call to place: baltimore, maryland

My husband was heading off to Ohio for another of his biannual gatherings with his high school friends at the end of February, and he suggested I should go somewhere on my own.  I couldn’t think of many appealing places to go at the end of February (other than to fly to a Caribbean island or somewhere south), so I decided I’d visit Baltimore, Maryland, nicknamed “Charm City,” for a couple of nights. As Baltimore is only a little over an hour from where I live in northern Virginia, I’ve only ever gone for day trips.  This time, I planned to visit some of the big museums and enjoy some time to myself to explore, try out some restaurants, and read a lot in a nice quiet hotel room.


Sailing ship at the Inner Harbor

I’d already booked my hotel when I got a call from Terry, once my roommate at Riverside Hospital School of Professional Nursing.  I’d attended nursing school for a year from 1975-1976, during which time I decided nursing wasn’t for me, and I returned to The College of William and Mary to complete my education. The whole reason I even went to nursing school was because my boyfriend at the time, Paul, lived near Riverside Hospital.  I had been living at home and attending William and Mary the year before, and I hated living with my parents. They weren’t willing to pay for me to live in a dormitory at William and Mary because the college was only a 30-minute drive from our house.  So it was my escape to freedom.

I hadn’t seen Terry since I left Riverside 44 years ago. She had graduated and gone on to become a nurse practitioner.  She had contacted me through a mutual friend and fellow nursing student who had also attended my high school, Lori.  Terry currently lived in Annapolis, Maryland, not far from Baltimore.  It just so happened she was going to be taking a class in Baltimore on Thursday and Friday, so we arranged to meet on Friday evening for dinner.


Barnes & Noble and the Chesapeake at the Inner Harbor

I’ve been to Baltimore before and written about it in various places:

  1. the christmas village in baltimore
  2. the national aquarium in baltimore
  3. baltimore’s inner harbor {by day}
  4. baltimore’s inner harbor {by night}
  5. the hardscrabble side of baltimore
  6. baltimore’s privateer festival

Baltimore is the most populous city in the state of Maryland.  The city’s Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the U.S., as well as being a major manufacturing center. Now it has shifted to a service-oriented economy, with Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital the city’s top two employers.


Baltimore Aquarium

With hundreds of identified districts, Baltimore has been dubbed a “city of neighborhoods.” At the beginning of the 1970s, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor had been neglected and was occupied by a collection of abandoned warehouses. The nickname “Charm City” came from a 1975 meeting of advertisers seeking to improve the city’s reputation.  The Inner Harbor has since been transformed and enlivened.

However, Baltimore is still a poor city, and has many gritty and unsafe neighborhoods.  I had explored some of these in the visit I wrote about above: the hardscrabble side of baltimore, when I went to Baltimore with a photography group for a Privateer Festival.


Baltimore Inner Harbor

Famous residents have included writers Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ogden Nash, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dashiell Hammett, Upton Sinclair, Tom Clancy, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and H. L. Mencken; musicians include Billie Holiday and Frank Zappa; baseball player Babe Ruth; Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

During the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” in Baltimore after the bombardment of Fort McHenry. His poem was set to music and popularized as a song; in 1931 it was designated as the American national anthem.


The Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower

Baltimore has more public statues and monuments per capita than any other city in the country, and is home to some of the earliest National Register Historic Districts in the nation, including Fell’s Point, Federal Hill, and Mount Vernon. Nearly one third of the city’s buildings (over 65,000) are designated as historic in the National Register, which is more than any other U.S. city, according to Wikipedia.


“THE CALL TO PLACE” INVITATION: I invite you to write a post on your own blog about what enticed you to choose a particular destination. If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to write in the comments.  If your destination is a place you love and keep returning to, feel free to write about that.  If you want to see the original post about the subject, you can check it out here: imaginings: the call to place.

Include the link in the comments below by Wednesday, March 25 at 1:00 p.m. EST.  My next “call to place” post is scheduled to post on Thursday, March 26.

If you’d like, you can use the hashtag #wanderessence.

This will be an ongoing invitation, on the fourth Thursday of each month. Feel free to jump in at any time.  🙂

I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!