While Baltimore is ranked second in highest homicide rate, the city does have some charm and great local restaurants and shops! I spent a short weekend up in Baltimore not too long ago and I was pleasantly surprised. So much so, I want to tell you about it.
A little that I used to babysit for, Katherine, is now somehow now old enough to be looking at colleges. Her mom, Kelly, and I were taking her to visit one outside Baltimore. We went up early to explore. While McDaniel was a great little private school. Katherine landed on Adelphi , up in NY!
Kelly and I drove up Friday afternoon from Raleigh, there was no traffic, until we hit Baltimore. It took us over an hour to go 8 miles. We were staying in the inner harbor at Hyatt House. We checked in the hotel, freshened up & took an uber to Fells Point.
Rec Pier Chop House had been recommended to us, and gosh, I'm glad we went. Recreation Pier was built in 1914 as a commercial pier. It was also a main intake point for immigrants, thousands of them. Rec Pier Chop House is vibrant, bustling, dim lit, large wine list, large liquor selection and if it's your birthday (we decided it should be mine), you get a trojan horse brought to you that had a sparkler in it! We went all out with steak, seafood, apps, cocktails, bubbles, wine, dessert! Our waitress was amazing and all the staff was very knowledgeable and friendly!
From dinner, we popped around to a couple local bars for living music and dancing. We stopped in Kooper's Tavern for live music and then The Horse You Came In On, only to find out that was not our scene.! This was the scene of people trying to get as drunk as possible, as quick as possible and dance with as many people as possible! From here, we call it a night.
Kelly and I brunch at Woodberry Kitchen. If you do nothing else in Baltimore, go here. Their dinner menu looked on point as well. Again, the staff was just fantastic. Everything here is local. They didn't have citrus for water, b/c it wasn't the right time of year! They gifted us a warm Rhubarb glaze doughnut topped with buckwheat crunch. We feasted on baked ricotta, Beau's breakfast, and french toast. We sat upstairs, which gave us prime viewing of the entire place... stacks of logs, the coffee bar where baristas were busy making coffee non stop, a chopping block where fresh bread was cut, the open kitchen with a wonderful display of organized kaos, the vintage fridge that keep our water chilled and baskets holding all the cloth napkins! The wood and brick is just beautiful throughout.
Woodberry Kitchen is housed in an old mill, Clipper Mill. The mills in the area date back to 1700s. Originally named White Hall Grist Mill. The mill was built for weaving cotton duck which was then used to make sails for Clipper Ships, hence the name when it was re-named. The mill caught fire in the 1850s and again 1865. Don't fret, the little mill that could reopened 10 years later and increased in size. It reopened asClipper Mill. It continued as a cotton mill until 1965 when it was sold.
From brunch we do a little spur of the moment shopping when we came across the Hampden Neighborhood, specifically 36th street.
Milagro is a global boutique. Milagro is spanish for Miracle. The store opened in 2004 and been thriving since. I got some Easter basket goodies for Eve and Lucy, my cousin's daughters and a couple handmade notecards.
Brightside Boutique had so many things to look at, that I could hardly stand it. Face mask, jewelry, clothing, cards, gifts, homeware, etc... I got face masks, soap, moon juice spirit dust!
With the handfull of shops we went in, by far my favorite was Trovh. Trovh is like a gift shop dream come true. I could have spent so much (more) money in there. Pens, paper, soaps, books, cooking tools, garden shop, local products, make up, cards, rugs, welcome maps, make up, etc... seriously could have spent hours in this 2 story shop. They have been doing a damn good thing since 2006.
It was time to go scoop Katherine from the airport, so our shopping came to an end! We regroup at the hotel then head to the Aquarium. Sadly, we were rushed as we only had 45 min before they closed. I'd suggest get there at least few hours before closing to really take it all in, read exhibits, watch ongoing shows, etc.
There were a ton of people along the inner harbor waterfront area, so we spent an hour or so walking around, people watching and observing a street break dancing show! We walked all the way around the harbor for dinner at Rusty Scupper. While it was touristy, the food was really great and the view was spectacular! The entire waterfront was lit up and we were right on top of the water. Salads, Crab Dip, Salmon, Crab Cakes and Surf + Turf was ordered! We wobbled out to be pleasantly surprised that they had a shuttle that would take us back to our hotel!
Asleep by 10 and very happy about it!
We hit the road by 9:30 am to make the hour drive to McDaniel for dorm tours, meet and greets, lunch, presentations and meeting the staff. We were greeted by snow then a very enthusiastic staff! After our day on campus, we drop Katherine at the airport to head back to boarding school and start the what seemed like the forever trek home.
Don't be judgemental of Baltimore, go experience the history, culture and wonderful eats the city offers, and as always just 'keep your smarts about you'!