Colourful, historic, and vibrant... a gem of a city
Thursday, 22 March 2012
COLIN McALPIN finds a gem in a string of pearls as he reports from Baltimore...
GET out your atlas and run a finger down the East Coast of the USA, touching on all the great cities: Boston, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, and in this string of pearls there glitters a surprising and enchanting gem… Baltimore.
Maybe it isn’t your first choice of places to see but to miss it is to miss indulging yourself in a city that has magnificently reinvented itself into a colourful, historic, vibrant, easy-to-get-around, fun location. You couldn’t not love Baltimore.
Belfast has a lot in common with Baltimore in that both are great port cities – the former on the Lough and the latter on Chesapeake Bay. And Baltimore has achieved what Belfast is currently attempting with a massive rejuvenation of what had become a derelict and abandoned harbour area.
Today Baltimore’s Inner Harbour , developed from run-down warehouses and factories between the l970s-80s, is the place to see and be seen, an area of great restaurants, enticing little shops, walkways and a quite wonderful Water Taxi service that scoots you around to over 35 neighbourhoods and attractions … or just scoots you around for the sheer joy of the journey. All presided over by the majestic USS Constellation, built in l853 and the last all-sail ship in the US Navy. Baltimore, America’s largest independent city, was founded in 1729 by Maryland Colonists led by Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore of Cork, a member of the Irish House of Lords, and quickly established itself as the major port on the East Coast.
It has a revered place in America’s history for it was in Baltimore that the National Anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner, was born. During the Battle of Baltimore Francis Scott Key witnessed the British bombardment in 1812 and wrote his famous poem, later enhanced by the tune and officially adopted as the anthem in l931.
To read the rest of Colin McAplin's feature on his trip to Balitmore and see all the pictures, pick up a copy of Northern Ireland Travel News...
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