Baltimore County Conference and Visitors Bureau, Hunt Valley Mall, 118 Shawan Road, (410) 329-1001, (887) 782-9636, www.visitbacomd.com.
Baltimore County Public Library, www.bcpl.info.
Maryland Mass Transit Administration, call for MTA tourist guides, (410) 539-5000, (800) 543-9809.
Maryland Office of Tourism Development, www.mdisfun.org.
Asian Arts Center, Towson University, 8000 York Road, (410) 704-2807, www.towson.edu/tu/ asianarts. Traditional and contemporary Asian art share themes and techniques, and this space exhibits both.
Ballestone Manor House, 1935 Back River Neck Road, Essex, (410) 887-0218. Built in the 1780s, this historic house displays its Federal and Victorian styles both inside and out. Tour guides in period dress complete the illusion of time past.
Basignani Winery, 15722 Falls Road, Sparks, (410) 472-0703. This winery in the Baltimore County hills offers tours and vino sampling. Take advantage of an excuse to spit in the middle of a conversation.
Boordy Vineyards, 12820 Long Green Pike, Hydes (410) 592-5015, www.boordy.com. Hourly tours are conducted in the afternoon, and yes, you get to sample the product. You can picnic if you like too. Show up June 3-4 for the Wine and Herb Fest, or in the evening June 23 or 30 for free outdoor dance lessons, wine tasting, a light meal, and live music.
Cromwell Valley Park, 2002 Cromwell Bridge Road, Towson, (410) 887-2505. The Cromwell Valley Park, which includes the Sherwood and Willow Grove farms, is dedicated to teaching about sustainable agriculture. Besides farmland, the park also has woodlands, streams, pastures, and historic structures. Scheduled summer events and educational programs include the Chesapeake Audubon Picnic (7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. June 2) and a summer-solstice celebration (6:30 p.m. June 17).
Fire Museum of Maryland, 1301 York Road, Lutherville, (410) 321-7500, $3-$5, children under age 4 free. You don't have to be a pyromaniac to appreciate the power of flame or those who hold the hose. With antique fire trucks and loads of historic photos, seeing this place is better than renting Backdraft. OK, that's not saying much, but you get the idea.
Hampton National Historic Site, 535 Hampton Lane, Towson, (410) 823-1309, www.nps.gov/hamp . At the center of this large 18th-century estate is a Georgian mansion surrounded by formal gardens. The home tells the story of a Colonial family, of early American industry, and of the people--including slaves--who kept the estate running. The grounds are open for exploring; hourly mansion tours cost $5.
Irvine Natural Science Center, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson, (410) 484-2413, www.explorenature.org. Environmental education is the name of the game here, with hands-on exhibits, live animals, and hiking trails. Programs for both adults and children are offered.
Maryland State Police Museum, Maryland State Police Headquarters, 1201 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, (410) 653-6113. Cops--they always gotta be in control. You must make an appointment in order to see this museum's collection of police artifacts and memorabilia.
Apollo Theatre Kids' National Talent Search, Aug. 4, Security Square Mall, Woodlawn, (886) 294-9657, www.mcdonalds.com. Kids ages 5-13 (as of Aug. 25) can take a chance, give it all they got, and shoot for the stars at McDonald's It's Showtime at the Apollo talent search. At stake is a chance to be on the legendary TV show, appear in a McDonald's commercial, or win a computer. A variety of talents are on display: singing, dancing, comedy, magic, drumming. And remember, moms and dads: Everyone is a winner. Keep telling yourself that.
Boumi Temple Shrine Circus, 10:30 a.m., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. May 31-June 2, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. June 3, Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Timonium, (410) 391-6400, $10-$15. The Royal Hanneford Circus Company performs a European-style single-ring show, and Shriners themselves do the clowning. There is a midway with rides and games too, all to benefit the Shriners Hospitals for Children and other Boumi Temple charities.
Camp Heritage, Catonsville campus, Community College of Baltimore County, 800 S. Rolling Road, (410) 455-4197. Camp Heritage is two four-week sessions for kids in grades one through five. It starts in June and includes arts and craft, sports and games, and educational programs about the environment and other topics. CCBC has many other summer children's camps too; call for information.
Camp Invention, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. June 25-Aug. 10, various Baltimore County elementary schools, (800) 968-4332, $175. This one- to two-week day camp encourages kids entering the second through sixth grades to develop their creative abilities. Registration is limited to 110 kids at each location.
DayJams, Rock and Roll Camp for Kids, June 18-22, June 25-29, July 2-6, Maryvale Preparatory School, 11300 Falls Road, Brooklandville, (800) 295-5956, www.dayjams.com. So your adolescent wants to be a rock 'n' roll star? Enroll him or her in DayJam and see if they have what it takes. During these week-long sessions, kids ages 9-15 take music lessons, write an original song, cut a CD, and give a performance in front of you, the rest of the family, and their friends. Then they start making outrageous demands and trashing their room. Oh right, they already do that.
Lightbox: A Traveling Exhibit, June 16-30, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, noon-5 p.m. Saturdays, Fleckenstein Gallery and Archival Framing, 29 Allegheny Ave., Towson, (410) 296-8588. Chris Hogan, the executive director of Visual AIDS, speaks during the June 16 opening reception for this exhibit of hundreds of artworks, all on slides in illuminated boxes and all of it created by people with HIV/AIDS.
Maryland Arts Festival, June 23-July 28, Center for the Arts, Towson University, Osler and Cross Campus drives, (410) 830-2787, www.towson.edu. This annual festival of the arts offers them in many forms: film, visual art, concerts, theater, and dance. Call for details.
Maryland State Fair, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Aug. 24-Sept. 3, Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Timonium, (410) 252-0200, www.bcpl.net/~mdstfair/. Come on down for all the livestock presenting, arts-and-crafts showing, fresh-produce selling, midway riding, thoroughbred-horse racing, live-music entertaining, and food eating that is the Maryland State Fair.
Mid-Atlantic Creative Nonfiction Summer Writer's Conference, 8 p.m. Aug. 7-12, Merrick Hall, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, (800) 697-4646, www.goucher.edu. The featured writers at this conference are well-known to those whom the term "creative nonfiction" does not sound like an oxymoron: Andrei Codrescu, Francine Prose, Susan Stamberg.
Society of Dance History Scholars Conference, June 22-25, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, (410) 337-6391, www.goucher.edu. If you like dance, especially dance history, early dance, ethnicity and dance, and dance reconstruction, pirouette over to your calendar and mark this weekend in red. The conference includes workshops, lectures, and panel discussions.
Towson Fourth of July, 10:30 a.m July 4, Towson Courthouse, (410) 832-2190. There is a military theme to Towson's celebration of our country's independence this year--imagine that--with a parade that includes marching soldiers and a National Guard flyover featuring carpet bombing of the Towson area. Just kidding about the bombing.
Bauernschmidt Manor, 2316 Bauernschmidt Drive, Essex, (410) 687-2233. Once a summer estate for philanthropists Frederick and Agnes Bauernschmidt, this home is now a B&B with a swimming pool and bay views from the fourth-floor cupola.
Homestyle Inn, 6401 Baltimore National Pike, Catonsville, (410) 744-1440. Sounds nice, doesn't it?
SPORTS & RECREATION
Aqua Ventures School of Scuba, 9731 York Road, Cockeysville, (410) 666-2326, www.aquaventuresonline.com. The people at Aqua Ventures can help you plan summer scuba lessons, from beginner to refresher to advanced, or diving trips. Check out their cool Web site.
Grant-a-Wish Youth Lacrosse Festival, 9 a.m. June 9-10, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Catonsville, (800) 933-5470, www.grant-a-wish.org/lacrosse. This two-day lacrosse festival provides fun and sport for boys' and girls' lacrosse teams and music, food, and entertainment for everyone else. The event benefits Grant-a-Wish, a nonprofit foundation that provides support to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
Gunpowdwer State Park, 2813 Jerusalem Road, (410) 592-2897, www.dnr.state.md.us. This park's 16,000 acres are crammed into the narrow stream valley of the Big and Little Gunpowder Falls and the Gunpowder River. Miles of trails include the Northern Central Railroad Trail, one of the most popular hiker/biker byways in the state, and the Dundee Creek Marina rents and sells equipment to fish for trout and other freshwater and tidal fish.
Rocky Point Golf Course, 1935 Back River Neck Road, Essex, (410) 887-0215, www.baltimoregolfing.com. This 18-hole, par-72 course passes along the edge of the Chesapeake Bay and happens to be the longest golf course in the county.
Sports-Card and Memorabilia Show, May 25-28, Towson Town Center, Joppa and Dulaney Valley roads, (410) 866-3366. It's a show with sports cards and memorabilia.
Volleyball Marathon and Tournament, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. June 23, Burdick Field, Towson University, 8000 York Road, (410) 494-8545. Get together a hard-hitting team of six or more and head to Towson for this competitive day of volleyball to benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland's patient-services programs.
Historic Oella Mills, 840 Oella Ave., Oella, (410) 465-1313. Antique shops, a café, and even a bagpipe museum. And you were heading for the mall again.
Home and Modern-Living Show, 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. June 7-9, noon-6 p.m. June 10, Towson Town Mall, Joppa and Dulaney Valley Roads, (410) 653-0122. Forget Oprah magazine for decorating ideas--this weekend you can see it all, in three dimensions.
Weber's Cider Mill Farm, 2526 Proctor Lane, Carney, (410) 668-4488. Apples and other fresh fruit, cider, apple butter, fruit pies, baked goodies, and farm animals to pet.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201