Category Archives: General

Bel Air Stairs and Railings

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Bel Air Stairs and Railings ( is a welding and metal fabrication company for both commercial and residential properties. The company provides its services to both Bel Air, MD and Baltimore, Maryland, and surrounding areas. They specialize in both commercial and residential services and have been in the business over 30 years. They work with different types of metals ranging from aluminum, steel, stainless steel, iron, cast iron, wrought iron, bronze, etc. Other materials like wood or glass can be incorporated into their designs.

Bel Air Stairs and RailingsListed below are the services they provide;

Banisters, Balustrades, and Hand Rails

Balustrades made up of balusters (the vertical posts) evenly spaced and connected together by a railing. They are also common in public places like parks and or buildings where the second floor looks out over a first floor court or open area. Banister and handrails are like one and the same thing, They run along the staircase and are for support, safety, and decorative purposes.


They have treads in a variety of designs and material for optimum functionality, safety, and an alluring look for your home or business. You can combine a range of looks from traditional to modern and a variety of materials. You can have glass panels, or use cables for the railings and have metal or wood railing caps. Both indoor and outdoor stairs are included.


Aluminum or steel carports are available to shelter your car from harsh weather elements like rain, snow, hail, heat, etc. They have an attractive finish and are custom made to fit your needs.

Patio Covers or Pergolas

Bel Air Stairs and Railings also makes patio covers or pergolas. Usually these are designed for vines such as wisteria to grow up and over a framework and create a natural shading instead of an actual roof.

Balconies, Decks, and Fire Escapes

In case of emergency situations like fires, it is important to be prepared. They ensure proper escape routes for your home and property. They also adjust existing fire escape routes to ensure the safety of your family and pets when the need arises.

Window Guards

In cities, although the bustle and activity can be very exciting, there can also be crime. Window guards can be very attractive and even decorative and yet at the same time serve a safety function to prevent breakins.

Along with the above, they provide additional services such as flower boxes, HVAC cages, and supports, etc.


Baltimore Downtown Sailing Center

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Since 1994, the Baltimore Downtown Sailing Center (DSC) is a community sailing center that offers a variety of sailing programs to the Greater Baltimore Community. The nonprofit center focuses on providing quality education and helpful programs to all and sundry, especially the youth, persons with disabilities, and those who have limited opportunities.Baltimore Sailing Center

They strive to get everyone involved irrespective of their age, gender, or race for equal participation. Through the help of volunteers and partnerships with different organizations, they are able to connect with those in dire need of their outreach and development programs. One of their programs is the Access-Ability Sailing which offers sailing opportunities to those with disabilities at specified periods of time during the year.

They hold summer camps for the children and youth for a productive, fun, and engaging experiences. This is done in a completely safe environment where your kids get a boost in their confidence and learn valuable lessons such as teamwork and concentration. The learning sessions are divided into small groups for personalized education to your child. At the end of the camp, they will receive recognized certification from the US Sailing Association.

Downtown Sailing Center relies heavily on community volunteers to achieve its mission. Anyone willing to help is welcome to their center and no sailing skills are required. Training is given to those wishing to volunteer and give back to the community. It is an excellent opportunity to meet a lot of new people, acquire new skills, and help out, albeit in a small way.

The center is also accredited as a US sailing school for courses at all levels. The curriculum is well tailored to ensure each student reaches their maximum potential. Their instructors are also certified and experienced with rigorous training to give each student the best possible knowledge and expertise. You can also request for private lessons at any level. Any special events you got coming up? Well, DSC also helps to plan those memorable parties and occasions for groups.

The place is worth checking out and you will be sure to find a program that suits your interests and needs. You get to learn, have a great time outdoors, and be safe while at it.


Ladew Gardens Review

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The breathtaking garden covers a 22-acre expanse of land and is a pure delight to all your senses. The Ladew gardens allow a serene, peaceful, and relaxing environment that will instantly calm your whole being. The area is not crowded, and this makes it a much more enjoyable experience. It has no age limit as the young and old alike fall in love with the gardens. It is a great outing for children and delightful for the adults too.

  • GardensLadew Gardens

Despite being known as a topiary garden, there are fewer topiary gardens than you would expect. You will experience smaller themed gardens with beautiful features such as secret getaways, fountains, and lily ponds. All kind of plants and flower varieties are found in this place.

The grounds are swarm with beckoning butterflies which are a sight to behold. There also exists a butterfly house that hosts a lot of captivating native butterflies. You get to see them up close and personal at all stages of their lives. A lot of water areas on the property complete with frogs and tadpoles will catch your eye too.

Nature walks through the fields and adjacent forests will allow you to stretch a bit more and soak in nature’s best.

  • House Tour

The Manor house is a trip down the history of the life of Harvey Ladew. He traveled extensively and was an avid collector of treasures in second-hand stores. You get to experience some of these items that have been meticulously preserved. Along with the Oval library room which hosts his 2,500 plus book collection and is said to be people’s favorite. The Manor house is a legacy to Ladew’s elegance and style which will enhance your appreciation for the estate at large.

  • Guides and Staff

The guides are very warm, friendly, and enthusiastic about their job. They also provide a lot of insightful information regarding any queries you might have. Some are quite humorous too which adds to the experience. The people working in the gift shops are also quite friendly.

  • Food

There is a café on the Ladew Gardens’ ground, but it is quite pricey. The menu has salads, sandwiches, soups, drinks, etc. You can opt to bring your own food and choose one of the many alluring places in the garden to enjoy your picnic lunch.

  • Kids

The space allows the kids to run around, play, and roll in the grass. They also have a scavenger hunt after the whole tour. It is an excellent way to keep the kids interested and paying attention through the tour; that way, they have something to look forward to after it. Most of their paths are stroller accessible, but you will have to leave your stroller behind in other inaccessible areas. A carrier or a wrap is convenient for your babies while toddlers can walk, use strollers or both.

If you want to carry a souvenir with you, you can get it from their gift shop where the admissions building is. The price of admission is reasonable and worth the experience. For the gardens complete with a house tour, adults are charged $18, seniors $15, and children (2-12 years) $12. I recommend visiting the place on a sunny day as this weather enhances the beauty of the foliage and scenery.

Everyman Theatre

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Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Everyman Theatre’s goal is to bring high quality and accessible theatre to the people. They aim to build that connection between the actors in the plays with their audience. They give a mix of dramas, comedies, classics and many more world class plays that bring out diverse emotions, truths, and experiences for everyone involved.Everyman Theatre

From a very humble beginning to a nationally renowned theatre, Vincent Lancisi founded the theatre in 1990. At the time and for the four consequent years that followed, Vincent would only manage one production annually. The subscriptions grew into the late 90s and the early 2000s because of the popular productions that he had created over time. The Bank of America and Harold A. Dawson gave a generous donation that would see the Everyman theatre find a new home on Fayette Street.

In collaboration with the resident company of artists from the Washington, DC and Baltimore area, Everyman Theatre produces a six play mainstage season in each season. They range from new, classics, and contemporary plays from their award winning artists and actors.

For over two decades now, the Everyman theatre has dedicated its services to the public high schools in Baltimore city. The primary purposes being to give the students a chance to experience and better understand the plays, the responsibilities of the theatre designers, the work of the actors and the significance of the theatre as part of the art industry.

They have an excellent educational program that provides learning opportunities for all ages. One such program is the high school matinee program that serves the public schools in Baltimore city. This resident program takes the learning right to their classrooms. They do this by engaging the audience and providing numerous classes that cater to young people, professional artists, and educators.

The students get a chance to interact with the crew and the cast and ask any questions they might have. The program brings the students to the theatre, and they have access to numerous performances, free of charge, for both the school and the students.

At the Everyman theatre, artists, audiences and the community as a whole, is inspired and transformed. Everyone is guaranteed the ultimate art and play experience at the Everyman theatre.

Tantalus Quartet – Four Reviewers Forever

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There are four of us working on this together. Therefore Quartet! Why don’t you just call us Raphael, Michaelangelo, Leonardo, and Donatello. Or perhaps, since with a quartet you think of music, how about PDQ, Ludwig, Antonio, and Wolfgang. Whatever you call us, we are all for one and one for all. Although, that comes from another quartet, or should we say a trio plus one.

Who was Tantalus? In mythology he was first invited to dine with the gods but stole nectar and ambrosia which made the gods angry. Then Tantalus offered his son as a sacrificial offering to the gods and cut him up and boiled him in a stew and offered the stew to the gods. Guess what, the gods were even more upset with him. As punishment they made him stand forever in a pool of water with fruit hanging overhead. That seems kind of boring but not too bad. BUT, it gets worse. Every time he tried to lean down to get a drink, the water would drop so he couldn’t drink. If he reached up for the fruit to eat it would always be just out of reach. And that is how we get our word tantalize. (Being gods, they also brought his son back to life.)

Why did we choose Tantalus? Not a real good reason, mostly we liked the name and the story. So Tantalus Quartet.

Our purpose. Kind of eclectic, but to review different things we have seen, experienced, companies we have dealt with.

Here are some short reviews:

Sailing the San Juan Islands – We chartered a boat from Anacortes Yacht Charters. We were probably a little unusual because when they asked for years of sailing experience, when you totaled everyone onboard it came to over 100 years. We had a minor complaint. We called and asked what the weather was like, what we could expect. We had figured it would get chilly and were going to bring fleeces and jackets. No, the secretary said it is always in the 70s and 80s and very pleasant, even at night. So, we believed her and packed for warmer weather and left our jackets home. We later decided the office person had never been out on the water in her life and was telling us what it was like on land.  Well, it is always colder on the water, especially here where the water is pretty chilly. We froze our buns off and wore everything we had brought with us. Finally at the first island with a gift shop we all bought sweat shirts.


We went by Orcas Island but never saw any Orcas. What was stunning to someone used to the Chesapeake Bay and water depths ranging from 8 feet to 25 feet for the most part. Here you have 200, 500, or more feet and places where the depth sounder doesn’t even register. One night where we anchored and guy on another boat marched up and down his foredeck in kilts and playing the bagpipes. He finished with Amazing Grace. He got an ovation from all the other boats.

If you do this, stop in to Victoria, British Columbia in Canada. Nice city but we went mainly to see Butchart Garden. We have been to a lot of nice gardens but this is probably the nicest we have ever seen. All the rain they get has to help. Although, the Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena, CA is right up there as well.

Annapolis Rigging Co. – The rigging on our boat had hairline cracks in the swage terminals of the rigging.  We found some but the guy from the rigging company found even more. Not safe.  Wouldn’t be too bad if it was a little daysailer, although still not a good idea. However, this was on a 36 foot boat, so it could be really dangerous if the rigging gave way. Especially since the time it would be most likely to do so would be in the middle of a storm. So we had the rigging replaced. The boat was launched and started sinking, which had nothing to do with the rigging. The through hull fittings had deteriorated and needed to be replaced, so the boat had to be hauled back out and all the through hulls replaced. The boat stayed nice and dry the next time we attempted to launch it.

Finally the mast was re-stepped and the rigger started reattaching everything. There was some screw up and he had to go back to their shop to get some parts. Then when he got back, he got the mast secure but hadn’t finished up. At that point it was later in the day and a thunderstorm was coming through. I don’t blame him not wanting to work on metal rigging with this large metal pole and wires sticking 30-40 feet in the air and lightning in the area. Not a great combination. So he said he would come back the next day and finish it up, which he did.

At that time, I just paid the credit card bills without looking too carefully. Six months later I looked and they had charged me an extra $700 for the extra trips. The credit card company said they needed to be notified in 3 months to dispute things and the rigging company refused to refund the money. So, despite the fact that they did a good job, we are not very happy with them. And now we check he credit card bills very carefully each month.