Monday, October 23, 2006

Baltimore is very cool

I know. I checked. I've realized that I don't get to the cool city 50 miles north of me often enough. Yesterday I took part in the Tour du Port, a bicycle event through Baltimore. I took the 21 mile trip, which went through all the neighboorhoods mentioned by the link above. People say the Inner Harbor can be a little too "touristy", a sentiment which I tend to agree with, but it's still great to ride or walk through there. Canton and Fells Point were super cool to ride through, the former being a revitalized waterfront neighboorhood, the latter reminding me of the cool things about Boston, Maryland style.

The one not terribly cool part of the ride was through Dundalk, but the tour route took us through not-yet-revitalized old warehouses and boarded up taverns, then through a semi-suburban run of the mill neighboorhood. After Dundalk came the real jewels of the bike ride. I arrived at Patterson Park, and believe me after I biked up the hill, I knew why Baltimore won a ranking of America's Fittest City! Just bike, run, walk, rollerblade, whatever up that hill enough times and you'll get in shape in no time. After Patterson Park came Brewer's Hill and Little Italy, both great little sections of town with old school architecture (Little Italy) and new row homes just past Brewer's Hill.

Federal Hill and Fort McHenry were next upon us riders after a little trip back through Inner Harbor. Looked like great neighborhoods with lots of tradition, especially Fort McHenry. Plenty of places to walk to, grab a beer, or whatever, not just on this part of the route but on most of it. I ended up at ESPN Zone to watch my beloved Pats cakewalk past Buffalo. Service was good, view of the game decent considering I was the only Pats fan I saw there, but I'm glad I ate elsewhere where appetizers only cost $8. The only improvement for the day would have been more and easier to find bike racks; I found the city to be otherwise very bicycle-friendly. The Aqaurium is somewhere I will get to when I get back up to Baltimore.

In summary, Baltimore is very cool, somewhere I see myself going back to many a time for many a reason. Inner Harbor was enjoyable, but many other neighboorhoods were even better. It's called Charm City for a reason. Even though I have only been there four times, Baltimore is one of my favorite cities to go to. I recommend it to anyone who likes walkable neighboorhoods, new urbanist revitization, history, beer, less pretension than say, oh I don't know, Washington (I live here so I can rip on it at will, I like DC if you know what I mean), and waterfront vistas. Charm City, baby!


Bill-DC said...

I've always enjoyed Baltimore, going to the O's games in the mid '70's as a kid and to Camden Yards and Inner Harbor as an adult. I like reading about the city in the '50's-'60's and there are a couple books I liked that talk about the city then. When The Colts Belonged To Baltimore by William Gildea and Sixty Six by Barry Levinson, the guy who directed Diner.

maryjanejeff said...

Art Donovan, ex-Colt, is one of the greatest sports storytellers ever. I used to watch NFL films as a kid, and he used to be always on the stories shows. As hilarious as all can be.

Bill-DC said...

Right about Artie Donovan. I grew up a Redskins fan but was saddened big time when my wife and I got off a cruise ship after our honeymoon and I saw the Sports Illustrated cover that Johnny Unitas died. Part of the definition of Baltimore is Johnny U.

I love the city, they are my baseball team after the Senators were moved from DC. Despite the Orioles mediocrity over the past twenty plus seasons, I'll always love going to Baltimore to watch baseball and take in the city.

maryjanejeff said...

My next Baltimore adventures are:

March 11 - - I'm running in the 5K

August 10-11 - Red Sox - Orioles games