This weekend an old friend came to visit, and almost as soon as he arrived, I realized I had no idea what to do with him short of sitting in a coffee shop to talk. But for ten hours? I think not.
"What IS there to do in Frederick that doesn't involve alcohol or spending money?" the panicked thought ran through my head.
Silly me! What is that I do for entertainment in this town? Go to cultural events, like the Pangaea international celebration or the Celtic festival, or dance shows or concerts, of course. But those were on Saturday, and my guest came on Sunday.
Fortunately, my friend is as easy to please as I am and we found a few other things to do while giving us a chance to visit and talk.
First, we went on a quick driving tour from Frederick to Walkersville, as I showed him some of my extended neighborhood and pointed out the fact that it is possible to walk from one side of town to the other in a couple of hours--in theory, at least--my point being that Frederick is a surprisingly walkable city.
Then we headed down to the Monocacy battlefield We meandered along the trails through fields, stopping to read the historical markers and discussing how the events of the past in this spot has a direct effect on our lives, here and now. And we walked by the river where I pointed out the high water marks on the trees and we watched a freight train go over the railroad bridge.
We came back downtown and flew a kite (or tried to) in Baker Park, popped into the Visitor Center, then walked along Carroll Creek and took a close look at the Community Bridge mural. As I pointed out the symbols in the painting, I realized how much I had already begun to take the special things about my new hometown for granted. In the two years that I've lived here, I never took the time to actually read the sign on the Delaplaine side of the bridge explaining the mural or to examine the painting thoroughly for myself.
Since it was a little bit chilly in the breeze, we went into the Delaplaine to warm up and look around, where we got into a discussion about one of the exhibits with Mick, who was manning the exhibit desk. All three of us learned something from our exchange of thoughts, views and opinions which added another layer of meaning to my understanding of the Delaplaine as an art education center. And my friend and I got a quick history lesson about Carroll Creek Linear Park, that sprung directly from the great Frederick Flood back in the seventies.
As my friend and I left the building, we talked about the justification for the prices on some of the art on display and for sale in the galleries. At first, they seemed really expensive, but as we deconstructed each of the elements that went into their creation, suddenly the value of the pieces seemed so much clearer, both from a financial and artistic standpoint.
Then we cut through the Antique Emporium, taking the scenic route from Carroll Street to Patrick Street and made a pit stop at the new candy place before taking a meal at Cacique.
I was amazed at how quickly the hours flew by and even more surprised at how much there really is to do (for free!). I'm still a relative newcomer and while I still find so much novelty in the things I discover about Frederick, sometimes it's easy to forget about it when I get caught up in my own repetitive routines. It took a visit from an out-of-town friend to get me to glance around again, through his eyes for a fresh look at Frederick, and to appreciate anew what was right here in front of me.