Dear Abby 1.2
It’s our second installment in the “Dear Abby” series!
My long-time friend from New York City—let’s call her “Flo”—is coming to visit, and I really want to show her a good time! I’m always hearing about life in the Big City, so this is my chance to show her that Baltimore has great things too. My very first thought was that the JMM would be the perfect place to take her! Flo volunteers at the Tenement Museum, so I think she’ll really enjoy seeing the synagogues and the exhibits. Flo can also be a bit of a snob when it comes to food—everything, it seems, tastes better in New York. I’d like to have the time to see the museum and also take her to a nice place for lunch. How long does it take to go through the whole museum, and are there any good places to eat that are nearby? Later on, we will meet up with her daughter, “Sarah,” who keeps kosher. Is there a kosher Starbucks nearby where we can meet her?
“Tired of hearing about the Big Apple”
Your friend probably talks so much about how great New York is because she’s jealous that you get to live in “Charm City.” This visit is your chance to show her a true Baltimore experience, so she can have that memory to take home with her and shout her love for Baltimore from the top of the Empire State Building. You are absolutely correct that the best way to do this is to take her to the JMM!
I would say you should allow yourself about 20-30 minutes in each exhibit—so that’s 60-90 minutes total for all three exhibits. Of course, a lot of it depends on the individual visitor. For example, I’m a compulsive reader, so I drive my friends and family nuts by making them wait for me as I take over an hour to go through one exhibit! However, I’ve seen that most visitor find that 20 minutes is the perfect amount of time to absorb what the exhibit is trying to say without experiencing the dreaded “museum fatigue.” The synagogue tour takes between 45 minutes to an hour—it depends on how many questions you ask the docent! The docents try to aim for 45 minutes, but if you get them started on their favorite topic within Jewish-American history, we can’t be held accountable for how long your tour will take! I can, however, promise that it will be enlightening.
And, of course, you have to make time for the gift shop! What better way to impress your friend then by showing her the many wonderful things she can buy as a keepsake or as a thoughtful gift for a loved one at our museum shop? All together, I’d allow 2.5 to 3 hours for your visit.
To answer your question about feeding your friend, I will tell you that you are in luck! We happen to be located within easy walking distance of a great number of excellent eateries. Just on the block of Lombard Street that is diagonally across from the museum, there are not one, not two, but three delicatessens—Attman’s, Weiss’s, and Lenny’s—and, if you walk a few blocks south from us on Exeter St. or High St., you will find yourself in the heart of Baltimore’s charming Little Italy (which, I might add, is larger than what is left of NYC’s Little Italy). If you walk a little further south from there, you will enter the trendy Harbor East neighborhood, where there is everything from high quality fast food to fancy, white-cloth restaurants.
As for kosher food, that’s a little more difficult to find in downtown Baltimore. The only kosher restaurant downtown is a cute little café (dairy) called the Van Gough Café. It’s about a half-mile to three-quarters of a mile from the museum, on the corner of Ann St. and—you guessed it—Gough St.
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