Baltimore Vacation Ideas

Baltimore Historic Ships
Baltimore Vacation Ideas #1: You just might want to consider a three or four day visit to Historic Ships in Baltimore. With four ships ready to be visited you could get a walking tour of just about every facet of living and serving on a ship. The oldest of the four is Sloop Constellation which was built in the 1850’s and was the last all sail military ship in the US fleet.

The Sloop Constellation served for many years fighting the slave ships before and during the civil war. It’s very interesting to see how the sailors lived and fought on these old ships.

The Coast Guard Cutter Taney was commissioned in 1936 and was docked in Honolulu on Dec. 7, 1941. Her guns blazed away and she shot down several of the attacking aircraft. During the war she was very effective in anti-submarine warfare. After WW II she had a long and very successful career.

The submarine Torsk was commissioned December 1944 and immediately sent to the Pacific theater to patrol the waters around Japan. She was credited with sinking three of the enemy’s war ships. After WW ll she served as a training ship and other assignments in the Mediterranean and Atlantic regions.

The fourth ship is the Lightship Chesapeake was built in 1930 and served several assignments until her retirement in 1971. She was then transferred to the National Park Service and opened to the public. Lightships do the same job as lighthouses but are anchored at some essential location with a crew on board to run the ship.

#2: Fort McHenry - Every school kid knows about Fort McHenry in Baltimore. For those who have forgotten, in 1812 war broke out between the USA and England. By 1814 the war was waning but the British made one last attack on Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Starting on Sept. 13th their naval ships began to shell fort McHenry.

It was a devastating attack for over 24 hours but the fort did not fall. Our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, was written by Frances Scott Key as he observed in the morning that the flag was still flying over Fort McHenry.

The Fort has served in several other wars. During the Civil War Fort McHenry was used as a prison to hold captured Confederate soldiers and during World War I it was used as a hospital. In World War ll it was occupied by the Coast Guard. In September, Baltimore has a tradition of honoring those patriots who defended the fort and the city. They call it Defender’s Day and there are fireworks and various events. Part of that celebration is the flying of a fifteen star flag over the fort to honor the fifteen states that existed at that time.

Baltimore Vacation Ideas #3: American Visionary Museum - It has been said that the American Visionary Museum in Baltimore is one of the most unusual museums in America. That is really quite true because it’s difficult to describe the museum in a few words. The museum’s displays and artifacts are all very avant-garde with highly visual segments which demonstrate a large measure of creativity. Describing a future display and a future activity will explain the concept much better.

Running for one year starting in March 2010 was the "Out Of This World" centennial celebration of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein. His paintings are amazing for their detail showing a world quite different from the one we have grown accustomed to. On July 4th, each year, the museum sponsors a parade of Visionary Pets. To be in the parade, your pet must be dressed up in costume of some kind. Prizes are given for the most visionary pet, the most patriotic plus many more. The building is frequently rented out and the museum’s award winning architecture and unique wall art make it an excellent setting to hold a reception, a dinner, a wedding, a retirement party or other special events.

#4: The Baltimore Museum of Art (known as BMA) is a wonderful place to spend a few days during you vacation. When you mention BMA the first thing that enters the discussion is the famous Cone collection. This is an astounding collection of the art of Picasso, van Gogh, Cezanne, Matisse, Manet and Renoir. The wealthy Cone sisters, Etta and Claribel, put this collection together back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. One of the interesting things to see is a collection of six rooms which replicate rooms from early Baltimore historic homes.

Another outstanding quality of the museum is the large collection of Art from Africa. Many cultures are included such as Kube, Ndebele, Bamana and others. The BMA also has an excellent collection of Art by American artists. It includes work from our colonial period all the way to the present. There are sculptures, decorative art and paintings. The collection also includes some of Charles Willson Peale’s portraits and some of the works of Childe Hassam and John Singer Sargent. All in all, this is one of the best art museums in the country.

Baltimore Vacation Ideas #5: Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum - The last item on this list is the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum. Here is a very interesting place to visit. The brick house was the home for Edgar Allen Poe and family for a number of years in the 1830’s. Poe moved into the house to live with his aunt in 1833Mr. Poe was well known for his stories of mystery and macabre. He was one of the first America writers to promote the short story form. Many people consider him the creator of the modern detective story genre, while some take this a bit further and believe he was instrumental in kick starting the emergence of science fiction writers.

Considering his short life span of 1809 to 1849, he produced a strong legacy of writings. Some of his best works are "Lionizing: A Tale", "Morella", "King Pest the First", "Berenice" and "Shadow: A Parable". There is an interesting story about the discovery of a skeleton under the floor boards during a renovation of Poe’s house in the 1930’s. The discovery was a bit eerie as it reminded people of Poe’s story "The Tell Tale". You’ll be glad to know that for the visitors’ benefit all of the ghosts were swept out long ago.

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