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A Love Letter To Hampden: My Home Away from Home

September 22, 2017
  • Fun in Charm City
  • Festivals
  • Baltimore Events
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Student Ambassador Nikki D'Ambrosio's ode to Hampden


Unlike nearby colleges, such as; John Hopkins University or Towson University, Loyola University Maryland is tucked within a neighborhood so there isn’t much exploring to do. Thankfully, about a mile southwest, sits a quaint and quirky neighborhood called Hampden­–if you haven’t already tried ice cream from The Charmery or tater tots from Golden West Cafe, stop reading this and go now!

Back to When My Love Started

I was first introduced to Hampden about a year ago because my Evergreen (first-year mentor) suggested I check out Hampdenfest, a yearly street festival that encompasses all the charm of Hampden. On a whim, I headed over with a few of my friends and immediately fell in love with the boutiques, food, but most importantly; the people.

Since that moment, Hampden was my go-to spot for weekly Golden West trips, hot yoga classes, and spur of the moment shopping sprees (sorry, Mom!). Without Hampdenfest last year, I probably would have been introduced to Hampden but maybe not in such a memorable way. When September rolled around again this year, I knew I couldn’t miss what has become one of my favorite Saturdays of the school year.

Hampdenfest 2017

While I was not surprised, Hampdenfest this year felt just as charming (and like home) as last year. Saturday, September 9th, had sunny skies and a light breeze–the perfect weather for an outdoor festival like Hampdenfest. When my friends and I arrived, West 36th Street was filled with tons of different booths ranging from records to art to clothing. In addition to all of the vendors, many of the boutiques had their doors open.

One of my favorite things about Hampdenfest is, meeting all the different vendors and seeing their artwork. Each year I go, people continue to get more talented and I continue to buy new artwork to hang up on my walls.                                                                                                                                                                                                               

    

The Best Part About Hampden: The Food

Anyone who knows me knows that I love food. I am a huge foodie. Yes, that means I love Yelp, I follow at least 25 different food blogs on Instagram, and I go grocery shopping for fun. With that being said, in the past year, I have found some of my favorite Baltimore restaurants in Hampden. As I mentioned before, the Charmery and Golden West Café are always my go-tos. But, I’d have to say The Food Market is one of my all-time favorite Baltimore Restaurants and Grano Pasta Bar is the best for when you want a delicious, comforting meal. One of my favorite hidden gems in Hampden is Souvlaki Greek Cuisine–the zucchini fritters are out of this world.

Ok, enough about my general food favorites on Hampden, let’s talk Hampdenfest specific. I have a confession to make: I got the exact same food last year and this year…it’s just that good. First Stop: fresh mango lemonade. I didn’t catch the name of this food vendor but they had 4 different types of lemonades, regular, mango, strawberry, and pineapple. For someone who usually sticks to water, this was a sweet treat that quenched my thirst.  

Next up, the star of the show: a falafel wrap. Oh my, B More Alive, you have my heart. This wrap is vegan and contains everything but the kitchen sink (falafel, apple, chopped kale, cucumber, tomato, cabbage, tahini, corn, and Sriracha). It’s a healthy and delicious take on a traditional Mediterranean falafel wrap. 

One place I wish I would have stopped by? Ekiben. Their steamed bun sandwiches have been floating around my Instagram feed and I have been dying to try one. I guess I’ll just have to head over to their Fells Point restaurant to try the ‘Tofu Brah’ sandwich and the tempura broccoli–I’m not complaining!

How Many Days Until Hampdenfest 2018?
Hampdenfest always comes and goes to quickly. Thankfully, Hampden has many other similar festivals throughout the year and I’m sure I will be craving a scoop of ice cream from the Charmery in the coming weeks. If you have never been to Hampden, it’s a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon, go on date night, or just study for a few hours. If you have never been to Hampdenfest, check it out next year! It will provide a nice break in the busyness of the start of a new semester.

Until next year, Hampdenfest. I will be dreaming of that falafel wrap.

XO,

Nikki

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