Fort McHenry

Music: “Celebration” by Scott Holmes Music

The Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is one of my favorite strolls in Baltimore. It is a 1-mile path around the Fort and is right next to the water. With its scenic views and powerful American history, you just can’t beat it. The museum is still not open yet, but it has a 5-10 minute video inside that is very much worth watching and makes you feel “Proud to be an American.” The gates to the park are open 9AM-5PM. Afterwards, walk or drive through Locust Point to the Under Armour Promenade (see Rosie’s Top 5 list about UA). *Tip: in March, the beautiful cherry blossoms are in full bloom 😉

Parking at the Fort: There is a FREE parking lot inside the gates of the park. Also, there’s free parallel parking along Fort Avenue in Locust Point.

Fun History Facts:

If you can spot the Key Bridge, that’s about how far away the British ships were back in 1814!

The Fort was transformed to a general hospital during WWI.

The almost 40-foot tall Orpheus statue greets you at the beginning of the park. It was chosen from a national challenge, and was dedicated to the park in 1922 for the centennial of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner (a few years late due to WWI). Orpheus is the Greek god of music.

The Star Spangled Banner became the national anthem in 1931.

Running in the Beautiful City of Baltimore

In late March/early April at the height of the pandemic, my friends and I were bored in our tiny city apartments, so we decided to run. We started by struggling with running 2 miles, and tried to increase the amount we ran each week. This gave us a goal and kept our minds off of possibly losing our jobs. Luckily, we still have our jobs, but we continued to run. This past weekend, we ran a half-marathon (13.1 miles)! This post is a compilation of all of our running photos around this beautiful city.

Fun fact: “marathon” gets its name from the legendary Greek messenger Pheidippides who ran from Marathon to Athens (26.2 miles) to announce the Persians were defeated. Somehow I still remember learning this from my History of Sport college course my freshman year 🙂

Thanks to our in-person and virtual cheering sections, we were able to finish the half-marathon starting at our apartments and ending at Fort McHenry. I didn’t think it would be, but it was pretty emotional and inspiring!

These workouts are what started this blog; the sights took our breath away and really made me question why people are afraid of visiting this strikingly-beautiful city.

Come visit Baltimore!

Marie’s Top 5 Things to do in Baltimore (with Parking Information!)

Marie is not from Baltimore, so she has a different perspective on the city than me. Here are her top things to do when family or friends visit. One similarity is that we both have Fells Point on our Top 5 List.

1) Thames Street Oyster House in Fells Point

When you step into Fells Point, it brings you back to the days of Prohibition. There’s even a sign that is still on one of the buildings (I dare you to look for it!). This town has lots of shops and restaurants and has a beautiful walkway along the water. The Thames Street Oyster House is Marie’s favorite restaurant in Baltimore because the outdoor patio is “AMAZING” and the seafood is delicious. She takes everyone from out of town here and recommends you get the seafood salad and the appetizer with octopus (both pictured below).

Parking: I recommend downloading the Premium Parking app before you go to park in this lot, or parallel park on the streets around Broadway St. & Fleet St., or Caroline St. & Thames St. Some parallel parking uses Pay to Park stations, you just need to leave the ticket on your dashboard.

2) Historic Streets near Federal Hill Park

Federal Hill offers one of the most majestic views of the city. As you leave the Hill, walk around the charming historic streets of row homes. One street that I love is Montgomery Street. Here is just one example that brings you back into the olden-days.

From there you can walk to Cross Street Market area and visit either The Charmery for ice cream or Ceremony Coffee depending on the hour. Spoons and Blue Moon Too are great brunch spots.

Parking: West street parking garage is near Cross Street Market. There’s always parallel parking with the Pay to Park stations along Key Highway, Light Street, and Charles Street.

3) Fort McHenry

This National Monument and Historic Shrine is very scenic spot to enjoy for picnics or a nice walk. Along the water, there is a 1-mile path around the Fort and a large field area. The museum is not open yet, but it is worth a visit when it does! The gates are open 9AM-5PM. Afterwards, grab a snow cone at Ice Queens along Fort Avenue, and head to Under Armour Promenade (see Rosie’s Top 5 list about UA).

Parking: There is a FREE parking lot inside the gates of the park. Also, there’s free parallel parking along Fort Avenue in Locust Point.

4) The Walter’s Art Museum in Mount Vernon

This museum is located very close to the Baltimore Basilica, Peabody Library, and the Washington Monument. It opened its doors in 1934 and is free, thanks to donors and city grants. Marie’s favorite part about this museum is that it is connected to a mansion that people used to live in. When you walk in this section, there is a beautiful stained-glass dome at the very top of a spiral staircase. The Sculpture Court in the museum is breath-taking; a lot of weddings are held here. Unfortunately, the Sculpture Court and the mansion are closed, but only until mid-November due to covid regulations. You can donate any amount to the museum and be invited to their virtual gala on October 17.

Parking: We had no issues parallel parking on the street a few blocks away, but here is more information for a nearby parking lot.

5) Baltimore Museum of Art in Charles Village

This historic building is located on the Johns Hopkins University campus and was designed by architect John Russell Pope in the 1920s. This museum is on Marie’s top 5 because it has the largest collection in the world of Henry Matisse (more than 1,000 pieces), and there is one magnificent room in the museum entirely covered by paintings. It also features two landscaped gardens with sculptures from the 1900s. BMA is free to the public! It is open 10AM – 5:30PM on the weekends, and right now they have timed entries to limit the amount of visitors and promote social distancing.

Gertrude’s Restaurant is attached to the museum and is one of the best restaurants in the city. The crab cakes are fantastic, and desserts are mouth-watering. I go here for journal clubs with my coworkers and it never fails to impress.

Parking: Click here for parking information.

*When we wanted to go to the museum, the timed entries were all booked. We will go here soon to add pictures 😉 I will post when it’s updated!

Fallston, Fells Point, Kent Narrows, & Chestertown

This weekend I was mostly in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, but I made sure to make the most out of being in MD even if it was just for a day or two! I started out the weekend hanging out with Kelly and her kids in Fallson on Friday night 🙂 We went to Belvedere Farm and picked out farm-fresh flowers to display in our homes. We also got carry out from Basta Pasta. They did have an outdoor area that looked safe, if that appeals to you! Their entire menu is delicious. Kelly sent me a picture of her oldest son holding up a sign that gives me all the feels! Love you, little one!

On Labor Day, we explored our favorite parts of town – Fort McHenry and Fells Point. The star fort is STILL closed as well as the museum, but we made the most out of it and enjoyed the 1 mile walk around the fort. We went into a bunch of shops in Fells Point. But first, make sure you spot the Vote Against Prohibition sign in the center of the small town. We went into EC Pops for the first time… what a cool store! We also like going to Poppy & Stella and Brightside Boutique for outfits, and The Seasoned Olive for creative gift ideas.

Also in Fells Point is The Choptank. Their frozen drinks and the atmosphere make us feel like we are at the beach. We love their music and vibe. We ended the weekend with a pitstop at Chiapparelli’s in Little Italy. Their drooling gnocchis are absolutely drool-worthy.

Since Marie was at work on Tuesday and I had the day off, I showed Emma around Baltimore some more. We biked/ran around the harbor in the morning. She got to see the Sandlot, and we had brunch at Miss Shirley’s in the Inner Harbor. We got the Wake Up Call and the Spicy Shirley to start us off. We each got an Elote Street Corn Avocado Toast, and we shared the S’Mores Baked Donuts. What a treat! It is always super busy on the weekends, so I would recommend coming here during the week. We recommend to ask for some Old Bay on top of the toast 😉 I took a Lime home… it definitely is touchy and scary at times, but it is SO MUCH FUN!

We also went to my favorite touristy spots: Graffiti Alley, Edgar Allen Poe’s gravesite, and Cross Street Market in Federal Hill.

Mom and Dad have been wanting to take me to The Bridges on Kent Narrows ALL SUMMER. Finally, we made it! Boy was it worth it. Our favorite drink was the Bridges Breeze, and we ate the fried green tomatoes, crab cake, coconut shrimp, and ahi tuna. For dessert, we had the key lime cheesecake and the blondie. I’m drooling just typing this right now. It was nothing short of amazing. This restaurant is also right on the water and has a very relaxing view and atmosphere.

Afterwards, we explored the small town of Chestertown. We also drove around the nearby Washington College, and Camp Pecometh which is where my bestie got married! On the way home, we checked out our favorite new neighborhood called Gibson’s Grant, which is along a beautiful bike trail. Wow what a weekend. Did I mention I went to Shenandoah? Check out the “Around the U.S.” section tomorrow night for that post.