Ready To Unlock the Charms of Charm City: Baltimore
The east coast is teaming with cities that got their names from their founders. In the case of Baltimore, Maryland it was named after the Lord Baltimore, a.k.a. Cecilius Calvert who got the whole Maryland Colony going back in the day. Incidentally, there are Calvert streets, Calvert high schools and Calvert dry cleaners but clearly it was Baltimore that was a much better name for the city. Today, Baltimore is ranked as the 26th largest city in the country and the place where such noted literary luminaries as Edgar Allan Poe, H.L. Mencken, Anne Tyler and Tom Clancy call home. So, what's so great about Baltimore? Plenty!
The Inner Harbor
There was a time when Baltimore, like most urban sprawls, fells on disrepair. Then some smart and savvy developers realized there was too much of a good thing going to waste along the inner harbor. That's why they built the Inner Harbor. The Inner Harbor is a dining, shopping and fun zone that rings the harbor. You can check out the sea life at the aquarium, get a little science at the Science Center and take a paddleboat out onto the harbor. This would be the same harbor from whence Francis Scott Key wrote our national anthem while he was watching the rocket's red glare.
Fanning out from the Inner Harbor will have you wandering over to Fells Point and Little Italy. You'll know you're in Little Italy when you start seeing the red, green and white painted flagpoles. It is impossible to get a bad meal in this neighborhood with over 30 restaurants nestled among the row homes and shops. Meanwhile, over in Fells Point you can set yourself up for an amazing pub crawl at such notable stops as The Horse You Came In On, Cat's Eye Pub, Leadbetters, One-Eyed Mike's and the Wharf Rat.
The Birds and the Crabs
There are two great sporting teams in Baltimore: The Orioles and the Ravens. Each has their own modern stadiums over in Camden Yards. Nothing beats a Ravens' game day in Baltimore where the entire town is awash in purple. To live in Baltimore is to be a Ravens fan. There are no exceptions.
As for the crabs, it's one of those things you shouldn't leave town without trying. The Chesapeake Bay is the home for these sea creatures but it's not their home for long as crabbers work year round to scoop up the bounty. The traditional way to enjoy crabs is steamed. They are steamed with Old Bay season made at the McCormick Factory in town and dumped at your table. You then proceed to take a wooden mallet and beat those crabs senseless until they give up their tasty morsels of meat. Eating steamed crabs is messy and tons of fun with a group of friends. Want to avoid the mallets and the Old Bay fingers? Order a crab cake and cup of cream of crab soup. You won't be sorry.