I first came to Charm City in October of 2011, meaning that I'm a relatively young Baltimorean. When I moved here, I knew the Inner Harbor, where my office was, and the The Wire had been filmed/based off of Baltimore, without ever having seen the show.
I wanted to get involved, so I went to the Baltimore Sun. I was aghast, or am too cheap, when I heard they charge $0.99 for a monthly online subscription. What is this, the New York Times? Get outta here, Bmore Sun. I went to the intertubes for my news and found an array of fantastic area blogs. None of them were a step-by-step guide of how to get acquainted with the Baltimore I've come to know and love through trial and error, so here we are. That, and I've missed blogging.
I was recently told that I'm "boring on paper," in what I was assured was a complimentary fashion, but those things stick with a girl. If this bores you, consider yourself warned. It'll probably get awfully banal at times - I won't lie to you.
A brief summary of what I wish I had known coming here, and what I'm still looking to learn are as follows:
-This city has an arts scene that ought to be the envy of the mid-Atlantic. With Gaia, Dan Deacon, Beach House, Single Carrot Theater, MICA, the BMA, the Walters, the AVAM, Artscape, good 'ol John Waters, and so much more, Baltimore offers a huge variety of artistic options without the price tag of New York. And, dare I say it (dare I do!), I think they're more original and talented here.
-The people! They're fantastic! Having grown up right outside DC, I was accustomed to type-A personalities and cutthroats. Baltimore doesn't take itself seriously, and I love it for that. The city is more laid-back and happy to see where the tide will take it; Baltimore is always open to new suggestions.
-The restaurant options here have been disappointing. Maybe it's because I was spoiled in DC, maybe it's because I love food, maybe it's because I was recently told to go gluten-free by my doctor and the options here just aren't cutting it for me, but whatever the reason, I'm disillusioned. All my coworkers kept talking up places that are fine, but I get my hopes up each time. I'm also on a hunt for some solid gluten-free food options around here. In general, the bars have proven to be wonderful, but the fine dining is always "meh." No worries, because...
-The Farmer's Market under the expressway is PHENOMENAL. It may be my favorite thing in this city. I love to cook food (see: gluten-free, disappointed in other area offerings), and the $1 kale man, 2 for $5 asparagus, $1 radishes, my beloved omelet and kettle korn men are all enough to make me never want to leave Baltimore. Ever. Yahoo recently ranked it the best Farmer's Market in the country - take that, Portland!
-Hikes. Or just outdoors space in general. As much as I adore my apartment, my "outdoor space" is a meager portion of my fire escape that I have to crawl out of my bedroom window to get to. I share it with my neighbors, and that hyacinth I left to die out there. It's very spacious and luxuious in that way that I've enjoyed a glass of wine out there a few times, but the dog gets antsy that he can't join so I'm forced back in. As a result, I'd like to find more places to take my little basset, and maybe even find some good hiking in the region. I briefly called Roanoke, VA home, and miss the proximity to amazing hiking very much.
-Club sports here are a way of life. I convinced some coworkers to join the Bocce League in Federal Hill, and my life will never be the same. It seems that almost everyone is in a social sports league, so if you're new, I can't recommend this highly enough. Everyone is there to be social - they're all open to meeting new people. When bocce season is over, I'm hoping to join a trivia league, because that's as athletic as I get - bocce and trivia.
This list seems paltry, but there is more that's just not coming to mind at the moment. Welcome, though, and if you have any fun Baltimore tidbits to share, I would love to hear them!