WCBM Life StyleJan 01, 2013 -- 12:00am
WCBM was Live at the Preakness Balloon Launch 2014:
FRANK LUBER AND RONNIE DOVE AT A WCBM ‘LUNCH WITH THE BOYS’ AT SEASONED MARINER IN DUNDALK
This was a small part of the scene at the Mt. Washington Tavern as the Presbyterian Home of Maryland celebrated their 'Dine Out and Make a Difference' project for resident support at the PHM. Over 100 diners attended the first time event!
Recently I had the opportunity to visit Grand Bahama Island, the 4th largest island in the Bahamas chain. It had been years since I was in the Bahamas, but never on that island. There are about 700 islands in the Bahamas chain, but quite a few have no inhabitants. To begin, here are some general comments about the island. The national currency is the Bahamian dollar which is equal to the American dollar, which is always happily accepted. The Bahamas are on Eastern time. Your cell phone will work, though most likely there will be roaming charges.
The island is 96 miles long and 17 miles wide. The primary religion is Baptist. Eighty five percent of the economy comes from tourism. Here's one very important point - they use the English system of driving on the left, which means when you cross the street you must first look right. At first that can be very confusing. It's because of this law I strongly advise against renting a car or scooter. The best thing is take a cab, or for a true island adventure, the bus.
The earliest settlers on the island were the Siboney Indians, a Stone Age culture which arrived in the Caribbean about 4,000 years ago. The next to arrive were the Lucayans. Great Britain claimed the islands of the Bahamas in 1670 after British colonists left Bermuda for Eleuthera. Grand Bahama is only 55 miles to the east of Florida and has a population of about 50,000.
Regarding Customs, each U.S. resident may take home duty free purchases up to $800.00 American if they have been outside the U.S. for more than 48 hours and have not taken the exemption in 30 days. There are many good deals, but not for everything.
I arrived on the island via a Bahamas Express ferryboat from Ft. Lauderdale. It carries about 460 passengers and runs year round. The crossing takes three hours. Thankfully my trip back and forth was met by smooth seas. If the ocean happens to be rough, the crossing can be rocky. There is a duty free shop on board. The cost for a one day trip is about $99.00 for general seating, more for first class. That is something I wouldn't recommend. It would make for a very long day since you arrive in the morning about 6:30 and wont return back to Ft. Lauderdale until about 10 pm.
My visit was highlighted by my stay at the Grand Lucayan Beach & Golf resort on the southern coast. It has 900 rooms with about a mile of beachfront. Check in is done at the Manor House and you then proceed to your room, which could be in another wing. You are given a wristband which allows you to go anyplace within the property and to be re-admitted if you leave. You'll find plenty to do here, golf, tennis, swimming in the ocean or the pools, shuffleboard, a Kid's Club, a nearby casino and shopping, swimming with the dolphins, scuba diving, a trip to coral reefs, deep sea fishing and more.
Packages are available but generally speaking rates through the end of the year range from $179 to $199. For more information go to grandlucayan.com.
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Baltimore is Bursting with Free Things to Do
Explore top attractins in Baltimore's Inner Harbor
Check out our list of 30 Free Things To Do in Baltimore. From parks and the waterfront to museums and tours, Baltimore has a long list of great activities that are fun and, most importantly, free!
30 Free Things:
Recognize masterpieces at the
Baltimore Museum of Art
As a major cultural destination for the greater Baltimore region, the Baltimore Museum of Art organizes and presents a variety of dynamic exhibitions and innovative programs throughout the year and frequently hosts special events with cultural and educational partners. Home to the internationally renowned Cone Collection, the BMA holds the largest and most significant Matisse works in the world. Outside the museum walls, experience the lavish Sculpture Garden, featuring two terraced gardens, fountains, and 34 sculptures. The BMA is free for everyone, every day, so that great art is accessible to all.
Shiver me timbers! Story Time with the Urban Pirates
Join the crew of Baltimore's own pirate ship, Fearless, for swashbuckling tales of adventure on the high seas! Located in historic Fell's Point, your whole family will be thrust into the excitement of pirate history told through captivating stories in a learning environment that's sure to be fun for all.
Walk, wonder and create at the Walters Art Museum
The museum owns more than 25,000 pieces of art and has free general admission, except for special exhibits. Bring the whole family to enjoy special family tours and activities for all ages. Children will enjoy the displays of knights' armor, the statues, the colorful paintings, the furniture, and the many small and lovely trinket - including Faberge eggs.
Amuse yourself at the American Visionary Art Museum's Sculpture Plaza and Wildflower Garden
The exterior of the American Visionary Art Museum is almost as interesting as what you'll find inside. The building is surrounded by unique and curious sculptures, which you can explore for FREE!
Share a toast at Edgar Allan Poe's Grave
Most people are fascinated by strange and spooky places. Actually, though, this is a very serene and quiet spot in the middle of the city. Poe and Virginia Clemm rest in the Westminster Hall cemetery located at 519 West Fayette, the corner of Fayette and Greene, which has also been the resting place of prominent Maryland families.
Become an urban explorer on the free Charm City Circulator
The Charm City Circulator is your fast, friendly, and free shortcut to Baltimore's hotspots seven days a week. With connections to the Light Rail, MARC train, Metro, and the Water Taxi Harbor Connector, the Circulator is your first step in exploring the many local events and attractions Baltimore has to offer.
Sing and dance along with performances at the Harborplace Amphitheater
Located between the Harborplace Pavilions, the amphitheater hosts free performances from singers, dancers, magicians and more. Street performers entertain by day; and Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, bands ranging from Motown, funk and jazz, oldies, to blues, R&B, country and everything in between perform live, free concerts.
Rock out at Power Plant Live!
Stop by on Friday evenings for the return of the Friday Night Live! concert series. Watch local artists and national headlining bands perform on the newest permanent outdoor stage at Power Plant Live!
Free outdoor movies
On Thursdays at 9 p.m., grab a blanket or a folding chair and catch a free film after dusk on Federal Hill. is sponsored by the American Visionary Art Museum, and admission into the museum is free between 5 and 9 p.m. before the film.
Johns Hopkins University is another great spot for Friday outdoor films. Feature films are played on the green in front of Shriver Hall. Live music begins at 7:30 p.m., with movies starting after sunset.
Bring your imagination to Artscape
The nation's largest, free arts festival celebrates with continuous musical performances by local, regional and national talent on multiple outdoor stages; indoor and outdoor visual arts exhibitions; sculptures; art cars; film; theater; crafts; opera; dance; street theater; and children's activities.
Celebrate life, music and culture at the African American Festival
The African American Festival is a free family celebration of life, music and culture. Enjoy live music, educational and historical exhibits, interactive children's area, and crafts. The festival will partner with Radio One's Stone Soul Picnic, as well as feature a choir competition, a film festival, a basketball challenge and much more!
Sail across the Harbor on the scenic Water Taxi Harbor Connector
This free connector service operates daily along the city's Inner Harbor from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free routes depart from thein Fell's Point to the Tide Point Pier in Locust Point, just a short walk away from Ft. McHenry. You can also connect from Tide Point Pier to the Canton Waterfront Park.
Dive into literature at the Enoch Pratt Free Library
Over 60 years old, the Enoch Pratt Library continues to enchant book lovers of all ages with its immensity - it's just so darned BIG - an entire block in length. It is one of the first to be built with an accessible street level entrance.
Uncover the beauty of the Basilica
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was the first metropolitan cathedral in the United States. This historic site contains neoclassical architecture, a 17th-century organ, stunning artwork and more.
Browse the Galleries at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower
The Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower has been transformed into studio spaces for visual and literary artists. Take part in Open Studio Day and view impressive artwork from talented artists. During this free event, guests can visit artists' studios, view or purchase works of art, and enjoy refreshments and light fare at the newly renovated Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower.
Party the first Friday of the month in Hampden
A frequent setting in John Waters' films, here is a neighborhood that still celebrates the bouffant and grilled-cheese charms of Charm City. Stop "down Hampden, hon" for First Fridays when participating merchants host events, parties, special sales and stay open late.
Cruise the Fell's Point Art Loop
Spend an evening mingling with artists, sampling cheese and wine, and soaking up the arts in Fell's Point. On the first Friday of every month, the Fell's Point Development Corporation presents the work of local artists. Thirteen galleries come together to display pieces from their artists. The types of art include, but are not limited to, woodworking, photography, sculpture and oil paintings. Restaurants offer specials and stay open late to accommodate visitors.
Pedal your way through the Gwynns Falls trails
Get off the road and enjoy a leisurely (or rigorous) bike ride along the recently expanded 15 miles of trails.
Challenge locals in a match of bocce ball in Little Italy
Located on Stiles Street, get a real flavor of the "old country" where residents and visitors are welcome to participate on the two well-lit sandy courts in the evenings.
Bump, Set and Spike at Rash Field
Check out "Baltimore Beach" and its seven volleyball courts made up of 1,000 tons of sand located at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. A place where locals and visitors, beginners to experts can meet and play organized games.
Take in the enticing sights, sounds and scents at Baltimore's public markets
For absolutely no money, you can enter Baltimore's Cross Street Market in Federal Hill, Lexington Market near the Hippodrome theatre and the Broadway Market in Fell's Point to walk around, watch butchers and fishmongers at work, and smell wonderful food cooking. You'll get a feel for what doing the food shopping used to be like.
Sample local flavors at the Farmer's Market
The annual Baltimore Farmers' Market offers the best deals on produce, herbs, flowers, fruit and more. The Baltimore Farmers' Market is the largest producers-only market in Maryland. If you're lucky, you might just get some free samples!
Take a self-guided tour of Baltimore's outdoor monuments
- Kaytn Memorial in Harbor East - stands in honor of Polish military officers, policemen and civilian prisoners of war executed by Soviet authorities on March 1940
- Washington Monument in Mount Vernon - the first monument built for George Washington (Currently closed for renovations.)
- Babe Ruth statue - Camden Street outside the Eutaw Street Oriole Park entrance
- Johnny Unitas statue - front of M&T Bank Stadium
- Battle Monument - Calvert and Fayette streets; commemorates the Battle of Baltimore and honors those who died during the month of September 1814 during the War of 1812
- Baltimore Holocaust Memorial - Corner of Water, Gay, and Lombard streets
Check out the ink at the Baltimore Tattoo Museum
A museum of electric tattooing in America, you'll find traditional American to traditional Japanese, black and grey work, portraits, photo-realism, flash designs, and complete custom-drawn designs. If you like something you see, the museum is also a fully functioning tattoo studio.
Brush up on history exploring the New Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail
Take a guided stroll through historic old west Baltimore's premier historic African American neighborhood. Hear the stories of civil rights leaders, artists and musicians, visit historic African American churches; and relive the glory days of Pennsylvania Avenue on Sundays at noon. Tours originate from the State Center Metro Station at Eutaw & Preston Street, ground level, with easy access from the free Purple line Charm Street Circulator to stop #312.
Discover nature's beauty at the Cylburn Arboretum
The Cylburn Arboretum is a nature preserve and city park spanning about 207 acres. Experience the feel of a grand estate in a rolling countryside, all within city limits. Collections of Japanese maples, hollies, conifers, Maryland oaks, tree peonies, maples and magnolias stand on spacious lawns and luscious gardens surround the Victorian mansion. Explore trails that wind through the woodlands, where you can discover rare trees, native plants and wildflowers.
Be an art critic for a day at Maryland Institute College of Art
Enjoy the free exhibits in all of the galleries on the campus at MICA.
Find your next great read at The Book Thing
Located in Baltimore's Waverly neighborhood, this book store is open only on weekends and its mission is to find new homes for books that were no longer wanted by their owners. While you can donate your own books, you don't have to in order to browse the offerings and stock up on free reads. 3001 Vineyard Lane Baltimore, MD 21218
A Tribute To Our MilitarySep 11, 2011 -- 8:46am
A Military Tribute
Now that I lay me down for some sleep
My family’s secure as I take a quick peek.
With all of my heart I must give my thanks
to all those in uniform - regardless of rank.
Each time that they’re seen my heart sure does swell,
They serve our great country and serve it so well!
Freedom’s not cheap, it sure isn’t free...
If it wasn't for them, then where would we be?
They give us their all, and do what they must,
with God they do live, and in God they do trust.
So as I lay down and rest my tired eyes
our freedom still rings, and our flag - it still flies!
Safe is my family, my country, my home,
Because of our Military it must surely be known!
My very last prayer in the deep of the night:
"God bless them & keep them strong for their fight."
- Steve Smith email@example.com
Thank You United States MilitaryMay 02, 2011 -- 3:16pm
Only a minute number are born to take on such a mission! Imagine leaving the luxuries of American life. The likes of leaving behind your favorite sporting events and your favorite TV shows, the fast food restaurants, the nights out on the town, the cookouts. Leaving behind perhaps your girlfriend or wife, your mother and or father, your brothers or sister, your best friend, maybe even your own son or daughter, basically everything you grew up ever or just began loving! Imagine your former lifestyle is now just a faraway fantasy. Every day you spend your free time hoping to one day return to that former utopia. As if this scenario was not unbearably thought-provoking, just try and fathom the idea of waking up each day with the sword of jihad pinned up against your throat! For those days where you are fortunate enough to avoid the jihadist dagger you wonder will tomorrow ever come? Or will today be your last? Every day you wake up in fear as you dwell in the most dangerous location his holiness above has allowed to ever exist! You routinely gaze upon ruin and carnage both from a physical and mental point of view. You see the blood and destruction first hand of both your enemies and allies. You just hope and pray it would come to an end. Who would trade your everyday American existence of freedom and liberty for such a hellish way of life? Only those who understand that freedom is not an eternal virtue, rather it is a occasional lifestyle that must be defended with the blood of heroes! As Ronald Reagan once said “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction” Thank you United States Military for making sure freedom does not become an extinction in America! Thank you for taking on all the above to save us the burden of having to do the same!
Confirmed: State Dept. Refused Protective Barrier at Benghazi Consulate
The Hillary Code
Border Security Interview: Border Agents More Afraid Of Government Than Illegal Criminals
Army Sgt. Ryan Pitts Awarded Medal of Honor
W.H.: "It Was Not" A Mistake For Obama To Eat Burgers & Fundraise During International Crises