1-21 - 'It's a Wonderful Life Radio Play' - Center Stage
1-24 - Christmas Village - West Shore Park
1-31 - Lights on 34th Street
1-31 - B & O's Magical Holiday Express - B & O RR Museum
1-31 - Symphony of Lights - Columbia
1-31 - Ice Rink - Inner Harbor
1-31 - Ice - Gaylord National
1-31 - Winterfest of Lights - Ocean City
1-31 - Polar Express 4-D - Aquarium
1-31 - 'A Christmas Carol' - Ford's Theatre
1-31 - 'Mary Poppins' - Toby's Dinner Theatre
2 - James Taylor - Royal Farms Arena
2-7 - 'Newsies' - Hippodrome
4- Kenny G - Lyric
5 - Handel's Messiah - Meyerhoff
6 - Merry Tuba Christmas - Inner Harbor
6-7 - U.S. Army Field Band - Meyerhoff
7 - Family Hanukkah Celebration - Jewish Museum
9 - Old Tyme Christmas - Fells Point
10, 12-14 - Holly Jolly Pops - Meyerhoff
12 - Jazz Ambassadors - Harford Technical High
12- Smokey Robinson - Lyric
12-14 - Christmas in St. Michaels
13 - Jazz Ambassadors - Centennial High
13 - Mannheim Steamroller - Strathmore Theatre
13 - Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade - Annapolis harbor
19-20 - Moscow Ballet's, Nutcracker - Hippodrome
19 - A John Waters Christmas - Soundstage
20 - A Family Christmas - Kennedy Center
26-28 - Cirque Dreams - Lyric
WCBM and WQLL at the Festival of Trees 2014
It must be said, and has been said by people other than me, the summer was not a good season for movies. Box office receipts were down from last summer. Hollywood is hoping for an autumn rebound. Early signs have been good.
Let's begin with the Bill Murray comedy, and some moments not so funny, St. Vincent. Believe me, on the surface he looks and acts nothing like a saint. But the new to the block kid next door thinks he is. He has just moved in with his mom, played by Melisa McCarthy, in a subtle role. Murray gets to be a paid baby sitter and proceeds to take him to a bar and race track.
They develop an unlikely friendship. Who wouldn't like someone who takes them to bars and to the track. Well for one thing, his mom isn't crazy about it. The film works because of Murray. I recommend it.
Something far removed from a comedy is John Wick, with Keanu Reeves as the antihero, man of a few words, retired hit man. He comes out of retirement when three thugs invade his house and kill his dog, a dog given to him by his deceased wife.
To be sure there is plenty of action, bullets, dead bodies and car stunts. It is not a subtle film. Honestly, though some scenes bordered on the absurd, I did enjoy it. I will say I do think this is a flick for guys. Rated R.
Now we're going to war with Brad Pitt in Fury. Set in Germany during World War 2, Pitt is the commander of a five man crew in a tank called Fury. They are sent on numerous missions. So you can expect lots of gore. I do think Pitt is a better actor than he gets credit for. The budget was $80 million. Rated R.
Next up is a film where we might have Oscar bids when the time comes. The film is The Judge with Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall. Set in rural Indiana, Downey is a high priced Chicago lawyer who returns home when his mother dies. His dad, the judge, was been accused of a serious crime so he decides to represent him. It should be noted father and son haven't spoken in years.
The film is heavy on dialogue, which isn't a bad thing. It is a bit long, but it's good enough that you wont notice. Rated R.
Finally we have Gone Girl, with Ben Affleck with his best performance in years. This is a tense thriller about a husband accused of murdering his wife. Along the way there are numerous twists and turns to keep your attention. I liked this one and it is doing well. Also in the cast are Tyler Perry and Billy Bob Thornton, in his best performance in years. Rated R.
We’re about to embark on a tour of three places you can call home when traveling in Delaware. They go from the south to the north. So let’s begin in Rehoboth Beach, which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite spots on the eastern seaboard. For one thing, I like the manageable boardwalk and all there is to do and see on Rehoboth Avenue, the main drag which leads to the water. For lodging we’ll be checking into the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel, 2 Olive Avenue, directly on the boardwalk.
There are 83 rooms, with most of them offering a view of the ocean. Upon entering you are greeted by two chirping birds. Please go up and say hello. If not they’ll be insulted. The hotel is Triple A 4 Diamond rated, the only one in Delaware. When hungry you can enjoy all three meals in Victoria’s, also with a Triple A 4 Diamond rating. I I spoke with some of the diners and discovered they are locals. Rates vary with the room and time of year. Packages are available. For more information 302-227-7169
While I do hate to leave the beach, it is check out time so on the road we go heading to Wilmington. Our destination, the new Westin located at the popular area known as Riverfront. This is comparable to our inner harbor. It’s where you’ll find restaurants, retail, residents and the ballpark. There is also a convention center, attached to the hotel. Let me state right off, what really won me over here. The fact there’s free parking. How many downtown hotels anywhere can say that. I don’t know either, but I bet not many.
The hotel has 180 rooms on 10 floors. Amenities include a Law Center, Lobby Lounge, a lobby restaurant, fitness center, pool and legal center. As I mentioned, the Westin is in an ideal location. There’s all that the Riverfront offers and the center city is a relatively short walk.
If you are a fan of the TV show Downton Abbey, there is a display of clothing from the show at Winterthur Museum. This isn’t far and the hotel is offering a Downton package. It seems to be popular. I have been to the museum, former home of the Duponts, and it is spectacular. Too bad this isn’t spring when you can also tour the lovely and expansive gardens. In the summer there are also baseball packages. For more information go to westinwilmington.com.(hoteldupont.com
Before we leave our neighbor, I’ll offer a few suggestions for places to visit. One is the the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge located at 2591 Whitehall Neck Road in Smyrna in Kent County. This is 16,000 acres and offers one of the best spots in the east to view migrating birds. You can do that in your car or on walking trails. Or you can ascend three towers for better views.
Next is Sambo’s Tavern at 283 Front Street in the sleepy town of Leipsic. And don’t even ask me where this is. I know it’s somewhere off the beaten path. It is closed now (will re-open April 1
), but make a note. The owners serve up good crab cakes and steamed crabs. It’s been in the same family for 61 years and is located on a river. (302-674-9724
I think you'll enjoy the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton. They distribute to 30 states, Maryland included. Tours are one hour and are guided. And they’re free. At the end participate in the tasting. The size of this brewery surprised me. There are 30 fermenters outside and 26 inside. Each contain 600 gallons, which is more than I can drink. A definite must. (302-684-1000
One activity I enjoyed was a ride on the Cape Water Taxi which goes from Lewes to Dewey on an inland waterway (capewatertaxi.com
Shopping the outlets is always a good idea especially since the state has no sales tax. Lots of outlets available (visitdelaware.com/shop
You can take a trip back in time by going on the Historic Trail. You'll learn about history and heritage as you walk the trails (visitdelaware.com/history
). Then you can try visiting a few of the wineries on the Beer Wine & Spirits Trail (visitdelaware.com/bwst
Located on 235 acres on the Brandywine River, the Hagley Musum is the site of the gunpowder works founded by E.I. du Pont in 1802.
This could take a few hours what with the grounds, demos, mills, the visitor center and family home. Of course I have just touched on the