Sunday, September 13, 2009

Drawn in by the Muse

I was unable to find a hotel near the Westminster, MD convention and wound up in Frederick - nearly 45 minutes away. (This is what happens when an event sneaks up on you and you realize the day before you leave that you have not yet made your travel plans.) My hotel was near Historic Frederick and I was excited about visiting the historic city center after the convention on Saturday night.

I closed up our booth and drove to Frederick where I arrived about 6:15 pm. After driving around for a while getting the lay of the land, I parked in a garage and headed out on foot. The section of road I selected to explore contained about 4 or 5 restaurants. (I was hungry.) I was greeted by a woman outside the Cellar Door restaurant who provided me with a menu and invited me in. I checked out a few other restaurants and decided to give that one a try.

The Cellar Door restaurant was cozy and charming. It was, as the name suggested, in the basement of the building it occupied and contained some charming architectural elements as a result. I was seated around 6:40. The lady at the door had given me a half-price appetizer coupon so I ordered the lobster bruschetta which was okay - nothing to get excited about, though. I ordered the Eastern salad and, ever searching for unusual entrees, the fried green tomatoes with chipotle vodka sauce. The salad was excellent. The dressing for the salad was light and full of flavor. The entree, however, was not. I do think, however, that my issue with the entree may have been solely my own. You see, I have been eating healthy for about 3 years now and rarely have any fried food. I should have known better and ordered something else, but I think I was drawn in by the chipotle vodka sauce. (Spicy and alcohol together became a siren song for me, I think.) Anyway, the dish was just way too oily for me. I ate two of the tomatoes and that's all. The accompanying garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed green beans were good. Unfortunately, the service was S-L-O-W! I did not get out of there until 8:30 pm. I was quite disappointed by this as I was planning to explore the area.

Refusing to have my night ruined by my late release from the restaurant, I wandered down North Market Street toward a store that I had noticed on my way in... the Muse. Of course the name drew me in. Our club is called the Mailbox Muse and I wondered what "inspiration" this store was offering.

The Muse is a wonderful store full of handcrafted items from artists. Most of the artists that supply the store are local, but the store does stock beautiful items from all over. Items that you will find in this store are beautiful jewelry, clothing, scarves, collages, soaps & bath products, baby items, ceramic pieces and more!

Being enamored of the store, I struck up a conversation with the cashier who turned out to be the store's owner, Whitney Bingham. Whitney told me all about the store and made me sincerely wish I lived closer. In addition to the wonderful handcrafted pieces, the store also offers craft classes for its customers. One class series is called, "Wednesday Wine & Cheese Craft parties," and another is "Sunday Mimosa Make & Take." Okay, I don't know about you, but for me crafts + wine/mixed drinks = heaven. The classes are quite reasonable as well - only $35 each plus your class kit. The upcoming offerings include Twisted Metal Bracelet Design, Fold Art Bird Brooch, Needle Punched Flower, Encaustic Wax Workshop, Mini Collage, altered Photo Ornaments and Reflections in Metal.

While I had little time to explore the full range of shops that Historic Frederick offered, I was thrilled to have found the Muse. If you have a chance to visit Frederick, stop in and visit this wonderful store. Tell Whitney I sent you.

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