When thinking of your honeymoon, Baltimore may not necessarily come to mind, but perhaps it should. There's a lot to be said about planning that first vacation as a married couple in a warm, welcoming, historic city close to home, in a place which happens to have lots to do, both day and night.
For history buffs, Baltimore's contribution to America's heritage can be found throughout. A visit to Fort McHenry, where soldiers stationed there successfully staved to a British attack on the city during the War of 1812, is a must. Special exhibits, commemorating the War's bicentennial this year, include special tributes to Francis Scott Key and the "Star Spangled Banner," the poem he wrote which resulted in our national anthem.
Downtown Baltimore's scenic Inner Harbor abounds with hotels, trendy restaurants, tourist attractions and eclectic shops. The National Aquarium, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, is teeming with sharks, stingrays, turtles and other denizens of the deep. Other not to be missed nearby attractions include the quirky American Visionary Art Museum, and Sports Legends at Camden Yards.
The waterfront "British" community remains much as it was in 18th- and 19th centuries with its charming homes and storefronts - many of which once formed the city's "three B's": boarding houses, brothels, and bars. Today the neighborhood remains largely unchanged and is home to some of the city's trendiest shops, restaurants and pubs.
Perched above Inner Harbor, Federal Hill was the scene in 1788 of a raucous celebration as 4,000 patriots, celebrated Maryland's ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Today it is home to a wealth of pubs and dining options. Some local favorites include: Porter's of Federal Hill, Ryleigh's Oyster, Spoon's Café and The Hill.
Baltimore, of course is renowned for its seafood - especially their crab cakes and other blue crab delicacies. You'll find the "official" Maryland state crustacean in crab cakes, crab soufflés, crab imperial and even soft-shell crab sandwiches - in addition to other seafood including rockfish, scallops and oysters. Internationally recognized is the Rusty Scupper, which dishes up not only delectable crab as well as mesmerizing harbor side views.
Baltimore Water Taxi offers a water transportation system of 13 blue-and-white boats - the oldest of its kind in the country. A flat price covers all-day, unlimited on-off service to more than 30 attractions and neighborhoods.
The Charm City Circulator is a fast, frequent and free bus system that allows you to hop on and off throughout the city from early morning till late, seven days a week.
Romantic accommodations can be found at the award-winning Scarborough Fair B&B, tucked into a quiet corner of Federal Hill. Built in 1801, it is one of the earliest buildings in the area and has been transformed into a cozy pied-a-terre by inn keeper Barry Werner and his partner Jeff Finlay. There are six rooms, four of which have working fireplaces and two which have whirlpool baths.
Complimentary beverages and homemade snacks are available in the afternoons and a hardy breakfast featuring local produce is set out every morning. It was selected as Best Urban Inns in the annual Best of BedandBreakfast.com Awards, 2009-2010.
For information visit: www.scarboroughfairbandb.com or call (877) 954-2747. For more information about Baltimore visit: http://baltimore.org/.