Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 35: Farewell, Inner Harbor

Anne in heart!

This steel heart was part of a 2016 project involving a Baltimore “Code of Respect”. It had fine-print behavior rules on top for all Inner Harbor pedestrians to read and take to heart (see what they did there?), but we missed that part.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

After three full days in Baltimore (plus our late arrival on Day Two), on the morning of Day Six it was time for us to move on and begin the long journey home. But before we recount those miles and the attractions along the way, here’s one last look back at some of our traipsing around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, that fun waterside nexus where we saw museums, rode water taxis, smashed pennies, enjoyed quality meals, stepped on boats of varying historic significance, encountered panhandlers, started our sunburns, hit my head three times on a submarine ceiling, and saw Old Bay seasoning sold in larger quantities than any family outside Maryland should ever need in their entire lifetimes.

Rusty Scupper!

On the south shore between nice housing and yachts was the Rusty Scupper, one of the renowned restaurants we missed. We were just never near that section at any given mealtime.

Constellation demo!

On the deck of the USS Constellation, watching our tour guide demonstrate old-time rifle shooting before I paused and pivoted to video.

Taney and Barnes & Noble!

Head-on at the USCGC Taney, and our best view of all four smokestacks atop the repurposed Barnes & Noble.


The Harborplace’s Light Street Pavilion and its garish centerpiece, a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum.

Ripley's Odditorium!

We’ve previously spotted Ripley’s locations on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, across the street from the Alamo (the one time we ever gave them money), in cheesy Wisconsin Dells, and in otherwise historic St. Augustine. Their presence screams “tourist trap” every time.

Ripley's ball!

Sometimes Ripley’s can be educational. Kindasorta. Technically. Barely.

Cannon v. Ripley!

Alternatively, you can view their Inner Harbor franchise down the barrel of a Constellation cannon and play make-believe.

Fish Sculpture!

Anonymous fish sculpture. In the distance at right is Phillips Seafood, one of several upscale east-coast locations owned by a major crab processing company. They were priced far beyond our budget.

Harbor Litter.

…we do not recommend looking directly into the water.

Pirate Ship!

Another Inner Harbor feature is pirate ships. You too can sail for a few hours in historically compromised re-enactments of murderous looters and pillagers who later convinced the world they’re actually lovable scalawags. Pirate-themed attractions stopped being a draw for us after our awful incident in Wisconsin Dells.

Crane waterfront!

Our long walk from Fells Point back to the hotel on Day Five took us into a heavy construction area that gave us extra twists and turns to navigate.


Yay happy seagulls!

Along with these outtakes, there was also that one time on one of our Inner Harbor rides when we could hear a sort of traffic monitor yelling over the water taxi radio at some ship called the Black Widow that was zooming around at 15 knots where the speed limit is 6 knots. The monitor was none too pleased that she had to keep repeating herself at the offending captain.

And there was another water taxi moment on the way to Fort McHenry when we chatted with a fellow passenger, a woman from Chicago traveling alone for fun. Who knows the odds of driving this far from home only to run into someone who lives three hours away from us. After that conversation, I wrote the phrase “American identity” in my notes. I wish I knew what I meant by that.

To be continued!

[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for other chapters and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email signup for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my TV live-tweeting and other signs of life between entries. Thanks for reading!]

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