Fun in an Afternoon in Baltimore, MD
In November 2014, our first travel destination on our journey to full-time RV living was Baltimore, Maryland for a single overnight before flying out on early morning one-way tickets to Texas to look for The RV that would take us on our new adventure. We didn’t let our short stay stop us from having a good time in Baltimore, though!
The Inner Harbor
We arrived in the early afternoon and checked into our hotel – a Marriott within walking distance to the Inner Harbor area. Due to our limited timeframe, the November chill and cold wind coming off the harbor, we skipped the walk and drove our economy rental downtown and found metered parking on the street. Parking close to the shopping areas was not difficult and we had a short, but brisk walk to the Inner Harbor shops and restaurants. We initially had set our sights on eating lunch at the famous Phillip’s Seafood at the Inner Harbor, where we remember enjoying a bountious buffet when we visited, oh…15 years ago, but were disappointed to learn that there was no longer a buffet at all and the menu seemed sharply overpriced ($18 for the “small” crab cake sandwich). At lunch. Anyway…
We headed over to Harborplace – the shops and restaurants surrounding the Inner Harbor and were able to choose from several sit down restaurants and a slew of other walk-up and food court eating establishments for our lunch. Tir Na Nóg Irish Pub and Restaurant won out because of their happy hour offerings and fine selection of draughts. We enjoyed a small plate of crispy fish and chips, an overabundance of onion rings and split a classic reuben. Even if you’re not there for drinks or nosh, pop in to see the fabulous decor – some of the pieces are from a church in Ireland and are truly one of a kind.
After lunch, we strolled through the shopping center checking out the fudge shop, a haberdashery and a couple of local interest shops. Our 13 year old daughter Elizabeth, being an aspiring chef, was thrilled to find the Old Bay store full of herbs and spices and kitchen gadgets. This is a place I remember as being bustling with energy, street performers and a joie de vivre we just didn’t see on this particular visit (admittedly on a Monday afternoon in the off-season). Sadly, Harborplace seems to be suffering from the same syndrome that most malls across America have fallen into in the last few years – low traffic and empty storefronts, yet it still holds a unique charm and we found much to explore in our quick tour.
Maryland Science Center
Be advised, we learned the hard way that the quite fabulous Maryland Science Center located on the other side of the Inner Harbor from Harborplace is closed on Mondays during the off-season – after Labor Day until mid-March – so we were sadly unable to utilize our ASTC Passport Program membership to get free admission that day. We did, however, find a Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum, an ice cream vendor and several other shops and points of interest, including a stop for the Inner Harbor Water Taxi.
After a long day of travel, shopping and goofing off around the Inner Harbor, we were beat and collapsed back in our hotel room. After a nice hot shower, we decided that rather than venture out into the cold again for dinner, we’d order pizza from room service, and live it up in our hotel room with cable TV (hadn’t had it at home!) in our jammies. Apparently, this was their first room service experience – they must be sheltered or something.
Baltimore/Washington Airport and Spirit Airlines
Early the next morning, we had a quick complimentary breakfast at the hotel and checked out, heading to the Baltimore airport to return our cheap rental car and catch our flight on Spirit Airlines to Dallas, TX to begin our adventure! Finding Baltimore/Washington airport was easy – signage was great and returning a rental was a snap with a small outpost just outside the terminal doors. Also, our gate wasn’t a 3-mile hike which is always a plus. We did find this amusing notice on the wall in the restroom at the gate. Do Not Remove. The wall? Right? Of course.
All in all, Baltimore was a great overnight and we’re interested in going back and exploring some more…maybe next time, we’ll show the kids Fells’ Point…where we (forgive the pun) fells in love back in the late 90s. What’s your favorite spot in Baltimore?