I said earlier that Baltimore was one of our favorite cities in the United States. The reason for that is, there are not only great places to eat, but there are a ton of really cool places to visit. Some are educational, some are strictly for entertainment purposes, but all are fun and unique to the city of Baltimore.
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is the number one attraction in the city and is one of the most photographed and visited areas of the city. It’s been one of the major seaports in the United States since the 1700s and today, locals and visitors alike come to enjoy both the Harbor and the surrounding neighborhoods.
From breath-taking panoramic views of the skyline, from the Observation Level of the World Trade Center, to the up-close and personal experiences of street performances happening spontaneously at the waterfront, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor offers more to see and do than you might imagine. There’s a variety of fine dining, cultural experiences and exciting nightlife. A visit to Camden Yards is just minutes away and, if you're a true baseball fan, be sure to see the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame exhibit and the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum located nearby.
A couple of blocks from Camden Yards, on Camden Street, sits one of the neatest places we’ve ever visited; Geppi's Entertainment Museum. Geppi’s is a walk back through time and 250 years of American History. Focusing on pop culture in media, toys and comic characters, Geppi’s uses a magical blend of entertainment and education show how all of our lives were shaped by these media.
As we walked through the exhibits, Kim and I kept seeing toys, books and characters from our childhood (Gee, I wish I still had that Mattel, Shootin’ Shell, Fanner Fifty pistol.) Things that shaped our social values and characters that served as our role models (Kim really misses seeing Roy Rogers, King of the Cowboys, get those bad guys!) It was a pleasant place and we spent almost three hours there before we realized it.
From Geppi’s Museum, it’s about a 20 minute walk west, on Pratt Street, to The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum. It seems that in the late 19th century, an overzealous publicity agent developed a trade show exhibit for the B & O Railroad, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. The railroad died, but the exhibit survived and grew to become a "national treasure" of railroad artifacts. Today, it comprises the collection of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute, and is the oldest, most comprehensive American railroad collection in the world.
Dating from the beginning of American railroading, the collection contains locomotives and rolling stock, historic buildings, and small objects that document the impact of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) on the growth and development of early railroading and cover almost every aspect of an industry that left a permanent mark on the folklore and culture of America.
At the B & O Museum, one can see the evolution of railroad technology with the Smithsonian’s Railroad Model Collection. See one of the best HO model trains sets, with a dozen, computer controlled trains moving simultaneously. Imagine what it was like to dine in style on a train at the Railroad China & Silver exhibit or learn how the railroad industry influenced the creation of standard time in our Clocks, Pocket Watches and Railroad Time exhibit. View, climb aboard and walk through engines and rail cars that you’ve only seen in pictures, or take a ride on a real train, along the first commercial railroad track in the United States. We did and it was something we’ll always remember.
Last, but not least, is sailing the Patapsco River and the Inner Harbor. There are more boats (mostly sail) in Baltimore than anywhere else we’ve visited. The Baltimore waterfront looks like a forest of masts when viewed from the water. On our last weekend in Baltimore, we took Ross and Karen (old friend from Troy, Ohio) out sailing, along with their two boys, Trent and Reid.
It was a perfect day; sunny, clear, low humidity and a light breeze. We went out of the Marina and ventures down the Patapsco River to the Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge. (We had to make a detour at the bridge, because rescue divers were searching for a “jumper.” But that’s another story.) Anyway, we sailed around old Ft. Carroll, built by Robert E. Lee, when he was in the U.S. Army well before the Civil War and sailed on down to the beginning of Chesapeake Bay.
From there, we sailed the 15 miles or so, back up the river and puttered around the Inner Harbor. Ross and Karen had never seen the city from the water and were really impressed with how many boats there were and how many people were walking along the harbor. And, as an added bonus, we got to see the S.S. John W. Brown, one of two surviving Liberty Ships, from World War II. Finally, we headed for home (the marina) and called it a day. It had been a really super time.
So, that’s it for Baltimore. On the 20th, were out of here and on our way to St. Michaels, MD. Don’t know what we’ll find there, but it’s a new place with new things to see and new people to meet.