You Are Here: Baltimore, MD

I'm so excited 
to present to you
the first post on a new series 
at Aspiring Kennedy,

"You are Here." 

We'll get to learn where our favorite bloggers 
like to call home... 
and what makes those cities extra special.

The amazing mind behind 
"Oh My Darling" blog and the etsy shop Oh My Darling Vintage, 
 is giving us 
the playbook for a trip to Baltimore... 

and I have to tell you, 
she really brought her A-Game to this city guide! 

Meanwhile, Melissa & I have blog swapped-
{Probably having something to do with Alice In Wonderland...}

*if you would be interested in contributing to this series- email me*


Aspiring Kennedy: Let's start at the very beginning. Where do you live?

Melissa: I live in Baltimore, MD, which I always refer to as "B’mo" & "Charm City."


AK: Describe "your" Baltimore.

MA: If you really try to get to know it, Baltimore is a fantastically quirky town.  A lot of out-of-towners think that B’mo is just the Inner Harbor and the Ravens, and they miss out on lots of little treasures throughout the city.  Baltimore is also definitely a “neighborhood” city, including little ‘hoods with names like Hampden, Charles Village, Mt. Vernon, Federal Hill, Canton, and Locust Point.  Some people prefer to just stick with their own neighborhood, but I prefer to take bits and pieces of each of these areas to create “my” Baltimore.


AK: What three things make Baltimore a great city?

MA: First, the creativity.  Baltimore has several really great museums (American Visionary Arts Museum, the Walters, and the Baltimore Museum of Art) for you to really immerse yourself in great works, plus it is home to an amazing arts school, MICA and a great music school, The Peabody Institute.  As a result of this and just the vibe of the city, there are lots of great, creative places throughout the city.  For example, there are crafty places like Amazing Glaze (paint-your-own pottery), Lovely Yarns (you guessed it – a yarn/knitting shop), and several great annual craft fairs held by the Charm City Craft Mafia.  Plus, there are so many great music venues, and a really cool underground music scene, such as just about everything in the Station North Arts District (a special shoutout to The Hexagon there!), or the Ottobar (another cool venue), or music shops like Soundgarden. 

Second, the great minds and education.  Baltimore is filled with really quality universities and training hospitals, and thus has been home to some of the best doctors, most brilliant engineers, and most talented writers throughout history, and, presumably, in the future, too.  You never know if the person behind you in line at the grocery store is working on a cure for cancer.

Third, the amazing and/or completely random festivals.  My personal favorite is Artscape, a weekend-long event in July, in which art vendors display and sell their goods and bands put on free concerts, among other great things.  Depending on your interests, you can find just about any festival of your choosing in Baltimore (there is even an annual Fun Festival, how delightful is that?).


AK: On to the really important matters. Let's talk food. What's the best place to hit for breakfast?

MA: Miss Shirley’s.  They don’t take reservations, and the wait here for breakfast can get up to an hour!  The last time I went, it was noted on the menu that their dish Shirley’s Affair With Oscar (steak with lump crab meat, paired with asparagus, fried green tomatoes, grits, bacon, and Old Bay seasoning) won a Food Network award.  I’m partial to the pumpkin French toast, which is more like a dessert than a breakfast.


AK: Ok that sounds pretty amazing. And of equal importance- the Best place for lunch?

MA: Atwater’s.  Any local foodie will tell you that this is THE place for soup, salads, and sandwiches in Baltimore.  The last time I went (we go at least once a month), I had an amazing Bibb Lettuce and Watermelon salad, and a Ham and Glazed Pineapple sandwich on a cheddar biscuit. 


AK: Anytime there is a biscuit involving cheddar- I'll be there. Finally, what's the best spot for dinner?

Can I call a three-way tie?  For an amazing traditional French meal and to feel like you’re getting the star treatment, go to Petit Louis.  For a funky little bistro that cooks most of their meats (even their steak frites) with a sous-vide method, go to Jack’s Bistro.  While you’re there, be sure to order the poutine, an amazing dish of French fries, brown gravy, and cheese curds.  Such fantastic gluttony!  For a more affordable and low-key night but still incredibly high quality dishes with interesting ingredients, eat from the bar menu at Brewer’s Art (they also have a pricier dining room, but I prefer their bar fare).


AK: If I was headed to a bar in Baltimore- what would the locals be drinking?

Natty Boh, or National Bohemian Beer.  Once upon a time, it was brewed in Baltimore, but since the brewery has moved to North Carolina.  This hasn’t stopped Baltimoreans from loving it.


AK: Have you ever rubbed shoulders with any local celebs?

MA: Yes!  I once saw Michael Phelps at my gym.  I almost fell off the elliptical, I was so surprised to see him there. He was accompanied by a posse of trainers, and he looked a lot younger and shorter in person.  If it hadn’t been for the posse, I probably wouldn’t have noticed him among all the other gym-goers.  Also, back when The Wire was still filming, I saw McNulty (Dominic West) – he was super good-looking, to say the least.


AK: Take us shopping with you in Baltimore. Where are we headed?

MA: My favorite store in B’mo is Doubledutch Boutique (in the overall fun neighborhood of Hampden).  It is the perfect source for pretty dresses and funky accessories – my most recent purchase there was a striped Jack by B.B. Dakota shirtdress that has become part of my summer wardrobe staples.  In July, there was one day when Doubledutch sent an email out to customers and held a 2-hour-only sale where everything in the store was half off.  It was a dream come true!


Another fun source for clothing is Cloud 9.  I bought this perfect Free People kelly green spring jacket from Cloud 9 a few years back, and I have been in love with the store ever since. 

For books, I love Ukazoo used books (it’s actually in a nearby suburb called Towson, but oh well).  You could browse the bookshelves there for hours, and the store just has a really calming vibe.

The absolute utopia of home décor and trinkets is Red Tree (right down the road from the aforementioned Doubledutch).  I’m pretty sure my words could not do justice to how amazing this store is.  Recent finds from Red Tree include adorable candles shaped like succulents and an epic set of Japanese washi tape.  The sell bigger furniture pieces, too, but I prefer the fun little trinkets.


AK: Where can we find you enjoying your last days of summer?

MA: I’m partial to the Sherwood Gardens – in the spring, it’s a beautiful tulip garden and is packed with people who are checking out the flowers.  In the summer, there are still beautiful flowers, but fewer people go there to relax, despite the fact that there are some of the most perfect shady spots for a delightful summer picnic.

Thanks for coming to Aspiring Kennedy, Melissa!

I loved getting to talk Baltimore with you...
and hope to get to try some of those yummy dishes 
& a Natty Boh's with you soon!