A couple weeks ago we made the semi-annual pilgrimage to the land of my youth, my tribe, my people. I'm talking Baltimore, the land of the Orioles and Jim Thome (argh!), the Bay, Natty Boh, some football team named for black birds that say "Nevermore", "Hon", and oh so much more. We loaded both kids, (the son in law having to work) into the back seat (they are 30 and 25, and actually quite capable of loading themselves, truthfully). And off we went on a Sunday (travel pointer: Do not head in toward an East Coast destination on a Sunday evening in the summer. Understatement: You will not be alone on the road!)
We only hung around for two full days, but packed a lot in. We visited with friends and hung out with relatives, staying at the comfortable and frog-guarded home of my sister; also saw my Dad and had the requisite dinner at the Double T Diner. I am not sure why we always go out there. It is just, as Tevye points out in 'Fiddler on the Roof', TRADITION. The cuisine is more than ample, and not bad, quality-wise, but perhaps we ought to expand our culinary horizons a bit.
Well, we did get to the G&M crab cakes before we left. A trip to Baltimore does not even count without consumption of one of those.
Anyhow, on Day Two we got downtown to the Inner Harbor. There are two schools of thought about the Inner Harbor. People from out here in the Midwest who visit it say things like "I had no idea Baltimore had such a wonderful area by the water, with museums, shopping, the aquarium, the sports venues..." Then people actually from Baltimore say "aw, it's a big tourist trap and nothin' like the real Bawlmer".
My opinion is somewhere in the middle. The real Bawlmer is doubtless seedier and a bit more scuffed up. This Baltimore's well-scrubbed best face. Regardless, I like it. The picture I've been featuring up top is Baltimore's Inner Harbor, taken from atop Federal Hill, on the opposite side of the water from where I usually hang out when down there. Here are a few more shots form our day in the city.
The ship is the USS Constellation, a sloop-of-war constructed in 1854.
Most of what you see in this picture below is the Aquarium.
This shot is looking up North on, I think, Charles Street. I used to see that gold top of the old "skyscraper" on the left (always was named for some bank) from my bedroom window, if I craned my neck a bit.
We toured the Museum of Visionary Arts, which largely celebrates the work of artists who were not formally trained, per se, but just called to be artists for a variety of reasons. Photography is prohibited inside, but here a re a couple things one can see outside. This large overgrown weather vane of a sculpture has many moving parts and would make Rube Goldberg proud.
Son William poses in front of what could be the Who's magic bus for all we know...
I have no comment about this piece. It is what it is. Does kinda evoke the whole "freedom" gestalt, don't it?
I mentioned taking pictures from Federal Hill. This is a shot looking over at Federal Hill.
A nice example of what the planners call "adaptive reuse". All these uses - a Hard Rock Cafe, Barnes and Noble bookstore, and now a seafood restaurant, in a former power plant.
This is a shot looking over at the city skyline via a game of hoops, at the base of Federal Hill.
Another exterior museum shot.
And finally, I cannot complete a trip to my sister's without at least one frog shot and, for a bonus, a dragonfly.