Charm City – Baltimore

So this post is long overdue. I think my guilt caught up with me after Jefe and I had a marathon viewing of The Wire this weekend. I admittedly now feel schooled in the ways of the Baltimore inner-city projects so I figured it was time to indulge and share in the more opulent (and touristy) side of the city.  Please excuse the excessive use of Instagram/crappy iPhone photos – I was doing my best to not be attached to my phone the whole time, so the few quick snaps I took are all covered in hipster filters or *may* be a bit blurry…. a photographer I am not.

Jefe and I kicked off our summer vacation back in early August in Baltimore. The Sox were in town playing the Orioles (yes, it does always come back to baseball in our house), so Jefe insisted we bring the parents and check out Camden Yards as his dad had never been. And seeing as it was only a hop, skip, and a 90 minute drive from my hometown, my mom and stepdad came down to join us.

When in Baltimore, what better way than to start the day at Inner Harbor? It’s definitely become more of a tourist trap than I remember since the last time I visited a decade ago, but I still had fun.  The boys checked out the USS Constellation and the USS Torsk while my mom, Jefe’s mom Gloria and I walked around the water.

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USS Constellation

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USS Torsk

Thanks to a few recommendations from friends, I decided that crabs at Captain James Crab House was the most authentic option for lunch.  Eight hours later, we arrived via water taxi (I kid; it was only 45 minutes but felt like forever on an empty stomach).  It was quite the ride and although not everyone arrived at the restaurant with appetites thanks to some choppy water, it actually was a great way to see the entire harbor and cool off during an otherwise muggy day.

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Now let’s talk crabs. I may be from the east coast, and had my fair share of lobster growing up thanks to family vacations to Maine, but I am a bit of a crab-cracking novice. And I was the veteran of our group of 6.  Needless to say, the family was thankful we also ordered some corn on the cob… and a pizza.  Let’s just say that yanking out minuscule morsels of crustacean was not the family’s idea of fun.  We ordered a dozen medium sized ones for the table and this guy was still left.

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But I did not go down without a fight. I was definitely the last crab-eating woman standing as I was determined to prove them all wrong.  But I didn’t.  And I was still hungry.  Ce’st la vie.  We did get a great story out of the experience and had a great time despite things not going quite according to plan.  Here’s our obligatory shot of the fan:

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After my failed attempt at local cuisine, we headed back across the water so we could head to Camden Yards for the game. It drizzled off and on, but we kept dry for the most part. The only casualty may have been my mom’s hair.  Luckily we headed back to the hotel that night with two very happy Wells boys: the Sox won and they had an infamous story to tell.  Big Papi, the Red Sox designated hitter, was ejected from the game over a blown call by the home plate umpire that resulted in him destroying the dugout phone with his bat.  We were sitting about halfway up the stadium so we had no idea how crazy things got until we saw the replay on SportsCenter that night.

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One of the real highlights for me, though, besides the whole family bonding and baseball game thing was our hotel.  It was incredible.  Incredible in that “totally from another era, I want to go to there” kind of way.  Known as the B & O building, built in 1906, it was originally the home of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company.  You can find historic touches throughout, from the main hall entryway to black & white images of trains in the guest rooms.

So without further ado, I bring you the Monaco Hotel:

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The ground floor entryway, looking towards the elevator bank

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Looking immediately to your right, to the B & O Brasserie where we had a fabulous breakfast.

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The window detail behind and above you as you enter the ground floor.

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The right side of the incredible stairwell as you enter further in to the ground floor, before you reach the elevators.

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The left side of the entryway, with original lamps.

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Looking up!

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The stairwell from above.

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The incredible, open second floor above the stairwells.

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The 2nd floor hallway.

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The 2nd floor elevator bank.  Look at that marble!  The plaster detailing!  The CHANDELIER!

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Around the corner from the elevators.  I love these old, original touches, like the mail slot.

Walking further down the hall, you reach the front desk and the lobby area just off of that known as “The Living Room”.  They offer beverages throughout the day and offer a free cocktail hour that seemed like a steal.  We unfortunately didn’t get to participate, but here are a few gems from THE LIVING ROOM….

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Chess for two (and a viewer…)

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Looking directly in to the space and the incredible, double-sided fireplace.

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I got photobombed THROUGH the fire.

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One of the many sitting areas next to the fireplace.

Unfortunately we were so busy that I didn’t get to truly document the hotel, including our room, in all of it’s glory.  But their website has some great examples:

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The next morning, we met up with one of my oldest friends for brunch at Miss Shirley’s, which was amazing.  Then we headed out, fighting off a monsoon on our way to Spring Lake, NJ.  You can check out my post on this gorgeous town HERE.  It was so relaxing to spend a few days in this beautiful place.  Jefe and I even got back in to running.  When you’re staring at this, who wouldn’t want to?!

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