Sunday, November 11, 2012

Maryland – Places I’ve Been – Part 1

I’ve lived in Maryland for the past 10 years so it was hard to recommend just a few places in Maryland, but here are some of my favorite places to visit and some good things to know before you visit the historic state of Maryland.

If you don't already, you should know that Maryland is known for its Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs and crab cakes.  One place I’ve gotten some good crabmeat and loved the view is at Captain Billy’s Crab House in Newburg along the Potomac River. 
My friend, Ketina, took me there and I’ll admit it’s out in the middle of NOWHERE, but it was so peaceful, and the food was good.  Maryland is also known for its Old Bay Seasoning and they use it with EVERYTHING from steamed shrimp to crabmeat to even cookies.  I prefer to keep it on my shrimp, crabmeat, and on my french fries, but not sure about cookies.

The Annapolis Dock is the perfect place to see old-fashioned Maryland. 
It’s awesome because of its quaint boutiques, narrow cobblestone roads, the Naval Academy, and beautiful old taverns, such as Middleton Tavern.  Middleton Tavern, established in 1750, is right at the dock and has outdoor seating to give you a great place to people watch, boat watch, and eat a yummy Chesapeake Bay crab cake.  While in Annapolis, visit our state capitol building.  On their free tour, you can see parts of the old capitol building they’ve left untouched.
Right outside of Annapolis and along the Chesapeake Bay, I like to visit South Beach at Sandy Point State Park.  I go to swim, people watch, and boat watch, but they also offer fishing, crabbing, boating, and camping.  Being on the bay, you’ll see a lot of boat and ship traffic coming in and going out of Baltimore Harbor.  South Beach is also near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which takes you to the Eastern Shore area of Maryland.

Pictures taken by my friend Anna

Baltimore (or “Bawlmer” as the locals say) is another quintessential Maryland spot.  You can walk along the inner harbor area, see all the fancy boats, and check out the restaurants, shops and fudge place in the Harbor Place Mall.  My favorite restaurant in Harbor Place is a yummy and truly Irish pub called Tir Na Nog, but if seafood is what you want, we also have Phillips Seafood Restaurant.  If you want a great view and picture of the harbor, I suggest a walk up Federal Hill, but you had better have some sneakers on because there are quite a lot of steps up to the top.  However, it’s worth it.

My friend, Ketina, has recently introduced me to another cute Baltimore neighborhood along the waterfront, Fells Point.  She became a fan of Fells Point neighborhood because of her favorite tv show, Homicide, which was filmed in Fells Point. 
Fells Point Pier
Photo from friend Ketina
Fells Point has kept its historic atmosphere with cobblestone roads and many buildings on the National Register list, one of which is the oldest saloon in America, The Horse You Came In On, which was established in 1775.  While we were there, we had breakfast at the Blue Moon Café, which has been on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives TV Show for their famous Captain Crunch French Toast.  I instead had their AMAZING seasonal sweet potato pancakes with spiced apples on top.  Yummy!  The café isn’t that big so you might want to get there really early to beat the rush.

Hampden is an interesting Baltimore neighborhood that I discovered with some friends at Christmas time a few years ago.  During the month of December, Hamden’s 34th Street hosts an awesome and outrageous Christmas lights display.  You probably can see it from the sky!

Hampden is also famous for the Honfest.  It’s a pretty interesting and fun festival to visit.  Hon, is Bawlmerese’s (name of the local dialect) term of endearment bestowed upon by historic working women of Baltimore.  Honfest is an annual celebration in honor of these women.  The women who want to become the Best Hon are women of ALL ages with beehive hairdos, bright blue eye shadow, spandex pants and anything with leopard print! 
Picture from Honfest's Website
If you go and are feeling left out, you can even pay someone to give you the hon hairdo.  If you can’t visit during Honfest, check out the Hon Bar and Café Hon open year round.

Before leaving Baltimore, everyone should visit Fort McHenry.  The defense of this fort in the Battle of Baltimore (September 1814) inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  It has a very well done movie in the visitor center that all should see.

Ellicott City is a great place to go to stroll, window shop at the boutiques, listen to bands on the street, have a fancy meal, or just to watch Baltimore Ravens football and Orioles baseball, or simply “the O’s,” on tv at one of the bars.  Ellicott City is also home to the oldest surviving railroad station in America (completed in 1830) and the original terminus of the first 13 miles of commercial track ever constructed in America.  In the 1970's, the Ellicott City Train Station was restored as a museum and a second restoration in 1999 returned the building to its 1857 appearance.

Today’s post is just half of my favorite places to visit and some good things to know before you visit Maryland.  Come back soon for part 2.

*Pictures taken by me unless noted


  1. I recognize that lighthouse at Sandy Point(see my FB page!)
    Great job on your posts here on your blog! LOVE the photos!