Charm City


I recently returned from a business trip to Baltimore and was surprised to find myself enjoying the old city as much as I did. My teammates, Stephani, Jessica and I were traveling in to attend the American Fundraising Professional's International Fundraising Conference (I bet you didn't even know there was such an organized force of non-profiteers, did you?). There was also a fabulous hair and beauty conference being held in the same convention center and it was fun, albeit easy, to guess which individuals belonged with which industry. I'm pretty sure no matter which group you came with, we all wanted to leave with the beauty conference bags! The conference itself was an informative and helpful break and a great time to learn about trends in the fundraising field. 

 After long days of sitting through sessions, we were eager to have a chance to step outside to grab a bite and enjoy the crisp air. The first evening, we walked to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, to the inner harbor for some touristy sites, and then grouped up and headed to dinner at this super fun and spooky historic speakeasy called Owl Bar. Located inside the gorgeous Belvedere Hotel, Owl Bar boasts quite a storied past. Having opened in 1903, it has hosted several presidents, queens, cultural legends, and according to our friendly hostess, ghosts! She explained the owl limerick that speakeasy goers had to know to gain entrance as well as the signals of the owl's flashing eyes. This stop surpassed all of the great things I had read that led us to venture there, and now I highly suggest that you take your own trip the next time you happen to be in town! Btw, the food was delicious (we tried duck fat fries, fresh green salads, and crab dip pizza!!)

Our next post conference outing led us to the quaint little ol' Sip & Bite (as featured on Diners, Drive In's & Dives- a fact they won't let you forget). We were immediately seated, quickly fed a fantastic and huge spread, and had the sweetest lady serving us. The crab cakes were indeed delicious and now they can boast that George Clooney, Michael Phelps, Jessica & Libby have all dined at the Sip & Bite ;)
To walk off our dinner, we mosied through Fells Point enjoying the cobblestone streets, historic architecture and cool air. We had to of course make a stop at Pitango Gelato for some caffeine and really outstanding dessert. I could have stayed all night trying every flavor, but that stop gave us a needed energy boost to head back to the evening networking events. 

On our final lunch break, Jessica and I jumped at the chance to visit Mount Vernon Place, one of the most historic neighborhoods in the country. Home of the original Washington monument, a stately Methodist church built on the homestead where Francis Scott Key died, and several stunning homes, we were drawn to the spot for the chance to visit the George Peabody Conservatory. Inside the east wing, this breathtaking library is open to the public to visit. We had the best time exploring the ancient collections, opening first edition books detailing our home-state histories, and really just standing around gaping at the six stories of what some call the "cathedral of books". The predominantly 19th century collections are free to the public to explore, as was the intent of Mr. Peabody, the philanthropist. We wish we had more time to camp out and read, but it was a memorable stop to say the least. Just up the street, we found a cute french bistro with fresh quiche, salads, and pastries and then we ran back to catch the last session of the day before packing up for the airport.

I savored every crabby meal I ordered (salad, pretzel, cake & pizza forms in case you are wondering), loved the history lessons, enjoyed the architecture, and learned quite a bit too. Congratulations Baltimore, consider me officially charmed! 

*I wrote this post before the recent rioting in Baltimore, and the city and our friends there have been very top of mind as of late 

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  1. Great write-up! Looks like you made the most of your time up here, glad you enjoyed it!