BALTIMORE — It’s March and that means that Easter eggs are soon on their way and that pints o’ beer and allergies are here! We all love spring, St. Patrick’s Day and holiday feasts, and one of the best places to celebrate all three is the Baltimore-Annapolis, Maryland area on the Chesapeake Bay. Rich in Irish history, early spring flowers and fresh crab, your senses will come alive exploring all that the area offers.
Baltimore is the sin-city of the ages, originally established from the tobacco and sugar trades with the Caribbean, but when the potatoes in Ireland disappeared a massive exodus of settlers flooded the area leaving their mark on the city. The name Baltimore is from the Irish city in County Cork, Anglicized from “Baile an Tƒ Mhƒ³ir” meaning “Town of the Big House”.
Since St. Patty’s Day falls mid-week, that leaves you with only one option — celebrate the weekend before AND after. It’s only fair. With only one weekend to explore Baltimore, do three things: pub crawl the bay, pub-crawl Fell’s Point, and slink over to the cemetery — preferably the one where Edgar Allen Poe is buried. (Just be careful not to drunkenly stumble into a crypt.)
The downtown area of Baltimore is centered on the bay, and houses ships of today and yesterday. A fine example of fleeting American craftsmanship is the USS Constellation permanently docked here. If you’re a sports fan the Boston Red Sox (another fine strappin’ young Irish lad of a team) are playing spring training games the weekend before, and there are games all week long. Ah, the Great American Pastime — bringing Irishmen and beer together for a century, and now you too.
A bit uptown from downtown, but a fun stumble over is the little church cemetery that houses the grave of Edgar Allen Poe, who resided in Boston and Baltimore. The graves here date back to the late 1700s and the grounds are well kept and classically spooky. ‚ Also in the city is the earliest surviving home in which Poe lived, and now operates as the Edgar Allen Poe House and Museum.‚ If you’re looking to go ghost hunting, wander on over to a little place in Fell’s Point (said to be Poe’s final drinking hole) called The Horse You Came In On. It is rumored that an upstairs room is occupied by a spirit named “Edgar”.
Fell’s Point, once popular with the sailors has been refurbished and is the new hip spot. There are more than 120 pubs to whet your whistle, cobblestone streets, music, shopping and great local eats.‚ With a rich maritime influence left behind from St. Patty’s Days gone by, some of the infamous naval beauties were built in Fell’s Point yards, epitomizing the clipper-ship with the area. The aforementioned USS Constellation calls Fell’s Point home, as well as many Civil War ships, and privateers.
Speaking of navy
Not so far from Baltimore is Annapolis, home of the US Naval Academy, the ratification of the Treaty of Paris, and one of the original capitols of the United States. In Annapolis, the history seems to seep from the cobblestones.‚ Walk down the same streets that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson tread, and were once a hot-bed of patriotic action. There are several homesteads on the main street that have been transformed into quaint inns dating back to the mid-18th century, including the Maryland Inn, whose tavern hosted the likes of Ben Franklin and John Adams.
Host to the two largest in-water boat shows each year in October, and year round races, there is a constant stream in and out of Annapolis ‚ year round of sea-worthy vessels coming in to port, to eat the fresh crab-legs and drink stout pints as in the days of old.
Annapolis is another small-in-square-footage-big-in-possibilities charmer. Theater thrives there, premium yachting abounds, and there are plenty of historical pubs and shopping to keep you entertained for the weekend.
While this may be the cleanest debauchery you’ve ever partaken in, the cities of Baltimore and Annapolis are picturesque, sports-worthy, pub-alicious, and just their streets are waiting for you to dance down. Don’t forget to wear green. I’ll be watching for you, pint in hand.
For more information on the historical Inns in Annapolis visit Http://www.historicinnsofannapolis.com. For more information on The Horse you Came In On visit http://www.myspace.com/thehorselive . And lastly the Poe House/Museum is here: http://www.eapoe.org/balt/poehse.htm.
Carly Erin O’Neil, our favorite lass, reported from Baltimore and Annapolis.