The Star Spangled Banner, The Babe, Crabs and Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore"


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September 28th 2014
Published: December 20th 2015
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Segway BaltimoreSegway BaltimoreSegway Baltimore

MJ, Dave, Beth, Josh
Since we began blogging we’ve been proud that we produced our blogs in a timely fashion. We began writing this blog in the fall of 2014 and promptly got side tracked with a busy life. Personally we had mixed emotions about Merry Jo accepting a job in Baltimore because it would mean we were working in different cities and we had never done that before….nor had we wanted to. Dave would be 40 minutes away in Virginia so we thought we could make it work.

Sadly, what we didn’t know at the time was Dave’s job would end shortly after MJ went to Baltimore, his next job would take him to Newtown, PA and then to a job in Oklahoma City, OK all while MJ continue to work in Baltimore. We accepted the jobs so we needed to complete our commitment but we cannot imagine accepting jobs in different cities again. This missive is to say farewell to a city well enjoyed!

On a personal note….. Dave is a lifelong, die-hard Cleveland Browns fan (American football) and in 1995 the sleazy owner of his beloved Browns moved his team from Cleveland to Baltimore. So…….as you can imagine when someone
Tall Ships FestivalTall Ships FestivalTall Ships Festival

Baltimore Celebrates!
mentions Baltimore, the hair on the back of his neck stands up. We didn’t know what we would find in Baltimore and on some levels Dave was bothered by the fact that he liked this place. What a great town Baltimore turned out to be!

We’re really not sure what images are conjured up when people think of Baltimore, Maryland. Most likely it’s different for most folks. It would not be surprising if most Americans thought it to be an eastern coastal city while those from outside the confines of the U.S. might even think, “Baltimore?” Others in the States will be quick to point out the riots earlier this year. Although quite tragic, the media’s portrayal of these events should not be considered as the end-all of this city’s worth. Quite the opposite is true.

A hard-working port city, it is not on the Atlantic coast, but tucked in quite nicely in the northern part of the Chesapeake Bay. It’s a good day’s sail just to reach the Atlantic. A catastrophic fire leveled the city in 1904, so there are no truly “older” structures, at least by world standards. It burned for over 30 hours due to
View from Ft. Mc HenryView from Ft. Mc HenryView from Ft. Mc Henry

Loads of history
non-standardized hose couplings of the fire departments….bad stuff.

A fair amount of history is associated with Baltimore as well. From how it got its name to how it got its nickname. Seems the city was named after Cecil Calvert, second Lord Baltimore, (1605–1675), a member of the Irish House of Lords and the founding proprietor of the Colony and Province of Maryland….but of course. Its nickname “The Charm City” was made up in the mid 1970’s because frankly, the city was in a bit of decaying rot and needed a PR boost in the worst way. Baltimore has come a long way in the past 40 years and really is quite charming in many ways. Baltimore is also the nation’s largest independent city. This is because it is not part of a county, like almost all other cities in the U.S. It stands alone, right next to Baltimore County, collecting its taxes and such. Odd designation, but there you have it.

Baltimore’s reputation took a hit this year with the occurrence of civil unrest, but that episode should not besmirch what this fine city has to offer. Please don’t let that delay your visit because Baltimore has many neighborhoods you will want to stroll the waterfront, enjoy
Wicked Pub Crawl GuideWicked Pub Crawl GuideWicked Pub Crawl Guide

A must do tour while in Baltimore
the red brick row houses, marble mansions and gleaming skyscrapers.

But we get ahead of ourselves….back in the days when America was young and the British were still considering “owning” the colonies, there was quite the battle around Baltimore and a gent by the name of Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics to our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner” after witnessing our flag still flying after a good night’s battle. He was so taken that he not only wrote the words, but also put it to the tune of an old English drinking song (can’t say if that was intentional), but it makes for a good story nonetheless.

We enjoyed being in town to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner. A grand festival it was, which included tall ships, military ships, an air show and fireworks. If you got tired of walking, the water taxis would take you from dock to dock viewing the historical Ft. Henry and many fine ships brought in for the event.

Other notable mentions for Baltimore is home of the world famous Johns Hopkins University, the birthplace of Babe Ruth, arguably the best baseball player of all time,
Maryland CrabMaryland CrabMaryland Crab

Delicious!
and the Preakness Stakes, which is the second leg of the Triple Crown of horse racing. And if that is not enough, the area is well known for Chesapeake Bay crabs and oysters. It really does have quite a bit going for it. In the event that you for some reason could not find enough to fill your days here, our nation’s capital is roughly and hour away down an incredibly busy interstate highway, where you can drive with tens of thousands of fellow travelers at break neck speeds or simply crawl along, depending on the time of day.



While in the area if you don't eat all the crabs you can find you will hate yourself forever....in these parts they are oh, so, wonderful.



Downtown Baltimore has several cute neighborhoods that we worked our way through. The city planners have done a marvelous job creating a scenic waterfront known as the “Inner Harbor.” Two other neighborhoods we like are Fell’s Point and Little Italy. We are told Fell’s Point has 70 plus bars and pubs. We didn’t do a count but from the look of things that may be correct.

Our niece
Beautiful Row HousesBeautiful Row HousesBeautiful Row Houses

Beautiful Baltimore Neighborhoods
Beth and her husband Josh came to town to enjoy a baseball game at the famous Camden Yards A fine ball park that was the first of the retro parks built in the early ‘90’s, it is a throw back to the days of older ball fields. Good concessions abound. Alas, Josh’s beloved Boston Red Socks were undermanned and sent packing that day. Another example of a season best forgotten by Sox fans. (2014)

We took them around and even took a Segway tour. You’ve seen these tours before in many major cities. We highly recommend doing this once, as it is really quite fun. You can scoot around at a fairly high rate of speed and see a lot more than a walking tour. It takes a few minutes to get the hang of these contraptions and get your balance and legs squared away, but once you do…..you’re rocking and rolling to a good time. We covered many miles on them and got to see quite a bit of the harbor and several neighborhoods.

Our nephew Josh is a beer connoisseur and knows we are beer lovers as well so he introduced us to an app called
Marcus DugganMarcus DugganMarcus Duggan

Da Mimmo's Restaurant- Little Italy
“Untappd”. It allows you to keep track of beers you’ve tasted and rate them so you don’t order a beer you don’t like in the future. Life is too short to drink bad beer. Maryland is full of local craft beers and so the app gets a lot of use in this part of the country.

Another weekend we signed up for a Wicked Pub Crawl through the Fell’s Point area. A fun tour as our guide was dressed as Lord Baltimore and told entertaining stories and folklore from days past. We stopped in a half dozen pubs for a scotch or a beer he told tales of Edgar Allen Poe, Billie Holiday, privateers, immigrants and ladies of the night. Well worth the time to take this tour. Seriously—worth the time....a MUST do.



Our plan was to slowly work our way through various restaurants in Little Italy as we really like trying new restaurants. We lived there more than a year and have only made it to three Italian restaurants because we love Da Mimmo’s so much and we find ourselves returning time after time. We loved ambiance, the food and loved to go on Saturday nights to listen to Marcus Duggan at the piano. MJ even took a cooking class there! With out a doubt this always made for an outstanding evening. We will go back to Baltimore to dine at Da Mimmo’s.

One evening, sitting at the bar in DaMimmo’s was hall of fame baseball player Jim Palmer—Dave wandered off to the men’s room and came back to find MJ chatting it up with the famous baseball player. He was very gracious and spent about 20 minutes talking with us.



Baltimore provides wonderful locations for day trips and we were fortunate to explore a few of the nearby towns to include Ellicot City, Fredrick and Rohobath Beach.



In Ellicott City we went for a beer tasting and always intended to go back for the train museum but were remiss and never got around to that. In Fredrick we enjoyed the quaint shops and an amazing British Car Show. A weekend at the beach at Rohobath Beach should be enjoyed by everyone. We went during the winter and enjoyed the beaches and restaurants without the crowds. The hotel we stayed at is historic and provided the perfect weekend
It is simple reallyIt is simple reallyIt is simple really

Pick one or....more
get away.

Baltimore is very close to both Annapolis and Washington, D.C. where we enjoyed several wonderful weekends.



We would not list Baltimore as one of America’s “great American cities” but it captured our hearts and at one point we considered buying a house and staying.

If you are traveling around the U.S. it is well worth a visit. We made many friends and look forward to going back to see them in the future.



Restaurants we’ve enjoyed in Baltimore and the surrounding area include:

Da Mimmo's-- absolutely our favorite!!

La Trosca – located on the inner Harbor

Caio Bella – in Little Italy

Aldo’s – located along the waterfront

Duclaw Brewry – located in Hanover

Victoria Gastro Pub – located in Columbia

Lures Pub – located in Millersville


Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 26


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Aldo's Fine DiningAldo's Fine Dining
Aldo's Fine Dining

New Year's Eve
Max's Tap houseMax's Tap house
Max's Tap house

Beth & Josh sampling
200th Anniversary200th Anniversary
200th Anniversary

Star Spangled Banner
Beth enjoys baseballBeth enjoys baseball
Beth enjoys baseball

A good day at the ballpark
Camden Yard BaseballCamden Yard Baseball
Camden Yard Baseball

Orioles vs. Red Sox
MJ used to own one of theseMJ used to own one of these
MJ used to own one of these

MGB....and wishes she still had it
Boardwalk Plaza HotelBoardwalk Plaza Hotel
Boardwalk Plaza Hotel

Rohobath Beach
Quaint Ellitcot CityQuaint Ellitcot City
Quaint Ellitcot City

Lovely stone buildings


20th December 2015
We toast to you

Cheers!
I like the sound of this pub crawl and beer app. As you both know, I wanted to visited Baltimore when I stayed in D.C. last year. I really regret not visiting Baltimore now after reading your blog. I hope someday I might get a chance again :)
20th December 2015
We toast to you

Cheers!
Baltimore is a really great city. It has more going on than we realized. We loved our time there and will always miss it....but we will go back to see friends and dine at Da Mimmo's.
21st December 2015

End of a chapter...
Even though you may not have written this blog in the original timeframe, I think it's nice to read/write about a place with a bigger picture view too. I've heard about Maryland crab and it looks fabulous!
21st December 2015

End of a chapter
Maryland crabs are truly wonderful fixed all manner of ways. I agree the big picture can be good. I will always have fond memories of my time in Baltimore. Thanks for reading along.
21st December 2015

Hometown Blues
It's always great to blog about where you live. There are so many amazing things to do and see right under your feet. And I agree - life is to short to drink bad beer...! Dave (and Theresa)
21st December 2015

Hometown Blues
I tease Dave because we are beer snobs. Life is short. Baltimore is a great city. Hoepfully you can check it out one day.
21st December 2015

Exact opposites!
We have opposite problems. You not enough time together. We, way too much! Almost 5 years rarely being out of eyesight makes us jealous of a while apart. Ha ha. Baltimore sounds fun, we enjoyed the big flag at the fort and Camden Yards on our quick visits in the past. Glad to hear from you!
21st December 2015

Being together
Dave and I are unusual in that we rarely feel we need time apart. The first 5 or 6 years of our marriage we worked together, lived together and played together. We never grew tired of it and long to have those times back again. That makes us look forward to retirement which keeps getting closer and closer. Thanks for following along.
21st December 2015

Good to hear from you
Hi MJ......so good to catch up with you. So you are in Florida now! Do you plan to be there permanently or at least for the foreseeable future? Last year working in different places must have been hard for you. Since we last communicated, Scott and I spent a month in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. It was a great trip.....less of an adventure than some other trips since the language and culture (at least in Australia and NZ) were the same... but delightful nonetheless. We have a son in Melbourne who was a wonderful host while we were in Australia. We spent our Australia time in Melbourne and Sydney. What great cities for completely different reasons. Melbourne is small enough to learn how and where to go and how to get around easily, and Sydney for its world class city vibe. We spent most of our time in NZ on the South Island. We took a train through the mountains then rented a car and took our time (two weeks) driving from Greymouth to Christchurch. A very welcoming country with amazing sights and fantastic food. Have a very wonderful Christmas!! Look forward to hearing where your life takes you next. Sonja
21st December 2015

Hello Sonja,
I'll send an email with more details on what we are up to but yes Florida has become our home. We loved our 2 months in Australia and it was not enough. I've been to N.Z. twice a month each time and I always say it is never enough. Let's see if our paths can cross this year. I'd love to spend more time with you and meet your husband.
21st December 2015

Great writing
Lovely post you two. Capture the sights and smells and tastes of this region. Missing your company today! Sheila
21st December 2015

Hello my friend,
We miss you terribly....glad you enjoyed reading our life in Baltimore. We really did enjoy our time there and will certainly miss Da Mimmo's!
23rd December 2015

Sounds like a great place
That's a great review of your life in Baltimore! You made even the most hesitant consider a trip just to see it. Your optimism is contagious...not just about Baltimore but about life in general. I think it's better if you either work in the same town OR just travel together :-)
23rd December 2015

A great place
Optimism is contagious.......life is too freaking short to be a negative nelly. Baltimore has so much to offer. More travels coming just around the corner.
23rd December 2015

The blog returns!
Great reading on this entry! Was just thinking this past week that it had been a while. Thanks for sharing!
23rd December 2015

Hey Claudia...and Darren
Thanks for reading along.
26th December 2015
Segway Baltimore

Great surprises!
What a lot of fun things you two discovered in Baltimore! I love it that you planned to try all the restaurants in Little Italy, but found wonderful DaMimmo’s and didn't bother going further. I so agree that when something is perfect--just stay and enjoy it. How great that you were so close to day trips too. This blog seems an excellent closing of your past life apart and a great prelude to your new Florida home together! Very fun!
26th December 2015
Segway Baltimore

Surprises
You just never know when a town will capture your heart.... I would not have expected it to be Baltimore but that is what makes life wonderful.....you just never know.
26th December 2015

Inspiration!
David and Mary Joe, you are so inspiring that I am looking into traveling more then I have done in the past. Keep up the good work and the wonderful blogs. I hope you had a beautiful Christmas .
26th December 2015

Inspiration!
I'm thrilled if we have influenced you to travel whether it is the U.S. or foreign. Travel opens your mind, enriches your heart and provides a better understanding of all things around us. So, glad you are following our blog. We leave on an exciting trip Feb. 3rd. Hopefully we will hear from you while we are on the road. Hope to see you again soon.
29th December 2015

Baltimore memories
Hi MJ and Dave Never too late to blog about a place even when you get sidetracked. Yes a few years ago we visited Baltimore from across the Pond , and loved it ... Crabs galore, finding sharks teeth on the beach in Chesapeake, boat trips, baseball games , and my son who was a teenager then loved the skateboard shops .... Great memories xx
29th December 2015

Baltimore Memories
Sounds like you saw a number of highlights while in Baltimore. Great town....and many skateboard shops.

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