August 2016 – We arrived in Baltimore several hours late due to Delta’s infamous system issues. We took the metro to a stop about half a mile from our hotel and
walked the rest of the way. It obvious very quickly that we were not in the best part of town. There were a lot of people standing around on a Wednesday afternoon (no jobs to be at?). We made it to the hotel, the Holiday Inn Express, without any issues, however, and checked in. We dumped our bags and started off in the direction of the harbor and Fell’s Point.
We passed a few historical monuments and then found the largest Barnes and Noble store I’ve ever been in. It was pretty amazing, with an escalator inside a lighthouse-type structure and an aquarium on the upper floor. After browsing for awhile, we went outside in search of dinner. The restaurants nearby were all chains, so we kept walking. We walked along the harbor and down cobblestone streets. This area of the city was very clean and well-kept. We found a little place called Duda’s Tavern. The prices were reasonable and the service was decent. Burgers happened to be half off that night, so we each had one and an appetizer of crab meat. The crab was very fresh and tasty.
After dinner, we walked back along the harbor and wondered into a pharmacy for a few items. We found it interesting that no wine was sold in the pharmacy or in the Fresh Market across the street. We found a little wine shop down the street called Bin 604. The woman working in the shop was extremely helpful and friendly. They did not sell the brand we were originally looking for, but she recommended a few others in the same category and price range.
On the way back to our hotel, we met up with a family heading in the same direction. Since our hotels seemed to be in a bit of a sketchy area and it was getting dark quickly, we walked behind the family on the way back to our hotel. They had fanny packs, cameras, and bags that screamed “tourists,” so we felt pretty safe a few yards behind them.
The hotel was comfortable, safe, and had vending machines and ice machines on each floor. It was a converted post office and had some pretty interesting features. The staff was very friendly. I’m not sure how comfortable I would have felt leaving a car in the parking lot since we could see people hanging around most of the night, but the room was nice and cozy.
Due to the questionable area, we used Uber to travel to Penn Station the next morning for our train ride to DC. This was our first experience with Amtrak and will definitely not be our last. Even though it takes a bit longer than flying, passengers have more leg room, more space for carry-on baggage, and the trains seem to be more reliable than airlines (especially after our Delta experience). Penn Station in Baltimore and Union Station in DC were both beautiful. Just a little over an hour on the train, we arrived in DC for the main portion of our trip.