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Our youngest son just moved from Okinawa, Japan to Turkey.  His travels brought him to Seattle, across the USA to Baltimore, then on to Europe and ultimately Turkey.  Since Julie and I are currently about 3-4 hours from Baltimore, we decided to take a trip to Maryland to see him.  Traffic up and down I-95 can be particularly difficult at times, so we opted to purchase plane tickets, thinking it would be a quick hop on a commuter airline. Ha!  Best laid plans.  As it turns out you can hop from Norfolk to Washington DC but if you go to Baltimore it is by way of Newark, NJ.  At least with United which is our favorite airline.

We figured this would be cool since neither of us had been to New Jersey, and a good friend and colleague of mine, Milton is from there and often talks about “Jersey”.
Flights were booked, a hotel and a rental car.  We decided to fly in a day early and pop down to Washington, DC, see the capitol and visit some of the historical sites, Annapolis and many of the other places along the way.  This time we opted for a Holiday Inn Express near to Baltimore-Washington International Airport and decided to book a suite. As we’re getting older, we prefer the added comfort and figured if Zachary didn’t want to go to his hotel we’d just let him stay with us, he was flying in late Saturday night, with a layover in Baltimore before flying over to Europe late Sunday afternoon.

What would a trip to a major metropolitan city be for a Magician if I didn’t search for a brick and mortar magic shop?  Especially since they seem to be a dying breed of business.  Given their limited customer base and the explosion of availability through the internet.  A quick google search found two shops in the area.  I called both, to see if either might have the elusive “Lefler” style table/case I have been searching for.  They are made in a few different sizes and with different finishes on them.  I really wanted to see what I was purchasing first, considering the $400.00-$1,200.00 price tag, I felt this was prudent.  I tried the one called, “The Magic Warehouse” first, and was told they didn’t stock them but could order one.  I contacted the second one, a place called, The Denny & Lee Magic Studio.  Denny answered the phone and when I inquired, he said, “Oh yeah, I have at least three or four of them, stop on by when you get into town, I’m open 7 days/week and would love to meet you”.  After 3 years of searching every magic shop I could find, in every major city and a few small cities, I was finally going to at see some of them, up close.  I knew this would be a good trip.

Our flights this time were better, we booked everything ourselves vice using a travel agency.  Breakfast at our favorite restaurant, Back Street Bistro, at Norfolk International, then a short flight.  Got to Jersey no issue, a nice but very packed airport.  Proximity to New York City I am sure had something to do with that.  I wish we’d have gotten to NYC, but that will have to be another trip.  Tannen’s Magic Shop, will be a “must” stop when we do get back in that neck of the woods.  We picked up a few souvenirs at the gift shop and were on our way to Baltimore.  Grabbed a rental car at BWI Airport, we chose a Nissan Rogue, a 2018, and I can tell you it got a 5 star review from both me and Julie.  Our hotel, also was top of the line, not a Residence Inn, but for the money well worth the cost.  A nice meal, at the Denny’s next door, and a well deserved sleep after a day of traveling.

A continental breakfast in our suite, a navigation search of all the places we wanted to see, and we were off to Denny’s Studio.  This was the best magic shop I have ever been in. Denny is a hoarder of all things arcane.  He has a wide selection of both new and used effects and illusions.  In back he has a stage and theater set up, there are weekly shows. Julie and I spent hours in there, met some fine local talent and another visiting magician. I was able to select from about 6 or 8 different “Lefler” style tables, picked up a wonderful domino/spot stage effect, a coin pail and lovely silk large enough to cover the handle on my new to me, Lefler table.  I was able to purchase all of it for $400.00 plus $35.00 shipping.  All told I had nearly $1K in great stuff and could have easily put us in the poor house.  I saw so many things I wanted or wished I could afford.  The Denny & Lee Magic Studio is a “must stop” for anyone visiting the Baltimore area.

After our visit with Denny and the gang, we had a late lunch at an Arby’s nearby. Trekked through Baltimore again and headed south to Washington, DC.  It was a lovely trip through Maryland, and getting to see all the sites in our Nation’’s capitol was nice.  It is alway’s good to go places you’ve seen and heard about.  The buildings, architecture and homes are absolutely worth the trip.  Once our self guided tour was over, we headed back toward Baltimore, and our hotel.  After a lovely dinner at a local Jimmy John’s we settled in for a bit of relaxation after a very rewarding day.

We headed to the airport that night, picked up our youngest, and dropped him at his hotel.  We were all up fairly early the next morning, a breakfast at Denny’s and lunch back at Jimmy John’s and we had to drop Zachary at the AMC terminal.  Though the visit was short, with him headed to Turkey and us to Japan it was well worth it.

Julie and I had gotten some notifications of flight delays, so we decided to drop our rental car and check in to our airline and see if we could catch an earlier flight.  To our dismay, the clerk at the ticket counter spent about 20 minutes typing away and finally got Julie booked on an earlier flight, but couldn’t get me out until the following morning.  We opted to get a refund on our return flights, and rent a car to drive down to Norfolk.  We figured, the traffic wouldn’t be to bad, hopefully.  Turns out the trip took about 4 hours (220 miles or so).  We ended up back at Norfolk International and home before we’d have left Jersey on our original flights.  Love it when a plan, even an adjusted plan comes together.

As I sat here typing, we realized there was the option of driving from our home in Southern Illinois to Seattle, WA where we’re flying out by AMC to Japan in a few months. It would give us an opportunity to see many of the western states we’ve never visited.  A very tempting prospect indeed.  We could see Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, the Dakotas and a few others.  After looking at the milage and time constraints, as well as the things we want to do before we get to Japan, we have opted to fly.

Truth is I really am a rambling trekker.  Though that particular trip may be on hold, the plan of action is to go to all the places I haven’t been, or Julie hasn’t been, while traveling around the world with Kolb Web Inc.  Once I am fully retired from the Navy there should be nothing stopping us.  I will venture about, performing the mysteries of a most ancient and arcane art, while Julie uses her experiences and her imagination to put ink to paper. Point is we only live once, and none of our worldly possessions can be taken with us.  You know the old saying, “You’ll never see a U-haul behind a hurst”.  Unless perhaps the funeral home is moving.  But, you get the point.  If you have a dream, pursue it.  If you wish you could go somewhere or see something, then do it.  Just do it!  You don’t have to be Nike.  It’s my wish that my ramblings might just be someone’s inspiration.  Hope you find fair winds and following seas in your travels.