The closing of the orchard is the perfect time for a short get-away. It’s also the time of year I try to get together with my best friend, Theresa, who lives in West Virginia. Our yearly excursion took us to Baltimore this year. This was my first visit there. I’ve decided that the “Charm City” label that Baltimore has given itself is appropriate. We were intrigued by the architecture and the diversity of the many neighborhoods.
The highlight of our trip was a tour of the Johns Hopkins University Campus where my grandson David is a Junior. It is a sprawling campus of red brick buildings and grassy quads. It looks like so many of our New England campuses.

David Russell in front of a Johns Hopkins quad.

David Russell in front of a Johns Hopkins quad.


Baltimore reminded us of Boston, not surprising since both are old cities with populations close to 650,000. They both have been major seaports and the harbor areas of both have been developed into tourist attractions with restaurants and shops, walkways and a lovely skyline. We were surprised to learn that Baltimore’s Inner Harbor was the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States.

One thing that impressed us was the Charm City Circulator, a free bus that runs every 15 minutes on three different routes throughout the city. It was full of local people going about their business as well as tourists. An idea that Boston might emulate. There is also an extensive metro and bus system.

We spent most of one day visiting the B&O Railway Museum. It was a fascinating glimpse into the history of rail in the US. Nearby we visited the Irish Railway Workers House Museum, a small house where a railroad worker lived with his family of six children. It is furnished in the period of the mid-nineteenth century. We learned about the Irish immigrants and their lives. I was so engrossed in the stories the docents were telling that I didn’t even get a photo.

The Tenement Museum in New York is a favorite of mine. Both show how immigrants lived in the 1800s but in New York people were stacked in tiny flats on many floors. In Baltimore the immigrants had their own little houses, tiny but with their own back yard and some space around them. They could have their own privy and not have to share with several other families.

One of the very first rail cars in America. Stage coach on wheels.

One of the very first rail cars in America. Stage coach on wheels.

Inner Harbor

Inner Harbor