Karen and I decided to take a quick trip to Baltimore to break up the January doldrums. Did I really say doldrums? Anyhow, we made a reservation at the Marriott Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, and a couple of restaurants. We wanted to visit the National Aquarium and meander through a few other sites. And we wanted to sample the great Maryland seafood on Fells Point and the dining pleasures of Little Italy. So we took the easy drive to Baltimore Inner Harbor.
We stayed at the Marriott Renaissance Harbor Place Hotel, a very nice Bonvoy (Marriott) hotel located overlooking the harbor. As a Bonvoy Lifetime Titanium Elite member, we got an upgrade to the Concierge floors, and landed on the top floor. This included full breakfasts, evening hor d’oeurves, and more. Pretty good deal.
Below: a view from our room:
We got settled and walked around a bit, went to the Concierge lounge for some hor d’oeurves, and then walked to Little Italy. We had made reservations at La Tavola there, and we arrived, and were seated. I have to say that we were a little disappointed on two scores: first because we were guided upstairs to a small room with several long tables full of young women and we were the only small table - so it was very noisy at times; and second because of the lackluster food and service. While other tables had bread, olive oil, salt and pepper, ours had none, though we finally got bread. I ordered calamari and it was well cooked, but a long, long time ago. My pasta main course was a lasagna that I would have expected from a frozen dinner. Not like the last time we were in Baltimore and ate at Da Mimmo’s.
The next morning, after our rather nice breakfast in the Concierge, we toured. Our first stop was the Constellation, the famous Civil War ship, which we toured from top to bottom. It was a very educational and fun experience.
Below: Karen and I are on the deck of the Constellation:
We then went to the USS Torsk, a submarine built during and saw action in World War II. We went bow to stern inside this fascinating warship, with its ten torpedo tubes, torpedos racked. It is hard to imagine living and working for months (or even hours) aboard these subs. It must have been Hell and I thank the brave fellows who did so.
Below: Chuck on the Torsk, and the forward torpedo tubes:
We had lunch at the new Phillips Seafood, which is a very good place. I had a seafood Cobb salad that was spectacular, and Karen loved her dish as well. Then we moseyed over to the National Aquarium for the star of our little trip. We had pre-purchased ticked online (I suggest you do this), and we went right in with no waiting. Our plan was to arrive early PM, just after our lunch, to avoid the early crowds, especially of massive numbers of school children. It was a good plan and it worked well. We sauntered (okay, so I used “moseyed” and “sauntered” in the same paragraph... it was leisurely) through the entire aquarium. What a fabulous way to spend an afternoon. It is an amazing facility that will educate and illuminate while keeping you fascinated. We both loved the experience.
Below: Sharks in the huge acquarium; and Chuck horsing around at a megalodon (a giant prehistoric shark) mouth... all the teeth are real:
(Note: Megalodons dominated the oceans for 13 million years, and grew to over fifty feet in length.):
That evening we went to the Fells Point section and had dinner at Thames Street Oyster House. What a great experience. Perfect service with a great server, and outstanding food. We started with a dozen oysters of three different species - selected with the very informative help of our server. They were perfect. My entre was one of the daily specials, and it was perhaps the most perfectly cooked fish I have experienced. Karen and I seriously recommend this place.
Do yourself a favor and when you get a little bored, skip into Baltimore Inner Harbor for a few days and check out the interesting things to do, and the great places to dine in the Inner Harbor, Little Italy, and Fells Point. Tip: everyone we met or even bumped into were very warm and helpful, giving suggestions of places to see and things to do, and giving great directions.