After a truly spectacular time in New York City, it was time to head south to Baltimore, Maryland, the city of my birth. From the moment I was born I knew I didn't belong here and longed to escape. It wasn't until I stepped foot in Toronto, Ontario as a teenager that I truly felt at "home". Although my parents remained in Baltimore, each visit became shorter and shorter as the desire to be anywhere else grew. THIS time however, I decided to view the city with a new perspective. I set the intention to experience my time there from a different lens, that of a tourist. I secured a dog-sitting gig for the first four days and stayed in a part of town close to the inner harbor and area where I spent a lot of time as a child. I was curious to see what would unfold, and that curiosity led to quite the adventure.
Like my time in NYC, the fall foliage in Baltimore was also spectacular. The trees were bursting with color, and I took every opportunity to capture the beauty around me. The BEST part of the trip was reconnecting with my oldest and dearest friend, Nicole who I've known for 40 years. We first met thanks to our love of baseball. I was 13 and she was 11 as we met at Memorial Stadium cheering on our Orioles. It was so wonderful to see her again and catch up.
The home I was staying in was a few blocks from Patterson Park and I loved spending time there each day walking the dog and taking in all the beautiful landscapes. The weather was also perfect with sunshine and mild temperatures which was such a blessing. Memories flooded my consciousness of another time as a child spending time in the park and skating at the outdoor rink which now has become an enclosed skating center.
In addition to time at the park, I strolled down to Fells Point and the Inner Harbor taking in the shops and cafes along the waterfront. The smell of fresh baked bread lured me into one of the bakeries to satisfy my taste buds. Along the way I had to smile when I came upon this Mermaid at the entrance of a home surrounded by cobbled-stone roads.
At the Inner Harbor, the holiday decor welcomed me with a small outdoor rink located between the shopping complexes. The USS Constellation (pictured above in the first photo), built in 1854, is the focal point of the main harbor area welcoming tourists. It's been there as long as I can remember and has quite the story as the last sail-only war ship built by the United States Navy. It now serves as a museum ship and National Historic Landmark. There are a few other ships from the 1930s and 1940s that also graced the Harbor waters.
If you're not familiar with the history of Baltimore, it's pretty cool. The Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812 was highlighted with the defeat of the British at Ft. McHenry during which Francis Scott Key wrote a poem that would become "The Star-Spangled Banner", which would become our national anthem in 1931. The Baltimore-Ohio Railroad is the nation's oldest railroad built in 1830. And of course, there's the CRAB, Baltimore's signature dish with its location situated on the Chesapeake Bay. I've never liked crab, so another reason I never belonged here. HA!
Being able to experience the city with this fresh outlook and mindset was wonderful. I felt like I was visiting for the first time and each experience was new. I will say the public transit system could do with some improvement. The buses never came on schedule, and it was pretty much a guessing game as to when I'd arrive at my desired destination. Luckily, I was in no hurry, so it didn't matter much. Also, where I was staying was pretty much walking distance from all the places I wanted to visit, so I ended up walking more than relying on the buses.
After my dog-sitting gig, I moved to my parent's home north of downtown for the remainder of my stay. It was a pretty somber time as my mom's health had severely deteriorated since my last visit earlier in the year. She was bedridden and not eating and we knew we didn't have much time left with her. She had told me early on in the year that she wouldn't make it to the end of 2023, so we took time to enjoy our moments together, even though we were never close. My dad had become a 24/7 caretaker for my mom and was exhausted, so I tried to do the best I could to lighten the load a bit. I stocked the house with food and begun the decluttering process of going through all the photographs in frames around the house and consolidating everything into one box. Organized things and got rid of a lot that no longer served a purpose.
November was also our birthday month, and since I wouldn't be there on the actual day, we celebrated a bit early with cake. On November 15th I kissed my mom goodbye (knowing intuitively it would be the last time I'd see her). Said so long to my dad and promised to come back in January after the holiday season, and I headed back to L.A. I was grateful for the time spent in Baltimore, and especially grateful to view it with new eyes.
So, my question for YOU is this - Where were YOU born and how do you feel about that place? Do you feel a strong connection or none at all? Perhaps a fresh perspective might change the way you feel as well. Here's to looking at life through a new filter.
International Bestselling Author, Award Winning Photographer, Social Impact Filmmaker & MERMAID!
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