In the excitement of boarding a ship and starting a long-awaited cruise, we often go directly to the port without exploring the city where the port is located. Just think of what you are missing. The next time you cruise, add an extra day either before or after your cruise to see what the port city is all about.
Baltimore played a significant role in the War of 1812 and throughout American history. Besides its historic roots, it also boasts museums, art galleries, great restaurants and breweries. Isn’t it about time you took in a few hours in Baltimore? My recent tour of Baltimore found me intrigued by the sheer variety of attractions in the city. I will share the list of some of my favorites that you might consider the next time you sail from Baltimore. This is not a comprehensive list, so be sure to check Visit Baltimore for more ideas.
- So maybe I am old, but when did pinball machines quietly disappear? With the advent of video games of course. But if you long for the pinball experience, head over to the recently opened National Pinball Museum where not only will you learn about the history of this machine, but you will also get a chance to play on the machines.
This is very addictive, so be sure to keep an eye on the time so you don’t miss the ship.
- Head out to Fort McHenry and learn all about the War of 1812. The fort played a role in inspiring Francis Scott Key to write his famous poem, which later became the verses of our National Anthem. The tune on the other hand is based on the melody of an old English drinking song.
- While still feeling patriotic, visit the Flag House and get to know the woman who sewed the flag that Francis Scott Key saw through the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air.
- For a look at art by the masses, the American Visionary Art Museum is the place to be.
- Walk around the distinctive Baltimore’s distinctive neighborhoods – Fell’s Point, Federal Hill, the Inner Harbor and Little Italy– to name a few.
There is something for every palate in Baltimore, even for those whose can’t pass up a deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The following are restaurants where I have personally eaten. All except the last two are in Fell’s Point. Do a dine around like I did and sample a dish or two from each restaurant. All of the eating will get you prepared for your cruise.
Ze Mean Bean – Focusing on Slavic food, Ze Mean Bean is the place to find a tasty pierogi along with other Eastern European specialties.
The Point – American food with soups, salads, sandwiches and small plates.
Hungry Andy’s – Definitely not your ordinary takeaway, fast food restaurant. Andy’s has a good selection of burgers, fries, pit beef and barbeque.
One-Eyed Mike’s – Where else would you find a bottle of Grand Marnier with your name on it? At One-Eyed Mike’s, of course. In addition to its Grand Marnier Club, One-Eyed Mike’s serves a variety of good food in an old creaky building with a great patio area.
Todd Conner’s – Once was enough for me to try the deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the late night menu at this establishment. Their twist on the pb&j is substituting a White Russian for the milk. Todd Conner’s offers other less eccentric items on their daytime menus.
Outside of Fell’s Point, Lebanese Taverna in Harbor East was a real treat for somebody who grew up eating a lot of Mideastern dishes. I highly recommend it.
Chazz, also in the Harbor East area, presents Italian food in friendly surroundings. The cocktails here added to the experience as did being able to watch the pizza making process.
Next time you think of skipping a city just to get the the port; reconsider and get a taste of the city. There is definitely more to Baltimore than its port.
*Unfortunately, the port is not convenient to the attractions in the city, so planning your visit will take some careful thought, but it will be worth it.