8/29/10 85 °F
It was a beautiful day weather wise, and I can see why so many people who live nearby use the forts grounds for walking and running. It has beautiful views and there was a really nice breeze, which may have a lot to do with where it is situated.
If you don't already know, Fort McHenry is the fort that The Star Spangled Banner flew over during the War of 1812. The lyrics to our national anthem comes from a poem written by Francis Scott Key, who witnessed the battle. He and another man John Stuart Skinner happened to be dining on board a British ship in the hopes of getting several American prisoners released. They were not allowed off the ship because they knew too much about the planned attack on Baltimore. So, they saw the battle from the enemies position, when the smoke had cleared, Key saw the flag was still waving, which inspired him to write the words we Americans learn as schoolchildren.
The fort was smaller than I expected, but obviously, it was big enough to do what was needed!
While we were there, there was a Navy ship coming into the harbor and all of the sailors were standing on deck in formation, which was pretty cool. In the first picture, the ship is probably pretty close to where at least some of the British ships were during the battle in 1814,
The following picture is a replica of a silver punch bowl the citizens of Baltimore presented to Lt. Col. George Armistead, who was the commander of Fort McHenry in 1816. It is in the form of a British mortar bomb. There are by the way a couple of places in the fort where you can see where the British hit their mark.
They are in the process of building a new visitors center for the park, which is sorely needed. The one they have is pretty bad. To get to the fort, take Light Street into Federal Hill, and when you reach E. Fort Ave. make a left. Keep going, and you will run into the entrance to the fort. If you are hungry on your way there or back, I can recommend the following places to eat, Hilltop Carry-Out which has really good gyros, Himalayan House which has Nepali, Indian and Tibetan food, or Harborque which has excellent pit beef and ribs. There are plenty of other places though in the Federal Hill neighborhood .
As I said earlier, we also went to the American Visionary Art Museum. To be honest, I was pretty disappointed. We actually liked what was outside the main buildings (there are three more than we liked what was inside. Most of what was in the main building was pretty darned ugly. It is one of those museums where people go and in many (if not most) cases pretend they like what they see because it makes them feel smarter and superior, because they 'get' it. I don't know about you, but I can do without most of those people. :-)
I would have more pictures, but the third building, which had some interesting mechanical sculptures as well as an exhibit about the art of screen painting, which is apparently in danger of becoming a lost art in Baltimore. Anyway, we were not allowed to take pictures in the third building, which I was bummed about, but photos would not do justice to the sculptures anyway as they are at their best when in motion.
Honestly, I would not pay more than maybe five bucks a person to go to this museum, it is way over-priced in my opinion. If you want to go though, it's also in the Federal Hill/Locust Point area, on Key Highway, which you reach by turning left off of Light Street.