A Pictorial Chronicle of Hampdenfest 2014

Ever since I got to Hopkins, I have been hearing about this neighborhood in Baltimore – Hampden.

My first year mentor mentions it to our group on our first night at Hopkins and all during Orientation, I hear about this mysterious, magical land called “Hampden” where Old Bay flavored ice cream exists and everyone calls you “hon.” Today, I heard that even the barbers are super cool and friendly (thanks for the tip, JHU_Joshua). According to the Hampden Village Merchants Association, “Hampden” is defined as “In Baltimore, a most popular, lively neighborhood and destination, notable for great shopping, dining, services, and just plain living” and is “used often to describe a ‘best’ neighborhood in Baltimore.” So when Hampdenfest 2014 rolled around the corner this past Saturday, I decided to see for myself if there was any basis behind this self-aggrandizement.

Every year, Hampden hosts “Hampdenfest”, a neighborhood festival that features local merchants and artists, live music, and even a “Toilet Bowl Race.” What would give a better first impression of Hampden than this?

My friends and I took a short hike through Wyman Park…

Action shot featuring a slightly frightening “Run He’s Here” tagged tree. Not sure if this was the most direct way to get to Hampden… but it was a pretty short walk from Homewood Field!

…and we found ourselves in the middle of an arts-music-food-shopping heaven!

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The street was lined with local vendors selling everything from handmade arts and crafts, to local food, to vintage clothing.

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Local artists show off their work.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
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Hopkins gives away almost as many free t-shirts.
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Food trucks galore. Plus Tariro.
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An insanely graffiti-painted bus full of tons of vintage clothing to check out. Plus Andrew.
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Nothing beats local bands putting on live shows!

We took some time to sample some food…

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Golden West Cafe’s chorizo/banh mi tacos! I have a passion for fusion food.

…and discover some awesome street art.

The “Hon Mural”!

Giant tangrams are also cool.

We spent a pretty long time trying to figure this out...
We spent a pretty long time trying to figure this out…

The day was indeed well spent. Despite my love for Homewood and all the awesome activities that happen on campus, it is always fun to go out and experience Baltimore. Hampden is a very cool neighborhood, with tons of quirky shops and great food to taste, even when it isn’t Hampdenfest. I highly recommend a visit! And for places a little farther away than Hampden, the JHMI, the Blue Jay Shuttle, and the Charm City Circulator are free and easy ways to get around Baltimore. So until Hampdenfest 2015, explore Baltimore!





How I Wanted Pancakes But Got Friends Instead

The weeks leading up to Hopkins move-in were filled with excitement interspersed with intense moments of panic. Of all my fears, there was one that was more looming than Calc III and more frightening than getting locked out of my room in just my towel.

How do I make friends?

Should I say hi? Introduce myself? Meander my way through some awkward small talk in order to have someone to sit next to at lunch? Back in kindergarten, you could share your snack with the kid next to you and you became the best of friends. Is it still that easy?

The answer is yes.

People say, “The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. For me, this is astoundingly true. (Ladies, take note).

Caught eating at Dorm Wars... typical.
Caught eating at Dorm Wars… typical.

It was the night of move-in. After a series of car rides, a train ride, a marathon of unpacking, and some painful goodbyes, you could imagine that I was pretty hungry. My roommate and I decided to head over to the FFC to experience our very first Late Night here at Hopkins. (For those of you who don’t know… the Fresh Food Café serves breakfast food from 9PM to midnight… aka heaven on earth and a one-way ticket on the freshman fifteen express). The ten-second walk (not exaggerating) over to the FFC from AMR II came to a screeching halt when we saw that the dining halls run on a different schedule during Orientation. They were not serving Late Night that night, and my dreams of a satisfied stomach were crushed. I let out an exasperated sigh, and shouted something along the lines of,


At the time, I had no idea that my empty stomach would lead to me meeting some of my very first friends here at Hopkins. It turns out a couple of hungry girls behind us also came to the FFC, expecting a Late Night meal. Hearing my very loud complaint, we shared our disappointment and stomach growls and spoke of our favorite granola bar flavors and instant mac and cheese. You could say it was the start of a beautiful friendship. I don’t think I will ever forget how I met these two…

Post-dinner in the Inner Harbor!
Post-dinner in the Inner Harbor!

…or how I befriended my first floor housemates after hoarding fruit from the FFC to make smoothies with their NutriBullet.

Smoothie ingredients: fruit from the FFC, orange juice and yogurt from CharMar, and agave nectar.
Smoothie ingredients: fruit from the FFC, orange juice and yogurt from CharMar, and agave nectar.

And now, we all try out every Baltimore restaurant together, make the best FFC fro-yo creations with each other, and constantly share how surprised we are that the sushi at CharMar is actually really good.

Food + friends = happiness.
Food + friends = happiness.


I am a strong believer that food, even the food from a college dining hall, brings people together. Like the kindergartener who befriends the neighbor he shares his cookie with, I made friends with people who had a mutual appreciation for food. You might think it’s funny, but to me, falling into their lives in this way describes me so well. And isn’t that what’s so great about friends? You can be yourself around them, even if that means eating three grilled cheese sandwiches at lunch and not being judged for it. We’re already in the midst of planning our Thanksgiving dinner before break. Stay tuned, and good eats, my friends. Good eats.