Baltimore County Conference and Visitors Bureau, Towson Town Center, 825 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, (410) 296-4886, www.visitbacomd.com.
Maryland Mass Transit Administration, call for MTA tourist guides, (410) 539-5000, (800) 543-9809, www.mtamaryland.com.
Maryland Office of Tourism Development, (800) 634-7386, www.mdisfun.org.
Asian Arts and Culture Center, Towson University, 8000 York Road, (410) 704-2807, www.towson.edu/tu/asianarts. Asian art is on display at this center that also offers concerts, lectures, and workshops to the whole community.
Ballestone Manor House, 1935 Back River Neck Road, Essex, (410) 887-0218. Tour guides in period dress take you through this historic 1780s home.
Basignani Winery, 15722 Falls Road, Sparks, (410) 472-0703, www.basignaniwinery.com. Come meet the winemaker and taste the wine at this Piedmont estate.
Boordy Vineyards, 12820 Long Green Pike, Hydes, (410) 592-5015, www.boordy.com. More red wine to go straight to your head during the midsummer evening concerts.
Cromwell Valley Park, 2002 Cromwell Bridge Road, Towson, (410) 887-2503. 367 acres of diverse wildlife and pleasant pastures.
Fire Museum of Maryland, 1301 York Road, Lutherville, (410) 321-7500, www.firemuseummd.org, This museum hosts more than 40 antique fire engines, a working fire telegraph system, and a prestigious array of badges and uniforms to boot!
Hampton National Historic Site, 535 Hampton Lane, Towson, (410) 823-1309, www.nps.gov/ hamp, hourly mansion tours $5, grounds free. Visit this Georgian mansion that once held the record as the largest house in the United States, and learn a little about the changing moral climate of our nation while looking at the pretty flowers.
Irvine Natural Science Center, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson, (410) 484-2413, www.explorenature.org. This natural science center offers some extreme environmental fun for adults and kids with hands-on exhibits, animals, and trails.
Maryland State Police Museum, Maryland State Police Headquarters, 1201 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, (410) 653-3113. What exactly do state troopers do besides hand out speeding tickets? Find out by visiting this collection of state police artifacts and memorabilia. But don't just drop in--an appointment is needed.
Baltimore Regional Toddler Fair, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. July 12, The Montessori School, Lutherville, (410) 321-8555. Children's' goods and services merchants display for the parents while miniature pony rides and other activities entertain the toddlers. That's right folks, mini ponies.
Catonsville Presbyterian Church Strawberry Festival, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 7, Catonsville Presbyterian Church, 1400 Frederick Road, Catonsville, (410) 747-6180, www. catonsvillepresb.org. Crafts, live entertainment, a kid's zone, and--most importantly--strawberry shortcake.
DayJams Rock and Roll Camp for Kids, June 23-27 and June 30-July 4, July 7-11 and 14-18, Maryvale Preparatory School, 11300 Falls Road, Brooklandville, (800) 295-5956, www.dayjams.com. For ages 9-15. If your child has a hankering for music, then let DayJams show 'em the ins and outs of the biz. Activities include songwriting, performing, and recording a CD!
Maryland State Fair, Aug. 22-Sept. 1, Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Timonium, (410) 252-0200, www.marylandstatefair.com. Baltimore County's premiere summer fair offers livestock competitions, live entertainment, midway rides, and classic carnival fare.
Towson Fourth of July Parade, 10:30 a.m. July 4, Towson Courthouse, (410) 832-2190. This annual parade in the county seat of Towson is a popular Independence Day tradition.
SPORTS & RECREATION
American Cancer Society Relay for Life, June 20-21, Oregon Ridge Park, 13401 Beaver Dam Road, Cockeysville, (410) 933-5252, www.northcountyrelay.org. If the sweltering sun has turned you away from running for a cause, the North County Relay for Life is for you. This overnight run offers live entertainment and pizza madness. Beginning at 7 p.m., it continues through the night until the 7:45 a.m. closing ceremonies.
Baltimore Burn, Community College of Baltimore County, Dundalk campus, 7200 Sollers Point Road, (410) 768-1383, www.baltimoreburn.com. The Burn's motto "from worst to first" catalogs the team's two seasons in the young National Women's Football League. The Baltimore squad plays 7:05 p.m. May 24 (vs. Pittsburgh) and June 14 (against the D.C. Divas). Playoffs are in July.
Baltimore Tennis & Fitness, 1726 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, (410) 653-0166, www.fitnessandtennis.com. This beltway tennis center and fitness center offers lessons that guarantee your skills won't just pay the tills (adult and junior leagues available) .
Believe in Tomorrow STX Youth Lacrosse Festival, June 7-8, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Catonsville, (410) 744-1032, www.grant-a-wish.org/lacrosse. Previously operating under the Grant-a-Wish foundation, this two-day event includes boys and girls lacrosse competitions and other activities. Proceeds help critically ill kids retain positive outlooks.
Rocky Point Golf Course, 1935 Back River Neck Road, Essex, (410) 887-0215, www.baltimoregolfing.com. Rocky Point's name pretty much indicates that its challenging terrain, so get off your ass and hit some balls.
Clay Orbit, 10918 York Road, Cockeysville, (410) 329-1440, www.clayorbit.com. This growing arts-and-crafts gallery is proof positive of culture reaching the county with its locally made jewelry, pottery, and watercolor wares.
Oella Mills, (410) 465-1313. A beautiful old mill center and serene setting to shop for primitive pieces along the Patapsco River in Ellicott City.
Plato's Closet, 919 Taylor Ave., Towson, (410) 583-0590. A little shop of lightly-used clothing perfect for the person who wants to rotate and update their wardrobe, without hitting Old Navy or American Eagle. Simply bring in your bag of undamaged, unwanted clothing and turn it into something new. The average item is $7.
Weber's Cider Mill Farm, 2526 Proctor Lane, Carney, (410) 668-4488, www.webersfarm.com. Stop by this suburban roadside market and greenhouse for fresh flowers, fruit, and ice cream.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201