Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jul 15, 2010

Thursday started early, driving south through Delaware into Maryland for a day of disc golf and other adventures.

A short time after we got into Maryland, we came upon the first disc golf course, Scarboro Hills. I really like their sign.

The course starts in a pretty open field with a long shot and then heads to open paths with woods on either side. It was mainly like that for the first half of the course. A lot of open shots but not exactly repetitive.

The back took us into the woods and had some nice challenges. I made a putt from behind trees from a good distance. Sinking a long putt always feels good.

The last few holes in the woods were a combination of uphill, downhill and narrow path shots. They were some of the best the course had. Overall the course played pretty fast, with a lot of short holes. I wouldn't plan to come back but I would play if I were in the area. I finished one over par.

On our way into Baltimore, I noticed this amazing building and I had to get a closer look. It's the American Brewery building, constructed in the late 1800s, shut down during prohibition, reopened until the '70s and most recently preserved as an historic building. It is an impressive sight atop a high hill, sitting among many rundown residences.

We located the Baltimore Museum of Art and came in for a visit. We were most interested in the Modern and Contemporary Art sections. This is James Lee Byars' "The Figure of Question."

There were a lot of great pieces in the Contemporary section. I like the freedom in recent art. There are no limits to materials or design.

Another thing I really like is the blurred line of art and architecture. I feel as if the two are never really separate, even if the intention of a construction is utilitarian. Olafur Eliasson's "Flower Observatory" is somewhere in between. It is an amazing and beautiful design that I stared at for a long time. (Also, that's a huge Warhol in the background that I had never seen before.)

This is what the structure looks like when you stand underneath and look up. The series of mirrors in the triangular shapes create amazing patterns that mimic shapes that occur in nature and leave you at a loss for words to describe them.

I thought this image was interesting and appropriate.

After spending a lot of time in the museum, spending a little time viewing the older artworks, we headed out to the sculpture garden. This is "The Horse" by Raymond DuChamp-Villon. I learned about this piece in my Modern Art class and always really liked it. It was great to see in person.

Post-museum it was time for more disc golf at Druid Hill. This course is not far from downtown Baltimore, right next to the Maryland Zoo in a space that was once used as an arboretum. The course is mainly open, using trees as obstacles.

My drive on the third hole landed me over the fence in a restricted area of the zoo where they care for sick animals. I quietly made my way behind this gate and down to where my disc was laying. As I came out I heard a loud, shrill cry from a monkey and then a thud against a metal wall as if something (or someone) were thrown up against it with a lot of force. I'm glad I was almost back to the gate because it was frightening.

One interesting feature of this course is the addition of "The X Holes." Since most of the holes on the course are out in the open, some old baskets were used to create an alternate 9-hole course in the woods between the others. There were several spots to get in but some were just confusing and seemed overgrown.

Some of the later "X holes" seemed better maintained so we played those. They were indeed much different and more difficult than the majority of the others but the inconvenience of going out of the way was not really worth it.

By the time we finished, I was sweaty and had pretty much had enough of the course. It stole one of my discs on a stupid shot and I didn't even feel like looking for it. This one gets a thumbs down from me. Maybe just because of the day but I don't plan to return.

We went to Fell's Point to check out a vegetarian place but they were closing just as we showed up so it ended up being pizza for dinner. It was good though, I had gotten really hungry.

The American Visionary Art Museum is free on Thursday nights so I figured it would be a good place to check out. I've only seen the art on the outside of the building in the past.

In the smallest of the three buildings that make up the museum, there was a large chess set made of metal pieces with faces. It was strange, but so is most everything in this museum.

The inside was filled with everything from modern paintings to sculptures to stitched fabrics. A lot of it had a message about patriotism or religion. It's hard to really describe the style of much of the work without saying "folk art." That's not exactly what it is, but it's a close description.

We watched the city light up as the sky got dark on Federal Hill. It's my favorite spot in Baltimore to sit and look at the skyline. Especially at night.

The ride home took a long while on the back roads. I think I'll just pay the stupid tolls next time.

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