Much to my embarrassment, it took me years to appreciate Baltimore beyond its aquarium. The turning point was one wintry day last year. We woke up early, the flat, frozen city before us, and decided to explore.
Our primary destinations on that visit were the two museums–the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum–and I was charmed by both. Still, when I think of that day, the elegant Mount Vernon Place springs to mind. It was too cold to linger then, so I’d love to see the entirety of the Mount Vernon neighborhood again during the cherry blossom season. Once upon a time, this was the gilded heart of Baltimore’s high society, and monuments to its philanthropic denizens still speak eloquently to that past. My first association with it all, though, will always be the grumpy hospitality of that still, grey morning.
Steps away from the Washington Monument, we were grateful for the warmth of the Peabody Library.
An exhibition gallery on the first floor was open to the public. That day, it displayed some of the brightest stars of scientific discovery, rare manuscripts and bound volumes by Copernicus, Kepler, Galilei, Newton, and Halley (sadly, no longer on view).
Two large doors at the center of the exhibit led into the library’s reading room, a bibliophile’s Valhalla. We were not allowed in just then, but could peek through the glass. I think I could spend an afterlife there:
From this dream paradise, our day meandered pleasantly to the Walters close by, and the Baltimore Museum of Art after that, where, as luck would have it, we got another glimpse of the library–Candida Hofer’s this time. Baltimore and I had a lovely first date; I look forward to continue the acquaintance this spring.