After our delayed getaway from Chesapeake City we motored hard for the rest of the day in order to get to Baltimore before dark. The lovely wooded banks of the Elk River broadened out more and more as we entered the Chesapeake Bay itself until its huge size was evident. No wonder there were so many power boats roaring up and down with so much water to play with. Eventually we turned into the Patapsco River (who knew that name?) and the old docks and vast power plants showed the city’s industrial setting. As we headed further in towards Baltimore’s huge harbour this started to give way to new development and leisure boating facilities everywhere. We tied up in a marina as for once we felt just about able to afford the berthing costs (big discount if we paid for a whole week).
A buoy marks where the “Star Spangled Banner” was composed:
Baltimore turned out to be a great place to spend a week and we enjoyed our time there very much. It was the first American city to regenerate its waterfront and it reminded us a bit of Bristol but on steroids. It now has over 7 miles of harbourside paths and numerous marinas line the shore. Magnificent old power plants have been converted into food and retail outlets or museums and the Inner Harbour has become a big tourist destination with loads of eateries, more museums and various historical ships to view. But to us the city’s greatest charm (and it is branded “Charm City”) is its many streets of terraced (or in American parlance, “row”) houses. These reminded us so much of British architecture, although with subtle differences too, and we didn’t much like the fashion of hiding the attractive red brick behind hideous stone cladding. Our favourite spot was the old shipyard workers’ district of “Fells Point” which has become a very trendy and bar filled waterside area. We really felt we could have been back in Europe here, especially when we sat out in a pavement bar on a very warm evening drinking beers and wine and people watching just across from the water. We also had a good meal in the district of “Little Italy” and saw a little bit of the less salubrious parts of the city on a long walk up to the Baltimore Museum of Art. There we saw a terrific collection of impressionist paintings and Degas’ ballet dancer sculpture amongst other gems. On the long walk back again we passed more intriguing architecture including colourfully painted rows of houses that were quite distinctive.
Pavement eating & drinking:
Row houses on Federal Hill:
… looking a lot like areas of Bristol (UK):
Baltimore’s painted row houses in the university district:
All in all our time in Baltimore flew by. We managed to do some work, cleaning and polishing on the boat in between exploring the city and took full advantage of having water and mains power available – a real luxury after being at anchor for weeks. David also enjoyed stepping straight off the boat for a run and being able to have a long hot shower on his return!