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So…You’ve Decided to Come to Maryland

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

As someone who found himself transplanted into Maryland back in 2015 with absolutely no idea what I was doing or what were the “Maryland” things to do I basically continued to live my life as if I was still in Indiana (even though I’d come from Virginia, don’t worry about it.). So, if you’ve decided to come to Maryland for the Purdue vs. Maryland basketball game this Saturday I’ve got some suggestions for what you need to do with your time. The game doesn’t start until 2:00 PM so you’ve got time to have a meal, perhaps an alcoholic beverage if you are of age, or even just take in a nice walk around the campus. Plus, with the game ending around 4:00 PM you’ve got time to find yourself a delicious dinner afterward. Let’s talk about some “Maryland” things you either need to know or should do while you’re here.

  • First thing to know is that people from Maryland love their flag. Now, you’re reading this and saying, “okay, cool” but I don’t think you’re quite getting it. Maryland people LOVE their flag. It’s everywhere. It’s on everything. Name a piece of clothing and you can find a Maryland flag version. Name a household item and you can find a Maryland flag version. Go into anyone’s apartment or home in Maryland and I would say with 90% certainty there’s an item for sale with the Maryland flag on it. This will be noticeable at the game as plenty of fans will be wearing the Maryland flag and not to mention the Maryland student section unfurling of the state flag which is objectively very cool.
  • I’m sure all of you have seen the movie Wedding Crashers in which a backyard football game takes place in Maryland with the iconic line, being shouted by noted pants urinator Bradley Cooper, “CRAB CAKES AND FOOTBALL THAT’S WHAT MARYLAND DOES!” I’d argue that sentence is half true. Football isn’t quite the sensation it is in say the state of Texas but there was certainly a buzz this season with the Ravens doing so well. The crab cakes part though is unequivocally true. As much as Maryland folks love their flag, they love crab just as much if not more. It would be hard to live in this state with a shellfish allergy. I honestly don’t know where you’d go to eat. There’s crab everywhere. If you’ve not had a Maryland crab cake I highly recommend you take a walk in any city in Maryland and just stop into a restaurant and order one. Sure, some are better than others but there doesn’t seem to be a true consensus on what makes a good crab cake. Do you fry it? Do you broil it? How much Old Bay is too much? Should you use Old Bay Hot or regular Old Bay? These are the questions of our times. Find you a good crab cake while you’re here.
  • Speaking of Old Bay, it’s a delicious spice that you can put on everything. Depending on the swankiness of the restaurant you eat it you may find Old Bay just sitting on the table with the salt and pepper. Use it. Did you get seafood? Use it. Did you get fried food? Use it. Did you get French fries? Use it. You’ll see this delicious and mysterious concoction around the arena condiment stands as well. Use it and enjoy it.
  • When I say the word Crush in a drink context what do you think about? Is it the delicious Orange pop (Marylanders would call it soda but they are wrong)? WRONG. A Crush is a fruit based alcoholic drink with fresh squeezed juice of your choice mixed in. The best places juice the fruit right in front of you. The Orange Crush is the old faithful but any citrus fruit works. These delicious beverages include vodka, triple sec, and usually some sort of lemon lime soda or seltzer. Pure Maryland joy. Give it a go. Please drink responsibly.
  • This next one is one of my personal favorites. When you’re stopping to get food before, or after, the game grab some crab tots. Just trust me here. It’s a delicious concoction of crab meat, old bay, tater tots, and other ingredients that turn the crab into a delicious smooth dip for the tots. You can’t go wrong.
  • More of a warning than a to do or see but, don’t say it’s JUST a turtle. It’s a Terrapin and they are very clear about that. However, DO find the statue out front of the arena and pet the little guy. He’s cute. Hard to argue that.
  • For food around the arena check out what’s on Route 1 (AKA Baltimore Avenue). It’s right around the area of the arena and there are all types of restaurants around. Anything your heart desires will come to you.
  • Take a nice walk around the UMD campus. It’s unlike any other B1G campus I’ve been to because, well, it wasn’t a B1G campus until 2014. To me the layout, building design, and overall look and feel of the campus is very ACC but that’s what makes it so interesting. As someone who grew up in the Midwest and travelled mostly to other B1G schools you sort of get a similar feel at most of them. Not so at Maryland. Take a look around and enjoy the differences.

Finally, during your time in Maryland make sure to just have fun. It’s a dynamic state with plenty going on. I’ve been going to the game up here for the past (I think) four years but this will be the first time I’m attending with other Purdue fans and the first time I won’t have law school work hanging over my head. I’m looking forward to a more relaxing time before and after the game. I hope my suggestions have made you welcome in what is perhaps a strange new state for you.