Be Charmed By Baltimore

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By Ruta Fox

It’s the perfect time to travel to Baltimore. From food to film fests, to music and museums, with art, sports, and culture thrown into the mix –Bmore to locals –the Charm City is hopping with activity.  The moniker comes from an old advertising campaign where charms were sold at several tourist sites around town — and it stuck.

Spring, with its warmer days and nights means you’ll want to stay near the water. The Inner Harbor area of Baltimore is a good home base from which to start your activities in this historic town. Baltimore has many distinctive neighborhoods, among them Federal Hill, Fell’s Point and Mt.Vernon, which have been wonderfully gentrified. With seven miles of picturesque harbor to explore on foot, you’ll catch a glimpse of all sorts of sea-fairing vehicles from yachts to Mississippi-style riverboats that are docked.

If you want to save your soles, jump aboard the Charm City Circular, a free shuttle that makes various stops around the harbor or take a paddleboat out and watch the sunset.

For a superb dinner in the recently renovated neighborhood of Harboreast, try Cinghiale, (www.cgeno.com) which features a menu that changes daily and with the seasons, featuring the regional cuisine of Northern and Central Italy.  In a renovated machine shop, Pazo (www.pazorestaurant.com) features a large variety of Spanish hot and cold tapas with a rustic flair. After eating, there’s retail therapy at Harboreast’s shops. Crabs are the main dish in Baltimore’s Chesapeake Bay culinary scene and everyone serves them up. Try Faidley’s, located in the Lexington Market, which has been going strong since 1886. Step up to the counter and devour a lump meat crab cake in this classic Baltimore institution which is still family-run.

If you’re looking to combine a bit of exercise, history and foodie experience in one fell swoop, take the Charm City Food Tour (www.baltimorefoodtours.com). You’ll meet chefs, food purveyors, check out restaurants, plus sample a delectable amount of goodies. A new sleek, sophisticated Greek spot, Ouzo Bay (www.ouzobay.com) is the perfect place to imbibe a drink on their outdoor patio overlooking the water.

To indulge in some serious cocktailing, try Bluegrass, (www.bluegrasstavern.com) with 30 bourbons and 20 whiskeys in a restored brownstone in Federal Hill.  If you plan to be in town on a Sunday night, attend Opera Night at Sotto Sopra Restaurant on Charles Street (http://sottosoprainc.com/), a gorgeous restaurant where you’ll hear arias while dining on your multi-course farm to table dinner. Baltimore enjoys twenty museums in the heart of town, some with no admission fees and Museum Week is from May 19-24th.

If you’re interested in baseball, duck into the Sports Legends Museum and the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in Camden Yards (www.baberuthmuseum.org). You’ll find a place dedicated to preserving the legacy of Baltimore’s native son, and the first sports celebrity, Babe Ruth, plus exhibits of sport’s other greats.

For horse racing fans, The Preakness Stakes, (www.preakness.com) part of the Triple Crown, is held in May.

Other places of interest, for music and literary buffs are the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center (www.eubieblake.org) and the Edgar Allen Poe House and Museum (www.eapoe.org).  If you’re a film fan, get tickets to the Baltimore Film Festival taking place  in May  which features top-notch feature films and video work from all over the world, often presented by notable filmmakers (www.md-filmfest.com).

When you get home, relive your culinary memories by ordering from www.crabcake.com and you’ll get Baltimore’s famous authentic Angelina’s Maryland Crab cakes delivered right to your door.

Check out Visit Baltimore, www.baltimore.org for more information.

Check out these TownePlace Suites (www.TownePlaceSuites.com) hotels when you visit Baltimore:

 

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