Episode Guide – Baltimore

Baltimore inner harbor
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor


For Fringe Benefits: Baltimore Katie enjoys the beauty of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, sails the Chesapeake Bay, and dives into the history of the Civil War and the War of 1812.

Founded in 1729, Baltimore was, and continues to be, and important seaport city.  The city and the surrounding region played a key role in several military conflicts.  The War of 1812 attack on Fort McHenry inspired witness Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner. Civil War battles were raged in nearby fields, with Maryland being a key border state.

Today, the Inner Harbor area is a hub of activity, beautiful public spaces, and the home of the Baltimore Aquarium. Known as “Charm City,” Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods – each having their own unique identity. The city – and region – offer a diverse mix of culture and history to explore.

Frederick City Hall
Frederick City Hall

Katie heads just north of the city-center to spend an afternoon is Hampden – a unique neighborhood of kitschy shops and trendy food spots. The “Avenue” is home to dozens of friendly art galleries and cafes, and is known for it’s friendly locals. Here we meet Susannah Siger, a shop owner, for a tour and a visit on her shop’s front stoop. Later, we meet Elan Kotz at The Food Market for a taste of the neighborhood.

For another walking tour – with a twist – Katie heads west of the city for a day visit to Ellicott City. This small town is repeatedly ranked as one of the best places to live in the Unites States! Locals chalk that up to great schools, a vibrant Main Street, and warm community feel. Others – like our guide Marty – feel that the “ghosts” of Ellicott City add another unique and memorable element to the town’s charm. Marty and Katie take a short tour of the town to learn more about these residents of the past and their chilling tales.

Also in Ellicott City, Katie learns all about the B&O railroad at Ellicott City Station – the oldest rail station in the United States! Here, the first horse-drawn rail journey made it’s debut from Baltimore to Ellicott City.  The well-preserved station offers tours, a great H-O scale model train display, and an interactive telegraph demonstration.

Scales and Tales
Ranger Jacob Doyle and one of his feathered friends

A little farther west, Katie travels to Frederick, Maryland. This is an easy and great choice for a side trip from Baltimore! History is overflowing here, and it’s a great day to stroll through historic neighborhoods and along the city’s Carroll Creek. Here, we learn about Francis Scott Key and his connection to Frederick. He had a law practice in the town and is now buried just outside center-city.  Katie visit’s the Civil War Medical Museum and learns some surprising facts about care and medical technology available in the mid 1800s.

Just north of Frederick, Katie makes some new friends at the Scales and Tales program at Cunningham Falls State Park. Here, injured birds of prey and reptiles that can no longer be released into the wild are well cared for and used in educational programs. We meet a gorgeous hawk whose missing a wing, and – despite her fear –  Katie gets up close with a snake!

Katie meets Madelyn Shank, daughter of well-known carver R. Madison Mitchell, at the Decoy Museum
Katie meets Madelyn Shank, daughter of well-known carver R. Madison Mitchell, at the Decoy Museum

While in the Baltimore area, we’ve got to get out on the water! Katie is thrilled to take a sailing lesson from Todd and Glenn of Bay Sail Charters in Havre de Grace. This town is quintissential bay-front charm. The village, located at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay at the head of the Susquehanna River, offers fishing, sailing, a waterfront promenade, and seaside dining. The centerpiece of the town is the Concord Point Lighthouse, where four generations of the same family manned the light, spanning more than 100 years! Up the street, Katie visits the Decoy Museum for a look at the carved decoy – once a main claim to fame for Havre de Grace.

For more information on Baltimore area lodging, dining and attractions, visit the Destination Guide.

For more photos from our visit to Baltimore, visit the Gallery. And to learn about other cities featured on Fringe Benefits, visit the Episode Guide.