Although I have it stored on my computer, I haven’t yet seen The Wire, the American television drama series set and produced in and around Baltimore, Maryland. By all accounts it’s one of the greatest TV dramas of all time but seemingly it doesn’t paint Baltimore in a very flattering light. Having spent the last two nights here it’s going to be fairly obvious how much I loved my time in Charm City, as Baltimore is aptly known.
What you got Baltimore?
Apart from a desire to take in a few games at Oriole Park, the city’s gorgeous baseball stadium, I had no real plans for Baltimore. I didn’t really know what, if anything, it offered. Shortly after arriving from Miami I found myself sitting in in a park in Mount Vernon, one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods & its cultural heart – it’s home to an array of wonderful historic architecture, monuments, sculptures, & institutions. I was sitting there getting my bearings while reading the official Baltimore Visitors Guide. It was peaceful & I was surrounded by these amazing, history-rich buildings & monuments, including the towering 1829 Washington Monument, the first public monument to George Washington erected in the country. It was then I realised that Baltimore is, and was going to be, a little bit special. The city has turned out to be the best kind of surprise, one of the huge & pleasant kind. The rest of my time here was evenly divided between checking out an array of easily accessible buildings & monuments & being a baseball fan, all the while wishing I had more time to spend in the city.
Baltimore Day 1
Mount Vernon & Downtown || Baltimore’s Cultural & Business Centre
Oriole Park at Camden Yards || Take I
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the home of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team & one of the greatest sports venues in the US.
The stadium, which opened in 1992, is credited with starting a craze – it was the first of the so-called throwback, or retro ballparks to be built during the 1900s & early 2000s. Since it has been built, two-thirds of all Major League Baseball teams have opened new ballparks, all with unique features, but Oriole Park, along with AT&T Park in San Francisco, are widely regarded as the best of the lot.
Baltimore Day 2
Day two in Baltimore & it was more of the same on this day – sights & (lots more) baseball.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards || Take II
– An inscription on the Brooks Robinson statue of a quote by sportswriter John Steadman.
Downtown Baltimore alone has 8 distinctive neighbourhoods. One of these neighbourhoods is Westside, home to Lexington Market, the nation’s oldest continually running public market. In a city full of charming neighbourhoods, Westside, it would be fair to say, isn’t the most inviting; it’s a bit rough around the edges and the kind of place where you can and will see people having open & heated conversations with themselves. The official Baltimore Visitors Guide, which chooses its words carefully, claims that the area is
Transformative redevelopment. I like that.
Video || Eutaw Street, Westside, Baltimore
Video captured walking down Eutaw Street in the Westside neighbourhood of Baltimore having just left Lexington Market.
Baltimore Day 3
Today is leaving Baltimore day & it was an (almost) baseball-only day.
Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum
– George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth
My final act in Baltimore was to visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum. Yes, as if this place wasn’t historic enough, George Herman Ruth, better know as Babe Ruth, was born, on February 6th, 1895, in a small house in the Pigtown district of Baltimore, only a short walk from present-day Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I had a good grasp already on all things George Herman but I still spent a few fascinating hours in the small museum learning more about the life of the person who, in 1969, was honored as the ‘Greatest Player Ever’.
Ruth-ian /ruth’-i-an/ (adj)
The state of being greater than the best; majestic; denoting a supreme or insurmountable level; surpassing all others.
Baltimore. The Greatest City in America?
One of the many informative tourist signs on the streets of Baltimore signs off by saying the following:
That’s a nice touch, not to mention a massive call. A great city indeed. Of that there is no doubt. Thank you Baltimore. I enjoyed immensely my time here & I’m already looking forward to getting back.