After a long year of quarantine, we’re finally able to look at vacation plans again. With varying restrictions on COVID around the world, this keeps some travellers stateside for their summer plans. And with so many options, this might be a challenge- if it weren’t for Baltimore. Here are some highlights of the Charm City if you’re considering Baltimore as a summer getaway.
Just across the street from Johns Hopkins University is the famed Baltimore Museum of Art. More than 95,000 works including Matisse, Gauguin, Rembrandt, Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso and Van Ryn, form one of the nation’s leading collections of art. Also on display are indigenous expressions of art from every continent, an effort spanning over a century. It is also completely free to visit, though you must make reservations prior.
Upon entering the George Peabody Library, it is easy to understand its reputation as “one of the most beautiful libraries in the world ”. Rows containing over 300,000 volumes of rare and historical works rest patiently behind elegant Neo-Greco columns and intricate cast-iron balustrades. Following the columns up five stories, you arrive at the truss and glass skylight that illuminates the library in its gold and marble. Whether a walk in the legacy of George Peabody’s vision or a moment shared among its collection, the George Peabody Library is an experience not to be missed. And in keeping with George Peabody’s wish, this sight is also free to all.
With our botanists in mind, this one couldn’t be left off the list. The Rawlings Conservatory dates back to August 26, 1888- one of the oldest glass conservatories in the Nation. Five biomes of different flora comprise the interior, surrounded by a 1½ acre garden.
The range in plant life and settings provided make the Rawlings Conservatory a great spot for visitors looking for a photo-op, a special day out or just a good place to sit and be for a while. For the more restless, or for groups with mixed interests, the Maryland Zoo is only a ten-minute walk away.
Another longstanding and free tradition in Baltimore is the Artscape festival. This is a free art festival including all kinds of art and exhibitions, such as installations, literature, performances, film screenings and live music. Some notable performers in Artscape’s history include Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Ray Charles, Grover Washington Jr, Etta James, Boyz II Men and George Clinton. The atmosphere, crowds and massive variety of talent are all on display- just remember to dress for the heat.
We’ve saved the best for last- the many Food and Drink festivals by the water in the historic Fells Point neighbourhood. Just north of Baltimore Harbour is this community of antiques, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, marketplaces, and pubs, all among a great diversity of architecture reflecting Baltimore’s history. During the summer, all sorts of cigar and wine and whiskey festivals pop up in this area, complete with performers and musicians to bring the neighbourhood alive.
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