The Fourth Wall

12.17.08 A Shiny Bright Season

More of a “Festivus for the Rest of Us” kind of gal, even an old Scrooge like me can appreciate certain things about the holiday season, one of which is the over-the-top glittering lights display of Hampden. What? You don’t know Hampden? Hon, let me en-lighten you (heh heh).

Located in Baltimore, MD, the neighborhood first came into being in 1802 as a cluster of houses built for workers who manned the newly erected flour and cotton mills along the Jones Falls Stream Valley.

The small-town atmosphere still has a distinct blue-collar vibe, but has also been gentrified, becoming a highly desirable address for artists and other Bohemian types. 36th Avenue (known by locals simply as th’Avenue) now boasts trendy boutiques (Ma Petit Shoe sells fabulous shoes AND fancy chocolates… what more can a girl ask for?) and eateries sprinkled between funky thrift- and bonafide junk-stores.

Also famous for a certain type of big-hair B’More Girl (think John Waters… and drag queen/actor Divine as Edna Turnblad in the original 1988 film, Hairspray), she who addresses everyone as “Hon,” Hampden hosts HonFest every summer, a festival of beehive ‘do’s and all things retro-tacky.

This time of year, head a couple of blocks over to 34th Avenue to see a neighborhood that takes its Christmas lighting VERY seriously. With everything from hubcap-decorated trees to lights strung back and forth across the street, this is a seasonal must-experience. Arrive just after dark to beat the crowds, and see if you can get a table at Cafe Hon afterwards for a bite to eat, making sure to save room for an enormous piece of coconut cake or the best bread pudding ever.

See you down th’Avenue, hon! And, happy hols to you and yours from Jodi-hon, a big-haired B’more Girl.
. Plasmacimouncio .