Friday, July 31, 2009

Ice Cream Down on the Farm and Close to Baltimore

Ice Cream Down On the Farm and Oh So Close To Baltimore!

Broom's Bloom Dairy

After a full day of work or play...Here's a delightful way to get Ice Cream Down On the Farm and Oh So Close To Baltimore! You can be out into the country without traveling very far from Baltimore. Nearby Bel Air in Harford County, just north and east of Baltimore, is home to Broom's Bloom Farm.

You get out in the fresh country air and at the same time go back in time to when things were simple, hand made, and came with a good sense of humor. You knew it was good by the long line waiting to try one of the delicious flavors. Watching the people, of all ages, decide on what size was a real treat.

Dairy Road SignFarm Buildings Tall Corn

From the road there is no question this is a working farm. Pull in to a parking space and you'll be so close to the tall corn that you could actually pick an ear or two from your car.

The farm and house date all the way back to the early 1700's - David and Kate Dallam are the 9thgeneration of that family to live and work here. Since 1997 the Dallams have had 65 milking cows and they recently started making and selling old fashioned ice cream, cheese, and pork sausage. They feed their animals a natural diet and don't use any artificial growth hormones. Just another good reason to enjoy their fresh foods!

Cow and chickens statue

A Plump Wife Sign

The décor is definitely "Down on the Farm" style with cows and chickens and bits of humor all around. When it came to choosing an ice cream flavor from that long list, it was no problem – chocolate cake batter for me! Choosing a size was harder – those dips were really big.

Ice cream flavors sign board

Size samples

Agricultural Land Preservation SignIt's nice to know that this farm will not become a shopping mall some day. An Agricultural Land Preservation Easement assures that the Broom's Bloom Farm will be preserved forever. We'll certainly be back for more delicious ice cream!

When will you be having Ice Cream Down on the Farm and So Close to Baltimore ?

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Romantic Dinner at Tio Pepe in Baltimore, MD

A Romantic Dinner at Tio Pepe in Baltimore, Maryland

Tio PepeYes, we went to Tío's tonight. No special occasion unless you count our 15,030-day anniversary as an occasion. Our very favorite restaurant is still almost unchanged even after forty plus years.

We went to Tío Pepe in downtown Baltimore when we were first married over 15,000 days ago. And after all this time, when we decide to go out for a romantic dinner, like tonight, we still are greeted like old (well we are) friends.

Francisco and Emiliano Francisco Lobo, the Maitre D', who we have always called Paco, treats us like royalty, telling us about the special dishes including some that are not on the menu. The chef and owner, Emiliano Sanz, studied cooking as a young man in Segovia, Spain. He apprenticed at some of the finest restaurants in Madrid before coming to Baltimore in 1971.

His unique style of combining classic techniques with regional Spanish cuisine has made Tío Pepe a Baltimore favorite. It has remained among "Baltimore's Best" for 12 consecutive years in Baltimore Magazine.

There is a wonderful selection of dishes to choose from. Our favorites include appetizers of shrimp in garlic sauce, salad Tío Pepe, crab meat in clam shells, black bean soup, gazpacho, and their famous potato puffs. Main dishes range from roast suckling pig, to the best soft shell crabs in the world, and a fabulous filet with béarnaise (Lee's favorite) along with a wonderful selection of fish including Dover sole.

Table Setting Tio Pepe MenuTio Pepe Salad

Everyone always says they are too full, but somehow they manage to make room for something from the dessert tray like the luscious pine roll cake or chocolate roll cake along with a cup of delicious coffee or cappuccino.

Chocolate Roll

Dessert Tray

Tio Pepe Sign

Tío Pepe is one more good reason for a visit – don't miss this superb restaurant. We might just see you there.

When will you plan to have a A Romantic Dinner at Tio Pepe in Baltimore, Maryland?

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

It Doesn't Get Any Better! The Floyd Wickman Summer Forum

It Doesn't Get Any Better! The Floyd Wickman Summer Forum-Ask The Experts

It was a perfect weekend getaway, just what I needed in the middle of an incredibly busy time. Last weekend I traveled with my good friend Anne Hruby to Detroit for the Summer Forum with The Floyd Wickman Team. What fun meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends. (Be sure to read Dean Moss' blog about it, too.)

Dean Moss, Margaret Rome, Floyd Wickman

Dean Moss and Floyd Wickman with lucky me in the middle

Slide -Ask the ExpertsI was fortunate to take my first Floyd Wickman course in 1991 – back then they called it "SweatHogs." Since then I've been a Floyd fan, and try to connect with him when I can. So what is a "Forum for Master Salespeople?" It is a gathering (twice a year, summer and winter) to publicly help everyone hit their goals. It was an active participation, open discussion, with asking and answering some special questions - and with a great deal of enthusiasm. As you see in the photos, everyone was intensely involved in our round table discussions. So much wisdom shared by so many successful Realtors. There were topics for discussion like "Best Money Making Ideas," and the ideas flowed!

Bob Daniel, Jim Byrnes, Shannon Gadbois Shannon Gadbois, Dee Nofziger Julie K Ray-Ritchie, Jim Galligan

Social Media was also one of the topics, and I was asked by Mike Pallin of the Floyd Wickman Team to speak about none other than ActiveRain. There was plenty of interest as I shared some of the ways AR has been a big part of my real estate business in the past three years. There were lots of questions, and I asked for business cards from those who wanted to try AR so I could send them an invitation. Little did I know there would be so many interested! The first night back I sent out a bunch of AR invitations, late as it was.

REO and Short Sales Panel

We had a terrific panel discussion about REO and Short Sales led by Mary Johnson. With so many agents around the country experiencing lower income and depressed markets, this was the absolute best time to get back to basics.

Presentation to Floyd by the Rat Pack

Of course it wasn't all work. There was also a lot of fun stuff, too, with karaoke on Friday night, and presentation of an award to Floyd by The Rat Pack. Saturday was dinner at Buce Di Beppi with mounds of delicious food, drink, laughter, and above all friendship.

Maria, Imad, Sonia Nelson, Bob, Mary

I wonder how many of you have taken a session with Floyd? Can we find out? We have Floyd Wickman and the "You Get By Giving" philosophy in common. Anyone reading this who has been a part of a Floyd Wickman course, or knows someone who has, can we connect again?

It doesn't get any better than this!

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

My Kitchen Burned Down! Baltimore, MD

My "Kitchen" Burned Down! Baltimore, Md

Well not exactly my kitchen, but I think I have eaten more meals in the Suburban House than in my own house or we did until last night. And we almost never get through a meal without seeing a friend or client. It’s just our favorite neighborhood deli and restaurant!

Suburban House SandwichSuburban House PlatterSuburban House Dessert

They make the best omelets (seems like about a dozen eggs), the best chopped salads, and have the best waitress, Mitzu, who knows that when I order a “chop chop” that’s not what it is called on the menu. It is an oriental chicken salad that is finely chopped. They make wonderful matzoh ball soup and sky-high corned beef sandwiches and one of the best steak subs around. If you still have room, their desserts are gorgeous.

But look at what happened at 5:00 pm yesterday: Fire in storage building damages popular Pikesville restaurant. From the news reports, no one was hurt, thank goodness, and about 30 customers and employees got out safely.

Fire Damage - Window Fire Damage

Fire DebrisI couldn't stay away when I heard. I had to see for myself. It was dark but you could still see the damage was massive. The booths were just piles of charred debris, there was water damage, and broken glass everywhere, and the cleaning crew was there boarding up this Pikesville icon known as The Suburban House.

We wish everyone well and hope that they are able to open again soon.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

It Can't Be Done...or Can It?

It Can't Be Done...or Can It?

Flower growing in sidewalk

I was running late for class yesterday morning when I noticed this lone but beautiful flower growing against all odds. It was right in the middle of a heavily traveled sidewalk. I noticed it but could not spare the time – I did not want to be tardy.

Leaving the building after 4:00 p.m, to my delight this bit of color was still quite alive. I was glad, and decided to stop and photograph it.

Something this simple can make you stop and think – about challenges and obstacles, and how we deal with them. A seed sprouting, taking root, and producing a bright pink flower is not a surprise until you see it away from a garden. We might even be used to seeing weeds growing in a sidewalk crack, but a flower? And on a busy sidewalk? It overcame the odds of having enough soil and water, it overcame the odds of being crushed by one of the many feet that walk by every day. No one ever told that flower it couldn't live there…so it does.

I learned a long time ago that the saying is very true: The person who says, "It can't be done" needs to get out of the way of the person who is already doing it!

Gardens and lake

What impossible thing are you doing today?

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Who Says Baltimore, Maryland Condos are Only For the Old Folks?

Who Says Baltimore, Maryland Condos are Only For the Old Folks?

Mature coupleOlder woman with walker and dogWho says that condominiums in Baltimore, Maryland have to be for the elderly or more mature, retired buyers? Sure, many are moving out of a big house and looking forward to not having to worry about maintenance and enjoying the luxury of a full service building. Who doesn't like a doorman to help with your packages, a 24-hour receptionist to greet you, to take your mail, your messages, your dry cleaning? It's kind of like hotel living.

Well it hit me when I was showing my Park Towers West to a young mother with a beautiful six-month-old baby boy. Oh, it was hard for me to stay focused on showing the condo when there was this perfect young baby who I could make smile and coo. You know me, the former Pediatric nurse.

Anyway, the prospective buyer asked if there were any young people living in the building. My first thought (not expressed) well of course not! Aren’t condos just for ole folks? But I would not give that kind of answer instead we stopped at the receptionist desk and asked. To my surprise, we learned there is a 3-year-old and a 10-year-old living in the building, not in the same family.

Young family Young family birthdayYoung people in a condo, there’s a novel idea in Baltimore. Yeah, yeah, I know in New York and other big cities there are lots and lots of kids who grow up in a high-rise buildings - there is no choice. It's not common here in Baltimore, though. But it got me thinking. With so many condominiums on the market with fantastically low prices, here is an opportunity for singles, young married couples, roommates, and college students to get into the housing market.

I also noticed that the ramps were perfect for strollers, and bikes not just wheelchairs and walkers.

I have one that is below $57,000 and is fully furnished (Clarks Lane). I have three under contract under $80,000 (Strathmore) including that lovely lady's the perfect gift, another is listed under $95,000 fully furnished (Tarragon in Reisterstown), another under $105,000 (Park Towers East), as well as a couple of Co-ops at 11 Slade. (Not sure what the difference is between a condo and a co-op? Just ask.)

But what about the high condo fees of $600, $700 a month or even more? Because those fees in many cases include the utilities, it is still more affordable than almost any single family home, and most of us believe renting is a waste! If this trend catches on, the prices will go back up and in a few years the buyers will have equity for their next home.

Young family babyI see this as a new way to market all of my special properties. And, as these new buyers decide to move up, they might want to go to Annen Woods, or Rockland Hills Drive, or my latest listing at 8008 Derby Lane, an all brick Coach House, or down to Baltimore’s harbor area and Fells Point's Henderson Wharf or my Lancaster Penthouse.

So I am proposing to start a new trend. Let’s market to the younger generation, to students and first time buyers. This is a good investment for parents of law, medical and college students. Let’s think outside the box.

Get into the market for under $100,000 and figure in your condo payments. Then live like you are on vacation, in a hotel, with all the amenities of a full service building. You can live in a condominium in Baltimore. Are you ready to set a new trend?

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