Baltimore. Charm City?

Towards the end of May we took a Tayeb Family Road Trip, we try to take one every year to different cities and towns each time.. we want to share our love for travel with D and hope he too grows a passion for it.

If you take a look at the upper right side of the blog you will see a few of the places we have been to. Yes, just a few of the many places because I didn't start blogging about them back then. I had the blog but I wanted to keep my personal life separate and in doing that not only was no one interested in reading the blog but I also missed the opportunity to share my experience and now the details are all fuzzy. Never again.

Coming back to the road trip, first stop Baltimore or the so called charm city.. which if I must be honest I found lacking. Our day and a half spent there was and is forgettable. There was only one shinning moment and I'll have to save that for the end. We started with lunch at the supposedly awesome Chap's Beef Pit just outside of Baltimore. Food Network's Guy Fieri raved about it on his show... so disappointing..and the lines so long.. I urge you to not eat there.. ever. M's wasn't that bad.. but do you really want to stand in a long line and eat an over priced sandwich that wasn't that bad?

Toddler in tow our activities do take a change but only slightly.. we have never been a bar hopping, late night partying type of couple. You are in the company of teetotalers. So toddler in tow, our first stop the Aquarium. A first for D.

We walked to Fell's Point and roamed through Little Italy. Neither neighborhood interesting.. I have seen much better but then again M and I wondered.. could that be the problem. That we have already seen quite a few delightfully charming neighborhoods.. not many.. but enough to what, make us neighborhood snobs! We are just getting started with our travels.. we couldn't be jaded already? Could we? We dined at Gia's Cafe in Little Italy. A nice meal which would have been much nicer if we hadn't felt like second rate citizens. We weren't sure if it was intentional or not but we were squashed into this tiny table with me facing the wall.. no plates or cutlery, we had to ask for it.. food took forever to come.. it was not the best way to start of the trip.

Our hotel was the Marriott Towne Place which was exactly what we needed. Clean, comfortable and reasonably priced. And we woke up to recharged and with hope that Baltimore would get more interesting.. and it did.. four words American Visionary Art Museum. You are not allowed to take pictures inside but this was enough to get us interested.

We ended up spending hours more than we had intended.. so much to see.. even the bathrooms were amazing.. their was a whole wall dedicated to farts, a ball of bras and a fallen angel dangled from the ceiling made of mirrors. And don't even get me started on the gift store, a place we never go into but this place just sucked us in and none of it was overpriced.. it was a vintage/retro heaven.

We said goodbye with a stop at Vaccaro's where we tried to eat a Coconut Creme Napoleon big enough to feed four.


Jen C said...

The American Visionary Arts Museum is crazy isn't it?! It's such an unusual mix of everything. Each spring they put on a Kinetic Sculpture Race. It's hilarious and amazing.

And yes, little Italy is a huge disappointment. First of all it's what? A block? Second, I don't know anyone who goes there (and I'm from Baltimore!). I think it use to be bigger back in the 50s when Baltimore was at its pinnacle.

We go to Fells Point quite a bit and love it. But it can get sketchy. And yes, it's known for being somewhat seedy. For many years there was an adult theater there.

But if you head over to the quiet end of it, you'll get the most beautiful panorama of the bay and city. On clear sunny days, when the sailboats are in the water, it can be downright breathtaking. Also, next time you go, make sure you hit Pitango for gelato. :) There's a great little toy store there too.

But on the other side of the harbor, near the Science Center, sits a great big hill (that neighborhood is called Federal Hill) and at the top is a fun playground.

Another neighborhood to check out is Mt. Vernon. It's north of the harbor and has some pretty gorgeous churches and buildings. It's where the old money of Baltimore lived. There's an incredible museum there that's free and very kid friendly. On weekends, they run a free art class for youngsters—super hands on. And when you get hungry, check out Iggies for pizza.

As far as museums go, the BMA is nice as well. The street car and train museums are a-may-zing for little kids. At the street car museum, you can take short rides on street cars from all the different eras. And the train museum is, well, huge. With more trains that you can imagine and kids can run around on all of them.

Here are some links:

Oh and this a site that has a bunch of ideas for families in the Baltimore area: http://www.coolprogeny.com

But yeah, I mean we can't compete with Amsterdam, Paris, or Montreal. ;) We only have 600,000ish people living in the city. We're actually quite tiny and are still primarily a working class city. Our ports are in full use and we still have some major factories. The sugar factory you saw across the water while you were in Fells Point is still a working factory and under armour, to the left of it has a huuuuuuge factory too. It's where they make all their clothes.

If you're ever find yourself in the area again, drop me a line! I'll whip you up an itinerary jcooper@classic-play.com

beetree said...

Hi Hena! Thanks for stopping by today. :) trips are so much fun- even the ok places are memories with your family. So glad you ended with a fun museum and yummy dessert!


Mark said...

Isn't it funny that I've been to Baltimore a million times and I never knew it was called "The Charm City". But seriously, I'm with you, I don't find it charming at all! We've been to that Aquarium once and, meh. That was enough. Still, we do like walking around Inner Habor with the kids. And since my days of clubbing and bar hopping are over, I really have no need for downtown Baltimore. Although I really should give that Museum a shot.

Krugthethinker said...

Looks like fun! I am also lamenting that I did not document my early travels so well, but I do have journals and pictures, so maybe I will do something with them eventually! The museum looks awesome, and I hope that all the rest of the restaurants on the trip were much better!

Unknown said...

It is always so much traffic up there. I guess I'm a country girl at heart though I do love my trips to the cities!

A.M said...

Thanks for stopping by!
Your family is adorable, and those trips all look amazing. I would love to go to Canada some day! The Netherlands is one pretty place, if for some reason you're ever in that area again you should take a little trip over to Antwerp in Belgium, it gets a bad rap but it honestly is absolutely gorgeous and has so much history mixed in with a lot of artsy modern stuff:) (wish I appreciated it more when I lived there!)


Jean said...

thanks for stopping by!

fun trips! i always love checking out bathrooms! there sure are some fascinating ones! :)

Unknown said...

Hello! Thanks for the lovely comment on my blog.

Baltimore looks great - it's not somewhere I've ever thought of visiting, but maybe now...

j said...

I have only been to Baltimore a few times. All but once I was just stopping off the highway on the way to D.C. to use B&N's bathroom and get coffee. :)

The other time was to visit a friend but we just hung out at her place, we didn't go anywhere. At least you had a good time at the museums!

Jen Daily said...

Looks like a fun trip! The art museum sounds like a "must see". Thanks for stopping by ;)

Jessica @shimmerkai said...

Looks like a great trip- thanks for sharing!

Catherine Fishback said...

Looks like fun. I also have a goal to keep traveling once I have kids. Also, that napoleon looks to die for.

Lovely blog.

Catherine (your newest follower)
FEST (food, style & travel)

Rachel {little bits of lovely} said...

This looks like such a fun family road trip! Your little boy is too adorable + looks to be completely enamoured by the huge fish at the aquarium! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog :) xx

Hena Tayeb said...

You are so right. Especially with a child, the find the oddest things amusing.

Hena Tayeb said...

A must for sure.

Hena Tayeb said...

Thank you. I will make my way over to Antwerp for sure, next time hopefully. I loved Amsterdam and would love to go back again.

Hena Tayeb said...

thank you..

Angry Asian said...

Another great neighborhood w petsonality is hamden. I personally love baltimore, lived here for 10+ years, i find the ppl genuine & real, as compared to dc. The great places i eat at are not necessarily kid friendly... I adore the aquarium & visionary art musuem. It's too bad your experience here was so lackluster.

Hena Tayeb said...

I'll keep Hamden in mind next time we're there.. and we will go again.. because I loved the visionary art museum and feel the need to go back again and again.

Jicsi said...

You look like you go on such nice and fun family trips, I'm a little jealous! I love the aquarium photos, they're stunning! :)

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