By Mary Jane Carr
The autumn wind's a pirate,
Blustering in from sea;
With a rollicking song, he sweeps along,
His skin is weather-beaten;
He wears a yellow sash,
With a handkerchief red about his head.
And a bristling black mustache.
He laughs as he storms the country,
A loud laugh and a bold;
And the trees all quake and shiver and shake,
As he robs them of their gold.
The autumn wind's a pirate,
Pillaging just for fun;
He'll snatch your hat as quick as that,
And laugh to see you run!
We spent a fabulous Saturday afternoon in Baltimore, where it was Privateer Day, meaning not only that pirates were visiting the city from all over the area, but that the HMS Bounty was in port along with Pride of Baltimore II and the two sailed out in the late afternoon for a cannon battle! Before that, however, we went to Druid Hill Park to the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory, which is an easy walk from the Maryland Zoo, yet we had never visited before. It isn't very large compared to the US Botanic Garden but it has several gorgeous greenhouses, including one focused on desert plants and another with a rainforest environment complete with mist every few minutes. Right now the conservatory has Wizard of Oz decorations among the plants. Since Druid Hill Lake is just behind the conservatory, an enormous earthen dammed reservoir that at this time of year is ringed with flowering trees and plays host to ruddy ducks, red-winged blackbirds, and other wildlife, we took a walk over to see it before heading to Fells Point.
As it did last year, Privateer Day featured a pirate encampment with tents and demonstrations of seafaring skills (weapons, ropes, cannons, medicine, cooking, etc.) in front of the Bond Street Wharf. We walked from there to where the ships were docked, though they had stopped giving tours for the day in preparation for their mock battle (Lady Maryland was there, plus the schooner Farewell). Then we paid a brief visit to the central marketplace, where the Brigands were singing, Valhalla's Pirates were demonstrating swordfighting, parrots were posing for photos to raise money for wild bird rehabilitation, and everything from rum to Mardi Gras beads to handmade clothing to funnel cakes were being sold. It's the most cleavage I've seen since the Renfaire! We left before the battle finished to avoid Orioles crowds arriving to see what turned out to be a shutout by Blue Jays. On the way home, we stopped at Ritz to pick up Adam's new camera, and, since it was already nearly 7 p.m., went out to dinner at Lebanese Taverna where I had hummus, babaganoush, and a cheese fatayer, all of which were divine.
The Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens in Baltimore's Druid Hill Park.
Here are the kids in the desert room...
...and here's me (photo taken by Adam) sitting near the lilies, which make me sneeze.
Many of the prettiest flowers were outdoors blossoming around the lake.
Pirates, cannons, tents, and tall ships were highlights of Privateer Day at Fells Point.
Arrrr! I love seeing lady pirate captains.
My kids, however, accused me and Paul of being nerds for bringing them there. Here we are with the HMS Bounty.
And here is the beautiful Bounty under sail, heading toward the Inner Harbor to do battle with Pride of Baltimore.