Sometimes getting off the beaten path and exploring an area’s lesser known attractions and “living like the locals” is the preferred way to travel. However the path is beaten for a reason and that was reinforced for me this weekend during a stay in Baltimore’s inner harbor.
A group of friends and I headed down to Maryland last Friday to participate in the Run for Your Lives Zombie Mud Run. I’m not going to go into great detail about the actual run because we also did it last year. I recount that experience here. We had a blast doing it last year so wanted to repeat the tradition. In the spirit of repeating we’d stay close to the race Friday, run Saturday and then stay in Baltimore on Saturday.
The one problem (which ended up being more like a small glitch) was that the race moved locations. Last year it was north of Baltimore, near Aberdeen and Havre de Grace which meant it was only 40 minutes from Lancaster. This year it was it Charlotte Hall Maryland, an hour and a half south of Baltimore, and actually much closer to DC. We didn’t realize that until after we purchased tickets so I booked us rooms at a Holiday Inn Express in Waldorf Maryland. We arrived late Friday night (around 10:30) and didn’t get around to doing much more then ending the night with a couple of beers at the local Hooters which is a special kind of depressing. That being said the people we encountered in Waldorf were super friendly (like, nice enough that it warrants a mention) and I’m becoming a big fan of Holiday Inn Express. They’re reasonably priced ($100 for a room of four people) and they come with a pretty stacked continental breakfast (which was especially key for a race morning when you’re a tad more hungover then you would’ve liked).
We raced at noon which was a huge improvement from our 8AM wave last year and attended the after-race party for about an hour before heading to our destination. My buddy had gotten us reservations and a deal at the Renaissance Harbor Place Hotel, which was somewhere I probably wouldn’t have shelled out for normally. You couldn’t beat the location. It’s across the street from the harbor and right in the thick of all the major Baltimore tourist traps. Normally when I’m in Baltimore we end in Federal Hill, so it was a welcome chance to explore a different part of the city. We parked our car and went for a quick dinner at Tir Na Nog, an Irish Pub in the Harborplace, a complex of bars, restaurants, and stores near the water. After scarfing down a quick dinner and bucket of beer we returned to the room to shower and pregame.
We ended up going to PowerPlantLive! (which I’m assuming is XfinityLive!’s cousin?) an outdoor entertainment complex a block from the harbor which houses no less than 16 bars. It was impressive to witness and almost reminded me of being in AC or Las Vegas. I suck, so have no pictures. We didn’t have to pay a cover, but I guess after 11 you have to pay $5.00. The one thing I didn’t like about the venue is that most every bar had a separate cover, so unlike Xfinity, you can’t go and hop bar to bar. What I did like was our choice of bar, Howl At the Moon, a dueling piano bar.
They played amazingly hilarious songs (Mmm Bop, Africa, The Killers, Part of Your World, A BOY BAND MEDLEY), had a guy on a keytar, and took requests and we danced and generally acted like assholes with no embarrassment factor until last call. Howl at the Moon will be opening a Philly location soon.
The next day we woke up late and headed out to grab lunch. We picked Bubba Gump’s shrimp on the harbor. Some of our friends didn’t like the choice because it’s a chain, but it had seafood and outdoor seating so I was down, and I’d never been to that particular chain before. The highlight? A surprise round of “Forrest Gump Trivia” against neighboring tables that I won for our team (patting myself on the back) by answering what colored boots Lt. Dan was wearing when Forrest ran into him on NYE in NY (hint: none, you can’t wear boots when you have no legs). We won free refills of water.
After lunch my sister finally manipulated the entire group to visit the National Aquarium (she’d tried unsuccessfully last year and at Preakness). I’m not a huge fan of aquariums (I think fish are overrated and much prefer zoos) but it ended up being an enjoyable way to spend an hour. If I’m ever back in the harbor being a major tourist I think I’d either take the water taxis over to Fort McHenry (pending the government opens back up) or visit Baltimore’s historic ships.