5 Places To Go In Maryland During The Summer

5 Places To Go In Maryland During The Summer

We are not just about lacrosse and crabs, you know.
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Maryland, home to the Chesapeake Bay, All Time Low and the legendary crab cakes. Maryland is my home. I was born and raised and even though sometimes it has its’ stereotypes, I would not want it any other way. Sometimes we all want adventure and want to branch out to other exciting places. But Maryland has its perks too!

1. Orioles Game

Whether you enjoy baseball or not, once in your Maryland loving life, you have been to an Orioles game. If not, why are you reading this? Book a ticket now! The season is already underway. You can go with your friends, families, on a field trip watching our team while you represent the old black, orange and white. Some people look at us weird when we say “O!” during the Star Spangled Banner, but they are just jealous they do not have our pride.

2. Fireworks in Inner Harbor

The Fourth of July is a wonderful time to watch the fireworks. I am a photographer and I stand by my claim when I say it is a fantastic location to take photos. There are so many activities to do and places to shop or eat at; the city ceases to amaze me.

3. Baltimore Museum of Art

Also known as The BMA, this is a free museum that you could go on a random Thursday afternoon and just reconnect with culture. In the museum, there is African, Asian and European art where you could go back centuries and understand what the artists had in mind. There is contemporary and modern artwork that gets you thinking. As well as the cutest little gift shop where you could buy miniature versions of the artwork or even a mug and to those that know me, KNOW that I love a good coffee mug.

4.Ocean City

Even though Ocean City spans across more than just Maryland, it is one of the locations that this state is known for. Personally, in high school, this is where all the seniors went to for a week after graduation to celebrate their time in high school. Ocean City is where you can go on the boardwalk, enjoy the water, the warm sand and come together with all your friends to make memories.

5. Annapolis

This is Maryland’s capital, even though many think it is Baltimore. It is home to the Naval Academy which I am truly proud to have in my home state. We are known for our different sailing traditions and even if you have never been on a boat before, it is an incredible experience that you MUST try down here in Maryland.

Walking through the town, you can pass by all sorts of shops, some sell jewelry, others sell clothes and many sell fine dining to keep in your dining room. Wherever you are in Maryland you will always take a piece of it with you.

Cover Image Credit: Deb Greengold

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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