Travel Guide: The Perfect Layover in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

Awhile back, Russ and I took a small trip to the North Pole. You may have read about our experience North in our Iceland Travel Guide. On our way there, we managed to stop in Baltimore for an afternoon on the East Coast! So many of us traveling from Texas across the pond have to make a stop somewhere along the coast and the Charm City is a heck of a place to start an epic journey.

With the Inner Harbor being only a short drive/train ride from BWI, you’ve got a few hours to kill. Take a walk into the beginnings of our great nation and let the harbor be your playground for the day. Our layover was about 9 hours, which at first, seemed daunting but we managed to pull off a full day of feasting on fresh seafood, sipping on Natty Bohs and exploring the cobblestone streets of one of America’s first ports.

Top 5 Things You Should Absolutely Do while Visiting Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

5. Head to the National Aquarium or Ripley’s. Both are out of this world and a super easy way to spend an afternoon killing time. I loved the jellyfish exhibit. Added bonus, options for lunch in every direction of the bay. You name it, they’ve got it. Head down to Fells Point and grab yourself a Crabcake!

4. Best Breakfast? Get fat. Go get doughnuts and Zeke’s coffee at Diablo Doughnuts. Go nuts, get the Unicorn Fart. You know you want to. The dude pictured below is pretty awesome, too. He’s the owner and the last time we were visiting Baltimore while on a Girls’ Trip, this fella hooked us up with stickers and sat and talked with us while we tried the box variety. Best surprises? Captain Chesapeake and Maple Bacon were some of the group favorites.

3. Make time to take a gander at the U.S.S. Constellation. Our country has built some pretty amazing ships and this one is impressive to say the least. This sail-only warship is the last of its’ kind built by the United States Navy. The price of admission is $5/adult and $25/family if you want to spend some time in the Museum.

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2. Head to the last place Edgar Allen Poe was seen alive, The Horse You Came In On Saloon. Legends tells it that ole Eddie died from consumption right on the street outside this infamous saloon. His picture still hangs above the bar alongside about a million Jack Daniels bottles. Grab a Natty Boh (local favorite beer, aka National Bohemian) and listen to the live music from the saddle you sit in.

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1. Go get a lobster roll at Thames Street Oyster House. I’m not kidding. This is the #1 thing you should do while visiting the Harbor. It was the best thing I have ever eaten. I dream about it sometimes. I know it’s $25. I don’t care. Spend that moolah and get yourself the best damn sandwich you are ever gonna have. Or get the crab cake, because it’s bomb too.

lobster

 

Guide to an East Coast Girl’s Trip

At the beginning of February, a few friends and I decided to take a short getaway. Though we were itching to hit up some warm Florida sunshine, we instead opted to see a different part of the East Coast. Our first leg of the journey started at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland and the next day, we headed into the District of Columbia to see our Nation’s Capitol, in an election year no less. We had a blast exploring these two very different cities and I just wanted to share some tips on where to stay, what to eat and how to get the most out of a small getaway like this.

Day One:

Despite  the horror stories that I have heard about Spirit Airlines, we snagged a great deal (the Bare Fare, bookbag included) and both flights were on time. Including insurance, we managed to get our round trip flight from DFW to BWI for under $100. To boot, we managed to get a promo code for friends and family of the Marriot Group. We stayed at the Renaissance Harborplace smack dab in the middle of the Inner Harbor. This was a clutch location overlooking the U.S.S. Constellation, the Baltimore Aquarium, Camden Yards and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. We were in walking distance of all the sites to see in the Harbor although we did Uber it down to Fells Point for around $10 round trip.

This particular area of Baltimore was the best part of trip for me. My brother lived in Baltimore for a short time when he got out of the Marine Corps so I trusted his judgement when it came to pointing out the safest locations for 3 girls to roam Charm City. The cobblestone streets overlooking the marina boasted some of the best bars and restaurants in the area. After checking out all the reviews, we headed to Thames Street Oyster House for dinner. This place promised the best Lobster Roll we would ever have and boy did they deliver. We had their signature Octopus appetizer, Shrimp Cocktail, Crabcake, Pecan Pie, multiple glasses of wine for around $55 per person, including tip. As I write this, I can smell the spices and herbs that filled the stairwell and brick walls of this picturesque second floor brownstone. Truth be told, those Lobster Rolls very well may be why I book my flight back to Baltimore. They are well worth it, like, the best meal ever.

After dinner, we made our way to Slainte, an Irish pub, for Baltimore’s signature drink, the Natty Boo. Reveled as the drink of choice in Charm City, a National Bohemian goes down smooth. I can see why Mr. Boh has such a following amongst Oriole Fans. From there, we headed to “The Horse You Came In On”. Established in 1775, this bar claims to be the oldest saloon in America. As a matter of fact, this place is shrouded in the mystery of Edgar Allen Poe’s death. It is said that Mr.Poe had his last drink here before walking outside and dying in the street of consumption. (Fun fact: His grave isn’t too far from here, near Camden Yards)  Mystery and gloom aside, this place has all the feels of an excellent dive bar, live music, friendly staff and Yuengling on tap. Peter James, a former contestant on the Voice, graced the stage with his guitar and we closed the bar by the crooning along to his eclectic song choices.

Day Two:

After many an Advil and copious cups of coffee, we Ubered it back down to Fells Point to chow down on Diablo Doughnut’s famous breakfast treats. Yes, we ordered a mixed dozen and yes, the Unicorn Farts are worth it. Don’t judge us. Group favorites included the Maple Bacon, Sin A Crunch and Cherry Cheesecake. Follow these cats on Instagram @diablo_doughnuts to check out all the crazy flavors. And, the best part about this place is that it doubles as a pizza joint at night. The slices are huge, delicious and available until 3 am.

We left Broadway and caught the Mark Train at Penn Station to Washington DC ($18 roundtrip, 40 min each way). Upon our arrival in the Capitol, I whipped out my Canon and immediately began snapping shots of the overwhelming architecture we were surrounded by. A little persuasion from a really good-looking police officer enticed us to take the tour of the Capitol. After our tour, we headed out to see all the sites in Washington DC. We stopped at the War Memorials, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and even got a glimpse of the Jefferson Memorial before heading back to Union Station to catch our train to Baltimore. Truth be told, we could have used another day to explore all the sites. We did not have enough time to see The Smithsonian Newseum, a big one on our list. For $22.95, you can tour all the latest exhibits at this groundbreaking museum, from the famous “Letter to Santa” to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit, this attraction offers an experience for all ages.

We arrived back in Baltimore around 10 pm and immediately headed back to our favorite Doughnut Shop in Fells Point to grab a slice, term used very loosely, before hitting the hay. Overall, what a trip. Though short-lived and somewhat, haphazard, we made our way to the East Coast, got to eat some of the best food I’ve ever had, met some of the friendliest locals and managed to see two very different cities over the course of three days.

We loved it so much, we are working out a plan to head back soon. To see the Cherry Blossoms, visit Local Color Flowers (a floral design studio that sources local farms) and drink some Zeke’s coffee are on our list of To Dos for next time. So until then, stay in tune with our travels and we’ll fill you in on all the details of our adventures as we go. Anywhere in particular you would like to see The Rustie Nail head to next?!? Leave your comments below and we’ll keep you updated on our travel arrangements.