This morning started off with a breakfast of granola bars and milk as the hotel did not have complimentary breakfast. The full size refrigerator came in handy to keep a gallon of milk that we bought yesterday. After breakfast, we walked to our next hotel (just a few blocks away) and dropped off our luggage.
The hotel hopping was necessary because of the various deals that popped up over the last month--sometimes you can only find certain days on sale. Our second stay is at the Mount Vernon Hotel near Baltimore's Washington Memorial. This was an exceptional deal as I was able to take advantage of Expedia's Best Price Guarantee
. They had the hotel for $104.30/night, and it was $104.29 at Priceline. Because of this 1 cent difference, Expedia gave me a $50 voucher towards another stay, bringing the effective rate below $70 after taxes.
We took advantage of the free Baltimore Circulator to get back to the inner harbor, then bought some day passes for the Water Taxi. This allowed us to get to Fort McHenry and Fell's Point, where we were going to meet some friends for dinner in the evening.
At inner harbor, there were various ships which
could be toured for a price, but we used the opportunity to have the kids compare different types of ships (battleship, submarine, light ship, taxi) and learn the purpose and characteristics of each. Then, we took the kids to play on the Thomas train table at a nearby Barnes & Noble, which was retrofitted into an old power plant. This has to be one of the coolest B&N ever--you could walk through the old smoke stacks which had been preserved and integrated into the decor.
After a quaint PB&J lunch on some picnic tables outside the aquarium, we hopped on the water taxi to get to Fort McHenry. Alex used this opportunity to take a short nap.
The video/presentation about the history of Fort McHenry and the National Anthem was very good for both the kids and for those of us who don't know a whole lot about the War of 1812. In case you don't know, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the Star Spangled Banner while on a British vessel during the bombardment of Fort McHenry. The kids enjoyed learning about the cannons and the meaning of our flag flying over the fort. We didn't
go into the fort itself but enjoyed walking through the museum and around the perimeter looking at cannons and watching boats go by.
Fell's Point was a good place to walk around with the kids, but they weren't too interested in most of the stores, and we were already tired from walking. We ended up sitting on the end of a pier and letting Brecklyn continue sleeping, Alex chase a few ducks, and Grace play a few games on my phone. After this, we met our friends for dinner at a waterfront restaurant, Shuckers, and had some awesome crab cakes--apparently what Baltimore is known for.
This will be our last planned day in Baltimore, and overall, we liked the nature and feel of the city. The people, especially in downtown, were very friendly (almost too much at times). We noticed a lot of private security and city services employees, oddly enough. It seems that a lot of money and time goes into cleaning, upkeep, and security of city owned facilities. For an old city, Baltimore is very clean and the 'touristy' parts are well kept.
Tomorrow we'll be off to Annapolis for a day!
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