It has been a few months since our Pennsylvania trip until we could finally continue with our grandiose plans’ realization. For one thing, the daylight has been too short for us to check enough places between the time they open and the time it becomes too difficult to navigate around or pointless to take pictures. Actually, two weeks ago we rode to Savannah and back, although the driving part was by no means a tourist endeavor—merely a long commute.
Anyway, this past weekend we traveled to Maryland, to see how much different life “around the corner” could be. In fact, it was not. Altogether, our trip was close to 550 miles and a dozen visited cities. It really helps when in a matter of hours you can cross a state back and forth… and sometimes once more. A huge difference from Georgia or even Pennsylvania. Considering that, we should have probably been more thorough, yet this is what we have seen:
Havre de Grace
Havre de Grace is a small quiet place on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay. Located about 15 away from the Pennsylvania border, it does not offer many tourist attractions. The lighthouse might just be the major one, at least in the architectural sense:
From the moment it stuck to our itinerary, I kept wondering how the name of this town is actually pronounced. After lots of speculation, I decided to ask a pedestrian who was a promising candidate to resolve my curiosity, at least judging by the label on his jacket that said “Havre de Grace.” I was given five different pronunciations, and was told that the name was French. Well, mister, I guess I have to trust Wikipedia on this one: /ˌhævər dɨˈɡreɪs/.
Here are a few more pics of that strange mispronounced land:
Aberdeen was a stop simply because of the US Army Ordnance museum. Although many sources reassure that the museum is in the process of transferring the exhibits to some Virginia location, a free admission to the site was too good to be ignored. Unfortunately, one gate was closed on weekends, and the other proved too difficult to find. In the absence of spare time, we decided to skip this one.
The one and only thing that brought us to Jarrettsville was Kilgore Falls. Despite an “energizing” quarter-mile walk with a camera, backpack, and our little one on my shoulder, the views were worth the exercise.
To begin with, the falls are considered a part of the Rocks State Park, which is quite alright in its own right:
Yet Kilgore Falls are still the coolest sight in the area:
Next, we headed to Baltimore.
Out of route convenience, the first spot to see in Baltimore was the area called Little Italy. The feeling I had from seeing the spot was that of a fooled customer who was sort of given what had been advertised, but received very little satisfaction from the actual product. Little Italy turned out to be a section of several blocks full of Italian restaurants, flags, and even some Italian-looking couples. Still… that was no Italy, however big or small. No architecture, no music, no spoken language—simply no real Italian flavor to be enjoyed. This shot pretty much summarizes it all:
The Walters Art Gallery, Mount Vernon, and Inner Harbor, on the other hand, were a lot of pleasure to get to know. As a whole, the downtown area features many beautiful buildings and some splendid vegetation:
They even have steam rising up from the sewage wells, like in New York:
On the other hand, I bet New York is behind in sewage machinery:
It just would not be us, if there were nothing wrong with this place. And certainly there was something very wrong. The people. Rude, dirty, cocky, and at times just plain crazy. I do not want to draw any conclusions, so I will leave it up to the reader. However, do look up the demographics of Baltimore in Wikipedia.
Except around Baltimore, Maryland is a pretty rural state. Considering proximity to Pennsylvania, it came as no surprise that the two states look very much alike. Nevertheless, Maryland is flat and more stretched out. Repetitive flitting of farms with their green fields and tall granaries, though nice at first, can pall on you after a while. The coastline atmosphere gives it a nice touch, but this is hardly a remedy for its predominant “boringness.” Driving in Maryland can be as monotonous and depressing as on the West coast of Florida, from Interstate 75 up. Here is the better part of it:
Annapolis had quite a soothing effect on us, especially after wildness of Baltimore. Chilly weather, perhaps, had something to do with the scarcity of people on the streets; still, the entire neatness and unity of its look very well matched the title of a host-city for the US Naval Academy. Here are some snapshots of the Academy’s campus:
My impression is that residing in Annapolis can be quite dull in the long run—given numerous administrative buildings and presence of military spirit. However, in the scope of our visit, it did make up well for the rest of the state. Annapolis is Maryland’s capital, after all.
Since we were getting a little pressed on time, we headed straight (not geometrically speaking though) to Ocean City for the night. We wanted to make sure our kid was fast asleep by 9 p.m., to keep his established daily routine in place.
We had been aware of the possibility of snow the night of our stay in Ocean City, but we did not count on it. One inch, they predicted. Heck, yeah! In fact, two or more, as we found out in the morning:
So, I quickly enjoyed my pipe on the balcony while overlooking some rare scenery. Then we had breakfast, packed our things, and headed out to cross the island back and forth:
Ah, those Work-and-Travel days… :)
We left the shore and continued our acquaintance with the less-known parts of the country. Even though we passed a few towns along our route, they would only make for some lousy shots, and as such are not worth mentioning.
Instead, I would rather share the more appealing sights of nature private estates:
By the way, this type of irrigating system is by far a more frequent occurrence in Maryland than in Pennsylvania. Some of these things can extend to half a mile, it seems:
And here is a close-up of the controller module:
There is not much I can add to Chestertown’s seeming historical heritage, except that it is alright to drive through. Seriously, that is about it:
Chesapeake City was yet another cozy little town on our way back. The main local attractions include the over-engineered bridge:
and the corn-fed Lexus:
But before we found ourselves past the border again, we witnessed something that made the whole trip so much worth the hassle:
P.S. Here is the planned route on the map (Maryland is highlighted), though we ended up making a few shortcuts: