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Sam Gallant

Lauraville Insider Sam Gallant
Lauraville Insider Sam Gallant
Sam Gallant wasn't actually born in Baltimore but that doesn't stop him from claiming native Baltimorean status.

"I grew up in Seattle and Alaska till age 8. Then Baltimore from 8 to 18, then back to Alaska, then Baltimore again from 22 till now. So I would consider myself to be native, especially since I speak the language fluently," he explains.

Though he left the city at 18 to go to school in Alaska because "it was in my blood growing up there as a kid," after he graduated, started a job in public radio, got married and had a daughter, he couldn't resist the pull of Charm City.

"We had our daughter in Alaska, but wanted her to know her family so we moved back. My family roots in Baltimore are strong and deep. There are lots of stories about judges, grocers, politicians, and more [here]," Sam says.

What's great? Where to begin...

Sam, his wife Molly, and almost 9 year old daughter Maya, an amazing hoola hooper, have lived in the Hamilton-Lauraville area for eight years now. After close to a decade in the neighborhood, Sam says its the neighborhoods proximity to nearly everywhere in and out of the city that is one of the biggest benefits of living there.

"There are great schools, other resources and a diverse community. There is also Zeke's Coffee. That's why it always smells like fresh roasted coffee for miles around," he adds.

When it comes to things to do in the neighborhood Sam says there are almost too many choices.

"Wow. Where to begin? I enjoy dining out, bike riding through the park, Morgan State, taking hikes in the park . . . and really doing anything in the park. My wife is a Park Advocate and former park ranger, so I am fully educated and indoctrinated in Herring Run Park. The park is amazing and there are lots of stories to tell, history to share and adventures to be had."

"And just above Herring Run Park is Lake Montebello with faux gym equipment and a mile plus loop to walk, bike, run, or roller blade on. I am also partial to playing hide and go seek with friends in one of our many small cemeteries in our neighborhood. And I also play lots of Ping Pong and can often be seen holding it down at the Parkside on their table in the back," he continues.

Shop local

As a former board member of the Hamilton Arts Collective, Sam says he still advocatea for them and renta the space for parties and performances.

"They have great shows frequently in the space and are home to the Baltimore Improv Group, or BIG."
 
As far as shopping for others or for wants goes, he says there are a number of small boutique retailers who are passionate and fairly priced and willing to talk with you as a friend for no extra charge.

"The Tuesday market that may disappear when BDC finally gets there plans for it passed. That market is a social wonder and turns into more than just a shopping trip each Tuesday during the summer."

A cornucopia of eats

Hamilton-Lauraville has perhaps more than its fair share of places to grab some grub or a fine meal, says Sam. It just depends what you're looking for.

"Food is in surplus here, in fact we should send a chef or two to Haiti for the month. But I digress. Eating options are bountiful in No-E-Bo. There is the high class Chameleon Café, the more approachable Clementines, and Hamilton Tavern. "

"There are the rough diamonds like Chok Chai Tai, Koco's and the always open Valentino's. And that's not all. You might think a snowball is a snow ball unless you're from somewhere else and colloquially it is called a shave ice or some other name. But at Hamilton and Harford Rds, there is a snowball stand that puts all other to shame. I don't even think it has a name, but you can find it in the Summer by the line of folks waiting their turn to get the best snowball in the world," he notes.

The place rocks

A great example of why the neighborhood rocks, happened this past New Years Day. "Iona, a small street down by the park, closed itself down and had a true pig roast. Dozens, actually hundreds of folks, strolled through and ate pig, drank beer, toured homes and generally kicked off 2010 the right way, with a party," he says.

"This is a fabulous neighborhood with passionate, weird people living here. You could meet someone new every week that would blow you away with their good natured eccentricities," Sam explains.

"From the gardener in flip flops year long, to the NASA engineer there is someone to talk to. The personalities are vast and varied and very welcoming. We live next to Hopkins doctors, a Southern Baptists Minister, a multi generational Latino family, two gay couples, hipster musicians, and a Korean family. The hosing stock is just as varied and approachable with something for everyone from a small bungalow to a monstrous Victorian mansion, or even row homes and apartments."
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