission to help people live longer and healthier lives.”
The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both men and women may belong. It counts approximately one million members across the globe and is dedicated to furthering charity, education, fraternity and science.
It has approximately 8,000 members and more than 90 chapters in Oklahoma, including groups in Bartlesville, Blanchard, Broken Arrow, Clinton, Enid, Guthrie, Hennessey, Lawton, McAlester, Muskogee and Woodward.

Kay Dudley and Alice Musser spent years in the Oklahoma Legislature on opposite sides of the aisle. They never guessed they would end up living under the same roof at The Veraden in Edmond.

story and photo by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

For years, Kay Dudley and Alice Musser worked across the aisle from each other in the Oklahoma Legislature representing South Oklahoma City.
Musser was a Democrat, Dudley a dyed-in-the wool Republican.
They lived on opposite sides of Pennsylvania Avenue on the city’s south side.
Neither had children in the same grade school. Their churches were different, too.
But both shared a sense of civic duty.
Neither ever imagined one day they would be living under the same roof at The Veraden in Edmond.
“We didn’t know each other, not when we went into the Legislature,” Dudley said. “She was on the East side of Pennsylvania Avenue. I was on the west side.”
Dudley, a Republican caucus secretary, was elected to the Senate in 1986. She was a member of the Senate’s Education, Human Resources, Finance and Transportation committees, as well as the joint Senate and House Task Force on Child Support and the Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse.
She was married to Dr. Tom Dudley, an oral surgeon who practiced in south Oklahoma City for more than 26 years. They had three children.
Musser served on the House Criminal Justice Committee, Retirement Laws Committee and Economic Development Committee.
She sponsored legislation establishing the Energy Conservation Assistance Fund providing grants for lower income, elderly and handicapped homeowners to weatherize their homes and save on energy costs.
She and husband, Carl, had six children.
Musser represented House District 91, which was made up of a part of Dudley’s Senate District 44.
“It was an open seat and I had run once before,’’ Musser said of her election in 1988. “I decided it was a job I needed to do.”
Both ladies admitted bumping their heads on the proverbial glass ceiling as they entered a profession historically dominated by their male counterparts.
Neither was ever asked to get someone a cup of coffee but they were always keenly aware they were the elephant in the room.
“I really didn’t think about it that way although I knew,” Musser said.
“I don’t think we got the same amount of respect as the men,” Dudley echoed.
There were definitely challenges.
“I loved being there,” Dudley said. “But regularly I kept thinking ‘I’m really not accomplishing much.’ And it’s a good ol’ boy system – whoever has been there the longest thinks they’re smarter than everybody else and they try to influence the newbies.
“There were some that I had total respect for and there were others I had no respect for. You just learn who to believe and what to believe.”
Each followed their heart and spent way more time than they had ever imagined trying to serve the needs of Oklahomans.
It was exhausting but both said their time serving at Oklahoma’s highest level of government went quickly.
“I thought I could change the world and I didn’t,” laughed Dudley.
“Well, I thought I had time to learn and then do something and I had two years,” Musser added.
Nowadays you’re likely to find them talking across the dining room table at The Veraden.
But the topic rarely turns to politics.
Neither have the energy for today’s versions.
“There wasn’t that wall that there is today,” Musser said comparing politics 30 years ago to today. “I can remember going to things in the evening and it was everybody, it wasn’t just one party or just the house or the senate.”
They’ve found that sense of community at The Veraden.
Life at The Veraden revolves around modest luxury, personal freedom, and optimal health. Comfortable surroundings, social activities, delicious meals, accommodating associates, and a prime location come together on this unique campus to form a fresh and vivacious lifestyle.
That was the draw for both Dudley and Musser – even though neither knew the other was considering moving in.
Dudley was one of the first residents. Musser came a few months later.
The Veraden modernizes and redefines the retirement experience. The independent living apartments offer chef-prepared dining, daily activities planned around residents’ interests, scheduled transportation to and from shopping and appointments, and a variety of social outings.
The pet-friendly community also offers laundry and housekeeping services plus apartment maintenance, allowing you to have the freedom to pursue the lifestyle you enjoy.
After politics, life moves at a more comfortable pace for the two ladies.
Young, female political hopefuls have sought them out over the years for guidance.
Each are ready to share their story even though it might come from a slightly different perspective.
“Well, you can’t agree with the Republicans very often,” Dudley teased her fellow former legislator.
“Sometimes, I don’t agree with the Democrats either,” Musser laughed.

The first half of Dennis Johnson’s professional life was spent building bridges and towers. He’s devoted the second half to helping people build their future.

story and photos by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

Dennis Johnson spent the first half of his professional life working with his hands, building things that would stand the test of time.
“It’s hard to go up and down Interstate 95 and not cross a bridge I didn’t have a hand on,” Johnson says proudly.
But a shoulder injury would bring Johnson to a crossroads.
His days working with steel were over and he had to take a hard look at what his financial options were.
At a relatively young age Johnson was forced to deal with his 401k, the loss of his primary income as well as the only profession he had ever known.
It was overwhelming. And he knew it had to be the same for others.
So instead of self pity Johnson poured himself into the only thing he ever knew: figuring out a way to build something for others.
“I’ve been 1,200 feet in the air and pushed a hundred tons of iron around and I know what a hard day’s work is,” said Johnson, who absorbed everything he could get his hands on to become a self-taught financial advisor. “I’m a blue collar guy. I’ve always told my clients I know how hard it is to make a buck. I know how hard it is to swing a beater for eight hours just to get one pin in.”
Just like swinging that hammer, Johnson approached his new career with a laser focus. Registered designations, licenses and accolades followed.
The third-generation iron worker from Baltimore built a multimillion-dollar portfolio in Arizona before selling it all and moving to Oklahoma in 2014 with the intention to retire with his love Cathy Belzer.
Retirement did not suit Johnson at all. With plenty of time to do whatever he wanted he realized he missed taking care of people.
Johnson is a veritable Swiss Army knife when it comes to financial services work. His registered investment advisor license dates back more than 20 years. Along the way he’s picked up life and health insurance licenses and registered advisor status.
“I used them when a client needed them,” ” said Johnson, now an advisor at Tree Line Capital in Edmond. “I never made a big deal about pushing any of it.”
A friend, Robert Ford at Tree Line Capital, convinced him to join his burgeoning firm.
“Why don’t you come over here with me,’’ Johnson remembers hearing his friend say. “We’ll build something.”
Those were the magic words.
“I just want to help,” Johnson said. “Everybody needs a second opinion. That’s the guy I want to be. I’m really enjoying it. I’m having fun again and enjoying the business again.”
Johnson’s not the kind of guy you’ll find behind a desk all day wearing a suit and tie. You’re more apt to find him playing a round of golf or sitting down with buddies talking football.
There’s an ease about Johnson that goes with his blue-collar roots and his genuine desire to help people.
So it’s no surprise people gravitate toward him.
Today’s financial services industry is filled with fresh-faced, college graduates begging to take a crack at people’s portfolios.
Johnson has had individual clients longer than most of those new advisors have been alive.
Some clients Johnson will never let go, or more precisely, they won’t let him go.
“I have a client who is 93 years old and it feels so good because she tells everybody ‘If it wasn’t for (Dennis) I never would have made it,’” Johnson said. “We started with a relatively small amount of money and she’s lived and lived well for 25 years now and she’s still going.
“I have so many clients like that.”
Johnson relishes the fact that his clients see hard work pay off.
“In the beginning you don’t see that,” Johnson said. “The first five six or 10 years you’re building clients. But after they’re with you and you know them and you see (everything) … it’s so satisfying to have their children come up. When every month that checks shows up in their mailbox and you know you’re the guy that put it together that’s a great feeling.”
He even helped his partner get her insurance license after 30 years working in health care.
Belzer and Johnson are gearing up for their busy season.
Enrollment for Medicare Advantage begins this month.
Medicare Advantage enrollment has increased in virtually all states over the past year. Almost one in three people on Medicare (31% or 17.6 million beneficiaries) is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2016.
Plans like these are just one piece of the puzzle that Johnson and Belzer work on for people every day.
“I’ve always had to have a plan and I’ve always had to be organized,” he says.
“You need somebody who is a team, who wants to listen to you and find out about your family and your kids.“
And, most importantly, you need someone who knows how to build something that will stand the test of time.


Cindy and Bob Ward of El Reno, OK crowned 2017 King and Queen of 41st Annual Senior Day at the State Fair of Oklahoma. Each year on Senior Day the State Fair treats seniors 55 years and older to free admissions and a fun day packed full of entertainment, vendors and giveaways.

by Traci Chapman
Staff Writer

The Oklahoma City Indian Princesses and Miss Oklahoma State Fair Outstanding Teen took part in the antique tractor parade, held as part of Oklahoma State Fair Senior Day.

It was Cindy and Bob Ward’s first time at Oklahoma State Fair’s Senior Day – and by the end of the day, they say they realized there really was no place like home during a day they would never forget.
“If you had told me this morning we would have done any of this, I would have thought you were kidding around,” Cindy Ward said that afternoon. “I never, ever would have expected this.”
In fact, when the El Reno couple entered the Modern Living Building, this year Oklahoma Senior Day’s new state fair home, they said they were impressed at the number of vendors, the entertainment and the wide range of activities going on, even early in the morning. With a Wizard of Oz theme – There’s No Place Like Okla’HOME’a – the Wards said they hadn’t really realized the state fair offered such a host of activities designed especially for seniors. When they discovered the “King and Queen of Emerald City” contest, they decided to enter – well, perhaps not exactly “they.”
“It was my idea,” Cindy said with a laugh. “Bob would never do anything like this on his own, but he went along with it for me.”
That’s how the couple ended up on the Senior Day stage, as they competed with four other couples in a “Newlywed Game” style contest designed to test how well each husband and wife knew each other. The Wards wondered about their chances, as they were surrounded by couples who had been married far longer than their eight years – two of them wed for 50 years; of the other two couples competing, one said they had been married more than 10 years, another had celebrated more than 20 wedding anniversaries.
But, the El Reno proved wrong everyone who believed those who lived together longest knew each other best, matching each other’s answers on four of five questions.
“I couldn’t believe it, but we just are so compatible, just know each other so well, that I guess I shouldn’t be surprised,” Cindy said.
After being crowned 2017 king and queen and receiving a host of prizes, flowers, crowns and a trophy, the couple took part in the antique tractor parade, which wound its way through State Fair Park.
Bob and Cindy Ward met, as many couples do, online. After each lost their respective spouses, they reached out on a Christian dating site, literally across the miles – Cindy lived in Deming, New Mexico, while Bob was in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
“We had a 97 percent match, and when we met, it just clicked,” Bob said. “We knew it was meant to be.”
With family members facing serious illnesses in Cindy’s hometown – El Reno – the Wards decided Oklahoma was the place to be, and they’ve never looked back, they said.
“It hasn’t always been easy, but we’re together and that’s what matters,” Cindy said.
While Cindy and Bob Ward were the stars of Senior Day, they were far from the only attraction during the special event. Many vendors provided medical, home, entertainment and other information, while others conducted diabetes, blood pressure, fall risk and memory screenings.
The day started with Ms. Oklahoma Senior America Dawn Anita Plumlee singing the National Anthem. The Duncan, Oklahoma, singer and songwriter was crowned during a July 29 pageant; 2016 Ms. Oklahoma Senior America, Dove Morgan Schmidt of Bristow, led the antique tractor parade later that day.
The antique tractor parade featured not only Schmidt and the Wards, but also other state fair royalty – Oklahoma City Indian Princesses, Miss Oklahoma State Fair, Miss Oklahoma State Fair Outstanding Teen and Oklahoma Frontier Experience cast members, as well as several area Red Hatters riding their own float. Tractors, ranging from historic to beautifully restored and even a little silly, were not only the parade’s stars, but also then remained for the rest of the fair as part of a tractor exhibit involving several Oklahoma tractor clubs. The Not Just Country Line Dancers, Oklahoma State Fiddlers, Okie Stompers, Southeast Navy Band, Dorothy’s Line Dance Class, Vocal Sounds of Oklahoma and Yellow Rose Dinner Theater provided entertainment, and Oklahoma State Department of Health sponsored two Tai Chi sessions. Several trivia and creative activities rounded out the day, while an Elvis Extravaganza was the event’s evening finale.
“We wanted to make this bigger than ever before – to make this a celebration of all seniors, to give them what they’re interested in seeing, learning about and doing,” organizer Wynelle Record said. “We’re very happy with the turnout, and we’re already looking forward to next year.”

Shelley Wong is shown here at the Farmers Market in the parking lot of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry in Oklahoma City.

The silver-rimmed glasses appear to rise each time Shelley Wong is happy.
Wong of Choctaw, is happy a lot while working her farmers market tables along the west edge of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) parking lot.
The produce under the blue canopy sun tent – butternut squash flanking her to the left and golf ball sized red onions to the right as well as the Chinese okra and the bitter melons before her – are a source of pride because each is from her garden.
A customer studies the items on the tables and tells Wong, “I’d like these two zucchini.”
Wong smiles, the glasses push up, and she replies, “I picked them myself this morning.”
Later, she goes to the passenger side front seat of the Chevrolet Astro van and grabs an aerial photo to show a visitor.
“Here’s my garden,” she said, the smile kicking in instantly. “It’s maybe 6,000 to 7,000 square feet. There’s my seven rows of the big tomatoes, and this is the little cherry tomatoes. Over here is the broccoli, and here I plant spaghetti squash.”
Across Oklahoma, there are dozens of registered farmers markets that are essential outlets for agricultural producers in providing opportunities for them to meet the consumer demand for locally grown, fresh produce. Farmers markets also provide opportunities to create strong community ties and a link between rural and urban populations by allowing farmers and consumers to interact.
Just over the produce and behind the tables stand those who raise a quality product and want to see the public enjoy it. Many of those individuals have interesting stories, including Shelley Wong.
She remembers
The painful cries of a baby.
The moaning of a senior adult.
Many have said that food is taken for granted. Not by Wong.
When Wong – Wong Moy, Shuet Fong – tells the story of her childhood, the happiness is nowhere to be seen. One is certain the glasses on her cheeks will soon begin catching tears.
Food is personal, and that feeling traces back to those babies and seniors, she said.
On Oct. 1, 1949, communist revolutionary Mao Zedong officially proclaimed the existence of the People’s Republic of China, naming himself head of state. Wong was only 3 years old.
She grew up in a time of a “government rate” for food. In her village, that was about 20 pounds of rice per person, per month. That was for two meals a day. Those who couldn’t work, like a child or an older adult, received less, she said.
Wong’s father died when she was 6, and she was the middle of five children. However, her grandfather and an aunt in New York sent them money, so they had a better situation than some others. Still, Wong saw and heard the impacts of hunger all around her.
“So some kids, they cry all day, all night, and some older people,” said Wong, 71. “They swell up because they don’t have enough food.”
She felt she had to get out.
It was 1962. Wong’s grandmother Yee Lau Kwai needed to take a trip and couldn’t see well, so she needed, as was approved by the government, a child 12 years or younger, for assistance. Here’s the catch: Wong was 16, but didn’t have a birth certificate and was shorter than her present height of 4-feet, 11 inches. So they listed her as 12 and she received a passport. They went first to Macau on the south coast of China, across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong.
“I lived in Macau for a month and a half and then got into a small boat and we sneak into Hong Kong,” Wong said. “At that time it belonged to the British.”
It was in Hong Kong, in late 1964, she met Sheldon Wong, who had returned to China from Los Angeles to find a wife. They were engaged in March 1965 and married in May of the same year, and in September traveled to Los Angeles, where Sheldon had a grocery store.
“Not long after, we got robbed,” she said. “Four guys come in and they shoot our roof, we got scared so we moved out from that business and sold his part to his brother.”
In 1969, Shelley became a U.S. citizen and shortly thereafter, the Wongs moved to San Diego, where they opened a restaurant that seated about 70 people and served Cantonese cuisine. That continued for about 15 years until Sheldon had health issues and they sold. After a while, Shelley started the restaurant again, in a mall.
Food obviously plays a role in everyone’s life, but it has played a significant part in Shelley’s life: the grocery store, the restaurants, the garden and the farmers market.
“We pay it back a lot of time,” she said, and then explains. “A lot of time at the restaurants, we would have people come in and they say, ‘We hungry, can we have some food?’ and we always give them some fried rice. If they are hungry, we are willing to help them.”
Shelley and Sheldon also sent money back to family members in China and through the years, some family members moved to the United States. Also, her grandmother initially stayed in Hong Kong and then moved to the United States. The grandmother lived with the Wongs until the early 1980s and then moved in with other family members in California.
Wong did return to China to visit, making the first of five trips starting in 1982.
In Oklahoma
While visiting their son and daughter-in-law in Oklahoma, they started thinking about making the move from California and did so in October 2005, buying a house in Midwest City.
It was July of the next year that they moved into their new home in Choctaw.
She saw food – well, sort of.
“When I move into the new house, my yard is pretty big,” Wong said. “I start a couple of rows and I plant those bitter melons, because I love them.”
This was her introduction into soil farming.
“I like to see the things growing from a seed,” she said. “You go out there and you see them popping up. I help them grow and I feel very proud of myself.”
In addition to produce, Wong loves people. That’s why the garden has led to another perfect fit for her, farmers markets. She, along with Sheldon, 87, attends one in Choctaw and the one at the ODAFF parking lot in Oklahoma City.
At the latter, a customer walks up and lifts one of the Chinese okra from a tray.
“I bought one a couple of weeks ago from Shelley and I was like, ‘That was really good,’” the customer said. “I just stir fried it, and it was really pretty tasty.”
Wong’s happiness is readily apparent.
“In my life, I was in business all the time,” Wong said. “I have good communication with the people, with the customer.”
And about that time another walks up and spots her onions.
She grabs a yellow plastic hamburger basket, and scoops some up. Wong grabs an Oklahoma Grown bag, and the woman dumps the onions.
What does she use the onions in?
“Everything,” the customer said. “I had a roommate once that asked me if I made a meal without onion. Pretty much, it doesn’t happen.”
Wong seconds the motion.
“I put onion in soup, stir fry…,” she said. “I love them too.”
Wong then ties a knot in the top of the bag and hands it over, not only thankful for the sale, but the conversation and the fact that someone wants what she has personally grown in her Oklahoma garden.

What are you looking forward to for the rest of the year? The Veraden Senior Living at Edmond

My daughter is coming to spend a few days with me in November.  Alice Musser

I’m looking forward to the holidays but I’m really content right now. I don’t worry about what’s coming up.  Kay Dudley

Enjoying these Indian summers in the Southwest U.S. We just have fabulous days.  Charles Kramer

Football is going on. Basketball is coming up. I like sports so the winter months are good.  Jack Brubacher

Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn


You could say that Baltimore is a city designed for Senior leisure. The hop on and off water taxi around the bay is an ideal way to see a lot of the area’s attractions with a minimum of exertion, as it stops at many attractions. The minimal fee is good for the entire day. The small boat captains are eager to answer area questions as to where to eat and museum times. Note, many museums and attractions are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Of course it stops at historic Ft Mc Henry – famous for the inspiration of the Star Spangle Banner composition. ( You have to change boats to go the extra distance, but worth the convenience, when you think of the inconvenience of getting a taxi or uber to take you to the far out bay point. The preserved and reconstructed brick fort is informative if you have never visited a fort of this generation. It’s humbling to stand in the area that inspired America’s Anthem.
Once there it’s always good to schedule your visit with a tour by a park ranger for details of the fort. If not the film is always inspiring, if not a bit nostalgic ,when at the end of the movie, a curtain opens to let you view through a large picture window the Fort in the background as the National Anthem plays.
Back in the downtown area is the Flag House where the American garrison size flag was created. Besides the history of the flag you can take a self-guided tour of a small period house, complete with furniture and staging of the time.
For pure entertainment, although you can’t help but learn something, is the national aquarium centrally located at the base of the Inner Harbor. ( All levels of this multilevel aquarium is easily accessible with riding the multiple escalators, or if needed there is an elevator. Hosting over 20,000 aquatic animals with a Backtip Reef and Living Seashore, and a couple of large screen animal related movies, and a live dolphin show, make the aquarium one of the Inner Harbors best attraction. Of course they host a extensive gift shop with snack bar.
When you’ve got to eat, Baltimore with its vast seafood menus offers many venues. The off the beaten track funky Little Havana Bar and Grill offers many seafood based foods along with an extensive bar and their famous large Mojito.
Phillips Seafood ( is a Baltimore tradition. They offer an upscale indoor or outdoor dining experience with reservations recommended. Their 8 ounce Crab Cake Extreme with Mac and Cheese, made with pure Jumbo Lump Crab with no fillers, is served in a skillet, and guaranteed to fill your Crab Cake desires. ($50.00)
If you plan to visit the Baltimore Museum of Art, be sure you check its times, as it is closed on Monday and Tuesdays. While it was closed the days I was in Baltimore I made sure I dined at Gertrude’s, where the Museum of Art display of culinary arts, under the expert guidance of owner, John Shields, is a must. Shields is a veteran TV host, and author and is called the “Culinary Ambassador of the Chesapeake Bay” with the restaurant’s opening in 1998. Gertrude’s is Shield’s tribute to his grandmother, Gertie. Shields is a personable entrepreneur and you may want to pickup one of his cookbooks including the 25th anniversary, “Chesapeake Bay Cooking.” Many menu options looked appealing but I chose the Irish Salmon, flown in to Gertrude’s several times a week. This is an example of the attention paid to the high standards that has made John Shield’s reputation.
An evening dining cruise aboard the Spirit of Baltimore, is a relaxing way to see more of the bay’s landscape while enjoying a buffet and beverages served by congenial staff. The cruise departs from the west wall of the harbor and cruises the Inner harbor along the Patapsco river, and includes glimpses of Fort Mc Henry. Come prepared for a casual and enjoyable evening, mixing with other tourist and those celebrating special occasions. (
While visiting the Fells Point area of the harbor you may want to stop in to the upscale Sagamore Hotel for a respite and beverage, of if your budget allows overnight accommodations. For a budget minded traveler the Days Inn Inner Harbor (, about 3 blocks away from the harbor, and near the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Ravens Stadium, and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, can fulfill your travel needs.
As you can guess there is much more to discover in Baltimore than I could cover in just two days, so historic and friendly Baltimore may require repeat visits. (