Feeling the Love

When Dan Collier and Lou Kurraru were invited by a friend to participate in Cupid’s Undie Run this year, the two Hanover residents anticipated a full day of fun as they ran through the streets of Baltimore in their underwear to raise money to fight neurofibromatosis.

It turned into a solemn occasion instead.

Two weeks before the Valentine’s Day event, their friend and decorated participant Megan Rowe died from complications with neurofibromatosis.

“We are here in memory of our friend Megan,” Collier said. “She loved this event and passed away two weeks ago.”

Rowe had been running in the race since she learned about it in 2013.

Her 72-year-old father, Mike Rowe, gave a brief speech at the event to commemorate his daughter’s courage. And all three – Rowe, Collier and Kurraru – said they handled the race the only way Megan would have wanted them to: celebrating despite below freezing temperatures.

“It’s an intriguing event and participating gives them a sense of cancer research on a lot of levels,” Mike Rowe said.

Every February, thousands of people dress down to their underwear and take part in cupid’s runs all across the United States to raise awareness and money for NF. At this year’s event in Baltimore, an estimated 150 people showed up for the one-mile long run on a day when wind chills made the air feel like two degrees.

“I didn’t think everyone would be so naked,” said Makayla Mazza, a bartender at Luckies Tavern who was experiencing her first Cupid’s Undie Run.

This year Baltimore’s run raised $80,000 – $5,000 more than last year. Internationally, the races raised $3.5 million in 2016..

All proceeds go to the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF), a non-profit organization based in New York that funds research and treatments for neurofibromatosis. Participants run in their underwear to symbolize that clothes can’t provide comfort for people suffering from NF.

Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow throughout one’s nervous systems.  Those battling the disease typically have pale or brown patches on their skin above or near the affected nerve. It can cause learning disabilities, chronic pain, blindness, deafness, paralysis and death.

The Baltimore race was organized three years ago by Kate Gibson, the associate production  manager at Center Stage in Baltimore, and Christine Barnanic, the chief operating officer of Brand Builders in Washington.

The two were interested in organizing a Cupid’s Undie Run in Baltimore because they believed young people would enjoy the mix of partying and philanthropy that comes with the event.

The first Cupid’s Undie Run was held in Washington in 2010, when an estimated 650 runners weathered cold temperatures and six feet of snow. Since then, Cupid’s Undie Run has donated $8 million to the CTF and is now held in 36 cities around the country as well as the Australian cities of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

“At the end of Cupid’s Undie Run six years ago in Washington, D.C., I met the founders and suggested that they host one in Baltimore,” Gibson said. “Instead they asked if I was interested in organizing it.”

The founders of the DC race – Chad Leather, Brendan Hanrahan and Bobby Gill – paired Gibson up with Barnanic and the two began planning the first Baltimore event, which was held in 2013.

Cupid’s Undie Run has been hosted by Luckie’s Tavern at 10 Market Place in Baltimore for the past three years. Matthew Kyle, the bar manager at Luckie’s, said he loves the whole experience.

“Last year I saw a middle-aged man dance on the bar in a Speedo as people preceded to stuff it with cash,” Kyle said.

Cupid’s Undie Run was sponsored by 98Rock – 97.9 FM in Baltimore.

Kirk McEwen, the radio station’s afternoon host and Ravens’ game day play-by-play man, said he was happy to help raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation because he grew up with a nonverbal, autistic brother.

This was Patrick Prada and Lindsey Moritz’s first Cupid’s Undie Run. Prada said his father was recently diagnosed with cancer, and for the past few weeks he has been searching for a charity to join and for an unconventional Valentine’s Day date.

“We were happy to find out that this helps kids with cancer,” Prada said. “We aren’t the mushiest couple in the world, and Lindsey and I were looking for a different way to celebrate the Valentine’s weekend.”

Rowe said he was pleased with the outcome while Collier and Kurraru said they were happy to have had the experience. The three didn’t imagine that were going to have so much fun despite their recent loss.

“We will definitely return next year,” Rowe said.

Hampton Mansion: Relic of Colonial America

By Alex Ziolkowski
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Two weekends ago, on Saturday, October 17 and Sunday, 18, 2015 tourists roamed the grandeur and opulence of Hampton National Historic Site. On cloudless, breezy, mild, fall days they were absorbed by the serenity and beauty that encompasses Hampton National Historic Site.

Hampton is a remnant of American history intertwined with an outstanding legacy of one of America’s earliest prominent families. For 200 years, Hampton Mansion, was the Ridgely’s country-side escape, but the vacation spot was a front for their various entrepreneurial enterprises.

“Hampton reflects the United States we live in today”, said Ranger Vince Vaise. “Visiting Hampton allows us to understand the present.”

Ranger Vince Vaise began his stint with the National Park Service as a volunteer at Fort McHenry. Vaise found it fulfilling and trained to become a seasonal ranger. He eventually transitioned to being a full-time Park Ranger.

“Hampton had many landlords,” said Ranger Vaise

In 1695, Lord Baltimore gave his cousin Darnell, North Hampton. In 1745, Colonel Charles Ridgely bought 1,500 acres of North Hampton from Darnell’s daughter, Ann Hill; he later purchased another 11,000 acres.

In 1760, Charles Ridgely Jr. inherited North Hampton. Charles Jr. his brother John Ridgely and their father Col. Charles Ridgely established an iron mill at Gunpowder River. The iron mill introduced servitude to the Ridgely estate.

Hampton Mansion was built in seven years, and christened Hampton Hall.  Under Captain Charles Ridgely’s supervision construction began in 1783 and completed in 1790. Because of Hampton Hall, Capt. Charles, was nicknamed the “Builder”. The Builder died a patriot sympathizer; supplying colonial armies with: weapons,grains, tools and other implements.DSC01387

In 1948, Hampton Mansion was declared a national historic site through David Finley Mellon. Mellon visited Hampton Mansion in 1944 to buy art; instead he returned after creating the Mellon Foundation; which is dedicated to preserving Hampton Mansion.

The last Ridgely continued to live on the estate, but in a lower house near the mansion until 1978. In 1979, the National Park Service obtained the reins to resurrect the mansion and the immediate 60 acres surrounding it.

Hampton houses the rise and fall of a culture that still influences us today. The Ridgelys attempted to remain relevant until history caught up with them, and their lifestyle became obsolete.  Hampton’s architecture would stand the test of time.

Hampton followed the principles of Georgian Architecture. The mansion’s aesthetic provides  balance through symmetry.  Hampton’s design  personified its place in American history; mirroring the past and present.

The gardens and greenhouses are still being excavated. The Great Terrace, the backyard just behind the mansion. Just below a hill the Parterres or gardens are lye behind the Great Terrace. The Ridgelys grew exotic plants in their greenhouses and transferred them to the Parterres.

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The Orangery, Greenhouses, Ice House and original Entrance Gates are west of Hampton Mansion. A mound of grass and dirt, a bared-gate and a stair case illustrate the Ice House. The Entrance Gates reminded me of Disney’s movie the Haunted Mansion; an eerie first impression.

For 100 years the Ridgelys indentured servants and slaves resided in the Workers’ Quarters. “Domestic” indentured servants and slaves, people working in the mansion not the fields, lived in bungalows behind the mansion.

East of Hampton are the: Storage shed, Privies, Garage, Smokehouse and Pump-house. The Orchards and Family Cemetery are southeast and down a dirt road behind the mansion. They stored their carriages and cars in the Garage.

The Ridgelys: Stables, Mule Barn, Dairy Shed and Dove Coats are north of Hampton. The mules assisted servants and slaves till crops. Dove coats housed birds until eaten. The Dairy Shed became a valuable source of income after the 1800’s. The Stables were revered for their thoroughbred race horses.

Capt. Charles lived in the Lower House or Farm House before the mansion was completed, and his descendant, John Ridgely Jr., returned to the Farm House after Hampton was handed to the National Park Service; intersecting the past and present.

The rest of the Ridgelys were fortunate enough to call Hampton home. The childless Builder and his wife, Nancy, adopted their four nephews.  Their nephews could inherit the estate if they took Ridgely as their legal surname.

Family tradition decreed that the eldest brother inherits the most property. Charles Ridgely Carnan, 1760-1829, received 25,000 acres; his three brothers split the remains.  Carnan served three terms as governor of Maryland and freed most of his 350 plus slaves.

John Carnan Ridgely married Eliza Eichelberger Ridgely. No incest was involved. John assumed 4,500 acres and no slaves. Eichelberger had an affinity for botany tending to the gardens and greenhouses. She traveled around the world for two years, and returned to renovate the Drawing Room.

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“Aunt” Margret started a girl’s school in Liberia, perhaps to atone the Ridgelys of their century of enslaved labor. Nancy Brown Davis was the only slave buried in the family cemetery. She stayed with the family despite the Emancipation Proclamation. Contrary to the Ridgely’s affection, another slave named Charles Brown escaped on Christmas but was later captured and sold South.

“Documentation specific to certain rooms, tells Hampton’s story”, said Ranger Vaise.  “Rooms became associated with people and vice versa.”

Certain Ridgelys became associated with specific rooms. Historians, archeologists and Hampton’s various caretakers revealed its secrets

“It started several years ago with the Society of American Antiquities, said Ranger Vaise. “Now the Preservation of Maryland.”

The Mansion Office resembled the Ridgelys lifestyle during the 1930’s. The Ridgelys conducted all of their fiscal enterprises in the modestly decorated room. It was also their laundry room for some time.A Ridgely could be comforted by the symphonies across the hall.

 

The Ridely children learned to play instruments, relaxed and studied in the Music Room, fondly dubbed the “Library”. Eichelberger’s harp once abelonged to the French royal family is the centerpiece of the room. It was her 15th birthday gift. A portrait of Eichelberger leaning on the Harp is mounted in the Great Hall.

The Great Hall was the “Soul of the Mansion” hence being originally called Hampton Hall. Weddings or funerals for Ridgelys, slaves and servants, parties and lavished dinners occurred in the Great Hall. The room is decorated with various oriental ceramics, large mirrors and family portraits. The entire room is white with massive crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The room remained generally the same for 200 years.

Their Parlor flaunted 1800’s interior design. It included portraits of the Builder and Nancy. The walls are covered with yellow wallpaper incorporating green floral designs that is complimented by matching patterned carpet and drapes. They lounged on blue and white striped sofas and chairs in between maple furniture.

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The wallpaper came in squares and had to be pasted on a wall in specific way. The task was tedious and delicate but you can’t notice the seams unless you are standing six inches from a portion of the wall.

The Ridgely Dining Room is parallel to the Parlor. The Parlor and Dining Room swapped functions multiple times. The walls are turquoise with a yellow trim accompanied by matching drapes and patterned carpet. The lower half of the walls depict a “Parisian City”.

After further research they confirmed the city should be Italian. It was very popular among Baltimore’s elite to have rooms with wallpaper inspired by European landmarks. The Ridgely’s had different sets of dishes, silverware and table cloth for each meal. All utensils, glassware and plates were graved with their coat of arms.

“The Ridgelys borrowed their coat of arms from another Ridgely family, still living in England”, said Ranger Vaise. “The Maryland State Legislature allowed the Ridgelys to adopt it.”

The Kitchen like the Mansion Office is a bare room with cooking essentials. Bells hanging outside of the kitchen were designated to specific rooms in the mansion. Chefs and servers became so attune that they could tell which bell rang by its distinct jingle.

The Drawing Room was decorated with floral wallpaper, white gold trimmed walls and patterned carpet. Eliza Ridgely was inspired by her two year vacation traveling the world.  She returned with many souvenirs. There are two different styles of furniture in the room: Empire and Rocco; which were renovated to mimic popular painted Baltimore furniture.

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The Nursery sports a baby blue theme and a floral trim. The children’s rooms were actually on the third floor but there is no public access. The furniture and carpet was of the 1860’s. The room was heated with a cast iron stove from the cellar.

The Guest Room is plain white with patterned carpet and has large, red, velvet, leisurely, furniture. A portrait of Aunt Margret hangs above the fireplace. Margret was suspicious of electricity, she feared it would burn the mansion down. The Ridgelys didn’t have electricity until the 1920’s.

The Master Bedroom depicts 1790’s-1800’s interior design. The family bed had to be brought in pieces then assembled in the bedroom. There are few bathrooms throughout the mansion. For the longest time each bedroom was fitted with chamber pots; indoor plumbing wasn’t introduced until the 1850’s.

“A window into America’s past”, said Ranger Vaise. “It allows us to explore the history of the entire country.”

Hampton National Historic Site is a time capsule, a fragment of America’s genealogy focused through the legacy of the Ridgelys. The mansion is a double helix and its inhabitants are the chromosomes. Like chromosomes the Ridgely’s belongings are records of history. For the past 70 years dedicated individuals and organizations have devoted themselves to decoding Hampton’s secrets.

Their Shire: Deep Creek Lake Maryland is a rustic escape for many

Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County, Maryland is J. R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth in miniature. A realm of: mystery, discovery, fantasy, adventure and escape. Experiencing Deep Creek can ebb and flow like the wind; explore the area through adventures with companions or live as humbly as a hobbit in the Shire.

Like Rivendell, the elvish sanctuary in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Deep Creek, retains its promise of peace and reclusiveness although accessible. Deep Creek clings to a simpler time however prospers. Deep Creek is in a state of transition, but residents recognize how lucky they are to call Deep Creek home. Patty Wells owner of Animal-Cracker: Pet Grooming appreciates the serenity. Marta Schroyer of Deep Creek Times believes that Deep Creek has been a wonderful place to raise her family.

“I’m blessed to live in such a great place,” said Schroyer

Deep Creek offers amusement for all. Thrills and bliss depends on the season. Schroyer looks forward to winter’s Deep Creek Dump. Every February volunteers plunge into the frigid lake to raise money for the Special Olympics. Patty Wells takes dance classes, ranging from ballroom to ceremonial Native American, at Garrett College. The Art and Wine Festival has become increasingly popular.

Wells and Schroyer, can’t wait for the 48th annual Autumn Glory Festival. Two large parades, concerts, competitions, art and craft exhibits, delicious food, fireworks, antique shows, and more are squeezed into a five-day celebration. It will be held from October 7-11, 2015. It is fun for everyone.

Wells and Schroyer walk their dogs daily in Deep Creek or Muddy Creek state parks. It doesn’t take long for a Tolkien fan to imagine that they are wandering through the thicket of an ever-green Fangorn Forest on the outskirts of Rohan. Or the Crimson, bronze and gold Mirkwood Forest of the High Elves.

Wells enjoys visiting Herrington Manor in Garrett State Forest. It was erected in the 1930s. A 53-acre lake was formed by damming Herrington Creek, and 10 cabins were constructed on a wooden knoll above the lake. Herrington Manor was designated as a state park in 1964 and encompasses 365 acres. She suggests: swimming, canoeing, playing tennis or volleyball, kayaking or picnicking.

Wells implores tourists to look at the Native American and Early Settler exhibits on display at surrounding state parks. Take a tour at the Deer Park Water headquarters and plant in Arbutus, Maryland. Or watch a glass blowing demo and workshop at the Simon-Pearce Factory and Outlets in Mountain Lake, Maryland.

Deep Creek is a mecca for extreme sports and outdoors-men. It is home to a thriving year round fishing, water and action sport industry. There are also designated hunting grounds. During the spring and summer. Schroyer enjoys kayaking and boating on Deep Creek Lake. Braver souls indulge jet-skiing and wake-boarding at the local Aquatic Center on the lake.

Schroyer recommends riding Mountain Coaster at WISP Resort. WISP Resort renowned for its winter amenities, introduced the Mountain Coaster. It’s an alpine slide-roller-coaster that zips in and out of the mountain via gravity, passengers can control their speed with hand-brakes. The ride is pricey but worth it, a single ride is $14 and a double ride is $19.

Visit WISP on the right day, during the right season and its artificial snow trails, in McHenry, Maryland resemble the Misty Mountains; a mountain range that splits Tolkien’s fantasy world east and west. WISP has expanded its changes to suit a variety of guests. It now includes: golf courses, obstacle courses, log cabins and reserved sections of Deep Creek Lake. WISP has introduced a circulating white-water rafting course off of the banks of the Youghiogheny River. WISP even hosts weddings and corporate conferences.

Deep Creek hosts the annual world-famous triathlon, the Savage-Man Festival. The Savage-Man Festival occurred from September 19-20, 2015. It is also the greatest tour of Garrett County venturing through: Amish and Mennonite communities, farmland and back to Deep Creek: competitors must swim Deep Creek Lake, trek Deep Creek State Park and circumnavigate Garrett County.

Deep Creek residents are proud of their small business. Such as the Alley, simply a bowling alley and arcade in McHenry or the Garrett 8 Cinemas off of Garrett Highway in Oakland. It brings authenticity to their quaint, rustic existence and small-town vibe.

“The only franchise that holds a monopoly on Deep Creek is a Wal-Mart,” said Schroyer.

Tourists, seasonal residents and locals celebrated Deep Creek’s 90th anniversary. The Youghiogheny Hydroelectric Company started the Deep Creek Project in the 1920s across the Youghiogheny River. Construction began in 1923 and completed in 1925. The dam became operational at 4p.m. on May 6, 1925.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave Pennsylvania Electric Company a license to own Deep Creek Lake in 1968. The dam was bought from Penelec. in 1991 and the lease was renewed by Deep Creek in 2011. Deep Creek Lake is the largest man-made lake in Maryland. It has 3900-acre surface area with a 35 mile shoreline stretching across McHenry and Oakland, Maryland.

Albert Einstein, former presidents, celebrates, foreign dignitaries, Pittsburg’s and Washington D.C.’s elite have found tranquility in Deep Creek, devoid of any drama of their frantic lives out side the cozy blanket of Western Maryland. Patty fears that Deep Creek’s reticence is dissolving as its remote location disappears.

“The atmosphere has changed,” said Wells.

I used to be able to hear a creek near my house trickle downstream, instead it’s muffled by increasing traffic” said Wells.

Schroyer has a different opinion. She is convinced that without the growing tourism Deep Creek wouldn’t have the infrastructure they have recently obtained. Second home owner property tax, specifically, has made much it possible. Schroyer believes that the growth has dissipated.

“People can’t wait for the weekend to get away from it all,” said Schroyer.

Settle-in or dash outside at your own pace Deep Creek isn’t going anywhere. The charm of the town, the harmony with nature and the exciting adventures leaves an impression that lasts a lifetime. Deep Creek has so much to offer that the experience extends unto trips somewhere in the future.

Eco Friendly Tiger Town

A tiger is not at home unless it has a lush jungle to prowl in. Now mold a jungle into a second home for a pride of 22,000 tigers. One would hope for a clean, healthy environment that supports prosperity.

That is exactly the challenge that Rose Brusaferro has accepted as Towson University’s Graduate Assistant to Administration and General Services for Environmental Initiatives under Towson’s Department of Civic Engagement and Leadership. Rose has held the position for 9 months or since last August, 2014. The position compliments her environmental science major well.

Rose strives for excellence throughout the Department of Civic Engagement and Leadership. She advises the student groups that devote themselves to eco-friendly and sustainability programs. Rose coordinates environmentally focused events, but she has acknowledged that the environmental consciousness  could use a boost in community response. Rose believes their presence on campus and in the community must be noticed.

Despite Towson University’s reputation to “go green” staff and students seem to remain oblivious to exactly what eco-friendly and sustainability initiatives and organizations the campus has to offer. I asked Anna Hiser a resident of Barton House in Towson University’s West Village what she thought of Towson’s environmental consciousness.

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A Student Perspective: Anna Hiser:

A.Z. Please state your class standing and major?

A.H.Junior, Deaf Studies and English.”

A.Z. Are you aware of any environmental initiatives on Towson University’s campus?

A.H.Vaguely aware.”

A.Z. Do you recycle?

A.H. “Yes.”

A.Z. Are there any eco-friendly initiatives you would like to see employed on campus?

A.H. “Composting in the dining halls to keep food from being wasted.”

A.Z. Do you know who or what department facilitates Towson’s sustainability?

A.H. “Do not.”

A.Z. What do you think the Department of Civic Engagement and Leadership needs to do to make their presence on campus and in the community more prominent?

A.H. “Flyers, posters, send out an email from time to time.”

A.Z. Is that what you would do if you were their student coordinator?

A.H. “Yeah, probably, maybe organize an event.”

Rose was right to acknowledge that the Department of Civic Engagement and Leadership needs to put more effort into promoting their neat environmental initiatives. You can find the Department of Civic Engagement and Leadership on the second floor of the Administration building. It appears that students like Anna are to open to participating in eco-friendly projects on campus and in the community; they just need a better way to be informed.