Playing hooky from work is wrong. With the economy the way it is, you’re lucky to have a job. So don’t do anything to jeopardize it, okay?
Now that we have let the boss have his say, it’s time to consider some options for, well, let’s just call it getting some fresh air and sunshine at lunchtime. Pack a lunch (or buy one out, and we have some ideas for that too) and make tracks for some local spots where the spring atmosphere is great and the people watching is plentiful.
Patterson Park: That one’s almost a gimme. But bring your brown bag to the boat lake and sit on the wall. You can feed the ducks, watch the wildlife (everything from red-winged blackbirds to red-eared sliders) and get away from it all without getting out of town.
Fort McHenry: Bring your beach chair and pull up a patch of grass on the lawn. You’ll have a fantastic view of the water and, as the good weather continues, the tourists. You can soak up history while you catch a few rays.
Thames Street Park: Here’s a great place in Fells Point to take a quick break. You won’t lack for eateries where you can get carry-out either, and the street people sideshow is well worth your time.Federal Hill: Oh, come on. You want to miss one of Baltimore’s greatest views of the Inner Harbor? Of course not. Some of the greatest shows — when the big ships come to town — are free, and just waiting for you. Federal Hill Park is the closest park to the city’s downtown and Inner Harbor, and for people who are forced to wear suits to work, there are benches to sit on.
Southeast Anchor Library’s Reading Garden: One of the hidden green gems in the Southeast. Get a book from the library and sit down to enjoy it, along with your lunch. Bonus round: The library has soda machines in the cafe area, so you can enjoy a cold beverage without toting it all the way from your office. And you can enjoy your lunch in near solitude, because not many people know about this garden spot yet.
Latrobe Park: One of the prettiest, shadiest green spots around, with landscaping and even its own dog park. You won’t want to miss a walk through the area to shake off the last vestiges of your fluorescent-lit cubicle.
Canton Waterfront Park: Another place that might be easily overlooked, this spot offers a great view across the river to Locust Point, Fort McHenry and the Port of Baltimore, and you can often find people fishing.
Where to get good food: Baltimore is famous for its corner bars, and there’s a carryout on almost every corner too. What we have been finding out while writing the Eats column for the last couple of years is that carryouts are carrying healthier fare than they used to—most of them carry good salads, and sandwiches on whole-grain bread, and things like that. Or you can get the cheeseburger sub. Or pizza, or a hot dog from the guy with the cart. Up to you. Every food is portable, as long as you check the lid on on the soup carefully.
The rules are simple. Make your plans (and allow some flexibility because of the weather can always be a little iffy), and at the appointed time, mumble something about a lunch meeting and hit the road with your bag tucked into a tote bag or briefcase. Voila! You’re on your way to a mini-vacation in one of Baltimore’s green spots.
Feeling guilty? You can always bring your cell phone in case of office emergencies. Just do yourself a favor and leave the laptop at work. Bring your Orioles cap and if necessary, something to sit on, like a beach chair or yoga mat. And since it’s Baltimore, toss an umbrella into your bag along with some comfortable walking shoes.
One more thing: pack SPF. If you show up back at the office with the telltale sunburn, the jig is up.