Article Summary:A woman's guide to touring Baltimore.
From the extraordinary foresight of the art-obsessed Cone sisters to the remarkable vision of the American Visionary Art Museum's Rebecca Hoffberger, Baltimore's cultural heritage landscape owes much to the dynamic women who helped to build it. And today, Baltimore still has so much to offer the female traveler. It is a destination rich in women's art, history and culture--just consider the influence women have had on our local museum scene. If you love the visual and performing arts and enjoy sampling local culture and cuisine wherever you go, you'll love Baltimore. Here are some activities to consider:
Commodious Accommodations and the Mount Vernon Cultural District
First, you'll want to check into the perfect accommodations for your cultural retreat. Consider a luxurious weekend at the Peabody Court in the heart of the Mount Vernon Cultural District. These luxurious quarters are a testament to the style of the 1920s, with a six-foot Baccarat chandelier and George Peabody's paneled library gracing the well-appointed lobby.
After you've settled in to your deluxe room, you'll likely be ready for a special meal--and there are numerous options right on Charles Street in Mount Vernon. Whether you're looking for traditional Chesapeake Bay cuisine, an upscale ethnic experience or a more casual eatery, you'll find it all within easy walking distance.
This is a great neighborhood for museum-hopping, with so many exciting exhibits, lectures and special events just for women--and all so close by! As a starting point, check out the Walters Art Museum, Contemporary Museum and Maryland Historical Society. And just a little further uptown, the Baltimore Museum of Art is home to the stellar Cone Collection: a remarkable array of furniture, textiles, paintings, prints, decorative arts and works by the likes of Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne, Manet and Renoir from one of the premier collections of modern art in America--a not-to-be-missed attraction for female art enthusiasts.
See what's playing at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, where Marin Alsop was recently named to lead the world-class Baltimore Symphony Orchestra--the first female conductor of a major U.S. orchestra. Or, consider a performance at the Lyric Opera House, where you can enjoy a deeply moving performance from the Baltimore Opera Company.
If you're looking to make your own entertainment, embark on a pub crawl in Fell's Point, or belly up to the bar in nearby Canton, where the music and local flavor change from bar to bar. If you're feeling especially energetic, round up the gang for a night of dancing at a local club--many options abound near the Inner Harbor, Power Plant Live! and Mount Vernon.
If you have time for one more museum, make it the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture right at the Inner Harbor. Just opened in June 2005, the East Coast's largest museum of its kind covers more than 350 years of struggles, triumphs and remarkable local history. In addition to the diverse range of artifacts and exhibits housed in its stunning galleries, the museum boasts a variety of special events and exhibits geared toward women throughout the year--in a place that is truly a beacon of pride and inspiration for all people.
And if you haven't quenched your thirst for good shopping in all those great museum gift shops, you'll find plenty of unique galleries and boutiques all up and down Charles Street. The Inner Harbor, just a 10-minute walk or quick cab ride away, also offers numerous possibilities for treasured keepsakes or a special gift for a friend back home.
Melissa Goldman works for the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association. Visit In Celebration of Women to view her blog, biographies of Baltimore women, and more.