Washingtonian magazine has twice now listed reasons to love living in Washington. I guess everyone here has at least one they would add. Ours would be – “Baltimore is close by.”
The better half and I have visited Crab Cake City many times and always enjoyed it. Our latest outing came yesterday to see the Rawlings Conservatory. Celebrating their 125th anniversary, this conservatory and botanical gardens is located several miles north of the Inner Harbor. Knowing the O’s were in town, we ignored the digital advice and avoided downtown altogether. We picked up our great friend Barry at the King Street Metro, zipped up I-95, took I-695, and then cut across the city on a pleasant drive along Gwynn Fair Parkway that took us to Druid Hill Park.
Baltimore’s conservatory and garden grounds are underfunded, and not as extensive as the U.S. Botanical Gardens near the Capitol, but are worthy of the time and effort. The Palm House, built in 1888 and a glass cleaner’s nightmare, is some kind of unique. The Conservatory’s main building is the second-oldest steel framed-and-glass building still in use in the United States. The orchid room is modest, but enchanting.
The star of the show in the desert room is the agave Americana. A gift to the world from Mexico, it stands out with its imposing size. One in full bloom looked like a menacing squid. Another reaches for the sky, a roof pane its victim.
Not wanting to go anywhere near the Inner Harbor, we got back in the car and headed eastward to Baltimore’s Museum of Art in Hampden. Their dining room offered a surprisingly pleasant, tablecloth setting and equally fine service and cuisine. Get the seafood salad, light greens sprinkled with a tasty vinaigrette and topped with shreds of lump crab meat and moist, hot-panned scallops cooked to perfection. The piano player used a mini-moog to add a first class mood.
Washington has all these things, but not in the less crowded way Baltimore serves up. Great seeing you again, sis.