Seeing fall colors in Baltimore and beyond

By Mia White

After a relatively mild October, the leaves are just beginning to change in and around the city. Even on Gordon Plaza, the color of trees is growing warmer. Although central Maryland may not be considered a prime foliage destination, there are a number of places to visit for impressive displays. The UB Post has chosen three destinations; the first two are mostly accessible by car, but the third is easily reachable from the UB campus.

Loch Raven Reservoir, Towson

Loch Raven Drive is closed on the weekends
Loch Raven Drive is closed on the weekends

 

The area around Loch Raven Reservoir has spectacular forests with brilliant fall colors. Just a few weekends ago, the steep shores surrounding the water were bright gold. This golden color came from the Tulip Poplars, which are the tallest and straightest hardwood trees on the east coast. Most other trees were just beginning to turn, so visitors will likely still see striking hues.

Foliage below Loch Raven’s Dam
Foliage below Loch Raven’s Dam

 

Drive up from Providence Road to Loch Raven Drive. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, a portion of the road is closed to cars so that cyclists and pedestrians are free to enjoy the route without traffic.

Patapsco Valley State Park

The Patapsco Valley Park system is a large one, with multiple recreation areas all along the western border of the city. The areas closest to Ellicott City have a lot to offer, including a range of trails that climb the hills surrounding the river, swinging bridges, and a waterfall. Since the entire park is heavily forested, autumn is one of the best seasons to visit. The Buzzards Rock Trail in the Hilton area is a steep one, but well worth it, with stunning views up and down the valley.

For free parking, you can reach the Avalon Area by stopping at the Park n Ride off route 1-66 from I-95, and walking 100 yards down Rolling Road to the Soapstone Trail.

Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore City

If you take the glass elevator up to the twelfth floor of the Angelos Law Center and look east, you will see a tall, dark spire in the midst of a clump of trees. Though it looks like a church, this is actually the Chapel of Green Mount Cemetery.

A ten-minute walk from UB’s campus, this 19th century landmark is worth visiting all year round, but it is especially beautiful during the fall. There are eleven species of hardwood trees within the cemetery’s sixty-eight acres, including gingkoes, which are known for their brilliant yellow hue. Enter through the southwest gate off East Oliver Street, and be sure to stop in to pick up a map with interesting burial sites for Baltimoreans Johns Hopkins, Enoch Pratt, and infamous John Wilkes Booth.

 

Orioles making push for AL East pennant

Longtime fans remember the “Orioles Magic” that was the foundation for a string of competitive seasons from the ‘60s through the ‘90s. Now, a new generation of fans may be seeing a reincarnation of that magic.

By Andrew Koch

The Orioles entered their series in Chicago against both the White Sox and Cubs with a seven-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East, and a 7.5 game lead over the New York Yankees. Baltimore is poised to clinch its first division title since 1997, a fact that’s not lost on the team’s staff, as box office representatives began sending out information on purchasing postseason tickets for season ticketholders while the Orioles were on their road trip to Cleveland and Chicago. What makes this season even more magical is the run Baltimore has been on since June.

During the first two-plus months of the season, Baltimore was struggling with consistency from both the offense and the starting rotation. The struggles of the starters to pitch deep into games put a strain on the bullpen. In early June, the Orioles found themselves in second place in the East, six and a half games behind Toronto. Baltimore took over first place in the division on July 4, and has not only stayed atop the division since, but also managed to put some distance between them and Toronto and New York. The Orioles’ surge has been keyed by more consistent starting pitching, and a consistently strong bullpen, even though the offense continues to struggle with consistency.

The Orioles rotation has been led by left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (12-4, 3.76 ERA), and right-hander Bud Norris (11-7, 3.69 ERA) as the most consistent starters. Ace Chris Tillman struggled with consistency in the first half of the season, including starts in Pittsburgh and Texas where he only lasted only one inning. However, in his last 11 starts, Tillman has a record of 4-1 with a 2.35 ERA. In the bullpen, Tommy Hunter was taken out of the closer’s role after blowing two straight saves in April, and has been replaced by Zach Britton, who’s flourished as the stopper. Britton has a record of 3-2 with a 2.08 earned-run average, and has converted 26 saves in 29 chances.

The Orioles have gotten a mixed bag with their offseason acquisitions. On the positive side, Nelson Cruz is leading the league with over 30 home runs after signing a one-year deal as a free agent coming off a 50-game suspension for a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs last year with Texas. Outfielder Delmon Young has been solid despite limited playing time, hitting .297 with some flashes of power.

On the downside, outfielder David Lough, who was signed to provide some speed off the bench, has hit only .213, and has only stolen seven bases in 12 attempts. The biggest disappointment has been righthander Ubaldo Jimenez, who was signed to a four-year, $50 million contract at the beginning of spring training. He was 4-9 with a 4.83 ERA in 20 starts before going on the disabled list on July 13 because of a sprained right ankle. After starting in his return from the DL on August 9, manager Buck Showalter has announced that Jiminez will be moved to the bullpen as young righthander Kevin Gausman has proven to be a viable Major League starter. Showalter has also been able to manage productive platoons in left field with Cruz, Young and Lough, and at second base with Jonathan Schoop and Ryan Flaherty. Caleb Joseph has gotten regular playing time following Matt Wieters’s season-ending Tommy John surgery, and set a team record for catchers by hitting home runs in five straight games. However, the offense has been led by the steady hand of right fielder Nick Markakis, who’s in the top five in the AL in hits, and has made a habit of getting a hit to lead off games.

The Orioles will wrap up August and start September with an 11-game home stand that will feature four games against Tampa Bay, four games over Labor Day weekend against Minnesota and three against Cincinnati. After that, Baltimore’s final 22 games will be against their AL East rivals. The Orioles’ final home stand will be 10 games: four against New York, including a day- night doubleheader on September 12 to make up the Aug. 12 game that was rained out; three against Toronto; and, following a day off, Fan Appreciation Weekend on Sept. 19 through 21 against Boston. Baltimore will spend the final week of the regular season on the road for four games in New York and three  in Toronto on the final weekend of the season.