Teach: Fill Your Fall with Fun

Cheese tastings! Lavender farm tours! Spooky bonfire stories! Edgar Allen Poe day trip! Ghosts walking tour! International film and food!

Fill your fall with fun: road trips and delicious classes through Crisafulli’s Cheese Shop, Frederick Community College, and Soleado Lavender Farm! There will also be a Ghosts of Poolesville walking tour. I’m going to be a busy little bee and hope you’ll join me at some of these fantastic upcoming events in Frederick, Baltimore, and beyond.

This fall, I’m abuzz with food and culture!
Want an easy way to see my upcoming classes, trips, and other events?

Click here to see my events calendar.

Crisafulli’s Cheese Shop

Cheese & Culture and Cheese 101 Classes: Various dates

Crisafulli’s Cheese Shop is a delicious gem in downtown Frederick, offering amazing cheeses, foods, and drinks from around the country and our world. Headed by a dynamic mother-daughter duo, Crisafulli’s is not a hoity-toity gourmet food shop–it’s a fun spot where you can go to taste new cheeses, pick up authentic French croissants, and more!

Owner Sharon Crisafulli will be your new cheese BFF! (Image: Downtown Partnership)

I teach their cheese and culture classes as well as some of their Cheese 101 classes. Come downtown to taste and learn about the wonderful world of cheese!

Click here for more information and to and register for my Crisafulli’s cheese classes.

Frederick Community College

In addition to my regular English courses at Frederick Community College, I’ll also be leading three exciting experiences through the College’s ILR program. These sessions are open to *anyone* who is interested; you don’t have to be a regular FCC student. See the course titles below for registration links and more information.

FCC has cool classes & events for the community.

International Food & Film–Tampopo: Friday, October 12

Packed with suspense, romance, and ramen.

At this Japan-centered International Food and Film session, we’ll open with a cultural overview of Japanese food, watch the film, and end with a discussion paired with Japanese snacks.


Tampopo centers around the story of a struggling young widow who must transform her ramen shop to survive but is so much more. This movie takes us on a whimsical and heartfelt journey that explores a vibrant cast of characters and their relationship with food. Tampopo is consistently named one of the best food movies ever for its big heart and compelling stories it tells. Read a glowing Roger Ebert review here.

Experience Edgar Allen Poe: Friday, October 19

We’ll visit Poe’s house (left), Lexington Market catacombs (center), and Poe’s gravestone (right).
Join us on an exploration of Edgar Allen Poe’s Baltimore. Our day will begin with a tour of his former residence. Next, we will head over to Westminster Hall for a guided tour of the church, graveyard, and catacombs. We’ll hear about the mysterious “Poe Toaster”, someone in disguise who leaves cognac and roses for the author on his birthday.
Finally, we will enjoy a guided tour of the historic Lexington Market and enjoy a lunch of your choosing. All entry fees are included but lunch is on your own. (The market has many delicious food options but I recommend Faidley’s crab cake.)
Poe keeps it in perspective. (Image:BuzzFeed)

Read more about the history and importance of Lexington Market (and take a peek at the abandoned nightclub and catacombs beneath!) in this blog post.

Click here for more information and to register for my Poe trip to Bmore.

***NOTE: This trip is currently full. Please email or call ILR to be put on a waitlist for this trip.

Ghosts of Poolesville Walking Tour: Saturday, October 20

The circa 1793 John Poole House is one of many historic buildings in Poolesville.

Join me on a spooky walking tour of the historic town of Poolesville to benefit the Historic Medley District. Get into the Halloween spirit and learn more about the history of the town with tales of hauntings and mystery.

To get a little taste of what I’ll be talking about, check out my Haunted Poolesville Podcast.

More details TBA!



International Food & Film–Haute Cuisine: Friday, November 2

A movie that will charm you and make you hungry.
At this France-focused International Food and Film session, we’ll open with a cultural overview of French food, watch the film, and end with a discussion paired with French snacks.

Haute Cuisine is inspired by the experiences of the chef to French president Francois Mitterand. It’s a delightful movie that explores the intersection of power and food in the highest levels of French government as well as the deep joy that comes from delicious food prepared with care. Read a breezy Roger Ebert review of Haute Cuisine here.

Soleado Lavender Farm

Lavender & Humanity Tour & Talk and Monsters & Mysteries Bonfire: Various dates

Soleado is glorious no matter the season!

The lavender blooms may be gone for the season but the beauty and magic of Soleado Lavender Farm is a constant. The farm’s rolling wildflower meadows, pond, bamboo forest, and  labyrinth are nestled in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain. I love the beauty of this area and am thrilled to offer 2 ongoing events at Soleado.

Explore the fascinating and intertwined history of lavender and humanity with a farm tour and hands-on talk (Click here to read a blog post about it.). Journey to the farm after dark for a spooky storytelling session centered around mysterious Maryland folklore (monsters! ghosts!) and enjoy a bonfire with s’mores.

JQA collage
Day and night events at the farm to thrill your senses and imagination.

Click here for more information and to register for my tour/talk and bonfire storytelling.

Register Soon and Please Help Spread the Word

Wow! There’s a very busy and fun fall ahead of learning, traveling, and savoring!

Wow, indeed. (GIF: Giphy)

Be sure to register soon and help spread the word to friends and family since space is limited for these special events.

And, coming in 2019…

  • Culture & Cuisine Book Club (with Curious Iguana & Crisafulli’s Cheese Shop) images-2.png                     This bimonthly book club beginning in January 2019 will focus on exploring our world and experiencing new cultures through reading and food! We’ll discuss the book and taste foods from that culture. What a delicious way to expand our minds and taste buds! 


  • May 17: FCC ILR Trip to Ladew Topiary Gardens and Prigel Family Creamery 
    Ladew’s 22 acres of gardens will enchant you! (Image: Ladew Topiary Gardens)

    Experience the unique beauty and charm of Ladew Topiary Gardens. It’s been named one of the best topiary gardens in the world. After a guided tour of the house, explore the gardens and nature trail at your leisure. We’ll enjoy lunch on site but save room for dessert because we’ll finish the day at the Prigel Family Creamery where you can treat yourself to farm-fresh ice cream from grass-fed cows. Entry fee, guided house tour, and lunch is included in the cost. No refunds after close of business on 05/03. We will provide transportation using the FCC shuttle bus. 


  • Fall 2019: FCC ILR Trip to Glenstone Museum and MoCo Ag Reserve Visit (TBA)
    Jeff Koon’s playful living sculpture is sited in a meadow. (Image: PicBear)

    Glenstone is a place that seamlessly integrates art, architecture, and landscape into a serene and contemplative environment.” Experience a world-class modern art collection sited in a peaceful natural setting with a tour and visit. We’ll have lunch on site and then head to a farm (TBD) in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve to explore and savor.

Keep your eye out for more information on my blog about exciting future events!

You can always see what I’m up to on my events calendar and contact me with questions at Christine.r.rai@gmail.com. Hope to see you soon!



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