“Watch for that man, he likes college girls.”
~Troy, the barbecue local at the corner of Garrison Road and Gwynns Falls Parkway
Since I’ve had some free time post-teaching, I’ve decided to explore a few longer trails. I biked up north past Clipper Mill Road up the Jones Falls Trail towards Mount Washington where the neighborhood felt much more suburban and quieter. I ate at The Nickel Taphouse where I got to put a fabric napkin on my dirt-stained shorts and dig into a burger as my sunburned arms stood in stark contrast to the well-dressed patrons.
Over the course of two days, I explored different neighborhoods. In Roland Park I took literal notes from the City Paper’s The Walking Issue (Vol. 40 No. 24 June 15-22) in the column Time For A Walk. I locked my bike up at the beginning of Squirrel Path which is a neighborhood trail a little bit east of where Indian Lane meets Edgevale Road. The column details the many tucked-away neighborhood pathways that connect the various streets together past backyards that make you feel like you’re in a mini-forest and not a Baltimore neighborhood. Taking a right at the first cross will bring you to Middle Road. The houses here vary in stature and style, but they definitely demonstrate how much money the owners have. A few blocks down the road on the right side, in-between two houses is Briar Path which continues all the way to Beechdale Road. It’s suggested that instead of continuing onwards to Beechdale Road, you can instead turn right once you hit St. Johns Road, pass the pink flowered cluster of Rhododendrons and then take Hilltop Path by the grand Tudor Revival house. You can then either take a left to go back to Beechdale Road and hit the end of Briar Path, or turn right at the fork to bring you back to the beginning of Squirrel Path.
The column also suggests finding Sunset Path near the Baltimore Country Club across the street from the large Tudor Revival House. There are some historical houses on Boulder Lane, and one of the residents informed me that the Olmsted landscape architects, John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., met in the gazebos of one of those houses to discuss the plans to design the Roland Park neighborhoods and the cascading hills of that area. I definitely regurgitated a lot of this information from the City Paper article.
Hungry for more exploration, I biked the Gwynns Falls Trail starting at the Carroll Park Trailhead southwest of Pigtown neighborhood. It’s been a while since I felt like I was lost in nature, but definitely still on a bicycle path. The mostly paved trail wound its way to the west of West Baltimore parallel to the Gwynns Falls, over railroad tracks, underneath looming tunnels marking the passage of US-40, and deep into the heart of the less-trodden Gwynns Falls Park.
I had a road bike, but still managed to follow the trail markers spray painted on the ground marking where I should turn and whether or not I should cross the street. I branched off Clifton Ave and east down Gwynns Falls Parkway. At Garrison Blvd and Gwynns Falls Parkway (near 2303 Garrison Boulevard) I saw a BBQ Pit Beef and Chicken grill. Troy and another woman run this open-air barbecue spot where they sell all sorts of smoked meats and sides from noon until 6:00pm everyday of the year. I don’t think that I could have stumbled upon a better spot to have barbecue chicken with some hot sauce after finishing my ride on the Gwynns Falls Trail on a humid 93 degree day.
On those two days, I talked to very few people and interacted with a few things over than my bicycle and the urban jungle around me. And for a few hours, I felt like a wanderer lost in the thickets of Baltimore.